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Old June 13th, 2009, 01:56 AM   #1
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XR520 - Replacing the HDD

Is replacing the HDD on these cams a user friendly do-able thing...or does it have to get sent to Sony's Repair Centers?

And if by chance it is user / owner do-able, what is the cost of the HDD?

Any of you Sony XR520V users / experts could chime in on this...it would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks!!
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Old June 13th, 2009, 01:34 PM   #2
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I hate to ask, but why would you need to replace so soon? I would think Sony would honor the warranty as the cam is less than a year old, so at least they might cover the part? Otherwise you can look up sony parts direct on the web and probably look up the part if you have the part # (call their toll free and they can sometimes find a part if you don't have the Service Manual).

Pretty "young" in the duty cycle to have a disk failure, but I suppose it can happen - there were a few in the SR series...

As for replacement, it's likely fairly easy - it was no trouble in the SR, and I'd expect the XR is similar. Visual inspection shows two screws on the bottom of the handstrap side of the camera, another near the front strap attachment, and there are two each in the front and rear port cavities if you open the doors (I'm suspicious that only one of the two needs to be removed in each... but it could require both). A jeweler's Phillips screwdriver will get you into the HDD area, and the HDD should be mounted in a foam anti-shock surround, which is NOT anchored to the rest of the cam BTW, so be careful... the only other thing is a flat ribbon type connector which IIRC just pulls out (but be aware it may have one of those small flip type connectors on it that you flip up to insert/release the connector.

I haven't opened up a XR as of yet, but having inspected an SR which is probably similar, that's a decent description for you to start from. Also keep in mind you can set the camera to record to the MS Duo and (again if it operates the same as the SR) simply remove the HDD - you'll get an error message on startup and a flashing error message while operating, but if you set to record to the Duo, it should work OK, at least it did with the SR.

Keep in mind that following the above will probably void your warranty, proceed at your own risk, yadda yadda yadda... but if you have the tools already, you probably have the skills... DON'T go venturing further into the cam though...
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Old June 16th, 2009, 04:01 PM   #3
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Thanks for the detailed reply Dave.

In response to your first paragraph, I don't need to replace it...because I don't even have the camera. I'm just inquiring about replacing the HDD should it be needed.

I've been reading around here and the web about these HDD cams and was curious about the longevity and reliability of these cams.

Yes, I'm aware that this cam also has the ability to record to Sony flash sticks (wish they were SDHC's instead!!) so I guess that makes it the best of both worlds.

Was curious though, if any user has recorded their precious moments and all of sudden the HDD tanked on them.

* Did they get the HDD repaired and working again?

* Did they have to take it to a HDD recovery specialist and pay up the yang to save / recover their precious footage?

* Or did they just trash it and have the disc replaced?
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Old June 16th, 2009, 06:37 PM   #4
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I think one of the realities of these new AVCHD cams whether flash based or hard drive based is that users MUST backup their work frequently. Just leaving everything on the camera is very risky whatever the medium. I back up my Sony AVCHD almost every time I use them its easy and that means I have a nice calendar view of everything on the PC. I have experience of the SR7, SR11 and now the XR500 over the last 2 plus years with about 160G of video from them so far without problems.

Ron Evans
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Old June 16th, 2009, 08:56 PM   #5
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OK, so it was a hypothetical Q... I forget not everyone likes to take things apart <wink>. I can say the HDD swap should be fairly easy even for a casual "DIY'er" - you don't have to get into the serious innards of the camera to do it.


As Ron said, having a backup on a second HD (or I suppose on Memory Sticks, though that's expensive) only makes sense, hard disks fail, tapes fail sometimes, etc... in short, stuff breaks, that's life. Even photos and negatives fade over time - I've restored some badly degraded slides for family, so it's safe to say that NO media is "perfect" and foolproof.

I've seen maybe a half a dozen to a dozen SR11/12's on eBay with a "bad" or removed HDD - not bad considering the popularity of the camera. I'm guessing they were customer returns... for failed HDD, and who knows what caused the failure - the cameras do have a drop sensor, but it can be turned off...

I'd presume that a "bad" HDD could be recovered for a price, but regular backup is cheaper by a substantial margin. A severe head crash could be fatal, and in a portable device could happen if you defeat the drop sensor...

I'd imagine if the failure happened within the warranty period, one would have a new disk swapped in, or they just sell it on eBay as-is...
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Old June 17th, 2009, 01:55 PM   #6
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Thanks for the replies / etc..., most appreciate it.

Yes agreed....all media has a failure point...exactly when it will happen, nobody knows.

Now it's back to Best Buy / Fry's to play around with the cams a bit more and hopefully decide on one of these cool...yet expensive (at least to me!!).....cams.
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