On boot, "Repairing the HDD" forever. Pioneer 640H-S - AVS Forum | Home Theater Discussions And Reviews
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post #1 of 4 Old 07-02-2017, 02:02 PM - Thread Starter
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Problem: "Repairing the HDD" forever. Pioneer 640H-S

Hello everyone, on booting I get the message "repairing the HDD" forever, and I cant do anything with the recorder. Its on for 17 hours as of now....

I tried to do hard reset, but it doesnt happen, as the power button doesnt work, the only way to shut down is unplugging the cord. More detalied info later below.

1) Is there a magical fix? How do I stop this repair message?
2) How much time should I leave the recorder unlugged, so battery runs out and I get a factory reset?
3)If I take the HDD out, connect to PC, can I get the recordings? I once read something about being possible, altough very time consuming
4)Can I replace the HDD and have a fresh star?
5)May I have a recomendation of a recorder to buy?


More detailed info on my case:

No buttons work on the remote, except changing the input source, and changing DVD/HDD. No button on the recorder works, except changin channel and switching DVD/HDD

When loading a disc, it recognizes if its finalized or not, but any disc is unplayable, as Disc Navigation or Play doent work

The HDD was nearly full, I was in fact doing backups when things stared to malfunction. I noticed remaining recording time was diminishing after erasing titles, and by simply changing names of titles, very weird.

I have a cable tv conected to the Pioneer on Composite video input. My output is on component video. Video and sound of the footage in real time is fine, but I cant record it, or access the recordings on the hard drive

Last edited by LeandrodaFL; 07-02-2017 at 04:41 PM.
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post #2 of 4 Old 07-06-2017, 07:31 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LeandrodaFL View Post
The HDD was nearly full, I was in fact doing backups when things stared to malfunction. I noticed remaining recording time was diminishing after erasing titles, and by simply changing names of titles, very weird.
Unfortunately, this is the worst case scenario of recorder HDD failure. There's a reason the machine constantly warns you not to let the HDD fill up: because this may happen. Odds are it won't, Pioneers are actually pretty good at maintaining their HDD structure, but if you're unlucky enough to suffer a catastrophic glitch while the HDD is near full the unit may not be able to recover itself. With enough free space, the automatic "Repairing HDD" function is usually able to stabilize things. But if it encounters a particularly rotten sector while running with limited free space, it will just hang indefinitely.

Is there a magical fix?

Sadly, no.

How do I stop this repair message?

You can't: the unit is stuck in a loop akin to the Windows BSOD.

How much time should I leave the recorder unlugged, so battery runs out and I get a factory reset?

No reset is possible: the unit always goes into HDD self-check when it starts up, so will launch straight back into it's "Repairing Disk..." loop. There's no way to interrupt the loop short of removing the HDD. (In some cases it is possible to interrupt it using the Service Remote, but it requires parsing the inscrutable service screens that aren't explained very well in the service manual. Also, interrupting it in Service Mode to run a diagnostic won't necessarily stop it from looping again once you return to User Mode.)

If I take the HDD out, connect to PC, can I get the recordings? I once read something about being possible, altough very time consuming.

Its possible but known to be difficult. Someone wrote a page about it here.

Can I replace the HDD and have a fresh start?

Yes, its fairly easy and not very expensive. I have posted the necessary steps in several AVS threads, most recently here.

May I have a recommendation of a recorder to buy?

DVD/HDD recorders are extinct. Nothing is available new anymore aside from a couple of malingering Magnavox units, which are now priced insanely given the degraded build quality and feature crippling compared to their nicer earlier models.

Sooner or later, we must all accept that recordable DVD utterly failed as a VCR replacement. Pick up one of the several Chinese devices on Amazon that record to USB hard drives, then connect the hard drive to your PC when you need to back something up or make a DVD. The Homeworx type of unit is very cheap and reasonably effective. More clumsy than an integrated Pioneer DVD/HDD, on the other hand these new cheap units include modern digital ATSC tuners and can record in true HDTV quality.

Last edited by CitiBear; 07-06-2017 at 07:41 PM.
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post #3 of 4 Old 07-24-2017, 03:16 PM - Thread Starter
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There's no way to interrupt the loop short of removing the HDD. (In some cases it is possible to interrupt it using the Service Remote, but it requires parsing the inscrutable service screens that aren't explained very well in the service manual. Also, interrupting it in Service Mode to run a diagnostic won't necessarily stop it from looping again once you return to User Mode.)
Are you saying there is something I could try on? Its worth the shot I think. Im already trying to get a service remote and the Type2 disc, just in case. I think its a good idea to replace the HDD with a bigger one.

Can you give me more info on this process? Where can I download a digital copy of the service manual?
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post #4 of 4 Old 07-27-2017, 05:48 PM
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You can download the service manual pdf file here. Scroll to the bottom of the cover page preview, and wait for "Processing..." to change to a "Get Manual" link.

Much to my horror, one of my own Pioneer 550 HDDs died on me last night! Upon turning it on, the display showed "POWERING ON" for ten minutes and the unit was unresponsive, until eventually flashing an E01 error and suggesting I take it to a service center. Now, when I push the HDD button, it tells me "No Disc" and switches itself back to DVD mode. So, catastrophic HDD failure.

This is the first Pioneer in my twelve years using them to fail suddenly in this manner. Always before, they gave some indication a problem was brewing (hard drive behaving oddly, lots of "Repairing HDD" alerts). I was always able to back important recordings up to DVD before disaster struck. This time, no: I lost a couple dozen hours of VHS dubs I had painstakingly edited over many weeks. The thought of having to re-do that entire project makes me ill.

Also the the thought of how I'm going to remove this dead recorder from my stack of five Pioneers and two VCRs all tangled in dubbing cables- ugh! But it has to be moved to another room so I can try the service remote without affecting my other Pioneers. Its a long shot, but I'm hoping if I move the HDD to a different host Pioneer the new recorder will wake it up long enough to read it and back up the contents. That trick worked for me once years ago, hope lightning strikes twice.

Last edited by CitiBear; 07-27-2017 at 05:52 PM.
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