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Pixelation on ALL stations

Discussion in 'TiVo Series3 HDTV DVRs' started by dbenrosen, Oct 26, 2013.

  1. dbenrosen

    dbenrosen New Member

    462
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    Sep 20, 2003
    New Jersey
    Over the past week, my Series 3 (the one with the LED front panel) has been experiencing pixelation issues on EVERY station. This applies to both recorded shows and live TV. Sometimes it is just annoying, other times it makes the shows unwatchable. I have replaced the hard drive a few years back so it isn't the original drive.

    I have another TiVo, a Premiere, attached to the same TV connected to the same splitter. I even tried switching the cables to see if it was a splitter issue, but the Premiere was fine while the S3 still had the problem.

    I checked the signal strength and all stations were above 90 even when I could see the pixelation occurring.

    Recordings from before the pixelation started play back fine.

    Any thoughts? Failing hard drive? Power supply?
     
  2. sfhub

    sfhub Active Member

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    Jan 6, 2007
    Go into system info and look at the rc uncorrected errors for cc1/cc2

    If they are constantly increasing yet your other TiVo is fine, there's a good chance the power supply is heading south.
     
  3. Teeps

    Teeps Active Member

    1,664
    4
    Aug 16, 2001
    Torrance,Cal...
    Last time my S3 648250 had this problem. Time Warner found the coax cable on the utility pole had been chewed by rodents.
    A new coax cable and updated ground (per local code) and the problem was fixed.

    How old are the existing cables?
    Fresh coax cables are easy and cheap to eliminate first.

    Power supply is suspect too, as sfhub said.
     
  4. dlfl

    dlfl Cranky old novice

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    Power supply failure, most likely due to electrolytic capacitor "disease", can cause all kinds of symptoms and should be eliminated. Check the caps to see if any are bulging, even slightly, as shown here:
    http://www.tivocommunity.com/tivo-vb/showthread.php?p=8750894#post8750894
    Preferably also check the voltages. Don't disconnect any connectors but be cautious of lethal exposed voltages.
    Black is ground or zero volts
    Yellow is 12V
    Red is 5V
    Orange is 3.3V
    All should be within 5%.
    Any bulging caps should be replaced or the entire supply replaced.

    If the PS is OK, what are the RS Corrected counts doing in DVR Diagnostics? If they are large and increasing rapidly, you have a signal (or tuner) problem, which seems unlikely based on what you've already posted.

    So that leaves the hard drive to suspect. Run KS54. It will catch many problems but can miss some. For definite results hook the drive up to a PC and run the mfr's extended diagnostics test.
     
  5. unitron

    unitron Active Member

    16,387
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    Apr 28, 2006
    semi-coastal NC
    Allow me to slightly disagree.

    Don't bother with KS54.

    Even if the power supply is good, there is a very small but still real chance it could screw something up, and if the power supply is bad you can't trust any results you get.

    You need to lift the lid to look at the power supply caps anyway, so undo the drive bracket and lift it and the drive out and hook the drive to a PC and run the drive manufacturer's own diagnostic long test.

    If you can't get an image for a bootable cd with it on it from the manufacturer's web site, it's probably on the Ultimate Boot CD, a bootable image for which you can download free, and a copy of which you should have anyway.
     
  6. dbenrosen

    dbenrosen New Member

    462
    0
    Sep 20, 2003
    New Jersey
    The RS Corrected counts are large and growing by leaps and bounds. It certainly is not the cable wires as I switched them between the two TiVos and the problem was still with the S3. I'll need to open it up and look at the capacitors.
     
  7. dlfl

    dlfl Cranky old novice

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    Jul 6, 2006
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    Hmmm.... My advice was to check the PS first then do KS54. So you're saying KS54 itself "could screw something up" ??? That's news to me.
     
  8. dlfl

    dlfl Cranky old novice

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    Just to tie this down completely:
    You took the cable going into the "good" tivo and connected it to the cable input of the "bad" tivo, correct? Have you tried wiggling the cable while watching the RS error counts. Cables can go bad in a way that depends on the actual angle and stress on the cable, although it would seem very strange you wouldn't see such a problem showing up on the "good" tivo after moving the cables around.
     
  9. unitron

    unitron Active Member

    16,387
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    Apr 28, 2006
    semi-coastal NC
    I ran it on an S2 DT (that was working just fine) just out of curiousity, and wound up having to use WinMFS's fix swap or fix bootpage to get to work again afterwards.

    I don't know exactly (or even vaguely) what went wrong or why what I did fixed it, but I ain't takin' that chance again.
     
  10. dbenrosen

    dbenrosen New Member

    462
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    Sep 20, 2003
    New Jersey
    I started to see some pixelation on the other TiVo, which is a premiere. I'm now suspecting the splitter or cables. I will get a new one and see if that corrects the issue.
     
  11. unitron

    unitron Active Member

    16,387
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    Apr 28, 2006
    semi-coastal NC
    The trouble with pixelation is that it can be in the signal before it gets to the TiVo or the TV's tuner.
     
  12. dlfl

    dlfl Cranky old novice

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    True, and some such errors won't show up in the RS error counts. However, in this case both his Tivo's should have been showing equal problems from the start.
     
  13. unitron

    unitron Active Member

    16,387
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    Apr 28, 2006
    semi-coastal NC
    If you aren't watching both at the exact same time, how do you know they aren't?

    Back when all we had was analog cable into the NTSC tuner TV or VCRs, if I saw "rectangles" I knew it had been introduced into the signal before it got to the house.

    Same setup, but add TiVos, and I have to be watching the TV tuner's output on one screen and the TiVo's output on another at the same time to be absolutely certain the cause is still external.
     
  14. dbenrosen

    dbenrosen New Member

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    Sep 20, 2003
    New Jersey
    I'm suspecting the cables/splitter now because last night while investigating the power supply and other internals of the series 3, if the cable attached to the Premiere (which is in the same cabinet) got moved even slightly, it started to have pixelation. It is not nearly as bad as the S3 is having, but I think it is now related to the signal. If my new splitter doesn't work, I will take my S3 into another room and try it there to see if it still experiences the problem.
     
  15. dlfl

    dlfl Cranky old novice

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    Replace the offending cable(s), not just the splitter!
     
  16. dlfl

    dlfl Cranky old novice

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    Come on! He said in the first post he saw it on one tivo but never on the other one over a period of a week. Consistent with cable or splitter problems but not with signal coming into the splitter.
     
  17. unitron

    unitron Active Member

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    But with only one TV he had to view his sources sequentially, not simultaneously, and any repair guy can tell you that there's no such thing as an intermittent on which you can rely to manifest itself when you need it to.
     
  18. dlfl

    dlfl Cranky old novice

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    I don't need a repair guy to tell me that -- it's a corollary of Murphy's law. If your car has an intermittent problem you should always wait as long as you can stand it before taking it in, hoping it will become more frequent and easier to detect. But this intermittent was apparently easy to observe on one Tivo and was never encountered on the other one for a week. (Until he started wiggling the cables)
     
  19. dbenrosen

    dbenrosen New Member

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    Sep 20, 2003
    New Jersey
    I replaced the cables and splitter, and for a brief period, it appeared to fix the problem. But alas, no joy in Mudville as the pixelation returned and appears to be about the same as before. The capacitors could be slightly bulging, though it is difficult to tell. My options appear to be: 1) try replacing the power supply or 2) replace the entire TiVo with a Roamio. I will try to move the TiVo to another TV and see if that works, but I do not have high hopes for that test.

    I'm not sure I want to invest in replacing the power supply if that ends up not being the problem. Is there any way to be sure that is the problem before I spend the money to get a replacement?
     
  20. dlfl

    dlfl Cranky old novice

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    So you're saying the problem returned but was it just on the HD or also on the Premiere? I.e., can you wiggle cables now without causing pixelation on the Premiere (or for that matter, without increasing pixelation on the HD)?

    Here's a picture of slight bulging:
    http://www.tivocommunity.com/tivo-vb/showthread.php?p=8750894#post8750894
    The tops should be absolutely flat or even slightly concave as seen in the left picture.

    To get more certainty about the PS you could measure the voltages. Do this without disconnecting any connectors and of course be warned there are lethal voltages exposed.

    Black is ground or zero volts.
    Yellow: 12V
    Red: 5V
    Orange: 3.3V
    All are +/- 5% although there is some question about whether the 12V could be 10%.

    Use a thin voltmeter probe and you can poke it into the back of the connector that carries a bunch of these wires to the motherboard.

    Other than that, I don't know any other way to check out the PS beyond bulging caps.
     

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