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  1. Member Seeker47's Avatar
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    In the last paragraph of my post #59, I referred to the plural "you" (& Peter), of course.

    Originally Posted by jwillis84 View Post
    I've been thinking of what to include in the video.. but its difficult to not go overboard.
    Better to err in the direction of excess detail, rather than overly abbreviated, I'd say.

    Originally Posted by jwillis84 View Post
    For one thing its not "entirely" necessary to remove the HDD from the recorder to offload the recordings.. you can leave it screwed into the chassis and simply attach the data cable and power supply cable from a USB dock and connect that by USB cable to a PC... so in a pinch it can be minimally invasive. You can also choose to make a backup of the drive before extracting, using a feature of the dock that duplicates the drive to a backup drive.. or image it from Linux or OSX or Windows using 'dd' or 'HDDGuru Rawtool' in Windows.. there are so many options (before) even touching upon the subject of upgrading to a microSD card.
    So much the better -- I'm all for "minimally invasive" options. Back when the 520 was not such an older model, some of us got a bit jazzed when a supposed USB-export feature was claimed to have been discovered for it. It was said to be an experimental design feature that was overlooked and never documented. But I think this mostly turned out to be more of a mirage, and not something truly exploitable.

    I do a fair amount of boot drive cloning. Acronis or Shadow Protect (or other) images are great, but there is something to be said for also having a ready-to-drop-in replacement, for a critical rig. HDDs became relatively cheap some years back. I think drive cloning (first) is a must if you're going to do anything at all risky with an irreplaceable original. But in the case of these recorders, are we even talking about the standard SATA drives of today ? Or could it be some of the older EIDE type, at least for the older model recorders ? It may be academic, because you don't even really see HDDs of less than 500 MB. capacity anymore. I recall getting some spare 160s & 320s for that reason -- probably as spares for the DVDRs. And they've been sitting unopened for a long time now . . . .

    It sounds like you have been a Pioneer DVDR owner, with a real fondness for these great devices, which in a market sense have now been relegated to consumer electronics history.
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    Originally Posted by Seeker47 View Post
    But in the case of these recorders, are we even talking about the standard SATA drives of today ? Or could it be some of the older EIDE type, at least for the older model recorders ? It may be academic, because you don't even really see HDDs of less than 500 MB. capacity anymore. I recall getting some spare 160s & 320s for that reason -- probably as spares for the DVDRs. And they've been sitting unopened for a long time now . . . .

    It sounds like you have been a Pioneer DVDR owner, with a real fondness for these great devices, which in a market sense have now been relegated to consumer electronics history.
    I think to be on the safe side.. you have to forget hard drives entirely. A 160GB hard drive of yesterday is not only hard to find, but one the recorder will accept is vanishingly small. That is why CF or microSD are much more desirable.

    You sort of have to shake your head a bit at the ludicrousness of it that a microSD card today has more capacity than the original hard disk that came with these recorders, and that even those run the risk of being too big and wasting capacity. Their lifespan was also spec'd on the idea of Photography use.. which is higher duty cycle than for a hard drive of 2005.. so they should last longer even without wear leveling.. but many cards come with wear leveling.. certainly Compact Flash cards do and they are meant for ham fisted gloved handling in the Alps under snow and ice conditions.

    The idea of "banking" 3.5 inch hard drives.. kind of went .. that-a-way.. a long time ago.

    Once a recording is "written" to the HDD it tends to stay there, even if Edited since the storage format layers Edits Decision Lists based on the former original recording.. so the write cycles are actually vanishingly small.. for all the spin and noise and heat signature of hard drives past.. the microSD card format is silent, noiseless and heat free. They should also last quite a while.. barring the stray cosmic ray. I am not saying they should be used for long term storage.. but the recorder doesn't use them like a general purpose hard drive in a PC. The recorder uses them far more like "film". EPG databases not withstanding. Stepping down from watts to microwatts of power consumption, they also lighten the load on the recorder power supply significantly.

    Whenever we start talking "boosted" 500GB or 1TB hard drives.. then microSD cards get expensive replacing those.. not impossible.. since microSD RAID cards exist and quite cheaply.. but the recorders just can't handle that type of navigation or moving around that much data.. it goes beyond their performance curve and makes the experience less than practical.

    You might recall I asked Citibear over on AVSForum a few months back what that 9 pin slot in the back of all the 450, 550. 650 and 460, 560, 660 was for.. it turned out for a [jig] port for RS-232 to update or program firmware when the DVD drive was new or dead and couldn't read the ID disc. That would also make just about the size of a port for a microSD card to be inserted and removed.. its one avenue of thought.
    Last edited by jwillis84; 8th Apr 2019 at 19:27.
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    FYI.. we just dropped the new (non-public) release of the alpha for general testing.

    Support for (or tested with):

    Toshiba RD-XS32, 50, 52, 34, 54, 35, 55, 34SB, 34SJ
    Philips 3575 and 3576
    Magnavox 2160 and 513
    RCA DRC8030

    Pioneer 510, 520, 530, 533, 540, 550, 560, LX61, LX70

    This is the non-public alpha release (path)

    It works with physical drive connections over IDE, SATA (and USB adapters for those interfaces) or with Raw disk images and is capable of making raw disk image backups of a drive.

    We have not to date received a lot of feedback or interest in this topic. So while I can say its (very good) your mileage or opinion may vary.

    After conducting so much testing (to me) it seems a very smooth and easy to use tool with many features and layers beyond what I originally started using it for, so to me its quite a valuable asset.

    We are looking at the EH55 now and may get to the EH75V and EH68, EH69.. possibly an EH50 at some future date.
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    Videorecap "doesn't meet google's requirements for a URL.. so sorry about the messy breadcrumbs"

    https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCyCxq19-J2_8rc8GFJ11oeA


    560 - 4 min 13 sec
    https://youtu.be/tA7M62rFETI

    640 - 6 min 05 sec
    https://youtu.be/lLWmP44CVsM

    520 - 4 min 20 sec
    https://youtu.be/drkdYFmHX5I

    I'll keep adding the videos there and keep them out of the threads. Once the Panasonic stuff is well underway.. perhaps this weekend.. I'll cover CompactFlash and microSD card upgrading from HDD on each brand and model.
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  5. Member Seeker47's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by jwillis84 View Post
    I think to be on the safe side.. you have to forget hard drives entirely. A 160GB hard drive of yesterday is not only hard to find, but one the recorder will accept is vanishingly small. That is why CF or microSD are much more desirable.

    You sort of have to shake your head a bit at the ludicrousness of it that a microSD card today has more capacity than the original hard disk that came with these recorders, and that even those run the risk of being too big and wasting capacity. Their lifespan was also spec'd on the idea of Photography use.. which is higher duty cycle than for a hard drive of 2005.. so they should last longer even without wear leveling.. but many cards come with wear leveling.. certainly Compact Flash cards do and they are meant for ham fisted gloved handling in the Alps under snow and ice conditions.

    The idea of "banking" 3.5 inch hard drives.. kind of went .. that-a-way.. a long time ago.
    Originally Posted by jwillis84 View Post
    Videorecap "doesn't meet google's requirements for a URL.. so sorry about the messy breadcrumbs"

    https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCyCxq19-J2_8rc8GFJ11oeA


    560 - 4 min 13 sec
    https://youtu.be/tA7M62rFETI

    640 - 6 min 05 sec
    https://youtu.be/lLWmP44CVsM

    520 - 4 min 20 sec
    https://youtu.be/drkdYFmHX5I

    I'll keep adding the videos there and keep them out of the threads. Once the Panasonic stuff is well underway.. perhaps this weekend.. I'll cover CompactFlash and microSD card upgrading from HDD on each brand and model.
    Yes, please do. It really blows my mind, what turns out to be the suggested recording replacement. I say that (in part) because even doing this with the same type and size of HDD was never an easy slam dunk, from what I understood at the time: getting them properly primed, swapped in, and accepted by the unit was fraught with potential failure points. So, using an adapter and putting in a very different, alien type of recording device is much easier, and just the ticket ?! Definitely something I'll need to see chapter & verse on, by way of explication. But the advantages you cite sound very compelling.

    [Also, the largest XD cards I've worked with so far are a 128 GB. one I put in my cellphone -- mainly for photos capacity -- and I think maybe a 256 GB. one that went into a streaming box, for extra storage. At least, I hope those were GB rather than MB -- have to double-check on that. There is probably another one too, in a camera proper. They were a bit pricey at the time, but the available capacities have probably gone up since then and the prices down ? However, we probably will not want to be dabbling with anything beyond 256 GB., for these DVDRs. ?]

    Thanks, I'll check those first videos out . . . and provide any comments, if appropriate.
    Last edited by Seeker47; 10th Apr 2019 at 18:27.
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    I just watched the one on the 640: Very Good, Well Done ! Looking forward to the hardware-adapting followup videos.

    [Incidentally for orsetto, re my earlier post, it was a 640H that was suffering from the dimmed display -- not that this probably makes any difference towards your reply. We would need the discovery of a hitherto unknown and well-stocked Pioneer parts depot. {Ditto for high-end Sony Beta decks.} Yeah, if only . . . . ]

    This prompts me to take a major leap, likely too far afield. It would be astounding and tremendous if this technique with IsoBuster was applicable to DirecTV DVR satellite boxes. (I've had 3 of these die on me to date, taking a lot of great material with them. Mainly using the "smell test" for that distinctive, telltale burnt-up electronics smell, I deduced that in only one of those cases was it the HDD that actually fried. In the other cases, it was probably either the PSU or the MB.} Lore has it that their HDDs are heavily encrypted, but in view of your experience with the standalone DVDRs, I don't care to assert that with any firm conviction. DirecTV told me "Forget It, No Hope for any salvage or resurrection of contents here." It would be so great if that proved to be erroneous info ! You would make history -- at least among DTV subscribers with a hobbyist bent ! It would be a game changer ! Could you run this by Peter, with the possibility of expanding this very worthy project ? I might even be able to send you a toasted DTV box . . . . [Query: does one need to have a DTV subscription in order to access the hardware just locally, as was done with the Pioneers ? I don't know.]
    Last edited by Seeker47; 10th Apr 2019 at 23:00.
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    [QUOTE=Seeker47;2547655]
    Originally Posted by jwillis84 View Post
    [Also, the largest XD cards I've worked with so far are a 128 GB. one I put in my cellphone -- mainly for photos capacity -- and I think maybe a 256 GB. one that went into a streaming box, for extra storage. At least, I hope those were GB rather than MB -- have to double-check on that. There is probably another one too, in a camera proper. They were a bit pricey at the time, but the available capacities have probably gone up since then and the prices down ? However, we probably will not want to be dabbling with anything beyond 256 GB., for these DVDRs. ?]
    Time marches on.. and on and on.. it's been like 17 years since some of these were released.. that's a lot of time in dog years.. even more in Moore's Law years.

    The "smallest" large format SD card I ever saw was a 2 GB SD card I bought for my Moms camcorder in 2010. I am almost certain you can't buy something that small anymore. And I'm genuinely afraid that 256 GB microSD cards might become somewhat rare in the next year or two. I'd point out that finding a 1 TB hard drive new.. can be frustrating. 16 TB is the new "small". That's 16000 GB, or 16000000 MB. We live in the future now.

    It used to be that the "speed" of these cards was a slight barrier.. but fast camcorders and DSLR cameras demanded speed or the cards would not sell. They also had to be made very reliable or people would not use them. Ten years on since I bought that 2 GB card things are even better.

    The problem 17 years ago with 'compatibility' mostly centered on 'speed' from what I can tell.. it wasn't so much brand, or in many cases capacity. They were looking for low cost, low speed (so they were low heat and low power) and that all worked against finding a hard drive that met all those requirements. They were also fragile and clunky and had primitive firmware. Failure rates fresh out of the factory were much higher. The central processor on an SD card today is decades newer than on one of those old hard drives... it would be like putting a iPhone CPU in your 1970 Volvo... no comparison. Its funny to think you even could... images of Doc Brown's DeLorean flicker through my mind.

    The SD adapters were all made around 2010.. and they aren't re-designing them from what I can see. They are on the cusp of disappearing as well being almost 10 years old.. so they are a bridge technology too.. just barely within reach.. stretching this technological time warp rubber band to the limits. I would say it looks like this upgrade is at a [Now or Never] phase.

    But so far its been hit or miss.. CF works in one case, SD in another.. I have found no ryhme or reason to it.. but only had 30 minutes to run through about five recorders before getting back to testing other stuff. It might have been "pre-formatting" is required like with a Pioneer 633 or Panasonic EH55 or the speed of some of these adapters maybe too fast, or need a Master/Slave jumper because Cable Select wasn't used by a particular DVR.. many possibilities.. its a project unto its own.
    Last edited by jwillis84; 11th Apr 2019 at 02:57.
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    Originally Posted by Seeker47 View Post
    I just watched the one on the 640: Very Good, Well Done ! Looking forward to the hardware-adapting followup videos.

    [Incidentally for orsetto, re my earlier post, it was a 640H that was suffering from the dimmed display -- not that this probably makes any difference towards your reply. We would need the discovery of a hitherto unknown and well-stocked Pioneer parts depot. {Ditto for high-end Sony Beta decks.} Yeah, if only . . . . ]

    This prompts me to take a major leap, likely too far afield. It would be astounding and tremendous if this technique with IsoBuster was applicable to DirecTV DVR satellite boxes. (I've had 3 of these die on me to date, taking a lot of great material with them. Mainly using the "smell test" for that distinctive, telltale burnt-up electronics smell, I deduced that in only one of those cases was it the HDD that actually fried. In the other cases, it was probably either the PSU or the MB.} Lore has it that their HDDs are heavily encrypted, but in view of your experience with the standalone DVDRs, I don't care to assert that with any firm conviction. DirecTV told me "Forget It, No Hope for any salvage or resurrection of contents here." It would be so great if that proved to be erroneous info ! You would make history -- at least among DTV subscribers with a hobbyist bent ! It would be a game changer ! Could you run this by Peter, with the possibility of expanding this very worthy project ? I might even be able to send you a toasted DTV box . . . . [Query: does one need to have a DTV subscription in order to access the hardware just locally, as was done with the Pioneers ? I don't know.]
    Maybe.. we're pretty committed to the First Ones at the moment. I guess you'd say the 'Celestials' .
    Last edited by jwillis84; 11th Apr 2019 at 03:12.
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  9. Member Seeker47's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by jwillis84 View Post
    The SD adapters were all made around 2010.. and they aren't re-designing them from what I can see. They are on the cusp of disappearing as well being almost 10 years old.. so they are a bridge technology too.. just barely within reach.. stretching this technological time warp rubber band to the limits. I would say it looks like this upgrade is at a [Now or Never] phase.

    But so far its been hit or miss.. CF works in one case, SD in another.. I have found no ryhme or reason to it.. but only had 30 minutes to run through about five recorders before getting back to testing other stuff. It might have been "pre-formatting" is required like with a Pioneer 633 or Panasonic EH55 or the speed of some of these adapters maybe too fast, or need a Master/Slave jumper because Cable Select wasn't used by a particular DVR.. many possibilities.. its a project unto its own.
    I get to Fry's almost on a weekly basis. (Wasn't Texas the company's original home base ? In that case, they can't be too far away. Competitor Micro Centre is also represented there, I believe.) Items frequently go in and out of stock on their shelves, but I see 1 TB. WD drives there often, and sometimes even 500 GB. size. If you drop down to 2.5" laptop HDDs, make that 500 or 750 GB HDDs, definitely. (I'm well aware that SSDs have steadily been replacing the latter.)

    The memory cards I have bought for the devices I mentioned were XD type, Class 10. Wasn't aware that any of the micro memory cards -- or their related adapter hardware -- had been around quite that long, or could be on the way out. Particularly if there is any of this (proven, recommended) gear that we need to purchase soon, before it becomes scarce (?), I hope you will be posting some links for obtaining it. Amazon, Monoprice, eBay, or wherever.
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    Yes Texas was the Well Spring of 'Frys' - originally each store had a [Theme] the one in Dallas was/is {Cowboys on the Plains} the one in Houston was/is {Big Oil}. I don't know if that continued around the nation. I was in one in Seattle (I think) way back in 2004 or 2005.. but I don't recall the "theme". A theme has giant mosaics or paintings two stories high inside the warehouse like space of the main floor. For example the one in Dallas has a Big Blue Sky with fluffy white clouds inside.. on a cloudy rainy day you can walk inside and feel like the bad weather is over and shop under a clear blue sky. Houston's is sort of like that but a little different. Both stores have creepy mannequin sculptures acting out various life like events like in a museum. They have real faces and clothes like a Cowboy or Oil worker would wear. The one in Dallas has horse sculptures that look real rearing with their forelegs in the air suspended a story above you on a catwalk like structure. - its weird and strange.. you don't see stores like that anymore.. but its been a part of Frys here for so long I rarely think about it anymore... its kind of like shopping in a Museum without all the silent Gothic darkness normally associated with Museums.

    I got interested in CF and SD to IDE or SATA adapters about 12 years ago when they first came out.. the media cards were far smaller then, and not as reliable.. but its changed drastically in 10 years. The adapters are also clever and cheap and were made by mostly Chinese companies spoiling for something 'tech' to do while Taiwan was still King of the industry. So they were mostly ignored. They use mostly a pre-ARM processor like the 8051 run at ludicrous speeds to make them fast enough to emulate a full IDE or SATA hard drive bus.. using whatever memory card for raw storage. -- Its a strange confluence of coincidence that these have proven workable in this situation.. I did not expect success.

    The [retro-gamer] trend of running DOS games and building stuff to bring Amiga and Commodore computers out of the dark ages.. got me thinking to try this.. and it happened to work.. so its a recent discovery. I think supplies will be mostly from Old Stock and not be restocked.. so if people catch on to this.. they may vanish from all the places you can purchase them in short order (of course) I may be over estimating demand too..

    I need to devote some times to testing these on all the brands and models I can get my hands on to build up a list of 'successes' until then I'd recommend waiting on acquiring any specific brands or models of card adapter... unless you know what your doing and want to take risks. I'm not infallible so take what I say with a grain of salt, your experience and success may vary.
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    This is a small memory card, these days

    https://www.frys.com/product/9172248?nearbyStoreName=false&site=frilanding041219

    Isn't finding one that's compatible and with an appropriate capacity these recorders can still handle going to be something of a chore ?

    O.K. -- will await your testing report . . . .

    Our best local Fry's -- a flagship location -- has some of those outsized displays, with a Jules Verne theme. That one is very neat, clean, modern, and well-organized. (Except that they seem to be compelled to totally re-do the aisles every so often, leaving you to wonder where certain items may be now.) One of my fave commercial places; I even get some office supplies there, now that Staples and Ofc. Depot have closed a bunch of their former store locations. There is another Frys that is about the same distance away, but it is old, unkempt, poorly laid out and dingy. You might not recognize it as even being a Frys, and I avoid it.
    Last edited by Seeker47; 12th Apr 2019 at 09:55.
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    Jules Verne.. the Balloon display? I think I've been there once.

    Totally forgot to post here.. we got what looks like all of the panasonic models from 2002-2009 working. They fell into families and then dynasties.. so we could focus on specific features and lap progress across models we hadn't even tested yet. I don't have one of every single model.. too many. But it looks very good. This was as of about 5 am this morning so its recent news.

    Regarding "matching" card sizes.. its not been a problem in my experience.. for example.. last night I took a panasonic EH55 and 'downsized' it from a 200 GB drive to an 80 GB drive using a preformat procedure and then told the recorder to 're-format' the drive.. it quickly did that and didn't complain a bit. I think all the problems of the past were related to trying to stretch the 'limits' in the other direction and different power supply requirements or master slave settings for the drives (ancient tech remember) those drives demanded a 'hogs randsome' in amps and watts.. which to save cost the recorders could barely supply.. when dropping the voltages too far especially during spinup the drives might have wrecked havok on a stressed recorder computer bus.
    Last edited by jwillis84; 12th Apr 2019 at 12:06.
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    Originally Posted by jwillis84 View Post
    Jules Verne.. the Balloon display? I think I've been there once.
    Wrong book -- at least for this location. "20,000 Leagues Under the Sea."

    Image
    [Attachment 48644 - Click to enlarge]
    Image
    [Attachment 48645 - Click to enlarge]
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    Originally Posted by jwillis84 View Post

    The alpha won't release today because we came across a hard drive from a 640 from Vancouver with over 320 recordings on it which seems to get lost after recording 256 and Peter would like to make sure that is included. I joked no one would have have 256 recordings.. but apparently I was proved wrong. The Universe loves to prove me wrong.
    Just checked my 640 that is at one of the equipment stations, and it has 286 items on it. (Many of these are pretty short.) The 460 at another equipment stack lags not far behind on its number. How concerned should I be ? Is there an upper limit that I should avoid at all cost ? I think orsetto may have addressed this question at some point, but I'll need to search for it.

    Periodically, I try to back certain things up, but this effort is always quite far from being caught up.
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    The 640 we tested with has 292 recordings on it.

    We're waiting for feedback for alpha 4.3.3.. Pioneer support is done.

    (2002)*PATA 510
    (2003)*PATA 520
    (2004)*PATA 530, 630
    (2005)*PATA 531, 533, 633
    (2006)*PATA 540, 543, 640
    (2007)*SATA 450, 550, 650
    (2008)*SATA 460, 560, 660


    We're working on Panasonic support at this point.

    (2003) PATA E80H E100H
    (2004)*PATA E85H E95H E500H
    (2005)*PATA EH50 EH60
    (2006)*PATA EH55 EH65 EH75
    (2007) SATA EH57 EH67
    (2008) SATA EH58 EH68
    (2009)*SATA EH59 EH69 EH49
    Last edited by jwillis84; 14th Apr 2019 at 20:58.
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    [QUOTE=jwillis84;2476765]
    Originally Posted by Seeker47 View Post
    [Also, the largest XD cards I've worked with so far are a 128 GB. one I put in my cellphone -- mainly for photos capacity -- and I think maybe a 256 GB. one that went into a streaming box, for extra storage. At least, I hope those were GB rather than MB -- have to double-check on that. There is probably another one too, in a camera proper. They were a bit pricey at the time, but the available capacities have probably gone up since then and the prices down ? However, we probably will not want to be dabbling with anything beyond 256 GB., for these DVDRs. ?]
    Originally Posted by jwillis84 View Post
    Time marches on.. and on and on.. it's been like 17 years since some of these were released.. that's a lot of time in dog years.. even more in Moore's Law years.

    The "smallest" large format SD card I ever saw was a 2 GB SD card I bought for my Moms camcorder in 2010. I am almost certain you can't buy something that small anymore. And I'm genuinely afraid that 256 GB microSD cards might become somewhat rare in the next year or two. I'd point out that finding a 1 TB hard drive new.. can be frustrating. 16 TB is the new "small". That's 16000 GB, or 16000000 MB. We live in the future now.

    It used to be that the "speed" of these cards was a slight barrier.. but fast camcorders and DSLR cameras demanded speed or the cards would not sell. They also had to be made very reliable or people would not use them. Ten years on since I bought that 2 GB card things are even better.

    The problem 17 years ago with 'compatibility' mostly centered on 'speed' from what I can tell.. it wasn't so much brand, or in many cases capacity. They were looking for low cost, low speed (so they were low heat and low power) and that all worked against finding a hard drive that met all those requirements. They were also fragile and clunky and had primitive firmware. Failure rates fresh out of the factory were much higher. The central processor on an SD card today is decades newer than on one of those old hard drives... it would be like putting a iPhone CPU in your 1970 Volvo... no comparison. Its funny to think you even could... images of Doc Brown's DeLorean flicker through my mind.

    The SD adapters were all made around 2010.. and they aren't re-designing them from what I can see. They are on the cusp of disappearing as well being almost 10 years old.. so they are a bridge technology too.. just barely within reach.. stretching this technological time warp rubber band to the limits. I would say it looks like this upgrade is at a [Now or Never] phase.

    But so far its been hit or miss.. CF works in one case, SD in another.. I have found no ryhme or reason to it.. but only had 30 minutes to run through about five recorders before getting back to testing other stuff. It might have been "pre-formatting" is required like with a Pioneer 633 or Panasonic EH55 or the speed of some of these adapters maybe too fast, or need a Master/Slave jumper because Cable Select wasn't used by a particular DVR.. many possibilities.. its a project unto its own.
    Last I heard, I think you were still running tests.

    Are we getting closer to some specific recommendations -- and sources -- for memory cards, adapters / connectors, brackets or holders to be used in these transfer & replacement operations -- particularly as applies to the Pioneer units ? You had indicated that time might not be working in our favor when it comes to availability. I'd like to stock up on whatever may be needed that is known to work.
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    I'm in Boston until tomorrow. Peter is back in Europe now (his other home).

    I've almost forgot to post here.

    We focused on testing all of the Panasonics that I had until he and I left on our trips, Pana 2002-2011 recorders supported, but not every single model tested.. and got support up through Panasonic Blu-ray recorders. Details would just make this post really long.

    To answer the direct question about Compact Flash or SD card cartridge style replacements.. nothing new.. well except.. I finally got a PQI Aircard from Japan to play with.. when I get time. The PQI card is a tristate SD to wiFi card.. which means you can use the SD card in an SD to IDE adapter and access it simultaneously over WiFi while its being used.. long term I'd like to make it an iSCSI target for windows.. but that's a long shot.. so still collecting ideas.

    I only have details regarding the first testing I did, which was in the way of trying to replace larger hard drives with smaller SD cards in the GB range so that I could make quick raw disk images to send for analysis by Peter.

    So today he verified IB works with EH58 and E100H.. I think maybe this weekend or next week we will get more of the Magnavoxes 535, 557 (maybe).. but the 515 will have to wait they are so rare and expensive I can't touch one for testing right now. I do have an 865, 867 I might look at.

    The goal has been broad coverage first.. brand and model.. but we are running out of brands and models that anyone seems interested in.. in fact the interest is so low.. its probably slowing us down.. so I may start testing HDD to SD conversion. I noticed Lexar announced their first 1 TB microSD card the other day.. that's 1000 GB .. 160 GB is a lot less than that.

    The HDD to SD works with more than just the Pioneers, but I understand that is your specific interest.

    Its important to understand that the Pioneers (not the Sony Pioneers ?) require a service remote and authorization CD in order to authorize an SD to IDE adapter.. and I have not tested it with the SD to SATA adapters that I have. So far I've only used SINTECH brand.. which are a generic 8051 microprocessor emulator for an IDE HDD.. nothing sophisticated.. and quite old.. they sell for about $10 or less in many places like amazon or ebay. SD card to flat ribbon cable adapters which have either microSD or full size SD dongles sell for about $9 from the same places and can easily fit between the metal of the cover and the lip of the chassis.. so no hole or slots need to be drilled. The Toshiba XS54 required CF not SD.. but it was only only one quick test.. the testing was not robust.. it could be much more flexible when double checked. Panasonics require "factory preformatting" for models after the EH55, mostly because of TVGOS code in the top of the image I believe.. which can be got around by exporting a few MB of raw disk from a working drive and writing to the top of the emulated IDE drive... then those recorders will accept the drive and go ahead and complete the formatting.

    So I'm listing a lot of preliminary information here.. and I'm glad at least one person in the world is interested.. I will get back to it. For now though I think we're still trying to finish off the IB support for DVRs. You will still need IB to read the recordings off the ejectable SD, microSD or CompactFlash cards when plugged into a PC or Mac or Linux computer. They can't be "mounted" but IB can interpret them and present them as if they where file folders for copying recordings off.. through its GUI or command line.

    Oh and.. I got clarification on Features versus version.

    IB is a Product, it offers some features for free trial, like being able to view that recordings it recognizes are available for export/recovery from a HDD.. but to actually do the export/recovery you need at least the "Professional" version license. I bought a Professional version license very early on, to me the cost was very low for a piece of software that made data recovery so easy.. once he added DVR support, its value to me increased dramatically.

    So the alpha releases with this support are pre-Beta and have had limited testing.. mostly by me.. The Beta release will include additional GUI changes to make working with DVRs even easier.. but its phenomenally good right now.

    And to further clarify.. I'm not the author of IB.. I am a customer of IB.. and I don't work for IB.. I am simply a customer testing the Alpha releases and providing feedback to the author just like anyone else could do.. and I write really long postings about it.
    Last edited by jwillis84; 9th May 2019 at 19:50.
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    Thanks for all your replies -- regardless of length !

    I look forward to your dotting the "i's" and crossing the "t's" on whatever gear may serve us best in this endeavor.
    This is a skill I very much would like to acquire, along with certain others like being able to migrate everything-as-is-and-working from one Windows installation or version to another, which Laplink PC-Mover, O&O, and later versions of Acronis or Shadow Protect claim to be able to do, but which I think is more difficult and more fraught with complications than these products would lead you to believe.

    And understood that your connection to IB is peripheral, rather than primary. I have kept my IB license up to date for a long time, but I'm doubting that it happens to be the 'Pro' version; will have to double-check on that, and in any case I don't think a license upgrade would amount to any large hurdle, should that be indicated.
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    Busy three days.

    Peter is back home and I've returned home from Boston.

    Panasonic E100H (and probably E80H) now works. We are wrestling with handling deleted Titles.. IB is recoverying too much.. its confusing to look at old recordings "you should not have access to.." Panasonic EH58 International model is also now supported.

    Unexpectabtly, maganavox 533, 535, 537 should also all now work. And Magnavox 557 now works. From those slim Black av component styles we only lack the 515.. which I can't get hold of even for test. Maganavox from observation went through a period of changing their video storage block size between model familes and it threw us for about half a day before Peter realized what they had done over ten years. (so) mostly the magnavoxes are covered.. maybe.. maybe we will get to the 800 series.. but we have so much to look at elsewhen in those two decades.

    I studied successes and failures of CompactFlash versus microSD card replacements for HDD.. and I'm thinking the problem might be "Industrial vs Consumer" grade cards. In particular SanDisk has been down right "hostile" in overriding specs on their CF cards.. so steering clear of them now. Lexar has been somewhat aloof as well and not honoring specs.. only Transcend offers two definite on spec lines of CF cards.. and clearly states what they are designed to do.. they cost about middle of the road.. but dispell massive confusion.. they actually work with people. Kingston is sort of easier to use.. but kind of wishy washy.. saying trust us.. we're compliant.. and not backing it up with documentation.

    There are also three kinds of CF to IDE and SATA cards, TrueIDE (stopped production in 2009), CF/IDE and CF/SATA.

    TrueIDE was the best.. and gave the most flexiblity.. but they were made and designed for Amiga Retro enthusiasts.. in Germany by one company.. new old stock is still available in UK and Spain.. but its not certain how much remains. Basically to get around lousy spec compliance, they put a smart chip on the adapter to "read and filter" the communciations between the CF and the host.. and inserted data if the CF card was non-spec.. or loose in its interpretation of spec.

    CF/IDE can be Maste/Slave or Cable Select jumpered or automatic.. jumpered is better.. but not all are. If you use one of these $5 or $10 adapters the CF card has to be "on spec".. which unless its Transcend is getting to be more and more difficult.

    CF/SATA you also have to use "on spec" meaning probably Transcend.

    Its a real mystery why SanDisk is so hostile to people who actually want to buy their product.. a real mystery. Its not that you can't find them on Amazon or other places.. its that they lock down the cards so they aren't useful for anything except photos or as paperweights.

    Lexar is similar... but not hostile.. just not helpful either.

    Kingston is.. well not "trying to help".. maybe it costs too much time?

    Trascend seems to be out there on the edge exploring all markets and putting out new designs and products reguarly.. they aren't the cheapest.. but they are in the game to win.

    By the way.. TrueIDE does't mean what it used to mean.. it was a product by a company in 2009, today its a term used in the latest Specification for CF, there are other terms as well. But TrueIDE is the most confusing since it had a previous meaning.

    TrueIDE support does not mean it has a smart chip in the CF card or CF adapter (unless its actually a TrueIDE brand and model CF adapter).

    I get conflicted looking at the problem.

    Opening the case and removing the hard drive for copying all the recordings off seems a lot easier than retro fitting an old recorder with hard to find parts.

    If (only) eSATA were still an option.

    These days Bitcoin miners have external pci ports or SATA ports with bulkhead connectors.. and do away with the need for eSATA or any other media.

    I emailed IcyDock about a DVD burner replacement form factor for a CF or SD card slot.. but never got back to them when they asked "send specs".. partly because I was coming to realize.. 2009 was a long time ago.. and these recorders are lots older than that.. it may be that sticking with HDD is more viable.

    The Panasonic E100H was designed in 2001 and brought to market in 2002 !!

    .. musings
    Last edited by jwillis84; 17th May 2019 at 10:17.
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    < . . . Snip >
    Originally Posted by jwillis84 View Post
    I get conflicted looking at the problem.

    Opening the case and removing the hard drive for copying all the recordings off seems a lot easier than retro fitting an old recorder with hard to find parts.

    If (only) eSATA were still an option.

    These days Bitcoin miners have external pci ports or SATA ports with bulkhead connectors.. and do away with the need for eSATA or any other media.

    I emailed IcyDock about a DVD burner replacement form factor for a CF or SD card slot.. but never got back to them when they asked "send specs".. partly because I was coming to realize.. 2009 was a long time ago.. and these recorders are lots older than that.. it may be that sticking with HDD is more viable.

    The Panasonic E100H was designed in 2001 and brought to market in 2002 !!

    .. musings
    Sounds like you have done a 180 re the direction you were leaning previously ? In that event, perhaps my years-ago stockpiling of some 160 & 320 GB. drives -- expressly for this DVDR-replacement purpose -- was not such a bad idea after all ? That is, unless you happen to believe in "sticktion", which someone told me about a long time ago. (That is where new HDDs left in the box for a number of years will supposedly have the platter(s) seize up . . . which could have been prevented had they been spun up initially and periodically.) Guess I may eventually find out about that.

    Nevertheless, I like to stock certain hardware that may be of a particular use, especially if it has become difficult to obtain or is likely headed in that direction. These adapters, certain type memory cards etc. fall into that category.

    I know of the Icydock brand, but don't think I have anything of theirs yet. For example, for DIY External portable 3.5" HDDs, I like the (discontinued) Antec Veris MX-1, and have a few of those in use. They can still be found on eBay, but now mostly as Used, the NOS supply having mostly dried up. It is good quality, with an internal fan, and does both USB-2 & e-SATA, which matches up well with the (older) Shuttle SFF cube boxes I standardized on quite some time ago. It would only be bettered if the USB was USB-3 instead of 2. I've liked the StarTech dual slot duplicator dock with USB-3 + e-SATA, and an available adapter to handle 2.5" laptop HDDs. [Yeah, I know: the world has moved on to SSDs, which I don't particularly like. I'm behind the times in various categories . . . but I like what I like, regardless !] Plugable also makes some higher quality gear. I have a sled-type docking station of theirs on my desk that does 2.5" or 3.5" HDDs, over a USB-3 connection. If it also did e-SATA that would have been perfect, but I think they never made e-SATA units. There is always a lot of cheaply made junk on the market, so you really come to appreciate the ones that stand out, and the ones that last.
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    Originally Posted by Seeker47 View Post

    Sounds like you have done a 180 re the direction you were leaning previously ?
    A little frustration venting in a lot of directions, because I'm working on projects towards these ends in a lot of directions.

    We keep adding recorders to the IsoBuster catalog of supported recorders, and its grown to over 52 tested and verified.. oops 54 now. I think we've locked it, for like the third or forth time.. but I shouldn't complain since we got so many I assumed we would never ever be able to touch. Its turned into a monster program in a tiny program, with a great user interface.. and very inexpensive for everything. It kind of feels like after all the work it should be a collection of programs, or add-on modules you could buy separately. It is impressive.

    Back to the topic of "pluggable" media however. CompactFlash has kind of gotten old before I ever knew it, it morphed into this carrier format with hollow cartridges to adapt SDXC and microSD cards into the CompactFlash format. So there's one area of frustration.. all the choices. Native CompactFlash, microSD, or SD.

    And I still don't know why some recorders work fine with microSD but not CompactFlash or vice versa. I wish it made sense.. but I'm suspecting it has more to do with the specific operating system in the recorder and its tolerance for different drive behaviors.. things I can't know without a lot of work. In the end it will have to come down to lots more testing.. trial and error.. no general rules.. ugh.

    I also got distracted by discoveries over in the Apple Mac world regarding very cheap AJA Io Uncompressed capture devices.. and I've been wanting to get back to making videos of using IsoBuster on Mac and Linux with DVD hard drives.

    To answer your question about "stiction".. I think magnetic drives will always be more convenient, and keeping the data in motion a wise thing to do.. but perhaps via a passive duplication in a drive dock duplicator. For long term archive and safe guard however.. dumping the recordings to Blu-ray which have no moving parts will also probably be wise. Today Blu-ray is scanned by rotating the disks.. but in a few years I'm willing to bet the laser beam will be rotated itself, or deflected in a way that the reflected light could be picked up by an array of sensors and reassembled.. which might mean we've already arrived at the beginning of a type of holographic storage that might appear to degrade but could be read by more sophisticated machines far far into the future..

    So.. two magnetic copies and one Blu-ray copy are probably best. As for a database.. I'm not sure. People got along for millennia by trying to encode things by putting labels on them.. and a database can be a thumbnail.. or a simple data stamp. Indexes have always required more work and a contexual, personal assessment and guess at the most useful ways to categorize things.. but I think that's over kill for lots and lots of recordings. In the end it may not matter. A simple guid.. like a date stamp plus a sequential number might be all we can do.. and let some smart A.I. figure it all out for us later. "Alexa find a recording with some wedding footage in it, and bring me thumbnails.."

    Regarding what to stock pile.. I think anything "pre" PMR or 2011 is a good bet, which means anything 2 TB or less. Its a wild stab in the dark, but my experience so far has been recorders that only address 28 or 32 bit LBA simply see those larger drives as big, but only to the limit they can support. After PMR hard drives got crazy fast and that may confuse some of this older hardware.. they may be missing the return signal that a read or write has already completed. Also "post" PMR default block sizes changed from 512 to 1024, 2048 and 4096 it was rather chaotic for a while, extra jumpers to "dumb" them down.. didn't work so well. So 2 TB or below would be a good range to stock pile. - I've seen some people report that ALE or AAM features "might" be important, or ultra low power, ultra low heat.. but none of that has ever really proved out in my experience. The real culprit seems to be a misunderstanding when certain brands began including extra TVGOS databases or part of their firmware on the drives rather than only in eeprom/nvram.
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    Originally Posted by jwillis84 View Post
    I've almost forgot to post here.

    We focused on testing all of the Panasonics that I had until he and I left on our trips, Pana 2002-2011 recorders supported, but not every single model tested.. and got support up through Panasonic Blu-ray recorders.

    . . .

    The goal has been broad coverage first.. brand and model.. but we are running out of brands and models that anyone seems interested in.. in fact the interest is so low.. its probably slowing us down.. so I may start testing HDD to SD conversion. I noticed Lexar announced their first 1 TB microSD card the other day.. that's 1000 GB .. 160 GB is a lot less than that.

    The HDD to SD works with more than just the Pioneers, but I understand that is your specific interest.
    Hoping that you might still be aware of (or notified of new posts to) this thread. Otherwise, I may try a PM to you.

    Out of necessity, I'm going to bump something related that I had brought up before. Another DirecTV DVR sat box is starting to fail here, and I don't think that its HDD has any major involvement in this. In the past, I've lost a considerable quantity of never-viewed and possibly rare material when one of these boxes went down. (Yes, I do my best to back up the most important items to a Pio DVDR -- albeit in SD -- but that process invariably lags well behind what ideally should have been done.) I realize that this is a long shot, because these sat or cable boxes almost certainly do have the proprietary format &/or encryption that was apparently not the case when you went to do the IB recoveries on all those DVDRs, but if there is any chance of success whatsoever I'd like to try to apply your IB backup technique to those DTV sat box HDDs. I can attempt to follow your steps as best I can, but if necessary I might also be able to supply a sample HDD.

    While it may technically be possible to mount one of those well-recorded-to HDDs inside a new DVR sat box of the same model, I think they may be "keyed" (paired) to a particular sat box motherboard and possibly also its unique access card. (?) My understanding was that it was possible to attach an external HDD to the sat box's auxiliary e-SATA port, but that doing so would deactivate the internal HDD, and it might cause an auto-reformat of the external one. In any case, I think that approach is fraught with problems.
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    I've had recent contact with Peter, and we talked a little bit about trying to add support for more "things".

    A Sat recorder is all over the map with regards to encryption.

    I can't even speculate without a Brand and model number.

    The truth of the matter, based on a lot of experience is the CPUs from back then were far too weak to encrypt the video.. video is high bandwidth (bits traveling fast) so to catch them in a capture file.. let alone format them in a ready to burn to DVD format.. everything has to cascade downwards towards the targeted format. So the video ends up on the hard drive for the most part in its final intended format.. or close to it.

    Taking the time to encrypt that video is wasteful and with a weak CPU (aka cheap) they could not afford it. Later TiVo technology licensing changed all of that, and independent chips dedicated to scrambling and de-scrambing (aka Encryption) came down in cost and started being included.. this also drove up the cost of the recorder.

    Encryption costs money, costs someone money.. and while competing based on the cost of the recorder.. you almost need a monopoly to afford it. Tivo and DirectTV in the US pretty much got that monopoly. SONY had the encryption chips first from their Playstation efforts.. so they were early encryption adopters.

    For most of the other "things" that recorded video.. they simply spewed the video out on the hard drive and if you know what a video file format looks like its relatively easy to recover the file.

    DVD and Blu-ray recorders had a Title layering system to assist in removing commercials and burning to disc.. which complicated things and made it "look like" the video was scrambled or encoded.. it was not for the most part.. so if the device burned to disc.. its even more likely not to be encrypted. Isobusters brilliance was in recognizing the Titling system and automatically putting the chunks of distributed video back into single sequential recordings.. interpreting bits and bytes it found on the hard drive that contained the Title name recording date and length and presenting them in a menu system for copying off the drive. It in no way "mounts" or uses the native file system format of the recorder "thing" if anything its forensic in its "discovery" and "presentation" of recordings found for "recovery". And "Recovery" is the proper term since "copy" implies an understanding of the recorders file system or firmware.. Isobuster knows nothing about that.. its a truly brilliant piece of clever engineering.. approaching an A.I. level of intelligence.

    Update: to clarify all that back story.

    The answer to whether IB could support backing up your video is "it depends" mostly on how old the Sat recorder is, and whether it supported burning to DVD. If the Sat recorder could burn to DVD increases the chances of success because its probably in an easy to discover format on the hard drive.

    An older Sat recorder increases the chances because the Sat companies (did not want to partner with Tivo) they wanted to sue them out of existence, but their patents held up and they eventually partnered to corner the market. By that time they were basically rebranded Tivos.

    The easiest "certainty" for backing up your video is to take the outputs from the Sat box and route them into a DVD with HDD recorder and re-record them at high speed (XP quality) real time (aka "slow") to the DVD with HDD recorder. Then take that HDD out and read it with IB to access your video. DVD recorders never "crossed" the HDMI/Digital 2.0 finish line.. so any hook ups between a Sat recorder and DVD/HDD will have to be over component or s-video. (and) some Sat boxes will detect a no-Copy flag in saved video and block playing it back over those types of output.
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    Thanks for your reply.

    For the last several years of my DirecTV service, I had standardized on the HR-24 series, usually -500 or -100 sub-models thereof. That was in part because their later "Genie" series hardware dropped certain features that I required, such as the S-Video output. (The highest quality 'Out' available that could be fed into the Pioneer DVD recorders.) Those DTV sat boxes never offered any sort of disc option; that's what the Pioneer recorders were for, with the added benefit of being able to do commercial removal, content editing, chaptering & titling etc. on the Pioneer's own HDD. I've done quite a lot of that, and if I ever ran into any Copy Flag issues with it this would have been so seldom that I can't recall any cases of it now. Of course, those "transferred" recordings would often be stepping down from HD quality to the upper reaches of the DVDR's SD quality for DVD -- at best. (If it was a crisp-looking older B&W film -- say from broadcast on TCM-HD channel -- then MN21 setting on the Pioneer would usually be quite adequate, with a 2-hour film neatly filling all or most of a burned DVD.)

    From my longtime reading here on VH, I gather that it was at least theoretically possible to shoot content out of the Component or HDMI taps on the DTV sat box, into one of those standalone game recorder boxes that met certain specs and recorded onto a memory card, and thereby to obtain a copy in HD quality. However, this likely required some intermediary device to overcome the Copy Flag or HDMI blocking. (?) Or some people must have been going from the sat box into something like an Avermedia or HD Fury card in their HTPC, or to and thru something like the Blackmagic Intensity (standalone) box, in order to do this ? [Otherwise, how to account for the untold tons of stuff that continually turns up rather promptly on the Scene Release circuit ?] I don't know whether any encryption may be going on inside the sat receivers that I've had. What I'd always heard was that mounting one of their HDDs in or in connection to your computer -- for retrieval purposes -- would be unavailing. But I don't know for sure. The things mentioned in this paragraph have been beyond my hobbyist level.

    All that said, I'm willing to experiment in order to find out definitively whether what you did with the DVDR HDDs could have any application to these sat DVR box HDDs. (If it did, or to some of the cable DVR box HDDs, that discovery would be huge. I think it could potentially involve a much larger audience than for the Toshiba, Panasonic, and Pioneer DVDR users -- combined.)

    I don't know what sort of a future I may have with DTV service: their customer support has gone completely to crap, ever since AT&T took over. Complaints from customers and former customers are burgeoning at an alarming rate. It happens that I have owned -- rather than leased -- my DTV hardware for a long time. (Otherwise, it would be violating their property to even open the case.) One of their terrible company decisions that would contribute to driving me away as a customer was the recent one to outlaw any further user-owned hardware, beyond a certain date which has now passed. But people are still buying and selling these receivers on eBay, oblivious to the fact that they are now dealing in large doorstops that cannot ever be activated for DirecTV service -- even though these may be formerly and properly owned-and-in-good-standing equipment. I think people are starting to catch on though, because these sales have clearly been diminishing.

    Whatever happens, I still have that big accumulated surplus of recorded material, which I would very much like to salvage. Some of it might still be dumped off to the Pioneer recorder . . . but the sat box that is starting to fail no longer responds at all to any DTV remote, so trying to do anything with it is extremely cumbersome, at the least. There is a very minimal functionality via the front panel controls . . . and that sat box has already exceeded the typical longevity that I've seen from these.
    Last edited by Seeker47; 14th Oct 2019 at 14:43.
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  25. Seeker47, chances are you're going to need an HDMI capture device (either standalone like the Avermedia or a PC-hosted dongle/card). There is no special decrypter necessary: just check the latest threads here re which inexpensive current "HDMI Splitter" models facilitate passthru to an HDMI capture unit. This will let you archive those satellite recordings in full HD, if you are no longer interested in downconverting to SD for Pioneer dvd capture. Of course it would be a tedious real time capture, no different to your Pioneer workflow, requiring the original DVR to survive the task list.

    Faster, direct file scraping by connecting the HDD to a PC probably won't work. Satellite DVRs are individually encrypted in such a manner that the HDD files almost always read as gibberish to anything but the originating DVR: once it croaks, the recordings are rendered useless. While the recent ISObuster dvd recorder salvage capability is nothing short of amazing, it is unlikely to recognize encrypted satellite or cable DVR recordings.
    Last edited by orsetto; 14th Oct 2019 at 15:26.
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    Seeker47.. an interesting story.. and challenge.

    Hmm.

    No doesn't look possible, textbook example of lock-in.

    From looking at other peoples solution to similar problems. While the content appears to be encrypted the file system appears to be based on XFS.. and some people have successfully cloned the "failing" drive to another and then run XFS repair tools on the cloned drive to bring the file system back to a condition in which they could re-insert the clone drive into the "exact" same HR24.. which could then playback the recordings. Sometimes all that was necessary was cloning to a new drive and the DVR could recover on its own after that step.

    The problem seems to be more often than not a failing hard drive with potentially damaged sectors.. so running a repair on the "failing" hard drive would simply incur greater damage to the system and not solve anything.

    The DVR in question (a model HR24) appears to have been a stable platform.. but it generated a lot of heat over time and this led to terminal failure of the hard drive on a somewhat regular predictable schedule.

    As stated before the encryption key is tied to the serial number of the exact same DVR (HR24) used to make the recordings.. so transferring the drive to a different DVR (another HR24) would not restore the ability to play back the recordings.. its more often than not the hard drive that is failing, not the recorder.

    If you get it in that state.. then playing back and "capturing the s-video or hdmi playback" on a different recording device would probably be the most productive use of your time.

    Its also very true that IsoBuster "does not" decrypt anything, specifically and "on purpose" it does not even attempt to recover encrypted files. It merely finds video segments and intuitively matches them to recording names and whatever meta data seems to be nearby in its namespace. the segment themselves "seem" to have a way of pointing head to tail at additional segments and this is built-into the video file format by design.. its public knowledge. Ordering and making these accessible as a list in an easy to use menu system is a convenience factor.. it could be done by a command line.. and Isobuster does have a command line interface available.. or Isobuster can generate a report and not go any further.

    But even if Isobuster did "Recover" a video file.. if its protected by encryption.. it won't be playable by traditional video players because the encryption would be integral to the video file itself. I explain this to "save you time" in making it do something it is designed to do (recover lost data files) but then "save you time" when trying to play those files back.. they won't play because the files themselves would then be encrypted.. even if you could recover them.

    Normally this isn't an issue.. since most DVRs do not use a file system.. perhaps because file system formats are copyrighted or patented by some companies, or because DVRs don't need them.. video files do not have to be stored in a file system.. they are bit and byte streams on a hard disk.. you grab the end of one and like a thread follow them to their end. So you don't need a file system to find or read them.. and this protects you from patent use claims. But apparently "in this case" the HR24 "does" use a well known file system.. so Isobuster would go into file recovery mode and might possibly pull those video files off (Isobuster knows about over 200 different file systems).. but the recovered files would absolutely "not" be playable. (so) in this case I didn't want you to get false hope and waste your time.
    Last edited by jwillis84; 15th Oct 2019 at 16:25.
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  27. Member Seeker47's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by orsetto View Post
    Seeker47, chances are you're going to need an HDMI capture device (either standalone like the Avermedia or a PC-hosted dongle/card). There is no special decrypter necessary: just check the latest threads here re which inexpensive current "HDMI Splitter" models facilitate passthru to an HDMI capture unit. This will let you archive those satellite recordings in full HD, if you are no longer interested in downconverting to SD for Pioneer dvd capture. Of course it would be a tedious real time capture, no different to your Pioneer workflow, requiring the original DVR to survive the task list.

    Faster, direct file scraping by connecting the HDD to a PC probably won't work. Satellite DVRs are individually encrypted in such a manner that the HDD files almost always read as gibberish to anything but the originating DVR: once it croaks, the recordings are rendered useless. While the recent ISObuster dvd recorder salvage capability is nothing short of amazing, it is unlikely to recognize encrypted satellite or cable DVR recordings.
    Thanks very much, orsetto. I was really hoping you would see this and lend your expertise. It seemed to me that this encryption thing on those sat or cable box HDDs was for real (as far as the PC-scraping possibility), and now you've just confirmed it. However they do it, special chips or otherwise. HBO and all the other Big Content folks must have insisted on this. If someone like you, or some very advanced hacker/hobbyist on AVSforum or elsewhere ever cracked this, it would certainly be a game-changer. Too bad it is outside the purview of IsoBuster. (And it turns out that I did have the Pro level license.)

    That particular sat DVR box was all but dead in the water, without the use of the remote: without it, one loses convenient browsing or scheduling, Pause, status checks, Ffwd. or Reverse, and so much more that makes it all worthwhile. What remains is very rudimentary and cumbersome in operation. I tried 3 of the appropriate DTV remotes that I have on hand, with fresh batteries. So it wasn't a remotes failure. My working assumption was that some necessary component in the receiver must have died. I've never had one of those boxes go much more than 3 - 4 years before it croaked. If the power supply went, I might be able to replace it with a spare. If the main board went, it would be game over; if the HDD, quite possibly ditto, but I could try to replace it. But other things can or have failed in the past, like the networking capability. Some folks claim to have had much better luck, though I personally have seen no evidence that these things were built to last. (Relatives had Tivo for a few years, and the Tivo boxes never seemed to go for much more than about 2 years.) In all of these cases, we've had good power protection ahead of the electronics as standard procedure -- for whatever that may be worth. (You take whatever preventative counter-measures you can take . . . . ) In the past, I had only lost one Walmart/Funai DVDR to an electrical surge mishap, although an old non-DVR sat box in the same equipment stack now appears to be a more recent casualty.

    Now, this morning, that primary DTV sat box seems to suddenly and mysteriously be responding to its remote again. We'll see if that situation lasts. In any case, that box at this point is pushing up against its longevity curve. So I think the writing is probably on the wall. I did buy a couple of those View-HD splitters (2-port or more), back when they were a hot topic of discussion. Have to see how much of that recorded material truly merits an HD-level rescue, before diving into those higher-res capture options. The Pioneer workflow is pretty much something I could do in my sleep these days, if & when time permits. And I have gotten quite good at running down copies online that others have already captured, often in HD. However, some items are just too rare and resist being found -- at all. I always keep a list, and a lookout.
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  28. Member Seeker47's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by jwillis84 View Post
    Seeker47.. an interesting story.. and challenge.

    Hmm.

    No doesn't look possible, textbook example of lock-in.

    From looking at other peoples solution to similar problems. While the content appears to be encrypted the file system appears to be based on XFS.. and some people have successfully cloned the "failing" drive to another and then run XFS repair tools on the cloned drive to bring the file system back to a condition in which they could re-insert the clone drive into the "exact" same HR24.. which could then playback the recordings. Sometimes all that was necessary was cloing to a new drive and the DVR could recover on its own after that step.

    The problem seems to be more often than not a failing hard drive with potentially damaged sectors.. so running a repair on the "failing" hard drive would simply incur greater damage to the system and not solve anything.

    The DVR in question (a model HR24) appears to have been a stable platform.. but it generated a lot of heat over time and this led to terminal failure of the hard drive on a somewhat regular predictable schedule.

    As stated before the encryption key is tied to the serial number of the exact same DVR (HR24) used to make the recordings.. so transferring the drive to a different DVR (another HR24) would not restore the ability to play back the recordings.. its more often than not the hard drive that is failing, not the recorder.

    If you get it in that state.. then playing back and "capturing the s-video or hdmi playback" on a different recording device would probably be the most productive use of your time.
    Thanks for looking into this, and for the detailed clarifications. It all sounds pretty consistent with what I have observed -- as just a regular longtime user. Somehow I'm doubting that this heat-based failure scenario ever got resolved, in the later generation of Genie models. Even though the lack of S-Video connections then take Pioneer or other DVDRs off the table, they (Genie) might still be amenable to the HDMI or Component Out capture options. Since I was so heavily invested in the Pioneer DVDR option (arguably the most user-friendly editing and features ever, for people who did this), it was a deal-breaker for me. Curiously enough, I never had any of those Pioneers go bad on me . . . so they must have been doing something right ! Probably no one used them more heavily than orsetto, so I wonder if his experience tallied with mine ?
    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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  29. Originally Posted by Seeker47 View Post
    Curiously enough, I never had any of those Pioneers go bad on me . . . so they must have been doing something right ! Probably no one used them more heavily than orsetto, so I wonder if his experience tallied with mine ?
    Yes, indeed: I've never had a Pioneer fail catastrophically, not even the 510, 520 or 530 which were made during the worldwide pandemic of counterfeit defective Chinese capacitors (which that epic scandal alone should have gotten the country completely shunned as a trading partner for anything ever after, but the West is so inanely greedy for improbably underpriced garbage...)

    The only Pioneer DVR component that fails with regularity is the optical drive: the main units, motherboards and power supplies are much more durable than average. Of course, the optical drive is the heart of the entire device' purpose, so its death used to be ruinous. With the new ISObuster scraping capability, new options to continue using the HDD section of the DVR became possible (migrate the HDD recordings to a PC for archiving or disc authoring).

    Re the failing satellite DVRs: the greatest likelihood of breakdown would be in the capacitors. Unless there is a death knell power surge thru an open power cap, I'd be very surprised if the controller board and microprocessor were prone to failure. I'm pretty sure one of the specialty techs who revive old TiVOs could repair a faltering satellite DVR: the basic design is the same, bu since the devices are technically owned by the satellite provider most shops would not "officially" take them in for repair. If you could somehow cultivate a local electronics repair or computer repair shop technician, I'm sure they could restore your satellite boxes "off book" for a fee. The intermittent response to remote control commands is the telltale sign a failing power supply is destabilizing subcircuits like the IR receiver: replace all the junk caps and there's an excellent chance you could get it working long enough for a real-time HDMI capture (repair might even get the dormant SVHS ports active again). Of course as jwillis84 said, if the HDD itself is failing time may be running out altogether.
    Last edited by orsetto; 15th Oct 2019 at 20:32.
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    Don't forget the Logitech Harmony route for obtaining a Universal remote. They are still available on Amazon, and you can check before you buy with Logitech that they support your exact model HR24.

    There is also a special third party model available on eBay that can not only learn from old remotes but also save the IR codes to a regular PC file so you don't need the Internet. Its completely standalone.

    I mention this because we had a Euro Philips model that we added by special request.. I miraculously found one for sale and brought it over the US.. but could not find a remote for it.. but Logitech Harmony 655 did support it.. and that was enough to do the regular testing to get Isobuster to support it.
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