How do I read the hard disk of a Pioneer DVR-510H on my PC? - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 19 Old 04-16-2012, 01:28 AM - Thread Starter
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Hi,
How do I read the hard disk of a Pioneer DVR-510H on my PC? I've tried using a USB 2.0 to IDE connector but windows doesn't seem to be able to read it. Any suggestions or advice?
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post #2 of 19 Old 04-16-2012, 08:13 AM
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Hi there, here's a thread with some basic info on that task:

Hard Disk File System investigation for the Magnavox 2080/2160/513

I know it's not the same machine, but the basics are almost the same.
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post #3 of 19 Old 04-16-2012, 07:30 PM
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You can't "read" a Pioneer 510 HDD in your PC and directly manipulate the video files like you would normal PC files. Different hard disk OS (variant of Linux) and other complicating factors. Following the instructions of several threads here and elsewhere, you can salvage videos from a recorder HDD, but salvage is a different thing altogether from normal use.

The closest you can come to "normal PC use" of a Pioneer 510 HDD is to power up the recorder and connect a FireWire/DV camera cable between the front panel DV output and your PC. The Pioneer 510 had an undocumented feature allowing many video editing apps to recognize the 510 as a "video camera" and pull the videos off its HDD in standard DV format. It has to be done in real time (an hour recording takes an hour to transfer) but you do end up with a standard, editable DV file on the PC. The FireWire/DV port of the 510 is located under a small removable square grey plastic cover on the right hand corner of the front panel, near the navigation knob. If your 510 is still operational, this is the easiest way to get videos off the HDD (aside from burning DVDs and ripping them to your PC). Of course you'd need a corresponding DV/FireWire port on your computer: most current laptops dropped these ports but if yours has an ExpressCard slot you can buy a card to add DV (and there are many cards that add DV to dektop PCs).
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post #4 of 19 Old 04-17-2012, 06:22 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CitiBear View Post

The closest you can come to "normal PC use" of a Pioneer 510 HDD is to power up the recorder and connect a FireWire/DV camera cable between the front panel DV output and your PC. The Pioneer 510 had an undocumented feature allowing many video editing apps to recognize the 510 as a "video camera" and pull the videos off its HDD in standard DV format.

That is very interesting. Can you name a couple of DV editing apps that support this firewire transfer?

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post #5 of 19 Old 04-17-2012, 12:32 PM
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Originally Posted by Kelson View Post

That is very interesting. Can you name a couple of DV editing apps that support this firewire transfer?

WinDV, VideoStudio, and VirtualDub, VMM and some versions of Nero have all been reported as working with the Pio 510 DV/FireWire output. The workflow was described quite extensively in a series of forum posts, which I archived as text files. Unfortunately I do not have the actual posts bookmarked, and can only paste them here from the text files. I did not author these instructions, I've never used the Pioneer DV jacks to feed my PCs, so I cannot confirm they will work for everyone. The original poster of these tips was quite respected in Pioneer circles a few years ago, sadly I did not archive his name along with the text files. Although the info runs quite a few paragraphs: I'll paste it here since Kelson asked and it seems appropriate in what will likely be a very short-lived, limited-interest thread topic (given the Pio 510 and 520 date from 2003/2004):

*****************************

PART ONE: OVERVIEW

There has been strong interest in a unique feature of the Pioneer DVR-510H/DVR-520H - the DV In/Out port located at the front of the unit, with the particular focus on the Out part of it. In other words, dumping the hard drive's content onto the PC without any disc burning. So, since I have one, and have successfully utilized this feature, I offer the details to answer many questions to me in case you're thinking of buying one used.

There is no documentation officially available from Pioneer on this so we're really on our own here. This obviously was something experimental, maybe even a mistake, which may be why it was corked in subsequent models.

Keep in mind, the way this works is not via direct transfer of MPEG-2 TS streams to the PC. It's not a file-copy type of feature. You are actually (re-)recording, or rather capturing, the video, in real time, to your PC during playback of content that is already, currently, in the 520's hard drive. But it is a capture direct from the unit itself.

As well, I have yet to find a way to capture any streams while they're being recorded, only when the 520 has finished its recording to its HDD. Then, and only then, will it be available for acquisition by your PC. (Unless of course someone finds a way around this and posts.)

Video format is DV AVI with LPCM audio at about 13GB/hour. Huge, yes, but edits nicely and encodes easily to other smaller formats (like MPEG-2/DvD, DivX, etc). Great results.

In comparing the captured DV with the burned MPEG-2 equivalent video:
-DV seems noisier, more grained.
-DV seems more sharper in detail and color
-MPEG-2 seems more blocky.
-MPEG-2 seems cleaner.
This is subjective to the individual. I prefer the DV version since the final re-encode with the PC later produces nicer results.

Needless to say - record all content you wish to keep in FINE mode since it will not change the size of the DV, but will improve quality. No need for lower modes to save space (and kill quality). Personally, with my "weekly purges" to the PC my 520's HDD is empty several times a month even when everything is in the bigger FINE mode.

So, what are the advantages to doing this with the DV-Out instead of burning to DvD with the 520? Why bother with the huge DV video file sizes and extra capture time then?

-Ideal for the individual that does indeed migrate lots of content to the PC for better edits, encodes, authoring and burning, etc.
-The PC capture process is unattended. You literally just need to start it and then come back later when it's done. It's virtually no work unlike migration via DvD-R(W).
-No need to compromise quality for space, faster burning, etc with lower quality modes, such as SP, LP etc. You can record everything to FINE now and enjoy the better quality.
-No edits on the 520. The remote control is too clumsy, awkward, slow and limited compared to the functions available with PC apps. Every general editor app available, that is worth its salt, has features for DV video. But even editing with just a simple editor like VirtualDubMod in Direct Stream mode, and batch mode, is so much more convenient than with the 520's remote.
-No time-consuming series of burns to transfer content. Zero wear-and-tear on a burner that is apparently limited.
-Quality seems richer with DV. This is taste though.
-DV streams edit much easier, especially with special effects, etc.
-DV streams produce nicer encodes if you wish to IVTC, use AviSynth filters, etc to the final target like DvD, DivX, etc.
-If you manage your work flow efficiently, you will save more time and have better results. And your 520's hard drive will be empty a lot - always convenient.

The DV-Out method IMO is better suited for the individual that processes the 520's yields on a PC. It would be much more time consuming via remote and burner otherwise. Just dump the content as-is, and edit/encode later on the PC. Very simple.

Disc burning (as well as 520 remote control editing) is a thing of the past for me now.

******************

PART TWO: WHAT'S NEEDED

Here's what you need:

Hardware:
-Firewire cable: 4pin to the 520, 6-pin to the PC's firewire ($15US-$50US)
-Firewire card if you don't have one already installed. ($30US-$50US)
-I would recommend a later model PC. This is, after all, a capture process that can be CPU intensive for older models.

Capture software:
WinDV is enough, which is free, effective, tiny and needs no installation. But you can look into Nero, WMM, VideoStudio, VirtualDub (I think), etc. There's plenty.

You will also need an editor app. Good ones for DV-video are:
VirtualDubMod (lossless cuts and joins and batch mode)
VideoStudio
Vegas
WMM (decent and free)
Again, plenty available.

Encoder:
Since DV video is quite huge, you may need an encoder for either MPEG-2, DivX, Xvid, H.264 or whatever you wish to encode it to for playback purposes or just to save space. (Or, you can keep the DV, or encode it to a high bitrate MPEG-2 for archiving as source. This is up to the individual.)

****************

PART THREE: WORKFLOW

I will detail my workflow here in case it helps. Even though this will vary for each individual, the intention is to provide insight to this feature's practicality.

Keep in mind, I have my 520 at a separate part of my house, so I actually physically bring it to my PC once a week to clean out its hard drive.

Since I don't have a TV next to my PC, I have to blindly select the video to capture. This I do with preparation beforehand by dumping what clips I will capture to the Copy Menu's timeline as if preparing a DvD burn - easier to manage this way in one place and can accommodate many hours of video. And no need to combine the clips, they will play in sequence.

-Bring the 520 to the PC. Plug it in, but don't power on just yet.
-Connect the cable's 6-head to the firewire card. (You can leave it there always after.)
-Connect the cable's 4-head to the 520's front port.
-I personally like to restart the PC for a capture session.
-When the PC is ready, power on the 520. Wait for Windows to recognize it. (I'm using XP).

-Start playing the video from your 520's Copy Menu timeline.
Here are the blind steps:
-Press Home Menu on the remote.
-Press down twice.
-Press Enter (you should see the Copy Menu at the front of the 520 on its LED display)
-Keep pressing Enter several more times (at least 3 or 4 more times). The video from the Copy Menu's timeline should start playing soon enough.

-Fire up and begin your capture software and wait till it recognizes the playback. I find it easier to have it recognize the playback when it's already playing.
-Press record on your software (and restart the 520's video with the remote). You can always edit these extra bits out later.
-Just keep capturing. When the video finishes the software should stop. And it will be exact: if you have 5 hours and 20 minutes of content in your Copy Menu, it will take exactly that long to capture it. Hence, plan a batch overnighter every time you do this. (It doesn't make sense to do an hour here and there.)
-DV video is ~13GB/hr. Make sure you have sufficient disc space for the capture. You can always edit, and re-encode/compress later. This process is up to you.

Once you check that the capture went fine, then feel free to delete the content from your 520's drive when you plug it back to your TV. This is how it's empty several times a month and ready for another week each time. I don't need a bigger drive on my 520.

So far, apart from a few mistakes in the early part of the learning curve, this method has been flawless for me. Perfectly synced captures without a single dropped frame.

***************
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post #6 of 19 Old 04-17-2012, 06:02 PM
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That is pretty cool. Too bad none of the later models had that feature -- or did they.

- kelson h

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post #7 of 19 Old 04-17-2012, 09:15 PM
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Unfortunately no, the Pioneers with bidirectional FireWire were the 310, 510 (aka 3100 & 5100), 220, 225, 320, 420, 520, 720 and an industrial version of the 720 (model PRV-9200). Only the 510, 5100, 520, 720 and 9200 have HDD. All date from 2003-2004, with crude interface not much better than the current Magnavox. The really superb final Pioneers of 2007-2008 with the nicer user interface do not have the DV/FireWire PC connection found in the earlier series.
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post #8 of 19 Old 04-20-2012, 02:55 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kelson View Post

That is very interesting. Can you name a couple of DV editing apps that support this firewire transfer?

On the mac, all I know of is I-movie and Final Cut.
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post #9 of 19 Old 04-20-2012, 03:03 AM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by CitiBear View Post

You can't "read" a Pioneer 510 HDD in your PC and directly manipulate the video files like you would normal PC files. Different hard disk OS (variant of Linux) and other complicating factors. Following the instructions of several threads here and elsewhere, you can salvage videos from a recorder HDD, but salvage is a different thing altogether from normal use.

The closest you can come to "normal PC use" of a Pioneer 510 HDD is to power up the recorder and connect a FireWire/DV camera cable between the front panel DV output and your PC. The Pioneer 510 had an undocumented feature allowing many video editing apps to recognize the 510 as a "video camera" and pull the videos off its HDD in standard DV format. It has to be done in real time (an hour recording takes an hour to transfer) but you do end up with a standard, editable DV file on the PC. The FireWire/DV port of the 510 is located under a small removable square grey plastic cover on the right hand corner of the front panel, near the navigation knob. If your 510 is still operational, this is the easiest way to get videos off the HDD (aside from burning DVDs and ripping them to your PC). Of course you'd need a corresponding DV/FireWire port on your computer: most current laptops dropped these ports but if yours has an ExpressCard slot you can buy a card to add DV (and there are many cards that add DV to dektop PCs).

I just want to pull files off the disk on to my PC, I don't want to do it consistently. I have tired using the DV port and it doesn't give me proper video like a DV camera, it just gives me a blocky image.
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post #10 of 19 Old 04-20-2012, 09:03 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by person12 View Post

On the mac, all I know of is I-movie and Final Cut.

Sadly, after promoting digital home video editing on the original iMac, Apple has long since dropped the ball and is now about the least functional platform for video tasks. Hardly any useful software is available, and Macs are now rigged from the factory to detect and lock out all "unauthorized" connections like the undocumented Pioneer feature. Mac owners are SOL if they want to do anything with video beyond simple cut and paste from a video camera: Apple has even flushed their pro-level Final Cut Pro. And forget DVD or BD authoring- yuck. I say this as a Mac user since 1989: they ain't what they used to be. These days I use my Macs for web stuff and still imaging, but Windows for all video-related projects.

Quote:
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I just want to pull files off the disk on to my PC, I don't want to do it consistently. I have tired using the DV port and it doesn't give me proper video like a DV camera, it just gives me a blocky image.

You're getting a blocky image because your "PC" is apparently a Mac (see above). Macs don't handle video that well anymore, esp from non-standard sources like a DVD/HDD recorder from 2003.

You won't be able to read files from the Pioneer HDD, put the idea out of your head and forget it. PCs have a hard time with it but can be tricked into some sort of salvage operation, Macs will have an even tougher time. Things are further complicated by Pioneers funky drive firmware interlocks: if you remove the HDD to plug it into a PC, you'll kill your Pioneer dead (it will reject the HDD when you try to put it back, unless you have the arcane Pioneer Service Remote and Service Data DVD and know the reinstall procedure).

You only have two practical choices: burn DVDs from the Pioneer HDD, then rip the DVD files into your Mac using Handbrake or other Mac apps. Or, if your Pioneer burner is dead, buy a USB capture box for your Mac and connect the line outputs of your Pioneer to it. Play the recordings on the Pioneer HDD into the Mac thru the USB capture box, to make AVIs or MP4s or whatever video file format you need.
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post #11 of 19 Old 04-21-2012, 01:23 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CitiBear View Post

Sadly, after promoting digital home video editing on the original iMac, Apple has long since dropped the ball and is now about the least functional platform for video tasks. Hardly any useful software is available, and Macs are now rigged from the factory to detect and lock out all "unauthorized" connections like the undocumented Pioneer feature. Mac owners are SOL if they want to do anything with video beyond simple cut and paste from a video camera: Apple has even flushed their pro-level Final Cut Pro. And forget DVD or BD authoring- yuck. I say this as a Mac user since 1989: they ain't what they used to be. These days I use my Macs for web stuff and still imaging, but Windows for all video-related projects.



You're getting a blocky image because your "PC" is apparently a Mac (see above). Macs don't handle video that well anymore, esp from non-standard sources like a DVD/HDD recorder from 2003.

You won't be able to read files from the Pioneer HDD, put the idea out of your head and forget it. PCs have a hard time with it but can be tricked into some sort of salvage operation, Macs will have an even tougher time. Things are further complicated by Pioneers funky drive firmware interlocks: if you remove the HDD to plug it into a PC, you'll kill your Pioneer dead (it will reject the HDD when you try to put it back, unless you have the arcane Pioneer Service Remote and Service Data DVD and know the reinstall procedure).

You only have two practical choices: burn DVDs from the Pioneer HDD, then rip the DVD files into your Mac using Handbrake or other Mac apps. Or, if your Pioneer burner is dead, buy a USB capture box for your Mac and connect the line outputs of your Pioneer to it. Play the recordings on the Pioneer HDD into the Mac thru the USB capture box, to make AVIs or MP4s or whatever video file format you need.

No no, I have a PC, I thought the other guy was talking about macs because he was talking about "Apps" I thought that they were called programs on the PC.

I am using Windows 7 64-bit though, it can see I-link certified devices but it can't see some devices like I some DVHS machines.
I'm not certain why the images are blocky, perhaps I should try legacy drivers
for the Ieee1394.
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post #12 of 19 Old 04-21-2012, 11:39 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CitiBear View Post

Things are further complicated by Pioneers funky drive firmware interlocks: if you remove the HDD to plug it into a PC, you'll kill your Pioneer dead (it will reject the HDD when you try to put it back, unless you have the arcane Pioneer Service Remote and Service Data DVD and know the reinstall procedure).

At least it seems that his Pio still can read the HDD, although he has removed it.
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post #13 of 19 Old 04-21-2012, 11:46 AM
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Yeah, the whole semantics confusion over the terms "programs," "applications," and "apps" gets annoying. If you're older than 30, you were taught computer software was called "programs." Then lay people began creating shareware, "and "programs" became a legacy word referring to old-school giant IBM mainframe programming. "Applications" took over as the word to describe whatever we loaded on our computers to do actual work (as distinct from the "OS," which was sometimes also confusingly called a program in the dark ages). Then the idiotic smart phone craze conquered the world with their cutesey OS and "Apps" for everything (cuz, ya know, actually spelling out a word like applications is so 1997). Ugh. Today, across all platforms, "app" seems to be the preferred term for whatever software we use to do anything.

Windows Vista and 7 are almost as big a pain as MacOSX for video. There is still a ton of OS/app conflicts and many devices and apps that worked smoothly under Windows XP work like crap under Win7. Under XP Pro, I rarely had a problem with any video hardware or software, but have had many problems and glitches after buying newer laptops and desktops with Win 7 pre-installed. The relative stability of XP has been lost, in many ways Microsoft is now chasing Apple down the blind alley of counterproductive system "upgrades."

The Pioneer 510 was a nice recorder for 2003, but is now ancient tech. The bidirectional IEEE1394 was an unintentional feature that was blocked after the 2004 520 model. A lot of geeks have exploited the early Pioneer loophole, but mostly back when XP was the dominant OS and video transfers were played more fast and loose. Both OS and apps have become more locked down and picky since 2003, they don't interface as reliably as they used to with "dumb" devices like the Pioneer 510 (they expect some kind of ID handshake, and when they don't get it from the 510, they default to the wrong video import strategy or ignore it altogether).

I'm sorry I mentioned it now, it would not have even come up except you have a 510 and thats one of very few DVD/HDD recorders ever sold with bidirectional DV connection. If it is giving you blocky unusable video, just forget it: it could take months of experiments with different apps and settings, or you might have to revert back to an older PC running Win XP. The workflow is not that much easier than just using the 510 as it was intended: to burn DVDs from its HDD. Do that, and just rip the DVDs into your PC. Or, play the HDD videos via line out into your PC analog video capture. Reading the HDD directly in Windows with any sort of usability is near-impossible, and the DV connection is not working for you so thats off the table.

All DVD/HDD recorders were intentionally designed to thwart reading their HDD videos conveniently by a PC. A very small handful were sold with either network transfer or USB transfer as a reliable feature, but they all date back at least to 2006 and bombed in the marketplace. The oddest was a Microsoft/LG collaboration that tried to compete with TiVo (TiVo cnsumers completely ignored it, and it was very unreliable hardware). A few Toshiba XS models thru 2006 could connect via SlingBox. And of course Japanese home-market recorders could do tricks we can only dream of in Hollywood-controlled North America.

BTW you haven't yet mentioned why you want to import the Pioneer 510 recordings in to your PC "occasionally," that would somewhat affect your options. If your 510 burner is dead, and you're using it strictly as a timeshift box but sometimes need to to archive something, you'll need to use the analog line outs into your PC, and if your PC does not have analog video inputs you'll need to add them. For regular day-to-day use this becomes awkward and you lose some PQ: if you expect you'll need to capture video with any regularity, upgrade your computer with HTPC features and replace the 510 with it. Full-featured DVD/HDD units have vanished from the marketplace, there's really nothing you can buy (aside from a TiVo) with any practical PC connectivity. Today, you either use a recorder to make DVDs because you primarily want to build a DVD archive, or you avoid recorders and get a PC-based PVR (so all recordings are made directly on the PC, providing immediate access).
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post #14 of 19 Old 04-21-2012, 12:01 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by profhat View Post

At least it seems that his Pio still can read the HDD, although he has removed it.

I don't think he's confirmed whether he actually tried to put it in his PC yet.

I've been knee-deep repairing and upgrading Pioneers since 2005 or so. In my experience, the 510 and 520 will almost never accept back the original burner and HDD if they're removed, unless you reset the motherboard with the Service Remote and Service Disk. There could be exceptions, since there are at least three known production variations of the 510 and I may not have worked on all of them. Beginning with the 530 series, the drives could be removed and reinstalled at will and the service tools were only needed if you replaced the originals with new drives.

When trying to read a Pioneer recorder drive in a PC, there is always the danger of Windows or Linux leaving hidden OS files behind. Pioneers, esp early models like 510, are extremely fussy and insist no trace of Windows be on their HDDs, or they reject them (even with the service tools handy). Some people here with way too much time on their hands enjoy futzing with Panasonic and Magnavox HDDs on a PC: these recorder brands are more tolerant of leftover Windows or Linux code. Pioneers and Toshibas do not like this at all, its a bad idea to put a Pioneer HDD into a PC unless the recorder chassis is totally dead and you have no other alternative except PC salvage.
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post #15 of 19 Old 04-21-2012, 04:37 PM
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Originally Posted by CitiBear View Post

Then the idiotic smart phone craze conquered the world with their cutesey OS and "Apps" for everything (cuz, ya know, actually spelling out a word like applications is so 1997). Ugh.

That's kind of the way I feel about reducing brand names to something that sounds more like baby-talk. Ugh.

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post #16 of 19 Old 04-23-2012, 09:24 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CitiBear View Post

I don't think he's confirmed whether he actually tried to put it in his PC yet.

I've been knee-deep repairing and upgrading Pioneers since 2005 or so. In my experience, the 510 and 520 will almost never accept back the original burner and HDD if they're removed, unless you reset the motherboard with the Service Remote and Service Disk. There could be exceptions, since there are at least three known production variations of the 510 and I may not have worked on all of them. Beginning with the 530 series, the drives could be removed and reinstalled at will and the service tools were only needed if you replaced the originals with new drives.

When trying to read a Pioneer recorder drive in a PC, there is always the danger of Windows or Linux leaving hidden OS files behind. Pioneers, esp early models like 510, are extremely fussy and insist no trace of Windows be on their HDDs, or they reject them (even with the service tools handy). Some people here with way too much time on their hands enjoy futzing with Panasonic and Magnavox HDDs on a PC: these recorder brands are more tolerant of leftover Windows or Linux code. Pioneers and Toshibas do not like this at all, its a bad idea to put a Pioneer HDD into a PC unless the recorder chassis is totally dead and you have no other alternative except PC salvage.

Well I've removed the drive and put it back and it still works in the recorder.
I'm trying to get some current recordings off the drive, I don't plan on doing it more than once.

Quote:
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That's kind of the way I feel about reducing brand names to something that sounds more like baby-talk. Ugh.

I never called programs "apps", one the word is owned/created by apple and I'm a PC user, two it's also used by people who watch reality TV and Justin Beeblah and I don't get on with those people and three 'program' comes hand in hand with 'progamming', application doesn't make sense to me. But I don't want to turn this into a debate about a particular word.
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post #17 of 19 Old 04-23-2012, 12:50 PM
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I think that was just a general, aside comment, not anything personal towards you (people use the term "apps" all the time around here, and I'm not sure he was even referring to that, specifically. He mentioned "brand names").
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post #18 of 19 Old 04-23-2012, 01:26 PM
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Originally Posted by Kelson View Post

That's kind of the way I feel about reducing brand names to something that sounds more like baby-talk. Ugh.

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Originally Posted by Rammitinski View Post

I think that was just a general, aside comment, not anything personal towards you (people use the term "apps" all the time around here, and I'm not sure he was even referring to that, specifically. He mentioned "brand names").

Yes, Rammitinski is correct. Kelson was following up on MY comments re the term "apps", which were in turn just an aside responding to person12's explanation of which OS they are using:

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Originally Posted by person12 View Post

No no, I have a PC, I thought the other guy was talking about macs because he was talking about "Apps" I thought that they were called programs on the PC.

Somehow this seems to have been interpreted as a criticism or thread hijack, if so hopefully thats cleared up now. I was merely agreeing with person12 that "app" is kind of an annoying abbreviation, and Kelson has a particular dislike of abbreviated brand names (many of us shorten brand names to "Mag," "Pio," "Panny" ).
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post #19 of 19 Old 04-23-2012, 03:33 PM
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Originally Posted by CitiBear View Post

. . . and Kelson has a particular dislike of abbreviated brand names (many of us shorten brand names to "Mag," "Pio," "Panny" ).

As long as you are going to make my skin crawl, don't forget "tosh".

- kelson h

The bitterness of poor quality lasts long after the sweetness of the low price is forgotten . . . life is too short to drink bad wine

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