Am I wise to try and fix my [NTSC] Canon ES2500A video camcorder myself or should I just try to replace it with a refurb to transfer my Hi8 video to digital?
The Camera gate opens on start and closes but play, rewind etc. functions do not work. I'm guessing a servicing to ease any stiffness might do the job to get it to at least play a tape. Is their any video guides to self service these cameras or is it worth it at all to send it away versus buying a refurb?
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The Sony DCR-TRV130 is a D8 digital camcorder which is not compatible with Hi8 camcorders.
You need to have an Hi8 camcorder or DCR-TRV103 or similar camcorders that backward compatible with Hi8 camcorders.
Yes, these units in particular have a common problem with the CCD sensors. It is not exactly an inexpensive repair, and if you had to pay for it yourself, would probably exceed the value of the camera. Contact Canon support as they may replace the CCD for free or under a special warranty, since the problem was so pervasive. If Canon won't replace it for you, you probably need to look into a new camcorder.
I was having the exact same problems, and I read a post on this website somewhere recommending that I just record a few seconds of video on a blank portion of tape and then the camera should start playing video normally again.