Re: Videotape Cleaners/Tracking Problems

Jim Scholtz (
Thu, 13 Jan 2000 11:39:52 -0800 (PST)

Diane, Yes, I believe that a video cleaner will increase the life of your
tape collection, especially if you are repairing/contemplating repair of
tapes. Would the vendor selling the tape machine be RTI; and would the
machine be a "Tapecheck" series? These are excellent machines and have
various options. They are a dry cleaning process and various models clean
both sides of the tape (even though recording only occurs on the back side)
- they clean the entire tape path and have an extremely high-powered motor
and tape-tensioning arm that gives precise, even rewinding/fast forwarding
so no loops, creases develop. the more expensive units provide a detailed
list of physical defects (not magnetic) and their approx. time place on the
tape. While this is valuable information, one usually can't fix this kind
of damage and it is quanitative, rather rather than qualitative (number of
damage points rather than meaningful, visual damage). The lower cost unit
would be a good investment, in my opinion. We have purchased the
lower-priced RTI unit in every library I've worked in except where I"m the
director now.

That said, at my library now, we have a dry process rewinder/cleaner that
we purchased from Specialy Store Services for $59.95 and it has been
working well for us for about 3 years. We clean all of our videos after
repair and clean the entire collection once per year. Personally, I
wouldn't have a video collection without one. Here's the information on
the RTI unit and others:

4700 Chase, Lincolnwood, IL 60646-1689
(847) 677-3000
email: Scott Jahnke

these machines are expensive $2000-$4000, depending upon the options you
get but they are very durable (they will lasat 25 years and do an excellent
cleaning job!)

You can get less expensive winder cleaners but you should go with a wet
process cleaner. However, looking at the newest catalogs, I see that only
"dry" units are available - also note that the TapeCheck units are dry also
(but they use a nonabrasive fiber tape rather than rollers). Here are a
couple of addresses/model #s:

VideoStore Shopper, 21707 Nordhoff St., Chatsworth, CA 91311. (800)
Vertical tape Cleaner - #60-210 $35.95 ; additional supplies (pads, poss
and 1 bottle of cleaning fluid #60-219) $4.95 (note that this is a wet
cleaner). I've used this model and it worked ok, but didn't hold up well
for rewinding - motor wasn't strong enough over 2-year period.

Specialty Store Services, 6115 Monroe Ct., Morton Grove, IL 60053 (800)
Heavy duty professional rewinder/cleaner #8174 $199.
#8175 10 replacement pads $9.95.

Heavy duty cleaner rewinder #8172 $59.95; #8173 cleaning pads $6.95 (we
use this one at my library, just because "prof" unit wasn't avail. yet.

#8691 Cleaner/rewinder (same brand as Video Store Shopper) $35.95; #8692
(cleaning kit) $4.95

Call for catalogs.

I would recommend the "prof" model. It's also a good idea to get about 10
packages of replacement cleaning pads or more. These units go out of
production so fast that you might not be able to get parts/accessories
within 2 years. (P.S. we purchased our heavy duty unit 3 years ago and
it's going strong - we have a collection of about 3000 tapes.
Hope this information helps. See ya. Jim Scholtz.

At 08:15 AM 1/13/00 -0800, you wrote:
>I've been approached by a company selling a videotape
>cleaner. Price tag - $2400.
>It cleans, conditions, rewinds properly and inspects tapes
>for defects.
>We have a 5,000 videotape collection. We don't rewind videos
>as they are returned to circ.
>In the past three months we've had 7 videos returned damaged.
>Value about $600 - most were educational.
>Most of them had tracking problems.
>Apparently tracking problems can develop from circ desk
>staff improperly desensitizing them; patrons leaving
>tapes on television tops; or videos being of poor quality
>to begin with.
>1) Will a videotape cleaner extend the life of a collection?
>2) Is this amount of loss due to tracking problems normal?
>3) Any other thoughts on tracking problems?
>Diane Sybeldon
>Instruction/Media Librarian
>David Adamany Undergraduate Library
>Wayne State University
>Detroit, Michigan 48202
>(313) 577-4480 (voice)
>(313) 577-5265 (fax)
> (email)