DVD Recorder Does Not Recognize Discs - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 19 Old 10-14-2011, 07:48 PM - Thread Starter
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I have a RCA VCR/DVD recorder, model #drc8310n. It is 5 years old. I burned 2 DVD's on it back then and then loaned it to my daughter, who transferred her VCR tapes to DVD's. She had it about 3 months. Since she brought it back, around 4 years ago, I did not hook it back up until about one month ago, as I have a lot of health issues. I tested it with a VCR tape at that time because it was handy. I put a DVD in yesterday and it would not recognize it. I tried several other DVD's and it would not recognize any of them. It tries to read it and then displays "no disc." Is it just junk now or does anyone have any suggestions as to anything I can try?
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post #2 of 19 Old 10-15-2011, 06:48 AM
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Are these commercial DVD's or blanks? The older RCA were not that reliable.
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post #3 of 19 Old 10-15-2011, 10:04 AM
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After 5 years, even the premium expensive DVD/VHS machines are usually worn out: the typical lifespan of a DVD recorder burner before it starts in with "no disc" issues is about 3 years. This is one of the things most consumers didn't count on that made DVD recorders very unpopular very quickly: they simply do not hold up for 10-15 years the way VCRs once did. They need expensive servicing or complete replacement much more often. The RCA was a very cheaply made bargain recorder in its time. Nothing wrong with that, we need recorders at all different price points and feature offerings. But it wasn't meant to last more than a couple years: if your daughter burned as little as 100 DVDs with it, that would have been enough to kill it. It may or may not be salvageable.

As pacofortacos asked earlier, exactly what DVDs did your RCA reject? Pre-recorded Hollywood movie DVDs, or blank DVDs? You need to try both, then tell us exactly what they were. If the machine is rejecting all Hollywood discs (try several different DVDs, not just one), it is most likely dead and you will need a new recorder. If it plays Hollywood movies, but won't accept blank discs, tell us exactly which blanks you are trying (Brand? DVD-RW? DVD+RW? DVD-R DVD+R?). Older and dying recorders generally reject the typical 16x-speed DVD+R and DVD-R blanks sold in retail chain stores.

An aging or dying recorder will often accept some brands and types of media but not others, permitting partial functionality if you can live with the limited range of discs it will tolerate (i.e., it might work with slow speed [2.4x rating] DVD+RW but nothing else). The fallback, "works every time with every recorder" blank discs are JVC/TY 8x Silver Premium DVD-R. Only you can decide whether it would be worth buying some of these to test your recorder: they are sold only as paks of 100 at a cost of about $30 including delivery to your home. If you don't expect to record a lot of DVDs, that $30 would be better put toward buying a newer better recorder, preferably one with a hard drive that lets you avoid using the burner for daily "watch-and-erase" shows.

If you enjoy tinkering, theres a small chance you might be able to replace the dying burner in your recorder with a new generic burner sold for PC use. The vast majority of DVD recorders cannot be repaired by the owner: they use dedicated proprietary burners sold only to service centers, which charge $150 or more (much more) to fix an old DVD recorder. But a few of the RCA models used ordinary standard burners. To see if yours is one of those models, you'd need to open the cabinet and look at the DVD drive. If it looks "skeletal" (no casing around the tray) or has thin ribbon cables going directly into it, you can't fix it yourself. If it is a sealed box, with standard-looking plugs (white power, black or grey or red bracket for the data), you could try removing the drive and replacing it with a cheap PC burner.

But here again, it depends on your budget and tinkering expertise. A new burner will cost about $30, and you would need to know (by the plug design) which type the recorder requires: EIDE or SATA. If the burner swap trick doesn't work, you'd have wasted $30 for nothing. Unless you're handy at installing computer drives and just happen to have a spare drive in the house, or are comfortable removing the burner from your computer to try it temporarily in the recorder, you shouldn't bother. On the whole, it usually isn't worth the time, money or effort to repair a DVD/VHS machine. You're better off buying a new one, and if you don't have any real need for the VHS you're MUCH better off with the Magnavox MDR513 DVD/HDD recorder these days. The HDD lets you avoid using blank DVDs except when you want a permanent copy of something, and its DVD drive is one of the more durable reliable ones. Very popular unit with AVS members.
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post #4 of 19 Old 10-15-2011, 11:38 AM
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If you have kids(or kids have used the machine) don't overlook the possibility of something like a post-it note or piece of paper may have got caught up in the machine and blocking the laser?? You should usually be able to hear this but maybe not. Eject the tray and try shining a flashlight to look for anything obvious
Lasers can fail immediately though and if this has happened I agree with Citibear, it won't really be worthwhile to fix.
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post #5 of 19 Old 10-18-2011, 03:06 PM - Thread Starter
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I have tried Gone With The Wind, Titanic, blank DVD+R, DVD+RW, DVD-R, DVD-R, and a few other DVD's that I can't remember. It always says "no disc" Thanks
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post #6 of 19 Old 10-18-2011, 03:07 PM - Thread Starter
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My daughter only burned about 30 DVD's on it. I've tried every kind of disc there is. Thanks!!
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post #7 of 19 Old 10-18-2011, 03:08 PM - Thread Starter
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Also, I am not a tinkerer when it comes to this. I have added memory to a computer, but I had picture directions to go by. Don't think I could tackle this. Would rather buy a new one. That is basically what I need to know is if I should just trash this one and forget it. Thanks!!
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post #8 of 19 Old 10-18-2011, 03:09 PM - Thread Starter
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I checked and didn't see anything like paper or anything like that in it. Thanks!!
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post #9 of 19 Old 10-18-2011, 03:14 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bgrma11 View Post

I have tried Gone With The Wind, Titanic........It always says "no disc"

Sounds like your unit might be either blown or sunk.

(I know - I'm a regular "Uncle Arthur", aren't I?)
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post #10 of 19 Old 10-18-2011, 05:21 PM
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Can you hear the drive itself making any noises like repeated head seeks? What does it sound like?

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 #11 of 19 Old 10-18-2011, 05:58 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bgrma11 View Post

I have a RCA VCR/DVD recorder, model #drc8310n. It is 5 years old. I burned 2 DVD's on it back then and then loaned it to my daughter, who transferred her VCR tapes to DVD's. She had it about 3 months. Since she brought it back, around 4 years ago, I did not hook it back up until about one month ago, as I have a lot of health issues. I tested it with a VCR tape at that time because it was handy. I put a DVD in yesterday and it would not recognize it. I tried several other DVD's and it would not recognize any of them. It tries to read it and then displays "no disc." Is it just junk now or does anyone have any suggestions as to anything I can try?

Where was it stored for the ~4 years since your daughter returned it?

I have a Pioneer DV-343 DVD Player, built in March 2001, with very low 'Power-On' hours, that had been idle for many years (in the Entertainment Center, in the Living Room, behind closed glass doors). Now, when I OPEN the tray, it *IMMEDIATELY* CLOSES again. The first few times I tried to play a DVD, I had to OPEN the tray ~20 times before it would stay open so that I could load a DVD. I imagine that there's an "End-of-Limit" switch that senses when the tray is in the full OPEN position and its contacts have oxidized. Short of opening the case and going in there with some DeOxit, exercising the switch 'seems' to be gradually cleaning the dirty contacts. Now it only takes ~2-3 attempts to load a DVD.

Where am I going with this? Even though you bought a 'Low-End' DVDR, that has low 'Power-On' hours *AND* the laser could have prematurely failed, maybe there's a layer of dust over the laser lens, if you stored it unprotected - (i.e. not in a box or plastic bag) in a dusty environment - (i.e. garage or attic)? You say you're not a 'Tinkerer' (and that you too have health issues - sorry! I know it sucks...) - but maybe you, or your wife, or daughter can check a few "Dollar Stores" or Walmart / Target / Kmart / Sears for a "CD/DVD Cleaner Disc". It's a disc with a small ~1/2" brush on the bottom that you pop in, hit PLAY, and remove when the voice says it's done several seconds later. You could also use a cotton Q-Tip (easy to find, but be careful about leaving fibers) or a foam Q-Tip (harder to find) or a blast of 'Canned Air'.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Church AV Guy View Post

Can you hear the drive itself making any noises like repeated head seeks? What does it sound like?

+1

[I had this in my post but edited it out to a "+1" when I saw yours during a PREVIEW.]

Good Luck!

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post #12 of 19 Old 10-18-2011, 06:35 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Church AV Guy View Post

Can you hear the drive itself making any noises like repeated head seeks? What does it sound like?

+2
I was thinking the same thing, listen for any moving parts noises.
Now that you told us that your daughter burned only 30 or so DVDs I'm thinking that the laser diode should be Ok even after sitting for a few years. But moving parts can seize after long-term storage. Sometimes you can wake up a moving part by physically moving it but you would have to open up the unit. I had a turntable (phono, record player) that haven't been used in a while and would not turn until I gave it a slight push.
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post #13 of 19 Old 06-12-2013, 02:32 PM
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CITI BEAR---- RTRG here. I bought 2 dvdr's from EBAY, Both were stated as 100% functional which I believe is true. From my experience certain recorders "LIKE" certain brands of media. These machines use bot R and RW media in the "MINUS" flavor. BOTH machines DO NOT RECOGNIZE those discs. I only have TDK brand. IN MINUS. Can you recommend a specific brand these machines will work with? Models are SHARP DV-RW2U and TOSHIBA DR4SU. Also what is the correct remote model # for the TOSHIBA? The remote that came with it does NOT work. The SHARP is also questionable. I am sure there is a specific brand media these machines like.
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post #14 of 19 Old 06-12-2013, 02:32 PM
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CITI BEAR---- RTRG here. I bought 2 dvdr's from EBAY, Both were stated as 100% functional which I believe is true. From my experience certain recorders "LIKE" certain brands of media. These machines use bot R and RW media in the "MINUS" flavor. BOTH machines DO NOT RECOGNIZE those discs. I only have TDK brand. IN MINUS. Can you recommend a specific brand these machines will work with? Models are SHARP DV-RW2U and TOSHIBA DR4SU. Also what is the correct remote model # for the TOSHIBA? The remote that came with it does NOT work. The SHARP is also questionable. I am sure there is a specific brand media these machines like.
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post #15 of 19 Old 06-12-2013, 02:32 PM
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CITI BEAR---- RTRG here. I bought 2 dvdr's from EBAY, Both were stated as 100% functional which I believe is true. From my experience certain recorders "LIKE" certain brands of media. These machines use bot R and RW media in the "MINUS" flavor. BOTH machines DO NOT RECOGNIZE those discs. I only have TDK brand. IN MINUS. Can you recommend a specific brand these machines will work with? Models are SHARP DV-RW2U and TOSHIBA DR4SU. Also what is the correct remote model # for the TOSHIBA? The remote that came with it does NOT work. The SHARP is also questionable. I am sure there is a specific brand media these machines like.
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post #16 of 19 Old 06-12-2013, 02:33 PM
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CITI BEAR---- RTRG here. I bought 2 dvdr's from EBAY, Both were stated as 100% functional which I believe is true. From my experience certain recorders "LIKE" certain brands of media. These machines use bot R and RW media in the "MINUS" flavor. BOTH machines DO NOT RECOGNIZE those discs. I only have TDK brand. IN MINUS. Can you recommend a specific brand these machines will work with? Models are SHARP DV-RW2U and TOSHIBA DR4SU. Also what is the correct remote model # for the TOSHIBA? The remote that came with it does NOT work. The SHARP is also questionable. I am sure there is a specific brand media these machines like.
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post #17 of 19 Old 06-12-2013, 02:33 PM
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CITI BEAR---- RTRG here. I bought 2 dvdr's from EBAY, Both were stated as 100% functional which I believe is true. From my experience certain recorders "LIKE" certain brands of media. These machines use both R and RW media in the "MINUS" flavor. BOTH machines DO NOT RECOGNIZE those discs. I only have TDK brand. IN MINUS. Can you recommend a specific brand these machines will work with? Models are SHARP DV-RW2U and TOSHIBA DR4SU. Also what is the correct remote model # for the TOSHIBA? The remote that came with it does NOT work. The SHARP is also questionable. I am sure there is a specific brand media these machines like. reeltoreelguy@gmail.com
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post #18 of 19 Old 06-12-2013, 03:12 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rtrg View Post

CITI BEAR---- RTRG here. I bought 2 dvdr's from EBAY, Both were stated as 100% functional which I believe is true. From my experience certain recorders "LIKE" certain brands of media. These machines use bot R and RW media in the "MINUS" flavor. BOTH machines DO NOT RECOGNIZE those discs. I only have TDK brand. IN MINUS. Can you recommend a specific brand these machines will work with? Models are SHARP DV-RW2U and TOSHIBA DR4SU. Also what is the correct remote model # for the TOSHIBA? The remote that came with it does NOT work. The SHARP is also questionable. I am sure there is a specific brand media these machines like.

Please delete your duplicate posts.

I agree with CitiBear's October 2011 advice seen above:

"After 5 years, even the premium expensive DVD/VHS machines are usually worn out: the typical lifespan of a DVD recorder burner before it starts in with "no disc" issues is about 3 years. This is one of the things most consumers didn't count on that made DVD recorders very unpopular very quickly: they simply do not hold up for 10-15 years the way VCRs once did. They need expensive servicing or complete replacement much more often..."

The Sharp DV-RW2U dates back to the spring of 2003 and the Toshiba DR4SU dates back to the spring of 2005. As these recorders are now between 8 and 10 years old they are probably well beyond their useful lifetimes. Recorders of that vintage might not recognize or support current 16x media. You might try using 8x media in the "-" format as these recorders do not use "+" format media.

Do these recorders recognize commercially recorded DVDs? When the DVD Drive "spins-up" to read DVDs are they quiet or do they make loud noises? If these recorders don't read any DVDs and/or make loud noises their laser assemblies might have failed. It's doubtful that compatible replacement parts are still available. These recorders are not worth servicing or repairing.

Since the mid 2000s TDK media has been manufactured by China Magnetics. China Magnetics media is of mediocre quality.

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post #19 of 19 Old 06-12-2013, 05:55 PM
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As DigaDo suggested, rtrg, please delete your duplicate questions: it makes the thread confusing to follow (you probably encountered a forum glitch when posting that spawned the duplicates).

DigaDo also made good points about these two recorders: they are prehistoric in terms of DVD recorder models (which went obsolete almost immediately until the very last units introduced after 2008). Neither had a reputation for reliability, the Toshiba DR4 in particular would start rejecting DVDs ten minutes after buyers took it out of the box. The correct remote for the DR4 is model SE-R0176, you probably won't find one for less than $20 and it hardly seems worth it since the recorder is probably dead. Some owners do report the DR4 remains useful as a pass-thru video stabilizing device even after the burner dies (you connect it between your VHS and another DVD recorder or PC). The video quality of the DR4 was quite excellent, but it was let down by a shoddy burner design.

The last ditch Hail Mary pass for old DVD recorders is to try Verbatim DVD-RW. If that doesn't work, you can try either TY/JVC Silver Premium 8x DVD-R or Verbatim DataLifePlus 8x DVD-R: this is the Japanese media older recorders were designed to burn. Unfortunately it is only available in packages of 50 (Verbatim) or 100 (TY/JVC) at a cost of $20-$30, so you can't just go to Staples and pick up a cheap 10-pak to test with. The 8x-spec DVDs will burn just fine in any PC or any DVD recorder, so you could always use them down the road in other hardware.
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