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Discussion Starter #1
I got it in my head from some time back that it is possible to pull the 500gb drive out of these and replace it with up to a 1.5t standard PC drive.

Can one replace the drives on these with standard PC drives or am I misremembering? If you can...

What is the max size the unit will be able to see?

Do I need to format or program the drive in any particular way or can I just pull out one drive and put in another? Is any programing on the drive or is it all hard wired in the circuits?

Aside from greater storage, another reason I'd want to do this is the hard drive seems to be getting a bit noisier as of late, even though that is the only troubling sign, still. Often the motors on these go out and start becoming noisy is the first sign.

OH, and I found this in my searchesfunaiservice.com slash Information slash firmware slash H2160MW9A slash Firmware_Instructions dot pdf (sorry link is such a pain, but it wont let me post otherwise) Is it possible/desirable to upgrade firmware? Or is this webpage just nonsense?
 

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You don't need that firmware upgrade for the H2160: your more-recent 515 model came with that "fix" built-in already.

You can replace the HDD fairly easily, see instructions here. Scroll down the page to "HDD Replacement" section.

But I would STRONGLY recommend not going beyond 1Tb (heck, I personally wouldn't go past the original 500GB).

Reasons?

1. The Magnavox file browsing interface for the HDD is terrible: it was barely usable with the 160Gb H2160, is borderline-intolerable with the 500Gb MDR515, and a sick pathetic joke at 1Tb. If you enjoy wearing your thumb out on the remote's scroll button, while going blind as handful after handful of untitled icons slowly crawl across your screen, have at it. If you have other things to do in life, like eat, sleep or breathe, stick to 500Gb.

2. DVD/HDD recorders have a tendency to corrupt their HDDs much faster and more often than a computer does. And unlike a computer-formatted HDD, when a recorder HDD chokes and vomits on itself, there are no nifty "rescue" utilities than can easily repair them or save your video files. Your choices are: toss the HDD in the trash, pay a fortune ($1000+) to a file salvage company, or spend every waking hour of the rest of your life trying to re-assemble the corrupted files with a consumer-grade hex editor utility.

IOW, the larger the HDD in a recorder, the more precious recordings you'll lose in an instant when that HDD fails (and it WILL fail, at the exact moment you have twenty or thirty irreplaceable recordings on it). Unless you are very VERY disciplined about copying your videos off the HDD and onto DVDs promptly, HDDs over 500Gb are a terrible idea in DVD/HDD recorders. And before anyone comes back at me saying they "only use the Magnavox as a trailer-park DVR for temporary recording" - you can still get screwed by HDD failure. Human nature is to fill that sucker to the brim, thinking "Eh. I'll watch those 400 hours of recordings some other time". Well, "some other time" is likely to be when the drive croaks taking all your "temporary" viewing with it.
 

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Well trying to find and buy a 500gb may be more expensive than a 1tb or 2tb drive since it's a outdated size.

So no need to format the drive, the system does it for you? Magnavox MDR515H uses SATA?

Is there a size limitation on what MDR515H can see/use? With the larger sizes, you need to format a bit differently to use the full size and some compatibility issues with really old drives. Anyone know of that being a issue? Anyone ever tried a drive bigger than say 2t for example?

I can plug external drives into MDR515H for additional storage, right? Could I put a second internal in instead?

Would it be a issue to use a SSD with a MDR515h?

2. DVD/HDD recorders have a tendency to corrupt their HDDs much faster and more often than a computer does.
Please use a different word than "corrupt" so I know what you are saying. Do you mean they tend to wear the drives out faster due to regular use?

Speaking of, is there a way to turn off MDR515h's autorecording when the device is on? Is there a way to have the device on but not have it temp autorecord? Because even in DVD mode, it's autorecording, it just doesn't allow control in the wrong mode. That would save some wear and tear on the hard drive?

Couldn't one copy the contents of one drive onto another for backup with a desktop PC?

Could one insert the drive of a MDR515h into a PC and play the videos on it?

Is there a USB port somewhere on the MDR515h? I really want a device I can use to play videos I downloaded online on the TV without having to drag the desktop computer to the TV to plug in.

P.S.
The Magnavox file browsing interface for the HDD is terrible: it was barely usable with the 160Gb H2160, is borderline-intolerable with the 500Gb MDR515, and a sick pathetic joke at 1Tb. If you enjoy wearing your thumb out on the remote's scroll button, while going blind as handful after handful of untitled icons slowly crawl across your screen, have at it. If you have other things to do in life, like eat, sleep or breathe, stick to 500Gb.
I am well aware of the limitations of how the MDR515h sorts videos for selecting. But did you know you can choose the l< and >l button to jump a whole page at a time and not one video at a time? That the MDR515h auto titles videos according to when they were recorded and from what channel? You can program scheduled recordings to have their own title you assign, and change the title of any save after the fact. Also you say "icons" but what I have is actual little windows to the recording that show the first scene of the recording and will actually play in their little window complete with sound if highlighted for determining what something is before selecting it to watch. Granted both of those take a few seconds to load after each new page but titles don't and no videos are untitled. You say "icons" and talk about untitled and I wonder if you aren't referring to a different device other than the MDR515h.
 

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Oh, also, why can't I edit my own posts? Is this normal for this forum? It sucks to see errors you made writing that one can't correct.
 

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Well trying to find and buy a 500gb may be more expensive than a 1tb or 2tb drive since it's a outdated size.
True enough. Personally, I've preferred spending slightly more for the peace of mind of the smaller drive. We're not talking diamond jewelry pricing here, and you can save a great deal buying new old stock or used, reconditioned HDDs from eBay. Yes, a "brand new" 500Gb might be pricey if bought from some wise-ass gouging specialty dealer, but there's really not that great an advantage in "brand new" HDDs for recorder use. Go used.

So no need to format the drive, the system does it for you? Magnavox MDR515H uses SATA?
Yes and yes.

Is there a size limitation on what MDR515H can see/use? With the larger sizes, you need to format a bit differently to use the full size and some compatibility issues with really old drives. Anyone know of that being a issue? Anyone ever tried a drive bigger than say 2t for example?
Study the giant Magnovox thread I linked to in my first reply. All such questions are answered there, and you can also ask there for more specifics. AFAIK, the MDR515 should be able to accept 1Tb no problem, not sure about larger.

I can plug external drives into MDR515H for additional storage, right? Could I put a second internal in instead?
You can use external drives, but not with the convenience you probably want. The Magnavox 515 and similar models are not set up with a simple USB or other external connection: you need to create your own, and its an unsightly clumsy kludge. You cannot use two HDDs at the same time, either internal or external: only one at a time. You cannot "hot swap" drives: the unit needs to be turned off. The only way to connect drives externally is to rip a hole in the cabinet, attach an extension cable to the internal SATA socket, thread the cable thru the hole, and leave the bare HDD dangling off the end of the cable on your shelf next to (or on top of) the Magnavox. Not pretty, not convenient, but functional if you have some extremely pressing need to swap HDDs frequently (and no "significant other" to complain how fugly it all looks).

Would it be a issue to use a SSD with a MDR515h?
Not that I've heard, but check the dedicated Magnavox thread to be sure. SSD would be far more expensive without offering any particular advantage (it can corrupt like any other drive, and the Magnavox cannot make use of SSD's faster throughput speed).

Please use a different word than "corrupt" so I know what you are saying. Do you mean they tend to wear the drives out faster due to regular use?
"Corrupt" is the correct term: there is a difference between the HDD "wearing out" and the HDD "getting corrupted". When a HDD truly "wears out", that means it is mechanically or electronically broken and cannot be made to work reliably again. "Corruption" occurs when the HDD suffers a miswrite from dirt or momentary electronic/mechanical failure, resulting in the recorder displaying a "drive error" alert and refusing to play/record on that HDD. You can usually still use a "corrupted" HDD after erasing/reformatting it, tho it would be a good idea to consider replacing it soon. Of course, reformatting erases all your videos along with the "corruption".

Speaking of, is there a way to turn off MDR515h's autorecording when the device is on? Is there a way to have the device on but not have it temp autorecord? Because even in DVD mode, it's autorecording, it just doesn't allow control in the wrong mode. That would save some wear and tear on the hard drive?
Many people have posted here asking if there was a way to switch off the auto-record-in-background feature. AFAIK, it cannot be disabled, but search the Magnavox thread for a definite answer.

Couldn't one copy the contents of one drive onto another for backup with a desktop PC?
Not in the way you're probably hoping, no. Recorders use a different file system, a different HDD format, and they intentionally code the HDD and files in such a way to thwart easy interoperability with PCs.

Could one insert the drive of a MDR515h into a PC and play the videos on it?
No, not easily. One or two people have mentioned making this somewhat work, but rarely in the way you would want.

Is there a USB port somewhere on the MDR515h? I really want a device I can use to play videos I downloaded online on the TV without having to drag the desktop computer to the TV to plug in.
It cannot play downloaded videos from an external USB stick or HDD (no dvd recorder allows this, in deference to Hollywood). If you want to play downloaded videos, you need a separate, cheap BluRay player with USB port (or a media player box with USB or WiFi support).

I am well aware of the limitations of how the MDR515h sorts videos for selecting. But did you know you can choose the l< and >l button to jump a whole page at a time and not one video at a time? That the MDR515h auto titles videos according to when they were recorded and from what channel? You can program scheduled recordings to have their own title you assign, and change the title of any save after the fact. Also you say "icons" but what I have is actual little windows to the recording that show the first scene of the recording and will actually play in their little window complete with sound if highlighted for determining what something is before selecting it to watch. Granted both of those take a few seconds to load after each new page but titles don't and no videos are untitled. You say "icons" and talk about untitled and I wonder if you aren't referring to a different device other than the MDR515h.
Its subjective for each person using a particular recorder brand. When I still owned my H2160 and MDR513, I absolutely hated the hard drive navigator. HATED IT.

Yes, the display shows a few preview rectangles (i.e"icons") per page. Yes, you can jump page to page with the skip buttons. BUT: the title of the recording only displays for the first video on each page, so you can't quickly zip thru many pages at a glance to find one by title name. You either tediously highlight each individual video with the arrow keys to make the title name appear, or wait for the preview clips to start playing and hope you recognize what each video is.

Perhaps this was improved and works differently in the 515, if so and I'm remembering wrong then it clearly isn't a problem for you. I gave up after the Magnavox MDR513, and went back to Pioneer DVD/HDD recorders. The Pioneers allow multiple ways of viewing the HDD contents, much like a PC does, and every video on every page always has its title name visible at all times in all modes. I found this much faster to use than the Magnavox system.

Personal preferences aside, my point about larger HDD capacity meaning greater chance of losing more videos suddenly still applies. 500Gb holds a LOT of videos, and 1Tb is double that. Based on reports here and elsewhere, DVD/HDD recorders tend to crash or corrupt larger HDDs more often than smaller HDDs. Its a balancing act for each owner: if you wouldn't be very annoyed to lose 1 or 2 terabytes of videos suddenly, and really want to have hundreds of hours of video concentrated in one machine, then of course thats your choice to make. I've been burned several times by recorder HDD failures, so I choose to limit my risk.

Oh, also, why can't I edit my own posts? Is this normal for this forum? It sucks to see errors you made writing that one can't correct.
You should be able to edit your posts, the edit button should be enabled after you've made a few posts after signing up with AVS.
 

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True enough. Personally, I've preferred spending slightly more for the peace of mind of the smaller drive. We're not talking diamond jewelry pricing here, and you can save a great deal buying new old stock or used, reconditioned HDDs from eBay. Yes, a "brand new" 500Gb might be pricey if bought from some wise-ass gouging specialty dealer, but there's really not that great an advantage in "brand new" HDDs for recorder use. Go used.

Yes and yes.

Study the giant Magnovox thread I linked to in my first reply. All such questions are answered there, and you can also ask there for more specifics. AFAIK, the MDR515 should be able to accept 1Tb no problem, not sure about larger.

You can use external drives, but not with the convenience you probably want. The Magnavox 515 and similar models are not set up with a simple USB or other external connection: you need to create your own, and its an unsightly clumsy kludge. You cannot use two HDDs at the same time, either internal or external: only one at a time. You cannot "hot swap" drives: the unit needs to be turned off. The only way to connect drives externally is to rip a hole in the cabinet, attach an extension cable to the internal SATA socket, thread the cable thru the hole, and leave the bare HDD dangling off the end of the cable on your shelf next to (or on top of) the Magnavox. Not pretty, not convenient, but functional if you have some extremely pressing need to swap HDDs frequently (and no "significant other" to complain how fugly it all looks).

Not that I've heard, but check the dedicated Magnavox thread to be sure. SSD would be far more expensive without offering any particular advantage (it can corrupt like any other drive, and the Magnavox cannot make use of SSD's faster throughput speed).

"Corrupt" is the correct term: there is a difference between the HDD "wearing out" and the HDD "getting corrupted". When a HDD truly "wears out", that means it is mechanically or electronically broken and cannot be made to work reliably again. "Corruption" occurs when the HDD suffers a miswrite from dirt or momentary electronic/mechanical failure, resulting in the recorder displaying a "drive error" alert and refusing to play/record on that HDD. You can usually still use a "corrupted" HDD after erasing/reformatting it, tho it would be a good idea to consider replacing it soon. Of course, reformatting erases all your videos along with the "corruption".

Many people have posted here asking if there was a way to switch off the auto-record-in-background feature. AFAIK, it cannot be disabled, but search the Magnavox thread for a definite answer.

Not in the way you're probably hoping, no. Recorders use a different file system, a different HDD format, and they intentionally code the HDD and files in such a way to thwart easy interoperability with PCs.

No, not easily. One or two people have mentioned making this somewhat work, but rarely in the way you would want.

It cannot play downloaded videos from an external USB stick or HDD (no dvd recorder allows this, in deference to Hollywood). If you want to play downloaded videos, you need a separate, cheap BluRay player with USB port (or a media player box with USB or WiFi support).

Its subjective for each person using a particular recorder brand. When I still owned my H2160 and MDR513, I absolutely hated the hard drive navigator. HATED IT.

Yes, the display shows a few preview rectangles (i.e"icons") per page. Yes, you can jump page to page with the skip buttons. BUT: the title of the recording only displays for the first video on each page, so you can't quickly zip thru many pages at a glance to find one by title name. You either tediously highlight each individual video with the arrow keys to make the title name appear, or wait for the preview clips to start playing and hope you recognize what each video is.

Perhaps this was improved and works differently in the 515, if so and I'm remembering wrong then it clearly isn't a problem for you. I gave up after the Magnavox MDR513, and went back to Pioneer DVD/HDD recorders. The Pioneers allow multiple ways of viewing the HDD contents, much like a PC does, and every video on every page always has its title name visible at all times in all modes. I found this much faster to use than the Magnavox system.

Personal preferences aside, my point about larger HDD capacity meaning greater chance of losing more videos suddenly still applies. 500Gb holds a LOT of videos, and 1Tb is double that. Based on reports here and elsewhere, DVD/HDD recorders tend to crash or corrupt larger HDDs more often than smaller HDDs. Its a balancing act for each owner: if you wouldn't be very annoyed to lose 1 or 2 terabytes of videos suddenly, and really want to have hundreds of hours of video concentrated in one machine, then of course thats your choice to make. I've been burned several times by recorder HDD failures, so I choose to limit my risk.

You should be able to edit your posts, the edit button should be enabled after you've made a few posts after signing up with AVS.
My Magnavox MDR513H/F7 DVR's hard drive is making a lot of racket,bearings most likely. When it first started this noise,I followed the replacement advice here,but the DVR did not recognize the drive. The original drive is 320 GB and I had a spare 1 TB,which I tried to put in the DVR. My experiences with PC's and such,some devices have a limit on their capabilities to handle GB sizes. Could this be the issue on my DVR not recognizing the HDD? TIA!
 

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Its more likely the 4K vs 512 issue. Larger more current hard drives allocate more bytes to each sector than older drives, the reports the hard drive return to older hardware trying to use them are interpreted as "Errors" because the firmware in the recorder never thought such things were even possible. (Think of a bug eyed cartoon character in shock and disbelief.. refusing to accept the answer.)

Also the Largest number the CPUs in the recorder could count to was lower than the total number of sectors in the larger hard drives.. so as far as the recorder is concerned those far off and remote sectors might as well be "over the edge of the world" and are totally inaccessible.

Its best to get an "older" and "smaller" hard drive for replacement, even taking a chance on a refurbished one.. scam artists have moved on from turning a profit on smaller drives for the most part.. they are too low cost.. so the chances you'll get a working drive are better. We're usually talking $10 to $12 dollars here.. and often people or companies won't even put them up for sale. But its like a lottery.. you can still get bad ones, its sort of like robbing a graveyard of old parts these days.. a few might still be alive.. but there are going to be a lot of dead bodies.

A "smaller" SSD masquerading as an older smaller hard drive with a SATA connector "might" work, but you have to be aware it won't survive to its maximum life span because older hardware does not support the TRIM command for cleaning up the digital allocation tables in the SSD, but working in its favor.. fragmentation scale on a DVD recorder is "far far" lower than on a typical PC hard drive. Files on a DVD recorder are on the order of Gigabytes in size and even when divided up into chapters the chunks are huge.. compared to thousands of 10 to 15 kilobyte text files on a PC.

Without getting into the "weeds" about all the pros and cons.. Finding an older similar size hard drive with the same EIDE or SATA connector is probably the best solution for most people. -- its important to pay attention to the last three letters of the model, if the original has AES then it is a low noise drive and supports special command for making the drive run slower, but quieter. If the replacement drive does not support those commands then the recorder will think its failing and refuse to use the replacement. Often companies like Seagate made identical models with and without those commands and sold the "low noise" drives for a slightly higher price.
 

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Its more likely the 4K vs 512 issue. Larger more current hard drives allocate more bytes to each sector than older drives, the reports the hard drive return to older hardware trying to use them are interpreted as "Errors" because the firmware in the recorder never thought such things were even possible. (Think of a bug eyed cartoon character in shock and disbelief.. refusing to accept the answer.)

Also the Largest number the CPUs in the recorder could count to was lower than the total number of sectors in the larger hard drives.. so as far as the recorder is concerned those far off and remote sectors might as well be "over the edge of the world" and are totally inaccessible.

Its best to get an "older" and "smaller" hard drive for replacement, even taking a chance on a refurbished one.. scam artists have moved on from turning a profit on smaller drives for the most part.. they are too low cost.. so the chances you'll get a working drive are better. We're usually talking $10 to $12 dollars here.. and often people or companies won't even put them up for sale. But its like a lottery.. you can still get bad ones, its sort of like robbing a graveyard of old parts these days.. a few might still be alive.. but there are going to be a lot of dead bodies.

A "smaller" SSD masquerading as an older smaller hard drive with a SATA connector "might" work, but you have to be aware it won't survive to its maximum life span because older hardware does not support the TRIM command for cleaning up the digital allocation tables in the SSD, but working in its favor.. fragmentation scale on a DVD recorder is "far far" lower than on a typical PC hard drive. Files on a DVD recorder are on the order of Gigabytes in size and even when divided up into chapters the chunks are huge.. compared to thousands of 10 to 15 kilobyte text files on a PC.

Without getting into the "weeds" about all the pros and cons.. Finding an older similar size hard drive with the same EIDE or SATA connector is probably the best solution for most people. -- its important to pay attention to the last three letters of the model, if the original has AES then it is a low noise drive and supports special command for making the drive run slower, but quieter. If the replacement drive does not support those commands then the recorder will think its failing and refuse to use the replacement. Often companies like Seagate made identical models with and without those commands and sold the "low noise" drives for a slightly higher price.
I have a 200GB SATA hard drive to try. The current noisy drive is a 320 GB. I have read quite a bit of the 'jump to' advice listed earlier in this thread so maybe the 200 GB will work. Thanks for the help!
 

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I have a 200GB SATA hard drive to try. The current noisy drive is a 320 GB. I have read quite a bit of the 'jump to' advice listed earlier in this thread so maybe the 200 GB will work. Thanks for the help!
I tried the 200 GB hard drive that had been DoD erased and still got the "RECORD ERROR" "Cannot record on this disc" on-screen messages. Is there proprietary Magnavox/Funai programming on the OEM HDD?
 

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I tried the 200 GB hard drive that had been DoD erased and still got the "RECORD ERROR" "Cannot record on this disc" on-screen messages. Is there proprietary Magnavox/Funai programming on the OEM HDD?
TaDa!! I usually read the instructions always(well,most of the time. LOL) However,this time I overlooked one of the IMPORTANT posts on replacing a HHD in the Magnavox DVR that I have. To wit, Code VSkip 079 within 3 seconds brings up a self-diagnosis screen that INCLUDES formatting the Hard Drive!
This "magic" code enabled me to format a replacement HDD in seconds. Took longer to do the mechanical part of the replacement. A BIG thank you to poster 7558037,Guest for the instructions!
My DVR is now quiet and I now know how to put a new drive in it when this one wears out.

THUMBS UP to the AVS Forum!!!:D
 

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I got it in my head from some time back that it is possible to pull the 500gb drive out of these and replace it with up to a 1.5t standard PC drive.

Can one replace the drives on these with standard PC drives or am I misremembering? If you can...

What is the max size the unit will be able to see?

Do I need to format or program the drive in any particular way or can I just pull out one drive and put in another? Is any programing on the drive or is it all hard wired in the circuits?

Aside from greater storage, another reason I'd want to do this is the hard drive seems to be getting a bit noisier as of late, even though that is the only troubling sign, still. Often the motors on these go out and start becoming noisy is the first sign.

OH, and I found this in my searchesfunaiservice.com slash Information slash firmware slash H2160MW9A slash Firmware_Instructions dot pdf (sorry link is such a pain, but it wont let me post otherwise) Is it possible/desirable to upgrade firmware? Or is this webpage just nonsense?
No need to upgrade the firmware,it does little if anything to solve any problems with the drive. Click on the "Help" link on how to replace the HDD. LOTS of info there.
 
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