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I have an old JVC camcorder (GR-DVL300U) and about 30 MiniDV tapes. I want to copy these to my computer and/or to DVD. However:

a) There's probably a few hours total of footage that I want to save, so I don't want to spend ~$20 per tape for a service to copy them to DVD.

b) I've lost the wire that connects from the battery charger to the camera, allowing it to run on A/C power, and it seems to be proprietary and discontinued. The battery lasts about 30 minutes on a full charge (not enough time to copy a tape). I guess I can buy a new one that will hold a charge longer, but still that would mean constantly recharging, still risking the battery dying during transfer, etc.

c) I don't have a firewire card, and I don't think there's any room to install one in my computer (and it is old and very flaky to begin with). I could probably figure it out, but, but is there anything like an external firewire card that interfaces to the computer via USB? I know you can't just use one of the "fake" firewire to USB adapters.

What would you do? I know there are MiniDV players but they seem very expensive ($500+) and I'm not even sure they'll connect to a computer.

Thanks for any advice...

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You are trying not to spend money for something that IS going to cost you some money. The cheapest you are going to do it is to scour eBay for the charger, or you will have to buy/borrow a replacement camera. Again, I suggest eBay, and then you re-sell it when done. Do the same for a firewire card. –  KCotreau Jun 22 '11 at 17:50
    
If you're not going to use the camcorder ever again, then I would open it up, and see where the AC charger plugged into. Then, get yourself a variable power supply (or an AC adapter with the same DC output voltage), and set the voltage equal to what the battery was. You know what to do from there. ;) –  Breakthrough Jun 22 '11 at 17:53
    
Sorry, I should have been more clear. I'm fine with spending some money (i.e. the cost of a firewire card, and a reasonable price for a cable) - maybe $50-$70 total? I'm not ok with spending $500 for a MiniDV player or to transfer 30 tapes to DVD. –  Jer Jun 22 '11 at 18:23

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