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Author Topic: How to fix a HHB PDR 1000 Portadat  (Read 325 times)

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Offline Ozpeter

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How to fix a HHB PDR 1000 Portadat
« on: February 03, 2024, 07:28:51 PM »
I am posting this here just in case someone else ever has the problem with a (rather rare now...) HHB Portadat that I just encountered - and fixed.  The fix actually was inspired from something I read myself online, although that fix was possibly more complex than it needed to be.

Context - I am setting up a new "studio" (ok, man cave) in which I plan to gradually go through my huge archive of sound recordings on reels, DATs, cassettes, and MiniDiscs, and copy the important ones to a hard drive which yes, I will back up as I go.

Last time I tried copying DAT tapes, some years back, none of my Sony machines would work, but I had a memory that my Portadat would still play them.  So of course that was my first port of call to try out playback, and hopefully a digital link to a Roland R-44.  I was more than somewhat disconcerted to find that although the Portadat would play the tapes I tried, and the meters did what one would expect, there was no audio output from the headphones, speaker, or line out.

But when I pressed "play" again after a long interruption, eureka, playback audio!  So I thought, is this something charging up internally after years of neglect, which needs to be charged before the playback amp will work?  Anyway, next day I tried again - and no audio again.  And no matter how long I left it powered up, this time it didn't recover.

But googling a bit brought up a deeply-buried forum thread (not from here) where a similar kind of problem was described, and the guy had fixed it by taking the Portadat completely to bits, discovering a dead button cell, replacing it, and all was well.

Then I checked online Portadat manuals, and found mention of such a cell in the context of current time backup.  And it said it could be replaced by taking out three tiny screws from a cover plate on the left side of the machine, which revealed where the 2032 type battery lives.  So I did that - set the current date and time - and the machine instantly worked perfectly.  I would lay money that, given the age of the machine, any still out there will need this tiny fix before they will work.

Next, how to connect it digitally to the Roland R-44?  Without boring you with the research, the answer is strange but simple.  Don't use the SPDIF output from the Portadat. Under the lid, change the digital output switch to AES/EBU.  Then make up a lead with a phono plug at one end, and an XLR at the other end.  Wire the pin of the phone plug to pin 2 of the XLR, and the earth to pins 1 & 3 of the XLR.  Set the R-44 to digital input, and connect the phone plug to the digital input thereof.  Connect the XLR to the AES/EBU output of the Portadat.  Double check you've switched the Portadat to AES/EBU output.  And there you go.

I'm coming up to 75.  I have many hundreds of DAT tapes of classical concerts and sessions.  So I must get a move on now with the copying, while I'm still capable of inserting a DAT into the Portadat?  I suspect I will die before the Portadat does - what a machine!

Offline breakonthru

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Re: How to fix a HHB PDR 1000 Portadat
« Reply #1 on: February 04, 2024, 06:50:55 AM »
Great tips thanks!

Offline justme

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Re: How to fix a HHB PDR 1000 Portadat
« Reply #2 on: February 04, 2024, 11:36:56 PM »
Thank you for taking the time to write this.
Got to dig up my TC Portadat and see if it works or not.


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