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Drive Expansion and Drive Upgrade FAQ

Discussion in 'TiVo Series3 HDTV DVRs' started by bkdtv, Oct 19, 2007.

  1. Jun 13, 2009 #3001 of 10248
    richsadams

    richsadams Active Member

    8,893
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    Jan 4, 2003
    Welcome to the club! :)
     
  2. Jun 13, 2009 #3002 of 10248
    richsadams

    richsadams Active Member

    8,893
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    Jan 4, 2003
    Nice find. :up: I've never dealt with wiredzone.com. Let us know how their service is, etc...along with how your upgrade goes of course!

    P.S. The "appropriate" acronym for a hard drive is "HDD" (hard disk drive), but I've done the very same thing as well. It gets confusing and my brain hurts sometimes. ;)
     
  3. Jun 13, 2009 #3003 of 10248
    jlib

    jlib Lean Forward

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    Nov 21, 2002
    Carmel...
    Instant Cake is intended for situations where your original hardrive has catastrophically failed and you have no backup. It is just a way to get the TiVo system back on a new harddrive. It is not really any easier to use. It is just for a different purpose. You lose all current recordings and you have to have your cable cards reinstalled. I leave it to you to determine if cable card installation is a smooth operation with your particular cable company. It is always good to have that option to rescue a drive but that is not your situation. You should never need Instant Cake because you will have your original TiVo drive safely on a shelf with a backup of your system at the time of upgrade.

    The reason we are encouraging you to go on is because it really is easy. OK, do this. Download and install the WinMFS sofware as linked in the first post. If you can get that far then you can continue. If you can't do that easily then it is time to look at alternatives. In the meantime, what is the make and exact model of your computer? I can tell you what additional things you might need in advance so that you don't have to run down to a computer store to get a power cable for your harddrive in the middle of your upgrade.
     
  4. Jun 13, 2009 #3004 of 10248
    jfstx

    jfstx New Member

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    Aug 26, 2005
    my samsung hdd 103ui 1 tb just went to grey screen after a reboot. It won't come back up. I've pulled it and want to hook it up to my computer via the usb to sata cables to run some tests. but when I do I can't get my computer to recognize it. My comp. is less than a year old with vista 64. Could use some advise. thx
     
  5. Jun 14, 2009 #3005 of 10248
    lynnalexandra

    lynnalexandra New Member

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    Apr 26, 2009
    Rich- you're great - thanks.:) How could I not post again. :eek: Now I can see links. Despite your sense that I might not be cut out for this diy, your last post actually encouraged me. Knowing that the things that scared me off from the dvrupgrade site don't apply if I just follow the steps here and transfer the image from my original hard drive to a new internal hard drive and external drive. I actually think I can understand those instructions just fine. One small question - is there any advantage in transferring via esata cable to the inside of the pc vs. using an esata to usb cable?

    Okay - maybe a second small question. Will the esata enclosure come with instructions for enclosing the external hard drive - or is it written somewhere on these forums?

    The final clinchers for me to do this myself are that I will enjoy the accomplishment. And having to repair my cablecards and deal with comcast again is far more of a gamble than doing it myself and thereby preserving the pairing on my new copied drive.

    Thanks.
    Lynn.:
     
  6. Jun 14, 2009 #3006 of 10248
    richsadams

    richsadams Active Member

    8,893
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    Jan 4, 2003
    Atta Girl! Way to come through. :up: It all sounds daunting at first, but if you just take it step-by-step...slice it into sections rather than look at it as a whole I'm sure you'll do fine. The first post has been refined numerous times by bkdtv and includes everything you can imagine to get the job done. The original author of winMFS, Spike, also runs a web site dedicated to TiVo upgrades (albeit a little more technically oriented), MFSLive.org. That's where you'll get a copy of the program. You'll need to register here and then download it. You could leave him a note of thanks as well...without his expertise all of this would not be possible.

    I can't remember if you're trying to save your existing recordings. If you are then direct SATA connections are much faster. If you're just imaging a drive (see you're getting the lingo now ;) ) a USB/eSATA adapter will do just fine...the files aren't really very big at all.

    With regard to the eSATA enclosure it depends. Some come with nothing, others, like the Antec MX-1 (highly recommended) not only have instructions, they have a video which can be viewed here. (Aren't you glad you can see the links now?) Actually if you view that video it pretty much covers any enclosure. You open it up, connect the hard drive to the enclosure's bridge - the part that has the connectors and a few other chips and circuits on it - and close it up. It's very simple once you see one.

    Again, take it slow, don't miss any steps and you'll be in gigabyte heaven in no time. Then I'd imagine you'll be building your own computers and showing that cousin of yours in California a thing or two. :)
     
  7. Jun 14, 2009 #3007 of 10248
    richsadams

    richsadams Active Member

    8,893
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    Jan 4, 2003
    First, your computer should not recognize it because it's not formatted FAT32 or NTFS. You'll need to boot into a third party diagnostic program like WD's Lifeguard. Samsung probably has one of their own programs as well. Or there are programs you can buy such as SpinRite to test and repair hard drives. SpinRite costs about as much as a hard drive though so it's probably not worth purchasing unless you're going to be testing lots of hard drives.

    One question...besides the USB/SATA adapter, are you also connecting power to the drive? That's one of those D'oh moments we all experience now and then. When you power up your computer is the drive spinning up? If it's powered and it's not spinning up you have an ex-drive. In any case, it may be time for an Samsung RMA.

    Hope that helps, best of luck and let us know how things go.
     
  8. Jun 14, 2009 #3008 of 10248
    jfstx

    jfstx New Member

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    Aug 26, 2005
    Yes it is powered on. I'm really puzzled why it just quit. It ran for over 6 months and not a problem. I stuck the original drive back in. I also saved a copy of the tivo software on my laptop. I ordered a wd 1tb to replace it. When I go to copy the software from my laptop to the new drive do I just use winmfs and use copy? thanks for your help.
     
  9. Jun 14, 2009 #3009 of 10248
    ccrider2

    ccrider2 New Member

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    Nov 1, 2007
    Hm...that's odd...I don't think I've ever been more than a day or two late responding to en email alert.....I'm always reading my subscribed threads....I have no life. :D

    The AVS Forum seems to want to send me multiple alerts on the same thread without me responding to any yet for the day....go figure. :confused:

    Thanks For the Words,

    Chris
     
  10. Jun 14, 2009 #3010 of 10248
    richsadams

    richsadams Active Member

    8,893
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    Jan 4, 2003
    Bummer. When you say quit, do you mean it no longer spins up or just doesn't work in your TiVo anymore? Whatever the case, guess it happens now and then. Both the 1TB WD's in our TiVo's are humming along nicely as is another 1TB WD that used to be in our Series3 and is now a computer backup drive. WD has come very, very long way from their dark days years ago IMO.

    I have to confess that I've never used the backup (.bak file) on my computer as the data source for a new drive with winMFS. The last time I did that it was back in the command line Hinsdale dark ages. I've always used the original drive, following the instructions in (what is now) Section V, #18a or #18b in the first post of this thread. I understand that you'd use winMFS and the "restore" option to copy the files over. IIRC there are some anomalies when you do that though. I think you have to do a "clear and delete" to clean things up. Plus odd things happen like seeing a list of recordings that were on your drive at the time of the backup but only the titles are available, not the actual recordings (they can be cleared out). But AFAIK season passes, cable card info and other settings are still there. Perhaps bkdtv or someone that's done that can chime in? I'd like to know the details as well.

    Best of luck!
     
  11. Jun 14, 2009 #3011 of 10248
    donnoh

    donnoh Member

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    Mar 7, 2008
    Just a heads up with Samsung drives ordered from Newegg. I ordered two for a home server and while they worked for a couple of weeks they went belly up after that. They came shipped in blister packs inside a box with foam peanuts.

    After that experience I'll never order another Samsung drive or another drive from Newegg. I don't know who's fault it was and don't care either, I would definately not use a drive from Newegg in a Tivo.
     
  12. Jun 14, 2009 #3012 of 10248
    lynnalexandra

    lynnalexandra New Member

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    Apr 26, 2009
    Hard to believe I'd have more questions - but I do. But only because I'm narrowing in on it now. I am going to get a new 1TB internal hard drive for my Tivo HD and want to get and configure an external 1TB drive at the same time. In pricing the components to build and configure an external 1TB drive for my Tivo HD, the cost for one of the 2 recommended Western Digital hard drives (WD10EVCS or WD10EVVS), the Antec MX-! enclosure and esata cable will come to about $160-170. How would using this combination compare to taking the Western Digital 1TB DVR expander and re-marrying it's hard drive to my about to be upgraded new internal hard drive. The DVR expander was $167 from Amazon. It has a 1TB drive, enclosure and cable included. I think I read that it doesn't have a fan but is somehow built to keep things cool and quiet without one. I'm inclined to think that if this is the Tivo supported external drive, that the cooling must be sufficient even without a fan.

    Is there any reason not to use the DVR expander (which my mother is planning to give me on Tuesday - unless I decide I should put together my own components and return it). So I'm ready to order whatever hard drives, enclosures and cables I need - but don't know if there's any reason to get a 1TB WD10EVC or WD10EVVS, antec mx-1 enclosure and cable instead of just opening up the DVR expander and taking it's hard drive and marrying to my new upgraded internal drive.

    Another question - do I use the same cable to connect the Tivo hard drives to my computer for imaging as I would later use to connect the Tivo to the external hard drive?

    Thanks.
    Lynn.
     
  13. Jun 14, 2009 #3013 of 10248
    richsadams

    richsadams Active Member

    8,893
    2
    Jan 4, 2003
    Newegg could certainly do better at packing OEM drives that's for sure. I've purchased four or five in the last couple of years...mostly WD's as well as a couple of Seagates. All are running fine. But you're right, it's pretty lousy packing.

    The Samsung's a brand new model and I'm just curious to see if it will work in a TiVo HD. The TiVo HD isn't mission critical so if it eventually fails I can live with that. If it doesn't work from the get-go I'll use it for a backup drive so not a big deal. For $69 bucks...what the heck...live dangerous I always say. ;)
     
  14. Jun 15, 2009 #3014 of 10248
    richsadams

    richsadams Active Member

    8,893
    2
    Jan 4, 2003
    Cracking the case of the WD My DVR Expander is not easy and IIRC a couple of folks here ended up breaking them. Plus it voids the warranty. That doesn't rule it out though because you should be able to connect it to a computer using a PCI eSATA adapter (yep, something else you'd need to buy). The Expander only carries a one-year warranty as well while bare WD drives have a three-year warranty. So there are a few things to consider.

    BTW, if you're talking about the eSATA cable that connects the external hard drive to TiVo, the MX-1 also comes with one. You could use that one if you had an eSATA connector on your computer (same scenario as above). Otherwise, no, you would need a basic SATA II cable to connect your new SATA hard drives directly to your computer's SATA connections on the motherboard.

    Cost when using a bare hard drive for the internal upgrade and a WD My DVR Expander as the eSATA drive:

    1 - WD 1TB WD10EVCS hard drive ($99.24 w/free shipping - 3 year warranty)
    1 - WD My DVR Expander ($169.99 w/free shipping - 1 year warranty)
    1 - PCI eSATA Adapter ($24.99 w/free shipping)
    1 - SATA cable w/power adapter ($8.78 w/free shipping if you buy the WD 1TB My DVR Expander)
    1 - copy wimMFS (free download)

    Total cost: $303.00

    Cost for 2 bare hard drives for internal upgrade and eSATA drive and enclosure:

    2 - WD 1TB WD10EVCS hard drives ($99.24 ea. w/free shipping - 3 year warranty)
    1 - Antec MX-1 Enclosure ($48.94 w/free shipping - 3 year warranty)
    2 - SATA cables w/power adapter ($8.78 ea. w/free shipping if you buy the MX-1)
    1 - copy wimMFS (free download)

    Total cost: $264.98

    Either combination would give you everything you need to create a 2TB TiVo HD utilizing your original hard drive's image. All of the items listed (except the cables) can usually be found on sale at various times, but those were the lowest prices I could find at the moment.

    If you've never purchased anything from buy.com you can use this coupon code for $5.00 off a purchase of $100 or more or this coupon code for $10 off on a purchase of $200 or more.

    BTW: Nice mom! :up:
     
  15. Jun 15, 2009 #3015 of 10248
    fallingwater

    fallingwater New Member

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    Dec 28, 2007
    Bellingham WA
    Is it possible and/or practical to replace HDTiVo's internal HDD with another eSATA drive by physically running the connection cable out the back of HDTiVo to a jack to which a replacement HDD in a suitable external case plugs into? If the replacement drive is formatted properly how would this be any different from an internal HDD.

    Why couldn't any HDTiVo thus be able to use any number of properly formatted HDDs one at a time as unlimited storage with plug-and-play convenience?

    Why have I never seen this suggested or discussed? Why does Weaknees.com seem to offer this scheme only in a dual external configuration with automatic back-up?

    http://www.weaknees.com/tivo-hd-tcd652160.php#path2

    Is there something inherently unreliable about one-at-a-time unlimited HDD storage?
     
  16. Jun 15, 2009 #3016 of 10248
    jlib

    jlib Lean Forward

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    Nov 21, 2002
    Carmel...
    Yes, possible, and that is the way the original Series 3 "Terabyte TiVos" were configured back when quiet 1TB drives didn't exist yet. Two 500GB drives in striped RAID 0 format using a driverless hardware RAID enclosure were connected with an eSATA/SATA cable to the S3. And with the TiVO HD it is even easier since you can use the exterior eSATA port and just reroute it internally to the motherboard SATA port.
    This sort of destroys some of the important functionality of the TiVo in that you would have separate season passes, separate 30 day already seen database, separate ratings database, etc. So, even if you had them setup up so the cable card pairing was preserved you would lose so much functionality that it would not be worth it. Better to have a huge mondo drive attached to your PC and just archive the things you want to preserve using TiVo Desktop or other utilities. So, no, not practical. Some have also suggested separate external drives (qua external) for the same reason but in that case it isn't even possible at all because only one external drive can be married to the internal at a time.
    It is not suggested or discussed simply because it is not a good idea if you reflect upon the consequences of doing that. The Weaknees system really isn't intended for what you have suggested here. It simply takes the original external RAID idea and uses mirrored RAID 1 format on two 1TB drives for a total of 1TB capacity. It is just a way to improve reliability via redundancy.
    It is not so much that it is unreliable but that on a practical everyday level it is unworkable.
     
  17. Jun 15, 2009 #3017 of 10248
    lynnalexandra

    lynnalexandra New Member

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    Apr 26, 2009
    Thanks, Rich. That's what I needed to know. It is better to buy my own components and have a 3 yr warranty - and I don't want to "break" into a DVR expander case that isn't easily opened. So I ordered all the bare parts. (I had ordered from buy.com before, so I wasn't able to use the coupons - but thank you.)

    Lynn.

    PS :)If you think I had a lot of questions before, I shudder to think the trouble I'll be getting into when I have 2 bare drives and an opened PC in front of me.
     
  18. Jun 15, 2009 #3018 of 10248
    ThAbtO

    ThAbtO TiVoholic by the bay

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    Apr 6, 2000
    SF Bay Area
    You still need to open the Tivo to add an unofficial drive, or even to change from the original drive inside.
     
  19. Jun 16, 2009 #3019 of 10248
    fallingwater

    fallingwater New Member

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    Dec 28, 2007
    Bellingham WA
  20. Jun 17, 2009 #3020 of 10248
    wperry1

    wperry1 New Member

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    Feb 23, 2007
    Have there been any changes in the max capacity on the TivoHD since the FAQ was written? It looks to have been done when the SW version was ~8 or 9 and my TivoHD box is at 11.0c.
     

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