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Old 09-23-2013, 10:52 PM   #1
ACraigL
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Oldie but a goodie? Series2 Help?

Hi,

I have a VERY old Tivo Series2 with lifetime, that finally died. Wouldn't get past the starting up screen. I assumed a bad hard drive so I used MFSTools and restored a backup to another drive.

This got as far as the Tivo animation screen, then video cut out and it will only boot if it's unplugged for a while, but never past the 'Almost There...' screen.

Any suggestions for next troubleshooting? Any chance its the power supply? Not sure what else to check.

Thanks!
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Old 09-24-2013, 07:18 AM   #2
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Hi,

I have a VERY old Tivo Series2 with lifetime, that finally died. Wouldn't get past the starting up screen. I assumed a bad hard drive so I used MFSTools and restored a backup to another drive.

This got as far as the Tivo animation screen, then video cut out and it will only boot if it's unplugged for a while, but never past the 'Almost There...' screen.

Any suggestions for next troubleshooting? Any chance its the power supply? Not sure what else to check.

Thanks!
On the back of the TiVo where the power cord plugs in, there should be a sticker, and on the sticker there should be a model number, like TCD24004A or TCD540160, unless it's a non-TiVo brand TiVo, like a Sony or Humax, or one of the DVD containing models, or a DirecTiVo satellite unit.

You should tell us what that model number is.

There's a thing called "capacitor plague" that came along in the late '90s as the result of some bungled industrial espionage (there's a good Wikipedia article, and badcaps.net has info on it as well), and that resulted in a bunch of faulty capacitors of the specialized kind (low ESR, 105 degree C rated) used in switching power supplies in computers, on PC motherboards, in LCD monitors, and in the Series 2 and Series 3 era TiVos, in the TiVo power supplies.

There are several threads about the problem here at TCF.

So you might have a power supply going bad that can't provide enough current to operate the motherboard and spin up the hard drive properly as well.

Or maybe you don't.

Yet.

The symptoms you describe indicate some problem with the motherboard and the hard drive communicating with each other.

The welcome screen is built into the motherboard, and the just a few more minutes screen is on the hard drive, so if you don't get past the welcome screen, then the software on the hard drive that's supposed to load into memory (RAM) and take over operations isn't getting there for some reason.


Make yourself a copy of the MFS Live cd V1.4 (burn the .iso as an image so that it's bootable) and use it to run mfsinfo on the drive you took out of the TiVo.

Then do the same thing with the next drive you tried.

As long as you have the cover off the TiVo, check the capacitors on the power supply, the tops should be absolutely flat, and not have any brown gunk on them (the white stuff that looks like marshmellow creme is glue to hold them in place during soldering and not leakage of the stuff inside the caps).

There's a picture here:

http://www.tivocommunity.com/tivo-vb...59#post9825059


and the top picture here:

http://www.tivocommunity.com/tivo-vb...05#post9815605


and an oldie but a goodie as steve614 reposts his "this is how subtle the difference can be" pic:

http://www.tivocommunity.com/tivo-vb...94#post8750894


You can have caps that have gone bad or are going bad that don't show an visual sign, so a voltmeter (and the knowledge of how to use it, although we can teach you some of that) can come in handy as well, but if there are bulged caps, you don't have to wonder if they need replacing or not, because they do.

Since the S2s and S3s are so prone to power supply capacitor caused problems, one almost always should eliminate the possibility that the power supply is the cause of the TiVo not working correctly before spending time on other possibilities.

And TiVo power supply problems can cause all sorts of weird symptoms, like only one of the 2 tuners in an S2 satellite receiver TiVo working.

If it's a TiVo brand TiVo, then the bad caps, if any, are most likely to be among the ones under the heat sink overhang where they're most difficult to get at.

And remember rule #1:

ALWAYS KNOW WHERE BOTH ENDS OF THE TIVO POWER CORD ARE AT ALL TIMES

Report back with that model number.

And just in case it's needed later, cable company and general geographic location.
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Old 09-24-2013, 08:48 AM   #3
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Awesome info. Thanks for taking the time to provide it -- I really appreciate it.

I have a stand-alone Tivo Series 2 TCD240080. (and in case it's needed, Comcast, outside Philadelphia, PA)

I'm using MFSTools 1.4 (how I attempted the image restore), but did not know of the mfsinfo command... I will definitely give it a shot.

I have some additional things to add to the story based on experience last night:

- I did look for bad/exploded/bulging capacitors, but could not see anything obvious. As you stated, that does not mean that the PS is still working properly
- I can pretty routinely get to the 'Almost there...' screen by unplugging the tivo for 5 minutes and retrying. Twice it got half-way through the startup animation.
- I assumed a bad drive, but the second drive behaved exactly the same way. I tried a restore from a 2004 image first, then copying the current image to the new drive, but in both cases it would get to the almost there screen (or slightly past), then video would cut out and I'd be left with a blank screen.

Based on the above, my assessment is either corrupted TiVo software (that accounts for the duped image, but not the 2004 image restore), or a nearly failed power supply or capacitor. My thought is that the unplugging it for a period of time allows it to reset enough before reaching critical mass, then fails again when the heavy lifting begins. If I try to power on immediately after a failure I only get a black screen (no video, no 'starting up').

Picture attached of my power supply.

Let me know if any of this helps or if I can provide additional information. I don't mind trying a new PS if that's the likely suspect, but don't want to throw money at troubleshooting multiple failed components.

Thanks again!
Attached Images
File Type: jpg tivops.jpg (63.3 KB, 14 views)
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Old 09-24-2013, 09:35 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ACraigL View Post
Awesome info. Thanks for taking the time to provide it -- I really appreciate it.

I have a stand-alone Tivo Series 2 TCD240080. (and in case it's needed, Comcast, outside Philadelphia, PA)

I'm using MFSTools 1.4 (how I attempted the image restore), but did not know of the mfsinfo command... I will definitely give it a shot.

I have some additional things to add to the story based on experience last night:

- I did look for bad/exploded/bulging capacitors, but could not see anything obvious. As you stated, that does not mean that the PS is still working properly
- I can pretty routinely get to the 'Almost there...' screen by unplugging the tivo for 5 minutes and retrying. Twice it got half-way through the startup animation.
- I assumed a bad drive, but the second drive behaved exactly the same way. I tried a restore from a 2004 image first, then copying the current image to the new drive, but in both cases it would get to the almost there screen (or slightly past), then video would cut out and I'd be left with a blank screen.

Based on the above, my assessment is either corrupted TiVo software (that accounts for the duped image, but not the 2004 image restore), or a nearly failed power supply or capacitor. My thought is that the unplugging it for a period of time allows it to reset enough before reaching critical mass, then fails again when the heavy lifting begins. If I try to power on immediately after a failure I only get a black screen (no video, no 'starting up').

Picture attached of my power supply.

Let me know if any of this helps or if I can provide additional information. I don't mind trying a new PS if that's the likely suspect, but don't want to throw money at troubleshooting multiple failed components.

Thanks again!
You can use this image on a hard drive with an LBA number of

160086528

or higher.

TiVo used some Maxtor drives during the 240/540 era that were slightly larger than Seagate or WD drives of supposedly the same GBs.

https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/...0/240_gset.bak



Or if you want to play with WinMFS, here's the version that works with it:

https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/...0/240_GSet.tbk



Try putting that image on the second drive you tried (and leaving the original unmessed with), just for experimentation purposes.

If it works, then the second drive and the power supply are okay.

Be careful not to dislodge, even in the slightest, the ribbon cable that runs to the front panel from the motherboard, as it has a nasty habit of shorting something out and frying something on the motherboard.

Those images were made before the recent software patch that took S2s from "b" to "c" and S3s from "k" to "m".

That patch is designed to fix the "expired cookie" problem that popped up last February and screwed up using TiVo Desktop to copy shows--a problem found and a workaround figured out for by a couple of TCF'ers before TiVo did--, and by itself shouldn't cause any problems.

However, as with any other TiVo software update, they send it down and it gets written to the alternate boot partitions (which at this point haven't been used in years because S2s have been running 9.3.2b a long time), and then it attempts to switch over to the alternative boot partitions, generally by rebooting itself in the middle of the night.

If the drive has developed any bad sectors in those alternate partitions, then putting them back in service can cause problems, and apparently has for some people.

Since this patch was rolled out recently, maybe you're one of them.

Or maybe not.

But anyway, the first time my image connects to TiVo, TiVo will probably try to download 9.3.2c to the alternate partitions on the drive, so be warned in advance.

Actually if my image works for you I'd suggest rebooting and trying to force the switchover to see if it's going to be a problem.
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Old 09-24-2013, 10:20 AM   #5
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Excellent!
Already downloaded, will be trying this first thing tonight as soon as I return home from work. Wish me luck!
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Old 09-24-2013, 05:56 PM   #6
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Hi,

Unfortunately, the provided image did not get me any further. MFSInfo did not show any errors, either.

Same event: It gets as far as the 'Almost there' screen (and stays a while). Basically it feels like it's about to go to TiVo Central and then the screen cuts out, goes black and the unit crashes. Fan continues to spin, but no HDD noises.

I can repeat this consistently. Thoughts?
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Old 09-24-2013, 06:21 PM   #7
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Whoa....
I just let it sit for another few minutes and decided to power back up (no changes -- same newer disk and your image), and it got to the setup screen! Amazing.

Not counting blessings just yet, as I think I may be getting lucky, but going through setup regardless. Will continue to monitor and let you know.

Bad news -- nothing is screwed in... not the drive, not the case. But afraid to unplug it now that it's working :\
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Old 09-24-2013, 10:35 PM   #8
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Update: TiVo still humming along. It even survived a reboot
Presently loading data... we'll see how this performs over the next few hours/days.

Edit: Turns out the image, from another TiVo, had a bad (or null?) Device ID (000-0000-0000-0000). I noticed this but assumed that it would sync when I went online. Unfortunately that wasn't the case and I was presented with an error, #51, way after I did so much initial setup. The error claimed I would not be able to view recordings or record new ones until the hardware issue was corrected.

After some light research, it appears a Clear and Delete Everything is what resyncs the TSN. I'm running that now, and have been waiting on the C&DE screen to (hopefully) go away so I can repeat the setup choices I made.
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Old 09-25-2013, 07:11 AM   #9
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Update: Went to bed with C&DE still running. When I woke, I had a flashing yellow light and no signal. I unplugged it, let it sit a while, and it didn't get past the 'Starting Up' screen.

I'm going to reimage the drive in case something corrupted during the clearing event and did not finish.

Update: Restore did not help... now can't get the starting up screen, either. Going to let it sit all day before trying again.

Any other suggestions?
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Old 09-25-2013, 02:39 PM   #10
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Tell me about the hard drive you're using and whether you have another with an LBA of at least

160086528

which you could use, even temporarily, as a diagnostic aid.
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Old 09-25-2013, 02:58 PM   #11
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Tell me about the hard drive you're using and whether you have another with an LBA of at least

160086528

which you could use, even temporarily, as a diagnostic aid.
Nothing else old-school IDE. I just ordered this (just in case):
http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00...?ie=UTF8&psc=1

Western Digital Caviar Blue WD1600AAJB 160GB 7200 RPM 8MB Cache IDE Ultra ATA 3.5" Internal Hard Drive - Bare Drive

My current drive is a 160GB Maxtor, but I don't have the details in front of me. Will provide when I get home.
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Old 09-25-2013, 05:28 PM   #12
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Nothing else old-school IDE. I just ordered this (just in case):
http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00...?ie=UTF8&psc=1

Western Digital Caviar Blue WD1600AAJB 160GB 7200 RPM 8MB Cache IDE Ultra ATA 3.5" Internal Hard Drive - Bare Drive

My current drive is a 160GB Maxtor, but I don't have the details in front of me. Will provide when I get home.
It's not impossible that the drive that was in the TiVo and the Maxtor to which you switched both have problems.

When you get that new WD, run the WD long test on it first, to make sure we're working with a known good drive.

Down at the bottom of this page


http://www.ultimatebootcd.com/download.html

are mirror sites where you can download the .iso image for the UBCD, and the Western Digital software is on it, along with a bunch of other potentially handy stuff.

You burn it as an image, just like the MFS Live cd v1.4, which is also handy to have.

You click on the icon to the left of the mirror site name.

The other buttons on the page that say something about downloading are probably advertising connected and may or may not actually get you the .iso

In the meantime, I'll try to get my 240 up and running again and update it to the "c" version of the software that they're rolling out and make fresh images.
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Old 09-25-2013, 06:02 PM   #13
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Thanks... that image would be handy.
In the meantime, the drive should be arriving on Friday, so no immediate rush.
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Old 09-25-2013, 11:36 PM   #14
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Not sure it makes a difference at this point, but when I tried to re-image the drive, when I power it on, the normally green light on the left lights for 2 seconds, the flashes yellow constantly. Not even a 'powering on' screen anymore.

The drive is likely hosed. I'll try again on Friday once I get the new drive -- hopefully you'll have an image going by then.
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Old 09-26-2013, 07:14 PM   #15
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Hmmm.... just found another older 80GB drive and seeing the same behavior... the flashing yellow LED. I pinged TiVo and they said Drive or Power Supply are the most likely hardware failures (as we said all along). The rep did say from personal experience that she saw the blinking lights on a bad PS. I have one arriving tomorrow, so we'll see.

Fingers crossed (again).

Unitron --any eta on the updated image? Though at this point, I really hope it's the PS! I'm 3 drives in and don't want to think that it could be some other hardware failure.
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Old 09-26-2013, 08:34 PM   #16
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Hmmm.... just found another older 80GB drive and seeing the same behavior... the flashing yellow LED. I pinged TiVo and they said Drive or Power Supply are the most likely hardware failures (as we said all along). The rep did say from personal experience that she saw the blinking lights on a bad PS. I have one arriving tomorrow, so we'll see.

Fingers crossed (again).

Unitron --any eta on the updated image? Though at this point, I really hope it's the PS! I'm 3 drives in and don't want to think that it could be some other hardware failure.
The updated 240 image (from b to c) is going to have to wait until I've finished the 540 image struggle.
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Old 09-26-2013, 08:59 PM   #17
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The updated 240 image (from b to c) is going to have to wait until I've finished the 540 image struggle.
No worries... thanks for all your help so far.
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Old 09-27-2013, 05:24 PM   #18
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Bad news. Tried to replace power supply and the drive, but still getting flashing yellow light. Grrr. Not sure I have any options left.
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Old 09-28-2013, 08:04 PM   #19
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Bad news. Tried to replace power supply and the drive, but still getting flashing yellow light. Grrr. Not sure I have any options left.
Be sure you never accidentally partially dislodged the ribbon cable from the motherboard to the front panel.
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Old 09-28-2013, 11:38 PM   #20
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Be sure you never accidentally partially dislodged the ribbon cable from the motherboard to the front panel.
Oh, and I know all about that. The failure mode has been more frequent as I've been testing. I think it just hit a wall :-(
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Old 10-01-2013, 06:07 PM   #21
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Fixed!

Well, not really.

Craig's List: $40 for 2 80GB 540 Series 2 TiVos, one with lifetime. Currently running guided setup. It will be very interesting to see if this stays up or gets corrupted with a service update.

Update: I did a full guided setup, restarted, forced a reconnect and restarted again. Still 'stuck' on the 9.3.2b01-2-540 software version. So no 'c' delivered yet. Fingers crossed (again).
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Old 10-02-2013, 12:09 AM   #22
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Well, not really.

Craig's List: $40 for 2 80GB 540 Series 2 TiVos, one with lifetime. Currently running guided setup. It will be very interesting to see if this stays up or gets corrupted with a service update.

Update: I did a full guided setup, restarted, forced a reconnect and restarted again. Still 'stuck' on the 9.3.2b01-2-540 software version. So no 'c' delivered yet. Fingers crossed (again).
Think of that as $20 per power supply.

240 and 540 power supplies are interchangeable--sort of.

If I remember correctly the 240 supply is a little more robust, or that's the rumor, but the pinout of the ribbon cable that connects to the motherboard is the same and the "footprint" (size and shape of the board and where the mounting holes are) are the same, and they can be interchanged for test purposes.

So if one of those 540s works and it's power supply makes your 240 work, then you know the 240's power supply has a problem.

Actually it looks like I'm going to be in the market for a 540 supply myself. I managed to get those 540 images made and tested and then when I went to put the 540 back to work recording stuff--problems. And I've only got about 10.5 Volts on the 12 Volt line.
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Old 10-02-2013, 12:26 AM   #23
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Think of that as $20 per power supply.
Bah! Now that is working I'll stick with it. I'm planning on selling the broken one, and the working one without lifetime. I also found another lifetime sub unit on ebay that's coming on saturday. Between those 2 I should be set for a while, and break even doing it.
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Old 10-04-2013, 11:51 AM   #24
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So I got the 'c' version of the OS yesterday, but booted/rebooted without any issue on this "new" TiVo. So far so good. Only think I noticed is that on my old 240x tivo, I got a consistent 8mb/s transfer speed, yet this one delivers exactly half that. Is that a hardware issue with these models?
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Old 10-04-2013, 02:57 PM   #25
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So I got the 'c' version of the OS yesterday, but booted/rebooted without any issue on this "new" TiVo. So far so good. Only think I noticed is that on my old 240x tivo, I got a consistent 8mb/s transfer speed, yet this one delivers exactly half that. Is that a hardware issue with these models?
The 540 is not known for the speed of its processor.

At least not in a good way.
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Old 10-04-2013, 03:20 PM   #26
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The 540 is not known for the speed of its processor.

At least not in a good way.
Figured. For some reason, I was thinking the 240 was a generation behind the 540, and therefore performance should be at or better. Guess not
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Old 10-04-2013, 05:48 PM   #27
unitron
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Figured. For some reason, I was thinking the 240 was a generation behind the 540, and therefore performance should be at or better. Guess not
The 240 did come out earlier--the 540 was the last of the single tuner models, but I guess they decided to save money on the CPU.

The model after it, the dual tuner S2, is lots zippier.
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Old 10-04-2013, 06:18 PM   #28
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the 540 was the last of the single tuner models
There's also a 542 -- it's like the 540, but with the same artificial restriction against OTA tuning as the 649 (S2DT), to escape the digital tuner mandate. But it seems to be rare compared to the 540 or the 649.
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