Exposing the HDR-SR1 Hard Drive

Under the covers of the Sony HDR-SR1 HDD HiDef Camcorder


UPDATE Aug 8 2007: I have just confirmed that IT IS POSSIBLE TO REPLACE AND UPGRADE THE HARD DRIVE of the Sony HDR SR1 Camera (and i would guess other sony hard drive based cameras as well). I purchased an 80GB Toshiba MK8009GAH, and swapped out the stock 30GB drive. Upon first powering on the camera with the new hard drive in place, i was greeted with a "recovering data" message, which persisted until patience ran out. Going into the camera menu, and selecting the format option within the media/drive tab got it working within a few seconds. As noted in the previous update back in December, the ipod drives did not work. I have found out that the apple branded drives will only function within the ipod. 

UPDATE Dec 30 2006 :I purchased an 80GB ipod to test out the following theory. Unfortunately, i could not get the camera to recognize the new hard drive. All i was greeted with was a flashing "e:31:00" and the occasional "cannot access hard drive" message. Other than that, the camera ran as normal. Navigating to the format item in the menu also resulted in the "cannot access..." message. I hit a road block when i could not get a ZIF to IDE connector from the local computer shops... although i don't think there would be much gained from hooking the drive to the computer. The firmware may only work with the 30gig drive? I even drove to a local Sony repair depot, and had a tech tell me there was nothing he could do. If there are any camera techs reading this page, i would love to hear from you...

Upgrading the Sony SR1: When i had my eye on purchasing the Sony SR1, i searched all over the Internet trying to determine if the 30GB hard drive was accessible. 30GB is decent, but bigger is always better.

I don't have another 1.8" HD to attempt swapping. But given how easy it was to open up the external lid and get my hands on the HD, i would imagine it IS possible. Inside is a well protected Toshiba MK3008GAL. This model is the very same found within the 5th gen 30gig video ipod. The next step up gives the ipod a 80GB MK8009GAH. These drives use the ZIF connector, not found in previous gen Ipods. If you google around, you can find some of these for sale. I found one at www.ipodmods.com. The ZIF interface on the drive is a little difficult to handle, feeling very fragile. You bust it... not my fault.

Getting in: There are two outer layers holding the hard drive snug. The first is the outer shell, held in place by a single philips screw. The screw can be removed with your standard eye glass tool. Once the screw is removed, its just a matter of sliding the outer cover forward. Beneath, is a more rugged hard plastic cover. The hard drive is not bolted in any way to the camera body. It is simply held in place by two, very cushy, hard drive rails. From here, the hard drive will only be attached by the ZIF connector. If only i had a spare 1.8" drive laying around to see what happens next.

I would guess that the hard drive can be swapped without any more attention than your run of the mill SD or CF card. The camera menu houses a "Format" function for both the Memory Stick, AND hard drive. There MAY be a hidden partition, holding the app to run the camera though??? One would think Sony used the same systems as in the DVD-recording HDR-UX1 variant, meaning all camera functions remain independent of the storage media. If you manage to make a successful swap, please let me know and ill update the page.

...and now the pictures...

Click Here for an Excelent Review of the Sony HDR-SR1 on CamcorderInfo.com

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