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The "Help! My Tivo is Stuttering /Freezing /Crashing /Clicking" Thread

Discussion in 'TiVo Help Center' started by ZikZak, Dec 29, 2003.

  1. Apr 15, 2004 #21 of 165
    mockfam

    mockfam New Member

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    Nov 20, 2003
    Longview, TX
    YIPEE!!! NEW FOUND CAUSE FOR LAG, STUTTER AND REBOOT!!! I hope this helps someone out there.

    Certain remote extenders may transmit interference which confuses tivo.

    Proof: For six weeks I tested by unplugging my leapfrog remote extender for random periods of time. I even varied my hours and days of testing. When my leapfrog extender is plugged in, my tivo reboots almost hourly. Sometimes 3-4 times per hour!!! The hard drive was tested as perfect at least a dozen times. I used a power conditioner with a UPS backup source.

    In addition, my leapfrog only confuses the Tivo to reboot when my two- 440 watt VHO Ballasts on my Fish Tank are on. On the other hand when I turn on my 220 watt VHO Blue Actnic lights, the Leapfrog causes the Tivo to lag, and stagger.

    So for all you Hard-Drive Doom-Sayers: I am an advanced computer systems specialist. And I certainly give the hard drive theory merit. But I am sure glad my tivo works now. But only when my leapfrog is turned off, or when my fish are asleep.

    Thanks,
    Paul

    Pioneer DVR-810hs
     
  2. Apr 15, 2004 #22 of 165
    Robert S

    Robert S New Member

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    Jul 8, 2002
    Cambridgeshi...
    IR interference is a serious problem. There are many possible causes. Remotes with stuck buttons (or things on top of them) are the most common cause, but remote extenders and florescent lights are also possibilities.

    Normally this causes the TiVo to become unresponsive to the remote and to fail to change channel on the STB. If the TiVo is rebooted, it'll go into diagnostic mode, which really freaks people out.

    I don't recall seeing reports of IR interference causing stuttering or reboots, so I think there may be more going on in your case than simply IR interference.
     
  3. Apr 18, 2004 #23 of 165
    w2jo

    w2jo New Member

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    Jun 28, 2003
    I almost never watch "live TV" through the TIVO model 1, but have been doing so tonight. I notice that the "pausing/stuttering/pixelation" problems I see frequently on recordings are, if anything, quite a bit more frequent when I am watching "live" TV.

    I know the Tivo records "live" while you are watching in the "live TV" programs but I am surprised that the "live" TiVO output video "stutters" when the input does not when you are watching "live" TV. Does TiVO record to disk and immediately play back in the "live TV" mode?

    On the 5 to 10 second "pauses", I notice the there is often a metallic "click" noise comes from the unit during the pause. It sounds like a disk head retracting "home". When this happens, there are NO GAPS in the recording when I play it back. but there WERE jumps in the video output that skips several seconds at a time during the "live" viewing.. There are sometimes half second pauses when I play the section back, but NOT at the same points when the recording is played back repeatedly. When you play the recording back, there are NO time gaps in the playback video.

    Since the recording on the disk has no gaps, does not have pauses at the same points when played back repeatedly, I have to conclude that IF this is a disk drive problem, it is a hell of a strange one! My vote would be for a processor having a stack overflow and recovering or some such similar software problem. I suggest that the "click" may be part of the software reset/restart process initializing the disk drive.. 5 to 10 seconds of "pausing" because of a hardware error is a LONG time.

    Can someone explain? I can take a highly technical explanation.

    Joe
     
  4. Apr 18, 2004 #24 of 165
    ZikZak

    ZikZak Neurostim Addict

    2,894
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    Aug 12, 2002
    Arecibo, PR
    Yes. That is to allow the use of trickplay features.

    That is the "click of doom" which ususally portends complete hard drive failure. It is not normal to hear loud mechanical clicks coming from a hard drive in use. A hard drive emitting "clicking" sounds is usually about to fail. The sound is most often caused by the heads or their armature hitting the edge or surface of the drive platters. This is indcative of a physical HD failure.

    No. The software is soft, and therefore cannot make mechanical sounds. Loud clicking sounds are not normal. You can be sure that the software is not commanding the disk drive to hit the stops. Yes, 5 to 10 seconds of stopple is a lot; your drive problem is serious.
     
  5. Apr 18, 2004 #25 of 165
    w2jo

    w2jo New Member

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    Jun 28, 2003
    Ha.. I <know> that software is SOFT and cannot <itself> make clicking sounds! However, the software is in full control of the disk drive and if the software malfunctions, it can cause all sorts of phenomenon including reset/restart of the disk drive. You can only diagnose this sort of thing by instrumenting the software and investigating from the software side.

    It can be hardware or it can be software. Just because changing the hardware (and reloading all the software) fixes a problem is (in my experience with computer systems) no assurance that hardware item was at fault. Software can do strange things. But.. It would be awfully easy for the TiVO designers to instrument the software so as to actually discover the problem and provide guidance to customers. According to TiVO support, there is no such facility in TiVo and no facility for defragging or testing the HD..

    Oh Well.. A first generation product and it is pretty nice as it is.

    I think I will take out both drives and replace with a new 160meg drive if this is possible.. Anyone know if the Tivo model 1 software accepts maxtor 160meg drives? Then I will put the two old disk drives on test for a few days and see if my disk diagnostic/exerciser program has a problem.
     
  6. Apr 18, 2004 #26 of 165
    Almuliman

    Almuliman New Member

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    Dec 16, 2003
    WA
    AFAIK, TiVos can use all drive types except SATA, so the Maxtor 160GB should be fine. I have a (recently deceased :p) Western Digital 160MB drive in my Series 1 that was working just fine.
     
  7. Apr 18, 2004 #27 of 165
    Robert S

    Robert S New Member

    9,725
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    Jul 8, 2002
    Cambridgeshi...
    You can't use a 160Mb drive as the A drive in a TiVo as the drive can't be smaller than your original drive space. You could use a 160Mb drive as the B drive, but it would only give you a few minutes of recording space.

    Instead of using that old drive, consider buying a new drive. The current ones are much larger - a thousand times or more - which would give you a useful amount of recording time.

    (You can only use the first 137Gb of a 160Gb drive (although you can fit two of them) with the stock kernel. You can use the full capacity of the disk (or even larger drives) if you replace the kernel).
     
  8. Apr 18, 2004 #28 of 165
    w2jo

    w2jo New Member

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    Jun 28, 2003
    Sorry.. A slip of the pen.. I meant 160 GigaByte drive. :)

    Joe
     
  9. Jun 7, 2004 #29 of 165
    mpaolini

    mpaolini New Member

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    Jun 7, 2004
    I have a series one with 2 drives, a 30gb original and an additional 120gb, no other mods. This setup has worked flawlessly for the last 2.5 years! My system is freezing completely more and more often to the point that I have to disconnect the power to reboot it. How can I determine which is the bad drive to replace?

    Max
     
  10. Jun 7, 2004 #30 of 165
    Robert S

    Robert S New Member

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    Jul 8, 2002
    Cambridgeshi...
    It's not any easy problem to diagnose. You can try the drive manufacturer's diagnostic (Maxtor's PowerMax for your Quantum drive).

    You can also try DiskSpeed, which is better at detecting the stutters.

    You might well end up abandoning both drives, though.
     
  11. Jul 8, 2004 #31 of 165
    stackman

    stackman New Member

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    Jul 8, 2004
    Virginia
    Don't know if this is a stopple problem or not. Video image freezes during live playback and also when watching live TV. Seems to get worse when video is on the buffer. Also get artifacts, sometimes the video will replay over again maybe two or three times but the audio is not unaffected. I have a Philips HDR112 with an 80 gig Maxtor drive added. Someone had suggested that I should change the IDE cable, that I had a older one and a new one should fix this problem. Any ideas?
     
  12. Jul 8, 2004 #32 of 165
    w2jo

    w2jo New Member

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    Jun 28, 2003
    At least a PART of the problem must be in the TiVo Operating System. My unit "occasionally" will "pause" for 5, 10, or even 15 seconds. Then it picks right up where it left off without missing more than a syllable or two. If I then "back up 8 seconds" I get to see the sequence without any gaps or stutters.

    Seems like maybe the playback program occasionally "goes to sleep" and does not get brought back soon enough.

    The conventional wisdom is that this is all a defective hard drive problem, but my drives both check out fine with the Maxtor diagnostic and cleaning them ot an reloading the software did not fix the problem. So.. I guess we just live with it and chalk it up to "first production technology seldom gets all the bugs out". Certainly (by now) with this problem going on for about three years that I know of, Tivo should have instrumented the OS so as to offer clues of the actual cause of this problem. As it is, if you call Tivo they simply say: We do not get involved in hardware problems. On the other hand, Philips says that they have no idea and that TiVo furnishes the software. So.. The bottom line is: The customer is caught in the middle with no where to go.

    :(
     
  13. Jul 8, 2004 #33 of 165
    stackman

    stackman New Member

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    Jul 8, 2004
    Virginia
    Mine doesn't do that even if I jump back it still gets hung up in the same place. It does it both in live tv and in playback. If the picture freezes then the sound stops with it, but if it is just artifacts and the same scene replays the audio never has a problem.
     
  14. Jul 12, 2004 #34 of 165
    stackman

    stackman New Member

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    Jul 8, 2004
    Virginia
    Just an update to the problem I was having with my series 1. I upgraded the IDE cable from an ATA33 to an ATA66 cable and it seems to have corrected the problems that I was having. I don't know if this well help anyone else out but it might be something worth trying.
     
  15. Jul 31, 2004 #35 of 165
    w2jo

    w2jo New Member

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    Jun 28, 2003
    Thanks Stackman!
    For years, I have had stutter and playback pauses also. I was told repeatedly that this was caused by disk drive problems but the drives passed the diagnostic just fine.

    Then I read your article where you changed the IDE cable to the disk drive from the original to one made using the 80 conductor IDE 133 Ultra cable and this had fixed your problems 100%. I did not have an Ultra IDE cable with enough cable length between the two drive connectors to work in the Tivo. So I tried exchanging a STANDARD IDE CABLE (without the wires split out as in the Philips Tivo) and Lo.. My stuttering went away completely.

    My conclusion: There is a design defect in the Tivo system wherein the engineers "sliced the cable" into pairs of wires to make the section from between the two IDE connectors more flexible. This works for LOTS of units but on SOME units the added signal overshoot/ringing/crosstalk caused by the added cable mismatch is just enough to cause disk data transfer problems. Likely the Ultra 133 IDE cable is a much better technical solution but "whatever works" is good enough.

    I am also told that adding the Tivo Cache Card is another complete solution to the stutter problem.

    So.. BEFORE you go to the trouble of changing disk drives try a new IDE cable, preferably the Ultra 133 IDE model (if connector spacing is long enough). Your problems MAY go away.
    Joe
     
  16. Aug 21, 2004 #36 of 165
    jimrod

    jimrod New Member

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    Aug 21, 2004
    I believe Spin Rite ver.6 will work for TiVo, you may want to check their web site.

    Were you not around when an IBM 1GB was around $1000.00? When they were close to full or not often defraged the stall time was at least twice the 5 sec your getting. True, the new drives are larger, but your PC with about the same size hard drive does not even come close to the way TiVo is abusing that drive.l

    Why? by the time it fails, your TiVo is out of warranty. What you need to know is that most hard drive companies will warranty their drive for 5 years, and the only proof you need is the hard drive to send in.

    Jim :D
     
  17. Aug 22, 2004 #37 of 165
    Andrewp75

    Andrewp75 New Member

    210
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    Aug 4, 2004
    Washington DC
    Hi Everyone.

    Just purchased a 80 hour new Tivo serial #540... I have Comcast analog cabel with a Scientific Atlanta Analog box with no Video inputs other than coax and no serial connection. It is a 3 digit box though.

    The problem that Im having is that there is a 4-7 second stutter at the begining of all recordings. This happens on all channels and at all times. Happens both with scheduled recordings and with suggestions. I have tried switching the cable box to "no need to enter the enter button" with no luck.

    The one time it doesnt stutter is if it is already on the channel that it is going to record before it starts recording.

    Does anyone have a solution? Thanks for the help! So glad to have a Series Two after almost 5 years with a series one. Just want it to work right.

    Andrew
     
  18. Aug 23, 2004 #38 of 165
  19. Aug 31, 2004 #39 of 165
    zdeblick

    zdeblick New Member

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    Aug 31, 2004
    Has anyone found a resolution for this problem? I'm having the same or a very similar error with my S2. After moving cities, I chose the reset location option so that tivo would take me through the guided setup again and update the new phone numbers and cable provider. All is well, until the end of the setup when the box tries to make the "Program Call," which should be a piece of cake. Instead, when the tivo is preparing to call and goes into the "Cleaning Up" stage, it gets stuck at 27% for HOURS. I've tried all that seems obvious: restart (by pulling the power cable since there seems to be no other way to reset). I even opened the box (the warranty period just passed, wouldn't you know) and made sure the hard drive was snugly plugged in and I reinserted the coin battery. The temp isn't hot at all, in fact it feels cool, and the hard drive isn't making any of the ominous "clicking" sounds. Its silent.

    Is there anything else to try--like a hard reboot that resets all data? Or a way to skip the program call so that the reset will complete and I will worry about the program call later?

    Thoughts? Please.

    Nick
     
  20. Sep 28, 2004 #40 of 165
    bohlke

    bohlke New Member

    9
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    Mar 8, 2004
    Lincoln, NE
    I have a Series 1 Tivo with 2 drives, I have been seeing increased pauses, freezes, and sometimes the the audio goes away and the screen freezes and when the screen comes back the audio goes nuts to catch up. I think these are hard drive issues.

    The second problem I am having is sometimes when I switch to the tivo screen I dont get the green background, I get a black one. Sometimes I get the last frame of the program I was watching with the menu titles superimposed. And sometimes I get freezes and stuttering in the menu. Are these symptoms of a different problem?
     

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