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Old 07-23-2012, 05:58 PM   #1
pgoelz
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Pixelation / stuttering with OK hard drive?

Sorry if this is covered elsewhere... I looked and didn't find anything that seemed to apply to this particular set of symptoms.

First, some background.....

I have a TivoHD, upgraded several years ago to a 1GB WD Green HD. It is on digital cable (no antenna) and has a single multi-stream cable card in it on Comcast. It ran perfectly until about a year and a half ago, when it suddenly got into a continuous reboot loop after a brief power failure. All WD tests on the HD passed but repeated attempts to restore a known good image from the original 160GB HD resulted in the same reboot loop. The power supply was perfect... all correct voltages and no signs of swollen caps. In desperation, I purchased another identical 1GB HD and restored the same image to it, which worked perfectly. The "failed" HD was reformatted to NTFS and lives happily to this day in a Win7 PC.

That replacement HD worked 100% with no issues whatsoever until a couple months ago, when it started pixellating and stuttering infrequently and randomly. I attempted a kickstart 57 but could not get it to run, so I successfully ran the kickstart 54 SMART tests, which passed. After the kickstart 54, the pixellation vanished utterly and it ran perfectly for several months.

The pixelation returned again this morning, so I tried a kickstart 57. This time I got it to run (I wasn't waiting long enough for it to start). It finished after 2.5 hours and rebooted successfully. However, the pixelation and stuttering remained unchanged. I then ran a kickstart 54 and the quick automated SMART tests, which once again passed. And lo and behold, the pixellation has once again vanished!

Anyone know why a kickstart 54 SMART test would cure pixellation and stuttering where a successful kickstart 57 would not? A kickstart 54 is only a test.... it doesn't change anything on the HD. Any ideas what might be going on here? The power supply still looks OK.

Paul
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Old 07-23-2012, 08:55 PM   #2
dlfl
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You might want to test the voltages in the PS, at least the 5 (+/-5%) and 12 (+/-10%) volts. This should be done without disconnecting anything inside the TiVo and with it powered up (WARNING: Shock Hazard -- don't do this unless you are confident with electronics.). The points to put your test probes on are labeled on the PS board (5V, 12V and GND, look for where large numbers of red, yellow or black wires connect to the board).

Kickstart 54 doesn't catch all possible HDD problems. You could remove the HDD and hook it up to a PC (either by internal SATA connector or via a SATA-USB adapter) and run the WD extended diagnostics on it. If it finds no errors the test will not corrupt any data on the disk. If it does find errors, it's probably best to replace the disk anyway -- it's on the way out. Also, my recommendation is to run the extended diagnostics on any new HDD before installing it.
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Old 07-23-2012, 09:29 PM   #3
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Stuttering is likely a hard drive starting to go bad.

But a reboot loop can also be due to software (filesystem) problems. I have one TivoHD drive that was in a reboot loop for a while, and in fact I am about to copy it to a new drive (as a backup), then let the Tivo do its filesystem repair on it, hopefully to fix it long enough to get the recordings off.

In other words, I had thought this was due to a bad drive or other hardware problems, but it seems to not be, in this case. (The Tivo gets "confused" with that drive in, thinking now playing has completely disappeared, and gets into a state where it won't record, etc..)
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Old 07-24-2012, 05:51 AM   #4
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Guys, I am in full agreement here. This certainly seems like a PS or HD issue. Trouble is that A) the power supply is OK and B) doing a kickstart 54 DID fix something. Twice. I am fully aware that kickstart 54 doesn't catch everything. That is why I did a kickstart 57 first, but kickstart 57 did NOT fix the problem. Either the short automated tests or the SMART tests (I did both) in kickstart 54 DID. Twice.

One little thing.... might mean something. During the kickstart 54 test for write (I think) there were three dots plotted at the very top of the graph. There were four or five others plotted in the middle. All the rest were along the bottom (which I am assuming is normal). Can I assume these were anomalies and could be bad sectors? I did not repeat the test to see if they were also marked as bad and removed...... maybe that is what kickstart 54 actually fixed? However, I am pretty sure they were there months ago when this happened the first time.

The first 1TB drive that got into a reboot loop is a mystery. Like I said, restoring a known good image (several times) didn't cure it, but restoring that same image to a brand new drive DID. However, the "failed" drive is perfectly healthy to this day (more than a year later) and living in a Win7 PC.

I keep thinking about replacing this TivoHD with a Premiere, but I also get the impression from reading the forum that the Premiere has some issues?

Paul
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Old 07-24-2012, 09:40 PM   #5
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I don't think you have proof that the KS 54 did fix something. It could be flukes, seriously.
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Old 07-25-2012, 07:18 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mattack View Post
I don't think you have proof that the KS 54 did fix something. It could be flukes, seriously.
Yup. That is what is so frustrating. But it is an awfully suspicious coincidence, no? Kickstart 57 did NOT fix it, but it IS fixed after running a couple kickstart 54 tests.

It might be simply that after a couple reboots it fixes itself, but then who knows.

One thing I have not considered that I just thought of.... I have the Tivo running through a Logitech Revue. I wonder if it is the Revue that is screwing up. It could cause similar symptoms if it does not handle the HDMI signals properly. And after the kickstart 54, I let the Tivo restart, turned the TV off and walked away. When I came back a couple hours later, the TV only showed a blank screen. I had to reboot the Revue to get the picture back. Hmmmm......

Paul
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Old 07-25-2012, 09:42 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pgoelz View Post
....... the power supply is OK...........
Unless you have tested at least the 5V and 12V you don't really know this.
Quote:
Originally Posted by mattack View Post
I don't think you have proof that the KS 54 did fix something. It could be flukes, seriously.
I agree. KS54 is not conclusive and also doesn't "fix" anything. Again, I recommend removing the drive and running the WD extended diagnostics.
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Originally Posted by pgoelz View Post
......... I have the Tivo running through a Logitech Revue. I wonder if it is the Revue that is screwing up. .......
There could be HDMI handshake problems ... try NOT running it through the Revue for a while.

BTW I also have a Revue but I've never run my TiVo through it, primarily because of the WAF. I use the TiVo component output (to my TV) because I became convinced the HDMI output was causing TiVo lockups. Such problems have been reported on this forum.
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Old 07-25-2012, 10:17 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dlfl View Post
Unless you have tested at least the 5V and 12V you don't really know this.
Ah, but I DID test the 5V and 12V outputs on several different occasions. They are always within 100mV of perfect.

Quote:
BTW I also have a Revue but I've never run my TiVo through it, primarily because of the WAF. I use the TiVo component output (to my TV) because I became convinced the HDMI output was causing TiVo lockups. Such problems have been reported on this forum.
Seriously? Once I added the Revue, the WAF went through the roof. No way I could get away without it now. She and I both love the Revue remote keyboard and the way it integrates into the Tivo experience. Although the Revue itself is a bit less than stellar, the whole package when used with the Tivo is brilliant.

That said, I do notice that it takes quite a bit longer than it used to pre-Revue for the TV to display video and turn the audio on when I switch it on. It displays "HDMI not allowed" for several seconds, and takes up to 6-8 seconds sometimes to unmute the audio (both are via HDMI). So I guess this could be an HDMI handshake issue between the Revue and either the Tivo or the TV. I initially thought for sure it was the Tivo because remote commands were delayed or ignored as well, but the remote I was using was the Revue RF keyboard, which is processed by the Revue and sent via IR to the Tivo. The Revue definitely has had occasional issues where is gets overloaded and sluggish.

Paul
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Old 07-25-2012, 12:10 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by pgoelz View Post
.......Seriously? Once I added the Revue, the WAF went through the roof. No way I could get away without it now. She and I both love the Revue remote keyboard and the way it integrates into the Tivo experience. .......
Yes serioiusly. I strongly suspect that a majority of females, and perhaps even of males, do not prefer to use a full size keyboard as a remote control for their TV.

Also, do you have an A/V receiver/amplifier? Do you have control of that all integrated with your Revue controller?
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Old 07-25-2012, 12:42 PM   #10
pgoelz
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Yes serioiusly. I strongly suspect that a majority of females, and perhaps even of males, do not prefer to use a full size keyboard as a remote control for their TV.

Also, do you have an A/V receiver/amplifier? Do you have control of that all integrated with your Revue controller?
Funny, it is the opposite here. Cindy LOVES the full size keyboard and won't use the Tivo remote any more It pulls the Tivo and the Revue functions together into an integrated package that is seamless. You can even do picture-in-picture, with the Tivo in a small window while you cruise the net on the Revue.

I do not have an AV receiver..... well, actually I do but I am only using it as an audio amplifier. The path for video and audio is HDMI from Tivo through Revue to TV. The TV audio out goes to a volume leveler and then to the AV amplifier and then to speakers. That way, the amplifier does not need to be switched when I change TV inputs. I don't do stereo surround.

The Revue keyboard integrates very well with the normal amplifier functions without much programming, and can control just about any of the more esoteric functions with custom programmed "second function" buttons. It really is pretty well done. The Revue also integrates to some extent with the Tivo.... for example, if you are searching for a TV show and find it anywhere in what the Revue can access, you can hit the RECORD button and it sets a record event on the Tivo. And of course the volume buttons control the amplifier instead of the TV if you want them to.

The keyboard itself is worth the $99 I paid for the Revue. I also bought the little $10 IR dongle (on Ebay) that allows it to be used with a PC in case the Revue ever kicks the bucket.

Paul
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Old 07-26-2012, 05:29 AM   #11
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Ah, but I DID test the 5V and 12V outputs on several different occasions. They are always within 100mV of perfect.

...
Paul
But did you do comparison testing with the hard drive connected and the hard drive not connected?

A well regulated supply should show little if any difference, so if there is a difference, it's a clue that something's wrong, and if you still have the original power supply in there with its original caps on the 5 and 12 outs, it's automatically suspect just on GP.
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Old 07-26-2012, 05:52 AM   #12
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But did you do comparison testing with the hard drive connected and the hard drive not connected?

A well regulated supply should show little if any difference, so if there is a difference, it's a clue that something's wrong, and if you still have the original power supply in there with its original caps on the 5 and 12 outs, it's automatically suspect just on GP.
I tested it with the suspect HD in place and operating. The voltages were fine. I am aware of regulation issues.

Yes, I agree the power supply is automatically suspect. But it simply has not failed.

Note that so far (several days), it has been flawless following the kickstart 54 (and subsequent Revue reboot). If it happens again, I will either reboot the Revue or take it out of the loop and see if that is the problem. Very possible it is.

Paul
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Old 07-26-2012, 07:04 AM   #13
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I tested it with the suspect HD in place and operating. The voltages were fine. I am aware of regulation issues.

Yes, I agree the power supply is automatically suspect. But it simply has not failed.

Note that so far (several days), it has been flawless following the kickstart 54 (and subsequent Revue reboot). If it happens again, I will either reboot the Revue or take it out of the loop and see if that is the problem. Very possible it is.

Paul
You can always stick the original 160GB drive back in and see if it behaves itself running off of that.
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