I have successful tested it with my Pioneer dvr-450H 160GB sata HDD.
Do this experiment at your own risk, it will void the warranty
Items you would need:
1) eSATA docking station with power supply (I use a Thermalsake Blac X for this experiment, comes with eSATA cable)
2) SATA - eSATA cable (female) I took one of the cables off the eSATA bracket that I have purchased
3) eSATA-eSATA cable
There are post that provide detail instructions in removing the HDD.
Remove HDD from the 450H unit
Disconnect the sata cable at the board connector
Connect item 2) to the board connector, that will provide you with eSATA connection
Drop the 160GB HDD into the docking station
Power up docking station
Turn on the power of 450H and everything works
Viola, the 450H has an external HDD.
The original HDD works great, just like when it is mounted inside the unit.
a) the WD Caviar in the 450H is jumper @ OPT1 for 1.5gb/s controller operations.
b) eSATA connector is "I" shape inside when you look at the connector
c) SATA connector is "L" shape inside when you look at the connector.
One could cut a small opening to mount the female eSATA connector at the back panel and it will look original .
However, I do have a slight problem in making additional HDD that I could drop in the docking station that would work with the 450H.
I do not have the service disc GGV1305 or a service remote to set up the CPRM ID# for the additional hard disk(s)
Have not found a link to download the necessary files yet.
I plan to get a Harmony 620 universal remote, perhaps that would solve the Service remote issue if I could get the correct code for it.
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OK, I admit that this is interesting and good for you that it worked, but other than the "gee whiz" factor do you mind explaining why someone might want to do this? I'm not seeing any practical reason to do this.
The idea is to drop in another empty HDD in the dock to record more video when you need it.
One could have a collections of HDD as archives . The last time I look, the WD 320GB SATA was selling for $50 or so.
That's all, a simple way to have more storage instead or struggling with all large HDD issues.
what would worry me (& does) is that if the HDD goes belly up , and they do, a lot of effort and data is lost, granted dvd's are not foolproof but if one goes weird it is usally possible to recover something from it.
I am very happy if you are happy and HDD's do seem more reliable these days (Fingers crossed)PAL/NTSC problem solver.
USED TO BE A UK Equipment owner., NOW FINISHED WITH VHS CONVERSIONS-THANKS
This isn't really a practical idea to do with Pioneer recorders. While the rigamarole involved in matching new hard drives to the unit is not rocket science, it is annoying enough and risky enough that its not something I'd recommend doing regularly. The recorder is simply not designed to accept quickly interchangeable, dockable drives: the service remote/service disk nonsense is meant for emergency repairs only. You're also limited to 160GB drives in the Pio 450, the capacity limit is burned into its operating firmware (if you install a 500GB drive, it will format to 160GB, and no workarounds have been discovered).
The service remote/service disk requirement is onerous and very dangerous to use frequently. The service screens are inscrutable, hard to read, and its very easy to make a mistake and hose an HDD full of videos if you do it in a hurry. I'm not saying its impossible, you could do it, but its risky and a PITA because each time you swap the drive the machine might ask you for the serial number matching process (it depends on the specific 450, if you're very lucky it will only ask once for each drive but there's no guarantee). Faking out the service remote isn't easy or cheap: the Harmony seems to choke on the code when you try to load it (assuming you can even get it: the North American Harmony site really does not want to supply this code data.) The simplest path to a service remote is to buy a "professional fake" from online vendors of rare cloned remotes. A clone costs $46 US plus shipping. The "real" Pio service remote is discontinued, although some have found them at Canadian wholesalers for $80-95.
While much cruder in operation than a Pioneer 450, if your primary goal is quick-swap HDD docking I would recommend you get a Magnavox H2160 instead. Many, many advanced users are running hard drive "farms" that hang off the Magnavox, it is much more amenable to this than the Pioneers. The Magnavox service routines/HDD matching functions are built in: you don't need a service remote or service disc to mate the drives, and it will only ask you to initialize once for each HDD you add. While not available in Canada directly, J&R Electronics here in NYC run blowout sales on refurbished H2160s once a month for about $159. Brand new units are available from Wal*Mart online, if you live close to the border you could have a USA friend or relative order one for you and have it shipped to the nearest Wal*Mart store for you to pick up (or they could just buy it and mail it to you privately). "New" Magnavoxes cost $229-$279, the refurbs are a much better deal at $159 and are 97% new. J&R might be more willing to ship to Canada, since they are selling them in a special arrangement with the mfr.
Thanks for the pointers, I am learning more about this Pioneer DVR everyday. Sounds like a beast to work with. Perhaps it's a good time to move on to experiment with something else.
I have successfully completed this experiment with the necessary service data disc and service remote. Many thanks to Orsetto suggestions and the information from the pioneerfaq.info website.
1) It is feasible to swap SATA HDD using a eSATA docking station on the 450H. For a practical applications - That mean one could archive video with a "farm" of HDD.
2) The new HDD could be initialized in the dock. Wiping the HDD before initialization is not required. Although it would be a good practice.
3) One needs to confirm ID (rectify error E01) and needs to initialization the HDD (rectify error E02) once. After the procedures are completed successfully, the 450H recognize the new HDD as though it is the original. I have tested it by swapping the original and the newly initialized HDD several times works great.
4) Be very cautious when handling the HDD - Do not zap it with a Static spark or drop the HDD.
5) Do monitor and assure the HDD is not running too hot in the dock. If it does, one would need to provide cooling to the HDD. A 120mm quiet case fan blowing at it would be sufficient I reckon.
Happy testing 8) !
moving on to experiment with something else