I was so excited about fixing that Polaroid DVD recorder on Thursday (see my last post) that I remembered I had an RCA DVD recorder also sitting around that had quit working. Quite a while ago, we had a power outage. When the power came back on, my RCA DRC8052NB DVD recorder wouldn’t turn on. The LCD on the front panel turned on, and the message “HELLO” scrolled across it. I couldn’t get it to stop without unplugging the power.

The normal behavior when you first plug it in is for the “HELLO” message to scroll across for a few seconds. Then it’ll say something like “NO DISC”. Finally, it’ll shut itself back down and display the time, waiting for you to power it back up. Then, when you press the power button to turn it on, the “HELLO” message will come back for a few seconds, and finally it will turn on and display the current channel number or “NO DISC” or whatever else, depending on the mode you left it in when it was last turned off.

Anyway, so “HELLO” kept scrolling indefinitely. I figured it was a similar problem to what I saw on the Polaroid DVD recorder. The difference was that in the Polaroid DVD recorder, nothing displayed on the front panel. At first thought, I figured it might have something to do with the power board. But because the LCD was displaying a message, that made me a bit skeptical because you’d think a program on the main DVD board would be displaying that message, which would mean the main DVD board would be getting a good 3.3V power input.

I went ahead and checked it out with my multimeter. This power supply board is a bit different because it needs some sort of signal to tell it to turn on. I tried powering it up with its cable that goes to the “motherboard” (I don’t know the technical term for it, so I’ll call it the motherboard from now on) disconnected, but nothing happened. So I had to leave the motherboard plugged into the supply while measuring the output voltages. Anyway, the 3.3V output was only 2.8V, and several of the other voltages were pretty far out of range too. Some of the 5V outputs were only 4.5V, and the 40V output was only 35V. Sounds like a power supply problem again…I guess the “HELLO” message doesn’t necessarily mean the output from the power supply is good.

My suspicion was confirmed when I found some other postings online about this exact same model. In fact, this question on FixYa has several answers all pointing to a single capacitor that was probably causing the problem. Another post on FixYa also seemed to point toward capacitors.

None of the capacitors on the power supply board looked weird. In the Polaroid DVD recorder I fixed earlier, two of the capacitors were bulging. In this one, nothing looked weird to me. But an answer to that first FixYa question I linked to above also pointed out that the capacitor looked OK but was still bad.

Based on the first FixYa question, I went ahead and desoldered the 1000uF, 6.3V capacitor (C22). Multiple answers in that question implied that particular capacitor was the source of the problem. Interestingly enough, the footprint on the board for that capacitor is a lot larger than the actual capacitor soldered in. It makes me think that perhaps the board was originally designed for a cap with higher ratings.

Luckily, when I fixed the Polaroid DVD recorder, I ordered two of each capacitor I replaced, even though I only needed one. As you’ll remember, one of those capacitors was a 1000uF, 16V capacitor. It perfectly fit the footprint on the RCA DVD recorder’s power board. Since it was the same capacitance with a higher max voltage, I was good to go.

I soldered it in, put the power board back into place and reconnected all of the wires going into it. I plugged the DVD recorder back into AC power. The “HELLO” message came on, and I crossed my fingers. A couple of seconds later, the “NO DISC” message appeared, and shortly thereafter, the display read “12:00 AM”. Awesome!

I pressed the power button to turn the DVD recorder back on. Then I measured some of the power board’s outputs. The 3.3V output now was correctly at 3.3V. The 40V output was still pretty low (36V) but it was higher than it was. I didn’t bother to check the 5V outputs because it was a tight fit and I didn’t want to short anything like I did in the Polaroid one!

Anyway, thanks to roybro123 and neveo1999 on FixYa. Their answers helped revive my DRC8052 DVD recorder.

Before I realized that I already had a 1000uF capacitor sitting around here, I ordered all new capacitors on DigiKey for the DVD recorder. Oh well–it’ll be nice to have the spare parts laying around in case another one goes bad.

In conclusion, cheap capacitors suck. Companies are saving a few pennies by using cheap capacitors instead of high-quality ones. Or maybe they’re not allowing for proper ventilation and the capacitors are getting stressed from too much heat. Something along those lines. It’s a little disturbing to me that these products came from two different manufacturers and they both had bad caps as the problem. The problem was widespread enough that other people saw it too. Whatever happened to quality control? I actually bought both of these DVD recorders on Woot.com for a really good deal, refurbished. I think I now know why the manufacturers were getting rid of them for so cheap. But anyway, Woot is an awesome website you should check out some time. 10 PM pacific time every night–a new deal!

Now that I’ve done some electronics repair blogs, I think I’ll go back into my area of expertise–computer stuff. I’m an electronics newbie. My soldering technique is terrible and I really don’t have a clue what I’m doing. I probably have no business working on power supply boards. I work for a company that makes electronics, but I don’t do any of the electronics stuff–I write software. But having coworkers around to answer my questions about the hardware stuff helps, so I guess that’s why I feel comfortable working on this stuff without worrying about getting lethally shocked.

Anyway, I don’t know what my next blog will be about, but I’ll think of something soon! Until next time, goodbye!

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13 comments

  1. WHAT IS SIZE AND BRAND OF RESISTOR ?
    I ASUME USE 105 DEGREE…

  2. Hi, the brand of the capacitor (I’m guessing that’s what you meant 🙂 ) shouldn’t matter. I went for Panasonic because I’ve heard good things about them. Yeah, I definitely went for the 105 degree rating. As far as size goes, I used a 10 mm diameter, 20 mm height, and 5 mm lead spacing. Here’s a link to the exact capacitor that I bought.

  3. Thanks alot, the net allways has just what i need when i need it, i have a RCA DRC8052N/NB since 2006 and have really used it well, untill last week i turned it on and it opened and closed the tray on its own then got nothing but hello, so from what i read it may be the capacitor c22 not bulging or leaking, but gonna give it a shot at a fix, hard to find a dvd recorder lately with hollywood being so hungry…. thanks again

  4. Hey no problem! Good luck with replacing C22. I dunno if you’ve ever worked on electronics before but be sure to be careful working on the power board, the big capacitor on the AC side can carry high voltages so I would make sure it’s drained first (I left the dvd recorder unplugged for a while before replacing it to be safe). Let me know how it goes! 🙂

  5. yeppers mine has been unplugged for sometime now, only took me about as long as it took to warm up the 30 watt soldering iron with a pen tip, and it was as good as new… back to working like a champ in a matter of minutes.. i
    I even order 10 of those capicitors, might keep a few and sell some on ebay…
    the internet has all the info i need, love it..
    thanks again
    LMO

  6. Hey, I’m glad to hear it worked! Thanks for letting me know. Makes me glad that I wrote the article now that I know it helped someone else. 🙂 Enjoy your “new” DVD recorder!

  7. Paul QWoodley @ 2010-12-28 10:16

    Your solution worked great for me. I had the same problem after a power interuption. I changed the cap. and the DVD recorder is now working. I didn’t reread the voltages just took your word for the fix.
    Thanks!!!

  8. Excellent! You’re welcome. It must be a common problem with this model. I still think it’s funny that the bad capacitor in there was tiny compared to the space on the board reserved for it. I would be willing to bet it’s supposed to be bigger (with a higher max voltage), and the part they put in doesn’t meet the specs. Just a guess though…

  9. Hi Doug. I am having the same problem. the hello flashes across the screen but doesn’t change. did you use a schematic or did you wing it? I kinda figured that a cap was the culprit on the power board but you let me know which one. I just need to know the location. Thanks

  10. Hi Darrell,

    I really just followed suggestions from other people online. I didn’t go by a schematic or anything, I just noticed that other people had fixed it by replacing that exact same capacitor (C22). Like I said, it didn’t look bulged or anything, but it was bad. It definitely won’t hurt to try it 🙂 If it doesn’t fix it, I’d venture a guess it’s a different cap, so if all else fails replacing all of them should fix it.

  11. Hi Doug I realize this post is pretty old but my RCA DRC8052 just went out like everyone elses after a long life. I need to know where did you probe for the voltage readings? I’ve replaced most of the caps and I’m still having issues. From your description of the power supply it must be a switching power supply. Meaning it needs a load on it before it will start up, like a computer power supply. Thanks for any input you can give me. I love this machine, it’s been very good to me. I want to keep it going.

  12. Hey Mitch,

    I was measuring the voltages on the pins of the connector that connected the power supply to the main motherboard of the device. I think on the power supply end it was still possible to measure the voltages while leaving the cable plugged in, although it was kind of difficult to do if I remember right. After replacing C22, the unit is still working just fine for me over two years later 🙂 (wow, time flies!)

  13. Thanks for your post. Took mine apart and it looks as though this one is burned out http://screencast.com/t/xZqSuKaRu7 Sadly I no longer own a soldering gun. *sigh* Disappointing b/c I really liked this model. Oh well. Another one bites the dust.

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