My drive in my DVR-633H-S has crashed. I've got a spare Maxtor 250GB drive sitting here in my office and I'd like to see if I can replace the HDD to get my DVD recording working again. Is it a simple swap or do I need to format the new HDD in a certain way ... if so, where do I get that code?
Thanks in advance.
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This thread should help you:
The posts claim that this method works on your model.
Stupid Pioneer requires you to use a special disc (CD? DVD?) to set up the drive. You might try looking on Bit Torrent sites to see if someone's got it available as I don't know but Pioneer may not be real inclined to sell this to customers. Many manufacturers don't like customers doing their own repairs, hence why I say that Pioneer may not sell it to you. Then again they may. I have no idea.
My advice is that you list your 633 on eBay as a parts or repair unit, and get rid of it. You will save yourself a world of hurt. I buy, repair and resell all Pioneer models as a hobby, and based on my experiences the 533/633 are a waste of time trying to fix when they go: I no longer buy broken ones or accept them for repair jobs. They're hopeless: even Pioneer gave up servicing them under warranty, and instead replaced them with the followup 640 model back in 2006.
The USA/Canada 531-533-633 models use a bastardized version of TVGOS installed as a software program on the hard drive. Instead of being a subsystem, like it was on other brand TVGOS recorders, in the Pioneers it is installed on the boot blocks of the HDD and the entire machine depends on it. When the hard drive corrupts, it often also corrupts the firmware on the motherboard which depends on TVGOS operating properly. It is a horrible, convoluted mess to sort out when the hard drive fails: there is a LOT more to repairing the TVGOS units than simply putting in a new hard drive. You need the special service remote and service disc, which Pioneer USA does not sell but are sometimes available from Pioneer Canada for a total of $135-150. If you have a programmable remote like a Harmony or Palm Pilot, there are ways to "fake" the Pio service remote signals with those, but its hard to pull off successfully. The service disc GGV1179 available on public torrent sites is outdated and often corrupt, I suggest contacting Hakan at pioneerfaq.info for advice on where to find a service disc if Pioneer won't sell you one (better version for the 633 is GGV1256).
These two Pioneer service tool requirements are solvable with some effort, and work fine to repair and upgrade most Pioneer recorders, EXCEPT the 531-533-633. These require the added step of installing the special TVGOS software on any replacement hard drive before it goes into the recorder. The steps necessary to do that are just ridiculous: you need to run a specific version of Linux on a PC, connect a hard drive to it that is completely clean and unformatted or figure out how to wipe it effectively (not as easy as you'd think). The boot blocks of the drive must be set up with a Linux command string. The correct TVGOS software version must be downloaded from the pioneerfaq site, and copied to the new HDD again using a specific Linux command string which is not consistent from HDD to HDD or identical for every 633 serial number. That last bit is the killer: you have to have some familiarity with Linux in order to "guess" how to reword the command string if the suggested string fails. The only way to determine if it failed is to install the drive in the 633 and see if it works without an error alert- usually it takes three or four installation/reprogram/reinstall procedures to get it right, if you ever do. In the unlikely event you do succeed, odds are the motherboard was contaminated by the original HDD failure and will contaminate your new drive in a matter of weeks, causing the same problem all over again. Plus, the burners in these machines are at end-of-life and could go out on you not long after you do the HDD repair.
The 2005 Pioneers are the haunted mansion of consumer electronics: if yours breaks, kiss it goodbye and let some other fool try to fix it. The 633 is inexplicably popular on eBay, even busted ones fetch $150 or more. Sell yours before the USA ATSC switchover in June pulls the plug on analog TVGOS broadcasts and kills the residual value of a broken 633. Take the money you make from selling it and buy a new Pioneer 460 from one of the four Canadian eBay dealers who list them periodically- its a FAR more robust and reliable recorder than the 633, has all the same features (except TVGOS) plus adds HDMI output and DVD-RAM recording capability. Operating menus and screens are the same. Average selling price for a "new open box" Pio 460 is $229-279. Trust me on this, you're WAY better off replacing the 633 than trying to fix it. Pioneer Service itself will not even touch these anymore, now that they're past warranty.
"The 633 is inexplicably popular on eBay"
I think I know why. Just try to buy anything like it anywhere, and by "like it", I mean both user friendly software as well as hardware competence. In the 20+ years I've been heavily using consumer electronics I find very few devices have software that is truly friendly. Most get the basics well enough, but few remain friendly when trying to use middle to advanced functions. My 633's user feature set is the sweetest of any consumer electronics item I've ever used, and that's a lot, from Beta, VHS, Satellite, Computer, Camera & more. It's the centerpiece for my entertainment control, due to friendliness, triple inputs, dual outputs.
I'm in US and don't seem to be able to find any new HD recorder not made by Phillips available for sale from a US source trying to sell US destination product. Someone please prove me wrong, as if personal history and hours used is any indication, it's time for my 633 to die.
I'd love a newer one from Pioneer with only a few changes/upgrades:
1-plays BluRay disks
2-records all types of DVDs, including DL
3-HDTV ATSC/QAM tuner (NTSC is history in less than 6 weeks)
5-16:9-friendly menu output
6-working program guide that can actually be disabled (I don't have adequate reception for NTSC off-air to be recording anything that matters)
All Pioneers are popular on eBay, with the even older 520 model by far the most sought after. The only reason anyone opts for the notoriously bad 531-533-633 is that they're the cheapest possible TVGOS machines. They don't realize until after they buy it there's good reason they sell for half the price of a TVGOS Panasonic model: the Panasonics leave them in the dust for reliability and refinement of the TVGOS idea. If you want a robust TVGOS, a Panasonic EH-55 or 75 is the only way to go. But bear in mind analog TVGOS fades away in June, its already disappeared in many cities.
Per my earlier post, Pioneer is exiting the DVD recorder business. The closest thing you can find to your 633 would be the current model 460. Every feature and interface of the 460 is the same as the 633, except it does not have the troublesome Pio TVGOS (it has a pretty straightforward manual timer). It substitutes an RCA coax digital audio output connection for the optical TosLink on the 633, and adds the HDMI and DVD-RAM burning missing from the 633. Otherwise all menus, inputs and outputs are the same. Unfortunately the 460 is the last of the Pioneers and was marketed only in Canada so does not have ATSC tuning. I use it with an outboard ATSC tuner, these cost nothing with the subsidy coupons: add a Zenith DTT-901 or Channel Master CM-7000, preferably both, and you'll have way better ATSC than the crummy built-in tuners of todays "bargain" USA recorders. The only DVD recorder with a reliable ATSC tuner/timer is the Magnavox H2160 DVD/HDD machine at Wal*Mart.com. It isn't as refined as the Pioneers, but is very solid and the most foolproof choice for OTA recording in the USA. I would recommend signing up for cable rather than waste time on any other recorder with internal ATSC- if you don't like the Magnavox, add an external tuner to an old-school recorder.
Based on my failure to find anything to buy besides Phillips, including on Pioneer's web site, I was sure Pioneer was already out of the business.
I have 5 converter boxes in the house. Off-air digital has vastly superior quality to cable, at least around here, and better than satellite too. I had a converter box hooked up to my 633. That sucks up an input that would serve a better use if there was an internal ATSC/QAM tuner. I never have enough inputs on anything around here. If there were 3 inputs on the back it wouldn't be so bad, but it's really messy to waste an input on the front, and worse still to need to devote one to OTA converter box input, not to mention yet another remote to fumble. I have multiple satellite receivers, so need as many inputs as possible. I have more than 20 remotes in the living room that I keep batteries in, and more with no batteries whose necessary functions I have in a couple of programmables.
A Google Products search for DVR-460 turned up no hits for me. Same on Walmart's web site for H2160 under electronics. Hmmm, searching for dvd recorder turned up H2160MW9 Magnavox as first hit. I now have one on order. Still, if I could find a new 460 I'd probably buy it anyway.
I tried using Panasonic DVDR/VHSR machines for a while, but the software was awful, and using DVDs directly instead of a HD is just too primitive and inflexible.
There are a couple of "new open box" Pioneer 460s for sale right now on eBay for $259.99 "Buy It Now", which is a great price. The dealers have been involved with 460s for awhile now and are OK. All 460s shipped from Canada have been "new open box", none are sealed, I wouldn't worry about it (I've never had a problem with one from any seller). I also note a few Pioneer 550 and 650 models currently on auction, these are essentially the same as the 460 but a few months older. When searching eBay, search the phrase "pioneer dvd recorder" instead of looking for a specific model- specific searches always come up zero. Good luck!
So I see. Thanks for the heads up!
Also there is a 250G Pioneer 1080p region code free that doesn't seem to have a model number listed on the eBay ad page. Are you familiar with that? Are there any gotchas over the 460? The listed specs are impressive, but naturally what it cannot do isn't well covered.
"Region free" recorders are special global-market models intended primarily for people who live in Europe. They function in the American NTSC format as an afterthought, mostly as a convenience to Europeans who have friends in North America that send them NTSC discs. They are a pain to use in the USA and definitely not justified at $150-250 more than a Magnavox or Canadian Pioneer. For a variety of reasons not worth detailing under this thread, the "region free" Pioneer recorders are especially annoying to use compared to similar "region free" Panasonics: if you had no choice other than "region free"machines, I'd go with the Panasonics.
If you can get your hands on a Canadian-spec Pioneer x50 or x60 model, thats of course the best way to go. They're more affordable and designed exclusively for Canada/USA (no weird and annoying global settings to trip you up unexpectedly, much easier to use). Within the Pioneer range, the USA/Canada models are great, but the region-free units are awful due to terrible implementation of global-compatibility features that conflict with USA operation.
I ordered a 460 off eBay. The multi-region 1080 can't play bluray, has no facility to record from a HDMI source, and no ATSC/QAM tuner, so I really couldn't see any advantage over the 460. In contrast, the 460 is a prettier basic black, and less than half the price.
With both Magnavox 2160 and Pioneer 460 on order, I should soon be set for a while and be able to take plenty of time to restore operability to my 633, and maybe even recover the videos on both HDs I had in it. I might put a 3rd HD in it, and try to learn how to recover the video files with Linux, BeOS or Mac, or whatever might be able to understand the Pioneer's filesystem.
Thanks much for your responses Orsetto!
orsetto, Hope you are still a member and posting on this forum.
It looks like the time come for my 633. Lately I wasn't able to use it. It acts very weird: I doesn't respond to commands (remote or console), starts doing things by itself, like it starts recording for 1 second, stops, starts again....I have a bunch of 1 sec recordings on my HDD. Sometimes tries to do something else (god knows what) and keep displaying "Operation Not Possible" without me touching it.
Sometimes if I give it bump it works for a while but then it starts acting again. This morning I was able to power it on and start a copy from HDD to DVD but after a few minutes of recording it failed and I gave up.
Do you think I can save it? Maybe by a firmware upgrade? Or maybe just some hard resets? I don't know......
I saw you said it is not worth even trying but maybe mine is not in that bad of a shape. When it powers on I can access the recordings an play them. Haven't try to record anything in a while.
I have a few shows on it that I would like to copy on DVD.
It doesn't sound good, ne@. If you're extremely lucky, a combination of hardware reset and resetting the TVGOS software might bring your unit back to life temporarily, but its on its way out. If you can get it to work normally again, immediately back everything off the hard drive to DVDs, and from that point on use it for timeshifting only. Don't use it for anything critical, because it can and will fail again and the next time it won't be recoverable. I don't mince words about the 531-533-633 anymore: they are not repairable, you must let it go once it craps out on you. The only thing that can save it is another HDD, but getting the necessary software properly loaded onto a replacement HDD is an excercise in utter frustration. For all practical purposes this is beyond DIY repair, you'd have to bring it to Pioneer and cross your fingers they have a leftover pre-formatted HDD to do the repair. Since they will charge upwards of $200 for such service, and the unit is doomed to fail again anyway, it doesn't make sense. Especially not with refurbished Magnavox H2160s selling for $159 and new global Pioneer 660s going for $299-399.
Anyway, first try the hardware reset : hold down the stop button (under the disc tray) and press the power button. The recorder will reboot, and you'll need to reset the clock, the MN speeds, and other initial options. Once this is done, try doing a low-level TVGOS reset to clear possible corruption:
1. If the TVGOS Setup screen does not automatically appear after you reset the recorder, use the Home menu or Timer buttons to get into the system. Go to TVGOS "SETUP" in the top Service Bar ("go to Service Bar" in the left side Menu, then left in Service Bar to "SETUP").
2. Down arrow once to "Change system settings" and HIGHLIGHT. DO NOT press Enter button.
3. With "Change system settings" highlighted, Enter 1st code with number keys: 753159852.
4. When grey menu screen appears, enter 2nd code: 653274147.
5. Turn unit OFF.
6. Turn unit ON.
7. Redo TVG Setup. Go to SETUP again and, this time, select (Enter) "Change system settings."
8. When TVG setup Screen Appears press Enter
9. Choose "Canada"
10. Set Postal Code to A 0(Zero) A 0(Zero) A 0(Zero)
11. Choose Cable
12. Choose No Cable Box
13. When Confirmation appears, select the bottom choice, "No, repeat Setup process."
14. Repeat steps 8 thru 12, but this time confirm all is OK when you get to the last step (save the changes).
15. IMMEDIATELY PROGRAM A PERMANENT MANUAL TIMER RECORDING TO THE HDD (not a DVD), i.e. 5:00am-5:10am Friday repeating weekly so it stays in the system. Otherwise, the moment you power down EPG returns and you have to perform this entire disabling process all over again. You can delete the useless recording from the hard drive every week, donít need to save them.
16. EPG will disappear, never to be seen again!
17. Going forward, use Timer Record with RF/L1/L2/DV by pressing the TIMER REC button. Use arrow keys to navigate the settings fields, using number keys to punch in times and channels to record. You can make adjustments or add/delete manual programs by toggling in and out of TIMER REC and using the MENU key on the remote to cycle thru options. You need to experiment a little to figure out how it works, the instruction book has absolutely no info regarding manual non-EPG timer settings even though the recorder DOES have this function.
Note this reset of the TVGOS system also disables it from trying to find and load the info for the Guide screen, in other words there will be NO MORE TVGOS functionality. You will need to use the manual timer option embedded within the TVGOS screens to set timer recordings. While this is inconvenient if you're spoiled by TVGOS, the TVGOS system has gone dead in most areas of the country so you'd soon need to give it up anyway. Also, the constant downloading of data for the stupid TVGOS system is the very thing that corrupts and destroys these models: if you disable the TVGOS data search, you'll significantly extend the useful life of a 531-533-633.
Hello. My first post here and hope someone can help out. I have just purchased a Pioneer DVR 533 H-S 80GB unit that appears to be working normally ... at the moment. When I first bought it, I quickly recognized based on the feedback here to disable the TV Guide feature. I believe that it's still deactivated but not sure what it does when it attempts to load the guide so I'm not sure.
The clock was set 3 hours ahead but when I went in to the setup to change the time, the boxes were greyed out. So I was unable to change the time. I performed the STOP+POWER reset and I managed to get full control back of the menu options after the reset.
Which now leads me to my next question. Orsetto, you definitely appear to be the resident expert on these units... Do you think based on the positive reset that this would this be a good candidate to clone the HD to another one as a backup? Or since the time was off and the menu had lost some features before the reset, these symptoms are already a sign that the drive is ready to nosedive and I just wasted good money on a bad DVR?
If it helps I found the version info and it is as follows:
Any help would be greatly appreciated. Thanks!
As long as the only weird symptom you've experienced is the greyed-out or disagreeing clocks, your 533 may still be in reasonably good shape. Because of the peculiar way Pioneer integrated (or more accurately, failed to integrate) the TVGOS system with its 531-533-633 recorders, it is not uncommon to see clock issues. There are two clock systems in the 2005 models, the hardware clock and the TVGOS software clock, which fight for control of the machine and sometimes get so conflicted they seize each other up, making adjustments or corrections impossible until you perform a hard reset.
Since you were able to fix the clock after a reset, and have followed the instructions to disable TVGOS automation, your clock issue will probably not recur. The two clocks only start conflicting and crashing when the TVGOS software receives incorrect data from the broadcast signal, or when TVGOS cannot lock onto a data signal at all. Since the USA switched from analog broadcasts to ATSC this past summer, issues with TVGOS-dependent hardware have become widespread. There are a handful of cable stations that are still passing the analog TVGOS data signal, but it has largely disappeared. Better-designed TVGOS recorders, such as the Panasonics, automatically give up searching for the TVGOS signal after a few days failure. Unfortunately the TVGOS in the Pioneer 531-533-633 is brain-dead and will search indefinitely for a non-existent data signal, merrily destroying the Pioneer hard drive and corrupting its motherboard firmware along the way. This is why I recommend disabling the TVGOS data search in these models: once neutralized, the recorder behaves like any normal non-TVGOS machine and operates under much less stress.
You can verify TVGOS has been properly disabled by monitoring what the recorder does for a few evenings. When TVGOS is fully active, you'll notice you can never really turn the machine off: when you press the power button, the display dims, but you can still hear the HDD spinning and the fan blowing, and the clock readout changes to display "EPG". If you power the unit back on, it is instantly available for use with no "please wait..." display on screen. Assuming the planets are aligned, you live where there is still an analog TVGOS data signal, and you're very lucky, this is "normal" functioning for a 531-533-633: it never shuts off, and is constantly updating its TVGOS timer grid. If there are no other issues, eventually the machine wears itself out just from being on all the time. But there are ALWAYS other issues: even in an ideal universe, the TVGOS data signal is never perfect, and the second theres a hiccup in its data feed the 531-533-633 lose their minds and become radically unstable. Over time, repeated fluctuations in the TVGOS data signal cause accumulated corruptions and damage to these three Pioneers. The "convenience" of TVGOS turns into a recorder-killing nightmare.
So if your 531-533-633 is still working OK, it is recommended you keep it in good order by "killing" TVGOS before it kills the recorder. Once disabled per my earlier instructions, your Pioneer will shut down completely when you power it off, letting the circuits, fan and HDD all rest and cool down. The front panel will display the clock even when the unit is off. The machine will never turn itself on or display EPG unless you have set a manual timer recording, in which case the front panel will display EPG for a couple minutes before the scheduled start time, then show the running time of the recording until it shuts down again. Note again, the most important step in disabling the TVGOS robot is to set one repeating manual recording, either a show you would record each week anyway or a "dummy" recording you set to run while you're asleep. If you don't have at least one manual timer always set in the TVGOS system, the software will reset itself to full automatic and begin vainly searching for the data signal once more. Note also the system is affected by certain dates, which occasionally cause the machine to void all your careful manual settings and go back to automatic TVGOS mode. If this happens, simply re-do the TVGOS disabling steps and the unit should remain under your control for another 6-11 months.
Aside from these model-specific TVGOS issues, remember the 531-533-633 are now five years old and well past retirement age. Most DVD/HDD recorders fail within 3 years, some last longer, but eventually either the HDD or (more commonly) the burner goes bad. Depending on the unit, it may or may not be possible to perform DIY repairs or get affordable professional service. In the case of the 531-533-633, DIY repairs are extraordinarily difficult, and professional service is too expensive to be sensible. I have previously posted DIY burner replacement tips for the 531-533-633, but remind interested owners that burner replacement in these three Pios does not always "take" and HDD replacement is a lost cause. There is no middle ground with 531-533-633 repairs: they cost $50 or $300. If you can't fix it for under $100, junk it: these machines are not worth a $300 repair when you can buy newer more reliable recorders at that price.
Really appreciate all the helpful information. I am somewhat tech savvy and would be comfortable removing the HD out of the unit. The major issue from what I've read from others attempting to replace the drive is when you're setting up from scratch and attempting to dump new software onto a bare HD, there appears to be issues with the UNIX format and starting points and stuff I'm not too up on.
So this leads to my next question ( in case of legal issues I present this hypothetically ), if I were to attempt to clone the existing drive as is since I've done a fresh reset, would it be possible to use a standard copy tool like say Norton Ghost and have the copied drive work? If this were the case I would leave it as a backup in the event of a crash.
Most 160GB IDE drives up here run for 50 CDN and it appears that the burner unit wasn't used too frequently. So I thought by doing this, it could help extend the life of this electronic albatross in case of a HD crash.
Once again your opinions and help are greatly appreciated!
The more "tech savvy" you are, the more the 531-533-633 repair roadblocks will annoy you. These machines cannot be "puzzled out" and fixed by applying brain power or previous experience. The main problem is they have an irrational engineering design that A) requires at least three proprietary tools to even begin working on them and B) if you have the tools, don't bother, because they effectively self-destruct if you attempt disassembly or replacement of any parts. Its a Catch-22 situation. I have mentioned before, even Pioneer refuses to touch these anymore: getting them serviced is almost impossible. There is an unpredictable interaction and dependency between the factory-installed burner, HDD, motherboard, and TVGOS software in these 2005 models. If any one of these subsystems goes bad or is removed, the chain breaks and it is frustratingly difficult to restore (you know its bad if even the mfr service centers can't figure it out).
So you see it isn't a simple matter of cloning the HDD: everyone tries that at some point, and nearly everyone fails. The catch is if you clone a failing drive, you also clone whats wrong with it, and end up with the same problems because there is no diagnostic/repair tool that can fix a Pio recorder HDD (formatting is secret and proprieatary). Conversely, if the HDD seems perfectly fine, and you remove it to clone it, you risk wrecking the delicate balance of the factory installation: merely removing the HDD from the unit is sufficient to trash the motherboard. Pioneer evidentally became aware of this during production, because there are several variations of each of the three models: this confuses things further, because the repair tricks that sometimes work on one unit do not necessarily apply to another. This is why, aside from the hardware reset and TVGOS software reboot discussed earlier, these machines are best handled by "leave well enough alone". If you have it working OK right now after fixing the simple clock issue, then just enjoy it for what it is for as long as it lasts. Attempting service or preventative parts replacement is almost always a big mistake.
Its been a long time since these particular models were a hot topic across the forums, so I forget the specific technical reasons, but I do believe the cloning trick only works for the Asian, European and/or Arabic-market versions of the x3x Pioneers. The North American USA/Canada versions with the TVGOS feature do not clone properly no matter what utility you use, instead the replacement drive has to be wiped to a virgin state and the TVGOS software installed to its boot blocks in a certain manner using Linux. Doing this is incredibly tricky and time consuming, and also requires the Pioneer service disc and service remote. While you can sometimes find downloads of various service discs scattered around the net, the service remote is not easy to emulate. The simplest solution is to buy a third-party clone of the now-discontinued service remote. Since the "real" remote costs $70-90 and a clone of it costs $45, theres really no cheap workaround (some have managed to get a "secret" code download from the Harmony website, but again a Harmony remote is not cheap either). Assuming you have all these bits and pieces, a successful HDD replacement generally involves three to five repeated attempts to get the TVGOS installed correctly and to get the machine to accept the new HDD. This entails swapping the HDD between your PC and the recorder multiple times: not fun and a huge time sink.
If your 533 is working OK, I suggest letting sleeping dogs lie. If you're determined to mess with it, have a lot of time on your hands, and don't care if you damage it irretrievably, basic guidelines for the USA/Canada repair process can be found at www.pioneerfaq.info. Click DVR on the left hand menu column. In the resulting page refresh, click the British Flag (for English language) under the label DVR-530/630H. In the next page refresh, click on Replace HDD. (All the previous are found in the left hand gray menu column). You should now see a page devoted to "Replace the harddrive in DVR-530/630H and other Pioneer DVR models". In the middle of this page you will see a grey or blue link labeled "English Version 3.8" or something similar. Click it, and a PDF file will open with a complete guide to replacing the HDD in a 531-533-633. This guide is not in the correct sequence: read pages 1-3 (removing the HDD), jump to page 7 (TVGOS installation on new HDD), then return to pages 4-5 (common instruction set for installing a replacement HDD in any Pioneer recorder ever made). Page 7, the TVGOS part, is the nightmare and its required only for the 531-533-633. What page 7 doesn't tell you is that installing the correct version of TVGOS on exactly the right HDD using exactly the right Linux commands is not that simple: there are a hundred ways to do it and it changes from unit to unit. The volunteers at pioneerfaq have gone to great lengths to help people repair the troublesome x3x models, and I am grateful for their incredible efforts, but in my experience fixing a dozen 531-533-633 units the process outlined was a starting point only, with lots of trial-and-error involved with each individual recorder.
YMMV- in spades.
Thanks for the advice Orsetto,
If it was just the matter of removing the drive and cloning the unit with a linux friendly cloning app, I would consider trying it. But I'll take your word for it and leave it as is. I guess there is no sense throwing good money after bad. I guess I'll settle for getting some DVD-R discs instead and leave it at that.
As for the timer settings, my wife records the Y&R every day so that should keep the TVGOS wolves at bay until the clock eventually screws up.
Thanks again for saving my weekend from some unneeded tinkering!
Hey all, I realize this post is quite old but it is still very relevant in Google searches for corrupt Pioneer DVR harddrives. I had a 633H drive corrupt on me last week. I wrote a few scripts to help me recover the contents successfully (which I have completed). You can see all the fun details here: http://knoopgroup.com/blog/pioneer-dvr-harddrive-recovery-tools/
I hope anyone still reads this. I know these are old posts but I'm throwing a Hail Mary! I have a 633HS & 640 HS. The 640 wasn't able to burn to dvd anymore & was told optical (?whatever?) needed to be replaced. Never got to send it to Pioneer & bought a barely used 633 on eBay 2 yrs ago. Burned maybe 40 discs & now after burning dvd says nothing on it though lines evident on the back of the disc. Just learned Pioneer was bought by Onkyo & there are no parts for any DVRs available & no one can tell me what's wrong with mine. Anyone out there able to guide me? Am in NJ. Email is gtkgasman@ gmail.com in case can't find here again. Many thnx!