JVC DVM-90 error message

greenspun.com : LUSENET : Dirck Halstead : One Thread

My battery died just as I ejected a tape. I had to leave the door open until I could charge the battery. When I charged battery and replaced tape, I started getting a message to clean heads. I have tried this several times and it keeps coming back????

-- JEFF VALENTINE (jeffvalentine@friedenagency.com), May 13, 2003


Hey! Jeff,,,, It is the same here. Once you get your camcorder head to be cleaned; you'll get more problem go on such as "E04: Unit in Safeguard Mode, Remove and Reattach Battery." or "Copying Failed" However look at several advices on the thread it might works for you; it doesn't work for me.... I am going to take an M-16a2 and shoot its ass. GOOD LUCK!

"Once a Marine, Always a Marine!" I guess I don't have to re-enlist.

-- HENRY GORMAN (GormanHT@1MarDiv.USMC.Mil), June 01, 2003.

I am getting the same message with my JVC DVM-90U and half the screen is blank during play back. I am really unhappy with JVC cam corder. To fix it, the repair guy says he needs to replace drum assembly, fix control circuit for US $350. I am just not happy with camcorder at all.

-- No Email (noeamil@noemail.com), August 20, 2003.

I had the problem with my JVC GRDVF camcorder, sometimes tapping on the camcorder works, sometimes removing the battery and reattach works and sometime eject the cassette and while pushing put a little more hard in push helps. One thing is sure that is not the problem with otherthan Cassette to Head connection. Looks like there is a problem in the design of the Cassette container part and the way it connects to the head of the camcorder. Even it works for this time, don't trust it while you are on vacation.

-- Vijay Bhaskar (vijaybhaskar@hotmail.com), August 26, 2003.

ihave a JVC GR-DVX9ea...i've used it for just a year and now its completely trash...its got this e04 message...i remember how ive used it sparingly and ONLY according to the specs (e.g. not too cold environment...and so on).....

i bought a sony dvd camera months ago...i think im not going back to jvc cameras....

-- SCOTT MAKINLEY (jong2028@yahoo.com), November 14, 2003.

i have had the gr-dvm90u for almost 3 years. i have used it very infrequently, but there are a lot of intermittent problems: the first thing that happened (after the 1 yr warranty was up of course) was that i noticed on playback that the video was choppy and pixelated. like it was sliced up into horizontal stripes. it also said 'head cleaning required' . i sent it in to MACK warranty in NJ and i think they fixed it - i thought i saw a trace of it at one point but it's much better. the second thing which seems to be happening to A LOT of people with this and similar models is that the camera suddenly locks up and displays E04 error. sometimes you can make it come back by powering down or taking the tape out, but it makes the camera totally unusable if you can't be sure that it won't shut down on you while filming an important event. i'm going to send it back to mack, but since this is an intermittent problem i KNOW it won't get fixed. i called JVC and complained, but even after they had a manager call me back, i got nothing out of them. i keep reading about people getting together as a group - maybe that would work. this is obviously a lemon and we should get a replacement.

-- barbara handy (jbhandy@adelphia.net), November 23, 2003.

I got the same message on my Dvx80 after very little use. I sent it for repair and got a quote for $450 for a new drum. While waiting to convince myself to having to fork out another fortune, I used it just as a dumb camera and recording onto a VHS. I alos noticed that it did actually work again but only with the previous SP tapes I had recorded on. Both recording and playback are still intermittant and you can tell that the drum doesnt always spin. TApping it on the side usually does the trick though. Maybe JVC should add this to the manual.

I wonder how many annoyed customers JVC are prepared to put up with. I wont buy anything they make ever again!!!.

-- Steve Bridden (sbridden@yahoo.co.uk), November 27, 2003.

I must add my misery to everyone elses. My JVC GR-DVL805u went through the "needs head cleaning" stage and then progressed quickly to the E05 then permanent E04 error. I have found many complaints on the web suck as this but no true fix. I guess its time to trash it. I guess Sony or Canon just found a new customer.

-- Alex Ortiz (alex122269@yahoo.com), December 09, 2003.

What can we do about this problem? My camera displays the same error. I am on my second one and still the same. I never even got a chance to use the stupid camera. I got one off ebay and then I traded it in at costco with the same error. I have the dvm 70 and it works fine.

-- Craig Wade (craigwade@yahoo.com), December 11, 2003.

Same bad experience with the JVC GR-DVL505--head cleaning worked for awhile, but now I get a constant stream of EO4 Unit In Safe Guard Mode messages and camcorder shut down. Please let me know if anyone finds a solution. Otherwise, add me to the JVC Lost Customer list.

-- Robert Peroutka (peroutka@comcast.net), December 24, 2003.

This is what i did to fix mine. It sounds totally odd but it worked for me.

Open up the tape door, eject the tape. lightly squeeze the two long sides that hold the in place. Place the tape back in. The tape should now be slightly snug in the casset holder.

This worked for me. Why it worked I haven't a clue.

I agree the camera suxs!

-- David Tebera (arebet@covad.net), January 15, 2004.

I have a JVC miniDV video camera as well, and like the others with posts here, I began receiving E04 errors. When I began to search the web, I was concerned by the number of errors I saw, and concluded that there must be some sort of inherent design flaw in JVC cameras. On another board I got the contact information for a Ms. Stacy Sample of JVC customer support and I sent her an email regarding my camera, which I've had about three years. After conferring with Ms. Sample, I implemented three suggestions she gave me:

1. Don't store the camera with the tape in. Tape is wrapped around a number of spindles and the spinning head of the recording unit inside the camera. If the camera is stored (turned off for more than a few hours) with the tape inside, if there is any condensation, the tape may stick to internal camera components and cause a transport error. I found this to make sense, inasmuch as all my E04 errors took place after leaving the camera in its bag for extended periods with the tape inside.

2. Don't leave the battery on the camera. It will slowly drain over time. This may not contribute to the error, but it also makes sense.

3. The final suggestion made to me by Ms. Sample is that I use either JVC or Panasonic brand tapes, but avoid Maxell and TDK tapes. Panasonic and JVC are not affiliated, by the way. Generally speaking Maxell and TDK are great tape brands, but in the miniaturized world of mini-dv tapes, even very tiny differences in the physical mechanisms of the tape cartridge may add up to incompatibilities or transport problems.

I have yet to go out and purchase new tapes, having bought Maxell tapes in bulk at a Sam's Club (where I also bought my camera.) However, after talking with Ms. Sample and listening to what she had to say, I left behind my initial anger at the unit and tried what she advised, and thus far I have had good results.

The error messages are designed into the unit to tell the user that something is wrong -- they're like your "check engine light" on your car.

If you get the error, give the camera a gentle whack to move things around in the tape transport mechanism and try to get the tape to eject. Leave the camera open and allow the temperature to equalize. This is especially important if you have had the camera outside in the cold and are coming into a warm heated interior space -- condensation makes tape stick.

Once you're sure everything is dry, insert a new tape and see if the error goes away. I can't speak for others, but I found when I followed this advice, it worked for me. Should you have further questions, I suggest contacting Ms. Stacy Sample at JVC customer support. Here is her contact info:

Stacy Sample Service Coordinator JVC Service & Engineering 10700 Hammerly, suite 110 Houston, Texas 77043 (713) 935-9331 Ext. 101 ssample@jvc.com

I'm writing this as someone who had the same problems you had, but took a chance and listened to what this lady said. Thus far it has worked for me -- I would suggest that perhaps this is a better course than seeking a class action suit with some trial lawyer -- the lawyer will get everything and you'll still be stuck with cameras that may well be useable.

I'm not with JVC -- I work for the corporate headquarters of a car parts chain in Memphis as a systems engineer. I'm just trying to encourage others to cool down and think a bit.

Kindest regards, Rob M.

-- Rob M. (paideia@midsouth.rr.com), January 19, 2004.

Great, what Robert M said. I bought a brand new JVC GR-DVL920 about 1.5 years ago and I used it a couple of times only. Last week while I was recording my daughter's piano recital, the famous E04 error popped up. I tried the recommended remedies but nothing worked.

Miss Stacy Sample's advice did not work. All along I have been using either TDK or Panasonic tapes WITH NO PROBLEM. I bought new JVC tapes and the first one has the honor of welcoming the E04. JVC tapes are not for JVC Camcorders!!.

With so many complaints around the E04, I am surprised the President or Chairman of JVC does not take action of firing their camcorders designer or head of engineering.



-- Chuan Kim (chuankim@netscape.net), January 31, 2004.

I had the same problem of constantly needing the head cleaned, and it started the time I began having battery troubles. I bought two cleaning tapes, and even boldly applied wet cleaner by hand on Qtip to the heads. I noticed the loading and unloading mechanism was getting sticky right after I replaced the battery. So I followed the gentleman above's intuition and jiggled the mechanism that holds the tape a few times, and squeezed it a little. It's working again. Fingers crossed as to how long....

-- Sharon (sbyrne@verizon.net), February 05, 2004.

I have the same problem with mine and if anyone is throwing their camera away they can give it to me so that i can try to experiment with them to try and find a sure way to fix them. call me at 440-461- 2488 and leave a message for me to get back to you. you could also email me at Alienationator@aol.com

-- Benjamin Beam (Alienationator@aol.com), February 12, 2004.

I have had the EO4 problem with my DVL 505. I had mistakenly assumed at first that the problem was caused by a defective battery and went out and spent $65 for a new one.

-- larry grossman (traderzig@msn.com), February 15, 2004.

Ahhhh the old E04 message.....

Here's my 2 cents. Turned on the camera and couldn't get a picture. It was black and said the lens cap was on (it wasn't). Switched it to 'Play' and hooked it up to my computer. I could control it and see the video. Then I tried to eject the tape. Nope. Turned it off and on and tried again. And again. And again. Holy cow it ejected finally. I looked into it to see if I could find any Gremlins inside. No Gremlins. So I grabbed another tape, put it in and it won't go in. It tries, but it doesn't. The whole tape tray will go in and close 80% if its empty. But with a tape, no luck. So if it's closed (no tape) and I turn it on, I get the E04 message. There seems to be 2 solutions to the E04, if you can get a tape in.

1. Take the battery out, tap around the case near the drum/head (basically over where the tape would be). Put the tape back in. That may work.

2. Take the case off. Adjust the two spindles next to the head that would hold the tape in place. There shoud be one on each side with an adjustment screw on top. Turn a tiny bit at a time, put in a tape and see if it gets better. If not eject the tape and go back to step one until you have a nice picture.

Also letting the camera sit without a battery overnight and new tapes sometimes seem to help. This is just info I have found on other bulletin boards. I can't try them since I can't even get a tape in.

-- Johnny Cash (mindless7761@nettaxi.com), February 26, 2004.

Hmm, have the "E04: Unit in Safeguard Mode, Remove and Reattach Battery" problem with my DVM 90. Sent email to Stacey Sample as suggested by Rob M (earlier poster). Hope it helps...

-- Balu Nadig

-- Balu Nadig (bnadig2003@yahoo.com), February 28, 2004.

Hi. I'm collecting the name, address, phone number, email address, camera model of JVC customers who have the E04 / Battery problem in order to complain to JVC as a group rather than individually. If you would like to be included, please email me with all the relevant information at juancarrera@yahoo.com

-- Juan Carrera (juancarrera@yahoo.com), April 02, 2004.

I have had a JVC GR-DVL500 for about 2 years now. I am getting the infamous E04 error message. Last summer I had this problem and was able to try different things and got it to work again, but still sometimes had trouble. Now my daughter's recital is coming up and no camera. I will never buy JVC again.

-- Regina Rickert (lexiladyrr@access-4-free.com), April 03, 2004.

found a very simple and way too cheap solution,... i noticed mine would do this only in certain possitions, you could hear the drive motor rev up, then you knew what was next, E04 anyway here you go, take a 3 inch by 2 inch piece of thin cardboard, (like from a cereal box) make a fold on the 2 inch side, about 1/2 inch over, do this 3 times, while the tape door is open, but tape is in place, take the folded side and place it all the way down to the metal rail seen deep inside, basicaly the folded end of the cardboard will be between the door and the metal rail, this pushes more pressure on the rail, stopping the problem. when you lookinside with the door open, you will see two metal rails, one moves with the tape, the other is stationary, we are talking about the stationary one. if you don't hear the whine anymore, problem fixxed.

-- JRS (jrs21468@yahoo.com), April 12, 2004.

No answer, just more grumbling. I used my GR-D30 3 times since I purchased it 4 months ago. Went to use it last Saturday, and got and E04 error telling me to eject and reinstall the tape. No avail, I have tried and tried to get it to eject. All I get is what has become a very annoying chiming sound. I finally contacted an authorized dealer, and of course the labor part of the warrenty is up. $75.00 if I want to have it looked at (I have to pay shipping both ways). Then I can choose if I want to pay for the actual repair. Needless to say, I'm very frustrated. My analog Cannon camcorder worked for years and years before the video went to crud.

If anyone has any additional ideas on how to get the tape to eject, or knows how to hard reset the error in the camera so I can get the tape to move, I would appreciate it.


-- john (john_vw@hotmail.com), April 15, 2004.

I have a JVC dvl100 thats about 4 years old. I got an E04 error today for the first time. a solid thump to the side of the tape cover fixed it.

-- Matt Tunstall (matt@tunstall.com), April 19, 2004.

john and Matt Tunstall, these both sound like the same problem i had, as for john,remove the battery for i minute, as soon as the battery is reconnected, open the tape door, take a pencil, and with eraser end, push down on very back metal rail, see if this ejects the tape, if it does, follow the directions in my previous post, Matt Tunstall follow my directions on my pervious post, jeff

-- jeff (jrs214@pacbell.net), April 20, 2004.

Toss it in the trash and get a different brand.

-- Brenda Miller (Bmiller8456@yahoo.com), May 07, 2004.

Try something similar to what JRS suggested. Just press the lower rail instead of the JVC suggestion "push here". It will work. It is probably only a matter of pressure. Hope this helps.

-- JVF (me@yahoo.com), May 26, 2004.

I took some compressed air to it and it worked for a little bit. now where ever i go i take a bottle of that stuff. good luck

-- Brian (spookyechc@optonline.net), June 04, 2004.

I still have not been able to get my tape out. In cantacting Stacy at JVC I got an even higher quote to "look" at the camcorder. She even suggested I buy and analog camcorder to replace the JVC model. Did not get a lot of help here. Though I did go purchase a Sony handycam yesterday. I give up on the JVC model. So the answer for me was to scrap the defective unit and purchase another brand. My model was not the DVM-90, but it probably has a similar tape mechanism.

They like for us to purchase the extended warranties. If we have pre- paid to get the defective units fixed, then we are not squawking about them here.

I do have a suggestion for those with this problem. JVC won't fix the issue until the cost of "not" fixing it exceeds the "cost" of us grumbling to each other about it.

I have started going on to sites selling my camcorder that have customer reviews (such as Amazon). I review the camcorder explaining the problems I had with my unit. Even if we can't get JVC to step up to fix/replace the deffective units out there already, we can at least warn others who are in the market for a camcorder. My review on Amazon has already had 4-5 clicks that someone found the review useful. You don't have to purchase the item through them to provide a review. I am currently looking for other sites with customer review capabilities.

-- john (john_vw@hotmail.com), June 09, 2004.

This same thing has happened to my JVC GR-AXM225U Compact VHS camcorder, I was totally freaked because i thought i broke my camera, and seeing as how im a teenager i definately couldnt afford to buy a new one. So i went to the internet to see if anyone else has had this problem and sure enough many people have, I couldnt even eject my tape or do anything with my camera, Earlier I blew in the innerds of the camera where the tape goes to make sure there wasnt any dust, put the tape in and got the error, thankfully i read the above threats and i took their advice, i shook the camera for a few minutes and gave it a try and sure enuff it worked, thanks.

-- Ryan Y. (Yoshida8b@aol.com), June 13, 2004.

I have had this piece of junk for 3 years. Hardly use it. This error message has been coming since the day I purchased. The head cleaning message always appreas. IT is irritating. Has any one filed a class action law suit. I suggest writing to better business bureau the web sit is http://www.trenton.bbb.org/nis/newsearch1.asp. IT is JVC of America. If a lot of us write to better business bureau, we have a chance of having the manufacturer recall this product. Having paid a lot of money on this product, we need to be compensated.

-- namu (anhinga1@yahoo.com), June 24, 2004.

Every one please call the Federal trade comission. Here is the details:

Phone: toll-free 1-877-FTC-HELP (382-4357)

Regular mail:

Federal Trade Commission CRC-240 Washington, D.C. 20580

web site: http://www.ftc.gov/ftc/telephone.htm

They will take your complaint orally and once alot of us complain they will take action. So please call FTC.

-- namu (anhinga1@yahoo.com), June 24, 2004.

Had JVC DVM-90 for 3-4 years. Often gets the same E04 "Unit in Safeguard Mode, Remove and Reattach Battery" error.

Each summer goto use and and eventually have to place in shop, for total of at least 4 times now. Always got 'unable to reproduce problem" answer! Have 1 year to go on extended warranty. Purchased several batteries to no avail.

Finally found these posts today. Have missed many important events. Really embarrasing to be holding non-functional camera in hand while events going on and everyone wondering why you are not recording.

Thanks everyone for finally some answers! I cannot wait to try some of these suggestions.

-- Frederick Moore (carrizo@inu.net), July 22, 2004.

You are receiving this information because you have either agreed to participate in a collective complaint to JVC (a class-action lawsuit) or because I found your email on the Internet and you were inquiring or complaining about JVC camcorder problems. If I have reached you in error, please accept my apologies.

This is the 06/01/2004 update concerning "REATTACH BATTERY" or "UNIT IN SAFEGUARD MODE" problems that affect many JVC camcorder owners. Many also have had only blank tape to show after videotaping. The problems also go by error codes such as "E01", "E03", "E04" and probably others, depending on the camera model. In the case where the unit seems to record but the tape is empty later, there is no error code, to my knowledge.

There are so many complaints on the Internet that I have started keeping track of them at http://jvc-class-action.blogspot.com/ . The earliest complaint dates back to 1997.

There are 451 people complaining on the Internet or to me about the issues listed above. They affect 78 different JVC camcorder models. There are complaints from 26 different countries (welcome the latest, ISRAEL and HOLLAND). So far 129 of these people have given me their contact information and joined this lawsuit.

Here is the number of complaints, by JVC Camcorder Model. The letter(s) at the end of the model number have been removed, as they only indicate which country or market the model was sold in. For example, if you have a GR-DVM90U model, drop the "U" at the end before looking in the following list. If you do not find your model number listed, it is because there are two or fewer complaints about that model.

MODEL # COMPLAINTS GR-DVM90 35 GR-DVL300 14 GR-DVL805 13 GR-DVL505 9 GR-DVL100 9 GR-DVX10 7 GR-DVM80 7 GR-DVF21 7 GR-DVX8 6 GR-DVL520 5 GR-DVL720 5 GR-DVM70 5 GR-DVX9 5 GR-DVP3 4 GR-DVX44 4 GR-DVL150 3 GR-DVX80 3 GR-DVL500 3 GR-DVL510 3 GR-DVL20 3 GR-DVL915 3 GR-SXM240 3



A legal firm is preparing the case against JVC. This process will take some time, but it will get JVC's attention.

If you have not joined this lawsuit, join now, and you will help yourself, us, and future camcorder buyers. These problems have been known to JVC for years; they affect multiple product lines, and have cost us time and money. Worse, we have lost opportunities to tape our family and other things that are important to us. Together, we have great power and cannot be ignored by JVC or asked to pay for repairs that do not work. There is no cost to you or any obligation on your part if you decide to join.

To join, send your name, address, phone number, camera model, and a description of your losses, and any horror stories to juancarrera@yahoo.com

Here is additional information about the camcorder problems. For most of us this information arrives too late to do anything about our cameras, but maybe it will help you understand your particular situation better.

Here is some information about the UNIT IN SAFEGUARD MODE and REATTACH BATTERY problems that your JVC camera is having. Everything here has to do with those errors and those errors only. I hope at the end you will understand your particular situation and be in a better position to decide what to do about your broken unit.

First of all, you should know that I am not a camcorder technician, but a consumer just like you. There are over 400 public messages on the Internet concerning these problems. There are many "solutions" described, but often they are more rumor, coincidence, and temporary workarounds than real solutions. I will try to sort through these too. I am not responsible for anything that happens to your camera as a result of your reading this document. Whatever you do is your decision and thus you are responsible for the consequences.


When the little motor that pulls the videotape through the camera detects that the tape is not moving at the right speed, you get the SAFEGUARD MODE error. The principle here is that the camcorder detects a problem and shuts down in order to avoid doing additional damage to the unit. This is a legitimate way of protecting itself.

The problem is that there are many reasons why the unit might not be able to move the tape, and obviously the question is: Why it is happening to my unit in particular? If your unit is still under warranty, then by all means run to JVC and have it diagnosed and repaired for free as soon as possible. Once your warranty runs out, if you start getting these errors again, it will cost over $150 just to have JVC look at it. Then several hundred more to repair the unit.


Solution #1: Cold Reset The reason it tells you to REMOVE AND REATTACH BATTERY is not that the battery is bad, but that removing all sources of energy (battery and power cord) causes a COLD RESET. When you use the unit's on/off switch, parts of the camera are still receiving power and so you do not get the benefits of a COLD RESET. Just like your car; turning the ignition off will still power the clock and radio. You have to completely remove all power. If you are lucky, the camera will reset itself and start working again.

Solution #2: Awareness of Humidity It seems older units would issue the same SAFEGUARD MODE error message for more than one problem. For example, older units do not tell you that they are shutting down for an hour because they detected high condensation, or moisture. So you play with the camera, remove the battery, reattach it, remove the tape, reinsert it, stand on your head, pray to your god, go to the bathroom, and voila! The camera is working again. It was nothing you did, just that the humidity went down enough for the unit to start working again. So consider high humidity as a possible source of the problem. If it is a rainy day, or you are near the sea, you might never get it to work that day in that location.

Solution #3: Head Cleaning If you have never used a head-cleaning tape on your camcorder, you might give that a try. Mine has come back to life a few times by doing just that. Just don't do it too many times in a row because you can permanently damage the head. Read the instructions.

So we have covered a few reasons why these errors come and go as if by magic. They are intermittent and recurring. The camera will appear to work at times, and the next minute it shuts down.

Solution #4 : Fake Solutions Another reason why the problems come and go is that, as several technicians have reported, the problem can be a loose connector inside. That is why some people report that tapping the camera gently or rocking it side to side has brought it back to life. Some have gone as far as putting cardboard between the tape door and the tape mechanism in order to exert pressure and keep the camera working. I can only warn you that these kinds of "repairs" are temporary and likely to damage the unit further. Control your anger!

Solution #5: Compressed Air On some models, there is no shield covering the many delicate electronic and moving parts in the tape mechanism when you open it to replace the tape. A piece of dirt, grain of sand, or other debris can get caught in the tiny gears and stop movement or throw them off alignment. You can explore this possibility by getting a can of compressed air at any computer shop and blowing it into the inside of the camera. Follow the instructions, keeping the air nozzle however many inches away from the target as they say. Practice on some other object first, because if you tilt the can or hold it too close to the target you can freeze the target and do more damage than good. This applies to fingers too!

Solution #6: Tape Age, Brand, and Type

Have you tried using a brand new tape? Or only your really old ones? Try a new tape.

Now for the controversial issue of what brand of tape to use. Controversial because JVC's own Stacy Sample, Service Coordinator for JVC in Houston, TX says that "TDK and Maxell tapes tend to be two brands that are very problematic in our digital line wherein Panasonic, JVC and Fuji seem fine. We just find that TDK has the most problems, Maxell is a close second and Sony is 50% of the time. The others I mention rarely have a problem."

A different point of view I ran into is. Yes, there is an issue, but it has nothing to do with the brand, but with the tape type. There are MP and ME tapes. These two types use different particles, and different lubrication. The two lubricating materials form some sort of goo when mixed together, if you use both types of tape in the same unit. So as long as you don't mix tapes of different types, they will work just fine in your camcorder. Some refer to these types as "dry" and "wet", but I don't know which is which. In any case, it is not known (to me) how accurate this point of view of not mixing tape types is.

Solution #7: Do not store tape in unit Because of the delicate nature of the miniDV mechanism, do not store the unit with a tape inside. The theory is that a loaded tape will put pressure on parts of the mechanism and increase the chance that parts will stick together, making the tape harder to be pulled by the motor, causing the SAFEGUARD error. This might be more folklore than a real solution, but it is easy to implement and has no downside.

Solution #8: Send in for Service Let us say you have tried all of the above and your camera still will not work. Now you have to decide whether to send the camera in for repair or not. My JVC camcorder, model GR-DVM90, turns out to be the model that most frequently suffers from these problems. For that reason, I am not having the camera serviced and instead taking JVC to court in a class-action lawsuit, which you are welcome to join free of charge and with no obligation.

If you find your model on the list I provided above, and there are a lot of complaints, I would interpret that as meaning that the problem you have is not with your individual unit but a design problem. Fixing it will probably result in the problem coming back. But you will have to make up you own mind. JVC will take your money over and over again to make the same repair over and over. If you can afford to do that, great. I cannot, so we are going to court.

Juan Carrera Email: juancarrera@yahoo.com

-- Juan Carrera (juancarrera@yahoo.com), July 25, 2004.

I took my son to New York for his 21st in Jan 2004, while we were there I brought him a JVC GR-DVL120, it worked fine for the first 2 weeks, then when we got back to the UK it all started to go pair shaped, he was not able to eject his tape and was getting various error messages, I naively told him to contact JVC UK thinking that a prestigious company would look after their customers (wrong), while JVC have said they are happy to take the product back, my son will have to pay for all costs because my son cannot find the warrenty card (dont think one was included as he had all the other paperwork including receipt). Any way, to avoid dissapointment I brought him another one (Fuji Fin Pix camera) now he's as happy as pie, but I'm stuck with a heap of junk.

-- Colin Kitson (colinkitson@hotmail.com), August 09, 2004.

I have the dreaded "CONDENSATION ERROR" every single time I use it. I was only able to video about 6 tapes before this started. Now I'm also getting the "VIDEO HEADS NEED CLEANING" error... This problem with JVC will never end! LOL I have the JVC DVM-90.

There's never a plane around when you need one! wink wink :)

Mike Alexander Mikea@hot.rr.com

-- Mike Alexander (mikea@hot.rr.com), September 20, 2004.

Yea im having the same problem as everyone here with the JVC GR- DVL815U. I have been able to fix the REMOVE AND RE-ATTACH BATTERY one before. I have also had the pixels appear about 20 times. Which i always fix with the cleaning head set i had to buy because of this fualty camera. I stayed up all night editing a video for my video editing class, and when i got here today it says CONDENSATION ERROR. PLEASE WAIT andi can't shut the tape anymore. It just re-opens. Don't buy JVC they suck and break down.

-- Aaron Abke (zerotohero33@yahoo.com), September 29, 2004.

pushing on the lower case more instead of the push here sticker worked for me!!! great camcorder otherwise(small fingers required :)

-- bob rosencrantz (bobbz@hotmail.com), October 11, 2004.

DVM-90, have it for around 3 years. Video taping my daughters christening on Sunday, got the "use cleaning tape" and "self guard errors". Hopefully I recorded something on the tape because I kept going! I have only used JVC tapes, and I did a lot of research prior to the purchase. At the time, it was the best camera on the market and had rave reviews. Where were all of the complaint then? Hopefully some of these recommendations do the trick.

Good luck,


-- Con Horaitis (horaitis@netspace.net.au), October 18, 2004.

JVC DVM-90 - head cleaning required.

I have 2 tapes of footage which I took on holiday in Asia and when i try to play them it says "head cleaning required" and the picture is kind of sliced up horizontally. Is this damage to my footage or the camera playback mechanism not working? I really want to salvage this footage, can anyone suggest any ways? Would using another DC camera to play it back work?

I tried the head cleaning but it doesnt fix it. Strangely though it seems to work fine with the Sony tapes I bought, the tapes I am having problems with are TDK. I read about this cam having problems with TDK. I dont mind ditching these tapes, but what I do need to know is, whether my footage is damaged forever??

Any help you can give me would be greatly appreciated. I am so gutted that I spent £400 on this camera :-(. I think the warranty is out since I bought it second hand off ebay about 6 months ago.

-- Gaz (gareth.murfin@gmail.com), October 19, 2004.

wow...couldn't believe all i just read!..my jvcdvm90 exactly like all the others out there..and i thought it was just my camera..ha,ha had it over 3 years..worked fine for about 6 months; since then, all the problems described by others have occured...thanks to all for the info and i will be adding my name to juancarrera@yahoo.com's lawsuit...i paid 1800.00 for the camera new...very disheartening...thanks.

-- claire kenny (peach514@comcast.net), October 20, 2004.

WTF is up with this camera. Same problem here. Starts to work and showes up with E01! It's useless! It costs about $1,000 to fix a stupid problem I could fix that JVC won't tell us! F**k this, go get a Panasonic! My friend has one, works gr8 for me.

-- someone (spongebag7@msn.com), October 28, 2004.

Same here, count me in on the class-action! This is really bad! Had I done more homework, prior to this purchase, I would have never bought this heap of junk! Should have stayed with Sony!!

-- Tammy (tammyblalock@yahoo.com), November 02, 2004.

Look guys, I am in Sydney, Australia and bought 4 years ago a gr- dvx80 for $A 3000 (new) which never worked and so got exchanged by the store with another one which has been in and out of JVC service a half a dozent times and now paid $A 330 on repairs. This camera is hardly ever used but on the 2nd day of my holidays played up again. Lets face it guys, the JVC product will never work. All problems are identical to the ones listed above. I read on the net that the yanks are taking class action against JVC, I hope that brand disappears from the world market. I put my top of the line JVC video recorder in the rubbish, may it rest in peace.

-- m. walter (manzi1@optusnet.com.au), November 09, 2004.

I have same problem in JVC camcorder(JVC GR-D90U) purchased last october. I am having trouble getting a picture on my camcorder. When I turn it on I only see black through the lens and/or through the screen. It looks like the cap is still on the lens. Constantly gives the lens cap warning in automatic and manual modes. Will only record sound. LCD is black with only the warning message.

-- pankaj madhani (pmmadhani@yahoo.com), November 15, 2004.

I´m having the E04 problem. The model is dvl100. The camera is out of guaranty. I´ve contacted JVC and theys said the repair costs about 300 Euros. I´ve already solved the problem. The problem exists every time i insert the tape. So in the exact moment the tape is entering i press it harder (to force the enterance), and the strange noise that i heard before the error message desapear, just like the error message. It´s a "foce solution" but it´s better then to pay 300 Euros.

-- Jorge Tavares (oliveiratavares@netvisao.pt), November 16, 2004.

I tried squeezing the caseing for the tape and it fixed mine, at least for now...good luck everyone else!

-- Joschua Wehmeyer (josch47@aol.com), November 27, 2004.

Same problems. head cleanin required, e04, safegaurd etc etc... not good enough JVC. how is the class action going? any updates Juan. is it too late to join?

-- dan palm (phatrig8@hotmail.com), November 30, 2004.

My brother tried the squeeze trick and it seemed to work also....haha how dodgy is that!!!

-- Ads (cootmoors@yahoo.com), November 30, 2004.

I got the problem (cf Juan Carrera post on July 25 2004) on a GR- DVL805 I purchased in California when I was working in the US. I got it fixed when I was back in France last year for a few hundreds of dollars. I am “pleased” to join the suit. Well, I am afraid I also have to complain about French maintenance: the view finder was not moving properly coming back from maintenance and I assumed I made some bad move…. Until today when the tape does not eject. Opening the case, I found a “free” screw within the view finder that was the cause of the movement issues: the maintenance guy certainly had the screw fall into the unit and was lazy enough not to recover it. I also found that a little “thingy” is broken, I assume this is the tape eject sensor. Poor unit, Poor Service…. JVC is now on my black list for any kind of purchase.

-- Francois-Frederic Ozog (ff@ozog.com), December 12, 2004.

Hey I've got the same e04 error with my jvc as everyone. I've had it for about 3 years and it started doing it about a year ago. The error comes up but I can still eject my tape but when I do, the tape is all shredded and eaten. It's done this to about 5 tapes of mine. Now that I read everyone's complaints I realize there are no good long-term fixtures to this problem, so I'm just gonna go take a baseball bat to it.

-- Jake (plate_evershine@hotmail.com), December 18, 2004.

Greetings sufferers of the dreaded "unit in safe guard mode" I have th solution to this problem and have had it happen on mine 4 times in the last 2 years, and solved it each time with the following simple solution for about 6 months before it needed it again. The problem has to do with sensors built by JVC to protect the unit from damage during high humidity,and other enviromental problems that can cuase damage to the unit. One 75C bottle of isopropol alcohol and about 3 qtips. Get the unit to eject the cassete. Yes i know this can be hard once the unit enters this frustrating mode. CLean everything you can see genttly with an alcohol moist qtip wile the unit is open. Every thing. carefully and gently including the reading disk. Then let it sit on a safe counter over night to dry out. Starting it too early after cleaning will result in a humidity wanring error. Be patient. The next morning it wil ruun like new for several months. Possibly more since I use mine under the worst conditions possible (sand and slat spray) while filming from my helmet cam while dune soaring a paraglider next to the ocean. I get about 6months in between having to do this job.

-- BW (Skybrake@aol.com), December 22, 2004.

Did the squeezing trick. Problem solved. At least for now. I hope I can tape baby's first xmas!

-- Jim Buckridge (jbuckridge@navisys.com), December 23, 2004.

The GR-DVM90: What a worthless piece of junk. I have had mine since May 2001. It worked just OK at first, but even at the beginning I had to put up with the occasional E04 message. Then it started getting worse -- camera shutdowns all the time, tapes playing back with half the screen in green and timecode giving way to a series of dashes. Finally, in March of this year, the unit quit working entirely. I sent it in to JVC and spent a considerable sum getting it fixed. Worked OK again -- not great but OK -- till last night, which just happened to be Christmas. Tried to tape my niece and nephew opening presents and got the horrible head cleaning message. Now it won't work at all; it's in the same lousy condition it was in when I sent it back for repairs in March. The sad thing is that when this camera does work, which is rarely, it seems to shoot good video. But what good is that when you can't depend on it? I'm saving up for a Panasonic. In the meantime, I'm going to have to see about getting it fixed one more time; it's all I have. Has anyone had any luck getting a fix from a shop instead of the factory? We have one locally that says same-day service on any brand. I'm thinking of taking it to them. Why go back to JVC when they couldn't even keep it working for seven months?

-- John Eberhart (j.eberhart@sbcglobal.net), December 26, 2004.

All the way from downunder Australia I might as well join the army of those unfortunate enough to have bought the DVX9 or similar models. The same troubles here. After reading the 'technical' solutions in all the earlier replies it has occured to me: Why the heck did JVC in their instruction book not include: "You also need a piece of cardboard from a serial box, a hammer to whack the side of the camera where the tape is. If you have no hammer, the use of a closed fist is permissable....."- and more detailled suggestions how often and how hard to hit the side of the camera and detailled drawings how to insert the cardboard bit.

Yes, it is frustrating when you miss events that cannot be redone, especially when the JVC decides to work perfectly again AFTER it's all over.

I gave up on Panasonic after they refused to repair the power supply of my M4 that suddenly had died, It was still during the first year, but the unit "was not included in the deal" Now I have given up on JVC and bought a Sony digital8. What a joy after the previous experiences.

Peter Schmedding pet@apex.net.au

-- Peter H. Schmedding (pet@apex.net.au), December 30, 2004.

I have a JVC GR-DVL510. It was purchased to video an customer's event in 2001. The camera was hardly used again until July of 2004, when it was used to video a family reunion. But, that tape could not be played back. However, other tapes were tried and everything seemed to be functioning. But, the camera was not used until video of a family Christmas was attempted. All taping seemed to go well. Today the video was to be downloaded and put on DVD. The only thing the camea will do is display the error message: E04 UNIT IN SAFEGUARD MODE, followed by the message: REMOVE AND REATTACH BATTERY. The battery removal technique does not work. Even after the battery is removed for minutes. Plus, I have not yet found a way to get the camera to eject the tape. Maybe there is something in previous posts that will enable ejecting this tape. -- Duaine Bollwitt (Duaine_Bollwitt@jemm.com)

-- Duaine Bollwitt (duaine_bollwitt@jemm.com), January 01, 2005.

Hi everybody, I have the GR-DVL505 since 2001, bought before my daughter was born. It worked OK for a while, and was able to record some memorable moments, but, just like the others here, it started giving me all sorts of error and the whining noise once in a while. It's so bad now, that I'm afraid to tape anything, becuase while it's taping it gives no errors, but then when we watch the recording is all messed up. Last night my 3 1/2 years old pretended to play the piano and improvised a nice song about her unicorn... well, I taped her and kept my fingers crossed that all would go well. Now I want to take this piece of JVC garbage and smash it with a hammer; the recording is all messed up with a red line on the rhs of the screen, pixelation, what not. Did I mention that I used the cleaning tape once in a while to alleviate the problem? Sometimes works, sometimes doesn't. Just stay away from JVC.

I wish I could join the class action suit, make the bastards pay for all the memories that got screwed up by their faulty devices. So, if it's not too late to join, would you please let us know what's going on with the suit?

-- rpe (toocomplex35@yahoo.ca), January 01, 2005.

This is an update to another post I did today. The problem described in that post was, in part, resolved by making a wire "U" clip. Source of this wire was about 0.5 to 0.8 inch of wire from a small paper clip. Then, installing this "U" clip upon the digital video cassette to "fully release the friction (gear tooth?) brake". My cassette spool brake is a white "nylon like" object. Viewable at a slot in the digital video cassette. Movement of this "nylon like" object, locks and unlocks, the spool rotation brake. (I wish I knew the right name for it!)

The problem was that this spool brake was not fully disengaged. This resulted in a pulsing friction drag upon the digital tape's mechanical drive. Note the mechanical drive modes. Play and Record may be the same power drive mechanism. But, the tape spool drive power of Play and Record, verses, Rewind, and Fast Forward are of interest. And, the tape friction to be overcome by each of these, varies as the ratio of tape on each spool changes. As happened to me, the drive mode with the most power, will drive the tape into levels of tape friction, from which the weaker tape drive modes can not retrieve the spool tape ratio from.

Moreover, there is a metal pin in this camera, which metal pin should fully release the cassette spools rotation brake. This camera's metal pin should accomplish the brake release during the process of securing the cassette within the cassette compartment. As I know it, this spool brake release process is not viewable. The brake release would be easy to confirm if the brake release mechanism was viewable. It is knowable by the results. (Clip verse no clip for brake release.)

More logic attempted. Note the different tape driving circumstances: 1) The power of the tape spool drive during recording or play overcame the pulsing friction until most of the tape shifted to the take-up spool. Then mechanical jitter friction began to breakup the video data being placed upon the tape. Or, prevent recording tape startup. When reached, near the last of tape and end of zone of record-ability, my mechanical jitter displayed as random distortion in the play back video and audio. Maybe it was coming from distorted data on tape, or a distorted attempt to read good data on the tape. Maybe, and likely, both. 2) The fast forward, or the fast reverse, are less powerful, less able to overcome the drag of a not fully disengaged spool brake. That is where my camera was hung, when I made my first posting. As in, unable to overcome the minor braking friction, plus the build of friction due to the tape ratio on between the spools, with the Rewind mode. Banging the camera cassette lid shut gave a random brake release and an evolving theory, leading to a wire clip and the retrieval of all recorded video on an, up till then, unusable tape. 3) E03 and E04 note. I take the tape out of the camera, inspect, and restore tape tracking between spools, upon getting an E03 or E04 error message. I often find the tape has come out of the cassette spool to spool track. Whereupon, it is creased, crunched, wrinkled, and maybe an area that will create audio and video distortion, and/or future tape tracking crashes. (On new tape verse old tape, maybe consider friction differences.) (On brand to brand differences maybe (1) mechanical friction differences and (2) spool brake release mechanism differences. Maybe differences within a brand.)

I can now run my previously 'total problem tape', end to end, in either fast mode. However, the camera normally has one cassette tape tracking crash at the start of each cassette rewind. That is a 1000% improvement. Enough to keep this camera out of the "hit any camera with a 10 pound hammer" realm. Yet a full and complete discredit upon a $1,000 camera. For now, I just want a little more use out of the camera, and to ease the pains of endurance.

-- Duaine Bollwitt (duaine_bollwitt@jemm.com), January 01, 2005.

Ahhhh yes.....my favorite problem for my JVC GR-DVL300, "E04 UNIT IN SAFEGUARD MODE....REMOVE AND REATTACH BATTERY". This is a great story, it's 12 midnight now, leaving in 6 hours to go to the airport for a 12 day excursion in Dominican Republic, take out my camcorder, reviewing tapes to see what I have recorded, brand new charger that I bought earlier today & charging another battery. Take out tape to review new tape & message pops up. Does anybody else feel like stomping on this camcorder like you were a little kid jumping on your parents bed? I've found many posts & threads & found ways to build homemade rockets & spacestations, but no way to fix this dilemma...sigh. :-(

-- Michael A. (malimited@hotmail.com), January 14, 2005.

This camera sucks. Time for a new one. Lost a lot of good memories.

-- me (me@aol.com), January 16, 2005.

Me to, me camera work well for 6 month, and after all those problems appear (sorry for my bad english). I'm very disapointed about JVC. Sylvain Baribeau sylvainbaribeau@hotmail.com

-- Sylvain Baribeau (sylvainbaribeau@hotmail.com), February 07, 2005.

I have a JVC GR-DVM 70 that developed the E04 error about a year ago. Took it back in about four times within a year. Good thing I had an extended warranty. Bad news is it just ran out and the problem has reoccured. I'll try the advice posted here. Hope it works. Bout brand new in 2001 for about $US 1,800.

-- Paul S (imgnr@aol.com), March 09, 2005.

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