Panasonic DMR hard drive data recovery - It CAN be done!! - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 165 Old 03-22-2008, 12:40 AM - Thread Starter
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After my DMR-EH55 froze up in error mode last January during a 'divide title' operation, I searched all over the forums and even posted to few, but everyone said there is no way to retrieve the recorded programs. I finally attacked this problem on my own and came up with a way!! ( Of course your drive still has to be physically working )
All you need is a decent hex editor program ( I use HxD ) and a way to connect the the HD to your PC ( An IDE to USB adapter cable is what I use ). It doesn't matter if Windows can't see the drive, a hex editor can retrieve the binary data from any storage device connected to your PC! By studying the hex codes of DVD vob files, and doing some web research, I found out the start codes for all of your recorded entries on the HD. Also it is possible to locate every part of a fragmented program and reassemble them into one file. I've already retrieved two complete 30 min. shows from just the first 20 GB of the drive. ( Both were in 3 fragments each ). The data is NOT encrypted in any way (just standard DVD vob file format), It's just recorded to the HD sequentially until the drive reaches the end, then goes back to the beginning and starts recording over the places where you 'erased' entries or parts of shows (which are not really erased, just recorded over). This is what causes the fragmentation. It does take a considerable amount of time and patience, since you have to do a lot of string searching, copying and pasting data blocks, and looking at the count patterns ( and have a reasonable knowledge of the hexadecimal number system ). The beginning of the drive does not contain video files, but may have info on where to find the fragments. After I finish the whole drive ( it may be several weeks ) I'll investigate this further.


Part 1 - preliminaries:
If you can't install an IDE drive into your PC, you will need an IDE to USB adapter cable with power supply and ac cord ( available on eBay or websites ).
Go to these websites and download & install the following two programs:
http://mh-nexus.de/hxd/ HxD 1.7.1.0 beta (Hex editor)
http://www.freebyte.com/hjsplit/ HJSplit 2.3 (file joiner/splitter)


Carefully unplug the ribbon cable and power plug and remove the hard drive from the unit.
Move the jumper from J48 to J50 ( CS to Master ) and remove the horizontal jumper connecting J44 to J42 ( Maxtor HDs have a diagram on top ). Place jumper and screws in a small zip-loc bag or container where they won't get lost! Romove the two screws near the connecters holding the drive to the metal frame, loosen slightly ( but do not remove ) the two rear screws. Lift the front of the drive just enough so the screw holes are above the frame, then put those screws back in just enough so the screws will rest on top of the frame and hold the drive up at a slight angle ( so you can get the connectors in ). Plug in the power and data connectors, then plug in the power cord. When the drive spins up, plug the USB cable into your PC. Don't let your OS try to format the drive in case it asks for this.
Create a folder in one of your top directories to keep all your work. Open up notepad and save an empty dummy file there, calling it something like "zero" or"0000". Open up HxD, under file tab, open this file and be sure it is empty. If not, type "ctl A", hit delete key, and under file, "save as" (same filename). You will need this for pasting data into from your HD.
To access the drive, click the "Extras" tab, then "open disk...". Under logical disks, you should see only C: ( and any drives or partitions you added ). Under physical disks, it will say "Hard Disk 1", "Hard Disk 2", etc. You will see one more disk here than what is listed under logical. This will be the DMR drive. Click that one (the second or last one). You will then see the data displayed in hex code. To see if this is the right drive, move the slider down to the end of the file and note the hex offset address of the last line. For a 100 GB drive, it will show a 10 digit number starting with "17" or close. A 200 GB drive will show something like "2E" or "2F". Note that a 100 GB drive is really around 94 GB. Also if you are using the adapter cable, an orange light will flash on the connector each time you access the drive. Important: When opening up HxD to read the drive, the 'read only' box should stay checked to prevent you from writing to the drive by accident.

Part 2 - Data transfer:
Create a notepad file, copy and paste the following info into it:



VOB file START STRING 000001BA4400040004
2KB data block start string 000001BA

hex
100 = 256 bytes
1000 = 4096 bytes = 4KB
1:0000 = 65,536 b = 64KB
10:0000 = 1 MB
100:0000 = 16 MB
1000:0000 = 256 MB
1:0000:0000 = 4 GB
10:0000:0000 = 64 GB

6 MB = 600000
12 MB = C00000
24 MB = 1800000
48 MB = 3000000
96 MB = 6000000
192 MB = C000000

FILE 00 ( 1st 4 gigs of HD 0000000000-00FFFFFFFF )



You will need this often for reference. From now on, everytime you locate a program or part of a program, you will need to record the hex addresses, file length, and part of the header string for each program segment you find in this notepad file. Be sure to SAVE this file often as you work on it ( even make backups to another directory each day ).

Note: If you use a PC where you can connect the drive internally, you shouldn't have to transfer all the data to your C: drive first, you can skip down to part 3 below. You can do your string searching directly from the drive. I just can't do it with my USB connected DMR drive because it takes so long even to copy a 256 MB chunk off.

If you are using a IDE to USB adapter cable:
Before you begin, you need at least as much free space on your PC as the capacity of your DMR drive ( plus another 50% or so to work with ). You may have to add a second drive. Don't use a USB connected drive for this, it will slow things down considerably. The hex editor itself does not need much free space to display the data ( it only retrieves what is visible in the window ) but to search for programs and move data around, you will want it all on your PC's HD. With the hex data displayed on your HxD window, note the cursor flashing to the left of the first data byte. Under the 'edit' tab, hit 'select block', choose the 'Length' selection, then type in 10000000 (seven zeros) and hit OK. This will select the first 256 MB of data. Type 'ctrl C' (copy) A progress window will open, and the light will blink on the connector as it copies data to the clipboard. This will take at least a minute. When done, click to the left of the first byte of the very next line below the blue highlighted data. Leave the file open, Under file menu open up your empty file and type 'ctrl V' (paste). Click OK when it asks about the file size. You'll see the data appear in red. In the file tab, click "save as..." and call this file 00.001 hit save, then close the file. Under the HD file, The cursor should still be at the beginning of the line address 0010000000. Now repeat the steps above
(select block, 10000000 size, copy, paste into zero file, save - only this time call the file "00.002". Repeat this process 14 more times, being very careful not to lose track of where you are ( When you finish saving file 00.002, you will see a 2 at the start address of the next block you will copy ). Also, if you are worried about losing track, you can copy down the last few bytes of each 256 MB data block and put it with the correct filename in notepad. After you save the 10th file (calling it "00.010", you will see an A at the next start address. When you finish with the 16th file, the next hex address showing will be 0100000000. Now you can join the 16 files into a 4 GB file. Run 'HJSplit' hit "join" browse for the 00.001 file and hit 'start'. After a while, you will end up with a file called "00" with the first 4 GB of your data. You can delete all the ~.001 - .016 files.
Now you can either are start analyzing the data ( see part 3) or continue with the next 4 GB block.
To continue, copy this into your text file ( a few spaces below the last entry )
FILE 01 ( 2nd 4 gigs of HD 0100000000-01FFFFFFFF )
Starting with hex address 0100000000 retrieve the next 16 blocks ( just like above ) only this time title each file 01.001 thru 01.016 instead of 00.xxx If you close the program and want to do it later, use the 'search' tab and 'Goto' to type in the address of where you need to start. Note that to transfer all 100 GB, you will have to transfer about 375 blocks of data this way. I was unable to transfer larger blocks as I would get an 'out of memory' error each time I tried. There may be a way to copy the entire drive at once, but I yet don't know how and couldn't do it anyway as I am still making room on the hard drive.
Ther is a reason for naming the 4 GB blocks "00","01","02", etc. By adding the numbered name of the 4 GB file you are in to the left of the 8-digit hex address of what line you are looking at in that file, you will have the complete 10 digit hex address for that data line for the whole drive.


Part 3 - Finding your recorded programs:
Open the 00 file in HxD. Hit search and Find. Change the data type from Text-string to Hex-values (it always defaults in text mode when you first use it - so you need to change this every time you first open HxD on your PC). Copy and paste the VOB file start string code 000001BA4400040004 into it and hit OK. Once it finds one, copy the 8 digit address code (or 10 digit code if you are reading from the drive) on the left of this line into your notepad file right below the heading
"FILE 00 ( 1st 4 gigs of HD 0000000000-00FFFFFFFF )"
Note: If you are accessing the drive directly, no need to create the above heading - this is only if you have to copy everything to your C: drive in 4 GB files.
All DVD vob files start with this. This string also appears at the start of anything you record to the hard drive. Now hit edit and select block (leave the highlighted area alone) and type in 1000000 in the length box. Copy and paste this into your zero file, then save it as an .mpg file, calling it something like "a1.mpg" You will have a 16 MB file. Be sure to close the file in HxD once you save it (or it won't play). Now play it with your favorite video player ( I use Media Player Classic ). In LP ( 4 hour ) mode, this will give you about 50 seconds of video. This is usually enough to tell if it something you need or fragments of old deleted shows. If it is old fragments, make a note of this next to the address in your text file so you won't look there again. If it is good, and the entire video is the same program, Then you will need to go back to the same address (Find and Goto) on the 00 file, only this time select a 256 MB block ( 10000000 length ). Copy and paste it the same way, you can even overwrite the first mpg file with the same name when you save. If the video switches over to another fragment part way through the file, you will then need to edit it down. This is where it gets more complicated. First, observe about how many minutes and seconds are in the portion you need to save. I find most fragments fall into the following file lengths: 6 MB, 12 MB, 24 MB, 48 MB, 96 MB, 192 MB and 384 MB. 192 MB fragments are fairly common, this is exactly 3/4 of the way through a 256 MB file, or about 10 min. of video in LP mode (in SP mode, cut the times in half). So if your video plays about 10 min in a 256 MB file before switching shows, you have a 192 MB chunk. First, open the mpg file in HxD, type in 000001BA in the search / find window. Now press and hold down the F3 key on your keyboard and watch the first three bytes to the right of the blue selected string. You will see a '44 00 04' there which will slowly count up as you advance into the file. The 6th digit will only count from 4 to 7 and C to F, skipping the other 8 digits. The first 5 digits count up in the normal way. (The 44 won't change until you get 30 or 40 min. into a program) Let up on the F3 key, then move the slider bar down about a tenth of the way, press F3 again and observe the count. Keep doing this to get a feel for about how fast the count is going up. Move almost 3/4 down the file and look again. Sooner or later, you'll see a discrepancy in the count ( the numbers will jump to much higher value, or back to a lower value ). Work the slider up and down (moving it as little as possible) to zero in on the discrepancy. You can hold the shift key down while pressing F3 to make it search up (backwards). Also, if you have an idea of the chunk length, just go to that hex address on the left. Here are the address codes for the following chunk lengths: 6 MB = 600000 ; 12 MB = C00000 ; 24 MB = 1800000 ; 48 MB = 3000000 ; 96 MB = 6000000 ; 192 MB = C000000 . Hit the F3 and shift F3 keys to verify this is the end of the chunk. The next chunk starts at a hex address ending in several zeros.
Click the start of this chunk, scroll to the end of the file, hold down 'shift' and click the cursor on the right side of the last data byte. Now hit the delete key to remove this. Resave
it under the same filename. Close the file and play it again. The playing time, total time and seeker bar on your media player should now be in sync once you remove extraneous chunks off the end. ( There's another way to tell, if you play a 256 MB file, which should be about 13 min in LP mode, but if the program length time showing is way off from this, then you have mixed programs. Also the seeker bar won't move at the right speed ). Once you have an intact chunk you want to keep, rename it with a number like 01 and the name of the show so you know what it is - followed by "inc" or incomplete. Reopen the saved chunk and search for 000001BA again, but move to the end of the file, using shift F3 to find the last occurance of this string. Copy down the four bytes after the highlighted search string bytes into your text file, next to the info you copied about this chunk. You will need this to find the next chunk of this show. Continue searching for all the start codes in this 4 GB file, Then you can proceed to the next file.
Note1: Commercials you deleted on the DMR are NOT deleted from the HD, they will all still be there. This info is probably stored in the flash memory or at the beginning of the drive.
Note2: The 000001BA code occurs every 2 KB on the drive. Any data chunk starting with this code and ending with the byte preceding this code ( no matter how long ) will play as an mpg file. It does not have to begin with the entire string 000001BA4400040004. You can even name a whole 4 GB file as an mpg and play it! ( Except for the first one, since there are no 000001BA codes near the beginning of the drive ).
Note3: A "byte" in hex code is always a pair of digits shown in the editor


To find the second and subsequent chunks from a show, You will need the first 8 bytes of data from the start of the last 2 KB data block of the first chunk. Another words, the code 00 00 01 BA plus the four bytes I told how to find above.

Here is an example of a 30 min show I retrieved ( It was in the 2nd 4 GB file, about 7 GB
into the drive )
E5180000 [show #1 - part 1] (192MB 10:57)
00 00 01 BA 44 38 6E 57
00 00 01 BA 44 38 6E 5C
This is the last two 2 KB block start codes. Note how the last digit increases from 7 to C
( a jump of 5 units ) This digit always seems to advance in steps of 4 or 5.
To find the next fragment, I did a search for 000001BA44386E ( everything except the very last byte ) Each time your editor finds this string, look at the first byte after the blue selected code. In this case, it should be about 4 or 5 bigger than 5C ( it turned out to be 60 when I found it ). If the number is way smaller ( usually near 00 ) then you are in the wrong program. Hold F3 down until it gets past this show ( you will see a rapid flash of the strings, then a pause and the 'searching' box appears - immediately let up on the key and look again when it finds the next string. If the number is still way off, repeat the above.
If you find a string that looks right, select, copy and paste 16 MB of data into the zero file, save and play it. If it is not the right one, keep searching. In my case, the second segment was in the 4th 4GB file ( about 14 gigs into the drive ) Once you find it, Use the procedures above for selecting larger blocks and trimming the file to the right size. You will also want to record the addresses of all additional segments you find and again record the first 8 bytes of the address from the beginning of the last 2 KB data block of this file ( so you can find the third part ) and so on. Once you get the second segment fixed up, open the first segment in HxD, move the cursor to the very end, open the second part, then select all, copy and paste this to the end of the first part and save it. (Maybe under a different name in case you messed up) Once you play it and see all is OK, then you can delete the two shorter segments.

Wade
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post #2 of 165 Old 03-22-2008, 06:57 AM
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WowYou're the man
Good reference for anyone who has crucial programs on there HDD.
I'm going to guess most people will will just live with the fact that there programs are lost forever, feeling sad but moving on. It's great you posted your workaround if they really want to go the extra mile and get there data back.
Thanks for sharing your solution I'm sure a few people will try it, if the time comes.
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post #3 of 165 Old 03-22-2008, 10:49 AM
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post #4 of 165 Old 03-24-2008, 02:40 PM
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All I can say is, Well Done! Some of us have been waiting a long time to hear of success in this. So can we assume that at least for the moment, it is quite possible, but time-consuming and very, very tedious? This is a BIG step forward from impossible.

Luke

Evil is charming and beautiful. It makes you doubt yourself. It asks for one small compromise after another until it whittles you down, and it functions best when no one believes in it.-JOA
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post #5 of 165 Old 03-24-2008, 06:59 PM
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Info on how to do the equivalent thing on a Toshiba XS32 hosed drive would be greatly appreciated.
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post #6 of 165 Old 05-29-2008, 01:48 PM
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Well done, really inspired me to try something similar with my DMR-EX75. I seem to have a "MEIHDFS-V2.0" harddisk layout... Am abit stuck with trying to get the "VOB file" start information out of the title information section though...
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post #7 of 165 Old 06-19-2008, 11:44 PM
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I erased 48 minutes of a one hour funeral. I'm not done putting it together, but your instructions are great.
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post #8 of 165 Old 07-19-2008, 05:50 AM
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The info i had lost was already backed up on DVD's. However, some had not been finalized (the final step).

Other than recovering data, were you able to get DVD- Recorder repaired with reformatted hard drive?
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post #9 of 165 Old 09-04-2008, 12:40 PM
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Hi !

I'm a french guy -sorry for my english-, and I've got a PANA DMR-EX87, with 250 Gb HDD.

The drive is full of 150 cartoons for my childs, and I don't want to burn a lot of DVD-R before erasing them .

I putted the PANA Hard Drive ( Western Digital 2500 BB in fact) in my PC, but Windows doesn't recognize it.

BUT.....

I tried an EXT2 File system Reader (a LINUX File System) => the program want to scan the entire HDD. Il let it work during 10 minutes, and it scanned +/- 5 % of HDD. So I stopped it, but IT FOUND 4 DIRECTORIES AND a lot of MPEG and TXT FILES !!!!!

It was a surprise, because I though there was a FILE INDEX, the EXT2 Reader did'nt find it. But it found back files.
Some MPEG files are only 2 Kb size... Perhaps because I stopped the search.


I had to reinstall HDD into PANA -> no restart problem but a long time to start (with a little panic )


I will try in next days or next weeks to start on a SUSE LIVE CD (or another LINUX LIVE CD), to view if it can read the PANA HDD.

Or if someone has left time to try this....
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post #10 of 165 Old 09-05-2008, 03:31 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by elno-bgd View Post

Hi !

I'm a french guy -sorry for my english-, and I've got a PANA DMR-EX87, with 250 Gb HDD.

The drive is full of 150 cartoons for my childs, and I don't want to burn a lot of DVD-R before erasing them .

I putted the PANA Hard Drive ( Western Digital 2500 BB in fact) in my PC, but Windows doesn't recognize it.

BUT.....

I tried an EXT2 File system Reader (a LINUX File System) => the program want to scan the entire HDD. Il let it work during 10 minutes, and it scanned +/- 5 % of HDD. So I stopped it, but IT FOUND 4 DIRECTORIES AND a lot of MPEG and TXT FILES !!!!!

It was a surprise, because I though there was a FILE INDEX, the EXT2 Reader did'nt find it. But it found back files.
Some MPEG files are only 2 Kb size... Perhaps because I stopped the search.


I had to reinstall HDD into PANA -> no restart problem but a long time to start (with a little panic )


I will try in next days or next weeks to start on a SUSE LIVE CD (or another LINUX LIVE CD), to view if it can read the PANA HDD.

Or if someone has left time to try this....

I'm suprised it didn't try to reformat the drive when you re-installed it.

Why not hs dub to DVD-RAM instead?

The Future ain't what it used to be...
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post #11 of 165 Old 09-06-2008, 01:07 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by vferrari View Post

I'm suprised it didn't try to reformat the drive when you re-installed it.

No reformat asked by the DMR.
I didn't know it could ask me to reformat, before reading posts here...

But if I understood what was done, someone putted a NEW HDD, then PANA asked to format it. After reinserting PANA's original HDD, it was then not recognized.
=> I think that PANA tags the HDD, as Windows does (I think in the MBR).
It can explain why I didn't have to reformat my disk, I said no to 'make this drive used by Windows' - Even if Windows and PANA's tag use same location, no problem...
I used a freeware program to read EXT FileSystem, which does'nt use Windows HDD manager.

Quote:
Originally Posted by vferrari View Post

Why not hs dub to DVD-RAM instead?

I don't understand "HS" ('remember, french guy...)
You mean using PANA to dub my videos to DVD-RAM ?
What is a difference between DVD-RW - the size ?
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post #12 of 165 Old 09-06-2008, 03:17 PM
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HS=high speed.

RG
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post #13 of 165 Old 09-06-2008, 04:25 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by elno-bgd View Post

No reformat asked by the DMR.
I didn't know it could ask me to reformat, before reading posts here...

But if I understood what was done, someone putted a NEW HDD, then PANA asked to format it. After reinserting PANA's original HDD, it was then not recognized.
=> I think that PANA tags the HDD, as Windows does (I think in the MBR).
It can explain why I didn't have to reformat my disk, I said no to 'make this drive used by Windows' - Even if Windows and PANA's tag use same location, no problem...
I used a freeware program to read EXT FileSystem, which does'nt use Windows HDD manager.


I don't understand "HS" ('remember, french guy...)
You mean using PANA to dub my videos to DVD-RAM ?
What is a difference between DVD-RW - the size ?

It seems to me that you could readily dub the content off your Hard Drive using DVD-RAM disks in HIGH SPEED dub mode (HS) quicker than removing and fiddling with your HDD. The main advantage of the DVD-RAM vs. DVD-RW is that they preserve the original VR mode format of the videos recorded to your hard drive (which enables you to losslessly dub them BACK to your HDD should you choose to do so in the future) and they do not have to be finalized. I suspect that you could dub a full disc in about 15 min which means that you could unload between 2 to 4 hours of content (depending on record mode - i.e. SP or LP) every 15 to 20 minutes. Seems a lot more straight forward and less risky than fiddling with the hard drive on a PC. However, it would be interesting to see what success you might have going the PC/Linux route. Good luck, in any event.

The Future ain't what it used to be...
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post #14 of 165 Old 09-07-2008, 07:13 AM
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Thanks for the idea (and for HS translation. In french, HS is for Hors Service = out of order ).

I didn't use DVD-RAM 'till now.

When I'm dubbing to DVD-RW, it's done at 1x (due to LP or SP mode I used to record to HDD, if I remember).

If I use DVD-RAM, It could be faster, as you said ?
If can dub2 hours within 15-20 minutes.... That could be easier !
and moreover a normal use of the PANA
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post #15 of 165 Old 09-07-2008, 08:55 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by elno-bgd View Post

Thanks for the idea (and for HS translation. In french, HS is for Hors Service = out of order ).

I didn't use DVD-RAM 'till now.

When I'm dubbing to DVD-RW, it's done at 1x (due to LP or SP mode I used to record to HDD, if I remember).

If I use DVD-RAM, It could be faster, as you said ?
If can dub2 hours within 15-20 minutes.... That could be easier !
and moreover a normal use of the PANA

As you're using a European model Panasonic, I'm not sure if this will apply to your recorder but...

High Speed dubbing works-on the North American Pannys, with all discs types, allowing you to dub material from the hard drive to a disc in the 15-20 minute time frame. Now -RW discs come in a couple of different speeds...some are 1x-2x, and others are 4x speed. The lower speed (may) mean it will take closer to 20 mins to dub at high speed (I've never used 1x-2x -RW discs in my Panasonic hdd recorder). 4x discs should take about 15 minutes.

The American hdd model also has a setting in the Set up menu where High Speed dubbing must be enabled. If it is not, then all material recorded on the hdd, can't be hi-speed dubbed-only dubbed in real time, the actual running time of the show. So you might need to check the manual, to see if your model also has this setting, and if it needs to be turned on.


Also be aware that RAM discs can only be played back on other Panasonic recorders, or pcs with RAM capable drives. They won't play on any units that aren't RAM compatible.

Dazed and confused over high tech.

Sigh...Concrap. The Internet Overlord Cometh
They're not com-tastic!
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post #16 of 165 Old 09-08-2008, 10:51 AM
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Originally Posted by Westly-C View Post

The American hdd model also has a setting in the Set up menu where High Speed dubbing must be enabled.

I forgot that, and my option was set to "NO".
but it's only used for new records to HDD, and forces 4:3 screen size and audio M1 and M2.

It also turns HS for DVD-RAM...

So no way for the already recorded cartoons on my HDD.
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post #17 of 165 Old 02-25-2009, 08:40 PM
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Sorry if this violates old post policy.
Many thanks to the author, saved my bacon

My optical drive had died on my HS2 so I had no way to get footage off.

I went a slightly different way which allowed me to see what I was cutting up.
Rather than piecing together the footage using the hex editor I just used the editor to dump contents of the drive and used a mpeg splitter to work on it.
At first I dumped all 40gb but then went to 20gb chunks.

Program used was
SolveigMM Video Splitter

It handled the mixed video resolution file just fine.
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post #18 of 165 Old 03-18-2009, 11:47 AM - Thread Starter
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I finally broke down and added a 500 GB HD to my PC so I could finish what I started over a year ago. In a matter of weeks, I have now recovered EVERYTHING I had recorded on the panny HD before it crashed
I have also made the following new observations:
Data fragments always start with HEX addresses ending in 0000 and the fifth to the last digit is always a 0, 4, 8 or C. Whenever a new recording is started, the DMR will scan the drive for blank contiguous spaces of at least 384 MB in size, and begin in 384 MB fragments. ( An empty drive may use larger fragments, or just record the whole title on one huge chunk ) If none exist, it will then try 192 MB ( half the size each time ). All programming will start out in either 384 MB, 192 MB, 96 MB, 48 MB, 24 MB, 12 MB, 6 MB, 3 MB, or 2.25 MB fragments depending on what is the largest size of the empty spaces left on the drive. The fragments are always recorded sequentially from the beginning of the drive to the end, and are always the same size, until the end of the drive is reached. It will them go back to the start, and record the next set of fragments at half the original size. This process will continue until the recording is ended or the drive runs out of 2.25 MB spaces, in which case it will stop and show a "drive is full" error. Of course the final fragment will be smaller as it depends on when the recording is stopped.
I had one 30 min. show that started out in 6 MB fragments and ended up in 2.25 MB fragments, and I had to locate and rejoin 168 fragments in all!
When my unit started acting up ( like losing divided titles ) I was trying to get everything on to DVDs, so the last week or two I used it, the drive was only about 25% full, and most of these shows were in a few large ( 192 or 384 mb ) fragments. But I had a few older items in over 50 tiny fragments which were recorded when I let the drive get over 95% full.
Also some of the shows no longer started with usual 8 byte HEX start code, but instead had a much higher number in the 5th to 8th byte. These may have been the 2nd ( or 3rd ) part of a divided title. I had to find these by adding the .mpg extension to each of my 4 GB data files and playing them with a video player while advancing the seek bar about 2% of the way in increments until I found the show I was looking for, then trying to zero in on the beginning of a fragment by selecting various smaller & smaller segments of the file and playing each. You can also use my method to search backwards for preceeding fragments, it's just more difficult. Of course you will be counting backwards with the numbering sequence and also looking for the last code in each fragment, where the HEX address willes will end in
3F800, 7F800, BF800, or FF800 instead of 00000, 40000, etc. One program near the very beginning of the drive was missing the first 12 KB of data ( and thus the start code ). But the video was still playable. This may be where my errors are coming from. I also found some of the filenames I assigned to some of the titles (over in the text column on the right side of the editor) - they seem to be scattered all over the drive. I spotted a few by accident right after the end of a fragment I had selected to copy off.
I put the drive back in last night but the error is still there - no attempt at an automatic reformat. I may have to fill the drive with zeroes to clear this silly error. I have it all on my PC now, so it doesn't matter. The next step will be to find a way to write the shows to a DVD-ram on my PC to get them back into the DMR's HD without any compression loss.

Wade
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post #19 of 165 Old 06-28-2009, 01:32 AM
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Great work Wade. I've followed your trailblazing path after accidentally (re)formatting the 250GB hard drive on my Panasonic DMR-EX85EB.

I'm searching and retrieving fragments with HxD but want to automate one or two things. Any ideas on programming languages, scripts or whatever to do the following?

Search for a hex pattern (01BA44) and then look at the next three bytes. Move on if it's a contiguous video fragment (the next three bytes are incremented normally) or stop the search when those three bytes show something other than the regular increment, i.e. when the fragment has finished.

Thanks in advance for any ideas.

Ian
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post #20 of 165 Old 07-05-2009, 11:43 AM
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I've achieved what I wanted by setting up a macro in Macro Express (Insight Software Solutions) to cut and paste from HxD into Excel (to conduct analyses) and then conditionally return to HxD to continue searching.
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post #21 of 165 Old 07-21-2009, 11:14 AM
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I have just gone through the same problem with an EX75 unit. The HDD started clicking like the head was bouncing off something at startup, resulting in HDDERR on the display, but after several attempts it would boot normally allowing us to watch a few of the recorded programs before it stopped working again. Obviously the HDD was on the way out, and with only 47mins free, we had rather stupidly got rather a lot of soon to be lost recordings.

After reading a few forums regarding other ppls attempts at recovering / replacing the HDD, coming from a SW engineering background, I managed to get the HDD attached to my PC directly through the IDE connector, and wrote a quick tool to read off the raw data from the HDD into 1GB files giving me 149 1GB files.

I then ordered a new 160GB WD replacement HDD (almost the same spec as the original). I then wrote another tool to take all the the 149 1GB files and write them as raw data onto the new HDD.

After fitting the HDD into the EX75, to my suprise after reading all of the failures on the net, after a tense 'PLEASE WAIT', the unit came up with 47mins remaining, and operating completely normally.

I did start looking at reconstructing the movies using the info posted here, with some success, but would need to work out how the table of contents works to link together all the sub segements of movies, and gave up once I got the new HDD working.

Happy days, looking fwd to another 2 years usage from the unit.
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post #22 of 165 Old 07-21-2009, 12:07 PM
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Sounds like cloning to me What about the digi's that reformat when they see a different hard drive is installed?
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post #23 of 165 Old 07-21-2009, 12:20 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by timtofly View Post

Sounds like cloning to me What about the digi's that reformat when they see a different hard drive is installed?

I guess cloning would do the same, but I wanted to have a close look at the data with a view to recovering lost movies, so a hand made approach made sense.

If the format on different HDD detection is true, it would be a problem, I'm not convinced that this is the case, as there doesn't seem to be a convincing argument why Panasonic would do this, especially on some units in the same range and not others, but then I guess anything is possible. I suspect that its more likely the data on the original is corrupt sufficiently, say in the table of contents, for the unit to demand a reformat, as this is what happened when I replaced the original HDD the very last time.
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post #24 of 165 Old 07-21-2009, 01:47 PM
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What if you did like you did, except putting the data on a larger hard drive? Or are they only capable of a 160 gig drive?
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post #25 of 165 Old 07-21-2009, 02:04 PM
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Panasonic DVD recorders all have the size of their hard drive set in the firmware. If you put in a larger drive, it will format to the size of the drive that originally came with the machine. This characteristic is common to nearly all HDD equipped DVD recorders.

As far as swapping drives is concerned, everyone who as tried and reported back here has the same story. Once a drive is removed from a machine, if you try to use it on another machine, even the same make and model, the machine will demand it be formatted at first power-up. If you then return it to the original machine, IT will demand the drive be reformatted. I haven't tried any of this myself, but many others have stated this many times.

Luke

Evil is charming and beautiful. It makes you doubt yourself. It asks for one small compromise after another until it whittles you down, and it functions best when no one believes in it.-JOA
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post #26 of 165 Old 07-21-2009, 02:26 PM
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That may be, but if mindeater "cloned" to a new drive, he already broke the other rule that said it would reformat the drive if it did not read the same identification id of the original drive. Maybe in looking at the info he transferred, he could brake the code allowing it to recognize a larger hard drive.
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post #27 of 165 Old 07-21-2009, 02:30 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Church AV Guy View Post

Panasonic DVD recorders all have the size of their hard drive set in the firmware. If you put in a larger drive, it will format to the size of the drive that originally came with the machine. This characteristic is common to nearly all HDD equipped DVD recorders.

As far as swapping drives is concerned, everyone who as tried and reported back here has the same story. Once a drive is removed from a machine, if you try to use it on another machine, even the same make and model, the machine will demand it be formatted at first power-up. If you then return it to the original machine, IT will demand the drive be reformatted. I haven't tried any of this myself, but many others have stated this many times.

The Philips 3575/3576 and Magnavox 2080/2160 are one exception... larger HDDs, swappable w/o reformatting, multiple drives for portability, etc., as described here.
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post #28 of 165 Old 07-21-2009, 04:39 PM
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My expressoin "nearly all" implied some exceptions. The Polaroid 2001G is another exception.

Luke

Evil is charming and beautiful. It makes you doubt yourself. It asks for one small compromise after another until it whittles you down, and it functions best when no one believes in it.-JOA
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post #29 of 165 Old 07-22-2009, 03:50 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Church AV Guy View Post

Panasonic DVD recorders all have the size of their hard drive set in the firmware. If you put in a larger drive, it will format to the size of the drive that originally came with the machine. This characteristic is common to nearly all HDD equipped DVD recorders.

As far as swapping drives is concerned, everyone who as tried and reported back here has the same story. Once a drive is removed from a machine, if you try to use it on another machine, even the same make and model, the machine will demand it be formatted at first power-up. If you then return it to the original machine, IT will demand the drive be reformatted. I haven't tried any of this myself, but many others have stated this many times.

That's all I keep hearing from people that it never works, but the drive I did it with is not even the same model, old one a WD 1600BB the new one a WD 1600AA, I didn't do anything I would consider clever and it worked first time. As I said, I think people making a lot of assumptions over what is actually happening when they replace a drive and it doesn't work.

The concept of requiring 'firmware' when it comes to a HDD is very odd, as the only firmware on a WD HDD is written onto the drive by WD themselves an the time of manufacture, I don't think Panasonic are going to go to the trouble of re-writing HDD firmware, I don't think they'd have the budget or the inclination to go to that sort of trouble.
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post #30 of 165 Old 07-22-2009, 05:01 PM
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Are you saying that you put in a different hard drive and it formatted to a size greater than the one that originally came with the machine? If so, that is the very first time I have ever heard of this. Many different drives will work, and many people have put in drives that were larger than the one that came with the recorder, but everyone who has done this reported that the drive formatted to the size of the original one that came with the machine. The recorders just ignore the extra space. They work just fine, this way, but the extra space is ignored by the recorder. It does not read the drive for its size and use that number of GB, it uses the number of GB that is in its firmware. It does not write any firmware to the drive, just video data.

Luke

Evil is charming and beautiful. It makes you doubt yourself. It asks for one small compromise after another until it whittles you down, and it functions best when no one believes in it.-JOA
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