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Old 09-24-2012, 02:12 PM   #1
dig_duggler
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TiVo HD XL - 'roaring' sound and reboots but passed smart hd test?

I'm trying to help my parents out. They have an out of warranty Tivo hd xl that recently has (as best as they can describe it) intermittently either a) rebooted itself b) emits what they call a roaring or loud whirring sound that doesn't stop until you power down for 10 min or so c) a combo of a and b.

I assumed hd and/ or overheating. I had them run a kickststart smart scan which it passed (after 7 hours). This is on a grandfathered additional plan that I'm not sure they'd transfer over to a new premiere and I'm trying to get out cheap if I can. Suggestions?

Last edited by dig_duggler : 09-24-2012 at 02:50 PM.
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Old 09-24-2012, 05:00 PM   #2
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With that info, I'd suspect the fan.

The fan runs full speed when the Tivo boots up.
If there is a problem with the fan, it could be louder than normal. That could explain the loud whirring noise.
Also, after the boot process the fan slows down. At that time, it's possible that the fan stops spinning. Eventually the Tivo overheats, which leads to the shutdown/reboot.
Lather, rinse, repeat.

Has it ever rebooted while they were watching, and if so, did they see any message about the system having to shut itself down?
Have they said how often it reboots if left plugged in?

Edit:
Still, it could be the hard drive. It also has moving parts. Can they isolate the Tivo where they can distinguish which side the whirring is coming from?
Looking at the face of the Tivo, the hard drive is to the left and the fan is to the right.
If you get really close to the Tivo top center, you might be able to tell from which side the sounds are coming from.
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Last edited by steve614 : 09-24-2012 at 05:15 PM.
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Old 09-24-2012, 05:28 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by steve614 View Post
With that info, I'd suspect the fan.

The fan runs full speed when the Tivo boots up.
If there is a problem with the fan, it could be louder than normal. That could explain the loud whirring noise.
Also, after the boot process the fan slows down. At that time, it's possible that the fan stops spinning. Eventually the Tivo overheats, which leads to the shutdown/reboot.
Lather, rinse, repeat.

Has it ever rebooted while they were watching, and if so, did they see any message about the system having to shut itself down?
Have they said how often it reboots if left plugged in?

Edit:
Still, it could be the hard drive. It also has moving parts. Can they isolate the Tivo where they can distinguish which side the whirring is coming from?
Looking at the face of the Tivo, the hard drive is to the left and the fan is to the right.
If you get really close to the Tivo top center, you might be able to tell from which side the sounds are coming from.
Thanks!

I'll try to get them to isolate the noise. When it reboots, according to them it just starts back up, no message. However, in some instances the noise will not stop unless they leave it for 5-10 minutes - which as you guessed probably means it overheated. They say it's once or twice a week, but seems to be increasing in frequency (to two times a week from one).

They did the s.m.a.r.t test, I recommended they also try the overnight test. If it passes the overnight test and the noise doesn't seem to indicate hard drive, I'll just order a fan and see what happens.

Edit: My mom is 99% sure it's the right side but will run the overnight test and listen again. Thanks again!

Last edited by dig_duggler : 09-24-2012 at 05:37 PM. Reason: Additional detail
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Old 09-24-2012, 06:06 PM   #4
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Tell them to get something long and skinny and made out of a non-conductive material, like say the plastic handle of a cheap paint brush.

You want something they can stick in one of the holes over the fan.

The idea is they hear the noise, they stick the non-bristle end into the fan, that momentarily stops the fan, and if the fan's the source of the noise, then the noise stops, and if it's not, it doesn't.

Make sure they understand to pull it back out within a second or two to let the fan start back up.
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Old 09-24-2012, 06:07 PM   #5
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Are they in a different geographical location to which you won't be traveling anytime soon?
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Old 09-24-2012, 06:15 PM   #6
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Are they in a different geographical location to which you won't be traveling anytime soon?
They are about 90 minutes away, so if I can diagnose it over the phone I have a brother who can install a fan/hd if needed...

Edit: My dad said the noise was 'coming right next to that power cord' so I'm pretty sure it's the fan at this point. I've ordered one from weaknees and will have a go and report back. Thanks to all!!

Last edited by dig_duggler : 09-24-2012 at 06:26 PM.
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Old 09-24-2012, 06:21 PM   #7
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They are about 90 minutes away, so if I can diagnose it over the phone I have a brother who can install a fan/hd if needed...
Does your brother own any fishing reels? Is he "mechanical"?

The fan can be re-lubed with a combination of light grease and light oil.
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Old 09-24-2012, 06:27 PM   #8
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Does your brother own any fishing reels? Is he "mechanical"?

The fan can be re-lubed with a combination of light grease and light oil.
I might see if they can try that out and I'll send back the fan if so (or see if I can cancel quickly)..
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Old 09-24-2012, 06:37 PM   #9
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I might see if they can try that out and I'll send back the fan if so (or see if I can cancel quickly)..
You take the fan out (#10 Torx driver, should be, just like you need to get the lid off the TiVo), and the side of the fan facing the outside back is the one to get to. That's the hub the blade axle goes into. You lift the round sticker part way with a razor blade or X-acto knife and then the plug in the middle, pack in some grease (light stuff, not like for wheel bearings) and add a drop or 2 of light oil--sewing machine, 3 in 1, like that, pump the hole with the pad of your thumb while turning the blade assembly, add more grease if necessary, and a little more oil and then seal it back up and remember to put it back in the TiVo with the blade side facing the inside of the TiVo so that the air blows out the back.

That's assuming the paintbrush handle test proved the fan was making the noise.
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Old 09-24-2012, 07:27 PM   #10
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Regardless of whether I get this fixed or not, the hints here have been fantastic. Thanks all.
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Old 10-05-2012, 10:58 AM   #11
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Update: replaced fan a week ago and no more issues. Thanks everyone!
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Old 10-17-2012, 08:09 PM   #12
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Okay, I stand somewhat corrected.

They said everything was fine for 2 weeks, but now it seems to reboot itself once a day. However, the 'roaring' sound they described is gone.

So.... even though it passed the HD test, would you guess HD or power supply?
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Old 10-18-2012, 02:07 PM   #13
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Do you mean the kickstart tests? Or did you take it out and run the drive mfr tests? Kickstarts don't cover the same things, so they are easy to run, but do not positively show that the drive is good or not.
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Old 10-19-2012, 03:13 PM   #14
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I have done kickstarted tests, not mfr tests. I guess that's next...
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