Intermittent or no
sound when recording
you ever used an external microphone with your camcorder?
If you answered yes,
there is a good chance the problem is related to the external
microphone jack. There is a lot of force put on the small external
mic jack when a microphone is plugged into it. The weight of the
mic cable alone can cause problems, but add to that someone tripping
on the cord, or banging the protruding mic plug against something
and you have a major problem. The jack itself is usually soldered
to a circuit board inside and this abuse will break the connections
loose from the board. When this happens, your regular internal
microphone will stop working or only work intermittently when
the jack happens to be making contact. This is because the jack
has a built-in switch which disables the internal mic when an
external one is used. To determine if this is your problem, try
wiggling the jack with the tip of a pen while making a test recording.
You will here the sound cutting in and out if the jack is the
culprit. The solution? Take the camcorder to a reputable service
center and tell them where the problem is. The good news is, it
is a relatively inexpensive repair.
Check the external
microphone jack. Even if you never use the external mic jack
on your camcorder, it can be the cause of no sound in recordings.
Almost all camcorders have an external microphone jack located
somewhere on the unit. As mentioned above, this jack has a switch
built-in that disables the internal microphone when an external
one is plugged in. The switch is made of metal contacts, and metal
contacts can tarnish and get corroded depending on environmental
conditions. If the contacts have become tarnished, they can't
make a good connection anymore. Without a good connection, the
switch will act as if an external microphone is plugged in and
your internal microphone will stop working. The best way to
check for this condition is to make a recording with an external
microphone plugged in. Any inexpensive cassette recorder microphone
with a 3.5mm plug (1/8") will do. If you get sound when using
the external microphone, you may need to have the jack replaced
by a service center. A quick fix is to put the mic plug
into the jack and remove it several times. This may dislodge enough
tarnish or corrosion to allow the switch to make contact again.
You can try this using any 3.5mm plug even if it isn't attached
to a microphone. Note: wouldn't advise spraying any type of contact
cleaner into the jack because depending on the design of the camcorder
you may damage components located inside and behind the jack.
Check the audio
input jack. Some camcorders have audio and video input jacks
for making recordings from another VCR. In some cases, this jack
will have a built-in switch, just like the one described above
on the external mic jack, that will disable the internal microphone.
If you have a VCR and a dubbing cable with RCA/phono plugs on
it you can make a test recording using these jacks. If you get
sound on this recording, the problem may very well be the switch
in the audio jack. Read the section above for more details on
the cause and follow the "quick fix" instructions using
a RCA/phono plug instead of a 3.5mm microphone plug to attempt
to temporarily solve the problem. The same caution about contact
cleaners applies here.