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Question about Sony Handycam DCR-TRV520 Digital Camcorder

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Tape Cleaning on-screen warning

I recently acquired a used Sony DCR-TRV520 (NTSC), and upon putting in a Hi8 metal tape, the message "Tape Cleaning" with a flashing "X" appeared when recording. I secured the operating manual on-line, and read that the heads needed cleaning. I purchased a wet cleaning setup, 2 dry cleaning cassettes, and a can of moisture-free canned air. After cleaning with the dry setup, a new tape recorded without error for a few seconds before the tape cleaning message reappeared. This has happened consistently after each attempt to clean the heads, and the playback video is pixalated; less than the first few attempts, but still noticable. Also the audio is very spotty (frequent and intermittant drop-outs) upon playback. Is there something I'm doing wrong? Thanks for your time.

Posted by Dennis Benjamin on

  • 1 more comment 
  • sllano Nov 16, 2007

    I have the same message come across when I try to record anything. Also when I try to play back any tape, the lcd has wide gray lines across the screen. I went to Sony's online support and they told me to go get a head cleaner, that is not going to help, it's not fuzz it's gray lines. Any suggestions would be Great!

  • cdobbs Dec 24, 2007

    After cleaning the heads of our Sony Handycam, it continues to state the heads need cleaning or when it allows me to record, it plays back with a stutter or pausing throughout.

  • Tardykat Dec 24, 2008

    Hello, I have the same problem. I have the DCR-PC110. I was able to download one miniDV into my computer for VCD creation no problem. When I went onto the second miniDV, I get the gray lines during playback. I kept trying--rewind, eject, playback--in various sequences and I tried other tapes still getting the gray lines during playback. While attempting another, the camcorder has torn off a sliver length-wise of my film during playback and I only get a blue image, the tape doesn't even advance! I don't know how it's tearing up the film if it doesn't play. These are my treasured vacation videos with no replacements and they are getting ruined! PLEASE HELP.



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Depending on the age of the camera/cassette, it may be that the heads are not just dirty, but are actually worn down. The gray bars are the DV equivalent of snow - data has been lost or at least cannot be displayed. If cleaning doesn't solve the problem, the heads probably need replacing. Depending on the age of the camera, it may be more cost effective to upgrade to a new camera.

Posted on Jan 09, 2009

  • Noelle Gable
    Noelle Gable Jan 03, 2014

    It's not gray bars... it's more like pixelization... I just tried playing the tape on the camera and it looked fine but after downloading it's all pixely... I'm thinking it might be a software issue maybe?




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Have you tried using a different tape? Try using a sony tape if you've been trying with another brand. Sometimes they work only with their own, and it can just kick in. Could also have something to do with the battery. Try replacing. Do not let your Li-Ion batteries run all the way down before charging and do not charge them fully and let them sit idle. both of these things kill these types of batteries. Hope it helps

Posted on Apr 02, 2006


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Video camera will not playback tape smoothly - jumps along

Please get into town, and buy the 8mm Camera cleaning tape from W.H. Smiths, Currys, Comet, Maplins, put that in your camera on record mode for 20 seconds and then remove it, and carry on filming, it is just dirty heads you have got, take care.


Can I use Hi8/Digital8 NTSC tapes in my DCR_TRV250E?If so would I be able to playback recorded tapes on the UK televisions?.

DCR-TRV250E is a PAL version camera of the Digital8 format.
Yes you can use Hi8/Digital8 NTSC tapes. The camera will record a PAL digital picture on the tapes which means that you can play back the tapes in PAL and therefore you will be able to playback recorded tapes on UK televisions because they are also of the PAL format.

Sony DCR-TRV460 not playing back, blue screen

Follow this procedure to troubleshoot if a blue screen is displayed when attempting to playback video from the camcorder.
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  4. If the issue is not resolved, stop the tape and remove it from the camcorder.
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NEED Hi8 head cleaning tape

Best Buy sells one.

Dynex® - 8mm Head Cleaner Model: DX-DA100511 | SKU: 6997315 Here is the link. Just "google" hi8 cleaner tape or 8mm cleaner tape and you will find many, many places to buy one.

Problems viewing Hi8 tapes

Seems video head of your handy-cam is dirty or clogged. Use good quality video head cleaning tape to clean video head.


Hi8 Playback Problem

Clean the tape heads and see if that makes a difference.  If that doesn't work, it could be the tape motor is going out.  Thats typical behavior when that happens.

Dcr-trv520 error code C:31:23

For those that said to reset your camera, thanks.
DCR-trv520 handycam. Left power on, took out battery. Waited a minute.
Put battery back in. Worked liked before.


D8-->Hi8 switch.

Hello DutchyFL,
Sony recomends to use Video Head Cleaning Cassette in Playback mode. Video Head is still dirty in your camera thats why you can't see D8 picture.

Imovie imports Hi8 tape but not plain 8 tapes

What it is, is the standard 8mm tapes are not digital, and therefore won't import into imovie, unless you have the 8mm to Hi8 option enabled in playback mode, by setting it in the menu, under playback settings.

Camcorder won't playback most Hi8 tapes

may be your camera not design to play the analog tape...there are some model that can playback a analog tape...i think your camera is for digital playback only.... check your user manual
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