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Discussion Starter #1
Somethign strange happened to my Pioneer DVR-640H-S Hard Disk. Not only it shows as 0 time remaining, its impossible to edit titles. Erasing wont clear new recording time. Everything else seems to work normally.


I believe this bug must have appeared before to some user and its probably discussed in this forum, but I was unable to find it during a search.


What causes this bug? Is there a fix? Whats its meaning, does it mean the hard drive will die soon, or is it a software problem? Should I defrag it, or will it complete to destroy the hard disk?


At the moment, Im backing up to DVD, but I really needed to edit somethings out.....
 

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Just keep moving titles to DVD and delete everything that you do not need to edit. If you do a lot of editing and no deleting that is what happens. It is not a bug. A hard drive is just for temporary storage and all titles should come off as soon as possible. If you don't do any editing, then leaving titles on longer will not be as much problem. If you do not split titles there should not be that big of a problem either.


The key is if you do a lot of editing and/or splitting, then you should keep the drive more than 25% empty. Unless there is an option in your menu, you cannot defrag a video containing hard drive. It is not the same as having "files" on a computer.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by timtofly
Just keep moving titles to DVD and delete everything that you do not need to edit. If you do a lot of editing and no deleting that is what happens. It is not a bug. A hard drive is just for temporary storage and all titles should come off as soon as possible. If you don't do any editing, then leaving titles on longer will not be as much problem. If you do not split titles there should not be that big of a problem either.


The key is if you do a lot of editing and/or splitting, then you should keep the drive more than 25% empty. Unless there is an option in your menu, you cannot defrag a video containing hard drive. It is not the same as having "files" on a computer.
My 640 has had the same problem for a couple of years...the strange part (as you said) is that when you erase a program, there is no free space made available.


The number of titles gets smaller but the free space is still 0.


Everything else still works, I can make DVDs, play the shows...but not record new things.

I have searched these message boards but not found a similar situation or a fix.


I have tried the optimization. It runs for a few minutes but really doesn't do anything. I think it showed a message,but it has been so long since I did it, I don't remember the details.

This unit was my first Pio and I abused it by doing everything it let me do (but things that are not smart to do)...like deleting shows while it is recording another, keeping multiple shortened shows on the disk, erasing parts of shows while it is recording another....

I know now how to use it smartly, but this unit is basically a paperweight now.
 

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Offload or delete titles in Last-In First-Out (LIFO) order since the last titles used up all the available spaces/fragments on the HDD.


You'll have to offload/delete a sufficient number of titles before the OS will report some space available again. Then, don't fill up to more than 75-80% again if you do lots of editing.


I have one Philips 3575 DVDR that I regularly fill up completely cuz I only watch those shows, and it just stops recording any more. So, prob. OK to fill-and-delete if you don't do any editing.


Filling also uses all sectors of the HDD and prevents "bit fade."
 

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I tend to push the capacity limit on my Pioneer DVR-450 (2007 descendant of the 640), maybe up to 85/90% full. I've gotten the "Your HDD is really full and you might want to think about burning some stuff to disc" message a few times.


But I don't edit programs until I'm ready to dub. Then, as soon as I'm sure the copy is good, I delete it. That way, I use up the minimum of HDD space with edit data. At least, that's the theory.


Maybe each night one week, I'll dump big 4-hour chunks of VHS material to the HDD, then slice-n-dice the chunks one at a time and burn 'em to DVD. Of course, this is all stuff that, in the event of a catastrophic HDD failure, I could reocover by redubbing to another DVDR.


As a practical matter, even if you're holding something just until you get time to watch it, a blank DVD-R costs--what?--22 to 35 cents? Sometimes, I just dump a program to disc, eventually watch it, and toss the disc if it isn't a "keeper."
 

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The theory is that one unit can have so many edit and chapter marks, and it will not allow any more than what is it's limit. There may come a point where if it is possible to delete everything.


Having said that, if you can record from and watch titles, then the drive is still functional. If you cannot delete a title, that may be a different issue. You may have to delete everything in order to get to the point it will allow you to start again. It is possible that they put a hard limit in the firmware and once that limit is reached, it is dead, but I doubt it.


My philips will get to a point where it is impossible to make any more "titles". I have to delete several titles, before even a divide can be made on an existing title. So unless someone has deleted all titles and cannot access new ones, then it looks like you need to get rid of everything and will not be able to keep anything.


Now this is a gamble, because it still may not work and you no longer have your edited material. It is strongly recommended that if you want to do things the same way in the future to use a computer and not a DVDR, since that is not what they are designed for. The ONLY reason they have a hard drive is because it is hard to burn a DVD without one. It is possible and people do it, but it allows a better burned DVD than trying to sync a burn to DVD and a timed program. It is also a pain switching DVD's in and out for each timed program. Now there are some great editing features as a benefit, but not to be relied on as it's chief feature. The industry would of course prefer you just record and delete. Be thankful of small favors that we can do slightly more than that.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by timtofly
The ONLY reason they have a hard drive is because it is hard to burn a DVD without one. It is possible and people do it, but it allows a better burned DVD than trying to sync a burn to DVD and a timed program. It is also a pain switching DVD's in and out for each timed program. Now there are some great editing features as a benefit, but not to be relied on as it's chief feature. The industry would of course prefer you just record and delete. Be thankful of small favors that we can do slightly more than that.
My operating theory has been that the system is designed for light editing to get finished archive DVDs that are cleaner what we lived with in the VHS era, but not for a lot of heavy, precise editing.


I've even stopped trimming the excess at the end of a program when I'm not going to put anything else on the disc. E.g., the program fills 1:50 but I recorded 2:00. I tidy up the beginning, remove anything I want to get rid of in the middle (usually PBS "intermission" commercials), and without even bothering with the end, just burn it to disc. (That's just me. I prefer to shave every other day, too.)


Plus, the HDD is also SO handy for the timeshift-watch-delete cycle.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by doswonk1 /forum/post/20890681


...I prefer to shave every other day, too...

I blame lazyness. I have a full beard, and trim it about once every two or three months. Shaving every other day would be SUCH a chore!
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by em-t-wallitt /forum/post/20891081


Can you erase the first few minutes of the last recording on the hard drive?

I'm not the original poster of the issue, but my 640 has the same problem.

I tried your suggestion. It allowed me to delete the first 10 min of the last show (total time was reduced both in the edit screen and in the navigator screen)

But the available HDD time was still 0. deleting the last show didn't change anything except the number of titles.

And the setup menu doesn't seem to have any options in regards to formatting the HDD.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
(original poster here)


Too bad a fix is not available, I tought something would be created by now, it took time for my specific model to malfunction.


A reply was posted above recomending me to get a computer to do PVR instead of HDD Recorder. Well, if I get a hptc, wich program can I use to edit the titles without loss of quality? iMovie and Windows movie maker create worse titles then the original.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by ch256 /forum/post/20891218


I'm not the original poster of the issue, but my 640 has the same problem.

I tried your suggestion. It allowed me to delete the first 10 min of the last show (total time was reduced both in the edit screen and in the navigator screen)

But the available HDD time was still 0. deleting the last show didn't change anything except the number of titles.

And the setup menu doesn't seem to have any options in regards to formatting the HDD.

Erasing the last recording should have freed up some recording time. The OP wasn't able to make edits to any of the recordings and I experienced the same issue when my DVR-560H-K recorder filled up. I was unable to make any edits to the last recording, so I erased the first few minutes and was able to make edits afterwards. I'd thought the 640 and the 560 were similar enough, but obviously this isn't the case.


The only thing that comes closest to formatting is on page 105 of the 640 manual is to optimize HDD in the Disc setup menu, but it sounds like it might be a time consuming process. Can't explain the 0 HDD time, so I'll leave this to the other 640 owners.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by ch256 /forum/post/20891218


I'm not the original poster of the issue, but my 640 has the same problem.

I tried your suggestion. It allowed me to delete the first 10 min of the last show (total time was reduced both in the edit screen and in the navigator screen)

But the available HDD time was still 0. deleting the last show didn't change anything except the number of titles.

And the setup menu doesn't seem to have any options in regards to formatting the HDD.

If it is a dead weight, have you tried deleting everything, or at least half of the drive? I get this sense that people are trying to delete the minimum. The only way to get a definitive answer is to do some major deletion and more than likely it should be edited titles, not just watch and delete titles. It is the edited titles that are filling the hard drive up with "chapters" of which there is a hard limit and the error code is generic to both the drive is full and the chapter limit has been reached.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by LeandrodaFL /forum/post/20891366


(original poster here)


Too bad a fix is not available, I tought something would be created by now, it took time for my specific model to malfunction.


A reply was posted above recomending me to get a computer to do PVR instead of HDD Recorder. Well, if I get a hptc, wich program can I use to edit the titles without loss of quality? iMovie and Windows movie maker create worse titles then the original.

Using a HTCP for what you have asked for is not the answer either. For the proper "editing" software one must spend the money. You get what you pay for. People have been spoiled by a hard drive DVDR, because one does not have to re-encode. The problem is in the fact that you cannot keep this material on the DVDR. You have to delete it! Waiting until the drive is full is waiting too long. The only way to keep it, is stop recording on that DVDR and use it only as a "bank" for when you need that title, and buy a new DVDR to start on the next "bank". The only other option is use a computer and expensive software. I have no clue which software is the "best".
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by timtofly /forum/post/20892696


Using a HTCP for what you have asked for is not the answer either. People have been spoiled by a hard drive DVDR, because one does not have to re-encode. The problem is in the fact that you cannot keep this material on the DVDR. You have to delete it! Waiting until the drive is full is waiting too long. The only way to keep it, is stop recording on that DVDR and use it only as a "bank" for when you need that title, and buy a new DVDR to start on the next "bank". The only other option is use a computer and expensive software. I have no clue which software is the "best".

What do you think about a MagicTV-7000D box?


Also, how about to try to extract the HDD from the Pio? Then maybe you could make a RAW copy of the content of your old HDD, and try to save the recordings.


I said that becuase your issue seems inusual, and sometimes extreme situations demand extreme solutions.
 

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I have owned and serviced more Pioneers than I can remember, every model except the goofy DVD/TiVO units. I've had the OP's problem come up a handful of times with all vintages, with both EIDE and SATA HDDs. As others have suggested, the problem is not limited to Pioneers but all DVD/HDD units, and to some degree user error is involved: letting the thing fill to 100% is a major no-no because results are unpredictable. I have mentioned before from time to time, and others have hinted in this thread, but it bears repeating with emphasis:


DVD/HDD recorders are dumbed-down single-purpose dedicated "workstations" intended for casual timeshifting and making basic edits before burning DVDs. While they do contain processors, hard drives and optical drives similar to a PC, they are not PCs: they do not have advanced PC operating systems with built-in automatic correction of HDD errors, and you cannot use a "utility" to repair them. Instead, they rely on the minimal ability of modern HDDs to police themselves, and they rely on users to heed the warning screens the machines display saying "make room on the HDD right this minute or you risk dire consequences."


If you do ignore the warnings, accidentally or on purpose, the recorder will not stop you from running out every last bit of headroom on the HDD. At that point, you play the odds: sometimes the HDD can be brought back from the brink by deleting a certain amount of material, other times the HDD becomes "locked" in 0% capacity mode until you invoke a full erase/reformat or bring the unit in for service. Statistics indicate your luck somewhat depends on age of the HDD, how often you add and erase recordings, and how many edits you've made on the HDD: a recorder filled with blocks of complete unedited TV shows and movies is more likely to "wake up" when a few titles are deleted than a recorder whose HDD is completely filled with TV shows that have had the commercials cut out (or has lots of little clips like music videos). Also note a certain small percentage of HDDs are inherently faulty: they pass initial inspection at the factory but are ticking time bombs that self-destruct a couple years later: they just get stuck, and can't be un-stuck.


Most recorders have some kind of provision for emergency erasure/reformat of the HDD, although it might involve removing it from the recorder and erasing in a PC before the recorder will agree to format it. Pioneers (and Sonys based on them like the RDR-HX780) also have an extremely inconvenient requirement you use a special Service Remote and Service DVD for some HDD repair/replace tasks. If your HDD is "stuck" but still allows playback, you could play the videos out to another recorder and save them that way before reformatting the HDD. If it allows burning DVDs, you could get the recordings off the HDD by making normal DVDs, even if editing is disbled. If the recorder is a Pioneer model from 2005 or later (530/630, 540/640, x50 or x60), you have a little-known backdoor available (as long as the machine still permits burning DVDs from the frozen HDD): VR-mode backup/restore DVDs.


"VR" is a term used in confusing ways by various recorder mfrs, but with Pioneers it refers specifically to an optional proprietary format you can apply to blank DVD-R, DVD+R or DVD-RW discs. Load a fresh disc, go into the Home Menu>Disc Setup screen, and select the "Format As VR" option. In less than a minute the machine will mark the disc as proprietary. From that point on, any recordings you high-speed dub from HDD to that DVD will be preserved on the DVD exactly as they were on the HDD and can be reverse high speed copied back to the HDD with no loss of quality and all chapters, thumbnails and edits intact. While this can be time consuming and tedious to do, it at least offers a restore opportunity: format a stack of blank DVDs to VR Mode, copy everything off the HDD in high speed mode, erase the HDD to repair it, then restore all the recordings back to the HDD by reverse HS copy from the VR DVDs. You don't need to back up the entire HDD unless you want to: just back up anything you'd rather not lose. Then, delete everything on the HDD and see if you get a proper capacity readout: if so, you can then restore the important recordings from the VR discs. If not, you'll have to erase and reformat the HDD (or perhaps replace the HDD with a new one).


Note the VR Mode backup dvds can only be played on a Pioneer recorder, they are not standard video DVDs but "file" dvds. (I believe you can use DVD+RW media for Pioneer HDD backup as well, without needing to pre-format as VR, but have not personally tried it.) If your Pioneer model supports DVD-RAM, you can also use RAM discs to copy files off the HDD and restore them later. RAM discs do not need any special VR formatting, they can be used as-is. The drawback of DVD-RAM is dead slow dubbing speeds and the higher cost of RAM media (a 160GB Pioneer 640 HDD would need about 40 discs to completely back up). Other than making backup/restore DVDs, there is no practical way to extract, copy or salvage the videos from a Pioneer HDD. By practical, I mean for a normal user who is not interested in spending a month or two tinkering. If you're a computer geek who understands things like Hex Editors, it is possible to put your jammed Pioneer HDD into a PC and pry the videos off in little chunks, slowly re-assembling them as MPEG2 files. I would rather have my toenails pulled out with pliers, but if you groove on that sort of endless flying-blind computer work see AVS threads such as this and this for additional info. Most of the threads reference Panasonic and Funai recorders but the same principal applies to Pioneers.
 

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Discussion Starter #18

Quote:
Originally Posted by CitiBear /forum/post/20896752



Note the VR Mode backup dvds can only be played on a Pioneer recorder, they are not standard video DVDs but "file" dvds.


Friend, my Pioneer is still burning to DVDs. At the moment Im backing up everything. However, I plan on trying to repair the HDD, copy back the titles, and try to edit, to make then a final burn of the shows. I have a few questions:


1)Whats the technical diference between VR mode and video mode, that allows VR to be loseless?


2)Does VR allow frame accurate edits, and if so, is it loseless as well? I allways get a warning saying that high-speed recording would result in edits points changing slightly, however, the discs is formated in Video Mode.
 

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The Pioneer VR Format DVD cannot be played on anything but another Pioneer recorder, which frustrates piracy. Because of this restriction, the VR discs are allowed to copy high speed lossless both ways (to and from the HDD). Standard Video Format (Finalized) DVD can be played anywhere, is universal, so is good for piracy: for this reason cannot be copied freely back to HDD, only from HDD. These reasons do not make sense because they are silly, recorder mfrs only do this to please Hollywood. The reason is not important, the significant point is Pioneer gives you this option to make special VR Backup DVD on any type of blank disc (no other recorder brand currently has this: Panasonic maybe with DVD-RAM disc only).


Yes, the VR Format DVD-R high-speed copies exactly what is on Pioneer HDD: if the recording was edited in Frame Accurate Mode on HDD, accuracy will copy to the VR DVD (and will copy in reverse from VR DVD back to HDD, again with Frame Accuracy). But remember, VR Mode Frame Accurate DVD cannot be played in standard DVD players or PC: only in a Pioneer recorder. VR Mode DVD is not compatible with anything else but Pioneer recorder, and is mainly intended to back up and restore the HDD if you need to empty it for repair. Frame accuracy on standard "Video Mode" finalized DVD is not possible with any DVD/HDD recorder unless the DVD is made in "real time" and re-encoded with lost quality (high speed lossless burn with frame accuracy does not activate).


(Long time ago there were a few recorders made by Toshiba that could do frame accurate video mode DVD, but these are not available for years and were much less reliable than Pioneer or Panasonic recorders.)
 

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I'm convinced! My big Labor Day Weekend project will be deleting stuff from my HDDs and dubbing the "keepers." I'll do it. Really. Honest! I swear!!


Then I'm gonna fire up the Supermediastore Disc Dooper and make a backup copy of each new DVD.
 
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