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WARNING: Please read before upgrading Series2 TiVo

Discussion in 'TiVo Upgrade Center' started by weaknees, Mar 10, 2003.

  1. Mar 10, 2003 #1 of 194
    weaknees

    weaknees Active Member

    3,862
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    May 11, 2001
    Los Angeles
    Hi--

    (If you have already upgraded your HDVR2 or Series2 TiVo, this does not apply to you. Also, although we have referenced a potential power issue with the 230040, 240040 and 240080, this is NOT what we are writing about here.)

    We don't mean to alarm anyone, but we have encountered a problem that can potentially cause permanent damage to your TiVo. This problem is easily avoided, and will only occur if you are not careful when upgrading your HDVR2 or Series2 TiVo.

    The issue we raise below definitely applies to the HDVR2 and we have suspected this problem with the new-architecture Series2 standalone TiVos (230040, 240040 and 240080) as well.

    Overview: When looking inside your TiVo, you will notice a white ribbon cable running from the front panel of the TiVo to the motherboard. It is a white ribbon cable that plugs directly into the motherboard.

    Here's the WARNING: NEVER power-up your TiVo with this cable either slightly or completely removed from the motherboard. It must be firmly seated when you power up the TiVo.

    Here's the reason: Doing so can permanently damage your TiVo. In some cases, the TiVo will power up but will not respond to the remote. In other cases, the TiVo will not power up at all (and will just click). With the HDVR2 and, potentially, the other Series2 TiVos, even if you later plug this cable back in, your TiVo still may not respond to your remote.

    Therefore, when removing the power cable and IDE cable from your TiVo's factory hard drive, be VERY careful of this cable. Do not dislodge it. If you do dislodge it, just re-insert the cable before powering up.

    We have been including a warning in our HDVR2 upgrade instructions and TwinBreeze bracket instructions, but thought that a bit of UPPER CASE might also help save a TiVo or two.

    Good luck with your upgrade... and sorry for the alamist title.

    Michael
     
  2. Mar 10, 2003 #2 of 194
    jahf

    jahf Mew Nember

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    Apr 18, 2002
    Nederland, CO
    Thanks for the warning ... I just ordered the twinbreeze + fan setup and I appreciate knowing this in advance (since I might be one of those people who have a tendency to ignore printed stuff ;)
     
  3. Mar 10, 2003 #3 of 194
    c3

    c3 TiVoholic

    3,067
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    Sep 8, 2000
    Silicon...
    I don't have Series2, so I'm following this just for curiosity. Why would it not work after plugging the cable back in? Is the hardware actually damaged, or is it a software problem that would require restoring the drive from backup?
     
  4. Mar 10, 2003 #4 of 194
    weaknees

    weaknees Active Member

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    May 11, 2001
    Los Angeles
    Restoring the drive from a backup doesn't help - but if anyone has other thoughts, please tell us!

    Michael
     
  5. Mar 10, 2003 #5 of 194
    rk

    rk New Member

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    Oct 16, 2001
    Virginia
    I saw this white ribbon/cable when I upgraded my HDVR2 two weeks ago. I guess I was carefull enough not to disconnect it. Lucky me. Hinsdale, would it be possible to add this info to your guide too?
     
  6. Mar 15, 2003 #6 of 194
    Ye Ha

    Ye Ha New Member

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    Mar 15, 2003
    OK, this just happened to me. It was not mentioned in the hinsdale how to, and I saw this post after I encountered problems and searched this board.

    Sure enough, the cable came slightly out and I didn't see it until after I plugged TiVo back in and had problems. Now the remote doesn't work.

    Am I screwed?
     
  7. Mar 15, 2003 #7 of 194
    designr

    designr New Member

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    Nov 16, 2002
    My first thought was that you'ld have to reset the PRAM or the NVRAM or maybe even the PMU (Power Management Unit). My thinking being that it is a PowerPC logic card...

    Not knowing the internals, I have no idea how to do that or if it's even possible. (It must be or Hughes wouldn't be able to fix these things.) Is there a little, teeny tiny button somewhere near the CPU? Is there some combination of front panel buttons that reset or drop the device into firmware during the boot cycle?

    Then I had an entirely different thought. What if it were as simple as retraining the remote? See page 115 of the HDVR2 manual. Manually navigate to the System Information panel, scroll down two panels to where it should say "Remote Address: Not Set(0)" (if it still says that) and try setting it back to "0."

    Let me know what happens. I'm curious.
     
  8. Mar 15, 2003 #8 of 194
    designr

    designr New Member

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    Nov 16, 2002
    Question: Do all Series 2 TiVos support multiple recorders with independent remotes (like the HDVR2)?
     
  9. Mar 15, 2003 #9 of 194
    Ye Ha

    Ye Ha New Member

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    Mar 15, 2003
    Huh? Wut? Manually navigate? Are you talking about a series 2?
     
  10. Mar 16, 2003 #10 of 194
    unixadm

    unixadm Super Moderator Staff Member TCF Club

    8,623
    68
    Jan 1, 2001
    Georgia, USA
    I put this as a sticky since it could save people from damaging their TiVos.
     
  11. Mar 16, 2003 #11 of 194
    designr

    designr New Member

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    Nov 16, 2002
    If you have an HDVR2, there are controls built into the face of the unit. It was my understanding that the TiVo will no longer respond to the remote. The controls built into the face of the unit may still work.

    What I'm suggesting is to use those controls on the front of the unit to navigate to the System Information page containing "Remote Address: Not Set(0)" and then following the directions for making the TiVo learn an individual remote.

    Sorry. I have no intention of trying this myself because mine still works. Good luck.
     
  12. Mar 16, 2003 #12 of 194
    stevel

    stevel Dumb Blond TCF Club

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    Aug 23, 2000
    Nashua, NH
    I'm guessing that there is a component that "blows" on the motherboard when the front panel connector is not seated during power up - at least that's what I read in to what has been said before. I doubt it's a mere case of changing the remote code.

    It's not that Hughes "can't" fix it, but it's more cost effective for them to just swap in a new (or refurbished) mainboard.
     
  13. Mar 16, 2003 #13 of 194
    designr

    designr New Member

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    Nov 16, 2002
    It just seems odd to me that a missing component would cause physical damage to something on the main logic card. I could understand it if the component, in this case a daughter card, were seated improperly (ie, half out). But, weaknees is saying it happens if the main logic card is powered up and the daughter card is completely disconnected.

    What's really odd is that, at least from my reading of weaknees' report, the controls on the face of the HDVR2 still work once the daughter card is reconnected. (Weaknees?) The same daughter card controls the IR input and those face controls.

    If some component on the main logic card were physically damaged by a missing external component (ie, hard disk, RAM, IR sensor) at boot time, bench testing the main logic card would be a huge problem. I just have difficulty believing that such a huge design mistake could have been made.

    What seems more likely to me is that a PRAM or Non-Volatile RAM (Firmware) setting is lost or corrupted when the IR sensor is not found during the hardware test. Again, probably a design mistake.

    But, generally, a logic card reset (ie, PRAM reset, NVRAM reset or PMU reset) will force everything back to a factory baseline and the main logic card will be forced to relearn all of its components. That is, if the engineers had the foresight to plan for such a contingency.

    On some systems, this may require a complete power drain. Basically, pull the power cord then pull the main logic card backup battery (that little round silver thing, looks like a big watch battery). Leave it out for a few hours. This will kill any settings stored in semi-permanent programmable RAM (ie, the clock, receiver settings, etc.).

    THIS IS A LAST RESORT! IT MAY REALLY CAUSE BAD MOJO!!!!!!

    Short of that, most main logic cards are designed to be reset in one way or another. (Some are really designed to be reset by pulling the backup battery.)

    It may be policy that Hughes does not want people touching the main logic card. And, once an HDVR2 is returned, Hughes would have an onus to return a guaranteed refurb. This would require a bench test of all components. In that case, it would be cheaper to strip each box, assembly line the bench tests of all the components and build refurbs for return. Hence, a flat $150 charge for all out of warranty repairs.

    That being said, it may be that the firmware can only be reprogrammed on a bench and there is no way to fix this problem except at the factory. Again, from my thinking, a bad design flaw.

    But then I noticed that I can buy two or three HDVR2s and train each box/remote pair so that each box will only respond to one of the remotes. That way all three or four HDVR2s can be in the same room and still be controlled independently.

    So, my thought is that the main logic card has simply forgotten about the factory default setting: "Remote Address: Not Set(0)." So following the instructions on page 115 of the HDVR2 manual may allow for the reset of that lost default.

    In Hughes' mind, this problem is caused by user "abuse" and is not covered by warranty. They probably don't want to tell people how to fix something that violates their warranty terms, especially if that requires putting hands close to an unshielded power supply.

    If the battery were bad (ie, shorted out somehow, had bad contacts), it could cause the same problem and a lot more. That would probably be covered by warranty.

    Just a few thoughts.
     
  14. Mar 16, 2003 #14 of 194
    designr

    designr New Member

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    Nov 16, 2002
    jonny_ns brings up an interesting question in the thread: Changing the HDVR2 IR Code Set
    My first thought was: "Doubtless, the main logic card is designed to support future versions of the IR remote by simply replacing the IR daughter card."

    Weaknees- What does the "IR Controller Version:" report in damaged HDVR2s?
     
  15. Mar 16, 2003 #15 of 194
    weaknees

    weaknees Active Member

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    May 11, 2001
    Los Angeles
    All of your suggestions are great. We had the exact same reaction when we first encountered it. We were sure to post only after we had tried everything possible. There are a number of IR code resets, remote resets, etc. that we tried. We, too, were surprised to find that the front panel will work (on the HDVR2), but that the remote will not.

    Bottom line: Having that cable partially engaged creates some sort of a short that will knock out one of the chips. It is the chip immediately to the right of the connector, closest to the edge of the motherboard. In the HDVR2, permanent damage may also result if the cable is completely removed when the TiVo powers up.

    Michael
     
  16. Mar 16, 2003 #16 of 194
    designr

    designr New Member

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    Nov 16, 2002
    Well, then. That begs the question: How can Hughes prove the device failure was a result of user abuse and not from a inherent design flaw?

    I once received a brand new computer that was factory sealed and DOA. When I opened it up, the CPU daughter card was laying on its side, loose on the main logic card. One RAM DIMM was half out and the VRAM contacts were corroded. After I put it back together, everything worked just fine (except the CD-ROM which was toast). I needed it that day, otherwise I would have returned it.

    My point is that Hughes' quality control can not guarantee a 100% grade. Shipping abuse can easily unseat connectors that are a little out of tolerance. Moving the device from one room to another might be just enough to jiggle an already loose connector and short that chip. Even a little corrosion, maybe even a particularly humid day, could result in this kind of damage.

    Is there even one HDVR2 that has outlived its one year warranty?

    I'm sure not everyone with these defective HDVR2s wants to go the RMA route and wait 6-8 weeks for an in-warranty replacement. But, if Hughes knew of some "unofficial" trick to resurrect these boxes, they would never risk the liability of suggesting users open the box.

    So, I guess all these defective HDVR2s will have to be returned to Hughes for free replacement. The same would go for any other defective Series2 TiVos.

    After all, who's to say a Hughes assembly line worker didn't nudge the connector wrong causing a pin on the connector to get loose which resulted in an intermittent short between the main logic card and the daughter card which ended up causing a failure months later.

    Arguably, such a design flaw combined with such poor quality control could result in a class action lawsuit that would force Hughes to recall and/or extend the warranties of all HDVR2s under the provisions of some States' lemon laws.

    I would be incensed and immediately demand a refund if it were mine... :D

    Just another thought.
     
  17. Mar 16, 2003 #17 of 194
    Ye Ha

    Ye Ha New Member

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    Mar 15, 2003
    I have a TiVo Series 2 TCD230040. There are no controls on the box itself, just the remote.

    I called TiVo and opened a case, they know that I have opened the box.

    I read the warranty in the installation manual. There is no mention that opening the box voids the warranty, nor was there any sort of sticker nor label on the box itself.

    I've had the TiVo for almost 3 months, so, although the cable "may have come lose in shipping," it has been operating fine.

    Having said that, I used to design computers as well as qualify others for purchase and I required that all cables have locking connectors to that they couldn't come lose. I can't believe the cable in question does not have a locking connector in light of the potential to damage the unit.

    I plan to call corporate on Monday and pursue the warranty issue with them.

    Sorry the moderators didn't make this thread sticky sooner as it would have saved me a lot of aggravation as well as potentially $150.
     
  18. Mar 16, 2003 #18 of 194
    designr

    designr New Member

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    Nov 16, 2002
    Well... Do you still have your case number? You opened a case, they should have given you a case number. You may need to refer to the case number for the case that you opened.

    Perhaps you misspoke, or perhaps you were misquoted. Certainly, you didn't mean to suggest that you opened the case of your TiVo. Regardless, that's hearsay because I heard you say you opened a case...
     
  19. Mar 17, 2003 #19 of 194
    Eccles

    Eccles Mostly harmless

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    Dec 27, 2001
    Austin, TX
    Are there any cases of this happening to anyone who has not had the box open and been muddling around inside? If not, and you're suggesting that folks who had inadvertently broken their TiVos themselves send them back for warranty repair, then I have to ask whether you're familiar with the word fraud.

    If someone takes it upon themselves to go rummaging around in the innards of their TiVo, and buggers it in the process, then they should be prepared to accept the consequences of their actions. It's called personal responsibility, and it seems to be a scarce commodity these days.
     
  20. Mar 17, 2003 #20 of 194
    weaknees

    weaknees Active Member

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    May 11, 2001
    Los Angeles
    Eccles...

    WELL SAID!

    Michael
     

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