Pioneer DVR-540H-S Please help - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 8 Old 06-28-2012, 01:25 PM - Thread Starter
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Hi. I feel really stupid but I'll swallow my embarrassment for any help anyone can give.

I just purchased a used Pioneer DVR-540H-S hdd/dvd recorder from a good ebay vendor after reading that it was a very solid unit. I paid $399 U.S. It came today.

I've hooked it up in the simplest way possible - just like a vcr. Outside cable directly into the VHF-UHF (RF In). another cable from the VHF-UHF (RF Out) to the Cable-In connection on TV.

I turned on the dvd recorder. The front panel display reads "SETUP NAV"

That's it. I can't get any menus for setting up to appear on screen - no matter whether I push Home Menu' or 'Top Menu' or 'Disc Navigator' or 'Help' on the remote control. Nothing is happening on screen to help me get set up.The tv (an old CRT) is set to channel 3 - I've switched it to channels 2 and 4 to see if that would make a difference - it didn't.

Very fustrating.

Can anyone help me with this? Like I said before - this is kind of embarrassing.
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post #2 of 8 Old 06-28-2012, 01:48 PM
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You'll only see internal stuff (menus, titles, channels, etc.) via a "line connection" to the TV: Composite YWR, S-Video+W/R audio, or Component RGB+W/R audio (if those connections ar available on both TV and DVR). Select the input you connect to on your TV to see internal stuff.

 

The coax is diff. than a VCR, it's only a "passthru" of the raw incoming signal so your TV can tune channels independently.

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post #3 of 8 Old 06-28-2012, 03:10 PM - Thread Starter
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Thanks, wajo.

The last dvd-hdd recorder I purchased was the LG LRH-890 model. I hooked it up very simply - just like a vcr - and everything - all the workings and menus - appeared perfectly. I like to record (archive) movies but am not a videophile in any way. So, the simple co-ax connections have always been good enough for me, high def not something I worry about (just so long as I'm getting the SP quality of a dvd played through a JVC vcr).

So, when no menus would come up after connecting my new used Pio, it threw me. A connector that came with the unit is one of those three imput composite cables - the thick ones with one red, one blue and one green connector. I connected that from the dvd recorder to the tv and set the tv to component 1 and sure enough the menus became visible. However, with that connection I get no sound (??)

After reading your post I went and found myself a set of those RCA connectors (red, white, yellow) and plugged those from the dvd recorder to the inputs on the tv and found that that worked with the tv set at AV3. And this time I'm getting sound, so that's a relief.

So, thanks again. It's not a perfect set up as the connectors are too short to reach from the recorder to the tv and therefore I had to seperate the recorder from my bench with my other components and bring it around by its lonesome to the other side of the tv. It's presently resting atop a old floor speaker that's positioned next to the tv. As long as the speaker doesn't get bumped into in a hard way, I think it'll be okay.

Do they sell extra long red, white and yellow connectors (like about 6 feet long, do you know?). I'd really like to bring the recorder back to the rest of the components.
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post #4 of 8 Old 06-28-2012, 04:18 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by greyeyes View Post

Thanks, wajo.
.
.
.
A connector that came with the unit is one of those three imput composite cables - the thick ones with one red, one blue and one green connector. I connected that from the dvd recorder to the tv and set the tv to component 1 and sure enough the menus became visible. However, with that connection I get no sound (??)

You will need to connect two audio cables like the red/white parts of the red/white/yellow cable you used below. The component cable red/blue/green carries only the video information. It y would be advantageous for you to use this component connection as it supports analog HD, and will give you a better picture. Just go to a radio shack and get a stereo audio cable of the same length as your component cable. On the other hand, you can look here and get a nice five conductor cable (RGB + audio) in the appropriate length (1.5ft - 100ft).
http://www.monoprice.com/products/subdepartment.asp?c_id=102&cp_id=10235
Quote:
Originally Posted by greyeyes View Post

After reading your post I went and found myself a set of those RCA connectors (red, white, yellow) and plugged those from the dvd recorder to the inputs on the tv and found that that worked with the tv set at AV3. And this time I'm getting sound, so that's a relief.
So, thanks again. It's not a perfect set up as the connectors are too short to reach from the recorder to the tv and therefore I had to seperate the recorder from my bench with my other components and bring it around by its lonesome to the other side of the tv. It's presently resting atop a old floor speaker that's positioned next to the tv. As long as the speaker doesn't get bumped into in a hard way, I think it'll be okay.
Do they sell extra long red, white and yellow connectors (like about 6 feet long, do you know?). I'd really like to bring the recorder back to the rest of the components.
Here is a link to the composite cables by the same company (1.5ft-50ft).
http://www.monoprice.com/products/subdepartment.asp?c_id=102&cp_id=10241

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 8 Old 06-29-2012, 08:14 PM - Thread Starter
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Thanks so much, Church AV Guy. You've shown me exactly what's needed and I'll probably get it here in Canada if the price is reasonably close.
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post #6 of 8 Old 06-29-2012, 08:53 PM
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You should enjoy using your new DVR-540, greyeyes: it is one of the later, nicer Pioneer models (I own two myself, bought when Canada CostCo closed them out a few years ago). The 540 can be a little picky about blank media, I strongly suggest you use only these or these, they should be available from Canadian vendors. Avoid store brands, Maxell and TDK. Sony can be OK but is unpredictable. For - or +RW, stick to Verbatim.

Your LG-890 was unusual in having RF connections that worked like the old VCRs did: very few DVD recorders have that, they all rely on the composite or component connection for viewing on the TV. The MonoPrice cables recommended by ChurchAVGuy are a safe bet, and may be worth paying the extra to have shipped to Canada. I have found the cables sold in local stores lately to be very poor quality. You should be OK with cables bought from Future Shop or other major chains, but they tend to overcharge. Try to keep the length at 6 feet if at all possible: 8 foot and longer cables tend to have the most problems.
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post #7 of 8 Old 06-30-2012, 09:58 AM - Thread Starter
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Thankyou, CitiBear. I've been reading the posts here at AVS for a while regarding DVD recorders and blank media, but was still concerned about what was available in Canada that would be agreeable to the Pioneer. I'm always wary of importing because of Canada Customs practices and additional expense.

So, your advice comes at the perfect moment. I've ordered 100 of the Taiyo Yuden silver lacquer premium from BlankMedia.ca to get me started.

I can't help but notice from my shopping around online the past couple of days that 8x media is becoming more and more scarce - 16x seems to be what's most common now. But, from reading posts here in these forums, I shouldn't even try using 16x on a dvd recorder. I guess we have to hope that 8x will continue to be available for the foreseeable future.
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post #8 of 8 Old 06-30-2012, 08:25 PM
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greyeyes, you CAN use some 16x media in a Pioneer 540, but stick to the better brands like Verbatim and TY. In 16x, I would go with the TY +R instead of -R, its a little more reliable in the 540, while with Verbatim the 16x -R usually is a bit more compatible. Short term, buy the 8x -R from a Canadian dealer for as long as its available. I have owned six different 540s, and each started getting cranky with most 16x blanks within a year or so of heavy use. When I swapped to 8x, they worked fine.

The trick with 16x is to find a specific brand and type that the 540 "likes," then stock up on a lot of it. But this requires annoying trial and error, while the 8x is guaranteed to always work reliably. I have no patience with media problems, so I'll be buying 8x until I can't find it anymore. Others here with similar recorders say they can burn any 16x bargain brand reliably, 110% of the time. I envy their good fortune. Sometimes its a simple thing like differences in the lacquer surface: some 16x discs are more "grippy" and easier for the recorder to spin than others.
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