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Tivo HD gray screen issues...

Discussion in 'TiVo Series3 HDTV DVRs' started by dansamy, Mar 31, 2014.

  1. dansamy

    dansamy New Member

    7
    0
    Mar 31, 2014
    Hello!
    I recently purchased a used tivo hd from eBay, which was reported to be "in good, used condition" & functional. Upon getting it all set up on ota digital antenna only, the recordings freeze, do not play & then the tivo begins to reboot. After a few moments on the welcome screen, it flashes over to a blank gray screen with no remote response at all. It must be unplugged to reboot. Any ideas? HDD? PSU? Mobo? I do not wish to shotgun pays until it works as intended. If there's multiple causes for this symptom, I'd prefer to contact the seller to return it & either try another unit or just do an XBMC PC.
     
  2. unitron

    unitron Active Member

    16,387
    2
    Apr 28, 2006
    semi-coastal NC
    How much did you pay and does it have a lifetime subscription or not?


    Generally when a TiVo goes from the original Welcome screen (which is stored on a chip on the motherboard and not on the drive) to a plain, featureless gray screen, it means there's a problem with communications between the motherboard and the hard drive, but that the motherboard is at least somewhat aware of the existance of a hard drive.

    (If you boot a TiVo with no hard drive attached, data-cable wise, it never moves beyond that first screen to anything else.)

    All of the Series 2 and Series 3 TiVo models are subject to possible power supply problems because millions and millions of unintentionally faulty electrolytic capacitors flooded into the global supply chain beginning over a decade and a half ago.

    This problem is generally referred to as capacitor plague.

    The good news is that if that's your problem it's easily fixable for about $10 in replacement Low ESR caps rated for use at up to 105 degrees C and a little soldering.


    If the hard drive can't get quite as much current as it needs to operate properly, that could produce the trouble you're having.

    On the other hand, so could a problem with the hard drive itself.

    Also possible is faulty data connection between hard drive and motherboard--perhaps due to a combination of heat related expanding and contracting before shipping and getting bounced around during shipping making the data cable come lose at one end or the other.

    All of these are going to require using a #10 Torx bit to take the screws out and removing the top from the TiVo chassis.

    Lots of people here have worked on their own TiVos, replacing hard drives and repairing power supplies, so we should be able to guide you through the necessary steps.
     
  3. dansamy

    dansamy New Member

    7
    0
    Mar 31, 2014
    It's a TCD652160 with lifetime. I paid $200, which if it works, is a pretty good deal. We only have OTA antenna out here. I canceled directv. I wanted a solution that would make it easier than using an HTPC. Fortunately, eBay and PayPal are good about buyer's protection.
     
  4. squint

    squint New Member

    846
    0
    Jun 15, 2008
    There may be easy repair options. What is your general location?
     
  5. unitron

    unitron Active Member

    16,387
    2
    Apr 28, 2006
    semi-coastal NC
    It's not going to heal itself.

    Either you return it, or you take the top off and find out what's wrong.

    We can advise you how to go about the second option.
     
  6. dansamy

    dansamy New Member

    7
    0
    Mar 31, 2014
    I'm communicating with the seller. Depending on their receptivity, I'm not opposed to tinkering with it myself, but if it needs parts, that's something I would have to work out with the seller.
     
  7. dansamy

    dansamy New Member

    7
    0
    Mar 31, 2014
    Well, the seller is receptive to me at least opening it & looking. I know I need to check the cable connecting the hard drive. What else should I look at?
     
  8. squint

    squint New Member

    846
    0
    Jun 15, 2008
    Check the electrolytic capacitors on the power supply for any obvious signs of failure such as bulging (tops should be pancake flat) or leaking. They can fail without showing such signs though. Because the capacitors used are of such low quality, it's just a matter of time before they fail so replacing them should be done anyway.

    The other thing to do would be to test the hard drive by connecting it to a PC and running the HDD manufacturer's diagnostics. I bought a Tivo HD off of eBay a few months ago that was listed as "For Parts or Repair Only..." because it wouldn't boot. Replacing the power supply did not help and the HDD passed every test I threw at it. Finally, I put in a new drive with a Tivo drive image I downloaded and did a clear and delete. I then cloned that drive to a 2 tb drive and it's been fine since then.
     
  9. unitron

    unitron Active Member

    16,387
    2
    Apr 28, 2006
    semi-coastal NC
    Look at this thread


    http://www.tivocommunity.com/tivo-vb/showthread.php?t=473394


    There should be some good pictures in there in the later pages of what capacitors in the power supply with visible signs of failure look like.

    That doesn't mean that a capacitor can't be going bad without a visible sign, but if you open it up and see a bulged cap, you'll know that you need about $10 or so in replacements and to borrow someone's soldering iron.

    As for the drive, there's a combination power and data plug.

    Re-seat the other end of the data cable where it plugs into the motherboard and then pull the plug out of the back of the drive and then re-seat it firmly into the back of the drive and plug the TiVo into the wall socket and see if it gets past the welcome screen into the few more minutes screen.

    Report back.
     

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