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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
This recorder has been a workhorse for 3-4 years. I've always had an issue that when dubbing from DVD-RAM to HDD I'd get some pixel corruption which could be remedied by unplugging the unit for 3-10'. It would reoccur every so often. Then I upgraded the firmware around 4 months ago and the unit was pretty much ruined: frequent lockup of video during startup, during recording or editing. Sometimes I'd lose audio. When this happens you have to unplug the unit to regain control so you lose the present recording and editing of recorded content. Toshiba refuses to accept responsibility and tells me I must send it in to Tops Electronics for repair at my own cost. Note that Toshiba has subsequently removed the firmware file for this model from their web site.


I build PCs from the ground up and was wondering whether I should replace the burner and PC board which has the firmware chip. Parts are available from Partstore.com. The HDD is fine. What PC board do I need?


Also the RD-XS52 is an anomaly. Does it use the same parts as the XS34 or XS54/55???
 

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Toshiba does not make these repair parts available from vendors who sell to "do it yourselfers". And the repair details differ for each model series. While there are any number of posts here from people trying all sorts of DIY fixes on Toshibas, in my opinion if the machine is of great value to you, send it in for direct Toshiba service. Toshiba DVD/HDD recorders are staggeringly twitchy and complex pieces of gear. Like any super-high-performance item, if you want the performance you have to be prepared for maintenance issues. Only Toshiba has the slightest clue how to restore these units correctly- call the service hotline and see if they'll match Panasonic's flat-fee $130 repair program for out-of-warranty recorders. Send it to an actual Toshiba depot if possible, not to a local "authorized" shop.


There was a time when certain models of Panasonic and Pioneer and other recorders were amenable to self-service. That time has largely passed, and it never really existed for Toshiba anyway. All the current DVD/HDD units contain one-off burners which cannot be replaced or repaired at reasonable cost by DIY. Other than simple spindle cleaning and lens wiping, dead burners require factory service. Here and there you can replace hard drives yourself, it depends on the make/model. Bear in mind, these recorders are no longer easily replaced: before risking DIY consider whether factory service might be worth the extra cost. Sometimes you break even, as with Panasonic's repair program.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·

Quote:
Originally Posted by CitiBear /forum/post/15468832


Toshiba DVD/HDD recorders are staggeringly twitchy and complex pieces of gear.

I'm finding this out now. In fact, my workhorse RD-XS52 has a good burner compared to refurbished RD-XS34 I bought as a backup, and an RD-XS55 I just picked up on Ebay. The RD-XS34 is dead out of the box; I should have checked it out when I purchased it. Image quality is poor and the burner is dead. Strange, as this was a Toshiba-direct refurbish in a sealed box. Even the right hinge on the door was shipped broken!


The RD-XS55 works fine except the burner is slow to recognize DVD-RAM compared to the XS-52. Sometimes it hangs when creating thumbnail images. I thought the burner was replaced but I opened the unit last night and everything inside is original.


Often, the units appear dead if left to sit awhile without power, and need repeated powering on before they rejuvenate. Black Magic (or voodoo) indeed. All Toshiba tells you to do is pull the plug for 3', a universal mantra with them.


The problem with Tops Electronics is won't you be stuck with a repair bill even if the unit is found not repairable?
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Clevor /forum/post/15470262


The problem with Tops Electronics is won't you be stuck with a repair bill even if the unit is found not repairable?

Possibly, unless Toshiba specifically recommended them to you as "factory affiliated". Toshiba-specific repair depots can almost always fix these machines, and will likely not bill you just to look at it and return it as unrepairable. Local "authorized" shops, however, just might. I don't know which sort of depot "Tops Electronics" is, but if they return it to you they should have some clearly stated evaluation fee for unrepairable items. Anything more than $65 is unacceptable for merely sniffing the unit and deciding they can't be bothered.


Its never been clear exactly why the burners in the XS-type units are so incredibly lame. The best guess is they were trying to match Panasonic in offering a DVD-RAM feature, but balked at the expense (at that time) of a really good-quality multi-format burner. Instead, they burdened their wonderful DVD/HDD recorders with yucky half-assed burners that don't manage DVD-R *or* DVD-RAM very well, and tend to break down. With a lot of effort, you can swap the hopeless Toshiba burners for certain third party (LG?) drives that are more reliable, but you often lose ability to finalize existing discs and the machine can eventually "reject" the transplant.


Toshibas are like 1960s-era Ferrari sports cars or Zeiss Contarex 35mm SLRs: fabulous high-performance machines, which can only provide that stunning performance for a brief period before needing repairs- sometimes pricey repairs. Toshibas stand alone as having never been equaled in PQ or authoring capabilities, if you want those features you're stuck with Toshiba and will need to budget money and time for periodic factory repairs. DIY is a waste on these. If you can't accept this, compromise your standards and get a Pioneer or Panasonic DVD/HDD instead: not quite as superb, but much less hassle.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by CitiBear /forum/post/15475550



Toshibas are like 1960s-era Ferrari sports cars or Zeiss Contarex 35mm SLRs:

Haven't ever owned a Ferrari but I owned a few Fiat convertibles from the early 70s as well as a "Contax" 35mm SLR(that used the wonderful Zeiss lenses). You're quite correct in your assessments, nice when they worked... and very problematic
Oh did I mention the Jaguar XJS I owned for a short period of time
talk about problematic
 

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Well, if we're gonna post images of high-performance temperamental divas
:




The service rate to even LOOK at one of these cameras would pay for a new DVD recorder. Actual repairs begin at $500 and frequently top $1000.
The saga of how this camera destroyed the legendary Zeiss company within four years due to warranty repairs being more costly than the camera itself is fascinating, and should be required reading for business students or those into high-end photo gear. "Pride goeth before a fall", indeed. The "best" of anything is not necessarily the best choice.
 

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Wow there was a Contarex camera, I though you just had a typo since my camera was a Contax and used the Zeiss lenses. Mine was a beautiful camera and one of the few with a 1/4000th of a second shutter speed. Worked great for maybe 5 years until I started having problems with it's electronic shutter. I sent it in many times to Contax/Yashica but the fixes never lasted long. I finally gave up and bought a Yashica SLR to utilize my Zeiss lenses.

Now they all gather dust since I've moved on to digital photography.

I'll have to Wiki "Contarex" sounds like there's a good story to be had.
 

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Sorry all, didn't mean to hijack the thread.
No more car or camera analogies, promise.
Those interested in the Contarex "Titanic" story should look at this very thorough page. My point was that the finest quality of ANYTHING (dvd recorders, cameras, cars, audio) often comes at a price (money or otherwise) that some of us would rather avoid.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·

Quote:
Originally Posted by jjeff /forum/post/15478800


I finally gave up and bought a Yashica SLR to utilize my Zeiss lenses.

Now they all gather dust since I've moved on to digital photography.

I'll have to Wiki "Contarex" sounds like there's a good story to be had.

Well I guess since I'm the OP of this thread, I'm allowed to add to the digression, BUT: you can use those ole Zeiss lenses with current digital SLRs. There are adapters to get them to work with Olympus and Canon EODs. That's what I am doing now. Search Ebay for 'Contax EOS adapter'.


As for the Toshiba RD-XS series of DVD/HDD recorders, yes the IQ is remarkable. The recordings are virtually indistinguishable from the original content. I just upgraded to those large HD TVs with LCD screens and I marvel at the recordings I did years ago, which goes to show the signals were being recorded, not what the TV outputted. The recorders are also feature-rich with a plethora of editing features.


I've also found the ole Toshiba CRT TVs produced the best image quality, and I only used Toshibas made in the U.S. or Japan. When I moved to Japan, I found they picked up the most local channels off base.


The last VCR Toshiba made with six heads (TM 785?) also had the best quality VCR output I've seen (and that includes the last Panasonics still made in Japan). After five years of workhorse output, I had it refurbished to like new specs in Japan in case I need to dub from VHS to DVD.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·

Quote:
Originally Posted by alb2 /forum/post/16094870


Was going to install the xs52 firmware upgrade any day now, after reading this

thread no way

There is a person who posted on FIXYA with the same problem. She felt that at the end of the upgrade process, the recorder doesn't follow the last two steps so perhaps that is what caused the problem. Not true, because I have successfully flashed firmware on the other RD-XS recorders without that last step occurring (a WAIT message on the readout). Just turn the recorder back on and the flash went OK on the RD-XS55/32.


I used to overclock computers for five years and have flashed hundreds of BIOs on not only motherboards but video cards so I know what I'm doing. I have never had a bad flash. Just make sure you don't pull power or touch any keys.


I even got a firmware disc directly from Toshiba, as I suspected the file on the web was corrupted, but no go. My RD-XS52 is hosed. At this point it's possible once the chip on the mainboard is ruined by the firmware on the web, it can't be overwritten by the proper one on the disc from Toshiba. I say this because Toshiba pulled the firmware off the web but still provides the one on the disc.

Anybody know of any RESET method I can try which I haven't already? I've tried unplugging the unit for weeks and even two months while I was moving. I've done the ZOOM-701-ZOOM factory reset. Nothing works.


I really don't know why Toshiba doesn't own up to this problem and repair the units at their cost, or reimburse us for sending it in to TOPs. Moreover I am at FPO AP so the freight both ways to CONUS will be $50 for 4th Class or $100 for Air Mail in addition to the repair cost. 4th Class takes 4-6 weeks each way so figure 2-3 months just for transit time.
 

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You know if you have access to another dead machine that's the same you could always swap the flash chip if it's doable.

Sounds like Toshiba recorder owners should scour E-bay and swap meets for spare units for parts.

I did a hot swap to a Asus mother board that I destroyed the flash programing chip when it locked up during a windows flash. Friend had another board just like it so we pulled his chip, put it in mine, flashed it to the latest, while it was still on I pulled that chip and installed the dead one, screen was still saying flash another? so I said yes and it flashed that one back to normal.


It's a bit risky but if it's dead anyways might be another option for some folks...
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dartman /forum/post/16098776


You know if you have access to another dead machine that's the same you could always swap the flash chip if it's doable.

Sounds like Toshiba recorder owners should scour E-bay and swap meets for spare units for parts.

I did a hot swap to a Asus mother board that I destroyed the flash programing chip when it locked up during a windows flash. Friend had another board just like it so we pulled his chip, put it in mine, flashed it to the latest, while it was still on I pulled that chip and installed the dead one, screen was still saying flash another? so I said yes and it flashed that one back to normal.


It's a bit risky but if it's dead anyways might be another option for some folks...

Yeah, at least with computer motherboards, the BIOS chips are replaceable (with the exception of the P4T-E, where it was soldered in). And computer parts lose value fast, so in 2 years, you can pick up a used board on Ebay for $25. You could also get a replacement BIOS chip from the manufacturer; it would only cost about the same and you just pluck the old BIOS chip out and stick the new one in, with the power down.


Problem is, I don't think anybody knows exactly where the firmware is located on these RD-XS units. Definitely not on the HDD, which was the wrong info given to that person on FIXYA. She has a worse problem: she can't even post or start up. More than likely the chip is soldered on the mainboard so you'd have to replace the entire board
.
 

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Well then again, extra parts machines to swap boards with. Nobody does board/component level repairs anymore it seems anyways, just plunk in another whole board when in some case it's just one cheap faulty part. I used to repair TV's when it was profitable to fix and sell used sets...Had lots of my favorite ones spare parts lying around, chassis, boards, etc... Now they want you to pay them to take the old stuff
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Clevor /forum/post/16099985


Yeah, at least with computer motherboards, the BIOS chips are replaceable (with the exception of the P4T-E, where it was soldered in). And computer parts lose value fast, so in 2 years, you can pick up a used board on Ebay for $25. You could also get a replacement BIOS chip from the manufacturer; it would only cost about the same and you just pluck the old BIOS chip out and stick the new one in, with the power down.


Problem is, I don't think anybody knows exactly where the firmware is located on these RD-XS units. Definitely not on the HDD, which was the wrong info given to that person on FIXYA. She has a worse problem: she can't even post or start up. More than likely the chip is soldered on the mainboard so you'd have to replace the entire board
.

The firmware does not reside on the HDD. That's for sure. Not even the TVGOS data resides on the HDD for TVGOS models.


There are two versions of the XS series. The first is the XS32. XS52 and the KX50. The KX50 I believe is identical to the XS52 but only has an 80 GB HDD. I still have one so if I find the time I'll try to rip it apart and judge the level of complexity. I don't believe it is very complicated.


But I'm much more familiar with the newer version. The newer version includes the XS34, XS54. XS35 and the XS55.


With the newer version the firmware is located on the main PC board. My guess is that this is the case as well with the original XS series version. With the newer version it is the largest board that sits on the bottom of the machine. It costs $85.00 at the Parts Store and is readily available. The nice thing about XS Toshiba series is that the parts are not very hard to find.


The XS design is no more complicated than connecting Legos. So if one wants to do a self repair it is doable providing one wants to invest in the new parts.


The most expensive part with the newer version of the XS series is the digiPC board. It runs $270. But this board does not contain the firmware. The digi PC board is the same part for all of the newer XS series versions (XS34, XS54, XS35, XS55). The digiPC board is interchangeable across these models.


A bad digiPC board can give both HDD and DVD drive error codes which leads many people to think they have bad HDDs or a bad burner. Many times it is the digiPC board. I picked up a couple of "can't read disc" DOA XS35's and the DVD burner was fine. Turned out it was the digiPC board. $35 for a DOA machine was a nice price for a working DVD burner. Especially considering the proprietary nature of the drive.


XS52 parts can be found here:

XS52 Parts


Parts can be found more reasonable but the link is a good place to start.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Thanks for the info Nextoo. The RD-XS52 looks a bit different from the RD-XS35 infrastructure. The -XS52 uses a large motherboard that sits at the bottom, a digi PC board on the left, a power PC board which the plug is connected to on the right , and an HDMI board. Assuming the firmware chip is on the large motherboard, this part costs $174
. That part is significantly cheaper on the RD-XS35. At least it's not as expensive as the Digi PC board, which goes for $326! Partstore.com really rips you on the USPS shipping to FPO AP so total cost will be close to $200. Oh well.
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·

Quote:
Originally Posted by nextoo /forum/post/16101295


There are two versions of the XS series. The first is the XS32. XS52 and the KX50. The KX50 I believe is identical to the XS52 but only has an 80 GB HDD. I still have one so if I find the time I'll try to rip it apart and judge the level of complexity. I don't believe it is very complicated.


But I'm much more familiar with the newer version. The newer version includes the XS34, XS54. XS35 and the XS55.

Couple of differences I notice right off on the RD-XS32/52/KX50: all are manual timer units, no TVGOS; all use orange PC boards. Tuners are soldered in.


On the RD-XS34/35/54/55: all are TVGOS units with green PC boards.

The tuners are replaceable on a separate board.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by nextoo /forum/post/16101295


The most expensive part with the newer version of the XS series is the digiPC board. It runs $270. But this board does not contain the firmware. The digi PC board is the same part for all of the newer XS series versions (XS34, XS54, XS35, XS55). The digiPC board is interchangeable across these models.

My XS34 just died, displaying en error code of "ER 00 0C".



I would guess that its the digiPC board that has gone bad. But at $270, and it only being a guess, it might not be worth that kind of risky investment.
 
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