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  1. Member
    Join Date: Aug 2014
    Location: Wales UK
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    Hello, new to the forum. Been reading some articles on how to swap a HDD on a Pioneer DVR. My brain hurts already. If I could buy a new 720 I would it's a great machine.

    I wonder if anyone has the definitive method of how to change the HDD and what tools, discs, firmware, software etc are needed. A bigger HDD then the 160gb would also be a help but not essential.

    My 720 is a 2004 model I believe.

    many thanks Chris

    Wales, U.K.

    ps I did pm Montie - who has done the 'transplant' in the past - but I'm open to all the help I can get!
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  2. Member DB83's Avatar
    Join Date: Jul 2007
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    Well after also reading the instructions, actually replacing the HDD (as long as you can still buy an IDE drive - quite scarce now - is fiddly but not too difficult.

    But getting the DVR to recognise the HDD is another matter. The instructions I read refer to a) a service remote and b) a Pioneer Data disk. Finding these may well be beyond your means.

    Your best chance is to find a service store that has these. You will pay for installation etc. but that could be the cheapest option long-term.

    It does seem that Pioneer has its own rules here. I once owned a DVR where all one had to do was put the drive in the unit and its own bios did the rest.

    But others may have more ideas/suggestions
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  3. Member
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    Oh putting the HDD in is no problem. Getting the 720 to shake hands with the new HDD - that's another thing.....

    I'll wait a while til someone comes up with the goods!!

    cheers

    Originally Posted by DB83 View Post
    Well after also reading the instructions, actually replacing the HDD (as long as you can still buy an IDE drive - quite scarce now - is fiddly but not too difficult.

    But getting the DVR to recognise the HDD is another matter. The instructions I read refer to a) a service remote and b) a Pioneer Data disk. Finding these may well be beyond your means.

    Your best chance is to find a service store that has these. You will pay for installation etc. but that could be the cheapest option long-term.

    It does seem that Pioneer has its own rules here. I once owned a DVR where all one had to do was put the drive in the unit and its own bios did the rest.

    But others may have more ideas/suggestions
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  4. Member
    Join Date: Oct 2004
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    If your recorder is 10 years old then it's a miracle that the DVD burner part of still works and even if you get the hard drive replaced, the clock is ticking on that part of it dying. DVD recorders almost always use non-standard burners and they are getting harder and harder to find. For example, it wouldn't surprise me at all if your particular burner hasn't been made in 8 years now. I've heard of a few older recorders that actually could use standard off the shelf burners dropped in as replacements, but those were quite unusual and I don't remember who made them. I have absolutely no idea what you mean when you say you'll "wait a while til someone comes up with the goods!!" but if you think that with time you're going to find MORE available burners (again, you'll need a new eventually) and IDE disk drives, that is just highly improbable.

    Those old recorders were quite fussy about +R vs. -R issues and given the age of yours, I'm not sure it really makes sense to keep something that old working when it probably can only burn to -R discs anyway since it's an ancient Pioneer model. But that's your decision.
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  5. Member
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    The machine was working perfectly and the death rattle in the HDD is the only issue. Deffo worth saving. I'll give it a go when sufficient info comes my way. Wish you could still buy these. The 720 has Firewire in/out - big bonus.

    Originally Posted by jman98 View Post
    If your recorder is 10 years old then it's a miracle that the DVD burner part of still works and even if you get the hard drive replaced, the clock is ticking on that part of it dying. DVD recorders almost always use non-standard burners and they are getting harder and harder to find. For example, it wouldn't surprise me at all if your particular burner hasn't been made in 8 years now. I've heard of a few older recorders that actually could use standard off the shelf burners dropped in as replacements, but those were quite unusual and I don't remember who made them. I have absolutely no idea what you mean when you say you'll "wait a while til someone comes up with the goods!!" but if you think that with time you're going to find MORE available burners (again, you'll need a new eventually) and IDE disk drives, that is just highly improbable.

    Those old recorders were quite fussy about +R vs. -R issues and given the age of yours, I'm not sure it really makes sense to keep something that old working when it probably can only burn to -R discs anyway since it's an ancient Pioneer model. But that's your decision.
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  6. Member DB83's Avatar
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    Read this. Take note of the part-nos. as quoted.

    http://www.pioneerfaq.info/filer/replacing_HDD_old_DVR.pdf

    There is no more info available
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  7. Member
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    Originally Posted by DB83 View Post
    Read this. Take note of the part-nos. as quoted.

    http://www.pioneerfaq.info/filer/replacing_HDD_old_DVR.pdf

    There is no more info available
    Read it - Check.

    Took note. Check


    Except - where does one get "The current infrared codes in CCF-format" ?
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  8. Member DB83's Avatar
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    The codes are stored in the remote. That is why any remote will not do.
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  9. Member
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    OK thanks
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  10. Member
    Join Date: Aug 2014
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    Progress to date.

    Complied with Part OnE of the instructions for the HDD replacement on the Pioneer 720H

    I downloaded the RAR files for the burning of the GGV1256 service disc.

    I extracted the 39 files to a folder and ended up with what looks like a Disc Image file called 'Pioneer_Service_DVD_GGV1256 (3.856gb in size)

    Went to Part 2 of instructions.

    Entered the 9 digit number - Pressed Play to Enter the number (there is no obvious STOP button on my remote which is the GGF1381 model)

    The Pioneer 720 asked for ID disc

    Inserted disc - it read it and the message 'ID DATA - NG' and spits the disc out.

    So, a bit stuck at this point.

    I have attached a pic of my Remote keypad - if anyone knows where STOP is in case I am supposed to use that key?

    1. is the GGV1256 disc supposed to burn as an image file? I burned it using Windows 7 disc burning application. Nero wasn't installed on my PC.

    2. any suggestions what to do next?

    thanks ChrisClick image for larger version

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  11. Member
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    Originally Posted by DB83 View Post
    The codes are stored in the remote. That is why any remote will not do.
    I believe this was already answered above??
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  12. Member
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    You answered a question that wasn't asked. ??

    Update. The HDD is now installing - in fact I've just installed two of them in succession to see why I still have an output and display problem. The newly installed HDD will not give out any signal either video or sound. It is recording and is recognised by the DVR 720 but it will not display what has been recorded. This is weird.

    The DVD will playback video and sound as is normal. Quite why a HDD will install and then function with no visible signal mis baffling.

    Originally Posted by Hoser Rob View Post
    Originally Posted by DB83 View Post
    The codes are stored in the remote. That is why any remote will not do.
    I believe this was already answered above??
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  13. Member
    Join Date: Oct 2004
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    I guess you might give more details on these new disk drives - size, type (IDE or something else) where you got them (ie. some guy selling stuff on the internet vs. a reliable computer parts dealer), whether you tested them on a PC prior to installing them - as that could be useful.
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  14. Member
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    Originally Posted by jman98 View Post
    I guess you might give more details on these new disk drives - size, type (IDE or something else) where you got them (ie. some guy selling stuff on the internet vs. a reliable computer parts dealer), whether you tested them on a PC prior to installing them - as that could be useful.
    The hard drives are from my edit systems and are fully functional. One was an ATA drive the other IDE /ATA. Both are running, both record and I can even copy from a DVD disc to the HDD and then burn a DVD from the HDD.

    All I can't do is see the clips I've copied to the HDD as I used to be able to do. So, no video or audio in Disc Menu although the clips with all it's attributes are shown. Just won't display on output screen.

    Totally baffling.
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  15. Member DB83's Avatar
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    Well Hoser Rob was answering a question you asked.

    You asked where the 'stop' button' was. He merely refered you back to my post. Is that remote one as described in the instructions or your own from the recorder ?. If the latter then it is not going to work since that is not a Pioneer Service Remote. Some vital communication function has been missed.

    Surely the bottom line is if the HDDs were installed correctly then you could see what you believe is recorded on them
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  16. Member
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    That's the crazy thing. The hard drive is installed, it's working, it records, it stores data, it plays back to copy to DVD disc - it just won't display any video or give sound. No error messages.

    Either a hard drive works or it doesn't/ That leads me to conclude there may be another issue that's manifested during the whole miserable process.

    May be the end of the road for the 720 - pity as it's a great machine

    thanks for all the input. If I get a result I'll update.



    Originally Posted by DB83 View Post
    Well Hoser Rob was answering a question you asked.

    You asked where the 'stop' button' was. He merely refered you back to my post. Is that remote one as described in the instructions or your own from the recorder ?. If the latter then it is not going to work since that is not a Pioneer Service Remote. Some vital communication function has been missed.

    Surely the bottom line is if the HDDs were installed correctly then you could see what you believe is recorded on them
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  17. Member orsetto's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by peranaman View Post
    The hard drive is installed, it's working, it records, it stores data, it plays back to copy to DVD disc - it just won't display any video or give sound. No error messages.

    Either a hard drive works or it doesn't/ That leads me to conclude there may be another issue that's manifested during the whole miserable process.
    I've replaced the HDD on more Pioneers than I can count over the past ten years: not once have I seen the HDD behavior you are describing, that is completely bizarro-world. In my experience with the Pioneers, there is no grey area: if the install went 100% perfect with no error messages, the HDD features work 100%. If the HDD features exhibit any functional issues, there is nearly always an error display of some kind.

    I can only make a semi-educated guess without your particular unit in front of me. My gut instinct would be A) you didn't burn the Service DVD correctly, or B) you erred during the install procedure in some subtle way, or C) you did the install properly but in the process something else went wonky that is not obvious. If C), you'll need to download the Pioneer service manual and have a go at analyzing the many cryptic service info screens. This is no picnic, even for the dedicated: Pioneer provides the most convoluted opaque troubleshooting instructions imaginable, and the "generic clone" service remote you have is a royal PITA to use (I have the same knockoff).

    Here are some things you can try:

    Re-burn the service disc if you made it using Windows Explorer. And/or, if you did not get this disc image via Pioneerfaq, contact Pioneerfaq and get theirs (random torrents of these service discs are notoriously faulty). The disc image needs to be burned with the free ImgBurn utility (if you don't have it, download the older version 2.5.6.0 from this VideoHelp link). Within ImgBurn EZ Mode Picker, select "Burn Image File To Disc", navigate to where the downloaded disc image is on your PC, and press the burn button. Be sure to use a standard DVD-R blank, not an RW and not +R media.

    Check the old HDD for any stray/missing foil tape, cloth tape, or foam cushion pads. Whatever crap Pioneer had on the original HDD (or DVD) drives needs to be transferred over to the replacement drives. You would be amazed how ridiculously fussy these machines are about this crap: one little piece of foil tape missing from a particular spot can cause major malfunctions and/or error messages. Make sure the HDD power wires are secured by the hooks on the motherboard, and the data ribbon is secure on each end.

    Remove the replacement HDD and wipe it *to death* in a PC, using a full-feature Windows utility or better yet a Linux boot CD. The older Pioneers are sometimes sensitive to "used" HDDs that had pre-existing Windows formatting or console formatting, even after standard erasing. You need to wipe every last trace of any previous file system from the HDD by zeroing it all to hell. I've had a few "re-purposed" HDDs that would not take in a Pioneer no matter what wiping I tried: they're THAT effing sensitive. Sounds like voodoo, and it is for all practical purposes. These Pioneers (and related Sonys) can be hell to work on (be very grateful you don't have the successor 530 model: you'd end up beating yourself unconscious with it in a fit of frustration).

    Redo the annoying CPRM<>HDD process per the following checklist, which always works for me. The instructions on Pioneerfaq are accurate but the English translation is slightly fuzzy on some points:

    Turn unit on, switch to HDD mode.

    Service Remote: Press ESC then Stereo

    Enter the nine-digit CPRM code from the rear panel barcode label

    Service Remote: Press Stop (this is the black square with word EJECT, second button from left in top row)

    Service Remote: Press ESC then Stereo (again)

    Enter the code from the label (again)

    Service Remote: Press Search

    When prompted, load the GGV-1256 Service I.D. Data DVD

    ROM Write OK! should appear within 15 secs, if it takes more than 30 secs your DVD drive is dying and/or not reading it correctly (causes major problems with no error indication).

    Service Remote: Press Clear

    Remove the Service dvd but DON'T close the tray (this is a crucial bit of info not mentioned at Pioneerfaq: if you manually close the tray, it can munge the install).

    Turn unit off, tray closes automatically

    Turn unit back on, all should be normal EXCEPT if the new HDD is wiped: in that case the front panel and/or the TV may display something like "need to initialize HDD." Using the normal remote, go into the Home Menu>Setup>Disc Setup where you will see a new option to "Initialize HDD" (this ONLY appears when you put in a wiped HDD). Click on this option and allow the unit to initialize: this formats the new HDD with the Pioneer video file system. Takes just a minute or so, when it finishes the recorder will be ready to use (when you press the Navigator button it will tell you how many hours capacity you have on the new empty HDD).

    If you were having trouble with an HDD that previously worked 100% and already has Pioneer formatting and recordings on it, and redo the CPRM process just to clear an error or malfunction, you won't get the "initialize HDD" display and that option will not appear in the Home Menu>Setup screen. The HDD should just work normally afterward, with motion thumbnails and audio in the Navigator screen as well as normal playback on the TV.

    Finally, when the time comes to replace the burner, see my burner replacement guide in this VideoHelp thread. The only difference between the DVR-531 discussed there and your DVR-720 is the 720 needs a DVR-107 or DVR-A07 burner (instead of the later DVR-109). Of course finding one of these still in like-new condition is nearly impossible, but used ones harvested from old PCs or Macs might work just long enough to salvage videos from your HDD. Given the extensive disassembly required to swap the controller boards and the hassle of locating a suitable replacement burner, I wouldn't bother unless theres priceless video you need to get off the HDD. If you don't have anything important on your HDD when the burner dies, sell your 720 for scrap on eBay. These 520/720 recorders are five or six years past their expiration date now: they were not designed to last 20 years like the old VCRs.
    Last edited by orsetto; 23rd Aug 2014 at 05:27.
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  18. Member
    Join Date: Aug 2014
    Location: Wales UK
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    Thanks that's brilliant advice. It may be the fact that the HDD is a used one. But why does it record and playback BUT without signal output to monitor? That suggests a Pioneer modal thing rather than HDD.

    I guess there'll be peace in the Middle East before I crack this - I'm no engineer but I love a challenge!!

    In the meantime - Plan B just found a second hand DVR 720 and going to pick it up tomorrow - lightweight? Me? Maybe but life is too short

    I will attack this again and feedback later. cheers Chris


    Originally Posted by orsetto View Post
    Originally Posted by peranaman View Post
    The hard drive is installed, it's working, it records, it stores data, it plays back to copy to DVD disc - it just won't display any video or give sound. No error messages.

    Either a hard drive works or it doesn't/ That leads me to conclude there may be another issue that's manifested during the whole miserable process.
    I've replaced the HDD on more Pioneers than I can count over the past ten years: not once have I seen the HDD behavior you are describing, that is completely bizarro-world. In my experience with the Pioneers, there is no grey area: if the install went 100% perfect with no error messages, the HDD features work 100%. If the HDD features exhibit any functional issues, there is always an error display of some kind.

    I can only make a semi-educated guess without your particular unit in front of me. My gut instinct would be A) you didn't burn the Service DVD correctly, or B) you goofed up the install procedure in some subtle way (very easy to do), or C) you did the install properly but in the process something else went wonky that is not obvious. If C), you'll need to download the Pioneer service manual and have a go at analyzing the many cryptic service info screens. This is no picnic, even for the dedicated: Pioneer provides the most convoluted opaque troubleshooting instructions imaginable, and the "generic clone" service remote you have is a royal PITA to use (I have the same knockoff).

    Here are some things you can try:

    Re-burn the service disc if you made it using Windows Explorer. And/or, if you did not get this disc image via Pioneerfaq, contact Pioneerfaq and get theirs (random torrents of these service discs are notoriously faulty). The disc image needs to be burned with the free ImgBurn utility (if you don't have it, download the older version 2.5.6.0 from this VideoHelp link). Within ImgBurn EZ Mode Picker, select "Burn Image File To Disc", navigate to where the downloaded disc image is on your PC, and press the burn button.

    Check the old HDD for any stray/missing foil tape, cloth tape, or foam cushion pads. Whatever crap Pioneer had on the original HDD (or DVD) drives needs to be transferred over to the replacement drives. You would be amazed how ridiculously fussy these machines are about this crap: one little piece of foil tape missing from a particular spot can cause major malfunctions and/or error messages. Make sure the HDD power wires are secured by the hooks on the motherboard, and the data ribbon is secure on each end.

    Remove the replacement HDD and wipe it *to death* in a PC, using a full-feature Windows utility or better yet a Linux boot CD. The older Pioneers are sometimes sensitive to "used" HDDs that had pre-existing Windows formatting or console formatting, even after standard erasing. You need to wipe every last trace of any previous file system from the HDD by zeroing it all to hell. I've had a few "re-purposed" HDDs that would not take in a Pioneer no matter what wiping I tried: they're THAT effing sensitive. Sounds like voodoo, and it is for all practical purposes. These Pioneers (and related Sonys) are beasts to work on (be very grateful you don't have the successor 530 model: you'd end up beating yourself unconscious with it in a fit of frustration).

    Redo the annoying CPRM<>HDD process per the following checklist, which always works for me. The instructions on Pioneerfaq are accurate but the English translation is slightly fuzzy on some points:

    Turn unit on, switch to HDD mode.

    Service Remote: Press ESC then Stereo

    Enter the nine-digit CPRM code from the rear panel barcode label

    Service Remote: Press Stop (this is the black square with word EJECT, second button from left in top row)

    Service Remote: Press ESC then Stereo (again)

    Enter the code from the label (again)

    Service Remote: Press Search

    Load the GGV-1256 Service DVD

    ROM Write OK! should appear within 15 secs, if it takes more than 30 secs your DVD drive is dying and/or not reading it correctly (causes major problems with no error indication).

    Service Remote: Press Clear

    Remove the Service dvd but DON'T close the tray (this is a crucial bit of info not mentioned at Pioneerfaq: if you manually close the tray, it can munge the install).

    Turn unit off, tray closes automatically

    Turn unit back on, all should be normal EXCEPT if the new HDD is wiped: in that case the front panel and/or the TV may display something like "need to initialize HDD." Using the normal remote, go into the Home Menu>Setup>Disc Setup where you will see a new option to "Initialize HDD" (this ONLY appears when you put in a wiped HDD). Click on this option and allow the unit to initialize: this formats the new HDD with the Pioneer video file system. Takes just a minute or so, when it finishes the recorder will be ready to use (when you press the Navigator button it will tell you how many hours capacity you have on the new empty HDD).

    If you were having trouble with an HDD that previously worked 100% and already has Pioneer formatting and recordings on it, you won't get the "initialize HDD" display and that option will not appear in the Home Menu>Setup screen. The HDD should just work normally, with motion thumbnails and audio in the Navigator screen as well as normal playback on the TV.

    Finally, when the time comes to replace the burner, see my burner replacement guide in this VideoHelp thread. The only difference between the DVR-531 discussed there and your DVR-720 is the 720 needs a DVR-107 or DVR-A07 burner (instead of the later DVR-109). Of course finding one of these still in like-new condition is nearly impossible, but used ones harvested from old PCs or Macs might work just long enough to salvage videos from your HDD. Given the extensive disassembly required to swap the controller boards and the hassle of locating a suitable replacement burner, I wouldn't bother unless theres priceless video you need to get off the HDD. If you don't have anything important on your HDD when the burner dies, sell your 720 for scrap on eBay. These 520/720 recorders are five or six years past their expiration date now: they were not designed to last 20 years like the old VCRs.
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  19. Member
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    The old HDD from the 720 had the 'death rattle' when the error message appeared. Seeing as it's not a big deal I may well re-install it again and go through the process - sucker for punishment me.


    .[/QUOTE]



    If you were having trouble with an HDD that previously worked 100% and already has Pioneer formatting and recordings on it, and redo the CPRM process just to clear an error or malfunction, you won't get the "initialize HDD" display and that option will not appear in the Home Menu>Setup screen. The HDD should just work normally afterward, with motion thumbnails and audio in the Navigator screen as well as normal playback on the TV.

    .[/QUOTE]
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  20. Member
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    Update.

    Tried and tried to make the new HDD work in my old 720. Failed in as much as the drive records and copies to the DVD, but no preview available from anything on the HDD.

    So, I bought another 720 which is perfect !! 50 - Plus I'll use my old one for backup and emergencies.

    Dont really know whether the Data disc worked properly or not. May try another time with another version maybe the 1302?? no matter I'm sorted and thanks for the help everyone.
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