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  1. At some point the Pioneer 550 series had its firmware changed to lock out HDD upgrades larger than what they came with. Depending on your country and specific version of the 550 (and similar 2007 models), you may or may not be able to pull off a 500GB or 1TB upgrade like the one reported above (congratulations, Starcraftj, and thanks for the updated remote info!). So far, other than Starcraftj and a couple of Canadian members, I've not heard from anyone who easily upgraded their 550 HDD capacity (some owners of Asia Pacific models have managed it by complex HDD header hacks). It really depends on luck, which production run you bought from. It doesn't hurt the machine to try an HDD upgrade, just make sure to back up your original HDD before proceeding if you have any important recordings on it.

    The 2008 Pioneers (460,560, 660) and the Sony RDR-HX780 clone are ALL locked out of HDD capacity upgrades by their revised firmware. If you install a larger HDD in these models, the recorder will not "see" the full capacity and will simply format the larger drive to the size the recorder shipped with (160 or 250GB). A friend of mine in Canada discovered a very clever workaround, but it requires owning a 550 model that does allow larger drives: if you format a 500GB or 1TB drive in a 550, then move that drive to a 460-560-660 model, it will be recognized at full capacity. Evidentally the Pio models that allow larger drives embedd a flag of some kind that newer models will read as permission to use full capacity. It would be interesting to try this using a 2006 Pio 640: the 640 uses EIDE connection for its HDD, but perhaps an EIDE to SATA adapter would allow temporary installation of a large SATA drive so it could be formatted in the 640 and moved to a 550 or 560?

    I think 2 TB is probably beyond the hard-wired ability of the recorder OS to handle, which is why it failed for Starcraftj: 1 TB is probably the outside limit of what you can get away with. All Pioneers since 2003 have had a 999 entry limit in their file systems, which includes chapters, edit points and thumbnails. Its possible the file system "knows" it couldn't possibly manage a 2TB drive so rejects it after formatting. Even 1 TB is really pushing the limits: I would advise sticking to below 1 TB if you can still source a good 500 or 750 HDD instead.
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  2. The TV Guide function still works here in the USA. I live in NC and have Suddenlink cable. They still provide the TV guide signal. My 531 picks it up and uses it.

    We have two 531's and a 533 that is a spare.

    My friend has a 531 and I am having some trouble with it. Had previously replaced the 80gb HD with a 250gb. Worked ok for a while. Then he started having problems. Formatted and put the TVG back on it. Worked ok but then he says when it gets over half full he was having problems. I put the original 80gb drive back in it. Worked for about a month. Now it comes up with HDD ERROR.

    It says "Power on" then after that "HDD ERROR".

    I tried the service remote. If you do it quickly you can bring the service menu up, but then it locks up. If you wait it won't come up at all. I formatted and reloaded the drive. Same result. I tried another drive. Same result. Any ideas what is causing it to lock up?

    Thanks,

    MC
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  3. I've been servicing Pioneers for five years, and last year decided to give up bothering with the 531-533-633. You are fortunate to be living in a fantasy region where analog TVGOS signal is still available and three out of four TVGOS Pioneers still work: if you have a deity, thank it. Seriously. That is a very, very unusual experience. What you've reported of your repair attempts is typical of what I've found in my own work with these units: endless frustration and wasted time. I'd rather spend my energies repairing recorders I know will stay repaired, so I now avoid the 531-533-633 altogether.

    There is a lot of misinformation out there regarding the North American 2005 TVGOS models. Much of the repair info and tips online are based off the similar but not identical European and Asian 530 series. The European/Asian versions are repairable, the American 531-533-633 are not. A handful of people have pulled off an HDD replacement but their success was based on pure luck rather than any particular techniques. It is now largely forgotten that Pioneer rushed into bed with Sony in 2006 mainly so they could quickly get a new recorder, any new recorder, on the market quickly enough to swap out as warranty replacements for the tidal wave of American 531-533-633 units that were flooding Pioneer service centers. They needed a new recorder to swap out because not even Pioneer techs could guarantee repairs on a 531-533-633 would last more than a few weeks. The engineering on the TVGOS machines was so sloppy, and production details changed so often, that its impossible to repair them with any consistency. Once the original HDD dies, the unit is a doorstop.

    If you have a LOT of time on your hands to tinker, and a backup recorder to actually use, then sure: play around endlessly swapping HDDs between your dead TVGOS Pioneer and your PC, reformatting and reinstalling TVGOS. But the odds are vanishly small you can resurrect it for long-term use. When the original HDD dies, it usually corrupts something on the motherboard connection that conflicts with any replacement HDD forever after, and this is not fixable. There are dozens of variations to the Pio TVGOS "firmware": the captured firmware download found at several Pio fan sites may or may not be any use in your own recorder. If you can't give up TVGOS and you're sure it will be available in your TV market for another couple years, its much better to pick up a second hand Panasonic EH-55 instead of wasting time trying to repair a Pio. The EH-55 is universally acknowledged as the single most bulletproof TVGOS-equipped DVD/HDD recorder ever made, light years more reliable than a Pio 533. If you don't especially need TVGOS, the new Magnavox MDR513H is a superb recorder at a great price, or you could look into a later Pioneer without TVGOS like the 540, 640, 450-550-650 or 460-560-660.
    Last edited by orsetto; 5th Aug 2010 at 12:49.
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  4. Orsetto, thanks for your feedback. I guess I should consider myself lucky then. Been using 2 of the recorders consistently for years. Record programs on them daily using TGOS. I guess on my friends 531 something went bad on the mother board. I will advise him.

    Thanks again,

    MC
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  5. All,

    I have a Pioneer LX-60 here which *starts* to die. It stops randomly, and the HDD (250 GB Seacrate DB35.3 model) gets hot, and it's noisy anyway.

    Now, HOW do I change the drive ?

    I could not find much info on this DVR model on the web, seems it's a bit exotic. I bought it used, last yr on ebay.

    I believe I need GGV1321 (???), a service remote and a wiped / blank SATA HDD.

    My plan is to replace the noisy one with a 2.5"- model and replace the fan with a quiter one.
    The last is easy, replacing the HDD obviously .... not.

    Many thanks !

    Durango2k
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  6. The LX-60 was an expensive variation of the standard 560/660 with a nicer-looking cabinet and additional tuners for every imaginable European signal system. Great if you lived in Europe and had access to terrestrial and satellite DTV services, utterly useless if you live in North America. Of course if you can get it at a good price, it works as well as a 560 or 660 in North America as long as you stick to its line inputs and don't need a tuner.

    Yes, to change the HDD you will need the 1321 service disc and some type of service remote. Step-by-step instructions for changing the HDD can be found at this website (use the instructions for the 530, 543, or 550: its all the same). You can also email the site for info on how to download a an image of the 1321 disc, if you offer a small PayPal donation to defray costs ( buying the actual GGV1321 disc from Pioneer, if it was still available, would cost upwards of $60). The service remote is the more difficult item to obtain- the genuine GGF1381 is unavailable and cost over $80 from Pioneer when it was. Here are some alternative remotes:

    1. Try to get a Sony J-6090-203-A service remote from a Sony Parts distributer. Sony made cheaper knock-offs of a few Pioneer models, so they had to come up with a Sony-branded service remote for their repair centers. The Sony remote costs under $40 but may not be easy to find since Sony now has all its current recorders made by Samsung.

    2. Buy the same hard-coded generic "clone" of the service remote that I bought for myself as a backup. Available for $51.95 from here. I have heard scattered reports of credit card problems with this vendor, don't know how true they are and I had no issues at all. If you want to play extra-safe use one of the pre-loaded disposable Visa cards you can buy in a drugstore. Again, I think the company is fine, they've been in business forever and were recommended to me by a service tech.

    3. Explore the options referenced in this thread, particularly option 3 in mjdave's post (track down an older one-4-all universal remote that can accept the Pio service codes text he listed as entries on its keypad).

    I would not recommend using a 2.5" drive in a Pioneer recorder, it might work but laptop drives are usually not up to the task of DVR use. A 2.5" would also require futzing with additional adapters and mounts, something you want to avoid because the SATA connection is flakey to begin with- the less you mess with it the better. Also, be aware that the LX-60 may not allow formatting a replacement drive to larger capacity than the original 250GB it came with. Due to motherboard hardware restrictions, you might find your replacement 500, 750 or 1TB hdd gets formatted to only 250GB. Its difficult or impossible to get around this restriction unless you can master the complex UNIX tricks described in some earlier posts to this thread. I'd recommend going with a good, reasonably-priced 500GB 3.5" replacement HDD so you won't be disappointed too much.
    Last edited by orsetto; 19th Aug 2010 at 13:17.
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    Just upgraded my DVR-531H with a 320GB HDD - it works great, with TV Guide working just fine (most cable carriers still deliver analog signals as part of their "basic" package, and the TV Guide signal is incorporated into that, so claims that TV Guide is gone are not accurate).

    Many thanks to precise info at pioneerfaq.info.

    The only snag I ran into was that the CCF code I loaded into my Philips Pronto did not have a working "9" button. I needed to have that number, but I was able to find another CCF code (for the ENTIRE Pioneer service remote).

    One added advantage to the HDD upgrade is that the new drive is super quiet, unlike the unit's original 80GB HDD. No more "chattering" while it's in EPG mode. This suggests that Pioneer was using cheapo hard drives, which probably explains why HDD failure was common.

    Also, the Pioneer Service DVD is available in a complete image as a torrent. Simply search for "pioneer_service.nrg". If you don't have NERO, then download a virtual drive program like Daemon Tools that can mount nrg images, and then burn a copy.
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  8. Originally Posted by jamaroney View Post
    Just upgraded my DVR-531H with a 320GB HDD - it works great, with TV Guide working just fine (most cable carriers still deliver analog signals as part of their "basic" package, and the TV Guide signal is incorporated into that, so claims that TV Guide is gone are not accurate).
    Congrats on your successful Pio 531 repair! Yours is the first I've heard of since 2007: guess you're the exception that proves the rule. But TVGOS itself is dead, gone, joined the choir invisible: the fact that a hardy band of insistent devotees in a handful of communities (that bizarrely still provide the analog signal) manage to use TVGOS in late 2010 has no bearing on the larger picture. "Most cable carriers" are not still offering an analog signal, they have closely followed ComCast's forced migration of its analog basic subscribers to a required "free" digital decoder pod over the past year, and they like the results. Perhaps if you live in a community with cable franchise wars, or a smaller population, you'll get analog over the wire for another couple years. But the die is cast: basic cable is going digital with a required box, free or otherwise, and that box is not carrying TVGOS along for the ride.

    One added advantage to the HDD upgrade is that the new drive is super quiet, unlike the unit's original 80GB HDD. No more "chattering" while it's in EPG mode. This suggests that Pioneer was using cheapo hard drives, which probably explains why HDD failure was common.
    No, just that HDDs were louder in 2005 than they are now. Your Pioneer TVGOS is still merrily grinding your new 320GB drive into dust, you just can't hear it now.

    Also, the Pioneer Service DVD is available in a complete image as a torrent. Simply search for "pioneer_service.nrg". If you don't have NERO, then download a virtual drive program like Daemon Tools that can mount nrg images, and then burn a copy.
    Be careful with these generic downloads of the Pio service disc: there were a dozen different discs produced from 2003-2008, and they were not universally compatible with every Pioneer recorder. The most common service disc floating around the torrents, the 1179, is so old it has mold on it. The 1256 is improved and more reliable, if you have a pre-2006 Pioneer look for that one, which is compatible with the 510, 5100, 520, 720, 920, 530, 531, 533, 630, and 633. If you have a later Pioneer with DVD-RAM multi-drive burner, you cannot use the 1179 or 1256 service discs. The Pioneer 540, 543, 640, 450, 550, 650, 460, 560, 660 and LX series require a "Type 2" service disc, the last of which was the "1321 Type 2". Rather than troll generic torrent sites, I'd recommend emailing Hkan at pioneerfaq for directions to a reliable download source for the correct disc your recorder model needs.
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    Comcast simultaneously broadcasts in analog on lower channels 2-25 (? - not sure about the high number) in addition to digital (all channels). I know this because my mother (who lives in another state) has Comcast. And along with the analog signal is the TV Guide signal. So, to reiterate, claims that TV Guide is dead are inaccurate. Hobbled and very limited to be sure, but there and still effective if, like my mother, you primarily want to record network TV (rather than exclusively cable channels), and are willing to hook up your analog HDD/DVD recorder straight from the cable, bypassing the digital box that is required to watch anything else.

    The original HDD on the 531 is definitely a cheapo. I work on a LOT of computers, many of which had hard drives dating before the 2004-2005 models that Pioneer used, and none is as noisy as the 531's OEM drive (which, when I replaced it, was still working just fine, despite the chatter - I upgraded simply because I acquired several 320GB HDDs for free and had no other use for them). The 320GB upgrade is SO quiet as to be almost inaudible, to the point where I actually turned on my unit several times to check the TV Guide listings to make sure it was actually working (getting updated listings). And a well-made HDD will last for many years, esp. under the minimal demands that the 531's TV Guide software places on the drive, which pales in comparison to the use of an HDD in an average computer.

    I do not know how one can claim that the torrent download for the service disc is "generic" - no one has "duplicated" the software. The torrent I downloaded was the earliest service disc (1179), but that's what was prescribed for my unit. Some newer versions of the disc will also work, but they offer no improvements for my unit - they just cover a wider range of machines. I apologize that my earlier post wasn't more specific: the torrent I downloaded is good for only a limited number of Pioneer machines, but for those units, it works just fine.
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  10. jamaroney, when I debate you on these points its not just to be a disagreeable crank . I agree, on a limited basis, depending on your specific sample of Pioneer 531-533-633 and your specific location and cable franchise, you can indeed effect a successful HDD transplant and still receive TVGOS updates. My aim in disputing you is to prevent disappointment to the majority of random readers of this type of post, who to this day are being encouraged to throw money and effort at repairing their deteriorating TVGOS machines in the mistaken belief that because one or two insanely lucky people pulled it off then "anybody" can do it. This ends up being a misguided and costly road for most who follow it. I have been servicing these machines since 2005, for myself and others, and I hear from Pioneer/TVGOS enthusiasts and service techs from all over the country. The statistics do not indicate a positive trend, for the machines themselves or analog TVGOS. (Note these caveats apply only to the 531-533-633: all other Pioneer models have easily replaced HDDs).

    Originally Posted by jamaroney View Post
    Comcast simultaneously broadcasts in analog on lower channels 2-25 (? - not sure about the high number) in addition to digital (all channels). (...) if, like my mother, you primarily want to record network TV (rather than exclusively cable channels), and are willing to hook up your analog HDD/DVD recorder straight from the cable, bypassing the digital box that is required to watch anything else.
    Again, it depends on your cable franchise, your sepcific local broadcast stations, and the specific hookup to your neighborhood, block, or individual home. ComCast and other providers have been aggressively killing off analog service, especially with new installations to residences with no existing wiring. Over the last couple years, the actual analog TVGOS system has been virtually abandoned by its corporate owner: they themselves don't make any attempt to encourage or assist deployment of the signal (the company has returned its focus completely to its core copy protection/DRM business). Your ability or inability to receive an analog TVGOS signal is dependent on two entwined issues: you must have at least one local broadcast station that still bothers having a tech monitor and add the TVGOS data feed to its ATSC output, and your specific cable provider must go to the effort and expense of stripping that digital TVGOS encode and convert it back to analog (as well as provide some sort of analog feed over the cable wire that your "ancient" analog-tuner recorder can decode). Thats a lot of "ifs". And as you've suggested, people like your mother are a tiny minority of cable users: most, even "mothers", want to view LifeTime, Bravo, AMC, TV Land, etc. Really the only people out there who still tolerate "local-broadcast-channel-only" service are those who get a "free "signal over an old existing wire with no subscription, or have some ultra-cheap shared basic subscription in their apt building or nursing home. While its true you can screw around with a complex hookup involving bare wire for the TVGOS signal and digital decoder for the cable channels, it isn't easy to use and most "mothers" would disown their children after trying it for a week. Finally, all analog cable service is dead nationwide within two-three years: thats a promise from the cablecos. If you still have TVGOS service now, enjoy it while it lasts, but think about what you'll do when its gone because it is going for sure.

    The 320GB upgrade is SO quiet as to be almost inaudible, to the point where I actually turned on my unit several times to check the TV Guide listings to make sure it was actually working (getting updated listings). And a well-made HDD will last for many years, esp. under the minimal demands that the 531's TV Guide software places on the drive, which pales in comparison to the use of an HDD in an average computer.
    Like many computer-oriented recorder owners, you make the understandable assumption "HDD is HDD" and that the demands on a recorder hard drive are "minimal" compared to a PC. But this isn't entirely true: you forget the modern PC is constantly error-correcting and mapping out bad sectors, while TVGOS-based DVD/HDD recorders have minimalistic and "dumb" operating systems that churn their HDDs into the ground with no safety net. Corruption that would be a mere cough to a PC is enough to kill TVGOS and/or the HDD in a Pioneer 533. Will your modern 320GB drive hold up better than the original 80GB? Of course, HDD technology improves tremendously year to year. But you still have a 50/50 chance of a nasty failure, and you're still stupendously fortunate that your transplant worked at all. 70% of all 531-533-633 HDD transplants fail, this is the number one reason Pioneer yanked these units off the market within a year and made a co-production deal with Sony to create a completely new-from-the-ground-up chassis. Pioneer themselves could not successfully do these transplants once they ran out of spare preformatted TVGOS HDDs, which occurred very quickly in the product life cycle. And no, it wasn't due to crappy original HDDs: the 80GB drive in my own 531 is relatively quiet and has lasted five years without a hiccup. Of course, I suppressed the TVGOS immediately after purchase and have used manual timer settings since day one, that extended the units life tremendously.

    I cannot argue with someone loving TVGOS to pieces, thats a personal preference. But the Pioneer 531-533-633 have a terrible durability/repair history- before throwing money and time into parts and repairs that probably won't work, consider looking for a Panasonic EH-50 or EH55 on CraigsList. The Panasonics have bulletproof TVGOS that does not get corrupted, because the OS is on a firmware chip instead of the HDD. It is FAR easier to replace the HDD in a Panasonic than it is in a Pioneer with TVGOS (for one thing, you won't need a service disc, service remote, TVGOS software, and a Linux PC to install it). I don't especially like Panasonics, I prefer the variable recording speed setup of the Pioneers, but if TVGOS is your priority Panasonic is the only worthwhile option. Other than jamaroney here, over five years I've only heard of perhaps a half-dozen successful 531-533-633 HDD repairs using the methods outlined at pioneerfaq. That is not the fault of the instructions on pioneerfaq, kudos to them for reverse-engineering the thing better than Pioneer could, its just a problematic design. The only method I've heard of that reliably and easily works to replace a Pioneer TVGOS HDD is to clone one while it is still functioning perfectly. This requires a specific cloning software, Fedora, used in bit-by-bit copy mode. The cloned drive will format to the original Pioneer 80GB or 160GB capacity even if the new drive is 500GB or more. If done in advance, the cloned drive can be swapped right in upon failure of the original HDD. Unfortunately once the HDD is already funky, the cloning option is off the table.

    The torrent I downloaded was the earliest service disc (1179), but that's what was prescribed for my unit. Some newer versions of the disc will also work, but they offer no improvements for my unit - they just cover a wider range of machines.
    I warned about the torrent service discs because many many members here got screwed by defective downloads of the 1179 disc image. While the 1179 is compatible with the TVGOS Pioneers, the 1256 is preferable as it has some tweaks that take the TVGOS issues into account (the 1179 is for the earlier non-TVGOS 510 and 520 models). The updated 1256 service disc is a better overall disc for the 510, 520, and 531-533-633.
    Last edited by orsetto; 16th Sep 2010 at 13:46.
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  11. The DVR- 550, unlike many newer models, WILL format a hard disk larger than the drive it came with! (This might work for the 650 as well). So the procedure for putting a larger (1TB) hard disk in the -550 is straight-forward.

    To use a larger hard disk in a different model, you need to first prep the hard disk on the -550. Then you simply take that hard disk and put it in the other machine, for example, a -660. You then re-do the CPRM ID # and, and the -660 will then recognize the disk without asking you to format it again! Thus, you keep the 1TB formatting that the -550 did.
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    Originally Posted by orsetto View Post
    Here are some alternative remotes:

    1. Try to get a Sony J-6090-203-A service remote from a Sony Parts distributer. Sony made cheaper knock-offs of a few Pioneer models, so they had to come up with a Sony-branded service remote for their repair centers. The Sony remote costs under $40 but may not be easy to find since Sony now has all its current recorders made by Samsung.
    This was a great tip (which you also mentioned to me via PM), and as a happy coincidence far cheaper than the original Pio Service Remote would have been, back when they were semi-available. Thanks. This Sony piece was out of stock for a bit with that vendor, but they got more and I've ordered one. Now I will just need to dig out my "cheat sheet" reference to the commands. I'd then like to test it out with some harmless command(s) that would confirm it is working. (We discussed that once before in some earlier thread, but my VH keyword searches have not zeroed in on that yet. Maybe I should have searched re the unreliable "hours of use on the burner" report, since that was very likely something we were discussing as part of the same posts.)

    Also, I recall there was some issue of not pressing certain keys fast enough in the right sequence, back when I tried this with that el-cheapo learning remote. The result then was some response, but not the full or unequivocal one I was looking for.
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    My Pioneer DVR-520H turns itself off and on at random!! Most frustrating.. It feels like there's an obscure setting somewhere telling it to do this but how would you find out? Had it back to the shop who charged me and siad "there's nothing wrong with it". Worked OK for a while then started doing it again? Any suggestions as to where to start (can't afford to whip out and buy another one).
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  14. It isn't a setting, it's old age- these recorders all start to crap out around the four year mark, and the 520 is now nearly seven years old: most 520s have already died or been serviced at least once. The 520 has known issues with its power supply failing, which causes the symptoms you describe: its odd your service shop claimed nothing was wrong with it (they may have never opened it to check, just plugged it in to see if it stayed on). Usually the failure is traced to a capacitor, but sometimes a resistor or other part is involved. The repair is fairly simple, but most shops can't be bothered doing actual soldering of parts: they like to just replace entire circuit boards because its easier and they can charge more. With the 520 long out of production, new replacement boards are not available. You need to find a repair shop that's willing to perform "board level repairs", i.e. desoldering and replacing capacitors. It might help if you print out the repair instructions available here at the pioneerfaq website, and bring them to the technician: these suggestions apply (more or less) to all Pioneer recorders made prior to 2006. Good luck!
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    I need a service DVD GGV1273 or GGV1305 for Pioneer DVR-540H-S. Can everybody help me???
    Thanks.
    Martin
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    Hi Orsetto, have been a fan of this thread for a long time. Having followed them all through the years. Going back a little bit model wise. But two basic questions. 1, I've read lots of people having managed to reuse an existing previously formatted and then blanked HDD with the pioneer models. I'm working on a 440HxPresently. I've always used virgin clean HDD's previously. I've just tried a used and "Darik Nuked Dbanned" HDD and failed. Even though my process is otherwise identical to previous sucessfull upgrades. Any clues as few people seem to admit to failing when RE-USING HDD's.
    Ques 2, With your extensive knowledge accumulated these days. Do you have any circuit diags of other details on the PSU boards common in the 440, 540,545 Series DVR's? I did get part way through decoding one myself. But it got sidelined, till I find I could use it presently. Shorting out those PSU Heatsinks seems to be a favourite of mine!!!...........will I ever learn!!!!.....Doh.........Cheers in advance. Cloudrider UK
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  17. Hi CloudRider,

    Sorry you're having trouble recycling an HDD for use in your Pio 440HX. I'm not sure what I can advise to make it work, aside from downloading a Linux OS CD and booting your PC into Linux, then using the Linux tools to completely erase all HDD partitions. Its been awhile since I last recycled an HDD this way, so I don't remember whether I used Linux. or connected the HDD to a Mac OSX computer and reformatted using Disk Utility, or used the MS Windows Administrator tools to kill all the hidden partitions. Many ways to skin this cat, just need to keep trying until it works.

    Regarding the schematic, try sending a note to Hakan who runs the excellent Swedish PioneerFaq website, he is very helpful and knowledgable and may be able to hook you up with a 440HX-specific service manual: supportATpioneerfaqDOTinfo. The 440HX seems to be the UK/PAL version of the North American 540 or 543 models of that same 2006 series, so I imagine the power supply design is similar aside from voltage. And yes, I have to admit I too once killed a 540 by accidentally shorting the heatsink when replacing the HDD (moral: having performed a task many times before doesn't mean you won't screw it up this time).
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    Many thanks Orsetto, as always your contributions to the cause are highly appreciated. I will do exactly that. Glad to know I'm not entirely alone on the heat sink front!.....LOL In your example did it take out one of the transistors on the VWV2232 Connector assy?
    I've lost almost all of the display functions doing this (twice now) on seperate recorders. Except for the orange DVD active LED. Damn silly of me obviously, took a while to tie it down partially to the VWV2232 pcb damage. Over here in the UK the 440, 540 & 545 models all share semingly Identical PSU's. So I've set about following the failure chain and all it's Implications for attached components ie the Sound playback goes also...... But that's another story for next time!.....LOL. Many Thanks again I'll post you guys what I discover. But I imagine most people here have by now upgraded to lovely HD models
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  19. Hi,

    my LX-60D now has finally DIED.

    It stops randomly, you cannot always play a DVD cause it hangs so much, and worst of all it does not Power off- it simply hangs there, after a while it slows the fan, that's it.

    The trouble began when it randomly stopped recording or playback, the disc got noisy and busy, and then the unit hang. A few times a re-format helped but not often.

    Now, I wrote HKan a mail, hopefully he'll respond. I guess I still need a GGV1321 disc, some kind of service remote, and then a bit of luck.

    .... the story continues !

    Carsten, still not willing to give up this expensive unit.
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    Hi Durango2K, when you say the unit doesn't power off. Have you tried a "Hard OFF" Like a kaptop where you hold in the ON switch for something like 10 seconds until it powers down? Also when you say the 'disc got noisy' do you mean the DVD or the HDD?

    While I'm here, many thanks again to HaKan. With the PSU Schematic ( and an updated adobe Reader!!! ) I finally got to see the PSU circuit and fix the +12v Rail, which powers amongst other things the Display. By changing the SMD Fuse. I'm still working on the other unit which has been reworked prior to my ownership, and failed along the +12v rail so dramatically it blew Q402 on the PSU apart!!!! Taking something on the Main A board with it. Leaving a mere 8 ohms to ground on the Rail!!!!...more to follow.
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  21. Durango2K, sorry to hear your LX-60 seems to be giving up.

    Contact Hakan at supportDOTpioneerfaqDOTinfo and ask him for help with downloading a service disc.

    The Sony/Pioneer service remote is back in stock at this American seller, I don't know if they ship internationally but you could ask them: http://www.replacementremotes.com/SONY/Buy-J-6090-203-A-J6090203A-Master-J6090203A-DVD...e-Control.html

    Instructions for using the service tools to replace a bad HDD are here: http://www.pioneerfaq.info/english/replace_HD.php?player=Replacing-HD&model=DVR-550&question=Part2
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  22. Member
    Join Date
    Jun 2011
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    Indiana,US
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    Hi. Just joined here. I've got a Pioneer DVR-531h recorder that now is refusing to record to DVD-RW's. It will not show it as a recordable disc. I've blown out the unit and inside the DVD unit with compressed air to no avail. My question is is the DVD unit replaceable? Doing that I'd probably also want to upgrade the HDD unit as well but not sure I'm up to that as it appears to be quite difficult. I was wanting to buy a new unit but am completely surprised at the total lack of new units available. Most will say go to the Mag 515 but it doesn't have the IR blaster and not sure it can do DL discs. So I guess I'm going to have to fix and poss upgrade my current unit as I don't see any other options, unless that is there's a computer setup that would work that's similar. I know that seems to be the wave of the future. Any and all comments MUCH appreciated! I just don't know which way to turn.
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  23. There really aren't very many options for you. The Pioneer 531 is just horror show to work on, I have repaired six or seven over the years and can only suggest you do not try it- its that difficult. The Achilles Heel is the feature you love most: the IR blaster with TVGOS. The blaster is fine, but the TVGOS timer software that operates it had atrociously poor engineering implementation in the Pioneer 531, 533 and 633. All other TVGOS recorders like Sony, Toshiba and Panasonic used a hardware-based TVGOS, Pioneer made the deadly decision to store TVGOS entirely on the HDD. Going from bad to worse, there are multiple versions of the TVGOS software, none are compatible with all models, and even within just 531 production there were several variations. Even if you could master the mind-numbing task of formatting a new Pioneer TVGOS hard drive, getting the right TVGOS software is needle-in-a-haystack: if you get the wrong one, the recorder won't work- period. All of this assumes you want to upgrade to a larger HDD and use the full capacity- if all you want to do is make a backup HDD in case your original fails, its a bit easier. You can use a bit-for-bit cloning application (like Fedora) to make an exact copy of your existing Pioneer HDD, including TVGOS, fairly easily. Unfortunately you will not get full capacity on the clone drive: it will format as 80GB no matter if its 160GB, 500GB or whatever. You'd need to remove your 531 HDD and connect it to a PC running a clone program that can recognize the proprietary Linux format Pioneer uses, again Fedora has been proven to work and I'm sure there are others. The 531 will usually allow you to remove and put back the original HDD with no issues. Installing the clone would require the Pioneer/Sony service remote and service disc, the disc is available from Pioneer user groups as a download while the Sony J-6090-203-A Service remote can be bought from several remote dealers for $30 approx.

    Replacing your dead burner is possible but not easy. You'd need to find a new old stock or good used Pioneer DVR-109 or DVR-A09 burner, these appear regularly on eBay and other sites for about $40. You need to swap the internal green controller board from your dead burner into the replacement, because the original controller board has custom chips and connections that trick your 531 into believing the new burner is really the old one. Complete instructions on how to do this can be found at my post https://forum.videohelp.com/threads/272258-Pioneer-DVR-520H-seeking-advice-for-DVR-107-...=1#post1931151. That thread covers the burner swap for the previous model Pioneer 520 recorder, but you follow the exact same procedure with any Pioneer. Unfortunately, the 531-533-633 can complicate matters because their motherboard is twitchier than earlier models: this burner swap trick works perfectly on the 510 and 520 but often fails on the 530 series. Most likely not worth your money and effort. Even Pioneer threw up its hands and gave up on warranty service for the 2005 TVGOS models: by the end of the year, they simply replaced broken 531s with the new 640 rather than try to fix the 531s. It goes without saying, the 640 and later models did not include the messy TVGOS system or the IR blaster.

    Because of the particular market years, all DVD/HDD recorders with IR blasters also had the TVGOS system, none were made after 2006. Of these discontinued recorders, the only ones with non-demonic TVGOS were the Panasonics (forget Sony and Toshiba- completely unrepairable burners). The 2006 Panasonic EH55 and EH75v were the most reliable, and have a rabid cult following that keeps second hand prices up over the $300 mark. The older EH50 is more common and can be had for as little as $70 if you're patient and stalk Craigs List (it will be much more on eBay). Note however Panasonics have finicky burners which need to be disassembled and carefully cleaned a couple times a year: they attract finger oils and dust like a magnet which results in dysfunctional disc drives. If you aren't up for this degree of maintainance, you may not want a Panasonic either. Sad to say, by the time DVD/HDD recorders became super-reliable all had dropped the IR blaster feature. The Magnavox models have a stellar burner reliability record- they're indestructible, but don't do DL and don't have an IR blaster. The final Pioneer models in the x50 and x60 series are also very reliable, but discontinued and sell used at even higher prices than the Panasonic EH55 (they also don't have blasters). Regarding DL discs, don't put all your eggs in that basket- they are declining in popularity, which has led to price wars, which has led to junkier quality. The only ones considered reasonably archival are the Verbatim +DL, but these are increasingly subcontracted to multiple OEM factories making it hard to get the best "batches". Long-term compatibility and durability of even the best recordable DL discs is still an open question.

    Your only practical alternative is to continue using your Pioneer 531 to control your cable box but add a new Magnavox to the mix, the Pioneer can feed it mirrored video via line connections. Or, buy a TiVO with lifetime subscription for a one-time fee of $599: TiVO can accept an internal cable card from your cable company that allows it to act as a cable box/PVR. TiVO can also network to your PC to offload videos and make DVDs. Or you can install home theater hardware and software to your computer, making it into a PVR (not the best solution for someone used to a standalone recorder, but doable).
    Last edited by orsetto; 28th Jun 2011 at 21:05.
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  24. Member
    Join Date
    Jun 2011
    Location
    Indiana,US
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    It really stinks that they discontinued making these. Must be a deal with the Cable operators or something. Guess I'll go with the Mag as it's the cheapest option. If I need to do DL I'll just combine two DVD's via the PC or something. I don't really know what I'll do. I like the sound of the Tivo option minus the ridiculous price.
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  25. Can anyone help please?

    I got a pronto tsu500 remote and the ggf1381 file will not download to the remote through the cable. It says it is the wrong file type. I tried ccf type file but it refuses it in Neoedit program.

    Am tearing my hair out here.
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  26. I gave up and brought the service remote from Amazon.
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  27. That's a new twist: I don't think anyone's managed to find a service remote on Amazon before! I just checked them, and the GGF1381 "clone" they're selling for $79 is the same one I picked up five years ago for roughly the same price. Back then, this overpriced generic knockoff was the only game in town, so we paid thru the nose for it. However, two years ago Sony began selling their own version of the GGF1381, because they were re-branding a couple of Pioneer models as Sonys. The Sony J6090203A remote is MUCH less expensive than the generic knockoffs, about $23 ($13 wholesale if you know a tech friend who can order Sony service parts directly). I bought one of the Sony service remotes from this dealer, just to keep as a backup. The dedicated Sony is much easier to use than the expensive generic (with its clumsy sliding cover and 50 tiny lookalike microscopically-labeled buttons).
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  28. Originally Posted by orsetto View Post
    That's a new twist: I don't think anyone's managed to find a service remote on Amazon before! I just checked them, and the GGF1381 "clone" they're selling for $79 is the same one I picked up five years ago for roughly the same price. Back then, this overpriced generic knockoff was the only game in town, so we paid thru the nose for it. However, two years ago Sony began selling their own version of the GGF1381, because they were re-branding a couple of Pioneer models as Sonys. The Sony J6090203A remote is MUCH less expensive than the generic knockoffs, about $23 ($13 wholesale if you know a tech friend who can order Sony service parts directly). I bought one of the Sony service remotes from this dealer, just to keep as a backup. The dedicated Sony is much easier to use than the expensive generic (with its clumsy sliding cover and 50 tiny lookalike microscopically-labeled buttons).
    It's only 9.99 plus post. It is only a copy. I can buy the original from AV UK LTD but its expensive at 124.

    http://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B005RORV4M/ref=ox_sc_act_title_1?ie=UTF8&m=A3UJE0QN5VZYHA
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  29. Originally Posted by Robbins1940 View Post
    It's only 9.99 plus post. It is only a copy. I can buy the original from AV UK LTD but its expensive at 124.

    http://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B005RORV4M/ref=ox_sc_act_title_1?ie=UTF8&m=A3UJE0QN5VZYHA
    OK, thats a much nicer price! I see that is Amazon UK, while I was checking Amazon USA which only came up with the $79 clone dealer. Didn't realize you were in Europe: your link for the 9.99 clone will be VERY helpful to European Pioneer owners seeking an affordable remote option (the inexpensive Sony is more difficult to find in Europe: odd since Sony/Pioneer sold many more DVD/HDD recorders in Europe than North America). Thanks for posting back with the direct link!
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  30. Originally Posted by orsetto View Post
    Originally Posted by Robbins1940 View Post
    It's only 9.99 plus post. It is only a copy. I can buy the original from AV UK LTD but its expensive at 124.

    http://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B005RORV4M/ref=ox_sc_act_title_1?ie=UTF8&m=A3UJE0QN5VZYHA
    OK, thats a much nicer price! I see that is Amazon UK, while I was checking Amazon USA which only came up with the $79 clone dealer. Didn't realize you were in Europe: your link for the 9.99 clone will be VERY helpful to European Pioneer owners seeking an affordable remote option (the inexpensive Sony is more difficult to find in Europe: odd since Sony/Pioneer sold many more DVD/HDD recorders in Europe than North America). Thanks for posting back with the direct link!

    As far as I know they are listed on Amazon USA too.

    Edit: Maybes not. Maybes they export to the USA?
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