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RE: Portadisc again

Subject: RE: Portadisc again
From: "Dominique Laloux" <>
Date: Sat, 27 Sep 2003 00:14:49 +0200
Hi Jeremy,

Sorry to hear of your problems during what should have been a fantastic
trip and a fantastic experience !
What version of the firmware does your Portadisc have ? (The software
version is displayed for a fraction of a second when your turn the
recorder on.)

I have had occasional problems with one of my Portadiscs : a date would
be recorded incorrectly. More serious : the table of content was
suddenly damaged on several disks. I noticed the problems just after
replacing myself the eprom. I must also admit the recorder fell a small
height a few days before. Even though there was no visible damage at all
(the shock was not very serious), I though for a while that it could
have caused some mis-alignment of the recording head. I am now always
very careful when recording. For example, I'll give it plenty of time to
complete a procedure before pressing another button (something Walt
attracted my attention to a while ago as well).

About playing the last track : I never had to press the Pause button
before moving to the previous track. To move to the last track I
recorded, I just press Play, then <<AMS. That takes less than a second !
To go to other tracks, I just keep the key pressed -- no need to press
it several times. Now, I must admit that I would love some kind of more
efficient "track selector" system.

About pressing Pause and going back to the first track... I am not sure
I understand what you mean : when I jump from track to track, I don't
need to be in "Stop" mode, I can be in Play mode. If I Pause at any
time, I just press the Pause key once again to continue. If I want to
move from track to track, I press the corresponding AMS button...

About the power consumption : I can only confirm Walt's previous report.
The other day, I used a new set of batteries, fully charged, and I could
keep the recorder on for well over 3 hours (3h15m) while providing power
to my Telinga Stereo mic, and keeping the light on all the time (during
the 3 hours the recorder was on, I recorded about 45 minutes).

One thing I really miss about the Portadisc is a PC software that would
download the table of content with details : track number, date, time,
duration... HHB must have such a software internally, and it would be
very helpful if they agreed to release it to their customers. That would
help a lot when documenting a CD.

Dominique Laloux

> -----Original Message-----
> From: Jeremy Minns 
> Sent: 26 September 2003 18:38
> To: 
> Subject: [Nature Recordists] Portadisc again
> My trip to Amazonia was dogged by Murphy. Two of my four
> recorders (the
> newly repaired DAT and one old cassette recorder) failed
> BEFORE the trip
> started and then we had to cut it short when my friend Arthur Grosset
> tripped while carrying two beers and dislocated his shoulder.
> The doctor in
> Leticia, just over the border in Colombia, succeeded in
> dislocating it
> again while examining him so Arthur decided to call it a day
> and return to
> Scotland and I decided to leave the rest of the trip to a later date.
> My Portadisc performed well on its first trip into the
> boondocks. There
> were a few problems which might interest prospective
> purchasers of this
> recorder. These were:
> 1.      The power consumpt is horrendous and in a place with
> precarious
> generating facilities becomes a major problem. The Palmer=ED
> lodge had only a
> small Honda generator, normally used once a day to run a
> liquidizer, but it
> had to run six hours a day to keep my Portadisc in batteries.
> I realise my
> style of usage is idiosyncratic (and probably causes
> disapproval among some
> members of the list). A good example is when I recorded what
> was possibly a
> rare Attila (Citron-bellied A. citriniventris) in the 40 m
> high canopy. I
> have no  recording of this species and know of none. If I had had my
> cassette recorder with me I would have played back to the
> bird until I
> finally saw and identified it. This might have taken an hour
> and was just
> not on with the Portadisc with batteries severely rationed.
> 2.      An irritating feature is that when one hits Play, the
> recorder
> starts at Track 001. If you want to hear the last track (or -
> sorry! - use
> it for playback) you have to press Play, Pause and then the
> AMS  |<< button
> several times (an indeterminate number) to wrap round to the
> final track.
> To hit the right buttons I have to put on my specs. These
> were usually
> steamed up and my shirt too wet to dry them. A hassle.
> 3.      Say one has a pre-recorded MD with 200 tracks and one
> needs to
> listen to Track 100 to confirm an ID. In stop mode, you press
> AMS >>| till
> you get to Track 100. If you then press Play, fine but if you
> press Pause
> you go back to Track 001 and have to start all over again.
> 4.      When entering details of the recordings into my data
> base at home I
> need to know the recorded time for each track. For some
> reason pressing the
> Display button three times doesn't always work. I've just
> done this and the
> date and time shown are today's, not that of the recording.
> If one moves
> forward a track and then back it usually comes right.
> It's strange that the software seems rather unpredictable.
> Jeremy
> [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
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