Memory Map for Sony D8/DV Camcorders

Abstract

The purpose of this page is to collect as complete Sony D8/DV NVRAM configuration memory map as possible. I would also like to offer some information about the correct usage of the new functions. There are only a couple of those right now but I'm planning to write more as the time permits. As of now, this page is to be considered "work in process".

Linking to this document

You are free to link to this document. If you do so, please use the URL <http://www.iki.fi/znark/video/dv/codes/> This ensures that the link will always work, regardless of the actual physical location of this site.

Acknowledgements

My heartfelt thanks go to Glenn Edwards, Reinhard Jäger and Martin Smola, without whom this memory map would not be. They have discovered most of the functions listed below, released them to the public knowledge, and in so doing been of invaluable help to the whole Digital8 user community.


How do I use these codes?

a.k.a. "where's the beef?"

Unfortunately, I have not had time to update this page in over a year. (I will eventually get to it, but for now, you'll just have to be patient.) Several people have e-mailed me asking how do they actually use the codes, so here's a short explanation to clear the thing up:

If you wish to enter the codes in your camcorder, you'll need a wired remote control device that is plugged into the LANC jack of the camera. You can either purchase a special service remote control from Sony, or build a simple, cheap cable that connects to the parallel (printer, LPT) port of your PC. As obtaining the service remote control unit might prove difficult and expensive, I recommend building the simple cable. You can find instructions (and a suitable program for controlling the camcorder from the PC and altering the camcorder's configuration memory) from Martin Smola's D8 site. Also see Martin's Excel worksheet, which can be used for calculating the correct checksum for the new settings (search for the words "Here is file from MSEXCEL97" on the page).

Note: I have not yet had a chance to test all the codes myself. Thus, the table below contains some unspecified/incomplete descriptions and menu locations. Feel free to mail me updates, new memory locations, corrected menu / menu item pairs and better descriptions.

I would also like to know which functions have been confirmed to work on which Sony camcorder models. If you send me this info, be sure to state the exact model number (such as DCR-TRV210E). It would also help knowing the serial number of your camcorder, since the firmware version might (theoretically) have changed between different production runs. As those black helicopters really are after you, and you have those radio transmitters installed in your teeth as well, I do not need the complete serial #. Censor out the last two digits and replace them with the letter 'x', or something.

Most of the settings should work on 1st and 2nd generation Sony Digital8 camcorders, as well as on the DV models. Some probably even work on the most recent Hi8 and Video8 models. However, there are some codes that do not just plain work on every camcorder, and some that only enable a dummy menu item which does not actually do anything. As always, nothing is guaranteed and all use is at your own risk.

Memory Page 0d

Address H4 H3 H2 H1 L4 L3 L2 L1 Function... ...and how to access it!
0d:11 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 enter diagnostics mode (clear all bits to 0 to exit) activates immediately
0d:14             1   VTR mode (enable recording from outside source)  REC 
0d:14           1     add SP & LP recording mode menu item  TAPE SET    /  REC MODE   
0d:17 1               display aperture and gain readings on screen  MANUAL EXPOSURE 
0d:18         1       enable manual shutter speed control and other features  AE PROGRAM 
0d:18     1           add zebra stripes (i.e. a visual aid to avoid overexposure)  LCD SET     /  ZEBRA      
0d:19               1 add AE SHIFT function (?) (somewhere in the menu)
0d:1a         1 1   1 add viewfinder brightness and backlight controls (somewhere in the menu)
0d:1d               0 turn the LCD screen off activates immediately
0d:1d           1     move  AE PROGRAM  presets to menu (somewhere in the menu)
0d:1d     1           add LCD brightness menu item (somewhere in the menu)
0d:1d 1               move  PICTURE EFFECTS  functionality to menu (somewhere in the menu)
0d:1e             1   add manual white balance control  MANUAL SET  /  WHT BAL    
0d:1e           1     add manual microphone level control (somewhere in the menu)
0d:20       1         add auto TV On/Off & TV Input menu items (somewhere in the menu)
0d:21             0   disable "photo memory" menu. (somewhere in the menu)
0d:23 - - - - - - - - (unused in 1st generation D8 camcorders, good for checksum compensation) -
0d:24           1     add playback zoom functionality  VTR SET     /  PB ZOOM    
0d:24         1       add frame recording functionality  CAMERA SET  /  FRAME REC  
0d:24       1         add interval recording functionality  CAMERA SET  /  INT.REC    
0d:25 1             1 add color bar generator  OTHERS      /  COLOUR BAR 
0d:25             1   add GAIN SHIFT (?) (somewhere in the menu)
0d:27               1 enable DV-in mode (if set to 0, always in DV-out mode) plug in the Firewire cable
0d:29 - - - - - - - - (reserved for demo mode settings?)  SETUP MENU  /  DEMO MODE  
0d:2c           1     add ESP/ELP recording mode menu items (somewhere in the menu)
0d:50 [unspecified for now] take a photo (one of the bits turns the IRLink light on/off) activates immediately
0d:55 [unspecified for now] enable LCD screen mirror mode activates immediately
0d:56 [unspecified for now] turn the LCD screen off activates immediately
0d:5f [unspecified for now] turn the camera off (Make sure that if you do this you have't made any other changes or you'll mess up your checksum!) activates immediately

Memory Page 0a

Address H4 H3 H2 H1 L4 L3 L2 L1 Function
0a:a2 ×10 ×1 Drum rotation counted time (BCD code) Minutes
0a:a3 ×10 ×1 Hours (low)
0a:a4 ×1000 ×100 Hours (high)
0a:a5 ×10 ×1 User initial power on date (BCD code)
(After setting the clock, power on date is set)
Year
0a:a6 ×10 ×1 Month
0a:a7 ×10 ×1 Day
0a:a8 ×10 ×1 Most recent condensation occurrence date (BCD code) Year
0a:a9 ×10 ×1 Month
0a:aa ×10 ×1 Day

To-do list for wannabe camcorder hackers

Find a way to...

Hey you!

If you just answered "yes" to the above questions, there is yet another project idea available for real hackers.


Further documentation

Diagnostics mode

Configuration

Address Function
0d:11=ff Enter diagnostics mode
0d:11=00 Exit diagnostics mode

Description

"Diagnostics mode" tests various camcorder functions and displays the results on the LCD screen / viewfinder.

Affected functionality

Usage

  1. Set 0d:11 to ff.
  2. Sit back and enjoy.
  3. After you get bored, set 0d:11 back to 00.

Player/VTR mode

Configuration

Address Function
0d:14:L2=1 VTR mode
0d:14:L2=0 Player mode

Description

VTR mode enables recording from all inputs (i.Link/Firewire/IEEE-1394, composite video and s-video). Going back to Player mode disables this functionality, i.e. the camcorder will simply ignore all record commands (except, of course, recording through the lens in the Camera mode).

Affected functionality

Background

Wait a minute. Why would anyone want to disable the recording functionality in the first place?

Good question. There is no good reason. This option only exists because European Union charges about 10% higher import tax for video cameras that double as VTRs. Camcorders that merely record through their own lens do not belong to this category, but camcorders that can also record from video inputs do.

Practically all camcorder manufacturers disable the video inputs from the consumer models they import to EU. Why, you may ask. The explanation is quite obvious: If they don't do this, their competitors surely will - and then they would have to fight a 10% competitive price edge.

Fortunately, camcorders are nowadays highly integrated electronic products. Integration reduces costs, but it usually also means that a single chip on the circuit board can handle multiple functions, and there is no reasonable way to separate them from each other.

Therefore, disabling is usually achieved through software configuration. (It would be more expensive and cumbersome to actually remove or replace physical parts, or to create two different production lines for the same camcorder.) This is good news for an individual that is not afraid of fiddling with the camcorder's configuration memory, since a software-based disabling method makes it quite easy to enable the inputs again.

As for Sony products, this means that the models bearing the 'E' designation (such as DCR-TRV210E) have been set to the Player mode at the factory (i.e. they have been nEUtered, as the saying goes). Sony only imports 'E' models to Europe. The models sold elsewhere have been set to VTR mode as default. But now that we know the right configuration codes, the 'nEUtered' models can be brought on par with the non-nEUtered models simply by switching them into VTR mode, too.

Note: There is a common misbelief that all PAL camcorders would have been nEUtered at the factory, as if this kind of feature disabling somehow depended on the TV standard itself. This is not the case. You can buy fully functional PAL units in Asia and Oceania. Only the models imported to Europe have been nEUtered.

Usage

  1. Set the camcorder to VTR mode.
  2. Hook up your source:
  3. Start recording by pushing the  REC  button on the remote control, or issue a REC command either via a LANC cable or a Firewire cable.
  4. A red dot will appear on the LCD screen to indicate that the camcorder is now recording.

Notes

Confirmed to work on

See also


Display aperture and gain readings while in  MANUAL EXPOSURE  mode

Configuration

Address Function
0d:17:H4=1 Enable aperture and gain readings
0d:17:H4=0 Disable aperture and gain readings

Description

When enabled, the camcorder will display aperture and gain information (superimposed on the picture) while the user is in manual exposure mode.

Affected functionality

Background

What are aperture and gain readings?

Usage

  1. Enable aperture and gain readings.
  2. Press  MANUAL EXPOSURE . The camcorder will now display F:#.# and ##dB indicators on the picture. (The F reading is for aperture, the dB reading is for gain.)
  3. Use the  THUMB WHEEL  to adjust exposure. As you will see, you have a certain range for controlling the aperture (the iris that lets the light on the camera's CCD chip). After it is wide open, the gain control (electrical amplification of the signal) kicks in.

Confirmed to work on


Alternative settings on  AE PROGRAM  button (including manual shutter speed control)

Configuration

Address Function
0d:18:L4=1 Enable alternative settings
0d:18:L4=0 Disable alternative settings

Description

When enabled, totally changes the way how the  AE PROGRAM  button works. The predefined AE programs will disappear and in their place you will see these three new modes:

  1. AEA (manual aperture control)
  2. AES (manual shutter speed control)
  3. [MOON] symbol (I do not know what this one is good for)

When disabled, the predefined AE programs will come back on-line again.

Affected functionality

Usage

  1. Enable alternative settings.
  2. Press  AE PROGRAM .
  3. Roll  THUMB WHEEL  to select one of the three modes:
  4. Push  THUMB WHEEL  to acknowledge your selection.
  5. Roll  THUMB WHEEL  to adjust the values.
  6. Push  THUMB WHEEL  again to acknowledge your selection.
  7. Press  AE PROGRAM . to exit.

Notes

Confirmed to work on


1394 input mode (DV-in)

Configuration

Address Function
0d:27:L1=1 Enable 1394 input mode
0d:27:L1=0 Disable 1394 input mode

Description

When enabled, allows inputting DV data to camcorder via i.Link/Firewire/IEEE-1394 connector. The input mode will be active at all times when a DV cable is connected, except when playing back tapes.

Note: When disabled, allows transcoding analog signals directly over the 1394 interface - in real time, without recording to tape first. You understood it right: this means that your video camera can double as a real-time video digitizer! (Of course this only works on models that have analog inputs in the first place. All D8 models do.)

Affected functionality

Usage

  1. Enable 1394 input mode.
  2. Plug in the DV cable.
  3. Start sending DV data over the cable.
  4. You can now monitor DV picture on the LCD screen, on the viewfinder or via the analog connectors.
  5. If you have set your camcorder in VTR mode, you can also record DV data on tape.

Notes

Confirmed to work on

See also


[Back] This page is maintained by Jukka Aho. Last updated: 29-May-2001