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Old 07-25-2011, 05:05 PM   #1
johnsom
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Arrow Tivo Series 3 - Bad capacitors in power supply

Word of warning... It appears that Tivo has used a power supply in the Series 3 units that has bad capacitors. My series 3 went down last week and being well out of warranty (I jumped on the Series 3 upgrade promotion) I opened the case. The first obvious issue was the Capxon (known bad capacitor vendor) brand capacitor bulging and starting to leak.

I wonder how many other Series 3 units are experiencing this problem.

It looks like they used quality capacitors on the motherboard, but went cheap on the power supply components.

I have ordered some Rubycon replacements, I'll post with the results when I get it repaired.
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Old 07-25-2011, 05:31 PM   #2
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"Capacitor Dissease" is well known in the electronics industry and has affected plenty of equipment. The early S3's were of the vintage to be most likely affected. This problem and replacing the caps has been mentioned on this forum numerous times.

Tivo obviously buys power supplies, and probably the mother boards, from vendors so it's not surprising if one vendor used bad caps and another didn't.

Hope you ordered "low ESR" premium caps!

There's even a bad cap web site:
http://www.badcaps.net/
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Old 07-25-2011, 08:15 PM   #3
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Buy a non-working S3 on eBay or Craigslist and strip out the power supply.
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Old 07-25-2011, 08:18 PM   #4
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...or if you're in a hurry (I wouldn't be) buy a power supply from Weaknees for $99.

http://www.tivocommunity.com/tivo-vb...d.php?t=473322
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Old 07-25-2011, 09:45 PM   #5
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ohh I see a game of "spot the potential link spammer" that might be happening right before my eyes!
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Old 07-25-2011, 11:31 PM   #6
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ohh I see a game of "spot the potential link spammer" that might be happening right before my eyes!
It's right there when you follow the unicorn tracks.
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Old 07-26-2011, 12:38 PM   #7
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Low ESR and replacement parts

I would buy a new power supply from Weaknees, but I have the skills required to just buy the $10 in parts and fix it myself.

I did get low ESR parts that surpass the ESR and ripple specs on the original.
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Old 07-31-2011, 10:24 AM   #8
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I would buy a new power supply from Weaknees, but I have the skills required to just buy the $10 in parts and fix it myself.

I did get low ESR parts that surpass the ESR and ripple specs on the original.
When it comes to Capxon, I think even the stuff in Radio Shack's junk drawers outspecs them.
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Old 08-09-2011, 12:00 AM   #9
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Well, after several years of having problems with my S3 it has finally died. Just this morning actually.

I opened up the case again and noticed that the large capacitor on the power board is rusting. Something is leaking out of that thing.

Unfortunately I do not have the skills or tools to replace just the capacitor so it looks like I'm stuck replacing the entire power board.

Thanks,
RM

Last edited by RobOnLI : 08-09-2011 at 12:24 AM.
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Old 08-09-2011, 01:03 AM   #10
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Originally Posted by RobOnLI View Post
Well, after several years of having problems with my S3 it has finally died. Just this morning actually.

I opened up the case again and noticed that the large capacitor on the power board is rusting. Something is leaking out of that thing.

Unfortunately I do not have the skills or tools to replace just the capacitor so it looks like I'm stuck replacing the entire power board.

Thanks,
RM
If you feel comfortable removing the power supply, and want to pay shipping/mailing both ways (and a few bucks for the replacement capactitor(s), I can unsolder the bad ones and solder in good replacements, no charge for labor.

However, I don't have an S3 in which to test it, and can't absolutely guarantee that the capacitor(s) are the only thing wrong with it.

Mailing an entire TiVo runs about $20 one way. Not sure what sending just the power supply would run.
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Old 08-09-2011, 06:45 AM   #11
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I've purchased 3 Tivo HD units from ebay in the last month for an average of $31 DELIVERED, if you are patient, you can find some really good deals on a working parts machine.. the early THX Series 3 are actually more money
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Old 08-09-2011, 05:06 PM   #12
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Smile Fixed!

Replaced the bad CapXon with Rubycon Saturday and have been running great since.
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Old 08-09-2011, 08:48 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RobOnLI View Post
Well, after several years of having problems with my S3 it has finally died. Just this morning actually.

I opened up the case again and noticed that the large capacitor on the power board is rusting. Something is leaking out of that thing.

Unfortunately I do not have the skills or tools to replace just the capacitor so it looks like I'm stuck replacing the entire power board.
An $8 soldering iron and a $5 roll of solder from Radio Shack are all the tools required. While the Tivo motherboard is a multilayer board using surface mount components, the power supply is just a single layer board with axial lead components. Re-working an SMD multilayer board requires some skill and a steady hand. I don't recommend it for someone who is not already handy with a soldering iron. A low-frequency single layer board however, is much easier to wrangle. Just be sure to keep the tip of the iron clean, heat the joint, and add the solder to the joint, not the iron, and you should be fine. A bit of solderwick or a solder sucker can help with de-soldering, but honestly with large capacitors it's really not necessary.

Of course, it's up to you, but frankly, I can't imagine shying away from a soldering job this simple. Honestly, this is nothing I would have hestitated to tackle when I was 12 years old.
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Old 08-09-2011, 08:56 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by johnsom View Post
I wonder how many other Series 3 units are experiencing this problem.
A lot. It's a well known problem. I have several bulging caps on one of my S3s. (I haven't opened the other recently.) If they go plotz, I'll drag out the old soldering iron.

Quote:
Originally Posted by johnsom View Post
It looks like they used quality capacitors on the motherboard, but went cheap on the power supply components.
Yep. I suspect they may have purchsed the power supplies as assembled units from some OEM manufacturer. It's what I would do.
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Old 08-11-2011, 01:34 AM   #15
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the early THX Series 3 are actually more money
A working OLED front panel goes for almost $100 from parts dealers. :-|

So I imagine that explains why those are more.
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Old 08-11-2011, 01:41 AM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lrhorer View Post
An $8 soldering iron and a $5 roll of solder from Radio Shack are all the tools required. While the Tivo motherboard is a multilayer board using surface mount components, the power supply is just a single layer board with axial lead components. Re-working an SMD multilayer board requires some skill and a steady hand. I don't recommend it for someone who is not already handy with a soldering iron. A low-frequency single layer board however, is much easier to wrangle. Just be sure to keep the tip of the iron clean, heat the joint, and add the solder to the joint, not the iron, and you should be fine. A bit of solderwick or a solder sucker can help with de-soldering, but honestly with large capacitors it's really not necessary.

Of course, it's up to you, but frankly, I can't imagine shying away from a soldering job this simple. Honestly, this is nothing I would have hestitated to tackle when I was 12 years old.
You left out the part about these particular electrolytics being polarity sensitive (as are probably 99.99% of electrolytics), and to take careful note of how the old ones are hooked up so as to not put the new ones in "backwards".
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Old 08-11-2011, 04:30 AM   #17
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Yesterday I read about the issue the first time and it is apparently a common problem. With 2 lifetime TiVoHDs I guess I better open both up and see if I have any problems. There is nothing about how the units are working that makes me believe anything is wrong so maybe I will be lucky. Replacing the power supply with a power supply from a used TiVo when I have a problem isn't my preferred solution but might be the least expensive.
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Old 08-11-2011, 04:57 AM   #18
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You left out the part about these particular electrolytics being polarity sensitive (as are probably 99.99% of electrolytics), and to take careful note of how the old ones are hooked up so as to not put the new ones in "backwards".
True. A polarized electrolytic capacitor can explode if installed backwards. I wouldn't say 99.99% of electrolytic caps are polarized, but certainly more than 99% are. Non-polarized electrolytic capacitors certainly exist, but they tend to be rather small as filter capacitors go, and they are considerably more expensive than polarized electrolytic caps.

Last edited by lrhorer : 08-11-2011 at 06:14 PM.
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Old 08-11-2011, 09:23 AM   #19
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Arrow

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I opened up the case again and noticed that the large capacitor on the power board is rusting. Something is leaking out of that thing.
It's not rusting, that's the color of the electrolytic fluid leaking out of the capacitor.

The fluid is the problem - it's a case of industrial espionage gone wrong - they stole a bad electrolytic fluid formula Badcaps.net is a fascinating site if you are into electronics, geeky in nature or just enjoy a good mystery. Dell got hit particularly bad with their Optiplex GX270's - we had to eventually replace thousands of them and it go so bad that for a while we stocked internally a steady supply of motherboards to swap out as the machines turned up. We eventually started to proactively look for the bad ones - the capacitors, at least for the Dells, all had an X on the end of them so they were easy to spot. If there as any other letter they were fine. It was a complete nightmare - but as others pointed out, it affected the entire electronics industry and not just one or two manufacturers.
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Old 08-11-2011, 06:11 PM   #20
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if you are into electronics, geeky in nature or just enjoy a good mystery. Dell got hit particularly bad with their Optiplex GX270's - we had to eventually replace thousands of them
<Light bulb goes on> Ah! My company supplied me with a GX270 whose power supply failed. I always thought it funny, because modern power supplies are so reliable. I'll bet that's what it was.
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Old 08-11-2011, 10:35 PM   #21
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Arrow

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<Light bulb goes on> Ah! My company supplied me with a GX270 whose power supply failed. I always thought it funny, because modern power supplies are so reliable. I'll bet that's what it was.
Our problems were with the motherboards, not the power supplies - but it wouldn't be a surprise to me if it wasn't your issue as well. Dell sold a ton of those boxes so the issue could have definitely crossed over.
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Old 09-02-2011, 03:39 AM   #22
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Business voice mail systems had similiar capacitor problems

Avaya (spin off of AT&T/Lucent) had most of their Map5 Intuity voice mail systems go down because of bad capacitors about 10 years ago. They spent millions replacing the mother boards, all because of a bad capacitor supplier. Amazingly enough, Avaya didn't proactively replace them. So hospitals, critical businesses and law enforcement were without a key part of the phone systems while Avaya got technicians out to repair the voice mail boxes. I think that is when many customers realized that their best interests were not being met by Avaya and went with a different vendor. That was only reinforced when the same boxes went down every 248 days due to a software bug that AVaya refused to address.
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Old 09-07-2011, 02:09 PM   #23
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Looks like I found this thread a little late. My Series 3 collapsed two weeks after the warranty ran out which was extremely frustrating for me. I have been talking to some service providers about their provided DVR service, but I have to admit I am partial to Tivo. What would you guys do, do any of you use generic or provider provided DVR systems? It would be cool to find something that I could export right to a dvd burning system of some sort.

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Old 09-07-2011, 02:23 PM   #24
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Looks like I found this thread a little late. My Series 3 collapsed two weeks after the warranty ran out...
Well, if it's due to bad capacitors, it probably can be fixed. Same for bad power supply in general, or bad hard drive. They can all be replaced.

If you have a lifetime subscription, may be worth repairing. Especially if you can diy.
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Old 10-17-2011, 12:53 PM   #25
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Just looked up youtube for video found one here


Installing Tivo Power Supply Capacitors
You need to upgrade your Flash Player

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Old 11-12-2011, 12:30 PM   #26
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Thanks to all who have posted!

As a lurker, I just wanted to say thank you to everyone here for their input and advice. I have a Series 3 that was having reboot issues and I ended up replacing the hard drive and a bulging capacitor. Bought several 2200uF 25V 105C caps from Mouser and got it installed on the first try. I know that I would not have noticed the bulge without the info in this post and others, and I am pretty sure I would not have attempted it myself without the same (no real soldering experience).

Thanks again.
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Old 11-12-2011, 12:37 PM   #27
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As a lurker, I just wanted to say thank you to everyone here for their input and advice. I have a Series 3 that was having reboot issues and I ended up replacing the hard drive and a bulging capacitor. Bought several 2200uF 25V 105C caps from Mouser and got it installed on the first try. I know that I would not have noticed the bulge without the info in this post and others, and I am pretty sure I would not have attempted it myself without the same (no real soldering experience).

Thanks again.
Now you can start trolling Craigslist for other dead TiVos and use up the rest of those caps.
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Old 11-12-2011, 12:52 PM   #28
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Now you can start trolling Craigslist for other dead TiVos and use up the rest of those caps.
Either that or sell them with a small mark-up to help subsidize the shipping costs.

I would definitely keep one as a back-up, but could send the the other two via usps to someone in need who was not in a huge rush. It seems that one is the one that fails fairly often.
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Old 01-10-2012, 09:37 PM   #29
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Big Grin Fixed my Tivo with this help

I managed to fix my broken NZ Series 3 Tivo for the cost of 3 2200uF capacitors (NZ$2.40).

My Tivo was stuck in the 'powering up' boot screen and getting nowwhere. Fortunately I could buy a new one for only NZ$200 but still wanted to try and fix the old one.

Opened the case, and verified HDD was OK -- and heard the tick-tick noise from the power supply proving that was the problem.

Simple job to identify and replace the 3 2200uF/10V capacitors with 2200uF/16V ones -- had this not worked I'd have replaces the 47uF/50V ones as well.

However, simple replace of these 3 fixed everything! $200 value for $2.40.
Thanks to all who posted.

(For the benefit of Googlers: New Zealand TiVo repair power supply boot problem)

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Old 01-15-2012, 03:22 PM   #30
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looking for some confirmation and a hand finding replacements.

my S3 died last night-seems to be power supply- at first it was stuck in reboot loop of welcome power up then blank screen, lather rinse repeat.

I unplugged it and went to bed. Looked at it to day with the cover off and when i plug it in a get nothing but a clicking from the power supply- not the drvie click of death (had a dozen or so tivo's over 10 or so years so know that sound well... sadly).

When I look at it from the front on the right of the tall black heatsink is a tall skinny cap that is bulging- (C701 on the board) marked 2200uf 25v (another post says that cluster of tall ones is the usual culprit). But also just to the left of that black heat sink are 2 shorter caps also marked 2200uf but 6.3v (C401 and the one next to it)

I assume i just need to change these 3 caps.

But only really every built from kits so no idea how to spec things.

some other posts say I should be looking for low ESR types and others said be sure to get 105 degrees

so i picked out these from amazon:
4 pack panasoinc low ESR 105 degree radial 2200uf 25v

and this:
8pack rubycon low ESR 105 degrees radial leads 2200uf 6.3v

those cut the mustard?

thanks
Mike

Last edited by MichaelK : 01-15-2012 at 07:46 PM.
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