My Mag 513H Recorder's HDD is going. I ordered a replacement disk but have not installed it as I am a novice with hardware and will need help with step-by-step instructions (that will be another post requesting help). But for right now, I connected a "backup" Mag 557H recorder which has been sitting here but never used. I got it to come up and record on the HDD but couldn't get it to dub to a DVD. It goes through the motions - the same as on the 513 - but after it completes the dub I get a blank screen. No index of what's on the DVD.
Playing with the remote control I saw that I have to press the HDD button, then follow it with pressing the DVD button, and now I see the DVD index with thumbnails.
Is that how it is supposed to work?
The real problem is that when I put the DVD in my computer, it thinks it's a blank disk. It does not see the files written to it by the Mag557 dubbing. (I convert my Mag 513 dubbed DVDs to MP4 on my computer and store on them on my external computer disks).
I did not finalize the disk as it is a +RW. Is finalizing required to play the DVD on my computer? If so, this 557 won't be useful even temporarily as I won't waste +RW DVDs by finalizing them. Or am I just doing something dumb and wrong?
Thank you for your help.
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Last edited by Novice20; 10th Jan 2017 at 16:33.
Yes. You must finalize the disk in the recorder to allow the PC to see it.
And you do not waste a +RW. Once you have transferred the files you can format that +RW in the recorder and use it again.
Are the files on the hard drive copy protected ??
And finalizing is required so the disc can play on either dvd player or computer.
+RW disc can be erased and re written to again.
Have you ever had this problem reading unfinalized +RW in your PC that were made by your 513? If not, your issue is with the 557, which IMHO is a box of crap compared to your older 513. Among other issues, the 557 introduced yet another wholesale change in how Funai/Magnavox units format and record dvd discs: it is different from the 513 method.
+RW was designed to be a universal DVD video format playable anywhere without needing to be finalized first. So your computer ought to be able to read unfinalized +RW from a standalone recorder. If it does this with +RW from your 513, but not your 557, then the 557 is either making outright defective burns, or its updated recording system introduced a bug requiring +RW to be finalized. In my experience, finalizing +RW in a recorder leads to trouble, as the format was expressly designed NOT to be finalized. If your 557 can't make readable +RW discs without finalizing, I strongly recommend you use -RW with it instead. -RW tolerates multiple finalize/unfinalize cycles better than +RW, as -RW was expected to be finalized when necessary. I've had problems with corruption when finalizing/unfinalizing/erasing +RW discs with a recorder, that don't occur with -RW.
Many recorders do not automatically load up a dvd right after it finishes burning/finalizing, so that part is not unusual. All the DVD/HDD recorders I've owned require I switch from HDD to DVD, then press the disc menu button or play button to check the new dvd. This might be a simple interface change from 513 to 557.
Overall, the older 513 is the much better model: every new Magnavox got progressively worse in build quality, parts quality and operation after the 513. So it is well worth the relatively simple task of replacing the dead hard drive. If you are unfamiliar with removing and installing internal parts of a PC, you will likely have trouble replacing the HDD in your Magnavox. The recorder has several little finicky items that need to be carefully unscrewed, unlatched, disconnected, etc, in ways that require some familiarity with PC/electronics innards to do correctly. I would recommend you bring the recorder and new hard drive to a computer repair shop and have them install the drive for you. It is no different from doing the same with a PC: the Magnavox is literally a PC dedicated to making video dvds.
The hardest part is physically removing the old drive and installing the new one. Once that is done, it is a simple matter to get the recorder running again. Upon turning it back on, your TV will probably display something like "Run Setup" or "Initialize HDD?" and you just click "yes" to have it get ready.
If you see nothing on screen, you may need to manually invoke the HDD formatting function by pressing "V. SKIP" then 0-7-9 in rapid succession. This will bring a up a Self Check screen, which will automatically run a diagnostics routine that should finish quickly. When it is done, press the OK button to initialize/format the new HDD.
When initialization completes, you might see a display like "HDD File System Unconstructed" on your TV: if that happens, just press the HDD button on your remote or the front panel, tune to any channel, and press the record button. Let the unit record for a minute or so, then stop recording. This completes the formatting cycle, and the machine is now perfectly normal. Turn it off with the power button, wait a couple minutes, then turn it back on. All should be well. (you can erase that little "test recording" after your next "intentional" recording).
MAKE SURE YOUR 557 IS NOT IN THE ROOM, OR UNPLUGGED FROM POWER OUTLET, WHILE FORMATTING THE 513. Any Magnavox within range of your remote will respond to the V.SKIP-0-7-9 buttons, launching HDD diagnosis/format mode. Once you hit the OK button, every Magnavox in the room will erase and reformat its HDD. So be careful if you own more than one!
Last edited by orsetto; 10th Jan 2017 at 18:41.
Thank you orsetto for taking the time to post your length reply. I have experience with "computer repair" places. I was most impressed by the gouging. Even if such a place could physically replace the disk, I don't believe they would be familiar with nor capable of testing it as you described. So I would not know whether they replaced it correctly until I brought it home and tried to follow your setup/initialization instructions
You're in kind of a tough spot if you don't have a local electronics-computer repair place you feel is trustworthy and not a ripoff. Do you have any geeky friends or relatives you can persuade to swap the hard drive for you? At most, its a fifteen minute task: easy-peasy if you're familiar with swapping out computer parts. It would take ten times longer for someone to guide you thru it online, and require a wall of text instructions that would make your eyes burn. Not saying you couldn't pick it up, but its the kind of thing most people don't just suddenly learn for an emergency situation out of the blue. If you've had zero experience or inclination toward electronics repair before now, beg someone with skills to do it for you- its the sensible path. Otherwise, it would be like a vet trying to teach a prize-winning gardener how to perform gum surgery on an alley cat: people can be highly intelligent and expert in their fields of interest, but be unsuited to occasional stunts that are way out of their wheelhouse. The effort and risk involved in DIY for such people isn't worth the $50 they could simply pay some techy geeky kid to do for them in ten minutes.
I just noticed you have posed the same questions at the Magnavox cult over on AVSforum, and a couple of the regulars there confirmed what I told you about the 557 and DVD+RW being a bad combination. If you feel the finalize/unfinalize/erase requirement of the 557 will be too much of a time sink for you compared to the 513, do not use the 557. Sell it on eBay, and use the proceeds to buy another 513 or 515. They tend to be in good condition second hand, and you will be far happier. The 557 uses a different recording system, is not officially compatible with +R or +RW, uses a flimsy laptop hard drive, a cheap power supply, and the crummiest, slowest burner Funai could lay hands on. Some of these changes seeped into later production runs of the 515, so the 513 remains the safest bet. If you opt for a 515, ask the seller to verify it has a standard 3.5" desktop hard drive inside- if so, it is basically a 513 and well made. If the seller tells you it has a 2.5" laptop hard drive, steer clear: its built like the trashier 537 and 557.
There is an avalanche of repair/maintenance info contained in that AVS Magnavox forum, but much of it is presented in a way that is incomprehensible to a layman with no prior experience. Last week I was going to give you links to the section on hard drive replacement, but after reading thru it I got a headache and couldn't make sense of it myself (and I've replaced the drives in dozens of dvd recorders and laptops). If you persistently badger the egotistical Magnavox fanatics on that thread, eventually one will probably agree to write you a tutorial. But I just don't see the point: you will end up questioning each step and asking for clarification, because you have no background to fall back on. Be practical: get this done as quickly and easily as possible by bribing, begging or blackmailing someone with skills to do it for you. Its practically effortless if you already know WTH you're doing around a bare hard drive in a bracket, but a tedious nightmare if you don't.
Last edited by orsetto; 17th Jan 2017 at 13:32.
Thank you orsetto for your lengthy post. I went to the other forum also because, as a novice, I need any and all help I could get. I accept what you say about my not trying this myself - not that I really wanted to attempt doing it.
I found a CCTV/security DVR repair shop that is willing to "look at" the Mag 513. Of course they'll charge to do the actual replacement (I already have the new disk) but as they don't work with home DVR, I expect I'll have to bring the list of SKIP and other codes for them to reference to test the new disk. As you wrote that the instructions in the other forum gave you a headache, how do you suggest I extract what they'll need about commands and codes to do the swap? Assuming they'll agree to do it.
I greatly appreciate your continuing help.
Novice20, I'm glad you're viewing my suggestions with an open mind. It is sometimes difficult to assist people in a forum context without sounding patronizing (which I don't intend at all). The reason I've been pushing you to have someone else tackle the HDD replacement is simply your own skittishness about doing it yourself, which you have freely expressed several times in a couple different threads. There is absolutely nothing wrong with being uncomfortable with the idea of taking a screwdriver to your precious recorder: I'm willing to bet most owners wouldn't dare, either. DIY repair is not nearly as common as forum threads would have us believe: it is relatively simple for those who are inclined and done prior similar work on other items, but pretty scary to someone who's never done anything beyond change the batteries in the remote.
Despite the discomfort, some repair novices do study threads and learn how to do repairs, usually motivated by ownership of a discontinued recorder that is no longer serviced by its mfr. Many popular DVD/HDD recorders are long discontinued, with quirky repair "gotchas" that make then a bad risk to just hand over to random repair people who may have no clue. In such cases, an owner is better off learning the arcane tricks themselves if at all possible, at least well enough to supply the info to a repair person.
Fortunately, none of that is necessary with a Magnavox. As recorders go, they are probably the least fussy to repair, and replacing parts is really no more involved than doing so in a PC. Most other brands are ridiculously picky about exactly what hard drives they will accept, and require voodoo setup codes and other nonsense that most local repair shops have never dealt with. Some require impossible-to-find special "service remotes" and "service dvds". But a Magnavox needs none of that: you just swap out the bad HDD for any similar good one, hook it back up to a TV, turn it on, press a three digit number on the remote, hit OK to format the new HDD, and you're done.
I have no doubt that you yourself can easily handle the setup and remote code business when you get the unit back home, you just need someone to physically change the HDD for you. And you only really need help with that because you've never done it before, and might make a rookie mistake you'd regret. Its like riding a bike: if you've never done it, there's a tiresome learning curve, but once you know how you never forget.
Regarding the Magnavox forum over at AVS: the problem with that is its run by a guy who foolishly believes he can be the sole curator of info on every Magnavox ever made. He rather misguidedly spent several years codifying that ginormous thread with hyperlinks and indexes to turn it into the defacto worldwide Magnavox compendium. Unfortunately for him, the owners of AVS have a tendency to blow their site completely to hell every few years, fundamentally changing the underlying site structure, which completely wrecked his OCD micro-management of his Magnavox encyclopedia. Today, its a crazy-quilt of info with a pseudo-index that leads you straight into a brick wall when you try to look up the simple task of replacing a hard drive. As I noted earlier, I was going to provide you a link to that info, until I looked over the vague convoluted presentation and realized it would send you screaming into the night (it frustrated me no end, and I've done HDD upgrades on countless different recorders- including my own 513).
That is why I feel you should just hand the physical task over to someone else who is expert with it. Taking out the old HDD and installing a new one requires some intuition on which screws to remove in what order, which cables and plugs and insulation tapes, etc, as well as how to swap all the pieces and bracket back onto the new HDD. That Magnavox forum used to have an illustrated tutorial, that I'm sure you would have been able to follow, but it disappeared in the last AVS site redesign. Without those sort of step-by-step, photo-illustrated instructions, I think you'd be lost, as would any repair neophyte. There's also the usual danger you might accidentally short the motherboard with a wrong move of the screwdriver. Since I don't see such a tutorial available anywhere else, and can't create one myself for you, I recommend you go with your idea of having that security/CCTV shop do the work for you. They can do the HDD swap in their sleep.
Just give the repair shop the following checklist, which I summarized in an earlier post above:
To replace the bad HDD with a new one, disconnect the Magnavox from your TV, unplug the unit from AC outlet, and let it sit for an hour. Then:
Remove the top cover from the unit.
Unplug the power and data SATA cables from the existing HDD (or from the recorder- whichever lets you get the HDD out easier).
If there are any foil or cloth tapes stuck to the HDD and cables, remove them and set aside (making a note of where they go back on).
Unscrew the bracket mounting the HDD to the chassis.
Remove the drive and attached bracket/cables from the recorder.
Unscrew the old drive from the bracket, unplug cables if still attached, and set it aside.
Screw the new drive onto the bracket (and plug the cables back in if you took them out with the drive).
Screw the bracket-mounted HDD back into the recorder chassis.
Plug the data and power cables back into the new HDD (and/or recorder board).
Put any foil or cloth tape back in place on the HDD and cables.
Replace the top cover, plug the recorder back into AC outlet and reconnect to your TV.
Turn the power on, and the new HDD may or may not trigger some sort of on-screen alert regarding "the filesystem being missing" (or something to that effect). Regardless, the HDD needs to be formatted. You do this by aiming the remote control at the unit and pressing the V.Skip, 0, 7 and 9 buttons in quick sequence (one after the other). That should result in a HDD Check display: when you see that, wait a moment for the HDD Check to finish running, then press the remote's OK button to erase/format the HDD. When the format finishes, exit the HDD Check screen by turning the unit off.
When you turn it back on, if it still complains about the filesystem, that means it wants you to record something so it can finish setting up the drive. Just push the HDD button on the front panel, tune to a good channel with a steady picture, or connect a video feed to the line inputs, and hit the record button. Let it run for a couple minutes, then stop the recording. The new hard drive should now be fully operational. You can erase the test recording after your next "real" recording of a show, movie, etc.
(Note the recorder is completely reset during this process: you will need to set the clock and reprogram any timer settings you had previously, as well as re-scanning the tuner for available channels.)
Last edited by orsetto; 18th Jan 2017 at 19:47.
I do not feel that you are patronizing me. Quite the opposite. I feel that you care very much about helping me. To that end, you have added lengthy posts to advise and steer me in the direction that you believe is best for me. Thank you - I appreciate all of that.
I agree with your assessment that a novice with a screwdriver and a piece of electronic equipment are not a good mix . I will bring the MAG513 to the security/DVR repair store with your checklist. If they don't want to get involved in the post swap "formatting" (other than verifying that the Mag comes up with the new disk) I'll do that part at home afterwards. The store is close to one and one-half hours' drive from me so I likely won't get there until the middle of next week.
I was using the 557 until I can get the 513 repaired. But it just stopped working. Specifically, the Menu --> Disc Edit function is grayed out. It had been working until a few minutes ago. No matter what I tried - in DVD mode, in HDD mode, with Disk out, with Disk in, with disk I just dubbed to, with disk I dubbed to earlier, powering off/on - the "disc edit" is grayed out.
Without that function I cannot dub anything from HDD as I can't copy it to a DVD nor even record directly to a DVD (no "format", no "finalize", no "erase DVD"). So the 557 is now useless.
Any idea as to why this has suddenly failed and/or suggestions how to "reset" it to get the disc edit back?
Last edited by Novice20; 23rd Jan 2017 at 19:35.
Does the unit have a reset to factory default function? ?
Might also try unplugging the unit for a while and see what that does.
Something has glitched your 557, possibly a power surge or sag, or a TV station signal triggered it (yes, these machines really are so pathetic that a wavering channel can overload the tuner which then overloads the microprocessor). Try a hardware reset, as october262 suggested. Theres a couple ways to do that.
One way is to unplug the recorder power cord, then hold down the front panel power button while simultaneously plugging the power cord back into electric outlet. HOWEVER, the 557 needs to "clear its memory" first, which can take awhile. It has a prolonged backup battery duration, so you need to let it sit unplugged for 3-4 hours until the clock display reverts to --/--. If you still see a time display, reset won't work.
The quicker way is to use the remote to drop the unit into service mode. Aim the remote at your 557, hit the V.SKIP, 1, 2, 3 buttons in rapid sequence, and the unit should pop up a Firmware Version service display on your TV. When you see that, press the remote OK button, and the unit should reboot in a hard reset. When you turn it back on you'll need to set it up from scratch as if you just bought it. (No recordings will be erased, but you'll need to set up everything else.)
If a reset doesn't free up your Disc>Edit menu, something significant might be interfering with it. The hard drive or dvd drive may have gone bad, signaling the interface that it cannot perform those functions. It might need Funai to service it.
Last edited by orsetto; 24th Jan 2017 at 08:57.
The 557 remote control does not have V.Skip button. Is the "SKIP" button the same? Or should I use the 513 remote control, which does have the V.Skip button?
V.SKIP and SKIP are the same button, Funai pointlessly changed the label starting with the new remote design that shipped with the 515 and later recorders.
Thank you october262 and orsetto for your prompt and thorough assistance.
By the time I came home and saw your update on the Skip-V.Skip, the 557 hand been in standby for about twenty hours. I turned it on, inserted a DVD and Disc Edit was back again. There's no point (at least for now) to use the Skip codes.
I won't ask you to explain why it's working now. It's complicated enough to figure out what happened when it doesn't work
I took your suggestion and bought a reasonably priced used MAG 513 on Ebay (I still may get my unit's HDD swapped out to have as a backup unit). I plugged it in, set the clock and recorded on the HDD. The seller assured me he tested it but the DVD drawer won't open. Whether I use the remote control or the unit's panel button, the display obediently shows OPEN and afterwards CLOSE but does neither. I saw a warning on the AVS Forum about DVD trays not opening until the setup is complete but I don't know what else is required in the setup beyond setting the clock and recording on the HDD (truth in posting - as I saw that warning in that forum I asked the question there also).
When you performed the setup, did you go completely thru with it? I don't think the tray will open until you set the clock, run the automated scan for available channels, and make an initial recording on the HDD. If you didn't run the tedious channel scan procedure, try that. Another thing to check is the timer menu: make sure the previous owner didn't leave any programs set up in it. Active timer programs stuck in memory after the clock has reset can prevent the tray opening: erase any timer programs and do the SKIP, 1,2,3 OK method to reboot the recorder. After it reboots, set the time, run the auto channel scan, record something to HDD, press the big DVD button, then try to open the tray.
If you did do all those things and still no joy, I suppose its possible the tray got knocked out of whack during shipping and may be stuck. Sometimes we have bad luck and need to return a defective recorder.
Thank you orsetto for once again taking the time to come to my assistance.
The machine was disconnected for 5-6 days so there couldn't be any timer program left over (I checked anyway in the Timer queue).
Pressing V.SKIP,1,2,3 did nothing. The machine stayed on as it had been (the clock was still set). I did do the channel scan and recorded to the HDD, pressed DVD panel button and the tray is still locked. As the display does show "Open" and "Close" in response to the open/close buttons, that means the drawer is definitely broken. I even opened the door and tried to pry the tray loose while the display said "open" but it would not budge
The seller is emphatic that the tray worked for him. Ebay listings do not provide returns so I am stuck with this useless machine. Lesson never to buy on Ebay. I'll have to try to get my HDD swapped out.
Last edited by Novice20; 30th Jan 2017 at 10:50.
Under NO CIRCUMSTANCES do you keep this broken recorder: it is absolutely returnable to the seller, no matter what the seller says in his listing. As an active eBay seller myself for over a decade, I can tell you with certainty that eBay completely shifted its support to buyers several years ago: if a buyer is not satisfied for any reason, back the item goes, whether the seller likes it or not is irrelevant. The seller posting "no returns accepted" in the listing is meaningless: eBay's interpretation of "no returns" is "no returns UNLESS ITEM IS DEFECTIVE for any reason including shipping damage." While this has led to a lot of buyer abuse of the return privilege, in your case it will be a life saver.
As long as the seller listed the condition category as "used" and not "non-working- for parts repair only" eBay will totally back you up for a return and force the seller to refund your money including shipping. Go into your eBay purchased items, select the recorder, and under the Actions submenu choose Return This Item or whatever language eBay is using this week. This will lead to the console where you will be asked why you want to return. Click the "item not working or defective" checkbox, and write a brief description of the tray being stuck despite seller listing unit as fully functional. eBay will then literally blackmail the seller into accepting the return: if he refuses, his eBay account gets suspended and his PayPal assets frozen. A black mark gets posted to the sellers internal eBay file that is very damaging and hard to recover from (which is why savvy sellers don't even bother to argue anymore, even if the buyer is obviously trying to screw them over).
The seller has a week or so to contact you and arrange the return- or else. Generally eBay makes them issue a free return shipping label via email that you can print out, tho sometimes not. Most people who are terrified of eBay don't quite realize rules have changed and the buyer wins 99% of the time now (they even let complete imbeciles return items that were clearly listed as defective, with the excuse they were too stupid to read the listing correctly and thought they were buying a brand new perfect item). While the return process can be a tad unpleasant if the seller is an ass, you will get your money back within a couple weeks in nearly all cases. Most sellers dread how vindictive eBay will treat them if they don't comply, and will be respectful of return requests. Considering many scarce items (like certain dvd recorders) can only be found on eBay now, a potential buyer can't really write the site off: sometimes its the only convenient source. Stay on top of things, test the item thoroughly and quickly after you receive it, and exercise your return rights if necessary. eBay and PayPal will take your side unless the seller can prove you are trying to defraud them (extremely difficult).
Last edited by orsetto; 30th Jan 2017 at 11:39.
Thank you orsetto for once again coming to the rescue. That was very kind of you to post how to go about this. And most important, your support that it should and can be returned. I will wait to hear back from the seller - I sent him a note about this - and see if he will willingly take it back, before I go through having Ebay force him.
I would still like to try to reset the machine once more to see if that will help. Though I doubt that it will, given what the display says when pressing the open/close buttons, I still want to be a responsible buyer and do a full "due diligence" in testing it. Is there anything you can think of as to why the V.SKIP,1,2,3 in quick succession had no affect? Does the machine have to be in a particular mode when those buttons are pressed for them to work??
It does seem the tray may be damaged in some way. The notorious issue of the dvd tray not opening until the recorder is completely set up is usually limited to brand-new units. A second-hand, previously-set-up recorder should not typically have a balky tray, since at some point in the past it went thru a proper initial setup. Of course, anything is possible: Funai isn't known for consistency.
So far as I know, Skip, 1, 2, 3 does not have any preconditions other than the unit be powered on and in standby (not actively playing or recording, no timer program set to run within the next hour). Perhaps you need to push the big HDD button first to put it in HDD mode, but otherwise there shouldn't be any other impediment. Maybe you're pushing the remote buttons too fast? Try waiting a half second between each button: the sequence needs to be done in less than three seconds, but not lightning fast. If you do succeed in bringing up the service screen, pressing the remote "OK" button should launch a full factory reset.
Since you haven't recorded anything on this 513 yet, you might also try SKIP, 0, 7, 9. That will bring up a self-diagnostic screen that should fill itself in after a few seconds, When it stops, press remote OK button to reset the recorder and erase the hard drive. Maybe this unit needs EVERYTHING re-booted, including the HDD.
Last ditch possibility: open the top cover, locate the hardware reset button, press and hold it for three seconds, and see if the unit reboots. Some people do this with the power on, some with power cord unplugged. I don't think it matters, but if you do it with power on be careful not to touch anything metal! Press the reset button with a pencil eraser or something. There is a photo showing where to find the 513 and 515 reset button at this link.
Last edited by orsetto; 30th Jan 2017 at 15:04.
Thank you, orsetto.
I got the V.SKIP,1,2,3 to work using my old remote control. It's doing the channel scan now - very slowly, so it will be a while before I can see if it made any difference.
Scanning completed and, as expected, made no difference. Tray is still stuck.
The machine's software knows it's supposed to have opened the tray and keeps track of that because when I press the button a second time it displays "close". But something in the hardware is failing.
Last edited by Novice20; 30th Jan 2017 at 15:25.
Somehow I missed the part in your post about doing the second V.SKIP set, which I'll try. As you strongly say I should return the unit (assuming the second V.SKIP does nothing), I will ask the seller if he will agree to my trying the hardware reset. Opening the cover will tear the "warranty" seal. While the unit is not in warranty, the torn seal would tell the seller that the unit was opened and I don't want to jeopardize my "right" to return it by not getting his permission first.
The reset button doesn't do anything special, it simply forces the unit to the service screen if it gets so frozen that it refuses to respond to the remote buttons. Since you've gotten the SKIP trick to work via remote, theres not much point to trying the internal button. The tray is almost certainly stuck mechanically.
Regrettably I already asked the seller and received his permission. I can still tell him that after reviewing this with more people on the forum their opinion was that it would NOT do anything more than the the SKIP button would do and that I should not attempt to play around with the unit's internals, as I'm not familiar with it nor comfortable with doing that (that part is definitely true - remember my reluctance to try swapping out the HDD on my unit).
But the seller also said that he is missing a DVD and suspects that it got left in the DVD drawer and that's why it's stuck and not opening. If that is the case, any suggestions as to what if anything can be done about that?
Since you've already discussed opening the cover with the seller and have their written permission, I suppose you could just take a peek inside and see if there are any obvious signs of a stuck dvd (silver reflection, loose disc noise). Observe closely: can you see anything happening when you press the open/close button? that may give you a clue. It goes without saying to be careful not to touch the power area while the unit is plugged into an AC outlet. You can watch the drive to see what happens when you press the eject button, just don't touch any metal parts inside while the unit is plugged into power.
If nothing obvious can be seen, unplug the recorder from power and let it sit for four hours to drain any residual energy (making it safe for your fingers). There is an exposed gear you can manually turn that might free the stuck tray, on the right hand side of the disc drive (near the reset button). You can find a photo of it and some instructions over at the other forum, but as usual that forum is malfunctioning right now so direct links to a specific spot don't work. You will need to go to this page, then manually scroll a bit further down to exactly half way point, past the pics of removing the cover and boilerplate precautions, until you see a blue subject line that reads "Open Stuck DVD Tray", with a white diagram under it. Scroll slowly past and you should see a photo of where the gear is located on the side of the black plastic dvd drive frame. Don't be afraid to touch it, you aren't dis-assembling anything, just trying to move the tray with finger force. If the tray won't budge, try gently shaking the recorder or tapping on the disc drive cover, then try the gear again. If a dvd is jammed in there, it may need to move so it re-seats properly before the tray can open.
Last edited by orsetto; 31st Jan 2017 at 12:31.
Thank you orsetto for your detailed, hand-holding, step-by-step directions and your links. And for re-assuring me that I wouldn't be risking doing who-knows-what to the machine's internals
I opened the machine and used the gear to open the tray. There wasn't any DVD in it. I closed the tray with the gear, then repeated the open/close sequence three or four times. I checked that the open/close button was in contact with the relay each time it was pressed. I closed up the machine and turned it on.
The DVD tray opens and closes. I tried it half a dozen times, both from the remote control and the open/close button. It worked perfectly every time. I tested dubbing to the DVD recorder and that works, as well.
So...it's possible that some rough handling in transit got the tray out of kilter. And all it needed was to manually do the open/close process to get it back as it should be. At least that's how it seems to me. It doesn't seem that there is something inherently wrong with it that could fail again later.
Does that make sense to you?
Its a shame you had to go thru a nerve-shredding experience with this purchase, but it certainly had the benefit of teaching you a lot about troubleshooting these recorders! Since you have decided to continue using them for the indefinite future, its good you now have less fear of opening one up and/or using the service codes. So all's well that ends well.
Be sure to tell the seller how it worked out, and thank them for giving you permission to open it and attempt self repair. Unless they were downright nasty, its good eBay courtesy to give positive feedback in this manner, as it will encourage them to be cooperative with other buyers in future. The more cooperation on eBay we can propagate, the better for all of us. Enjoy your "new" 513, and let us know how the HDD swap pans out with your other 513!