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HELP!!! Horizontal lines during playback on my mini-DV.

by bscampbell / January 11, 2006 12:07 PM PST

I have thick horizontal lines appearing during playback through my 4yo Panasonic MX7a mini-DV camera.
I ran the head cleaner through a couple of times, but no change.

Below are photo's of the problem:

The black image you can see on the white horizontal lines is the lens cap!
I have checked this again, and found the problematic lines to change, now they are just black!
The darker part of the image is the actual video playback.

So, it is playing the video on some of the lines, but is the 'real-time' image on the other horizontal lines.

These lines also appear on older tapes, so I am not just watching a problem with the current tape.

I really hope this problem has not been recorded since the problem occurred, which could be up to a tape or 2 ago, and that it's just present during playback.

What's going on?

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(NT) (NT) It could need service.
by Kiddpeat / January 11, 2006 1:05 PM PST
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...anyone know what the problem could actually be?
by bscampbell / January 12, 2006 7:17 AM PST

It looks like that is what I'll be doing, but I was hoping there may have been a self-fix, or at least someone may know what the problem is.

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Same here
by slops / January 15, 2006 1:28 PM PST

I recently experienced precisely the same problem with my 6 month old Panasonic GS15. Since it was under warranty I sent it back to a Panasonic Service Centre two days ago. I got a call today and they informed me they had realigned the tape guide etc.
I will be picking it up later this week and check to see if the problem is fixed.

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Bad tape
by slops / February 3, 2006 1:13 PM PST
In reply to: Same here

Immediately after collecting the serviced camcorder, I played the tapes again at the service centre.
The black lines reappeared and the technician took the tape out and played a different tape which displayed OK. He examined my tape and there appeared to be slight wavy distortions on the edge of the tape in there region where the black lines appear.
It may be that because of the misaligned tape guide or bad tape (at the beginning of the cassette), the recording was bad and therefore the playback could not recover the time code properly to display the complete video. When the black lines appear, it seems the time code is also interrupted.
In future I will only start recording several seconds after the start of the tape.
Maybe it's just a few bad tapes as someone has suggested.

Collapse -'s working now...
by bscampbell / January 16, 2006 7:25 AM PST

For some reason the problem has fixed itself!
I checked new and older tapes on another mini-DV camera and they were fine on it.
I then recorded some footage with my camera, viewed it back on my caera, and it was perfect!
I'm happy, but also nervous about if/when it will happen again!

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Could have been a bad tape
by ujmot / January 25, 2006 8:08 AM PST
In reply to:'s working now...

It was most likely the tape. I had a few bad TDK MiniDVs that ruined some of my baby's important 'Firsts' I managed to capture on video. Hard lesson learned - Make sure to record a min or two of test vid and review it to make sure the tape is ok.

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Not sure...
by bscampbell / January 26, 2006 5:52 AM PST

I don't think this was the problem as I recorded onto the same tape which I was using when the problem appeared, and now that tape is fine and records normally as well...

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It could have had some dirt on the heads which got knocked
by Kiddpeat / January 25, 2006 8:10 AM PST
In reply to:'s working now...


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by bscampbell / January 26, 2006 5:53 AM PST

...that's what I was thinking.

Still recording fine...touch wood!

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Please Please help me, I have the same problem
by JakSmit / February 18, 2006 7:24 AM PST

Please help, I will pay.

Please, I recorded some footage today and we looked back a number of times and it was fine.

Then when I got home and played it back, the footage had 6 horizontal thick lines running through it. Maybe the camera got shook in the car?

Please help, I HAVE to get this footage back.

From Jack
jacksmith1 (at)

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by JakSmit / February 18, 2006 8:51 AM PST
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by JakSmit / February 18, 2006 8:53 AM PST
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by JakSmit / February 18, 2006 8:55 AM PST
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Head cleaning tape...
by bscampbell / February 19, 2006 12:06 PM PST

If you have a head cleaning tape, run this through as per instructions.
If you don't have one, buy one.
This should fix it!

You will receive my repair bill soon Wink

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by JakSmit / February 20, 2006 12:49 AM PST

Hi there

Thanks everyone, I fixed it.

Apparantly this is a common problem and affects the camera only, not the tape. My friend said that he usually solves it by shaking the camera a bit!!

From Jack

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by bscampbell / February 20, 2006 7:00 AM PST
In reply to: FIXED!

How did you fix it?
By shaking?
If so, you should still run a head cleaning tape through it!

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by JakSmit / February 20, 2006 10:58 PM PST
In reply to: How?

No no!

I only cared about the tape, so just meant i tried it in another camcorder.

They said that they will just service the old camera.

from jack

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So Do I need a new Camera?
by minarc / February 25, 2006 10:34 PM PST
In reply to: FIXED!

Same problem.. shaking does not help...

Am I spending another $ 300-400 now? or is there anything else I can do?

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run tape head cleaner
by JakSmit / February 26, 2006 12:44 AM PST

Run the head cleaner tape as suggested to fix the camera.
It's the heads that are clogged so you need to clean them by running a special tape.

Collapse - depends...
by bscampbell / March 16, 2006 9:10 AM PST

If the problem is not fixed by cleaning the heads, obtain a quote for service/repair, including worst case scenario costs!
Based on this, and the age/quality of your camera, then it may be more sensible to purchase a new one.

Don't you love 'disposable' technology!

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who else has trouble with the panasonic nv mx 7a
by LauderdaleBob11 / June 21, 2006 7:07 PM PDT
In reply to: depends...


Having read the reports of some regarding the problems they have had with their Panasonic cameras, I am seeking some help from anyone who has had problems with their camcorders especially the NV MX7a

Here's a bit of a run down of my problems.

I have had a NVMX7a camera since May 2001, & it has given me no end of problems with the sound & other problems.

While I have not had black lines, I have had a lot of horizontal pixelisation of the video taped. Much footage has had sound & motion skipping/jumping, not unlike using an old film projector & the film has the sprocket edges broken.

My first major problem was when in China, the camera would pause itself when recording for no reason, needing a re pressing of the record button, thus having jerky footage.

After this trip in Nov/Dec 2001, I came home, & showed all my family the footage, no troubles were obvious except the bit mentioned above. I took video at Christmas 2001 on the end of the last China tape, & again no trouble with that tape.

After Christmas I was going to start the process of editing. & I found that about on the last tape taken in China, the first 40 minutes was ok, but the next 30 minutes had lost the sound in parts, however the Christmas family footage was fine.

When playing this tape back through external speakers the faulty parts are picked up but, with a lot of static. I put the camera in for repairs, & the blame came out as being a faulty tape. But, when I insisted on checking it out further, & mentioned cold temperatures, they did a freeze test & found the PCB was faulty.

Whilst this was repaired the camcorder has been a constant source of problems. It has been in for repairs 7 times since new, & now is faulty again. Thankfully, I paid for an extened warranty, otherwise I dread the cost of repairs.

Over the time I have sought a camera replacement from Panasonic without luck, even though one was promised in 2004, if problems were again encountered. The person promising the replacement left the company when I had the next lot of problems.

As a result I am now in dispute with Panasonic through the fair trading tribunal, seeking a refund as they constantly refused a replacement camera.

What I am wondering is if anyone else is having similar problems with Panasonic camcorders especially the NVMX7a or similar.

I have had tapes chewed up, sound & film skipping. & heavy pixelisation of the footage. Out of around 40 tapes that I used, only 8 show no signs of problems at all, while all the others show problems of varied degrees, with 2 completely wrecked

I am trying to ascertain whether this particular model was a dud. I have been told by at least 3 senior camera store salesmen & a repairer in Sydney that the particular camera has had a reputation for this.

Many thanks

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Tap it a little
by singh.gurjeet / June 28, 2010 2:07 AM PDT
In reply to: FIXED!

For the record...

I own a Samsung SCD103 camcorder, and had this same problem; broad horizontal lines across the screen and irritating static noise too. Took it to a repair shop, and the guy asked $150 because these damn things are so complicated and just opening and reassembling it would take 3 hours, and is a tedious job. I agree with him, but was not ready to part with $150 as I am planning to get off this "tape" recorder and get a new one.

So I came back home, googled this post, and encouraged by the 'shake a little' post above, I tapped my camcorder on all 6 sides and played an older tape, and voila.. it played just fine Happy I think it was the head that got misaligned.

After a couple of hours, when I was ready to record the tape that I was actually interested in, my daughter's past two years, the same problem popped up again. so I tapped it a little again and there you go, had the camera working like new again Happy That tape is on my computer and in online backups now.

I am not going to get all tapes on to my computer and then buy a new camcorder.

Thanks to the thread... and good luck to you guys

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Black/gray lines over mini DV video
by abcdefg7 / October 6, 2011 1:48 AM PDT
In reply to: Tap it a little

I filmed a wedding. When I first started recording, the camera said head dirty. I know that if you don't clean it, it usually messes up the footage. I thought since I used a new tape, there was no video to overlap with the video of the wedding. Unfortunately, the video of the wedding has black and gray horizontal lines across it. I can't re-record the wedding, as it is a one time thing. I have tried tapping and shaking the camera and cleaning the head. Is it possible to remove these black and gray lines? If so, how?

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mine too
by jcloutier / March 8, 2006 1:25 AM PST

Mine has been doing the same thing. (4 yo panasonic PVDV 951). Sometimes the head cleaner works. Sometimes I have no playback at all. It's working today so I'm not sure if I should send it in or just wait and see. It usually plays back fine the first time then starts having the lines on the 2nd or 3rd playback. Is there something I can buy to put my tapes on my computer and bypass the camera?

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by bscampbell / March 16, 2006 9:06 AM PST
In reply to: mine too

It sounds like your camera needs a service if it is reoccurring so regularly.
You may even consider purchasing a new camera, as a service may become costly, making this a more viable option.
I know I will be buying a new one rather than having ours repaired if it came to that!

You can purchase miniDV decks, but they are VERY expensive.
I don't really understand why a VHS or DVD-like deck has not been released for mini-DV since it is so popular.
I'm sure many people would purchase one of these if they were at a similar price point, rather than having to run it via the camcorder.
Then again, I may have just answered my own comment, being that you can run them via your camcorder so why would people bother buying a mini-DV deck (unless you want to edit with it). It's all about making money!

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The same problem on Panasonic NV GS 11 Mini DV
by Schlachter_nr1 / June 15, 2006 11:14 PM PDT

I have the same problem with the horizontal lines during playback...I have waranty just a month and it's really stressing. I gave the camera to a tehnician to repair, twice!!!, but the problem seems to persist. In my opinion seems to be a software problem, which is common on multiple Panasanic Mini DV camcorders...Sometimes the stripes dissapears when I choose the recording mode, but is not for sure 100%...It's not a problem about the cleaning head, it's a main electronic circuitry problem. If it happened again I want to go straight to the Panasonic office...

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The same problem on Panasonic NV GS 11 Mini DV
by LauderdaleBob11 / June 21, 2006 11:09 PM PDT

Have a look at my post under the title

Who else has trouble with the panasonic nv mx7a.

It seems that Panasonic has a lot of answering to do, The one common thread that they up is "bad or faulty tpe". I have used, Sony, TDK Maxell, JVC, Fuji, Standard & Pro Panasonic tapes all with the same problems.

My older son has a JVC cmacorder which he had the same problems with, & I have just found that JVC is a Matsushita company, & they are considering abandoning the brand as the Panasonic brand is selling better.

Ensure that you get it fixed under warranty, & if it persists, demand a full refund under consumer laws. Otherwise you'l be like me in the fair trading tribunal, after Panasonic refused to answer registered mails etc.

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Same problem on Samsung + info
by frebr / June 25, 2006 2:02 AM PDT

I have a Samsung SCD86. Same problem with the horizontal balck lines. I beleive the Video data is still preserved on the tape. This problem is intermittent.

But... We had lost our recharger for a period of time (2months+?) and the camera had been idle for that period. (yes, with a tape inside, but I don't think the tape stays engaged...dunno). Now that we found the recharger, we are seeing problems.

A tape I just recorded on yesterday, and reviewed yesterday has lines on it today. Other tapes have lines on them today too.

I have just done some experimenting...I rewound the tape a bit and played it back. I tried this several times with the following results:
Horizontal lines + audio
Horizontal lines audio at first then cuts out
Horizontal lines no audio
Black screen no audio
and finally Full screen + audio and it continues to function properly after three or four further attempts.

1. Camcorder out of use for a few months caused dust buildup?

2. Camcorder out of use with tape inserted affected bias/signal on the tape or left memory on the head?

3. Camcorder out of use for a few months required ''excercise'' of some sort for the motor/belts /drives to align with the tape data?

4. The battery is tired? I will have to experiment further but i *think* the problem appeared when using the battery for playback (not plugged into wall outlet/recharger) and seemed to rectify itself when plugged in, although it took some tries. I have no rationale for this being the problem, just an observation.

5. Tapes have benn idle for many humidity cycles. I have tried rewinding and fast forwarding the tapes all the way a couple of times, I beleive it helps even-out the tape tension. Again, I am not sure about it, but I know it helps with the kids old VHS tapes that get played in spurts then sit for a while.

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Panasonic NV MX7a
by LauderdaleBob11 / June 25, 2006 10:02 AM PDT

I have tried this on several occassions with the MX7a, without any change. I had the habit of fast forwarding the tape forward & rewind prior to use, as was the norm, & advice from different shops for all types of tapes. Primarilly this stratched the tapes to prevent any sort of ''sag'' afterwards.

When I went to get 2 tapes repaired that had been 1; turned over inside the camera, & the other went pixelated very badly. The repair place asked straight off when I told of the problems I had experienced over the years, ''was it a Panasonic camera?''

He then went on to say that in his 25years experience in the industry he has found that Pansonic cmaera's produced over the last ''5 or so years'' have had many issues, & the ones I experienced were common.

He also said that with modern tapes, especially the mini DV, no benefit would be had by the ''stretching'' of the tape.

I have a ''gut feeling'' that as camera's get smaller, & the various interals are shrunk, that much compromise is made, & reliabibility suffers. I had a Panasonic full size VHS camera, the NV7 for around 14 years, & only ever had one small repair done to it.

I have others in the family that have no end of trouble with many different items put out by Panasonic in the past 3-5years.

I wonder as these giants get bigger, the product suffers.

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Black horizontal lines in mini-dv playback
by Bisonwerks / August 5, 2008 1:59 PM PDT

Did you ever find a practical solution to this problem? I have a PV-DV951 for which I paid about $1400 in 2002. I don't want to junk it, but neither do I want to spend several hundred dollars to repair a technologically obsolete camcorder.


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