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  1. Originally Posted by Seeker47
    If I'm remembering this right, I thought Orsetto said that the 106 might also work for this usage ? If so, that would be significant, because I think there are more of those turning up for sale. At least, there were a couple of them on eBay a few days ago.
    You're remembering right, seeker47: you often recall my older posts more accurately than I do!

    Yes, about three years ago I hit a wall in sourcing replacement drives and tried some Frankenstein transplants to repair various x10 and x20 series Pioneer recorders. I don't remember all the specifics of it, but long story short the 210, 310, 510 and 810 use the 106 burner and the 220, 225, 320, 420, 520 and 720 use the 107 burner. I discovered the x10 would accept the later 107 burner and the x20 would accept the earlier 106 burners. Accessing the diagnostic screens with the service remote, you'll note the recorder firmware is pre-programmed to allow use of earlier or later drives. A + symbol indicates a drive newer than the motherboard and a - symbol indicates an "obsolete" but still acceptable replacement burner is installed.

    THERE IS A CATCH, HOWEVER, and its a big one. You can only swap 106 and 107 OEM Pioneer recorder burners that include the modified controller board. In other words, if you have a Pioneer 310 with a good burner but dead power supply and a Pioneer 520 with a bad burner but good otherwise, you can take the good 106 burner from the 310 and install it in the 520 (using the service remote and data disc to marry the serial numbers). This would be a very unusual and unlikely scenario for most people. The easier and more common approach is to find a generic burner of whatever type your recorder uses (106, 107 or 109) and swap the controller boards to trick the recorder into thinking its the original drive. You cannot do the "swap the controller board" trick between a 106 and a 107 because the boards are different sizes: this is why "upgrading" or "downgrading" your recorder with an earlier or later burner only works if the replacement burner was harvested from another Pioneer recorder. I hope I'm being clear with this information, its confusing and hard to describe.

    The mounting brackets in the recorders are different for the 106 and 107, so you have to change around some screws and leave some off if you use the "wrong" burner for your recorder model (the drive will still mount securely). Note the 530 and 630 series recorders use the later 109 burner which is much smaller. In theory it should work in a 510 or 520 if you could jerry-rig a secure mounting strategy and your motherboard uses the press-to-fit ribbon cables (some early x10 models use generic IDE connectors that won't fit). And again, any 109 used in an x10 or x20 would need to be harvested from a Pioneer x30 recorder to guarantee it has the recorder-compatible controller board. The x30 recorders do not have room in the chassis to accept any drive model except the 109 they were designed for: the only way to replace the burner in an x30 is to swap its controller board with a generic 109 burner, or a complete 109 harvested from another x30 recorder.

    I've mentioned before that the easiest route to a good working 107 burner is to buy a "broken" Pioneer 220 or 225 recorder off eBay. Nine out of ten "broken" 220s and 225s suffer from premature power supply meltdowns: the recorder is dead but the burner often still has a lot of life left in it. It will also already have a Pioneer recorder control board installed, meaning you don't have to disassemble it to swap any boards: just remove it from the dead host recorder and pop it into yours. "Dead" 220 and 225 recorders often sell for less than $40.

    The Pioneer x10 and x20 models require using the Pio service remote and Type 1 service data disc to re-match the serial numbers any time a burner is disconnected and reinstalled, even if its the original burner it came with. Do not disconnect your original burner until/unless you have the service remote and disc (as detailed in the Pio 520 repair threads here on VH). The later x30 recorders are a little easier because they do "remember" their original burner serial numbers when the burner is removed and replaced. As long as you swap the original controller board into your replacement 109 burner, the x30 recorders will almost always start right up as if nothing had changed: they won't insist on the service remote/service disc routine. Every so often, though, I do run across an x30 that insists on the service routine, in which case I do have to use the tools to match the serial numbers. This happens most often on the American 633 model, which is an absolute terror to repair.
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  2. Member psymaster's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by Seeker47
    Originally Posted by psymaster
    Originally Posted by Seeker47
    Originally Posted by psymaster
    I replaced the old Pioneer DVR-107 with the Teac drive, I just swapped out the circuit board of the original DVR to the Teac.

    WORKS like a charm, and without the service disc or remote!

    Burns & Finalizes, No problem.

    I'm buying 5 teac drives from my supplier, did I mention these drives are New?
    Thanks for the lead on that, which I did follow up on. However, they quoted me a price of $130/burner. And then -- while they are new -- 10 day non-DOA is all they'll give you on these. Now I'd have to agree that this is way better than the $300. Pioneer was asking for the replacement part, but it's still ridiculous, IMO. I've bought a couple 107s (one was the Mac part, but Orsetto said this was fine), used, for a fraction of that price. Maybe I'll have cause to regret it, but I'd rather take my chances that way.
    That's crazy, someone must have been giving you the run around or they've caught wind of what we are using them for .
    I'm going to put one up on ebay and see what happens. Let me know if you are interested buying one.
    Gary
    Thanks. I'm definitely interested. (So, I should search on "Teac" rather than Pioneer . . . or does it matter ?) One of the two used 107s I bought was from a seller in Canada, and even with the higher shipping it was a fraction of what these guys were asking. A couple weeks ago, I missed out on an eBay auction I had flagged, for what was said to be an almost unused 107, because I was traveling.

    If I'm remembering this right, I thought Orsetto said that the 106 might also work for this usage ? If so, that would be significant, because I think there are more of those turning up for sale. At least, there were a couple of them on eBay a few days ago.
    Item number 260493900607 on ebay right now. Believe me these TEAC drives are new, and with the circuitboard swap your recorder won't notice the difference. My DVR-520h didn't notice the difference and it burns discs just like when I bought it. It also has no problem working with DVD-RW's, I've tested it three times now.

    Cheers!
    Gary



    IBUYPOWER I7 16GB, Ebuntu 16 system, Pioneer DVR-520H, Pioneer DVR-225, Phillips DVR-3567H, Teac replacement drives for DVR-107xa
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  3. Member Seeker47's Avatar
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    More good reference for us to hold onto. Thanks.

    Originally Posted by orsetto
    You're remembering right, seeker47: you often recall my older posts more accurately than I do!
    Generally, I need some sort of a "trigger" to recall a detail like that. In this case, I have an old A06 burner that was in a computer for less than a year, before it got replaced by a 108. There must have been some good reason why I kept it all this time, and I'm thinking this must have been due to your post. Who knows -- it may come in handy some day. I'm responsible for my 520, and another one I got for a relative, when the model was being closed out. The HDD and burner sides will probably be covered. Now I just have to keep a watchful eye on those dubious Chinese capacitors !
    But I gotta say, IF ONLY this replacement process was as easy as it seems to have been for those Lite-On and Polaroid recorder models, we'd have it all.
    When in Las Vegas, don't miss the Pinball Hall of Fame Museum http://www.pinballmuseum.org/ -- with over 150 tables from 6+ decades of this quintessentially American art form.
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  4. Member psymaster's Avatar
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    Ebay Item number 260496679906, Teac Drive replacement.
    IBUYPOWER I7 16GB, Ebuntu 16 system, Pioneer DVR-520H, Pioneer DVR-225, Phillips DVR-3567H, Teac replacement drives for DVR-107xa
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  5. A question for Orsetto (and anyone else): my 720 was already dezoned when I bought it. If I know swap the dead drive with a NEC, and change the controller board, would it still be dezoned or not?
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  6. I'm not sure if the "de-zoning" process is applied to the motherboard, the drive controller board, or both. But it doesn't really matter: as long as you swap your original burner control board into the new TEAC, your 720 will assume nothing has changed because the old board will report itself as still present when you put the TEAC in your 720. Any changes you made to the original board will carry over intact when you swap drives.

    I will again note here, in case this point was lost in all the other details earlier, that the x10 and x20 Pioneers might not necessarily accept their burners back without using the Pioneer Service Remote and Service Disc. If you replace the burner, and on powerup the front display reads HDD ERR or some other ERR, you will need to investigate the massive "change HDD in Pioneer 520" thread here on VH for tips on how to "fake" the service remote and obtain a service disc. The most current, best info on this is at the end of that thread, so I'd recommend starting at the most recent post and working your way backward until you find the info you need (the bulk of the thread dates back 3-4 years and covers early failed experiments, of only academic interest now that proper solutions have been documented later in the thread). With the service remote, service disc and instructions in hand, its a two-minute task to "re-marry" the burner (or hard drive) to the recorder motherboard. All you really have to do is write down the ten-digit CPRM code printed on the small white UPC label located on the rear panel of your recorder, usually near the AC socket. You enter the service mode using the service remote, clear the CPRM number, and re-enter it. Then you back out of service mode, and you're done.

    All Pioneer x30 models, and some x10/x20 units, "remember" the CPRM marriage code as long as you swap the original controller board into your new burner: apparently these units have a separate non-volatile memory that keeps track of the CPRM number even if the burner is disconnected. But many x10/x20 units "forget" the CPRM matching the moment you disconnect the burner, requiring the service tools to re-enter the code number. There is no way of knowing beforehand whether your 510, 520, 720 is a version that will ask for the service tools: you just have to try the burner exchange and see what happens.
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    Uh-Oh ! I'm finally hitting an apparent impasse with the original burner in my 520. Just had a Copy job (two 1-hour programs with commercials removed, totaling 3.8G, which should not ordinarily have posed a problem) that bombed out on two successive attempts using TYGO2 blanks. The error reported by the 520 was "Cannot complete Copy." From the appearance of the disc, it looks like the burn went all the way or very nearly so, but the finalizing option is greyed out. Later, I will probably inspect the failed discs with IsoBuster, to see what might actually be on there and if it might be salvageable. For the moment, the biggest problem is losing (the easier) xfer options on that DVDR, whose HDD has just 10 hours worth of free space remaining. I may have to actually watch some of that stuff to clear space. At some point, I'm going to look into Puzzler's DV-Out method, and of course replace that burner.

    Up until now -- four years in, and a great many discs burned -- there were only a very few occasional hiccups, involving "COPY ERR" errors on much more heavily edited Copy List items. I'd like to troubleshoot a bit before embarking on the whole burner replacement thing, which I don't really have time for now anyway. I'm going to try some old Sony 8x media (dating from the time when it was actually good), maybe wipe the spindle area and use some compressed air. Anything else I should try that does not involve opening the case, Orsetto ?
    When in Las Vegas, don't miss the Pinball Hall of Fame Museum http://www.pinballmuseum.org/ -- with over 150 tables from 6+ decades of this quintessentially American art form.
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  8. I feel your pain, seeker47: when I see the dreaded "cannot complete copy" alert, I want to kill myself, especially if it occurs on my 531 (which takes forever and a day to repair vs the much simpler 520). If you are getting this alert using TY 8x media, the burner is probably a ticking time bomb: normally "cannot complete copy" only triggers with junky 16x media like TDK or Staples. When Pio burners start failing, theres no predictable logic: I would not be at all surprised to hear it burns awhile longer if you switch to your new-old-stock Sony 8x discs (Pioneers really liked the old Sony 8x media: it almost always burns to completion, even in a dying Pio- too bad they don't make it anymore).

    The optical drives in the earlier x10, x20 and x30 Pioneers fail specifically (and only) due to laser burnout. The later x40, x50 and x60 drives fail from a combination of factors, the first usually being mechanical (dust and finger oils accumulate on the disc spindle) followed by laser wear later on. When the Cannot Complete Copy symptom is caused by the "dirty spindle" problem, it can usually be handled by the "KFC" trick (lick your fingertip and rub the wet underneath the DVD clear center area before loading). Your 520 uses a different spindle that doesn't suffer from grime issues, so if changing media doesn't solve your problems the laser is worn and the burner needs to be replaced. The good news is, you've been following this thread a long time so you know what to do. And if it makes you feel any better, the 510 and 520 are the most receptive models when it comes to the "swap controller boards" trick: it never fails on a 520, as long as your replacement burner has a good laser and you reassemble everything correctly. Good luck!
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  9. Member Seeker47's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by orsetto
    If you are getting this alert using TY 8x media, the burner is probably a ticking time bomb: normally "cannot complete copy" only triggers with junky 16x media like TDK or Staples. When Pio burners start failing, theres no predictable logic: I would not be at all surprised to hear it burns awhile longer if you switch to your new-old-stock Sony 8x discs (Pioneers really liked the old Sony 8x media: it almost always burns to completion, even in a dying Pio- too bad they don't make it anymore).
    Thanks for the reply, Orsetto. Yes, I've still got at least a couple unopened spindles of that old, good, Sony 8x. I re-tried with one of those blanks, and it seems to have burned about as far as the TY did, before the "cannot complete copy" error appears. (And this was also just after I'd left the 520 cold for several hours.) The curious thing is that it was working just fine the previous times I had used it, no signs of trouble. Then I go away for 10 days, and after getting back the first things I went to move off the HDD suddenly led to this. "Out of a clear blue sky", as the lyrics go in that U2 song. Somehow I thought the burner might surprise me and recover for awhile, but no sign of that either.

    Had the bright idea of trying to finalize that disc on the 640, but no dice.

    Originally Posted by orsetto
    The optical drives in the earlier x10, x20 and x30 Pioneers fail specifically (and only) due to laser burnout. The later x40, x50 and x60 drives fail from a combination of factors, the first usually being mechanical (dust and finger oils accumulate on the disc spindle) followed by laser wear later on. When the Cannot Complete Copy symptom is caused by the "dirty spindle" problem, it can usually be handled by the "KFC" trick (lick your fingertip and rub the wet underneath the DVD clear center area before loading). Your 520 uses a different spindle that doesn't suffer from grime issues, so if changing media doesn't solve your problems the laser is worn and the burner needs to be replaced.
    So, forget about lens cleaning, or anything like that ?

    Originally Posted by orsetto
    The good news is, you've been following this thread a long time so you know what to do. And if it makes you feel any better, the 510 and 520 are the most receptive models when it comes to the "swap controller boards" trick: it never fails on a 520, as long as your replacement burner has a good laser and you reassemble everything correctly. Good luck!
    Hopefully, I had the foresight to save those instructions to a discrete "How To" file. Otherwise, it's going to be a lot of thread surfing. Then I just need time to take on the repair project. Meanwhile, I've had some hurried experimentation based on that unfinalized disc. I extracted the contents with IsoBuster, and took a quick look at a couple of the guides for it that are linked here. One of them said all you need are the VOBs, which is not quite correct. There were four of these, each about 800M in size. CX2D reckoned the first of these to be 23 minutes long, which seems about right, but said the others were 3 - 5 minutes long. NOT. So I ran 'em through FixVTS, got some IFOs from that, but then CX2D reckons the whole group totaling 4 hours 20 minutes. Uhhh, don't think so. (It helps to know what you are doing, and I clearly don't !) Tried to rename some of the files more appropriately, in order to structure a playable DVD manually and burn it with ImgBurn, but that didn't go too well either. Finally, I used that old, crude trick of renaming just the VOBs as MPG files. Much to my surprise, these seem to play in the Oppo. When there is time to watch them, I'll find out how complete the uncompleted Copy from the 520 actually was.
    When in Las Vegas, don't miss the Pinball Hall of Fame Museum http://www.pinballmuseum.org/ -- with over 150 tables from 6+ decades of this quintessentially American art form.
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  10. Lens cleaning almost never works to fix the 510, 520 or 530 models with the old-school Pio burners. I'm not saying a random owner won't get cigarette smoke or a cat hair stuck to the lens, it happens, but as a general rule the older Pios are fairly good at keeping their lenses free of dirt. In the rare event their problem actually IS a dirty lens, disassembly is required to get the dirt off (cleaning discs won't cut it). Age is the most prominent factor here: the 520 burners have a mean lifespan of 3 years under normal moderate use. Since you say you've had yours 4 years, its time is probably up, thats all. You already have a spare 107 burner, service remote clone, and service disc stockpiled, so you're covered for a burner replacement. To save you searching thru old threads, I'll recap the complete procedure here:

    1. Turn on your 520.

    2. Open the tray.

    3. Unplug the power cord so the tray remains open.

    4. Grasp the cosmetic front tray bezel on both sides between thumb and index fingers, letting your other fingers rest gently on the exposed tray. Slowly but firmly press upwards with your thumbs, altering pressure side to side, until you feel the tray front start to give. Keep pressing firmly upwards until the tray front comes off. Set it aside. Push the "naked" tray all the way back into the unit.

    5. Remove all side and rear cabinet screws. Set them aside with a note where they go back in: the side screws are crudely threaded, the rear panel screws are finer-thread machine screws. Take the cover off.

    6. Depending on date of your 520s mfr, the burner is attached to a standard white Molex power plug and either a direct micro ribbon data cable, or a micro ribbon cable to a small IEDE adaptor board. Other ribbon cables may be taped to the top of the burner. The burner is secured to the bottom of the chassis by two custom brackets on either side.

    7. Carefully remove any cloth tape holding cables against the top of the burner. Set the tape aside for re-use. Remove the screws that secure the burner brackets to the bottom plate, set them aside. If you have small fingers and enough clearance, try to wiggle the white power plug and the EIDE board off the back of the burner. If you can't get them off, try to pull the burner up and out with the cords still attached. You may have difficulty clearing the power supply and tuner boards- go slowly and carefully, its OK to slightly dislodge the surrounding parts momentarily as you remove the burner. When you get the burner free of the chassis, pull out the power and data cables. (Newer 520s use a press-fit direct micro ribbon data cable, when you pull it out note which side the contacts are on so you replace it properly.)

    8. With the burner completely free from the chassis, unscrew the two side brackets and note their placement for re-use.

    9. Carefully unwind the cloth tape surrounding the front of the burner, set aside for re-use Carefully remove the foil tapes covering the bottom access screws and set aside for re-use. There is no way to remove the foil tape without wrinkling it: don't worry about its appearance.

    10. Examine the front plastic burner frame. You will see four small square holes in the metal case, one on each side and two on the bottom. These holes secure the plastic retaining clips for the plastic frame. Poke a ballpoint pen tip or a jewellers screwdriver in each hole to unlatch the clips. The plastic frame should pop off the burner. Set it aside.

    11. Place the burner upside down on your workspace, with the front pointing away from you. Remove the bottom plate screws and set them aside. Lift off the bottom cover. You'll see a large green main controller board. The board is held in place with a couple of hard-to-see but easy to unlatch plastic clips. Several small ribbon cables connect the board to the laser assembly beneath.

    12. The ribbon cables will either be pressure-fit or have very thin locking collars. The locking collars can be unlatched using a fingernail on either side and wiggling towards the cable, the cable will slide out easily. When all cables are detached, ease the board out by lifting it past its retaining clips.

    12. Take a break: have a beer or a snack- you earned it!

    13. Straighten a paper clip, and press it into the emergency tray release hole at the front of your replacement burner. When the tray opens, remove its front edge the way you did on the recorder burner in step 4, then press the bare tray back into the burner. Open up your replacement burner in exactly the same way you did the recorder burner. Remove its controller board.

    14. Install the original board from your recorders burner into the replacement burner. Connect the cables, and don't forget to lock any ribbon collars. Screw the bottom plate back on. Take the plastic front frame removed from the original burner, and snap it onto the front of the new burner.

    15. Work your way backwards from steps 9 thru 1 above. Be sure you replace all foil tapes, cloth tapes and foam bumpers onto the new burner in the same locations they were removed from the old burner. If the HDD ribbon cable was taped to the top of the burner, be sure it doesn't get snagged when you put the new burner in. Secure it to the top of the new burner.

    16. When the recorder is fully reassembled, plug in the power. Turn it on. Wait a few minutes and observe the front panel and any displays shown on your TV. If there is any CPRM or HDD ERR alert, or a TV display to the effect "drive settings are not correct", you will need to activate service mode. If you DO NOT see any warnings, attempt to view the HDD navigator. If that works OK, switch to DVD mode and load a blank disk. If the machine still does not issue any warnings, attempt a HS copy of an HDD recording to DVD, with the finalize option set. If it creates and finalizes a DVD without complaining at all, you're done. Open the disk tray and snap the decorative endpiece back on.

    17. If at any point the recorder complains of an ERR, you'll need to reset the CPRM code. Look on the rear panel for a secondary small white label with a nine-digit code number, its located near the fan or the AC socket. Write down the nine digits.

    18. On your service remote, press ESC and then STEREO. Service mode will activate and a service display will appear on your TV. Enter the nine-digit number you wrote down using the service remote number keys, then press STOP.

    19. Press ESC and STEREO again, enter the nine digit number again, and press SEARCH.

    20. The recorder will ask for the ID Data Disc. Load the service disc and close the tray. After a moment, your TV should display "Rom Write OK!"

    21. Pres CLEAR on the service remote. The recorder will exit service mode. Remove the service disc BUT DO NOT CLOSE THE TRAY. Turn the recorder off, the tray will close itself. Wait a moment, and turn power back on. Your 520 should work normally with no ERR alerts from this point on.

    (If your TV displays Rom Write NG! instead of Rom Write OK! in step 20, don't panic. Sometimes the recorder trips over itself, or you enter the nine digits in the wrong order, and have to start the CPRM process over again. It nearly always "takes" the second time around.)

    (In 9 out of 10 cases, a burner swap does not engage the HDD in any way. However, I have noted a couple of isolated instances when the recorder decides it wants to "initialize the HDD" after a burner swap. This results in wiping your HDD. If you go into the disc navigator and don't see anything, or the recorder offers the normally-invisible "Initailize HDD" option in the Disc Setup screen, you'll be forced to format the HDD in order to complete the three-way marriage between motherboard, burner and HDD. Having to initialize the HDD after a burner swap is exceedingly rare, but it is a possibility.)
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    Originally Posted by orsetto
    To save you searching thru old threads, I'll recap the complete procedure here:
    . . .
    Thanks so much for that, orsetto ! I'm sure it will save me a lot of time and trouble; it is greatly appreciated. It may be awhile before I get to do this operation. The burner failure came along at one of the worst possible times. I'd rather proceed with this deliberately and carefully, without rushing.
    Fortunately, the 640 has been carrying most of the load here for quite awhile, and it is only about half as long in service as the 520. And I do still intend to investigate Puzzler's DV Out method at some point, just because it is intriguing. (Particularly if it works here.)

    I haven't been to Hkan's site in quite awhile, but the last time I looked around there I don't recall seeing this step by step. It would make a good sticky for his archives. Then, the one additional thing I'd like to see there are photos of the capacitor(s) and where they're located, what they should and should not look like, and exactly what replacement part to get for them if they go bad. There have been several models for which this info might be different (?), but we could start with the most common ones. Then, I think we'd have it covered. (I'm sorry, but I just don't believe in spending hundreds on an important appliance and having it turn out to be "disposable", when there exist effective counter-measures to extend its service life considerably.)

    Originally Posted by orsetto
    (In 9 out of 10 cases, a burner swap does not engage the HDD in any way. However, I have noted a couple of isolated instances when the recorder decides it wants to "initialize the HDD" after a burner swap. This results in wiping your HDD. If you go into the disc navigator and don't see anything, or the recorder offers the normally-invisible "Initailize HDD" option in the Disc Setup screen, you'll be forced to format the HDD in order to complete the three-way marriage between motherboard, burner and HDD. Having to initialize the HDD after a burner swap is exceedingly rare, but it is a possibility.)
    Sounds like I should probably do whatever I can to get unsaved stuff off of there first, whether via the DV or the clumsily improvised method I used for those two show episodes, provided the burner isn't yet 100 % gone and it's repeatable.
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  12. Originally Posted by Seeker47
    Sounds like I should probably do whatever I can to get unsaved stuff off of there first, whether via the DV or the clumsily improvised method I used for those two show episodes, provided the burner isn't yet 100 % gone and it's repeatable.
    You might try what worked for me the last time the 109 burner in my 531 started failing. The 531 is one of the three "haunted mansion" Pioneer models with the accursed TVGOS feature that makes them hell on wheels to service: the burner swap for the 520 is nothing compared to a burner swap on the 531. It takes days of non-stop effort and screwing around before the 531 settles down after a burner replacement, and last time I serviced it it gave me fits because it just refused to finalize anything even after the third different burner exchange in as many days. I thought perhaps it was finally a junker, so scrambled to figure out how I could offload what was on the HDD.

    By pure chance, I discovered it would still let me go into the Disc Setup menu and initialize a blank DVD-R as "VR Mode". With a DVD in VR Mode, finalization is not necessary and you can HS copy titles from the HDD in the Pios native HDD format. This means the titles remain "live" and can be HS lossless copied back onto your 520 HDD after you repair its burner. VR Mode backup discs are compatible across Pioneers entire product line, so you could also HS copy the contents onto your 640 HDD (if you have enough room on it). You could then make normal finalized DVDs from the 520 files now loaded on your 640. Odds are when you swap the burner your 520 HDD contents will be preserved, so you probably won't need the VR backup discs, but its a nice safety cushion to have (assuming your dying 520 burner can still generate VR discs before replacing it). The only caveat with VR Mode DVD-Rs is they have a maximum capacity of 4.3GB, as opposed to the 4.4 of a normal finalizable DVD-R. Some movies on your 520 HDD that go all the way to 4.4GB in size may need to be split over two VR mode discs to avoid real-time re-encoding. Since the VR discs are just digital carriers, or temporary storage, this isn't a concern. Once the material is back on the HDD you can make a normal single finalized DVD from it.

    Note VR Mode is the standard in all recorders for burning DVD+RW media, but it is used differently when you initialize a DVD-R "the wrong way" as VR in a Pioneer. The DVD-R is burned differently, presumably under less power, so if your recorder won't burn +RW anymore the -R initialized as VR is a good last ditch alternative. To my knowledge only Pioneer offers this totally non-standard VR format option for DVD-R media: its a brilliant little trick that can save your bacon if your burner fails with important stuff on your HDD.
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  13. Member Seeker47's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by orsetto
    By pure chance, I discovered it would still let me go into the Disc Setup menu and initialize a blank DVD-R as "VR Mode". With a DVD in VR Mode, finalization is not necessary and you can HS copy titles from the HDD in the Pios native HDD format. This means the titles remain "live" and can be HS lossless copied back onto your 520 HDD after you repair its burner. VR Mode backup discs are compatible across Pioneers entire product line, so you could also HS copy the contents onto your 640 HDD (if you have enough room on it). You could then make normal finalized DVDs from the 520 files now loaded on your 640. Odds are when you swap the burner your 520 HDD contents will be preserved, so you probably won't need the VR backup discs, but its a nice safety cushion to have (assuming your dying 520 burner can still generate VR discs before replacing it). The only caveat with VR Mode DVD-Rs is they have a maximum capacity of 4.3GB, as opposed to the 4.4 of a normal finalizable DVD-R. Some movies on your 520 HDD that go all the way to 4.4GB in size may need to be split over two VR mode discs to avoid real-time re-encoding. Since the VR discs are just digital carriers, or temporary storage, this isn't a concern. Once the material is back on the HDD you can make a normal single finalized DVD from it.

    Note VR Mode is the standard in all recorders for burning DVD+RW media, but it is used differently when you initialize a DVD-R "the wrong way" as VR in a Pioneer. The DVD-R is burned differently, presumably under less power, so if your recorder won't burn +RW anymore the -R initialized as VR is a good last ditch alternative. To my knowledge only Pioneer offers this totally non-standard VR format option for DVD-R media: its a brilliant little trick that can save your bacon if your burner fails with important stuff on your HDD.
    Wow, that's a great idea ! I'm sure I've made VR -Rs a few times in the past, but it was either early mistakes or just experimentation. I wasn't aware of such a (deliberate) use for this, but it's another one of those great "hidden" details, and I will definitely try that. The question of the moment -- besides just how far gone that burner really is -- is whether the "Cannot complete Copy" should be taken literally, or whether it is only the finalization that has died, so far. I'll have a better idea on that score when I get a chance to watch those two "Fringe" episodes that went the VOB to MPG route.
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  14. It depends how much of a heavy-duty salvage operation you want to get into using your PC. It isn't the finalization that fails, its the run-up to finalization. "Cannot Complete Copy" inevitably appears before finalization, you'll see this happen even if you tell the machine not to finalize your Video Mode discs. Unfinalized discs are a pain to work with on the PC, as you've seen from your experiments its not a simple matter of just ripping the files and opening them. Plus there's no guarantee where exactly in the burn process the recorder will fail and leave faulty files on the DVD.

    "Bastardized" VR Mode DVD-Rs are somehow easier for the failing burner to get "right", I don't understand why but it is evident in use. They burn to completion without the "Cannot Complete Copy" alert, instead you get the "Copy Completed" confirmation that all went well. While the VR files are difficult to read on the PC, your Pioneer 640 will play them like normal DVDs and can also process them losslessly on its hard drive and convert them to normal finalized DVDs. Personally I think this is a much more logical workflow than screwing around with your PC and potentially faulty unfinalized discs, at least until you can fix your 520. Its always better to have more options: reading the VR files on the PC is not much more difficult than reading unfinalized files, and gives you the additional option of the 640 being able to work with them transparently. Unfinalized discs are a hard nut on the PC, and if faulty may not be readable at all in the 640.
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    Update: the VR on -R was no dice: that option is greyed out. I even did the VR init on the 640, and it still comes up greyed out ("Please insert a recordable disc") on the 520. So, that burner went from fully functional just before the last trip, to this, with no evident gradual decline giving any hint. However, I just burned those two eps onto a TDK -RW, and am transferring them to the 640 -- more as proof of concept than anything else.

    I would not have expected this to work, since someone here (not you) told me that writing RW takes more laser power than the write-once burns. It seems pretty clear to me that just playing a disc requires the least amount of laser power, but the escalation of what is required on burning appears to be other than what I thought. Anyway, unlike the 640, the 520 does not do RAM, so for now this looks like the one disc-based option that is still on the table.
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    Further Update, and this is very strange: on the 2nd. attempt to get some stuff off of the HDD, using the same type of -RW media I've always used, this option too is now greyed out. O.K., I thought, that's it -- now the burner must be officially finito. Just for the hell of it, I then put a blank TYGO2 in, which copied the material to completion and finalized it. Without having much idea what may be going on at the technical level, I had thought that this was a possibility. Not that I think this will last, even to the next burn attempt. But maybe there is some 'Twilight Zone' of burner failure, in which the drive fluctuates between states of

    not working | almost working | working

    before it craps out completely and irretrievably ?
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  17. seeker47, my apologies to you for having wasted your time with my suggestion to try initializing -R discs to VR Mode in your 520 Disc Setup menu. When you reported back the option was "grayed out", I pulled out the Pioneer 510 I had in storage to compare (the 510 came before the 520, they use exactly the same operating system except the 520 adds a dedicated "erase section" screen). When I attempted to initialize a -R blank to VR Mode in my 510, it also refused, indicating VR could only initialize to -RW media. So apparently your 520, like the 510, cannot initialize -R to VR Mode as an emergency option.

    I haven't actually used my 510 or a 520 in about two years, so I didn't realize the "initialize -R to VR" trick was not available until the entire Pio OS was revamped with the 530 series and later models. (I primarily use a 540 and a 460 these days.) It would be difficult to double back now and rewrite my earlier posts to incorporate this model difference, so I'll just leave a note here for future reference:

    The handy tip suggested in my earlier posts to initialize a blank -R disc as another possible option to salvage HDD recordings in the event of a burner wearing down applies only to the 2005 and later Pioneers (x30, x40, x50 and x60 series). The earlier 510, 810, 520, 720 and 920 do not have this non-standard disc formatting feature: if you have difficulty getting those units to finish normal -R or -RW finalized burns your best alternative is to replace the burner asap. It is extremely unlikely replacing the burner will cause any interaction with HDD recordings, this has only happened twice to me in the course of repairing over 30 Pioneers (and both times were with the eccentirc 533/633 models). Making VR Mode -Rs is a nice backup cushion to have, but not strictly necessary. Don't be afraid to replace the burner following instructions in this thread.

    Originally Posted by Seeker47
    But maybe there is some 'Twilight Zone' of burner failure, in which the drive vacillates between states of

    not working | almost working | working

    before it craps out completely and irretrievably ?
    Yes , there is a "Twilight Zone" failure curve, absolutely. The machine will mysteriously rally and burn normally in spurts. When you realize it has started working again, take advantage and offload as much of the HDD as you can prior to any servicing.
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    Originally Posted by orsetto
    Yes , there is a "Twilight Zone" failure curve, absolutely. The machine will mysteriously rally and burn normally in spurts. When you realize it has started working again, take advantage and offload as much of the HDD as you can prior to any servicing.
    Thanks, I will.
    This quick item probably belongs more in the "repair 520" thread, but that one is already about 20 X longer than this one, and I'm here right now. Turned on the 640 yesterday and it came up with the notice "Hard Disk Repair Completed." I never told it to do any such thing, and I've never used the HDD Optimize function. So, was that any cause for concern ? Totally wild guess: could it have just detected some bad sectors and locked them out, as part of some automatic firmware routine ?
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  19. I was just wondering the same thing myself today: my 460, 450 and 640 all powered on with the "repairing hard drive: completed" alert. I've seen it once or twice before, so I wasn't unduly alarmed, but it was pretty odd for all three units- a 2006, a 2007, and a 2008- to all do it at the same time. I find the SATA-based 450 and 460 tend to do the hdd repair more often than the EIDE 640, but they all run the routine periodically. Assuming it continues to take just a couple seconds, and I haven't had any power surges, I choose not to worry about it. I figure if the machine is smart enough to do some basic housekeeping, its a good thing.

    According to all the Pio instruction manuals, the "repairing hdd" function invokes if the machine is unexpectedly powered off or interrupted during a recording. Lately I've been manually stopping timer recordings a lot, that might have a similar effect.
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  20. Is it necessary to swap the drives controller board if using the service remote and disk ?
    I am replacing a drive in a DVR-310. It is a DVR-106 drive and the closest I can find is a DVR-107 which may be a valid replacement but the controller board swap is not an option.
    Thank you
    Regards, J
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  21. Member Seeker47's Avatar
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    Anyone with a continuing interest in this subject will recall the many times it has been asked here, "Where can I find a spare / replacement 107 or A07 drive for my 520 ?" Often, they have been scarce. It so happens that at the moment there are a bunch of them (used, of course) up on eBay, all from the same seller. There are even some lots of 5 . . . which offhand I would guess may have come from one of those duplicator towers, in which case they could easily be pretty thrashed.

    To check this out, go to http://shop.ebay.com/ocean-tech/m.html?_nkw=&_armrs=1&_from=&_ipg=&_trksid=p4340
    and narrow the search among their 300 plus items to "Pioneer."

    I have nothing whatever to do with this seller, and only post this f.y.i. The prices are not all that cheap, and no Condition comments are listed on these auctions. I would certainly inquire about that before bidding.
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    I am so grateful I stumbled on this forum! I have been enjoying my 520H for several years! I noticed a few months ago that I couldn't play a disk that I had recorded on my machine. I started worrying that all was lost and wondering how much Pioneer would charge to repair it.... It never dawned on me that this might be a replaceable drive until I saw it when I took the lid off! My hope grew at that point! I put another drive in it from my computer and then realized...of course! It's proprietary!!! So I stumbled on this forum and am glad I did!
    I wanted to share with the group that I purchased an Apple DVD burner (DVR-107-xx) off of ebay for 20 bucks, pulled the main board out of the 107-XA drive and installed it in the Apple drive and Viola! Works like a CHAMP! I hope it will last a while.
    The only alteration I had to make was: To get the pioneer front 'cover' on the drive drawer, I noticed Apple had put a black piece on the front that looks like it was actually part of the drive...I was able to easily pull it off and install the pioneer cover.
    Thanks for all of the great tutorials and ideas folks!!
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  23. Originally Posted by jama View Post
    Is it necessary to swap the drives controller board if using the service remote and disk ?
    Yes, you must swap the boards in order for a replacement burner to be recognized, and as you've noticed the 106 board doesn't seem to be compatible with the 107 burner. The only way you can get the 107 burner to work in a 310/510/5100 is if that particular 107 was harvested from another Pioneer recorder (220,225,520) so already has the Pioneer recorder-type board inside it. In that case, and that case alone, you can get away with using the remote and service disc. Note the mounting brackets from your 310/510 will not fit the 107 burner properly, you'll only be able to secure one side of the burner to the recorder chassis. I've done this, it works fine, just be extra careful when moving the unit. The same trick works in reverse: a 106 burner harvested from a 310/510/5100 will work OK in a 220/225/520/720/920. Again, you'll need the service tools because the exchanged burner will have a different CPRM number, and the mounting brackets won't be a perfect match. This "asymmetrical" x20<>x10 burner swapping is really only practical if you chance upon a very cheap Pioneer donor recorder for under $50 that someone wants to ditch because of a power supply breakdown, normally its best to look for the matching burner or do the board swap instead.
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    Sorry for my English...

    My DVR-520 only "Power ON".

    I open - then out cable from DVR-107-XA, recorder run (Record/PLAY to/from HDD - visible damage flash communique).

    DVR-107-XA not visible in PC (start/bios - not reaction).

    What doing?
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  25. Sorry I don't speak Polish :

    Your Pioneer 520 is now 7 years old - a very old age when talking about DVD/HDD recorders (they normally do not survive past 5 years).

    At this old age many of them break down in ways that cannot be repaired.

    If recorder would only power on before you removed the 107-XA, but now works normally with HDD after took 107-XA out, and your PC cannot see the 107-XA, then the 107-XA is dead or may have burned out its main circuit board.

    The 107-XA circuit board cannot be repaired or replaced, Pioneer has no parts anymore.

    You can ignore the ERR (damage) display on front of your DVR-520, and still use as HDD-only recorder.

    But DVD cannot be fixed, unless you find other DVR-220, DVR-420, or DVR-520 recorder with good working 107-XA inside. You can take 107-XA from other recorder and put into your 520. Would also need special Pioneer service remote and service DVD to make work, these tools difficult to get and expensive in Poland.

    Maybe better to buy new recorder.
    Last edited by orsetto; 7th Apr 2011 at 01:47.
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    Thank You .

    Why recorder acted correctly without optical drive?

    As to block periodical announcement on screen: "Incompatibile or ureable disk"?
    ("Home menu" dameged when "Incompatible..." visible on screen)

    It suffices me only HDD recorder (not DVD).
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  27. Originally Posted by 1bombel View Post
    Why recorder acted correctly without optical drive?
    Bad or damaged parts in optical drive interfere with recorder startup system.

    Take out optical drive, no interference, HDD then able to work alone.

    But will always see "ERR" or warnings sometimes without good optical drive inside.

    Press "Enter" button to clear these warnings and keep using HDD.
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  28. Member Seeker47's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by orsetto View Post
    Originally Posted by 1bombel View Post
    Why recorder acted correctly without optical drive?
    Bad or damaged parts in optical drive interfere with recorder startup system.

    Take out optical drive, no interference, HDD then able to work alone.

    But will always see "ERR" or warnings sometimes without good optical drive inside.

    Press "Enter" button to clear these warnings and keep using HDD.

    Hi Orsetto --

    This being a 520, and a situation where there is nothing to lose, it might be worth mentioning the "some possibility of results with the USB Out" thread by Puzzler, even if it is a long shot ?
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  29. seeker47, the DVR-520 has FireWire-DV-IEE1394 connection, not USB.

    But you are right, it can be used with some computers with some software to capture a DV stream of the HDD contents.

    Complete details can be found in PuZzLERs instructional thread:

    https://forum.videohelp.com/threads/303504-Pioneer-DVR-520H-video-to-PC-using-the-DV-Ou...o-disc-burning

    1bombel, you do not need this information if you are happy using your 520 with just the HDD, and erasing recordings after you view them. The DV connection to a computer would only be necessary if you wanted to save something permanently.
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  30. Member [_chef_]'s Avatar
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    Nice find with the Teac, which is a Pio clone.

    That time they were "in" many clones flow around.
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