Sony RDR-VX500 upgrade, possible?

Hey all!
Before I begin, lemme start by saying I’m a noob, so if this has been covered before, I apologize!

I own a Sony RDR-VX500, bought it new about 4 months ago. Since the first day I’ve been dissatisfied with the quality of the unit. From slow eject and reading times to poor consistency in burning dvds, this unit has shown me that Sony does not always mean quality!
Anyway, instead of boring y’all with my rhetoric, I’ll cut to the chase. After having another ruined burn yesterday, I had a tiny conniption and broke the burner’s door clear off! After calming down I ripped the unit apart, only to find an NEC ND-2500A burner in it! Now, the burner is pretty much garbage at this point, since most of the gears came out after my little fit, along with a couple bands and springs, but I’m wondering, if I head down to the computer store and replace the burner with a newer unit, does anyone know if this will get me back up and running? I’m looking at several units, one being the ND3520A, but would like to upgrade to something better if it will burn discs properly. The other two units I’d like to install would be the Gigabyte GO-W0808A or an LG GSA-4163B.

My biggest question is will the Sony accept a transplant of a different variety, or will it puke on me? I’m not real keen on puttin’ another 2500 back in, as I’m sure the problems aren’t in the machine itself, but mainly the way the burner works. I can’t really tell if the “Sonata” daughterboard controls the 2500 exclusively, or if it is just a generic controller that allows the burner to detect and adjust for different discs.

Any insight would be greatly appreciated!!!

Well, I guess I’ll just answer my own post, and possibly help others out too!

Went to Fry’s Electronics today and searched high and low for one of the units I wanted to try, but they don’t carry any of those brands! I ended up buying a Toshiba SD-R5372 16x burner for 99 bucks and got home as fast as I could!
Installed it temporarily into the Sony, and plugged the unit in, half expecting it to start smokin’!!! Nope, no smoke. Tried the open drive button on the Sony and amazingly it opened the drive just fine! Stuck a blank dvd+r in and it loaded, formatted and parked the drive, ready to record a session! Awesome!!!
Took the unit back into the house, hooked everything up and did a quick recording off the dish box, stopped, closed the session and stuck it into my Pioneer playback deck, hit play and watched in amazement-it burned it correctly!!!
Pulled the unit back out, mounted the old brackets to the new unit, screwed it all back together and put the cover back on.
I’m now able to burn shows from whatever I want again, and can do it much faster too! I’m just hoping that the extra speed helps the unit to operate properly now. I have a strange feeling that it was not recording quickly enough to keep up with the stream of data coming in, and it would confuse the unit into some sort of fault, which would end the recording early and eject an unusable disc.
Who knows? All I care about is not losing a $450.00 burner!

Dear Chris
Thanks for posting.
I’m actually interested in a hard disk upgrade but your info about dvd drive replacement is helpful.

It’s entirely possible to replace the burner with a drive, unfortunately for my Sony, it fell do its demise a few months ago, when it promptly ruined two programs that I recorded, both of which have never been seen again! I removed the dvd drive, then commenced to breaking the machine into a million pieces in a fit of rage!
I’m now a happy owner of a Pioneer 633 burner/hdd unit!

I’d say to try any drive you have laying around, but make sure you format the drive from Sony’s menu before you try recording. It may not understand how to format it, especially if there’s already a partition on the drive. You may have to remove all partitions from the drive first.

Good luck!


I am also having problems with the RDR-VX500 and wondered if your unit is still working after you replaced the burner.



Hey everyone,
Just an update to the Sony upgrade, as I’ve gotten several PM’s asking how it worked out for me.
Because I don’t check the site very often, I’ve missed responding to a few of you, my apologies!
Here’s the scoop on the upgrade…

I never had the chance to try out the DL feature on the toshiba burner while it was installed in the Sony, after losing a bunch of shows I recorded on regular dvds, I ripped the unit out and broke it into a million pieces-AFTER pulling the toshiba dvd burner out! The burner did what it was supposed to do, but the Sony didn’t close the discs properly each time I tried. Sometimes it would, sometimes it wouldn’t, and there was no pattern to this malfunction. The strange part was that it would play the dvd just fine as long as I didn’t close it.
If anyone would like to try installing a dl burner in their unit, its quite simple! Almost as simple as installing one in a computer! You don’t even have to remove the old one to test, just unplug the ide cable and power cable from the old, and plug it into the new. Lay the new one on top of the old unit and test away! If you like the way it works, pull the old and install the new properly. If you don’t, plug the cables back in and button it up. Takes about 5 minutes and a philips screwdriver to do this swap. Just be sure to close the session after you do some tests, and try the dvd (both 4.7G and DL dvds!) in another machine to make sure it works, or you may end up like me!
One bit of advice when replacing the burner with something faster/newer/higher capacity. The Toshiba was quite a bit noisier than the original unit, but it worked much better and had fewer problems than the original unit, however I would not install that fast of a burner if I had to do it again! Finding a 4 or 8X burner would be much better since the Sony only burns at 1X anyways. The problem is that the burner must spin at its fastest speed for some reason even though it only receives data at 1X. I was constantly having to turn the volume up on our tv because the burner was loud enough to overcome the sound! It was so loud, I could hear it upstair in my bedroom and office when I was burning something with the tv off!