I have a JVC DR-30MHSU which recently failed completely. When plugged in the unit goes into its "Loading" routine and never completes it. When this first happened, I opened the cover and gave it a visual inspection but didn't see anything obvious. I then boxed it up and sent it to a JVC authorized repair facility in New York.
I received the unit back from the repair facility today with an invoice that said "NOT REPAIRED. Due to the age of this model, part needed is no longer available. Unit needs replacement of DVD laser drive mechanism." I then went on the internet and was able to locate a "JVC DR-MH30SEK DVR Genuine DVD Drive Mechanism" for sale in the UK. It would cost about $110 to buy it and have it shipped to the US. I would gladly pay that if I knew the "MH30SEK" drive was compatible with my "MH30SU," but I am hesitant to take the plunge without that assurance. If anyone knows and can help me out, I would be grateful. Thanks.
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Found this thread searching on your model number, post #2 has a link by LS(VH's resident JVC expert) that might shed more info on your problem.
Thanks jjeff. In that thread it says "replacing dead DVD burner drives -- models usually must match perfectly." I guess that means (unless and until I find out otherwise) the safest thing to do is to assume that the drives in the MH30SU and the MH30SEK aren't compatible.
I cannot advise you to gamble on the UK part. I think you'd be better off to just chunk the player and buy a new one. Your options are extremely limited in the USA, but Amazon seems to have the best selection among what's still being made and WalMart was still selling some DVD recorders too recently. You might look into the Magnavox models as they seem to be the best among what little is left in the USA and Canada. Thank you though for posting about your experience as it's likely to become more and more common in the USA and Canada as we get further away from the time when DVD recorders were commonly available here.
The "genuine" JVC DVD/HDD recorders (mfd before 2006) are extraordinarily difficult to repair. They use an eccentric anti-piracy firmware matching system between motherboard, DVD drive, and HDD that is near-impossible to recreate if any of the drives are removed and replaced. JVCs own service centers had trouble doing it on many units, and its very rare to hear of any successful DIY replacement of DR-MH DVD or HDD drives. The parts situation in North America is hopeless, esp in USA where the JVC HDD-equipped models had almost zero market penetration (the DVD-only and DVD/VHS versions were far more popular here).
So you are unfortunately in the same boat as every other fan of vintage DVD/HDD recorders: the classic models are long discontinued in USA/Canada. The only remaining replacement DVD/HDD recorder is the Magnavox MDR515, available for $198-248 from Target or WalMart websites. Most users of classic models have a little trouble adjusting to the Magnavox user interface at first, because its rather crude compared to the previous Panasonic, Pioneer, Toshiba, and Sony design. However, in your case, you should be able to adapt very quickly: the JVC DR-MH series had the most rudimentary interface of any classic DVD/HDD model, even worse that the Magnavox: if anything, you would find the Magnavox easier to operate with additional editing/dubbing features unavailable in the DR-MH30. The Magnavox also has an excellent 16:9 tuner for off-air broadcasts, a nice upgrade.
You do sacrifice two JVC features with the Magnavox: it cannot read or write RAM discs, and it does not have the more elaborate video encoder addons like variable in-between (FR) speeds and the JVC input noise filtering. OTOH, the Magnavox has the latest version of the same video encoder chip, which is a bit more robust at handling poor-quality input from VHS or cable tv. It has no noise filtering, but this can result in more detailed recordings from good sources than you can get from the JVC (which cannot turn off its heavy-duty NR). At XP and SP, you'd be hard pressed to notice a dramatic PQ difference from your JVC (especially if using the built-in tuner). The Magnavox encoder typically fits 128 minutes on a DVD at SP, which nicely covers the most popular FR speed of 130 mins. The burner is bulletproof, it and the 500GB HDD are user-replaceable. I would recommend buying a Magnavox within the next two months if you need one: they will be permanently discontinued this coming spring and there are no other options whatsoever once they're gone.
Thanks you Orsetto.
My unit was manufactured at the end of 2004, and after reading your post, I am giving up on fixing it.
I took your advice (even before I got it) with regards to buying a Magnavox 515. UPS dropped it off on my front door a few hours ago, and while I hate the user interface, I am very happy with the recording quality. And I have already decided I am going to buy another unit while they are still available.