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Discussion in 'TiVo Coffee House - TiVo Discussion' started by ibergu, Sep 11, 2012.
Maybe stick it in a closet and use the slide remote?
You're correct. I missed that the OP has a Series3.
Not at all. First of all, many companies and even some individuals have enough systems in service that the number is statistically significant. Indeed, with more than 30 hard drives in my house and more than 100 under my administration at work, I can tell you the systems that are online 24 x 7 have far lower failure rates than those that are shut off. Of the 70 drives in embedded systems that have been running for between 15 and 18 years continuously in our Nortel systems, fewer than 5 have failed in under 10 years, and fewer than 20 have failed, total. Compare that with a roughly 40% failure rate of desktop drives over a 10 year period, per our company records.
The same holds true of other systems, including even internal combustion engines. In the field, diesel generators and pumps last far longer than those in automobiles and trucks. It is not at all uncommon for a diesel field generator or pump to run continuously for 50 years, with down-time only for maintenance, while engines in a start-stop environment often require replacement after only a few years.
Three data points is indeed a very small sample, making this, as you say, rather anecdotal, but there is plenty of evidence of a statistical significant sample size out there, as well. I have certainly had hard drives fail while in continuous use. In fact, I had one fail just a couple of weeks ago. The failure rate in intermittently operational systems, however, is quite strikingly higher.
Well, first of all, in the case of a computer, there is a much more susceptible failure mode. No matter what, if a power failure occurs in a non-batery backed drive system while a write is underway, that data is lost, period. If the write happens to be to a file allocation table, potentially serious corruption of the entire file system can result. Journalling file systems like ext3 or XFS have ways to help alleviate the data loss in such a scenario, but simple file systems like ext2 or FAT, and to some extent NTFS can easily be trashed in part or even completely by a power interruption prior to flushing the file system write buffers.
Even with more sophisticated file structures and error recovery, however, the loss of power can, to put it quite simply, knock a drive system right on its tucus. 'Just ask me what I had to do when a power outage followed by kernel panic during a RAID reshape on a 12 Terabyte array happened. Backups are a man's best friend.
No, in general not. Certainly wear and tear does occur, but for the most part there is less wear and tear on continuously running systems, unless they are run near or over their design limits.
That is a little different. In the past almost all TVs were CRTs, and CRTs have a hot filament in them. A hot filament suffers from sublimation over time while hot, so turning off the filament while not in use can significantly extend its life. The phosphors also age during illumination, so turning the set off when not in use will extend its life. Even so, failure of the CRT filament is most likely when the set is turned on or off. With items that do not have a fairly fixed operational life, however, like phosphors and filaments, continuous use tends to be less stressful than starting and stopping.
Opinion, neither yours nor mine, is relevant in this case. This is something easily measurable.
A drive that will last 15 to 18 years running at 24/7 is not the type of hard drive that most people have, just a guess on my part, a consumer type drive running at 24/7 has about 5 to 8 years of life, but run it for 1 hour once a year against a drive running 24/7 and i am sure you would get a longer life on the once a year drive.
On your comment about internal combustion engines I find interesting, so if the cost of fuel was not in the equation one could leave your car/truck running 24/7 and get a much longer life on the engine, like 50 years, I don't know the cost of replacing a big truck engine vs the extra cost of fuel by keeping it running at idle 24/7, I hope somebody has looked at that.
Desktop drives fail more because they use cheaper parts and are attached to cheap PC power supplies plugged directly into the noisy wall socket. I'd bet the Nortel system has several improvements over a typical desktop system, but price isn't one of them.
Diesel generators owned by companies are much more likely to be operated and maintained correctly than those owned by the average person. Oh, was I supposed to change the oil 10,000 miles ago?
Powering a hard drive on puts a lot of initial stress on the disk motor and the internal power supplies. But leaving it powered on puts constant stress on the actuator, a little on the disk motor, the power supply, the voice coil, and the pre-amp on the heads.
By far the most common failure is an externally caused failure (shock, power surge, temperature, etc.). That's a toss-up. When off, it's protected from surges, but the temperature isn't probably constant. Also when off, it might be getting transported. (Don't ever move a hard drive while it's spinning).
The next two most typical hard drive failures are the bearing(s) on the disk platter and misc. electrical part failure. They both get worse with use.
The fourth is the platter itself which gets better the more you use it. Defragmenting is useless for speed, but is excellent for refreshing the data.
In the end, mechanically, it's a toss up or maybe a very, very slight edge to powering it off.
Software-wise, the file system is journaled, so powering it off mid-write won't usually impact anything. I say "usually" because there's a 0.1% chance of something bad happening. It's nothing a "clear to do list and guide data" or "clear and delete everything" wouldn't fix, though most people aren't happy to have to do that. So there's fairly strong incentive to leave it on.
Make your wife happy. If you have to replace your TiVo early as a result, you really won't mind that much
I have a S3 unit that I bought as soon as they were released in 2006. It's connected to a UPS so it never loses power unless I specifically cut the power to it for some reason. (only happened a few dozen times ever) The hard drive still works fine, but the power supply is giving up the ghost. My point is... the hard drive isn't the only part in a TiVo you have to worry about. You could do everything right to make your drive last 10 years and something else, like the power supply, could cause it to die after 5.
Luckily the drive and the power supply are both easy to replace so neither one dying will render your TiVo completely useless.
according to western digital, their av-gp drives are expected to be able to run 24/7 and the mtbf (average time before a drive fails) is 1 million hours or just over 114 years. Many on this forum have such drives in their tivo.
How many people have a series 1 purchased in say the year 2000 to 2001 and still have it running with the original drive, I will admit that drives today are better than drives from 10 years ago, but 114 years at 24/7 WOW. (OK I know that at 114 years 1/2 the drives would have failed, but I still say WOW) But than again another poster in this thread said that a diesel generator, with proper maintenance, could last 50 years running 24/7, this is sure new information for me. (unless proper maintenance is replacing the barrings, rings and all other moving parts plus gaskets at regular intervals as I do agree that the oil pan and engine block should last 50 years as my 1927 Packard original oil pan and engine block are 85 years old and have no problems)
I replaced the hard drive in my Series 1 in 2001, and it's been running 24/7 ever since. It's a Samsung Spinpoint 120 GB hard drive. I can tell you that drives today are worse than they were 10 years ago, because like most other things it's about how cheap it can be made. The sizes aren't helping either, we are approaching the physical limits of what you can do with magnetic media while maintaining that form factor.
As you know, don't believe the reliability numbers of any electronic product. They are just educated guesses.
Was your UPS an offline/standby model? I hope so. Online UPSs generate insanely noisy power that will eventually ruin whatever power supply is attached to it. Of course, the UPS switching from offline to online can also fry a poorly designed power supply. The best thing you can do is to just use a surge suppressor without a UPS and hope for the best.
Also, the comment "few dozen times" means you power cycled it a lot. It obviously can't be helped, it's just one of those things. Since 2000, I power cycled my Series 1 no more than a dozen times. There are some years I never powered it off or lost power, but I had to power it off to move it a few times and once to put a bigger hard drive in. Also once a year or so the modem would get stuck (remember they had modem problems) and a hard reboot was needed to get it working again.
Having said that, my brother has gone through 4 Tivos so far. In each one either the power supply or the motherboard went bad. Sometimes you just can't win.
I pity the OP who just wanted to know if he could up-plug his TiVo at night, now he knows a diesel generator will last 50 years running 24/7 ETC ETC.