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I upgraded my THD with 2TB internal storage, pics inside

Discussion in 'TiVo Series3 HDTV DVRs' started by ciper, Dec 9, 2008.

  1. Dec 9, 2008 #1 of 30
    ciper

    ciper New Member

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    Nov 4, 2004
    So I originally planned to install three 1TB drives internally to my THD. I wanted to show off to all of you so I went to work preparing the system. This included a replacement power supply, drive support bracket, SATA to SATA internal array controller and purchasing the drives. After some recent research I found that the 2TiB (~2.2TB) is the max overall space possible :eek: Thats what I get for trying to brag!

    Anyways I had to change my plans and scrap some of the items. I did get the system working with a Micro ATX power supply and there is room for three drives side by side.

    The 14 pin Molex connector the THD uses is key compatible with a 20/24pin ATX Molex. You must change the pinouts or you will short out the power supply! I purchased a 20 pin to 24 pin adapter for 4$ and used it to create an ATX to Tivo adapter

    [​IMG]

    The Micro ATX PS is about 2mm too wide to fit next to the motherboard (as shown below). You will most likely relocate the power connection and the power supply is internal so remove the cover and turn it 90 degrees and it fits with room to spare.
    [​IMG]

    Since I was no longer able to use three 1TB drives I removed the support bracket I created and made something to attach two drives together. If you are a function over form guy then you can actually use two washers with the screws supplied with the drives to attach two drives side by side so an extra bracket isnt even needed. I put a small spacer between them to promote cooling. A minor modification to a SATA power splitter let it connect to the power connection on the stock power supply.
    [​IMG]

    The large zip tie is not needed but I added it as a backup in case I ever dropped the unit. Not pictured is a timer delay circuit that I am adding to the 12 volt line on the B drive. The THD power supply is able to spin up two drives at the same time! (I'm not sure if its good for its longevity though). I covered most of the holes on the right side of the case to force air to flow from the farthest point from the fan. I will be monitoring temperatures over the next few days and will most likely add an additional fan but so far its running at 46 Celsius

    [​IMG]
    :)
    PS: I hate the idea of external drives.
     
  2. Dec 9, 2008 #2 of 30
    Enrique

    Enrique Active Member

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    May 15, 2006
    Very cool, How long did it take you to do all this?
     
  3. Dec 9, 2008 #3 of 30
    husky55

    husky55 Member

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    Feb 2, 2008
    Madison, CT
    As always, the devil is in the details.

    :)
     
  4. Dec 9, 2008 #4 of 30
    ciper

    ciper New Member

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    Nov 4, 2004
    In order to stress the system I created an auto record wishlist that only has the category of "HD" and made sure suggestions were turned on. The system has been continually recording on both tuners and has 146 HD programs so far.

    If I had planned to use two drives in the first place this would have been VERY cheap. The drives came with SATA cables and screws so the only additional hardware was the SATA power splitter (~3$?), some zip ties and whatever you used to tie the drives together.

    Two (3/8 iirc) washers are actually enough to clamp the drives together extremely well. Put the drives next to each other on their back with the bottom mounting holes aligned. Put a small piece of foam in between the drives (to keep them from touching) and place the washer over the mounting holes and tighten the screws. You can still tighten the posts on the mounting bracket that is closest to the left side of the case and the washer/screws in the middle rest on the rubber grommet in the middle.

    It was all pretty easy. I spent most of the time researching the options and trying to use DDRescue on my previous drive. The hard drive bracket I made used to be part of the sheet metal cover for a VCR. The physical task that took the longest was repinning the Molex connector. I was too cheap to by the pin extraction tool so I had to MacGuyver it.

    I'm not sure why but the temperature has dropped to 42 Celsius at the time I am writing this.
     
  5. ciper

    ciper New Member

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    Nov 4, 2004
    I got bored and made a couple more modifications. First I rerouted the white cable that powers the front display above the unused cable card slot so that it wouldn't touch the second hard drive.

    Then I took a radio shack desoldering iron with the squeeze bulb removed and then attached to silicone hose which then goes to an aquarium pump. I filled the solder bucket with crumpled up wire to increase the surface area. Tada, focused hot air gun!
    [​IMG]

    That was used to remove this
    [​IMG]

    from here
    [​IMG]

    and replaced with this
    [​IMG]

    I stumbled across the socket at a local electronics store. It was only 2.45$. I'm honestly surprised how easy it was. I have never removed a surface mount IC before! My only mistake was installing the socket upside down... so I had to heat up my X-acto knife and cut the notch into the other side so the chip would fit. lol
     
  6. wickerbill

    wickerbill Member

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    Apr 3, 2002
    Tulsa, OK
    So what is that chip for and what is the advantage to modifying how it mounts to the board?
     
  7. MickeS

    MickeS New Member

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    Dec 26, 2002
    AZ
    I thought the 2.2 TB limitation is only for the Series 3 units, not for the TiVoHD?
     
  8. classicsat

    classicsat Astute User

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    Feb 18, 2004
    Ontario Canada.
    The chip is the system boot chip, AKA "PROM".

    You would need to remove it to re-program or replace it with one modified to accept modifications to the file system, so you can do some real hacks tot he machine. See the Underground for more.
    Installing a socket for some reason is standard practice.
     
  9. SeanC

    SeanC ECT

    9,616
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    Dec 30, 2003
    Someplace
    Because if you're going to go to the effort to remove the PROM, when replacing the PROM it just makes sense to put a socket there. That way if there is a problem you can just pop the PROM out of the socket to try and fix the issue, as opposed to having to desolder the PROM again.
     
  10. jzachariasen

    jzachariasen New Member

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    Feb 13, 2008
  11. ciper

    ciper New Member

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    Nov 4, 2004
    You'll love this - my "prom" is still stock! I went to the electronics store to buy something totally unrelated and they happened to have an SMT PLCC-32 for sale. It was the last one and the guy said they no longer carry them other than special order. Pure chance brought this to me :)

    Only 2tb. I'm working over an idea in my head that would give me the maximum 2.2TB of space with a performance oriented raid configuration to improve fast forward speeds on HD and sorting of season passes.

    Well sorta. There are multiple limitations to the Tivo. The THD got rid of a couple but there are a couple more still holding us back. Right now it's just a few snippets of legacy code inside the TivoApp that are keeping us from pushing it to the limit.
     
  12. newpctech

    newpctech New Member

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    Dec 10, 2008
    so what is the benny to using internal drives to an external powered unit? I have a media pc with 1.5tb drives (going to a raid with 5 1.5tb drives) that I can off load to.
    good artical though, I am new to the who tivo thing.:up:
     
  13. ciper

    ciper New Member

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    Nov 4, 2004
    Because the external powered unit means -
    One more cable hanging from the back of the tivo
    One more thing in the entertainment center
    Another plug in the wall
    Another power supply
    A source of noise and heat

    I don't like adding additional points of failure. Also power supplies are most efficient when run at high load. I work with large server blade setups and you can configure them to either use (for example) six power supplies at 20% load or two power supplies at 90% and the energy savings are impressive.
     
  14. mattack

    mattack Active Member

    20,750
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    Apr 9, 2001
    sunnyvale
  15. ciper

    ciper New Member

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    Nov 4, 2004
    Yeah there is enough room in the system. I though I would have to add extra cooling for two drives but apparently taping over all the holes on the right half of the unit forced crossflow and my temps are well within normal range.

    Just in case I bought a real Intel fan to use once I figure out how to improve performance the most cost effective way. I realize the possibility of failure increases substantially but by the time a drive fails a replacement unit will be cheap.
     
  16. mattack

    mattack Active Member

    20,750
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    Apr 9, 2001
    sunnyvale
    What I meant is that I thought the Tivo OS only understood the concept of two drives being connected.
     
  17. ciper

    ciper New Member

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    Nov 4, 2004
    I plan to have all three drives presented to the system as a single unit, hence the use of the SATA to SATA array controller.

    The THD only has ONE SATA port and then has a SATA array controller attached to that. The array controller is set to port splitting mode. I worked with an engineer from Silicon image to verify that nesting is a supported configuration upto three levels deep. As far as hardware goes it is technically possible to attach 50 drives to the Tivo using the 5 port device
     
  18. jnaji

    jnaji New Member

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    Feb 10, 2009
    Hey my TivoHD power supply bit the dust and was wanting to do the same setup you had with atx power supply, could i get more information on the "change the pinouts or you will short out the power supply" and also will it work with a regular atx power supply to first test it and then i can get a Micro ATX later to fit in the case cause i have a regular 300 or 400 watt power supply lying around.

    Any help would be deeply appericated

    Thanks
     
  19. ciper

    ciper New Member

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    Nov 4, 2004
    Any computer power supply should work. The issue is that it might fit. Now that I think about it a power supply from another TiVo could probably be modified to work.

    The THD has no special voltages so it's simply a matter of matching the wires up. The only unusual part was shorting two of the wires that make the power supply come online.

    If you want I can figure out a pinout but the wires are color coded.
     
  20. drey

    drey New Member

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    Jul 21, 2008
    You can get replacement power supply for your TiVoHD for about $40 on eBay. There was also another guy on these forums who bought 20 or so of these power supply and was selling them. See if you can find him.

    -- Andrey
     

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