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How reliable is the DVR Expander?

Discussion in 'TiVo Series3 HDTV DVRs' started by Replacement, Feb 28, 2013.

  1. Replacement

    Replacement New Member

    Oct 21, 2006
    Minneapolis, MN
    I have a OLED S3 TiVo and I want to have more space. I would like plug and play operation. I have looked at the 1 tb DVR Expander from WD. How reliable are they? What kind of life expectancy can I expect out of one?
  2. wml1950

    wml1950 Member

    Dec 25, 2006
    I have used a previous smaller hard drive WD expander on a Tivo HD. The expander lasted about 3 years. The installation was simple. When the hard drive broke, I ordered a larger replacement internal hard drive and no longer use the expander. The replacement was already formatted for the Tivo. While installation is not the easiest if you have never done it before, the results are worth it. The Tivo runs more smoothly with only one hard drive rather than an internal hard drive AND an expander.
  3. Replacement

    Replacement New Member

    Oct 21, 2006
    Minneapolis, MN
    The price point of the DVR Expander is nice, but I don't want to fiddle with it down the road or have non-peak performance.

    If I were to change the internal HD, will I be able to keep my programing?

    I am a handy person and can follow directions fairly well. I am not very well versed with computers though. If there was a step by step instruction on what to buy and how to install I am sure that I could figure it out.

    I would like to have at least 1tb of space if not 2tb and I do not want to ever get rid of my OLED S3.
  4. andyw715

    andyw715 Active Member

    Jul 31, 2007
    I'd like to respond but can't due to jinxing my current 1TB Expander :)

    Just kidding....I've had mine since the 1TB version came out (4 years?). I have heard that the eSATA cables that they come with are cheap and sometimes are the source of failure.

    One "disadvantage" is that it basically extends the TiVo's storage over both drives, therefore once you remove (or it dies) the drive from the TiVo you will lose recordings made after the drive was plugged in. It's just another point of failure.
  5. dlfl

    dlfl Cranky old novice

    Jul 6, 2006
    The only way to save your current recordings through an internal upgrade is to transfer them to a PC hard drive and then transfer them back to the upgraded TiVo. This requires three things:
    1. The recordings are NOT copy protected. On some cable systems, most notably Time Warner, almost ALL recordings are copy protected.
    2. Sufficient storage space on your PC or a networked drive.
    3. Much time and patience since transfer both ways will take hours if not days. The transfers will go at roughly 1 MB every 8 seconds if your network is good, so you can do the math.

    If you only want to save a few important recordings it's more practical. If this is the case I would recommend an internal upgrade over adding the expander drive, based on obvious reliability factors as mentioned in earlier posts.
  6. PCurry57

    PCurry57 Liberal Hippie Chick

    Feb 27, 2012
    Dallas, TX
    I've had mine on my original Premiere since July '12, I love it. It's absolutely quiet. I haven't experienced any performance degradation. Of course not applicable to you is the warranty which I didn't want to void. Nor did I want to void the extended warranty I had gotten on it. This made the decision to go external expansion easy. I expect someday when all warranties are expired I will likely expand the internal drive as well.

    As to the cable being of poor quality, that I think was someones past experience the eSata cable that comes with it seems to be of a high quality. The instructions advise to use the cable that comes with it and not a 3rd party perhaps lessor quality cable. If you want FAST and easy expansion I say go for it. BestBuy has WD 1TB My DVR Expander for $99.99.
  7. javabird

    javabird Active Member

    Oct 12, 2006
    I've had a 500 GB expander about 4 years, and moved it when I upgraded to my current TivoHD without any issues (you do lose the shows when move it).
  8. Arcady

    Arcady Stargate Fan

    Oct 14, 2004
    This isn't true. You can copy the internal drive to a new drive and then expand the new drive to increase the storage. I've done this on Series 2, 3, and 4 boxes.

    You can also pay insane prices to have someone like Weaknees do it for you.

    See the TiVo Upgrade Center on this forum.
  9. Arcady

    Arcady Stargate Fan

    Oct 14, 2004
    I just bought a 2TB internal drive for $85 from newegg.
  10. dianebrat

    dianebrat Uncontrolled Force

    Jul 6, 2002
    If you are still using the original 250GB drive in your S3 it's a lot easier (as long as you're somewhat savvy) to just buy a new 2TB drive and then use WinMFS, copy the whole drive, and then put the single 2TB in the S3.

    As of the last 2 S3 OS updates it can now do the single 2TB drive.
  11. Replacement

    Replacement New Member

    Oct 21, 2006
    Minneapolis, MN
    This sounds like the way to go. Are there step by step instructions on how to do this? Is there a certain HD that would work better than others?

    Pardon my ignorance, but what is WinMFS?
  12. takeshi

    takeshi New Member

    Jul 22, 2010
    Impossible to say. You can look at metrics like MTBF but a drive can fail unexpectedly. I used one for a couple of years with no issues but my anecdotal evidence doesn't mean that you'll have the same experience. Using two drives like this generally increases your risk of failure as you now have 2 drives that can fail.
  13. unitron

    unitron Active Member

    Apr 28, 2006
    semi-coastal NC
    Wait for newegg and amazon to put the Western Digital WD20EURS on sale for $100 and then grab one.

    In the meantime, go to mfslive.org and read about WinMFS, which is a program that runs on Windows, unlike MFS Live, which is a cd with which you boot your PC to a Linux command line environment, but spike wrote both of them so they're both at the same website.

    If it won't let you register at the mfslive forum so that you can download winmfs.exe (or the zip file containing it), come back and say so and we can work out an alternate way for you to get the file.
  14. aantono

    aantono New Member

    Jan 13, 2007
    I'm seeing a weird behavior with trying to setup my DVR Expander. When I connect it to Tivo and it first boots up, I get a message saying the expander drive is detected and asks me if I want to set it up. I say YES, Tivo reboots, and the whole thing starts all over again. So Tivo is definitely seeing the drive, and running SMART check in Tivo (command 56) checks out all fine. Tried replacing the cable, but no result. Anyone has run into this issue or can suggest what else I might try?
  15. lew

    lew Active Member

    Mar 12, 2002
    You'll want to be able to connect your drives to your PC without having to open the case. Easiest solution is a usb sata adapter. Less then $10 on ebay. Do you want to preserver your recordings? You'll need to connect your existing drive and new drive to your PC at the same time. Buy 2 adapters.

    Do you have a eSATA port? A cable, and external power supply, is an alternative. Faster.

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