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  1. I had read that some recorders won't start if you take out the harddrive from them, but i did a try because i wanted to search the harddrive for the files stored in my computer, i was very very careful when i removed the harddrive from the Pioneer recorder and i didn't change any master/slave on the disk. But when i put it in my Pioneer again it doesn't start or no sign of any text on the front panel, but the channels go thru the recorder. I guess you just can't put the harddrive in and out even if you are very careful like it works in a computer.
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  2. I've swapped out the HDD in any number of Pioneers, so I can tell you from experience that they will almost ALWAYS display "HDD Err" or "E01" alert on the front panel and TV screen if the HDD has been data damaged, or hasn't been re-connected properly. Depending on the specific model series, it may or may not be possible to remove the HDD and put it back with no consequences. The 540-543-640 is usually OK with that, as long as you don't plug the HDD into a Windows PC (unfortunately, you did). I have even transplanted the HDD from a 540 with dead dvd burner into a 640 with a good burner, to get all the 540 videos copied to dvd (swapping HDD to a different Pioneer does require the service remote and dvd).

    What exactly happens when you turn the unit on? Do you see the normal front panel clock and channel display? If you load a dvd, can you watch it normally? Have you seen any alerts about CPRM Error on screen or on front panel? Any persistent attempts to mount or read the HDD with your PC may have munged some hidden boot data that the recorder uses to identify the HDD: even if the recorder is not informing you there is an HDD problem, if the Navigator button won't display the HDD contents then your 540 is hosed. Have you checked that both power and data cables are firmly re-plugged on both the HDD and recorder motherboard? Have you tried a hardware reset? With the recorder turned on, press and hold the front panel STOP button, and while keeping it pressed then press the power button. Hold both in until the recorder turns off. Wait a moment, turn the recorder back on, and it should ask you to set it up as if you just bought it. Your HDD should show up when you press the Navigator button.

    Re the hard drive: its too late for you, but for anyone who sees this thread in future: DO NOT remove the HDD from any recorder and attempt to read the files with your PC. Just. Don.t. Do. It. The HDD is usually an encrypted Linux variant, so you can't even read it unless you boot into Linux or use some sort of salvage utility under Windows (forget MacOS: can't do jack with recorder HDDs). Even if you manage to mount the HDD, the video files are almost always fragmented and not easily re-assembled/converted to usable generic MPEGs. More importantly, removing the HDD triggers a reset in many recorders which will cause trouble when you put the HDD back in: the recorder may refuse to recognize it, or insist that you erase it, or in Pioneer's case that you re-authorize it with the hard-to-find Service Remote and Service DVD. For all practical purposes, DVD/HDD recorders are a sealed ecosystem: you're not getting the videos off the hard drive without burning a standard dvd. No way, no how: just forget it, unless the machine totally dies and you're desperately trying to salvage a couple of the videos.
    Last edited by orsetto; 7th Feb 2017 at 12:22.
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  3. Hi Orsetto, thanks for your fast and detailed answer. Yes i almost knew for sure that i shouldn't had connected the harddrive to the PC to search for files with UFS explorer and Stellar Phoenix BSD, because i read after that even if you find the files they are encrypted and in worse case scattered in too many files across the disk. Nothing happens, no clock and channel display light or any sound from the fan etc, not even any errors displayed, but the recorder can deliver the channels from my decoder to my Tv so it works in that way. I can't open the dvd drive to load a dvd, nothing happens when i press the bottom. I tried that hardware reset but nothing happens, i read that the aluminum stickers over the harddrive must be replaced like it was, i maybe cheated a little on that, i must check again.

    It's a pity that the manufacturers can't allow easy Hd copying and that the drives are so sensitive. The main reason that i started with this was that my high quality recordings in almost 10mbps turned out to be in the same quality as an old Vhs with poor picture. They looked pretty good on the Tv but not on dvd disc on my computer, i tried several discs, and it wasn't anything wrong with my Lcd display either. So i thought foolish enough that it was possible to get the files out by searching for them in my Pc with Windows.
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  4. Originally Posted by OldSchool297 View Post
    Nothing happens, no clock and channel display light or any sound from the fan etc, not even any errors displayed
    OK, thats either good news (if you're lucky) or very very bad news. The recorder being totally dead and unresponsive means you probably shorted the power supply accidentally (very easy to do in a 540: I utterly destroyed one of my own by being too lazy to unplug it from power when I was in a hurry to replace a simple part). If you're lucky, you shorted it in such a way that the protective fuse blew and prevented further damage (or in a wild coincidence, the fuse just happened to blow while you were playing with the HDD on your computer). At the moment I don't have a recorder on my bench that I can open to tell you exactly where the fuse is located, but if memory serves it is located near the power cord. Replace it, and the recorder may work fine again.

    If you were unlucky, the recorder is blown to hell: a computer or electronics repair shop should be able to tell you whether it can be fixed affordably or not. Depends on how extensive the damage is: a blown power supply is a relatively simple generic repair job that should run under $100. But if the recorder microprocesser got toasted, you're out of luck: no parts are available. Buying a second hand Pioneer would be way cheaper than any possible repair.

    It's a pity that the manufacturers can't allow easy Hd copying and that the drives are so sensitive.
    That was done to comply with paranoid Hollywood, that was dead set against consumers having access to dvd recorders in general and HDD versions in particular. And, to be realistic, no consumer in their right mind would ever think of tearing open their $500 recorder to plug the HDD into their PC. We geeks are a much smaller minority than these tech forums would imply.

    The main reason that i started with this was that my high quality recordings in almost 10mbps turned out to be in the same quality as an old Vhs with poor picture. They looked pretty good on the Tv but not on dvd disc on my computer, i tried several discs, and it wasn't anything wrong with my Lcd display either. So i thought foolish enough that it was possible to get the files out by searching for them in my Pc with Windows.
    I don't know about anyone else, but I have never liked the look of videos (esp dvds, commercial or recorder-made) on ANY computer monitor. To my eyes, resolution drops by 70% compared to a TV display and contrast/colors look dull, flat and crushed. iPods, some cell phones and some tablets make passable viewing toys, but I've never seen videos play worth a damn on any laptop screen. One or two high-end desktop monitors, maybe, but not often. The difference is even starker if your TV is an older CRT (glass picture tube) model like a Sony Trinitron: recorder-made dvds look 10x better on a CRT television than on a newer LCD HDTV, and 20x better than on a computer monitor.

    Note that the Pioneer 540-543-640 series of recorders was not their best in terms of recording quality. They were rushed to market after the software-flawed 530/630 series severely damaged Pioneers reputation in North America. The x40 series is rock-reliable and very easy to use, but their video encoder chip is mediocre at best. All recordings, even at 9-10 Mbps, have fuzzy edges compared to the earlier 530 or later 550 and 560 models. This is somewhat noticeable on a 19" or 27" CRT television but glaringly obvious on a flat screen HDTV (and absolutely atrocious on a laptop screen). Since approx 35% of my home-recorded dvds were made with a 540 or 640, I've had to resign myself to their mediocre PQ after migrating to 32" and 40" HDTVs. I was lucky enough to score a a few Pioneer 450 and 460 recorders from Canadian liquidators, and sold off my 540 and 640 immediately afterward. The x50 and x60 recordings are tolerable in the era of HDTV, but the x40 recordings are tough to watch.
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  5. Thanks again for your detailed answer, it's a pleasure to read from you. I will take a look at my recorder again a little later. I have a old 32" Crt Tv because my flat Tv went broken and i had wonder if the picture was better on it because when i had a old crt monitor to my computer i took notice to videos in low resolution always look better than on a Lcd monitor, my burned 10mbps videos from dvd's looks like you describe it on a lcd monitor, horrible. in fact even a downloaded streamed video in around 1500kbps looks better than a burned 10mbps recording. I have thought about buying a Blu-ray recorder instead since i am a high quality freak, i want my recordings to look just as good as they do on my Tv on my lcd screen to my computer, but i guess it takes a 720p at least 1280*720 to get that. So a Dvd-recorder may not be the best choice. I thought that they would look just as good as on Tv until today when i for the first time tried a burned dvd in my computer, had i known this i would have change to blu-ray long before.
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  6. Unfortunately BluRay recorders designed for North American tuner standards were never built or sold. They were popular for awhile in UK, Australia and Asia but are currently passe even there. Everyone seems to have moved on to sealed HDTV recorders (hard-drive-only) with little or no ability to archive the recordings outside the recorder.

    There are workarounds for those who want to maintain a personal library of HDTV recordings, but none are as simple or elegant as a self-contained DVD/HDD recorder. Possibly the easiest workflow is a TiVO DVR connected to your PC. The TiVO has an easy timer guide, records in HDTV, can record multiple channels at the same time, and can offload those recordings to a PC (where you can then convert them to DVD, BluRay, MKV or MP4 files, etc). The drawback with TiVO is the monthly fee, or initial upfront expense for lifetime subscription.

    A lot of people on this forum record directly onto their PCs with PVR software and hardware accessories. This is the way to go if you want to keep your library on hard drive media servers, etc. But there have been serious glitches since MicroSoft forced Windows 10 on everyone: a key Windows component required by most HTPC systems is Windows Media Center, which was dropped from Windows 10. One can certainly get an older PC running Windows 7 and dedicate it for recording purposes, but that may not be a viable long term solution. Hard to say.

    Another option might be one of the oddball, random HDTV recorders sold by companies like AverMedia and generic Chinese brands. One that looks appealing to me is the AverMedia EZRecorder ER310. This unit appears to record in standard file formats to standard USB hard drives which can then be plugged into a PC for backup or conversion to DVD/BD. It doesn't have an inbuilt tuner, so would require an external cable/satellite box or broadcast ATSC tuner with HDMI connection. You'd also probably need to have an appropriate HDMI splitter connected between tuner and recorder to enable the recording feature. The price is certainly right, and the versatility could be marvelous if it actually does half of what the specs promise. I need to buy one and put it thru its paces: it might make a good upgrade from a dvd/hdd recorder.
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  7. I live in Sweden and i don't know much about Blu-ray recorders yet, but i checked them out quick and with HDD and too burn Blu-Ray. They are quite expensive from around 500-1500() I have now tried it again and no power to the device, now the channels don't go thru the box so i guess maybe a fuse is broken, i was very very careful when i took away the harddrive and i didn't touch anything else, and of course the power was off. I found the fuzz it is white on top, can i try to place a screw instead of it? Just to see if it is the fuse that is broken.
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  8. Sorry, didn't realize you weren't located in North America: most discussions of the 540 involve the Canadian version. So my suggestions for alternatives would not apply.

    There are still a few new BluRay/HDD recorders for sale in random countries, but not for much longer (I'm rather surprised you can still find them in Sweden). Personally, I don't think they're worth the expense. AFAIK, only Panasonic still markets new BD/HDD recorders in EU, and their current models are not nearly as nice as their older ones of five-six years ago. Many buyers are disappointed by their limitations, and find them frustrating (they aren't nearly as easy or versatile to use as a Pioneer 540). It is true they can record in High Definition, which looks much better than the results from a DVD recorder, but in every other respect they are crude, clunky, and unsatisfying to use.

    Of course, you may not have access in Sweden to some of the options available to USA, UK and Asia via Amazon. In that case, a BD/HDD recorder may be your only practical choice. But think carefully whether the expense will be worth it: the machines are not known for reliability, and they may not be available for much longer (most EU consumers have chosen the cheaper HDD-only PVRs, or HDD PVRs with built-in BluRay players (not BD recorders). Each individual country seems to have slightly different recorders available: check Swedish electronics dealers, or websites that ship to Sweden, and see if you can find a DVB-T HDTV recorder with USB connection that lets you archive videos to an external hard drive. This would allow transfers to your PC to make BluRays or DVDs, and be much more versatile than an expensive standalone BD/HDD unit.

    I don't recommend using a screw in place of the fuse, but if you feel you have nothing to lose I suppose you could try it. Shut the recorder off quickly if it does power on normally: you'll want to remove the screw asap and replace with a proper fuse. Be very careful when moving the HDD and using a screwdriver: any accidental contact between the screwdriver or HDD bracket and other metal parts or circuits could damage the recorder permanently. Your 540 should be disconnected from the power mains whenever you are working inside it.
    Last edited by orsetto; 8th Feb 2017 at 00:59.
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  9. I tried a screw in the fuse box but it didn't work. I was very very careful when i took the harddrive out but i guess things can get broken anyway, the front panel should get any message if the harddrive was broken or the dvd open should work without a working harddrive? But for instance my Lcd tv worked fine when i switch it off and when i should turn it on the screen was black with only sound. I read that the aluminium tape function is a ground strap and must be restored, mine dosen't go down to the very bottom of the recorder.
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  10. The foil tapes are not extremely important: as long as one of them connects the HDD case to the HDD mounting bracket, you're OK.

    Its sounding more and more like you'll need to have this 540 evaluated by an electronics repair shop. You need someone with proper tools to determine where exactly the power is being blocked. Apparently it isn't the fuse, so it may be a blown diode or other part. I don't see any scorched boards in your pictures, and the capacitors look good, so hard to say what might be wrong. Since you've decided you're unhappy with the overall recording quality anyway, try to get an estimate of repair costs. It is worth repairing for a reasonable fee, so you can either keep it as backup recorder or sell to someone else who wants a 540. But if repair cost is very high, might be better off selling it as-is for parts (the burner alone is worth about $100 US).

    Correct me if I misunderstood, but earlier I think you said you removed the HDD while your 540 was turned off (but still connected to power outlet). This is a common cause of "dead" Pioneers: you would be amazed how easy it is to short out the power section or other circuits if the unit is plugged into power when opened for HDD installation. It is almost impossible to remove the HDD without its bracket touching one of the metal chassis shields in the process. If the power cord is connected when that happens, ZAP. Not to mention the shock hazard to your fingers.
    Last edited by orsetto; 8th Feb 2017 at 18:50.
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  11. I had disconnect it from the power outlet before, i am always afraid of having it connected while maintenance. $100 US only for the burner is a lot of money, much more than i expected. Is all burners in that value or only Pioneers? I know that they can be worth money since the Dvd-recorders don't manufactures anymore as i know. I will see if a friend can help me with this since he studied electricity things in college.
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  12. Originally Posted by OldSchool297 View Post
    $100 US only for the burner is a lot of money, much more than i expected. Is all burners in that value or only Pioneers?
    The burners for Pioneer/Sony and Panasonic recorders are valuable, because they were the most popular among fans of DVD/HDD recorders. Other brands, not so much, either because the recorders were not well-regarded or because the burners themselves were horribly unreliable (Toshiba XS series was perhaps the greatest DVD/HDD ever made, but the burners were so hopelessly bad replacing them wasn't worthwhile). Pioneer and Sony co-produced their recorders for several years: Pioneers actually contained Sony burners from 2006-2009.

    The last source of new Pioneer/Sony burners is a place in UK that sells them for approx 118 euros apiece. Availability is not consistent, sometimes months go by with no stock. For many Pioneer fans, it is easier to just buy someone's dead recorder like yours locally in their country for that price, and recycle the burner, than order from UK. Of course I don't know if you could get that much in Sweden: you'd need to find someone who desperately needs a burner for their own 540 or 640.
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  13. I will take a look on the market in Sweden. Btw here is Vlc screen of the 10mbps dvd+rw video and it don't look good and the resolution isn't 16:9 original when you play, you have to change it, but when i check in Mediainfo the resolution should be 16:9 but it doesn't turns up like that in Vlc original, all other files does it but not burned dvd's. it looks like this original in the 1 photo, the second is a web download in 2,5mbps 1024*576 and it looks much better. I considering in buying this since he was open for price suggestions because i like the design I can have both this and a blu-ray recorder.
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    Last edited by OldSchool297; 9th Feb 2017 at 05:57.
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  14. I have checked all capacitors and non seems bad. When i plug the power nothing happens not even the display gets light. All i hear after plugging it off is a buzzing sound. Can i buy a replacement power card? I am sure it is something wrong with the card plugging the cable into.
    Last edited by OldSchool297; 29th Aug 2020 at 17:00.
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  15. Originally Posted by OldSchool297 View Post
    Can i buy a replacement power card?
    Probably not: Pioneer had a corporate meltdown 2008-2009 and completely dropped its recorder business. Shortly after, Sony stopped making its "clones" of the Pioneers and outsourced all their recorders from Samsung. EU has stronger regulations about spare parts than North America, so it is possible you might still be able to find a replacement power board, but after all this time I think even the EU-mandated spare requirement has expired by a couple years. In any case, the mfr was not required to sell the part to the consumer, only to make repairs available for a certain period of years after purchase in EU: you would still need to pay a specialized Pioneer service center to get the part and do the repair (no DIY).

    I recommend you take the recorder to shop that repairs desktop computers. The guts of these recorders closely resemble a desktop PC, the power supply is very simple and easy to diagnose/repair. A computer repair tech should be able to quickly test if there is a part failure in the power supply board: if so, the repair should be fairly inexpensive. However, if they tell you the power supply is good, then your problem is a blown circuit in the main motherboard. There are no repairs available for that anymore: you would need to sell your 540 as "broken" to someone who needs other parts like the DVD drive or HDD.

    Re your earlier question about the Pioneer 16:9 dvds playing with the wrong aspect ration (4:3 squeezed): this was a common issue with many brands of dvd recorder. For unknown reasons, even tho they are capable of recording in 16:9, most dvd recorders did not encode the proper display flag to trigger automatic unsqueezing of anamorphic 4:3 into standard 16:9. Instead you must manually change the aspect ratio to 16:9 with your TV remote (or set your PC software player to 16:9).

    If this really bothers you, it is possible to add the proper 16:9 trigger code into a copy of your Pioneer dvd. Rip the disc to your PC hard drive, and open the VIDEO_TS folder in a utility like pgcEdit. The utility will let you program the dvd to automatically start playing upon loading, or to automatically show the menu screen. It will aslo let you set the automatic display flag for each video on the DVD to 4:3 or 16:9. Burn a copy of the modified VIDEO_TS folder to a new blank dvd, and it will work like you want.
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