Question about Sony Handycam DCR-TRV103 Digital Camcorder

1 Answer

Playback Hi, I have been copying my tapes from my Sony to DVD with success until I experienced tracking problems which seem to essentially be the digital tapes or at least 80%. They play with hesitation and skips like an old LP. I have nearly 25 tapes to burn and of course this camera is now going the way of the dinosaur so I cannot replace it easily. I look forward to your suggestions. I've been copying my Digital8 tapes recorded over the past 8 years to my computer hard disk using my camcorder. I had completed around 20 tapes last year with no problems at all. I restarted the project about a week ago. My tapes playback showed similar problems described by others (like it was skipping every second - both audio and video - like it has problems syncing. I never had this problem before. Whats more, I borrowed two other identical camcorders from friends which also started showing the same problems and these camcorders seem to have been affected similarly - they have trouble playing tapes owned by my friends also.

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  • srisan Mar 18, 2008

    I seemed to have solved my problem, but still do not know the cause. Here is the solution I posted for someone else.

    I had this problem very recently. In fact I borrowed camcorders from my
    friends too and after short periods, they too started having the same
    problem. Essentially, it looks like there is some choppiness every
    second or so - like there is noise in the audio and video. After a lot
    of looking around, I finally found a suggestion posted that ACTUALLY
    WORKED on all 3 camcorders:

    I placed an empty tape in the
    camcorder and recorded a few seconds into it. Then I removed that tape
    and tried to play the previous tapes that were showing the choppiness.
    No problems any more. Everything works fine.

    What I still do not
    understand is why 3 camcorders (all DCR-TRV103s) all showed the same
    problem (with different tapes by the way). And since I still have lots
    of tapes to copy, I need to know why this problem is happening so I can
    minimize its occurrence while I complete the copying process.

    People
    have suggested that my tapes are old and may be offering resistance to
    the camcorder. So I have ordered a rewinder to spin the tapes a bit
    before trying again. The two possibilities suggested around this was
    (1) some mechanical switching took place which got reset when
    recording; and (2) something got corrupted in the software that manages
    the playback buffer and that software was rebooted when it went to
    recording mode.

    So while this will hopefully answer your
    question, I'm also looking for explanations for why this happened to me
    on 3 different camcorders.

  • Anonymous Oct 01, 2008

    Thanks! I had the same problem and I was ready to give up. Your method worked just fine. I just recorded onto a cleaning tape for 5 seconds and now it plays without any issues.




  • fciof Jan 08, 2009


    Thank you! I had the identical problem and was ready to search for a replacement. Your suggestion worked. Thank you for sharing this fix.

  • Anonymous Feb 23, 2009

    Thank you thank you thank you for the "record a few seconds" solution to this problem. I was having the exact same playback issues with my TRV103, and tried this fix and it worked beautifully; my camera is back to normal.

  • spalaw Apr 11, 2009

    Brilliant!!!!!! I have had lotS of video from 5+ years ago that I never watched because my old Sony camcorder had a tracking problem that I never had fixed. I am glad I saw your post! I had paid to have the same problems fixed in the past. I finally just read your solution and it worked perfect!!!!! You have made me soooo happy!!!! Now I can watch the kids old videos again. THANK YOU.

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Recording and playing a new tape worked for me too. Thanks!

Posted on Oct 31, 2008

  • david2stars May 29, 2011

    Great solution, still don't know what cause the problem. But I did put in a new tape and recorded for 15 seconds then rewind and replayed OK with no audio and video hesitation. I then reload my old tape and played OK. This is a very strange thing that could happen to a video camera. Well, technology glitch in software. Thanks for the suggestion...

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This smacks of the same problem that the old VCR's used to have. One of you are out of sync. The tape records on a portion of the tape in a sort of straight line track. Think of it as your track is down 1/16" from the top. The other camera tracks it's video down 1/8" instead. That's why in playback it can't read it. The only cure is a realignment. Nimsgame

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HI, i try to copy a Hi8-Tape to DVD, t works but i can't play it on another DVD-Player. Whats the problem. Thank's.


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By the way, I used this camera and a Panasonic DMR-E55 to make the DVD copies.

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I have the CDR-200 and did not have the manual either. However, I did discover the same problem and found the solution. There is a "confirm" button on the front of the unit under the display area. After you press the record button "Record" will begin to flash in the display area and then you press "Confirm". It should start recording. Note however the following:

BURNING FROM EXTERNAL CASSETTE OR PHONO
Before starting this procedure make sure you have an AUDIO recording CD in the RECORDER tray of the CDR-200. A regular CD-R type of disc for computers is not going to work and may cause an annoying message on the display which does not go away until you put the right type of recording CD in the unit. It must be either an AUDIO CD-R or an AUDIO CD/RW.

1. When copying from an external cassette deck, you should set the source (press source button) until the setting is "Analog".

2. The "Dual" button should not be in effect. In the lower right portion of the screen you should only see a small number "1" with a circle around it. This indicates the CDs currently being used by the burner. In "dual" mode you can copy from the Playback CD of the CDR-200 to the Recorder CD. In dual mode you see "1" and "2" with circles around them. The active CD tray will flash on the display.

3. When copying from an external cassette unit, you use the "Record" button to start the recording. At the end of the cassette track you MUST press the STOP button by the CD Recorder tray. After you press STOP the unit will say "Update" which indicates it is closing out the track on the CD-R. You can continue to write tracks by pressing RECORD again, then CONFIRM when the tape is positioned at the right PLAYBACK track. It is usually helpful to have a few seconds of blank tape at the start of the PLAYBACK track before pressing RECORD. Press play on the cassette deck, then RECORD followed by CONFIRM on the CD burner.

4. When the track has finished burning you must press STOP to close the track on the CD-R. After you press STOP, the unit will display "Update" to indicate it is updating or closing the track. When the process completes, the unit will display the tracks it has written to the CD-R and will be ready for you to copy another track or FINALIZE the CD-R. When the unit is waiting after the STOP, you can change the cassette tape, reposition to a playback track and ready the playback tape for more recording. When the PLAYBACK tape is ready repeat STEP 3. Repeat steps 3 and 4 until you have about 14 or 15 tracks on the CD-R.

5. When you have finished recording about 14 or 15 tracks onto the CD-R, you will want to finalize the CD-R. Press the FINALIZE button, and then press the CONFIRM button. You will see the the unit start to display the progress of the finalize by advancing the level meters of the left and right channels in the display. When the unit is finished finalizing it will return to the number of tracks display for the CD-R. After finalizing the CD-R you can play it back to make sure the burn was successful. Be sure to wait for the tracks display before removing or playing the CD-R after the finalize is done. Removing before the finalize is done may damage the unit and may render the CD-R bad.

BURNING FROM THE PLAYBACK CD
Before starting this procedure make sure you have an AUDIO recording CD in the RECORDER tray of the CDR-200. A regular CD-R type of disc for computers is not going to work and may cause an annoying message on the display which does not go away until you put the right type of recording CD in the unit. It must be either an AUDIO CD-R or an AUDIO CD/RW.

1. Set the unit to "Dual" mode. As described above, you will see "1" and "2" with small circles in the lower right portion of the display.

2. Make sure the "Source" mode is set to "Analog" by repeatedly pressing the SOURCE button until it shows "Analog".
3. When copying from the PLAYBACK CD tray you will not use the RECORD button by the CD Burner tray. You will use the 'DUB" button just to the right of the display.

4. Put an audio CD in the PLAYBACK CD tray and press the skip track button ">>" until you arrive at the track you wish to record from. If the track you want to start at is track 1, then you don't need to skip tracks.

5. When positioned at the correct playback track, press the DUB button. The unit will show "CDR" and then "DUB" on the display. When it says "DUB" press the CONFIRM button. The unit will start recording. You can adjust the record level during the first few seconds to make sure you don't have the recording volume level set too high.

6. When the track is finished, you should see the unit indicate on the display "Update". This indicates it is closing the track and it should do this automatically. If it does not do this you may have to press STOP near the RECORDER Tray to force closing of the track. Usually the unit indicates "AUTO" in the display area and I believe that is what controls the automatic track numbering feature. I am not sure how the AUTO feature is turned on. I noticed on the CDR-200 it is on by default.

7. After the UPDATE is complete, the unit will display the number of tracks it has written to the CD-R. You can at this point change the PLAYBACK CD to another one or advance to another track for continued recording. When at the correct track simply go back to step 5 and continue.

8. When you are all done copying tracks from one or more CDs, and you wish to finalize the CD press FINALIZE and then press CONFIRM to start the finalize process. I noticed on the CDR-200 if you wait too long after recording a track the unit may start the finalize process automatically. This happened after at least 5 minutes. It is best to try and stay with the copy process to monitor what is happening. The finalize can also start if you have written to many tracks to the CD-R and it runs out of space. Typically, your safe if you burn about 14 to 15 tracks to a CD-R at a time. You might be able to fit more if the tracks are very short (2-3 minutes each).

One last note about the connections on the back of the unit. Read the labels of the connections on the back very carefully. The CDR-200 and probably the 201 have separate outputs for the PLAYBACK CD (CD) and BURNER CD (CDR). You will want to connect these to seperate inputs on your audio amplifier. Or you might also wish to merge them using adapters into one input on your audio amplifier. If you keep them separate you will need to change sources on the audio amplifier to hear each tray. For example, you might need to switch to "CD/TAPE" for the CD, and "AUX" for the CDR. It is probably easier to merge the two using audio adapters which can be readily obtained from RadioShack.

I hope this helps!

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You can however quite safely clean the heads by using one of the dry cleaning tapes sold for the purpose. I have used an 8mm/Hi-8 cleaning tape made by TDK for a number of years with good results. Remember that if your heads are dirty both recording and playback will be affected and once you have cleaned the heads you need to test the camera by recording new footage and then playing it back to see if matters have improved. Good Luck.

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