rdr gx7 not formatting - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 13 Old 09-15-2013, 01:39 PM - Thread Starter
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Have a few more disks I needed to format just before my Sony rdr gx7 stopped formatting. Head cleaners won't work, it constantly says different errors. Is it possible for me to find another rdr, then use the new one to format these dvds recorded with the older rdr? Or is each unit like a finger print? Am I out of luck with these dvds being unformatted to play on other devices? Has there ever been anybody, since DVD recorders were made, that created any type of program that would format any DVD that was not formatted?
Thanks for any info.
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post #2 of 13 Old 09-15-2013, 02:21 PM
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By format do you mean finalize? If so generally you need the same brand and actual mfg. of the machine in order to finalize the discs.
I'm not too familiar with Sony so I'll let someone else answer who is, I do know Sony had a couple different generations of DVDRs and I think?? yours may be the newest.
I've never seen a brand require the actual machine that recorded it to finalize the disc and I'm sure your Sony is not that way.
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post #3 of 13 Old 09-16-2013, 07:44 PM
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I had the same problem. I had a Sony RDR-GX360, it kept breaking down until I used up the extended warranty I bought for it at BB , a Sony RDR-Gx355, same story. The discs would play, format, finalize between the two. I still have about 100 discs that I never finalized. I also have a Sony RDR-GX257 that won't record either. The 257 wouldn't recognize the discs from the 360 or the 355 even before it broke. How can I finalize the discs that I have? Is it even possible or do I own 100 coasters. Any help is appreciated. Thank you.

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post #4 of 13 Old 09-17-2013, 09:23 AM
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You need to get a working 355 or 360 from ebay.

Also you can use an app called Iso Buster, to extract the recordings from your DVDs and record them to new discs.
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post #5 of 13 Old 09-17-2013, 10:08 PM
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Thank you profhat!,

I've only been on this site a couple of days and I'm completely blown away, it's like I died and went to tech support heaven. I think with the luck I had with Sony recorders it would be a crap shoot to buy another one, even though I loved them " when they worked ". It looks like I'll go with Iso Buster after I buy a new laptop with a burner.

Thanks again,

Anthony

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post #6 of 13 Old 09-17-2013, 10:21 PM
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Now a new Sony question...

I have a RDR-GX257 dvd recorder that won't record. It starts, goes for ten seconds and stops. The loading noises don't sound weird but make the galloping sound like my Panasonic made before I cleaned the hub and spindle. Here's what I would like to know. Does anyone have experience cleaning inside a Sony recorder?. I can't find a service manual online, for free at least. Is the drive sealed or can I take the lid off to look at it after I remove the enclosure cover?
Once again, any help is greatly appreciated.

Thank you,

Anthony

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post #7 of 13 Old 09-18-2013, 06:58 AM
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I don't have a Sony but do have a couple suggestions. Some DVDRs(many or most) don't allow you to easily take the cover off the DVD drive for cleaning, if that is the case you still have a couple of options. The simplest is to try Taiyo Yuden media(only available mail order from places like Amazon or Supermedia, Rima and others). All Ty's I've tried have a slightly tactile bottom/spindle area which helps the spindle hold the disc better than the average disc. If this doesn't work or you want to try another method you could try ejecting the tray and unplugging the machine. While ejected you may be able to use a long wooden handled Q-tip(often used in the medical industry) soaked in iso alcohol and with the aid of a flashlight you may be able to clean the bottom spindle. Insert the Q-tip in the open slot and use a spinning motion while moving the Q-tip in and out. I've used this method on my Panasonics and while it doesn't do as good of a job as taking the drive apart it can get you by in a pinch.
While I do like some Sony electronics, DVD Recorders were never one of the things I liked by Sony. They tend to be problematic as well as easily prone to false copy protection problems, I wish you well with yours.
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post #8 of 13 Old 09-18-2013, 08:12 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HootyHaHa View Post

Am I out of luck with these[Sony RDR-GX7] dvds being unformatted to play on other devices? Has there ever been anybody, since DVD recorders were made, that created any type of program that would format any DVD that was not formatted?

You're kinda sorta maybe out of luck. The Sony RDR-GX7 was one of those supremely annoying "guaranteed to self destruct with no possibility of repair" recorders. The burners in these earlier Sony models were hopeless and no spare parts are available. Most of them died, two or three times, within the original warranty period. A few lasted several years if the owners were very careful about which blank brands they used, but by now most of them are just totally dead.

As jjeff noted, the correct term for your problem discs is that they're "unfinalized." To make them playable on a normal DVD player you would need to finalize them in another, still-functioning Sony recorder of roughly the same era as your RDR-GX7. The "gotcha" here is that Sony has been a bit slutty over the years, hooking up with several different mfrs who actually made their recorders for them. It is not always clear if a Sony made with the later Pioneer or Samsung designs can finalize discs made on the much earlier "pure Sony" models like RDR-GX7. In USA/Canada, you should be able to find second-hand Sony recorders on Craig's List at very reasonable prices ($50 or so): check every week, and when you see one listed near you bring one of your old discs to the seller and ask if you can try finalizing it. If it works, buy that recorder on the spot. If the unit is dead or doesn't recognize your DVD when you load it, hold off and try another.

ISObuster is the default software recommendation for copying videos off old unfinalized discs, but it isn't quite the miracle cure its reputation leads people to believe. It isn't the easiest program in the world to figure out and use, and it won't actually let you recover a dvd unless you pay a license fee. A slower but more reliable option is to download the demo of CyberLink PowerDVD Player, a software player which has a unique ability to play unfinalized discs of several brands. (Check to see if your PC already has PowerDVD on it: it came preloaded as a bonus on many Windows PCs until recently.) If your PC has video outputs for a TV, you can simply play the dvds out from your PC into another recorder (or a friend's PC that has video inputs) to make a new copy.
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post #9 of 13 Old 09-18-2013, 08:27 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MediaFan63 View Post

I have a RDR-GX257 dvd recorder that won't record. It starts, goes for ten seconds and stops.[...] I can't find a service manual online, for free at least. Is the drive sealed or can I take the lid off to look at it after I remove the enclosure cover?

You can download the RDR-GX257 service manual from this link. When you see the preview of the first page, look just below it for an underlined "Get Manual" link, click on it and the manual will download. A diagram showing how to open up the burner can be found on page 59. Sony recorders of the RDR-GX257 series were the most numerous and common in USA/Canada, if you can't fix yours with a cleaning it should be fairly easy to find another one second-hand via local Craig's List for $50-$75.

As with the RDR-GX7 discussed above, note that Sony has utterly abandoned any and all support for all of their USA dvd recorder models (except the oddball Canada-only RDR-HX780 DVD/HDD model is still repairable in Canada). There are no spare parts and no Sony USA service center will touch them for any amount of money. So its a bad idea to continue on with Sony recorders unless you have a stack of unfinalized dvds you need to complete. After that, move on to another recorder that is still mfr supported or at least known for durable burners (like a recent Magnavox or Toshiba).
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post #10 of 13 Old 09-18-2013, 03:31 PM
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Thank you jjeff, and CitiBear!

I was able to download the service manual for the RDR-GX257 through the link you provided. It seems pretty straightforward to get at the hub, spindle, and laser. Leave it to sony to have you take off the front control panel to make it easier. I don't like getting near those flexi contact strips?, I'm hoping a cleaning will do the trick. I actually have a extended warranty through 11/18/13 but I know the place I bought it will say it can't be repaired, call the policy done and give me a store credit. Who knows maybe they might be able to find me another brand to apply the credit to although I doubt it. I really don't want to get rid of it because the recording quality was really good as was the quality on the 360 and the 355. In the end if parts could be found I might pay someone to repair it if they think it's worth it. Also, thank you for the Cyber link power dvd player info. Between Iso Buster and Cyber link I should be able to get the recordings off the discs I never got to finalize.

Once again, thank you for all your help.

Anthony

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post #11 of 13 Old 09-18-2013, 05:23 PM
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It should be noted that even though Sony tends to collaborate with others (Pioneer, Samsung, etc) Sony supplies many of their own parts including major parts like the actual burners along with some proprietary based hardware/software features that will only work with Sony based A/V set-ups.

Quote:
Originally Posted by MediaFan63 View Post

I really don't want to get rid of it because the recording quality was really good as was the quality on the 360 and the 355. In the end if parts could be found I might pay someone to repair it if they think it's worth it.
Regarding parts for a Sony DVDr – many are still available for many models. For instance the burner used in my RDR-HX780 (which was a collaboration with Pioneer) uses the Sony burner -- DVR-U13HDD Assy Item model number: A1543920A – Which is a Sony burner also used in some other Sony recorders not associated with the the Sony/Pio collaboration. I have no idea if this burner is compatible with your deck but there are plenty new ones for around $150. The problem is these are not plug ‘n’ play units and your average person can’t just replace it. You will need a Sony tech to replace and initialize it – that is if the part is still available for "your" deck.



Quote:
Originally Posted by HootyHaHa View Post

Have a few more disks I needed to format just before my Sony rdr gx7 stopped formatting.
As to finalizing discs – Nero will also play-out and extract recordings from DVDs burned on certian recorders and burn them to new discs. Here is a old thread I posted. Note my experience is with the RDRHX780 which is a Sony/Pio collaboration deck and I have no idea if this Nero procedure will work with your deck.

Finalizing a Pio/Sony disc with Nero
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post #12 of 13 Old 09-18-2013, 08:30 PM
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While I agree some of these parts are still be available in USA, the value of the term "available" is open to interpretation depending on the needs of the specific Sony dvd recorder owner. If that owner desires a traditional repair by a factory-authorized service facility at a cost not exceeding that of a new recorder, they're out of luck. Sony has ceased service on their recorders in USA, as attested in any number of threads in multiple forums by crestfallen owners who cannot fathom how Sony is getting away with flouting the traditional 7 year USA repair window for consumer products. But that is in fact what Sony is doing: you can whistle up a rope, but the units cannot be repaired in a traditional, convenient manner.

To be fair, such negative repair policies regarding DVD recorders are not limited to Sony alone: Panasonic also took a walk not long ago, stranding owners of recent popular models like their trouble-prone DMR-EZ series. Panasonic owners have since been thrown to the mercies of predatory independent repair centers at exorbitant prices. A few fortunate folk manage to find this forum and get referred to our member mckinct, who has a small stockpile of parts and performs excellent Panasonic repairs at reasonable cost. Such techs are very rare when it comes to DVD recorders. The other two premium recorder brands, Pioneer and (pre-2007) Toshiba XS, tanked six years ago making it virtually impossible to get burner repairs in USA. (The most popular DVD recorder models were sold new in Canada and Europe for years longer than in USA, so repairs there are somewhat easier.)

The two most common failure points in any DVD recorder are the burner and power module. Power issues are often a generic sort of repair requiring cheap generic parts like a capacitor or two: armed with a service manual or intuition, any electronics repair tech can usually fix such a problem even in a 30 year old piece of gear. A handful of recorder models do employ proprietary ICs in their power sections, which can be much harder to replace.

But the burners are the dealbreaker: the drives for many pre-2006 models were unbelievably poor designs with the lifespan of a fruitfly (the Sony RDR-GX7 and Toshiba XS being the poster children for this). Spares are either long gone, or of the same poor quality, and if you do find a functional spare you will pay dearly for it only to have the unit fail again almost immediately. The majority of recorders contain oddball, one-off burners that were designed solely for one or two versions of that particular model: six months later, Panasonic, Sony, Pioneer and Toshiba would switch to yet another half-baked burner that would be incompatible with everything before or after. You need a Magic 8 Ball just to figure out which burner goes into which Panasonic recorder mfrd in any given year. All of this is compounded by their need for custom circuit boards or firmware chips enabling various DRM schemes to placate Hollywood.

Depending on the model, some recorders made after 2006 finally had dependable burner designs. If you are a dedicated geek who stumbles across a cache of new-old-stock proprietary Sony or Panasonic burners on eBay for the ten minutes each year someone lists them for sale at under $100, and you already have the service manuals and software and CPRM boards sitting on your workbench, you might consider those models to be "repairable." I do this myself for a variety of Pioneer recorders, but its no picnic (I wouldn't wish a Pioneer 550 aka Sony 780 burner replacement job on my worst enemy). Normal everyday consumers might prefer to find another second-hand recorder of the same brand/series on Craig's List, finish finalizing their leftover discs, then stop using DVD recorders altogether. The product is deader than dead in USA, the only fully-supported ongoing new models being the Magnavox MDR533, 535 and 537 dvd/hdd at WalMart. Here and there you might find leftover stock of new Magnavox and Toshiba DVD/VHS combos, but these are fast disappearing. DVD recorders have followed 8-track tape recorders to the "Island Of Misfit Toys" consumers decided they don't want anymore.

Some of us still love them and use them, but they're all ticking time bombs awaiting burner failure (except Super Eye's particular Sony RDR-HX780, which defies the odds with impunity wink.gif). They cannot be fixed with just a screwdriver and elbow grease like a VCR, they require complete custom electronics modules that get scarcer and pricier every day. So don't let unfinalized discs pile up: if your recorder breaks, the chances of finding a functional replacement are dwindling. Salvaging a big stack of unfinalized discs using a PC isn't easy, quick or the least bit fun.
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post #13 of 13 Old 09-24-2013, 03:01 PM
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The insurance policy on my Sony paid me cash for my recorder. So long and good riddance. Thanks to everyone who tried to help with fixing it.

Anthony

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