Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Xacti Library and External Hard Disk

One of the lesser known features of the Sanyo HD2000 is the ability to use an external HDD directly without having to use a PC or laptop for files management. Sanyo call this the Xacti Library and over the last weekend I bought myself an external hard disk to test this out. The unit I bought was the 640 GB Maxtor Basics HDD.

When the provided USB converter cable was connected to the docking station, the Xacti Library screen came on. As the HDD was not turned on, the following message appeared.

"HDD not on, disconnect converter cable if not using Xacti Library."

Once I turned on the supply to the HDD, the Sanyo offered to Format the hard disk. This was because the Maxtor HDD came preformatted in NTFS and the Sanyo can only work with the FAT32 format. The formatting took about one minute.

One this was done, I was able to transfer files from the SD card to the HDD. The process was a bit slow. In the case of a 8GB card, it took about 15 minutes for the actual file transfer and another 20 minutes for some processing; the screen says Sort by Date but dunno why it took so long. Anyway, it worked.

You can watch the proceedings from the LCD screen or from a TV if one is connected. One use of this will be if you are on a long holiday, you can bring along an external HDD and after a day's shooting, transfer all the videos from the SD cards to the HDD in the hotel and reuse the emptied SD cards for the next day. In this way you do not have to carry too many SD cards and the cost of a HDD is much cheaper than getting the equivalent capacity of SD cards and it is much easier to manage. The only downside is that you need an external HDD that is self-powered and thus only the 3.5 inch HDD can be used. It will be more convenient if the USB powered 2.5 inch HDD can be used.

You can watch any files from the HDD and also create and edit albums for playback. Files can also be copied from the HDD to the SD card for basic in-camera editing.

Here are the specs for an external HDD that can be used.

1. USB 2.0 compatible. 2. Powered by self power. 3. FAT32 format only. 4. A maximum capacity of 1 TB.

Looks like I need to carry some extra load for my trip to Turkey later this month. Sigh.

Ronald Kwok



  1. Hi Ronald,
    You've raised me a new question with this post.
    You've mentioned that sanyo uses only FAT32.
    Is this apply also for the card? is this means that you cannot record more than 4 GB in 1 file?
    is this means that shooting in FULL HD cant go past a few minutes straight?
    Please confirm or disconfirm this issue.

    BTW, enjoy in Turkey it is a lovely place

  2. Hi Kobi,
    Yes, the SD card is also formatted in FAT32 (like most other camcorders, I beleive) and maximum file size is 4GB. According to the manual, once this limit is reached while recording, the current file is saved and a new file will be automatically started and recording continues until manually stopped. Have not reached this limit so far so do not know how long is the disruption but should be very short, maybe just enough for the file saving. At the highest resolution, 4GB gives a 21min 50sec video clip. See my earlier post for other timings.

    Just hoping the H1N1 flu will not disrupt my holidays.

  3. Hi Ronald,

    Was wondering if the HD2000 needs to be plugged in to electrical outlet or can run on battery power for the HDD transfer. Also, does the other ports on the docking station work with battery power only or must it be plugged in?


  4. Thank you for posting your experiences with the HD-2000. I too have identified this particular camera as my first choice, but I have not been able to find a retailer in the United States that sells it!

  5. I looked through your posts to see if you specify which type of SD card you use. Are they SDHC and if so, what class?

  6. Hi Robert,
    Thanks for viewing. If only it has OIS...........
    Please see my post today on the SDHC card for the HD2000. I believe owners in the States get theirs from overseas or from e-bay or other online retailers. The AVSForum may have names of these online retailers.

  7. Hi Peter,
    The docking station needs to be plugged into and electrical outlet and cannot run on battery. The only thing that works on battery is the HD2000 itself! Unfortunately!

  8. Makes me wonder whether the 4GB limit will make a noticable gap when shooting continuously passed this limit and then pasting the two 4GB scenes together in an editing program.

  9. Owners of HD2000 who has recorded videos beyond the 4GB limit may want to comment on the gap between the 4GB files. I will try it later.

  10. I am interested too in the 4gb limit.
    Please, I need some feedback.
    How many seconds do u loose ?
    If we buy the fastest sd card, do we still lose seconds ?

  11. Please read my other post, "The 4GB limit test" In that test, I lost about 10 seconds, not sure if it was a class 4 or class 6 card. I'll try testing again later using the class 6 card to see if the result is better or not. I believe other camcorders will also lose some seconds when the 4GB limit is reached since this is a file system limit.

  12. Thank you

    It would be great if we lose just 1-2 secinds.
    10 seconds sound an eternity


  13. Please refer to my recent post on "The 4GB file limit test - retest and updates" I did the test again using a class 6 SDHC card and the gap reduced to about 5 seconds. See the detals there.

  14. why is the 4GB important? who would shoot clips from 20+ minutes?
    My clips are never longer than 3 minutes and when you import all in your computer you are going to cut it anyway.

  15. Hi wim,
    I personally do not find this 4GB limit an issue but there are others who feel it is critical since they may be recording shows, soccer games, interviews, etc where the break is not acceptable. But I feel they can always manually break at a convenient point before reaching that 4GB limit and start a new recording unless it is totally unattended.

  16. For me 4GB limit is a major problem since we want to leave this camera unatended and record a lecture of up to 90min. If I understood correctly you don't have to press "record" after it stopped when 4GB has been reached.If this is the case loosing few seconds wouldn't be too bad.

  17. You are correct, the HD2000 will stop once the 4GB limit is reached and will start a new file automatically (though losing a few seconds in the process) but there is no need to press any button so it can be left unattended. The separate 4GB files will behave like one big file during other operations such as playback continuously, fast forward or rewind across files without interruptions and so on.

  18. one can (sort of ) use a usb powered HDD with xacti (eg lacie rugged) as long as you have an addtional usb power source besides xacti. I plug in lacie rugged to powered usb port (eg in airplane back seat, or using ipod usb power adaptor) using one cable and into xacti using other cable. No need for computer with this setup

  19. Ronald, just to clarify: when connecting to a USB hard drive - do you use
    1)the USB cable which came with the camcorder + camcorders's Sanyo adapter
    2)USB cable which came with the drive connected into Sanyo's camcorder adaptor (female USB + mini USB into docking station).
    My USB HDD is Segate and has a mini USB connector (female) so I can connect the Sanyo USB cable (normally used to connect camcorder to computer) to my HDD but this would mean that I will be using docking station's end of the Sanyo USB cable to connect to HDD. I noticed that Mini USB connector on the Sanyo's main USB cable seems to have some contacts shorted or something? I wondered if it may damage drive/camcorder if I use it...
    It is probably safer to use the HDD's USB cable?

  20. Hi Sergei,
    I used option 2, i.e. I used the USB cable that came with the HDD drive connected to the Sanyo USB converter cable (the shorter of the two mini USB cables supplied.) I think this is the only way to connect the external HDD since the Exacti Library will run once the Sanyo USB converter cable is connected to the dock, regardless of whether an external HDD is connected or not. I believe using the other USB cable (the longer one) will prompt for either computer or printer connection.