I'm looking into buying a used hvx200 and I'm wondering about the hour meter. Is there a life expectancy of the camera as far as hours go? If a firestore/p2 cards were the only means of recording used, would that have an effect?
In general the HVX200 is built like a tank and if treated well should last for many 1,000s of hours. I'd inspect the unit for signs of any physical mistreatment. The internals are hardy and should not be an issue.
Think of hours meters as maintenance clocks. Most tape based equipment requires servicing of moving components and areas worn by friction. Due to the linear character of tape things like reel motors, capstans, load mechanisms and recording and playback heads can be expected to wear out at predicted intervals. Depending on the type of tape and materials used in the equipment these tolerances vary. D5 record heads last 1000 hrs as compared to D9 record heads that should last 5000 hours for example.
When it comes to P2 the only thing to wear is the card docking interface and it is tested for 150,000 io/outs! Things like the lens servo, interface terminals or electronic capacitors will likely be the 1st things to die. You should get 10 years from capacitors and probably as much on the lens servo (unless the camera is used by an amateur video shooter that takes a lot of holidays or has a lot of kids) LOL they are the ones who constantly zoom in and out.
As Noah pointed out it is just things like rough abuse or water/moisture damage that you need to worry about. Close inspection should reveal that type of problem!
"thou can not stir a flower without crumbling a star" ......Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
The other two items to look for wear are the firewire connection and the RGB connectors. If you have a card reader, the Firewire is not an issue. If you don't monitor HD with the RGB output, that is not an issue.