setting up a yamada dvd recorder

Discussion in 'Blu-ray & DVD Players & Recorders' started by cirdan, Sep 30, 2004.

  1. cirdan

    cirdan
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    a relative was given one of these a few weeks ago as a present and asked if i would set it up. ive been using dvds for a good few years but have had no experience of recorders, only what ive read. i didnt really know what i was doing so instead of messing it up i just connected it up, scart to tv so they could watch some dvds, but they have been experiencing the sound from the tv playing in the background.

    they have a cable tv box and a vhs recorder. to be honest i think they got this because it's their first dvd player and being able to record aswell as watching dvds probably seemed quite appealing.they arent very technically minded, not being rude to them, so how are these things to use in general on a day to day basis? i dont want to see them having trouble everytime they come to record a program or watch one back. i did suggest that they exchange it for a decent dvd player, probably for half the price this costed, and just stick to a vhs recorder for the time being, then think about getting one in the future.

    they are thinking about it but incase they want to give the recorder a try can anyone help me in setting it up, what i do what i connect to what and if i need to get any extra leads.

    cheers.
     
  2. swanners

    swanners
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    Implies there is something playing in the foreground though you don't say you have connected the Audio outs to anything. If so, mute the TV?

    I think it was a good choice, without a doubt better than a VHS recorder. It is OK to use on a day to day basis, although it is *very* difficult to set up the tuner to the right channel numbers, and the menus are not always very intuitive (a bit of a learning curve). The quality of the manual is also very poor. But once you have mastered it, you get a decent result for peanuts money.
     
  3. cdavis

    cdavis
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    I bought one of these yesterday, and setting it up for recording was really no big deal - it's just like a VHS recorder with a DVD as a medium.

    I'd suggest you get some DVD+RW disks and try it out. You'll need to select a source of input, and this could be anything from an aerial to an enternal RGB input. I expect they're going to want to use the Cable box as the input (if they want to record TV progs), and you're going to have to find out if there's another output from that box that will match.

    So check the cable box out: does it have another SCART, S-Video, or composite (echh) output? If so, get an appropriate cable, and hook it up to the relevant input of the DVR: easiest is SCART, because it includes the audio lines, and has the best chance of outputting a high-quality signal like RGB.

    Next best is S-Video (little 4-pin mini DIN plug - looks like a PC keyboard plug) and you'll need to run the L & R sounds leads separately.

    Finally, there's composite video, which is just an RCA plug - just like the audio, but usually yellow. It's the lousiest quality, but easy to use. Again you'll need separate sound leads.

    If the cable box has only one output, you'll have to steal it for use with the DVR - at least for tests. Later you could install a 2-way SCART switch so they can select DVR or VHS recording.

    Once you're hooked up to the source and the TV -video and sound, set the TV to monitor the DVR's output. You should be able to see the cable box's output by pushing the Input remote button until it cycles to the correct input (the screen will show which input it's looking at for each press).

    If you have a widescreen TV, you'll see a 4x3 picture in the middle of the screen by default. Choose Setup on the remote, and hit Right to get to the Play options. Top of the list is TV Aspect ratio, which you should set to 16x9.

    Once you have the desired input signal going into the DVR and coming out onto the screen, you're ready to record. Just bang in a blank DVD+RW disk, and once it's been loaded and ID'd by the DVR, hit 'Disk ops' on the remote. The display will show you what the machine thinks the disk is (a blank DVD+RW, hopefully). You can push the Right button to go to Erase to prepare the disk, just in case. Hit Select to do the prepare.

    And that's it! Exit back to the screen showing just the incoming signal from the Cable box, and when you're ready, hit the Record button. Lo, there shall be recording!

    You can hit Stop when you've recorded enough to test. The DVR takes a moment to finish off the recording and write out the index, and then you can press play to see what you've got. If all is well, it should be a clear image with great sound.

    If this all works you can mess about: Go to Set Up and change the record format to a lower quality (= longer record time) and see how that looks. Standard play, which is near DVD quality, gives you 2 hours/disk. High Quality gives just one hour, but the frames are individually hand-painted by Raphael. Lower quality settings will give you longer times and lousier pictures, and you can choose these for long shows as need. Frankly, I'll probably stick to SP for most things: 2 hours gets a movie, and that's what I want to use this thing for.

    You'll note I've mentioned DVD+RW disks. These will allow you to experiment all you like, and then erase and re-use. Once you're all set up, and especially if you want to record a movie for keeps, you might want to use a straight once-only DVD+R - they're a tad cheaper, and more likely to play on other people's DVD players. When you're done recording on one of these, you will perform a final Disk Operation to Finalise the disk, which writes out end markers and closes off the index and so on. The resulting disk should play anywhere.

    It's a nice little machine. Enjoy.

    CD
     
  4. mray

    mray
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    Can you tell me if it has rgb-in please?
    Thanks in advance! :smashin:
     
  5. cdavis

    cdavis
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    It do! Major plus point! :zonked:

    Actually, for all its cheepnis, this beastie has a great deal of everything, which is probably down to the chipset. The UI is occasionally a little puzzling, despite being menu driven with a good on-screen display: when you get to the option you want, it's obvious and easy. Getting to it can be a bit of a hunt, though, as is getting out again. This is something that experience with it will cure, of course, and it's an inevitable trade off between the presence of lots of options, and the conserquent need to set up those options.

    CD
     
  6. mray

    mray
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    Thanks for that.
     
  7. cdavis

    cdavis
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    I haven't had that problem. It may take a bit of fiddling to track down, and the main issue is finding where it's coming from.
    • Radiated crosstalk within the TV itself
    • Radiated crosstalk being picked up by another input socket
    • Setup problems with the TV or DVR
    • Er...
    • That's all I can think of.

    The basic diagnostic would be to unplug things until it goes away (or gets worse, which will also help locate the problem).

    If you pull the SCART from DVR to TV, and it goes away, then it's coming in from the DVR, and you should try disconnecting inputs to the DVR to see if you can make it stop.

    If it doesn't go away when you disconnect the DVR from the TV, then it's either coming from within the TV itself, or from some other device that's also hooked up to the TV - a VCR, perhaps? Go fiddle with the inputs to that.

    The bottom line is to disconnect stuff and see what you have to do to isolate the crosstalk. If the noise is still there when everything's disconnected from the TV, then it's presumably inside the TV itself (not as uncommon as it should be, alas). You might try improving the TV's earth connection, starting with a bit of earthed wire held against the TV external chassis or any TV socket with an earth on it, but :eek: beware :eek: of attaching an earth to anything that is not definitely supposed to be earthed: some old TVs ran their actual internal chassis at live mains voltage, and though you should never be able to contact that live chassis, don't poke too far.

    One other possibility is that the signal's being picked up on an unused input socket, which is sensitive because it's floating. Connecting this input socket (if it exists) to a suitable output on something would fix it, but it ain't easy to find.

    Good luck finding the problem. Suggest you report any findings back here for further analysis if you can't kill it first go.

    CD
     
  8. mray

    mray
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    Cdavis.
    Thanks again for your help.
    You mentioned the chipset on the Yamada.
    Do you know which it is please?
    Something like LSI maybe?
    I'm not sure if I got that right, but I've read it's a chip in any dvr.
     
  9. cdavis

    cdavis
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    I'm pretty sure it does have LSI chips in it. There are references to LSI Inc. in the firmware upgrade files (through which I have been hunting for clues about secret engineering codes).

    Whether the LSI chipset is enough to cover all the things it does I don't know. Maybe there's another big fruit salad chip in there to handle some functions, but I know not - and I haven't really gone looking because it probably won't help me with the one problem I have with this machine: RGB output levels way too high.

    Having said which: anyone out their using this DVR, connected to a TV via SCART, and monitoring the RGB signal? If so, can you tell me if your picture brightness and quality is OK? My machine outputs beautiful Composite and S-Video, but the RGB output is much too bright, and washes out the picture.

    Any help appreciated.

    CD
     
  10. mray

    mray
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    Cdavis.
    Thanks for your help. I picked up one of these today and so far I'm impressed with it. PQ seems to be as good as the E50, on SP, to my eyes anyway and I don't really care what the LP/SLP modes are like. I think I got myself a bargain.
    I can't help you with the RGB settings because mine is set up via s-video in from SKY+ and component out from the Yamada. That comes through bright too. I can tell you that s-video comes very close to the RGB output of the E50 though, if that's any consolaton to you. Can't you set it up that way if the RGB is no good?
     
  11. mray

    mray
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    Cdavis.
    Did the firmware include an upgrade for a 3hr mode, do you know?
    I think that's the only reason for me to download it, as mine was multi region out of the box. Thanks again!
     
  12. cdavis

    cdavis
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    I'm afraid I performed the upgrade before I did almost anything with the box, so I'm not sure what's changed. The duration/quality modes this thing supports are:

    HQ 60m
    SP 130m
    EP 250m
    SLP 366m

    They say the ELP mode is approximately VHS quality, which is prtty stunning if true. I haven't used it yet, though.

    I reckon it's a good idea to get the upgrade, though: bound to be lots of bug-fixes and improvements, and as I found today, the tech support is bloody useless. :(

    CD
     
  13. cdavis

    cdavis
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    Yeah, the S-Vid is good, but the way my stack is set up, it makes sense to use RGB. Besides, DVDs are so clean that it's worth squeezing the last bit of data quality out of them.

    So I've been battling with Yamada/UMax support today, and by god they're awful. After presenting them with the facts of the problem, and some sample supporting evidence, I've had to wade through a long series of stupid suggestions from them - first to try to prove me wrong, and then a load of dumbass suggestion for a cure: 'unplug everything', 'try another TV set' and so on.

    I tried to explain to them that I was fixing consumer electronic devices for a living in 1970 - when they were probably gametes - and that I'd tried all the simplistic fixes they were feeding me long before I first called them, but it didn't make any impression.

    Finially they told me to get a return number and send it to them to be fixed. I blew that off, and reiterated that what I want is the information to fix it myself - IF there's a software fix via some engineering code, OR an adjustment pot in the box to tweak.

    If they don't have this information, there's hardly much point in my sending it to them, as they're ipso facto not equipped to fix it. They've not answered yet.

    Worst case, I'll put some resistors in the box or on a SCART lead. I've already done the calculations that should get the signal down to the required 0.7Vpp while leaving the impedance at 75ohms.

    What a drag, though. I was really hoping to get them codes.

    CD
     
  14. mray

    mray
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    Hi.
    I checked the firmware, and I think I already have the latest anyway. Looks like it's 2hr or 4hr, no in between. A 3hr mode would have been nice, but you can't have everything.
    Did you know that the ADD/CLEAR button is also a zoom button?
    I found this out by mistake, as there doesn't seem to be anything in the manual about zoom features. Bonus!
     
  15. mray

    mray
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    Cdavis.
    I just checked the rgb out on the Yamada and while it is bright, it's no brighter than the component output and the colours are fine, practically the same as the E50, which is connected via rgb scart.
    It was the rgb out you were concerned about wasn't it?
    Could it be the dvr is faulty?
    (Don't want to put the mockers on it)
    Can you swap it?
     
  16. cdavis

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    Oh, hey, mray, that's brilliant - thanks a lot. :smashin:

    All of which make me still more convinced that there's some kind of tweak for this: it's pretty unlikely that somehow my unit has the wrong value components in it (it's possible, of course, but I would have thought that a brightness/level adjustment for the output would be pretty standard).

    I even threw together a website (http://www.cubicsecond.org/yamada/) to show these guys the crap output I was getting. Their response was to tell me to get a Return number. Yeah, right: I have no doubt at all that the machine would arive on some technician's bench with no accompanying info; he'd switch it on, verify that the thing worked, not check the RGB, and I'd get it back with a bill for bugging them.

    So yes, now that I have confirmation that this problem is unique to this player, I'm a lot more motivated to take it back to Richer. The buggers charged me £150 for it, despite its being clearly advertised on their site for £119, so I don't feel like doing them any more favours. Still a waste of my time, but I guess I've taken far too long over this already.

    Many thanks, all.

    CD
     
  17. mray

    mray
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    Hi Cdavis.
    I've just tried another setup.
    Had the Yamada setup with rgb scart in and out.
    The E50 setup with component out and s-vid in.
    The pic was ok on both machines when they were switched on, after I'd adjusted contrast etc, and as I said the Yamada is brighter, but when I switched off the Yamada, the rgb pass-thru was much darker.
    Does this mean the problem is with the rgb out, as you said earlier, or something to do with the rgb in settings. The pic is nothing like as bad as your posts though.
    (I'm confusing myself now!!!).
     
  18. cdavis

    cdavis
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    Folks,

    I've been and gone and opened up my Yamada DVR-800, and discovered several interesting things, all of which I've put on
    my Yamada site

    The bottom line is that this box is entirely the work of LSI Logic, and Yamada themselves have apparently supplied little but the case, the splash screen and the cardboard box.

    Hope it's useful to someone here.

    CD
     
  19. cdavis

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    I've still not fixed the picture problem - I blame pressure of work. What I did do was try my resistor fix (which I believe I've written about somewhere above. This cut the voltage down to size, revealing my stupid mistake: the voltage wasn't too high at all - it was just biassed! There's what I figure to be a 0.05-0.1V DC bias on the signal, which means that the blacks are always grey, and the whites are always dazzling. It looks like too much bright, but that's just because everything is shifted brightwards, as't were.

    This might explain why some folks are not seeing the problem: maybe their RGB inputs are not DC-coupled, and have a little blocking capacitor on each colour line. It's also possible that this bias varies a lot from machine to machine, because unlike the rest of the 800's hardware, the SCART's are a non-LSI Logic addition, and they just didn't take a little stray DC into account.

    I plan to try to fix this, too, by putting some 10uF caps in the lines. I'll tweak values down until I'm happy, but as long as about 1MHz gets through to 75-Ohms, I should be OK. It's down for next time I'm near a Maplin's.

    The RGB pass through on the board is handled very simply. They have a single small 4-way analogue SPST switch on the underside of the SCART board, which is normally ON with no power. When the machine's powered up, the input is switched into the box and fiddled with, possibly including adding the DC bias; when it's off, it's just sent straight through unchanged to the output SCART.

    Hope this helps.

    CD
     

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