Sony PHU-60 Problems
I just got my EX3 and used it today for a shoot. About 10 minutes into the shoot, I started having problems with the PHU-60, 60GB hard drive. After recording about 5 minutes of footage it stopped recording and said the drive needed to be restored. Since what I shot was not that important anyway I restored the drive (I thought maybe that's what I was supposed to do before using the drive). However after restoring, I shot another 20 minutes or so and it did the same thing, stopped in the middle of a shot and told me I had to restore the drive. Unfortunately when I bought the EX3 I only got a 16GB card as I thought I would use the hard drive mostly as it would be adequate space. So unfortunately, we had to rebook the shoot (DANG!!) When I brought the HD back to the studio XDCAM Transfer and XDCAM Browser could not recognize the drive. Thankfully for some strange reason after trying several times I was able to import into FCP directly...
What is wrong with this drive. I just bought the EX3 and Drive from B&H on a couple of days ago. I am guessing I have the lastest firmware update but do not know how to check it.
Any help is GREATLY appreciated!!!
To check your firmware version you have to press and hold the following 2 buttons at the same time: the sel/set button, the cancel button, then while still holding those buttons down press the menu button. In the viewfinder the maintenance menu will appear. Scroll down to the bottom where it says "IF" and your firmware version number will be displayed along with the serial number of the camera.
I don't have any advice about the PHU-60 hard drive other than to make sure that the piece that goes into the card slot is in there firmly, then get the camera to reformat the hard drive before you use it again. Shoot some test footage to the hard drive. If it screws up again, return it.
We had a similar issue this week shooting a concert with 3 EX3s. From reading posts on other sites, there definitely seems to be a problem with the drive. It seems that the drive powers off while in use, with no warning. Only one of our cameras had the drive unit and was being operated hand held on stage during a pretty loud performance and 40 minutes into the show the drive reported an error and switched to recording on the SxS card. Not sure if the drive, the battery or its cable was in any way jostled, but we weren't doing anything out of the ordinary for a hand held shoot.
At the end of the show, we were offered the option to restore the card and selected not to execute, as weren't sure what that meant at the time. We were able to see and move the entire BPAV file to my MacBook Pro, but on using File Transfer, noticed that 2 clips were not accessible through File Transfer or Clip Browser. The drive belongs to one of our DPs and I did not have access to the unit at the time. The solution was found on another post and referred to in the EX3 manual, and was easy enough:
1. Copy the entire BPAV file back to a SxS card - were lucky that our BPAV file was under 16GB
2. Place the SxS card in the camera
3. On powering up the camera, I was again given the option to Restore media. selected execute, media was restored.
4. Recapture the BPAV
5. The clips that were originally missing in File Transfer appeared and were imported, saving 40 minutes of footage.
Would love to know if others are having problems with the drive, as I am now uncomfortable ever using it.
Eli M. Kabillio
MacPro 8 Core 2.8Ghz, 6G RAM, AJA IO/HD, FCP 6.04
MacPro 4 Core 2.66Ghz, 6G RAM, BlackMagic MultiBridge Pro, FCP 6.04
Sony PDW F350 XDCamHD
Eli, thanks for the notes... I am guessing Sony has released another product in BETA mode again. You would have thought they would have learned after the botched EX1 release(s) (I was one of the many very unlucky, what a long horrible ride it's been).
We sent another EX3 with another PHU-60 (different EX3 and PHU-60) out this weekend same problem. I also took out our original PHU and it too had the same problems. I tried restoring media as it says to do, as well as reformatting the drive. Same problems. It records for anywhere between 2 and 20 minutes then fails. I tired this a couple of times on both devices / cameras. Still no luck. PHU-ey.
I talked to an associate of mine who has the same setup and he is having the same problems. I really wish Sony would test their products before releasing to the public. It seems as if they use their paying customers (and die-hard fans) as BETA testers.
If anyone knows if there is a fix please help!! Unfortunately I did not buy enough cards (nor do I really want to at these price$) for our 2 EX3's as I thought the Hard Drive would be sufficient. It definitely would if it worked as advertised (or worked at all).
Now I am guessing I need to send in my camera to pay for some other firmware upgrade to wait a couple of weeks to loose work to have a $1K piece of their equipment work with their camera. WOW what a business their running...
SONY GET WITH IT!!!
I am now doing a test on my PHU-60. So far so good.
I have recorded about 2 hrs to it so far stopping now and then switching EX3 to clip view, and everything seems fine.
I will leave it on for 3 hours or so to use the whole HD up and see if it switches to SxS card OK.
Are some other people out there using this unit with no problems?
I am recording in 1080i HQ. I will try other formats as well.
My PHU-60 seems to work flawlessly.
I recorded a total f about 5 hrs some long clips, 1hr 55min was the longest.
One of them spanned to my A card.
No problems playing back.
At this point I have confidence in the drive. I will post if I have any problems or comments.
Thanks for the update. I guess you got lucky. I unfortunately did not. 2 bad units so far and an associate of mine got a bad unit also. Maybe their just sending the bad ones to New England:(
Sorry for the anti-Sony rant, they have just cost me alot of money in the past couple of months and have been absolutely no help. Of course we have to pay for shipping and the wait and the loss of business.
I am returning the 2 units I have and HOPEFULLY will get a good one.
I mentioned these problems to my sony dealer as I have a phu-60 on order. Seemingly sony mentioned problems with the drives when people use non-sony batteries....any truth in that??
[Johnny White] "Seemingly sony mentioned problems with the drives when people use non-sony batteries....any truth in that??"
I haven't heard about that but if I'm reading this post correctly:
Juan Martinez from Sony is saying that cameras that have a build/shipping date before the second half of August need to have the firmware updated to the latest (v.1.11) in order to use the the drive successfully.
I use only Sony batteries and had problems with 2 drives. I did not know there were other batteries on the market. I tried with the smaller Sony battery and the bigger battery both fully charged. Same problems. Just sent back 2 units for replacement hopefully the new ones work. I was told by Sony any EX3 bought after the second week in August would have new firmware upgrade to 1.1. I bought mine on August 23, and the firmware is 1.02. Drats. Sony has been absolutely no help. Their customer service is a joke. Does anyone know if I need to upgrade the firmware for the PHU-60 hard drive to work correctly? Any help is greatly appreciated.
[Matt Sturns] " Does anyone know if I need to upgrade the firmware for the PHU-60 hard drive to work correctly?"
Apparently you do. The latest version is 1.1. Cameras manufactured and shipped before the second half of August do not have the latest firmware but those shipped after the second half of August do have the latest firmware.
Apparently another string of incorrect and downright misleading and untruthful information provided by Sony. I purchased 2 EX3's on August 23 and neither have the new firmware 1.1. I called the day before purchasing (August 22) and was told and promised it would have the new firmware installed. Both came with 1.02 installed. I was also told the PHU-60 hard drive would work out of the box with the EX3, incorrect info again as apparently you need the 1.1 firmware upgrade for this feature to work...
PLEASE SONY GET YOUR ACT TOGETHER!!! At least tell us truthful information even if it is not what the customer wants to hear. This untruthful information has been causing our business MUCH time and money and MANY unhappy clients. And ABSOLUTELY NO HELP from Sony. THANKS SONY, for caring about your customers!!!
Also keep in mind that the PHU-60 will not record under/overcrank footage (according to Mr. Martinez) even with the latest firmware upgrade because of the USB 2.0 interface. The reason being is that the data rate is not high enough.
Personally, I wouldn't consider using the PHU-60 anyway, because all hard drives will eventually fail. For me, solid state memory cards seem to be the most reliable repository for media. A past president of General Motors once said: "Parts left out cost nothing and cause very few service problems." Still true today.
If you're still reading this, Matt, v.1.02 is the latest version of firmware for the EX3. Just got that info from Sony Service in SJ. So your PHU problems are not firmware-related.
Thanks for the info. Some updates on the PHU-60. The firmware numbers for the EX1 and the EX3 are different. The PHU-60 should work out of the box with this unit. Somehow I supposedly got 2 bad units from B&H. I returned these units and of course they are out of stock so I do not know when I will be receiving my replacements. I am hoping the 2 new units will just work because we have alot of work on hold and the clients are foaming at the mouth....
That's really a bummer that you got two bad units. I just ran mine for 3 hours without a hitch. You usually get the "restore" message when a card goes in and out--wondering if the card/cable was not allowing itself to be seated properly. But 2 units sure makes you wonder about Sony QC.
In case other ex3 owners want to know their firmware, you check it by pressing the cancel/select/and menu buttons all at once--but NOT the ones on the handle, just the ones next to the menu button. Scroll down to IF. Latest build is 1.02_0078.
Can anyone help. We did a shoot the other day with the externall hard drive for he edcam (phu-60). The little USB conncetor socket on the top fell into the hole, so we need to ope the drive to put it back into place.
When I uncrewed the screws at the back the drive would not come apart. I dont want to force it in case i break it. Has anyone opened one of these before?
If i send back to sony....it will take about 3 weeks to get drive back as they will have to send to France.
all i really need is to figure out how to open it but no manual is available.
anyone know how to get it open once you take the screws out?
Hi. I bought the last one unit from B&H, I didnt test it yet, because my camera is coming from another store. Is there some way to test this unit even without a camera? I Tried do conect into my computer and move some MOV files and it doesnt work. I export a Final cut project to the drive and the mov files in the hard drive cant be opened, neither on Final cut or quicktime. I dont know if this is a signal of problem.
Please help and sorry about my english.
Per users requests I am updating my saga on the PHU-60K Hard Drive for the EX3. I returned 2 non-working units and exchanged 1. I just got my replacement from B&H (they were out of stock, took me 2 weeks to get a replacement. I have had the EX3 for over a month now and have been unable to use professionally, but that's another story). Upon receiving the unit I immediately tested it on my EX3. I recorded out the whole drive twice in 1080P with no Problems. I had a smaller shoot today so feeling pretty confident I received bad drives the last time, I decided to take the EX3 + hard drive. As luck would have it after recording about 5 minutes or so, I got the same 'Media Needs to be Restored' message. Luckily this time around when I restored the media it did not erase the clips I already had recorded. I switched the camera to 720P mode as I thought maybe it was the the 1080P that was overloading the hard drive. This seemed (again I have no clue if it was this or what) but I was able to record for another 100 minutes or so. Near the end of recording I got one more 'Restore Media' pop-up. I transferred the media to my laptop with no problems and restored media. Again it restored the hard drive without erasing the clips, something the last hard drive did not do. Upon completion all of my clips were there with no problems. Also as a side note I was able to overcrank at 60fps on the hard drive, (shot in 720P mode did not try 1080P) something it is not supposed to be able to do. The overcranking did not cause the 'Restore Media' prompt and all media seems to be present with no problems.
I am at a loss. I have had my EX3 for almost a month now and have been unable to use it. I desperately would like this hard drive thing to work as it is much cheaper than buying the equivalent SxS cards (the main reason in buying this unit). Is anyone else having these problems with this drive on the EX3. Am I doing something wrong? I would love to keep this unit, but the restore media prompts are scaring the PHU-60K out of me...
I am posting this as an update to DVI users as requested. I have a big job tomorrow that I will try the setup one last time (obviously I will have my main camera as backup) and post my results. Any advice / other stories about this unit are greatly appreciated. Thanks for listening.
Im sorry about your issue. I bought the last one unit from B&H, but i bought my ex3 from another store, and I coudnt test my HDD yet. Do you try to test this unit on another camera, ex3 or ex1? The problem could be your own camera.
I will say that the PHU-60k has issues . I took it for a test drive on a shoot recently and got a "Media Needs To Be Restored" error after 2.5 hours of shooting. Though some people have reported restoring media does not harm the footage, others have said they have lost everything. I hooked mine up to the Macbook Pro, dumped it and didn't use it again. That's enough testing for me. This wasn't a trying environment, no extreme temps, no earthquakes- if it fails in that environment then it will fail elsewhere when you have no time to dump.
Plus the cards are smaller, and less weighty. I am returning my unit tomorrow.
I hate to say this but I am glad to hear your PHU-60K unit does not work (glad to hear you got your footage though:). This was my 3rd unit, and although better (it actually recorded for more than 5 minutes) it still has MAJOR issues. Took it out again recorded for about 100 minutes or so then BLAM!!! the dreaded 'Restore Media' prompt. Luckily, my footage was all there (WHEW!!!) but obviously these drives are not dependable. Thanks to much response, it appears USB2 it nowhere near ideal for these types of applications...
I guess Sony forgot to do their homework. Once again used their loyal customer base as guinea pigs (Hey sure beats expensive R&D!)
Thanks again for your info...Was starting to worry it was my camera...
Now to trade in for some ridiculosly overpriced SxS cards (or was this their plan all along?)
Death by SxS - Matty S
Sorry to hear of your nightmares with the PHU-60K. I see it was some time ago and hopefully all has been made right.
For what it's worth, I got one of the very first units, have used it (and 2 others) extensively with zero problems. So it's not systemic. I don't have a solution, but Sony did not deliver a problematic product, though there are always units with problems. That's unavoidable.
Sony has asked me for several years (since before the release of the Z1U) to test various HD cameras BEFORE they are released to see how they work and what needs tweaking. Some of my input has been applied to cameras such as the F350 XDCAM HD, the PDW 700 and F800 XDCAM HD, the EX1 and the EX3. (I was the first person to shoot and edit with a pre-production EX1, working with the Japanese designers.)
I say this to let you know that Sony really does do significant testing on their gear before it's sold, and they don't use paying customers for that purpose-- though it may feel that way some times. I personally know this as I have been one of their primary crash-test dummies.
I also know that we DPs often pay a price for being early adopters of new technologies (ask any RED owner with a serial number under 500). Sony is very cutting edge, and to remain so requires them to introduce sometime revolutionary products (the EX line comes to mind) aggressively into the marketplace. Because those products are so sophisticated and complex, and are aggressively marketed in the cutthroat business we work in, occasionally the production environment informs Sony of needed changes in ways that pre-testing cannot fully accomplish.
I know these Sony guys well, and they truly care about repeat business. They know that requires them to personally care about their customers. It's a mammoth organization and of course there will be some who are more compassionate than others. It IS a money-making business, after all. But my experience has been that they are upfront, honest, and truly working to provide excellent, reliable tools for professionals. Yes there are issues from time to time. But they aren't the number one HD camera company in the world for nothing. They make great products that are reliable and make great images reliably. That's why guys like James Cameron, George Lucas, Robert Rodriguez and Michael Mann use and own a whole range of their cameras, from EX1s to F900s, F23s and up.
Hope things are working out well for you.
I am experiencing the same problems with the PHU-60, but especially when I'm recording a concert.
The drive can't handle sound-pressures of 100 dB's, I hope Sony will come with a solution for this problem. Hoodman's adapter with SDHC cards is the only way to go at this moment. But you need two adapters and a bunch of cards to swap, after the EX has changed slots.
Two 32GB cards give you 64GB which is just a bit more than the hard drive is capable of so I don't know what you mean about swapping cards.
BTW your post is one good reason why I just don't think recording to a hard drive in the field is worth the risk. There are many things that can jar a spinning hard drive.