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Old 09-09-2013, 04:33 PM   #1
GrtEscGtr301
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Beloved Series 2 Keeps Rebooting

My oldest S2 (form 2004 - TCD540040, upgraded with a 160GB HD) suddenly keeps rebooting on the Welcome Screen. I can't even get it into kickstart mode to run the kickstart diagnostics. I've read through all the forums (here and elsewhere) and most say it's either a bad HD or a bad power supply. Simple enough to replace either (with some $$), but here are the questions I have:

1. I removed the drive and ran a full diagnostic with SpinRite and the drive came up clean. No SMART problems, no sector errors, good control functions, nothing. So I don't think it's a bad drive.

2. Making the assumption that the drive itself is OK (see #1), could it be that it's just the TiVo image that's corrupted? If so, where can one get an image replacement for low/no $$? (nudge, nudge, wink wink :-)

3. If the unit is booting far enough to get to the Welcome screen, wouldn't that be a sign that the power supply is OK. Is there such a thing on TiVos as a partial PS failure, and would that cause the rebooting & no kickstart symptoms I am seeing?

The box is like a member of the family at this point so if I need to spend $ to get it fixed I want to make sure I am spending it on the right part. These forums have helped me a lot in the past so I'm hoping you nice folks can come through again.

Thanks in advance for any advice/assistance you can provide.
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Old 09-09-2013, 05:37 PM   #2
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If you still have the original drive, reinstall it and see what happens.
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Old 09-09-2013, 05:41 PM   #3
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http://www.tivocommunity.com/tivo-vb...d.php?t=507799
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Old 09-09-2013, 05:52 PM   #4
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If you still have the original drive, reinstall it and see what happens.
Unfortunately, the original drive is long gone.
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Old 09-09-2013, 08:53 PM   #5
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If it's an S2 or S3 with problems, the power supply needs to be eliminated as the cause of the problems before proceeding, since so many of them are victims of "capacitor plague" and this can cause all sorts of symptoms, many of which appear to be a problem with the drive or motherboard, but actually aren't.

Images, if you need them, here:

http://www.tivocommunity.com/tivo-vb...85#post9160085
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Old 09-09-2013, 09:36 PM   #6
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If it's an S2 or S3 with problems, the power supply needs to be eliminated as the cause of the problems before proceeding, since so many of them are victims of "capacitor plague" and this can cause all sorts of symptoms, many of which appear to be a problem with the drive or motherboard, but actually aren't.

Images, if you need them, here:

http://www.tivocommunity.com/tivo-vb...85#post9160085
BLESS YOU! Unitron. I appreciate the help. I'll be using MFSLive for the install. It's been a while since I used it (upgraded a HD about a year and a half ago). Is there a way to write just the OS files and hopefully preserve the recordings or will the images just set up a fresh, clean install?
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Old 09-10-2013, 02:48 AM   #7
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BLESS YOU! Unitron. I appreciate the help. I'll be using MFSLive for the install. It's been a while since I used it (upgraded a HD about a year and a half ago). Is there a way to write just the OS files and hopefully preserve the recordings or will the images just set up a fresh, clean install?
If the original drive was a 40GB Maxtor (which had a slightly higher LBA number than other brands' 40GB drives of that era), and you copied it to the newer drive without changing the swap partition size, and then expanded, then if you restore my image to that same replacement drive and expand, it should put the partition boundaries in the same places, and shouldn't write any actual content in the MFS Media partitions, so maybe the shows will still be there and will be recognized, and I'd be curious to see how that turns out.

Now if, under those same circumstances, you had another drive of exactly the same size as that replacement you're getting ready to re-use, you could restore to it and expand, and then use

dd

or

dd_rescue

to "Xerox" the first 7 partitions from the fresh restoration to the drive with the shows and maybe that would work, although you might need to copy over the VAR partition as well.

I've never had enough spare time and gear to carry out experiments like that however, so I'm only theorizing.

EDIT TO ADD:

If you've got one or more spare hard drives as big or bigger, you might want to "Xerox" the entire drive with the shows first as a backup. The backup drive can be PATA or SATA as long as you've got a PC that can handle it and the drive that's going back into the TiVo.
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Old 09-10-2013, 06:17 AM   #8
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Well, I know how I'm spending my weekend ;-)

Thanks again for the help.
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Old 09-10-2013, 07:56 AM   #9
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I've been seeing the same thing with the exact same model TiVo (where the TiVo guy keeps falling off the front of the box ) that has been in service since 2004. It was running unitron's image for about 9 months without problems and started the reboot loop recently.

I tested the hard drive and it passed all manufacturer diagnostics plus I was able to get a clean MFSLive backup from it. I also swapped out the power supply with one from my spare parts stash and it still continued to reboot. Next, I restored unitron's image on a new drive and it booted right up into the guided setup screen. After that it was working properly so I left it running for a day with no issues.

Then, I forced another call and noticed a "Pending Restart". I forced the box to reboot and it went through the "Installing Service Update" process and then began the reboot loop problem with the new hard drive and power supply. I haven't had a chance to pull the drive and look at the logs yet, but I suspect there is some sort of software corruption going on here when that "update" gets installed.
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Old 09-10-2013, 10:17 AM   #10
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Then, I forced another call and noticed a "Pending Restart". I forced the box to reboot and it went through the "Installing Service Update" process and then began the reboot loop problem with the new hard drive and power supply. I haven't had a chance to pull the drive and look at the logs yet, but I suspect there is some sort of software corruption going on here when that "update" gets installed.
Interesting, sbourgeo. I was just about to call Weaknees to order a new power supply (based on Unitron's notes) but your post is making me think otherwise. I've swapped out a great deal of TiVo hardware over the years but I'm not a master on TiVo's Linux internals. However, I've been working around computer systems all my life and this problem "smells" like a software issue, not a hardware one. I just don't have the evidence (or the intelligence) to prove it. I could just start swapping parts (as you did) but I don't have a spare parts box to pull from. I'd rather put those $$ into a new unit if it isn't going to work in the long run.
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Old 09-10-2013, 04:22 PM   #11
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Any chance that Tivo pushed some kind of update or software that is causing a problem? I have 2 Toshiba/Tivo SD-H400 units (both on their 2nd hard drives) which have been functioning perfectly fine for more than a year.

I wasn't monitoring them that closely, but at least within days (and possible at the same time) both started exhibiting the same problem - self-rebooting to the "Almost There" point but never getting any farther. I suppose it is possible that they both failed in the same way within days of each other, but I'm curious if it could possibly something else like bad code getting pushed out.
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Old 09-10-2013, 04:43 PM   #12
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I swear my boxes always act up around a product launch!
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Old 09-10-2013, 07:56 PM   #13
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Well, success (sort of)! I re-imaged the drive using Unitron's image and the box came up shiny & new without a hiccup. Well, minor hiccups: had to Clear & Delete to get the service numbers to match. My daughter isn't too happy because I lost all her episodes of "So You Think You Can Dance" and "16 & Pregnant" (but the rest of humanity is thanking me! ;-)

Anyway, thanks all for the assistance. I saved a bunch of $$ and aggravation replacing the power supply and the wife & kids are happy again!
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Old 09-11-2013, 12:40 AM   #14
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Well, success (sort of)! I re-imaged the drive using Unitron's image and the box came up shiny & new without a hiccup. Well, minor hiccups: had to Clear & Delete to get the service numbers to match. My daughter isn't too happy because I lost all her episodes of "So You Think You Can Dance" and "16 & Pregnant" (but the rest of humanity is thanking me! ;-)

Anyway, thanks all for the assistance. I saved a bunch of $$ and aggravation replacing the power supply and the wife & kids are happy again!
So you can spend some of that saved $ with Hulu or Netflix or whoever downloading those episodes for your daughter.
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Old 09-11-2013, 08:45 AM   #15
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Originally Posted by GrtEscGtr301 View Post
Well, success (sort of)! I re-imaged the drive using Unitron's image and the box came up shiny & new without a hiccup. Well, minor hiccups: had to Clear & Delete to get the service numbers to match. My daughter isn't too happy because I lost all her episodes of "So You Think You Can Dance" and "16 & Pregnant" (but the rest of humanity is thanking me! ;-)

Anyway, thanks all for the assistance. I saved a bunch of $$ and aggravation replacing the power supply and the wife & kids are happy again!
I thought I was all set too for a day. I would suggest keeping an eye out for a "Pending Restart" in the next day or so plus the return of the reboot loop issue I ran into. If it hits you too, then we probably have some sort of a software issue here that TiVo needs to address.
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Old 09-11-2013, 08:47 AM   #16
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I swear my boxes always act up around a product launch!
I know, I'm really jonesing for a Roamio.
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Old 09-12-2013, 07:57 PM   #17
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I thought I was all set too for a day. I would suggest keeping an eye out for a "Pending Restart" in the next day or so plus the return of the reboot loop issue I ran into. If it hits you too, then we probably have some sort of a software issue here that TiVo needs to address.
Well, Sbourgeo, my happiness was short-lived . It was running fine but today I needed to re-run guided setup (long story, don't ask ;-). The TiVo started booting when I saw a message that said something like "Receiving Service Update." After the update it needed to again reboot. Once that happened we went right back into the endless reboot cycle.

This is clearly a service update issue with the system. I'm going to call TiVo tonight too see if they have anything I can do about it. I'll report back to the board with my results.
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Old 09-12-2013, 10:24 PM   #18
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I'm going to call TiVo tonight too see if they have anything I can do about it. I'll report back to the board with my results.
OK, who here took the bet that TiVo would be no help at all? That was a safe bet!

Basically, I went ten rounds with their support tech who insisted it must be a hard disk hardware failure. Even after I explained that the drive had already been through a battery of hardware health checks. Even after I explained that it was working right up until the box said "installing service update." I even escalated to a manager whose basic message was, "It sucks to be you!" I guess that's the customer service that 9 years and 4 TiVo purchases have gotten me! Needless to say I'm a bit disgusted with them at this point.

I did get them to admit that they can flag my Tivo to stop receiving service updates. He was a bit cagey when I pressed him on this, but evidently you can call them up and tell them to stop sending service updates to a particular device. So that's my plan: I'm going to reload the box with Unitron's image, get it all set, then have it flagged for no updates.

Unitron, I assume the image you pointed to was a "clean" (i.e. 2004 factory original) image. Do you know of any repositories that would have the latest images? I'd like to see if I can get that loaded before shunning it from the world.

I'll keep y'all posted as to progress and updates, especially as it relates to shutting off updates.
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Old 09-12-2013, 11:31 PM   #19
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OK, who here took the bet that TiVo would be no help at all? That was a safe bet!

Basically, I went ten rounds with their support tech who insisted it must be a hard disk hardware failure. Even after I explained that the drive had already been through a battery of hardware health checks. Even after I explained that it was working right up until the box said "installing service update." I even escalated to a manager whose basic message was, "It sucks to be you!" I guess that's the customer service that 9 years and 4 TiVo purchases have gotten me! Needless to say I'm a bit disgusted with them at this point.

I did get them to admit that they can flag my Tivo to stop receiving service updates. He was a bit cagey when I pressed him on this, but evidently you can call them up and tell them to stop sending service updates to a particular device. So that's my plan: I'm going to reload the box with Unitron's image, get it all set, then have it flagged for no updates.

Unitron, I assume the image you pointed to was a "clean" (i.e. 2004 factory original) image. Do you know of any repositories that would have the latest images? I'd like to see if I can get that loaded before shunning it from the world.

I'll keep y'all posted as to progress and updates, especially as it relates to shutting off updates.
I have no idea (or at least don't remember whatever clues I may have found) what year that TiVo's power supply went bad while the previous owner had it, and don't remember for certain if I hooked it up and let it update before making the images or not, but I'm pretty sure it's newer than what it left the factory with.

I do know the images were made before the latest patch to fix the "expired cookie" problem from last February (the problem, not the patch) was sent.


A physically good hard drive can still have slightly scrambled software on it.
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Old 09-13-2013, 06:58 AM   #20
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Unitron, I assume the image you pointed to was a "clean" (i.e. 2004 factory original) image. Do you know of any repositories that would have the latest images? I'd like to see if I can get that loaded before shunning it from the world.
That brings up an interesting point... Unitron, is the tcd540040 you made your image from still operational, and if so, is it still running software version 9.3.2b-01-2-540?
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Old 09-13-2013, 01:44 PM   #21
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That brings up an interesting point... Unitron, is the tcd540040 you made your image from still operational, and if so, is it still running software version 9.3.2b-01-2-540?
According to the sys info screen:

9.3.2c-01-2-540
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Old 09-13-2013, 03:31 PM   #22
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According to the sys info screen:

9.3.2c-01-2-540
Interesting, I wonder what would happen if put 9.3.2c directly on my rebooter?
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Old 09-13-2013, 04:07 PM   #23
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Interesting, I wonder what would happen if put 9.3.2c directly on my rebooter?
That's the version it has now.

I have no idea when it got it, or if it was before or after I imaged it.
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Old 09-13-2013, 04:27 PM   #24
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That's the version it has now.

I have no idea when it got it, or if it was before or after I imaged it.
The image I got from you in May 2012 has 9.3.2b-01-2-540, which works fine on my 540040 until it upgrades the software.
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Old 09-13-2013, 05:10 PM   #25
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The image I got from you in May 2012 has 9.3.2b-01-2-540, which works fine on my 540040 until it upgrades the software.
So when TiVo bumps it up from b to c, it borks the TiVo?
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Old 09-13-2013, 08:06 PM   #26
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So when TiVo bumps it up from b to c, it borks the TiVo?
I'm thinking that is a possibility. Not sure why yours upgraded successfully and myself and GrtEscGtr301 didn't though.
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Old 09-13-2013, 10:46 PM   #27
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I'm thinking that is a possibility. Not sure why yours upgraded successfully and myself and GrtEscGtr301 didn't though.
Did anyone happen to notice when "c" rolled out?

Was that the "expired cookie" patch?

Could it be that the TiVos aren't successfully switching over to the alternate partitions where the new software is loaded?

Could it be that there are bad sectors somewhere in the alternate partitions that haven't given trouble until now because they haven't been used in a long time?

You can use WinMFS to find out if you're set to boot from 2,3,4 or 5,6,7 and then fix boot option 1 will set it to 2,3,4 and option 2 will set it to 5,6,7 so that you can switch back to booting from the partitions that you were using before if TiVo, Inc has just recently tried to move you to the other partition set.
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Old 09-14-2013, 07:25 AM   #28
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Did anyone happen to notice when "c" rolled out?

Was that the "expired cookie" patch?

Could it be that the TiVos aren't successfully switching over to the alternate partitions where the new software is loaded?

Could it be that there are bad sectors somewhere in the alternate partitions that haven't given trouble until now because they haven't been used in a long time?

You can use WinMFS to find out if you're set to boot from 2,3,4 or 5,6,7 and then fix boot option 1 will set it to 2,3,4 and option 2 will set it to 5,6,7 so that you can switch back to booting from the partitions that you were using before if TiVo, Inc has just recently tried to move you to the other partition set.
I'm guessing there was a "cookie" patch sent out to the S2 boxes recently like the 11.0m release on the S3 hardware, and the field upgrade of the 540040 I had running on a new disk with your backup image for about 9 months got into a reboot loop (just like GrtEscGtr301). When troubleshooting, I restored your image on a different new disk and had a working TiVo (with a different power supply) for about a day. It was working fine until the next day when a software update was downloaded and it got itself into a reboot loop again.

I haven't tried flipping the partitions back though. I basically want to keep this thing calling in occasionally since this is the lifetime box that qualifies me for the MSD discount and actually recording stuff is a secondary concern. If need be, I can restore your image every few months and let it run for a day before it borks itself again.

Let's just say that if you ever upload a 9.3.2c backup then I will be first in line to try it out (I'm guessing GrtEscGtr301 will be second in line).
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Old 09-14-2013, 07:09 PM   #29
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I'm guessing there was a "cookie" patch sent out to the S2 boxes recently like the 11.0m release on the S3 hardware, and the field upgrade of the 540040 I had running on a new disk with your backup image for about 9 months got into a reboot loop (just like GrtEscGtr301). When troubleshooting, I restored your image on a different new disk and had a working TiVo (with a different power supply) for about a day. It was working fine until the next day when a software update was downloaded and it got itself into a reboot loop again.

I haven't tried flipping the partitions back though. I basically want to keep this thing calling in occasionally since this is the lifetime box that qualifies me for the MSD discount and actually recording stuff is a secondary concern. If need be, I can restore your image every few months and let it run for a day before it borks itself again.

Let's just say that if you ever upload a 9.3.2c backup then I will be first in line to try it out (I'm guessing GrtEscGtr301 will be second in line).
If you have an at least temporarily spare hard drive as large or larger than the "problem" drive, you can use

dd

or, my preference,

dd_rescue

both of which are on the MFS Live cd v1.4, to "Xerox" the problem drive to the other one, see if the other one has the same problem in the TiVo, and then if so do the partition flip on it and see if that makes a difference, and we'll have another clue in our arsenal.
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Old 09-15-2013, 08:31 PM   #30
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If you have an at least temporarily spare hard drive as large or larger than the "problem" drive, you can use

dd

or, my preference,

dd_rescue

both of which are on the MFS Live cd v1.4, to "Xerox" the problem drive to the other one, see if the other one has the same problem in the TiVo, and then if so do the partition flip on it and see if that makes a difference, and we'll have another clue in our arsenal.
I restored your backup on two different space drives that pass manufacturer diags. Once the "pending restart" happens they go to reboot city.
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