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Drive Expansion and Drive Upgrade FAQ

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

  1. Nov 14, 2007 #381 of 10248
    naclone

    naclone New Member

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    Feb 11, 2002
    I've been running 9.2a for a few days now and have had zero issues with my FAP750. everything runs just as it has since I connected it weeks ago.
     
  2. Nov 14, 2007 #382 of 10248
    bkdtv

    bkdtv New Member

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    Jan 9, 2003
    DC Metro Area
    As others have mentioned above, the cable is almost certainly the problem.

    I know for a fact that many My Books do not include a compatible cable. Some members were able to "trim" their cables to make them compatible, while others had to order a compatible cable mentioned in the FAQ.

    There is nothing "half baked" about the eSATA support in the Series3 and TivoHD. There are plenty of "half baked" PC eSATA solutions out there, which is why TiVo officially recommends only one that they know includes the right drive and cable.
     
  3. Nov 14, 2007 #383 of 10248
    TonyR

    TonyR New Member

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    Oct 1, 2003
    Asheville,...
    Great FAQ at the top--per usual. Thanks guys.

    I just got an expander, and basically I'm thrilled with it, but I'm disappointed with the details. It seems that it is essentially a JBOD configuration with one-way migration only (except, apparently, the non-video data?). Everyone knows that JBOD is bad news--it's just the opposite of RAID--no performance increase, no redundancy, no flexibility--just easier to implement. Not only do we have to resign ourselves to losing all of our data if we want to remove the expander, but now you've got 2 points of failure: if either drive fails, we lose *all* video.

    I was happy to accept those limitations for the hack, but now that this is a supported feature I was hoping that the implementation would be more sophisticated. This just seems like the old hack with a user interface added.

    They could have given us a backwards migration utility, so that we could move all data off the expansion disk and back onto the original disk if we needed to in the future. I've used RAID 0 (striped) systems that had such a feature, and I'd think it would be easier to implement with JBOD.

    It would have been great if the expander was added as a data drive, in addition to the original drive, so that loss of the extra drive would only lose the data on the expander drive.

    We can get the flexibility I'd like if we back up all the video to our PCs, but wow--that's a lot of disk space! It would take forever also.

    (I know I'm just whining. Over-all, I'm impressed with the rate at which TiVo keeps giving us new functionality, but like most tech-savy consumers I'll never be satisfied!)
     
  4. Nov 14, 2007 #384 of 10248
    richsadams

    richsadams Active Member

    8,893
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    Jan 4, 2003
    Others can expound on all of the details, but the basic/primary reason for the expansion architecture being what it is today was to ensure compliance with various laws and regulations forced on TiVo by several industries and regulatory authorities.

    That’s also why it’s taken them so long to get it into the wild. There are just too many parties with selfish interests (read: greedy) involved in what should have been a simple feature.

    I'm sure had TiVo had their way it would have been a much different result, more flexible and robust...along the lines you suggest.

    EDIT: Earlier I stated that there was a method to move everything from the eSATA and internal HDD's to a single internal drive using WinMFS and the element of the program required to do that is there, but on further investigation it is not currently active.
     
  5. Nov 14, 2007 #385 of 10248
    foamy909

    foamy909 Member

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    Mar 29, 2005
    I just wanted to thank everyone here for all their input, from the kickstart method to plug-n-play under 9.2a. I finally took the plunge and added a 500GB DB-35 with an MX-1 and SIIG cable to my Series 3 and it was even easier than I expected. I paid a bit more than what I would have for the sanctioned WD drive, but the info here makes me feel confident it was the right choice.

    thanks again!:up:
     
  6. Nov 16, 2007 #386 of 10248
    steinercat

    steinercat New Member

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    Nov 16, 2007
    Great Post! and extremely useful information.

    As a first time Tivo user, though not at all unfamiliar with tinkering with computer parts, I've dediced to go ahead and simply get the WD Expander as an upgrade. I suppose I just want to enjoy the Tivo experience and try to heal some scars left by my SA8300HD (Cox Las Vegas) Or at least until...

    1. 90 day unit warranty runs out.
    2. 1TB HD kits decrease in price and Samsung or WD come out with quieter 1TB drives

    I know an upgrade is imminent though. :D

    Again..great post and incredibly useful information!

    *Only thing is, the Expander is nowhere in site online or in my area. :(
     
  7. Nov 16, 2007 #387 of 10248
    HDTiVo

    HDTiVo Not so Senior Member

    5,556
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    Nov 27, 2002
    I mentioned this earlier and I see bkdtv and rich investigated further with spike and the feature has not yet been implemented.

    Another thing I discovered is that a THD drive can only expand once due to a bug. Spike says he thinks he found the bug and if so the next release (beta 7?) will contain the fix.
     
  8. Nov 16, 2007 #388 of 10248
    richsadams

    richsadams Active Member

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    Jan 4, 2003
    Turns out that is in fact true (I corrected my earlier post). Hopefully Spike will have some time to finalize that ability soon.
     
  9. Nov 16, 2007 #389 of 10248
    HDTiVo

    HDTiVo Not so Senior Member

    5,556
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    Nov 27, 2002
    He just responded today that the 2 to 1 consolidation function will take some time, but the bug fix to allow multiple drive expansions (MFSadds) on the THD will be out "soon."

    http://mfslive.org/forums/viewtopic.php?p=2497#2497
     
  10. Nov 16, 2007 #390 of 10248
    richsadams

    richsadams Active Member

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    Jan 4, 2003
    Cool. Good news/bad news, but a fix is in the works.

    I am amazed how much time and effort he puts into all of this...for free as far as I can see (other than some website ad income). His dedication is admirable. :up: (A Wayne's World "We're not worthy" chant comes to mind ;))
     
  11. Nov 16, 2007 #391 of 10248
    lrhorer

    lrhorer New Member

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    Aug 31, 2003
    San...
    This isn't quite true. It's true if one loses the primary drive, all is lost. If one loses the secondary drive, one may not lose all the videos. First of all, any videos recorded before the secondary was added will still be fine. Secondly, I could be mistaken but I seem to recall someone saying they had done some testing and not all the videos recorded after the expansion were lost. All that said, there is a good chance one will lose all the recordings if the external drive fails. None of the settings, wishlists, season passes, etc are lost.

    Well, it's more than that. A fully journalled file system allows for the maximum utilization of the added drive space. To be sure, it is less secure, but any other solution must allocate some amount of drive space for recovery.

    Well, only if the amount used on the expansion drive is less than the free space on the primary. Otherwise, something's got to get trashed. Such a feature could be at least somewhat useful, however. Have you suggested it over on TiVo Suggestion Avenue?

    http://www.tivocommunity.com/tivo-vb/forumdisplay.php?f=6

    This is the case. While the MFS file syste, is journalled, I don't think it is JBOD, per se. I'm not familiar enough with JBOD to say for certain, but the extra drive just has additional MFS partitions, and the TiVo writes semi-simultaneously to both drives. That's why losing the secondary drive munges many of the videos.

    Well, since the 2T limit on the Series III is too small for my purposes, that's what I'm doing anyway.

    Since TTG is batch queued and takes place in the background, who cares?
     
  12. Nov 16, 2007 #392 of 10248
    lrhorer

    lrhorer New Member

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    Aug 31, 2003
    San...
    Actually, I suspect the main reason was because TiVo had already developed the MFS file system and saw no reason to reinvent the wheel. The MFS file system on the Series III is fundamentally the same as that on the Series I. Apparently after they deployed the Series III they changed their mind somewhat, however. The TiVo HD uses a 64 bit MFS file system.

    Oh, I doubt that. This is only a DVR, after all, not a file server for a bank. Modern hard drives are so reliable and last so long that a recreational solution which employs no redundancy is not a bad idea. I'm an all out belt-and-suspenders kind of guy, but in this case I think the elimination of fault tolerance with the benefits of maximizing storage and lowering cost is the right decision.
     
  13. Nov 17, 2007 #393 of 10248
    richsadams

    richsadams Active Member

    8,893
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    Jan 4, 2003
    It makes sense that they'd use the same format; I’d be surprised if they didn’t. However if that were the end of the story logic would dictate that the eSATA feature should have been good to go from day one.

    IIRC there were more than a few stories about TiVo having to get approval/certification from Cable Labs before the MRV, TTG and eSATA options could be implemented; that’s the reason behind it being held up for almost a year.

    Agreed, redundancy wouldn’t make sense in this case. I was speaking to the OP's point about having more than what is essentially an extended single HDD. Things such as having recordings domiciled on one or the other drive to avoid the loss of all recordings, the ability to move external drives from one machine to another, etc. But you're right; the existing file system doesn't lend itself to that sort of flexibility.
     
  14. Nov 17, 2007 #394 of 10248
    Conniko

    Conniko New Member

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    Jul 18, 2005
    I got the message from TiVo re: the WD expander on 11/05. It was out of stock at TiVo and Best Buy, and Western Digital on 11/06. Since WD had not replied to my email request for availability info I phoned WD. I was told they were not currently manufacturing it, and it was uncertain whether they would be manufacturing it in the future. Seems strange since TiVo just rolled out 9.2 and it is obviously a popular item. Has anyone found any other info>
     
  15. Nov 17, 2007 #395 of 10248
    back as jac

    back as jac New Member

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    Oct 23, 2007
    problem with mfsadd: after i used this program to marry the internal tivo drive that came with my tivo hd and a western digital 500gb premium esata drive, the tivo is giving me an error message saying:

    the tivo has encountered a serious problem. this may take 3 hours to fix.

    the tivo recognized my drive as wd es 500gb... before i married them, it just wouldn't let me use it plug and play. what i'm trying to say is i don't think its a problem with the cable or the external drive itself. also the tivo gives me a message saying i need to plug in my external drive after i restarted it without it plugged in so i'm pretty sure the marriage worked. anyone else have this issue? does it take the tivo 3 hours to format my external drive? i read this entire thread and didnt see anything.
     
  16. Nov 17, 2007 #396 of 10248
    bkdtv

    bkdtv New Member

    7,902
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    Jan 9, 2003
    DC Metro Area
    Just let the TiVo fix the problem.

    That said, be aware that some Western Digital My Book drives for PCs include an eSATA cable that is not compatible with the Tivo. Drive corruption and lost recordings can result from the use of that cable.

    That's why the FAQ recommends you order your own cable if you use a retail solution other than the My DVR Expander.
     
  17. Nov 17, 2007 #397 of 10248
    bkdtv

    bkdtv New Member

    7,902
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    Jan 9, 2003
    DC Metro Area
    Yes, this information is incorrect.

    Their allocations are all going to TiVo and Best Buy (for now), and a result, their system shows that they do not expect to receive any more units at WDC.COM. Some reps misinterpret that to mean the product is discontinued.

    The BBs in my area appear to receive about one shipment of new drives per week. They got some in Friday before last but they sold out again by Wednesday.
     
  18. Nov 17, 2007 #398 of 10248
    back as jac

    back as jac New Member

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    Oct 23, 2007
    thanks for the response. yea, i'm gonna let it fix it, just getting nervous is all. also, i'm pretty sure the cable is fine because the tivo recognized the drive when i just plugged it in. it just said 'this drive is not able to be used' as plug and play.
     
  19. Nov 17, 2007 #399 of 10248
    bkdtv

    bkdtv New Member

    7,902
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    Jan 9, 2003
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    Well, the TiVo will usually recognize the presence of a drive with an inadequate cable. It just won't work reliably.
     
  20. Nov 18, 2007 #400 of 10248
    Knightlymuse

    Knightlymuse New Member

    3
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    Dec 1, 2004
    I just thought I would post the hardware info here to add to the list of stuff that works.

    I have a TivoHD that was upgraded to the 9.2a version of the software.
    - I'm using an ICY DOCK MB559US-1SMB 3.5" Mirror Black USB 2.0 & eSATA External Enclosure (The mirror black finish looks good with tivo but does show fingerprints)
    - I used the eSATA cable that came with the enclosure.
    - For the drive I'm using the Seagate ST3500631NS 500GB 7200 RPM SATA 3.0Gb/s Hard Drive

    Personal observations:
    The case is very slick, it is aluminum and the entire case acts as a heat sync. This is good as it does not have a built in fan. The only noise you hear is the drive itself will click (quietly) when the head changes tracks. You can hear it if you hit a quiet spot in a show (but honestly how often does that happen. :) ) There is no audible whine to the drive that I can hear.

    I went with a Seagate drive because I've had good luck with them in the past. I've used several of them in computers running 24/7/365 and they all are still working - some +5 years. I can't say the same for the deskstars, WD and Maxtors I've used but this is a personal choice. The AV rated drives were just to expensive for what you get. Results may vary, go with whatever you like.

    The winmsf software worked great and the entire process only took a few minutes. Removing the drive out of Tivo was easy the drive was unobstructed and there were no warranty stickers to break. However with all that said if I had to do it over I would just go with a supported solution. The cost is not much more than what I spent, it is a plug-n-play option and you don't need to risk screwing up your system. The only reason to go custom would be if you wanted to add more than 500 MB to your system.

    Keep up the good work guys, you make a great utility.
     

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