Wintal PVR-X10 information page

(also applies to PVR-X10A, Digicrystal SDT-9000, Supernet 8000T and Tevion MD29401 models)

(Repairs and upgrades to make it better than new)

General information:

It is assumed you already know what a PVR is if you got to this web page! Here's a picture of the PVR X10A sold by Wintal. It's a SD set top box with a single tuner and an 80Gb hard disk for recording free to air TV, just like your video recorder.

  

 

These units are really good for digital terrestrial TV and as we've owned one here for 5 years now and have made very good use of it. However they suffer from a few issues - usually noted on most forums. The main ones are that the 80Gb hard disk can't be replaced or upgraded, the unit fails after the warranty has expired and also some stations appear to cause problems with this type of PVR. I have not yet had much of the latter and found the unit a good VHS replacement.

The unit comes in a variety of re-badged flavours made in various places. As the back of the one here says, developed in Germany, made in China. The PVR-X10 has hardware which is similar (and therefore the operation and firmware is also similar) to these units:


Wintal PVR-X10, Wintal PVR-X10A, Digicrystal SDT-9000PVR and the Supernet 8000T-PVR, Tevion MD29401. The Tevion unit has a 160Gb hard disk and has been sold at Aldi stores (thankyou to Chris @ www.nat32.com for the update).

    

Also, some of the newer Supernet unit's look the same inside - check out this photo of the 1160T PVR. Compare this to 'inside the pvr-x10' photo. Hard to tell? NOT. It's worse than Holden Vauxhalls! There must be more than a dozen models of Chinese PVR's imported into Australia. Who knows where the rest end up and under what brand name. Of course the software to run them appears to be German - so at least that is a constant. There's been reports that some units are actually bad straight out of the box and need this repair treatment. I wonder just how cheap the components actually are?

A handy hint to prevent problems (as with most electronic equipment) is to keep the unit cool - don't put them in the back of the cabinet or on top of another set top box or DVD player that gets hot.

 

How to upgrade the hard disk (for PVR-X10 users).

Firstly I have to add a disclaimer again here. Firmware upgrades can completely mess up your PVR box. Some don't work and others work really well. I have tried the following on my own PVR-X10 box only - any other boxes out there may or may not like the different firmware - perform any re-flash of your unit at your own risk.

It is well known that the PVR-X10 only functions with the original hard disk of 80Gb (here the one I pulled out of the unit was a WD800BB. If it dies, then you're stuck unless you can get a direct replacement. However, instructions to change the hard disk or to update the firmware are available on the Internet. Basically, if you re-flash the unit with the modified firmware, it will allow any other type of hard disk (including a higher capacity unit) to be used. I have flashed the PVR-X10 here with modified firmware and I think it's better than what it had before. I replaced the hard disk with a brand new 80Gb WD Caviar WD800JB  from PLE computers. My next change will be to replace the 'replacement' disk with a much larger capacity - 160Gb at least. See  the links at the bottom of this page.

PVR_X10.exe  and  PVR X10 Comm Port 1.bat  are needed with an ordinary serial cable to upgrade the firmware in these boxes. Wintal has the flashing software also available on their site to download.

The instructions from the Wintal website are here also Wintal PVR-x10 Update Instructions.pdf.

It seems very strange that a WD800BB can't be changed for a WD800JB unit, I doubt Western Digital would have changed their firmware much on the drive itself. So it makes me think that the PVR has been specifically set up to match with one drive, or the hard disk was factory partitioned with some sort of signature or serial number (if someone knows, please drop me an email). I'll be doing some investigations on the old drive here now that I know that it was not at fault - just the power supply was a dud. In the meantime, the modified firmware is better anyhow as it provides some DVB stream capture tools and editing of the recordings which is quite handy.

 

How do I know if the unit has a problem or is faulty?

I've read many forum's where users of this unit say the same thing - "it's a dud!".

 FACT: It's not a dud, just made from cheapo components and fails faster than other cheap appliances.

Simple to check out, you'll notice one of the following :-

Other faults ARE known to be related to TV station transmissions. (These are discussed on forums quite often).

This shows (not in order) ABC with around 5.4Mbit/s CBR, 7 (with sport? must have increased their SD bitrate - usually also 5.5Mbit/s) at 8.5Mbit/s CBR, 9 at 5.5Mbit/s CBR, SBS at around 4Mbit/s (not sure but may be CBR) and channel 10 definitely using VBR varying between 4.4 and 8.4 Mbit/s - quite unstable, hence the PVR-X10 has problems with channel 10. TV stations, get the Thomson or Tandberg MUX configs right and fix the EPG so it works on all boxes!

 

Repairs:

First the disclaimer!

The information on this page is for qualified service technicians. Live mains voltage exists inside these units when plugged in (obviously) and therefore any repairs should only be carried out by competent people. ie. If you don't know how to solder or have never tried - then this is probably not something you should attempt to do. High voltages do exist inside the unit even after it has been unplugged from the mains and any errors when repairing the unit can result in parts exploding or the unit being damaged far beyond repair. Repairing electronics is like repairing a car engine, you wouldn't get someone who has never replaced a timing belt to merrily pull it from your car after buying the tools from Kmart! Don't do it to your PVR! I do not recommend going to get a soldering iron from Bunnings for fixing a PVR!

I think the point is pretty clear now. Do this at your own risk. I will not be liable for any details provided here as they are provided for qualified technicians only. In Australia you probably need a restricted electrical license at the best of times in order to open the PVR... technicians go figure! If you need this sort of job done and aren't able to do it, take it to your local TV repair shop.

Okay - now for some details for technicians / electronics / repair people  .....  

Inside the PVR-X10

A view of the PVR-X10 power supply board - typical of most set top switchmodes these days.

The 'blue' electrolytic capacitors in the unit look like they've expired - with expanded caps in the heat! 105deg units, but probably with a bad ESR.

 

 I found the DigiCrystal SDT-9000PVR Power Supply schematic diagram  (at http://www.eserviceinfo.com/). From looking at the photos you'll see it is actually very similar to the PVR-X10. For those in the know - it's not really needed anyhow.

Here's the DMM measurements before the problem was fixed - NOTE: that the rails should be +12v, +5v and +3.3v

So the digital circuits are battling at 2.7v DC, the hard disk is almost fried by 15.6v DC - not good. After a bit of warming up it settles to 3.1v DC and 15.2v DC, but still not great.

   

Also the 3.3v rail and the 5v rail were checked out for supply ripple, not much - but the 3.3v rail is not smooth and the 5v rail doesn't look too good either. Although after I repaired the PVR-X10 here, I found that the 5v rail was the same (which I'd expect with a linear regulator) and that the ripple on the 3.3v rail was much reduced. My suspect is that the 3.3v rail powers the microprocessor and PVR functions and when this goes funny, so does the unit - it explains the intermittent nature of all the problems. The 15v rail is bordering on stressing the hard disk power rail out and taking it out.

 

Repairing the unit is very simple - change out all the electrolytic capacitors for new ones. I ordered 105degree capacitors that fit fine from Jaycar, just make sure you get 105degree types for switchmode supplies like the one in the PVR-X10. Make sure you unplug the unit (obviously) and discharge that mains input capacitor before getting into it.

Of course most technicians already know this, but put the replacements back in the right way around and in the right places or you get some nice fireworks (not a smart idea). You did read the disclaimer didn't you?

Repair cost is about AU$6.  Here's a rough parts list - most technicians will be able to work out what is needed, as usual same voltage or higher rating and around the same capacity. I've heard that the caps on the 12v could be made larger to handle the extra loading on the supply of the HDD but I haven't changed any yet:

1x 10uF 63v, 1x 2200uF 25v, 2x 1000uF 16v, 2x 2200uF 16v, 1x 470uF 16v, 1x 220uF 16v.

*NEW*  I found the Jaycar invoice the other day whilst clearing out the archives - here's what I actually ordered for this fix:

PART No: Qty.Ord.
RE6075  CAP ELECT RB 10U 63V 105C P 1
RE6130  CAP ELECT RB 100U 16V 105C 1
RE6158  CAP ELECT RB 220U 16V 105C 1
RE6194  CAP ELECT RB 470U 16V 105C 1
RE6238  CAP ELECT RB 2200U 16V 105C 2
RE6220  CAP ELECT RB 1000U 16V 105C 2
RE6240  CAP ELECT RB 2200U 25V 105C 1
   

After the repair - shiny new capacitors in the supply secondary - I also changed the 10uF timing capacitor on the left side, but as is usual not the 400v rated mains filter one. I probably could have just replaced 2 or 3, but it's hardly worth trying to save a few dollars.

       ... now this is more like it should be.

Also   is with the hard disk running - must be a large load for the PVR power supply, although the rating on the Western Digital disk says 12v @ 0.5A. From most other comments the design of this power supply is typical Chinese stuff - very under-rated and cheap - hence the price and the reason it does get quite warm/hot in operation. Nothing out of the ordinary these days though.

 

.....and this is all that is left over sitting next to the remote control - out with the garbage!

 

  

 Interestingly though, compare the 2 remote controls - the one with the green and yellow buttons comes from a Tevion set top box (thanks to Chris). The Wintal unit doesn't have those buttons.

That's it. Now the PVR-X10 is back doing what it should do without a hint of a problem - maybe for another 3 years! (This page is now certified! We've had no problems with our PVR-X10 since the repair - it works just like it was brand new)

 

Links to other information sources:

http://wintal.com.au/set_top_boxes/43121057.html

http://wintal.com.au/set_top_boxes/43121058.html

http://www.productreview.com.au/showitem.php?item_id=2593&sort_id=1&sort_dir=2&series=2&batch=5

http://www.around-oz.com/innovations_mh/wintal_pvr.htm

http://www.bhatt.id.au/blog/digicrystal-9000-pvr-digital-set-top-box-review-faq/

http://www.digenius.de/

http://wintal.com.au/info/guides/index.html

http://users.bigpond.net.au/PCPro/firmwareflash.htm

http://users.bigpond.net.au/PCPro/transferguide.htm

http://www.austech.info/digital-terrestrial-television/4814-wintal-x5a-supernet-8900t-failed-no-reception-etc.html  - Some photo's of the Supernet unit.

 

More news from the author:

I have now had the chance to try out a DGTEC HD160PVR and also a Wintal PVR-X1 twin tuner unit. Further information will be added later about these two - but the PVR-X10 is still the BEST unit of the lot operationally at present.

The DGTEC HD160PVR was sold at a loss on eBay as we had 1. remote control conflicts with it and 2. I didn't like it's firmware. A nice unit with 2 HD tuners, but the PVR-X10 is still the best in operation terms.

The Wintal PVR-X1 is a twin tuner unit and seems to work okay, but the remote conflicts with the DGTEC HD set top box I have so it eventually got moved on to my brother's house! The PVR-X1 remote control takes some getting used to as does the setup menus. I still prefer the PVR-X10 firmware and user interface. It seems like the remote controls are all coming out from the same factory, I've now seen a Wintal, a DGTec and even a Blauhaus set top box remote control and they're all almost identical.

The PVR-X1 is now our standby set top box. After alot of trying, we've found a better unit, the Beyonwiz DP-P1 PVR. Although it's a little more expensive than the Wintal units, it's features are much more useful.

One day I'll have some modifications for this unit too. Meanwhile check out the website here for those hard to find software things related to it..

 

 

Contributions to keep this website up and running or to say thankyou are always appreciated. Click the button here if you'd like to contribute:

 

 

 

*NEW*  Feedback:

Thankyou to those who have emailed me with feedback about their units and repairs. It is excellent to hear that so many people out there are happy that their machines are working again.

(emails edited for page display and full names removed)

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I've since replaced all capacitors and the unit has been fully functional and working fine.
2 off the capacitors were a bit of a tight squeeze due the increase in voltage rating and hence the diameter.
I had several bulged capacitors in the power supply module that were causing the PVR not to function at all and also caused the hard disk to continually spin, if this is off any help.
Regards
Steve

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I just thought I'd send you a quick thankyou for your Wintal/Supernet repair page. I now have my failed box working like new.
Thanks for putting your notes up.
Cheers
John

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Hi James
Thought I'd give you some feedback on my 8000T-PVR, has worked well for +2 years but about a month ago started suffering from poor start up signal. On checking C/N was abt 16db on start up then improved to 18db enough to lock. C/N was previously 26 - 28db when new. The final straw (with my partner) was when it missed recording Underbelly(!) last Wednesday. It was removed and dumped in the shed! At some stage in the week prior the C/N had dropped to 13 - 14 db and would sit cycling up and down. I suspected something power supply related but hadn't taken the lid off yet did a Google to see if there was anything abt and found your page. Opened it up and sure enough 4 electro's (1000uF & 2200uF's) showing advanced stages of expansion, replaced all as per your page and the PVR is back working as it should with +26 db C/N. - I just wonder how many of these PVRs are progressively being thrown out especially when they are sitting in a hot environment. Have had a similar experience with a friends generation one DVD recorder and swapped electro's out in the power supply that kept it going until the DVD drive failed 6 month later atleast. MTBF is pretty poor or is that deliberate? Enough to get them out of warranty but so almost all fail within 3 - 4 years! Hmmmm!
Cheers
David

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Hi.
I would like to say "Thank you" for your very informative explanation on how to repair the Wintal PVR-X10. I have a Supernet 8000T-PVR, and your diagnostics and repair instructions were spot on. As I'm on a pension, I simply couldn't have afforded either sending this unit off for repairs, or even worse, having to buy a new PVR. Luckily your instructions were simple enough to follow for even someone like me, and fortunately resolved ALL of my issues.
So again, I thank you, more than you'll ever know.

Cheers heaps,
George.
ps: I have a suggestion, and that is to cut some holes in the piece of clear plastic between the power supply circuit board and the bottom of the case, as it blocks off the ventilation holes at the bottom of the case.
The board is clear enough from the base for this to be a safe mod. and keeps the unit more than adequately cool for safe prolonged operation.
Maybe some rubber feet under the base of the case to raise it a tad, encouraging air circulation from under the unit wouldn't hurt either.

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I was pleased to find your article on PVR repairs.
As many others my requests for assistance got no response.
I have changed the caps in the power supply and the unit is working.
The play command sometimes causes a stuttering picture sometimes but a switch off and on seems to fix the problem.
A bit of a worry but thanks to you I will get some more use out of the unit.
Your help much appreciated Lou 

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Just a quick not to say thanks for posting the Wintal PVR repair instructions on your website.  My box started acting up a few weeks ago (my wife almost killed me when the box failed to record the So You Think You Can Dance final).  I thought it was done for, but I just tested it after replacing the capacitors and it works as good as ever! 

Cheers,

Allan

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Hi James,
Just a brief email to thank you for taking the time to put up your page about fixing your wintal power supply.  My supernet recently stopped working and hearing the hard drive clicking I thought it had died.  But I took the hard drive out, put in an external USB enclosure and it spun up no problem.  So I theorized it might be the power supply not delivering enough juice.  I had a close look inside the box hoping to see some obvious cause (like a popped capacitor or some melted plastic or something) but the only thing I did notice was slightly rounded tops on a couple of capacitors, but they looked otherwise OK  so I thought that was probably normal.
 
While researching the various replacements for sale on ebay I stumbled across your page.  It was excellent - the picture of the expired blue capacitors was just what I had seen.  And a couple of weeks earlier we had replaced our el cheapo DVD player (dead power supply) with a DVD recorder that gives out a lot more heat.  Guess where the set top box was sitting - that extra heat must have been the straw that broke the camels back.  This information gave me the confidence to attempt a repair.
 
Anyway thanks to your parts list a small package arrived from Jaycar today and my PVR is again functioning beautifully!  (The first electronics I have done since knocking up a couple of Dick Smith kits in about 1980, same soldering iron too).  A little less waste going to land fill, a saving of money, and a big sense of satisfaction for me.
 
Once again thank you for sharing your knowledge.
 
Reagards,
Martin

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Hello,
 
I just read your repair page on the wintal PVR-X10 
Thanks for making that page because I have exactly the same problem with my x10! 
The blue capacitors have expanded and actually leaking a bit at the top (brownish in the centre). 
Surprisingly the top box is still working (to a degree). Sometimes when turning on the top box it shows the firmware as evaluation version and that message comes up about every 3 mins - annoying. Also, the front display on the box doesn't light up and the hard drive can't shut down when switched to standby mode. Also the recorded programs can't play. The interesting thing here is if I turn off the box at the power point and then back on again it's fine and shows the proper firmware version! I should note, i've never tried upgrading the firmware on it.
I am going to try to replace the capacitors. I have done a little soldering in the past and the top box is only just working so I don't have much to lose. I printed out the electronic diagram and compared it with the capacitors you replaced. I noticed you had something slighty different -- I think you replaced the 2200uF 10V x2 with a 2200uF 25V and a 2200uF 16V ?
On the diagram it suggests changes to some of the capacitors. Does changing the voltage and capacity to a higher amount cause any harm? I'm a newbie at this (if you haven't already assumed).
Thanks again for your helpful page -- If I hadn't have found it I would have never found the bad capacitors - I just assumed it needed a firmware upgrade - this I plan to do once I do this soldering :) Any help / tips would be much a appreciated...
I assume most people will have this same problem with the X10 and other top boxes with this same power supply circuitry. I can't believe I have typed this much - sorry... thanks for reading! I look forward to your reply

Kind Regards,

Josh

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James,
many thanks for your article. I've just completed the replacement of all the capacitors and my Tevion MD29401 now works perfectly!
The Tevion PVR (purchased at Aldi in Canberra in early 2007) is identical to the PVR-X10 except that it has a 160 GB hard disk instead of an 80 GB one.
I had originally suspected the tuner module because problems started to become apparent when reception started breaking up more an more frequently, even though the box was connected to a good external antenna.
Again, many thanks!!!

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Chris.

Hi James, I stumbled across your advice about fixing PVR switch mode supplies when I Googled the fault mine had.  I have a Centrex dual SD PVR.  The power supply is slightly different to that which you featured, but close enough obviously to make me think about whether replacing electros would also be my solution.  When I saw the bulging caps on my electros, and your photos, I realised I was possibly onto a solution.  And sure enough, for about $1.50 it works again. Guys like you go to a lot of trouble to put stuff up on the net.  Iím sure you often wonder whether people use it.  Well, I just wanted to let you know we do.

Thanks again,

David

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Hi James

I just wanted to say thanks for the tips on repairing the Wintal PVR.
I also thought it was the tuner at first but your web site made me have a closer look at the PSU caps and sure enough that little dome on the top meant they were in need of some attention.

In fact I looked at the rails with a CRO and the 3.3V line had 25Mz oscillation on it, amazingly the unit still produced a picture that only broke up occasionally.

Got some new ones from Jaycar and the unit is now running sweet.

Thanks again
Cheers
Peter

 

 


 

This page was written and is copyright to James McBride 2009 www.rjmb.net. Pictures of digicrystal and supernet boxes copied from internet. All other photos original and sources acknowledged. Last edited 11/05/2009.