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Old 10-26-2013, 07:39 AM   #1
dbenrosen
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Pixelation on ALL stations

Over the past week, my Series 3 (the one with the LED front panel) has been experiencing pixelation issues on EVERY station. This applies to both recorded shows and live TV. Sometimes it is just annoying, other times it makes the shows unwatchable. I have replaced the hard drive a few years back so it isn't the original drive.

I have another TiVo, a Premiere, attached to the same TV connected to the same splitter. I even tried switching the cables to see if it was a splitter issue, but the Premiere was fine while the S3 still had the problem.

I checked the signal strength and all stations were above 90 even when I could see the pixelation occurring.

Recordings from before the pixelation started play back fine.

Any thoughts? Failing hard drive? Power supply?
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Old 10-26-2013, 12:12 PM   #2
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Go into system info and look at the rc uncorrected errors for cc1/cc2

If they are constantly increasing yet your other TiVo is fine, there's a good chance the power supply is heading south.
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Old 10-26-2013, 01:57 PM   #3
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Last time my S3 648250 had this problem. Time Warner found the coax cable on the utility pole had been chewed by rodents.
A new coax cable and updated ground (per local code) and the problem was fixed.

How old are the existing cables?
Fresh coax cables are easy and cheap to eliminate first.

Power supply is suspect too, as sfhub said.
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Old 10-26-2013, 04:50 PM   #4
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Power supply failure, most likely due to electrolytic capacitor "disease", can cause all kinds of symptoms and should be eliminated. Check the caps to see if any are bulging, even slightly, as shown here:
http://www.tivocommunity.com/tivo-vb...94#post8750894
Preferably also check the voltages. Don't disconnect any connectors but be cautious of lethal exposed voltages.
Black is ground or zero volts
Yellow is 12V
Red is 5V
Orange is 3.3V
All should be within 5%.
Any bulging caps should be replaced or the entire supply replaced.

If the PS is OK, what are the RS Corrected counts doing in DVR Diagnostics? If they are large and increasing rapidly, you have a signal (or tuner) problem, which seems unlikely based on what you've already posted.

So that leaves the hard drive to suspect. Run KS54. It will catch many problems but can miss some. For definite results hook the drive up to a PC and run the mfr's extended diagnostics test.
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Old 10-26-2013, 08:42 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dlfl View Post
Power supply failure, most likely due to electrolytic capacitor "disease", can cause all kinds of symptoms and should be eliminated. Check the caps to see if any are bulging, even slightly, as shown here:
http://www.tivocommunity.com/tivo-vb...94#post8750894
Preferably also check the voltages. Don't disconnect any connectors but be cautious of lethal exposed voltages.
Black is ground or zero volts
Yellow is 12V
Red is 5V
Orange is 3.3V
All should be within 5%.
Any bulging caps should be replaced or the entire supply replaced.

If the PS is OK, what are the RS Corrected counts doing in DVR Diagnostics? If they are large and increasing rapidly, you have a signal (or tuner) problem, which seems unlikely based on what you've already posted.

So that leaves the hard drive to suspect. Run KS54. It will catch many problems but can miss some. For definite results hook the drive up to a PC and run the mfr's extended diagnostics test.
Allow me to slightly disagree.

Don't bother with KS54.

Even if the power supply is good, there is a very small but still real chance it could screw something up, and if the power supply is bad you can't trust any results you get.

You need to lift the lid to look at the power supply caps anyway, so undo the drive bracket and lift it and the drive out and hook the drive to a PC and run the drive manufacturer's own diagnostic long test.

If you can't get an image for a bootable cd with it on it from the manufacturer's web site, it's probably on the Ultimate Boot CD, a bootable image for which you can download free, and a copy of which you should have anyway.
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Old 10-26-2013, 09:10 PM   #6
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The RS Corrected counts are large and growing by leaps and bounds. It certainly is not the cable wires as I switched them between the two TiVos and the problem was still with the S3. I'll need to open it up and look at the capacitors.
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Old 10-27-2013, 10:21 AM   #7
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Allow me to slightly disagree.

Don't bother with KS54.

Even if the power supply is good, there is a very small but still real chance it could screw something up, and if the power supply is bad you can't trust any results you get.
.........
Hmmm.... My advice was to check the PS first then do KS54. So you're saying KS54 itself "could screw something up" ??? That's news to me.
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Old 10-27-2013, 10:25 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by dbenrosen View Post
The RS Corrected counts are large and growing by leaps and bounds. It certainly is not the cable wires as I switched them between the two TiVos and the problem was still with the S3. I'll need to open it up and look at the capacitors.
Just to tie this down completely:
You took the cable going into the "good" tivo and connected it to the cable input of the "bad" tivo, correct? Have you tried wiggling the cable while watching the RS error counts. Cables can go bad in a way that depends on the actual angle and stress on the cable, although it would seem very strange you wouldn't see such a problem showing up on the "good" tivo after moving the cables around.
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Old 10-27-2013, 11:42 AM   #9
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Hmmm.... My advice was to check the PS first then do KS54. So you're saying KS54 itself "could screw something up" ??? That's news to me.
I ran it on an S2 DT (that was working just fine) just out of curiousity, and wound up having to use WinMFS's fix swap or fix bootpage to get to work again afterwards.

I don't know exactly (or even vaguely) what went wrong or why what I did fixed it, but I ain't takin' that chance again.
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Old 10-29-2013, 09:24 PM   #10
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I started to see some pixelation on the other TiVo, which is a premiere. I'm now suspecting the splitter or cables. I will get a new one and see if that corrects the issue.
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Old 10-30-2013, 07:16 AM   #11
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Originally Posted by dbenrosen View Post
I started to see some pixelation on the other TiVo, which is a premiere. I'm now suspecting the splitter or cables. I will get a new one and see if that corrects the issue.
The trouble with pixelation is that it can be in the signal before it gets to the TiVo or the TV's tuner.
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Old 10-30-2013, 12:01 PM   #12
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The trouble with pixelation is that it can be in the signal before it gets to the TiVo or the TV's tuner.
True, and some such errors won't show up in the RS error counts. However, in this case both his Tivo's should have been showing equal problems from the start.
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Old 10-30-2013, 12:58 PM   #13
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True, and some such errors won't show up in the RS error counts. However, in this case both his Tivo's should have been showing equal problems from the start.
If you aren't watching both at the exact same time, how do you know they aren't?

Back when all we had was analog cable into the NTSC tuner TV or VCRs, if I saw "rectangles" I knew it had been introduced into the signal before it got to the house.

Same setup, but add TiVos, and I have to be watching the TV tuner's output on one screen and the TiVo's output on another at the same time to be absolutely certain the cause is still external.
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Old 10-30-2013, 01:50 PM   #14
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I'm suspecting the cables/splitter now because last night while investigating the power supply and other internals of the series 3, if the cable attached to the Premiere (which is in the same cabinet) got moved even slightly, it started to have pixelation. It is not nearly as bad as the S3 is having, but I think it is now related to the signal. If my new splitter doesn't work, I will take my S3 into another room and try it there to see if it still experiences the problem.
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Old 10-30-2013, 03:43 PM   #15
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Replace the offending cable(s), not just the splitter!
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Old 10-30-2013, 03:47 PM   #16
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If you aren't watching both at the exact same time, how do you know they aren't?............
Come on! He said in the first post he saw it on one tivo but never on the other one over a period of a week. Consistent with cable or splitter problems but not with signal coming into the splitter.
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Old 10-30-2013, 10:34 PM   #17
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Come on! He said in the first post he saw it on one tivo but never on the other one over a period of a week. Consistent with cable or splitter problems but not with signal coming into the splitter.
But with only one TV he had to view his sources sequentially, not simultaneously, and any repair guy can tell you that there's no such thing as an intermittent on which you can rely to manifest itself when you need it to.
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Old 10-30-2013, 10:52 PM   #18
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But with only one TV he had to view his sources sequentially, not simultaneously, and any repair guy can tell you that there's no such thing as an intermittent on which you can rely to manifest itself when you need it to.
I don't need a repair guy to tell me that -- it's a corollary of Murphy's law. If your car has an intermittent problem you should always wait as long as you can stand it before taking it in, hoping it will become more frequent and easier to detect. But this intermittent was apparently easy to observe on one Tivo and was never encountered on the other one for a week. (Until he started wiggling the cables)
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Old 10-31-2013, 09:00 AM   #19
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I replaced the cables and splitter, and for a brief period, it appeared to fix the problem. But alas, no joy in Mudville as the pixelation returned and appears to be about the same as before. The capacitors could be slightly bulging, though it is difficult to tell. My options appear to be: 1) try replacing the power supply or 2) replace the entire TiVo with a Roamio. I will try to move the TiVo to another TV and see if that works, but I do not have high hopes for that test.

I'm not sure I want to invest in replacing the power supply if that ends up not being the problem. Is there any way to be sure that is the problem before I spend the money to get a replacement?
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Old 10-31-2013, 09:30 AM   #20
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I replaced the cables and splitter, and for a brief period, it appeared to fix the problem. But alas, no joy in Mudville as the pixelation returned and appears to be about the same as before. The capacitors could be slightly bulging, though it is difficult to tell. My options appear to be: 1) try replacing the power supply or 2) replace the entire TiVo with a Roamio. I will try to move the TiVo to another TV and see if that works, but I do not have high hopes for that test.

I'm not sure I want to invest in replacing the power supply if that ends up not being the problem. Is there any way to be sure that is the problem before I spend the money to get a replacement?
So you're saying the problem returned but was it just on the HD or also on the Premiere? I.e., can you wiggle cables now without causing pixelation on the Premiere (or for that matter, without increasing pixelation on the HD)?

Here's a picture of slight bulging:
http://www.tivocommunity.com/tivo-vb...94#post8750894
The tops should be absolutely flat or even slightly concave as seen in the left picture.

To get more certainty about the PS you could measure the voltages. Do this without disconnecting any connectors and of course be warned there are lethal voltages exposed.

Black is ground or zero volts.
Yellow: 12V
Red: 5V
Orange: 3.3V
All are +/- 5% although there is some question about whether the 12V could be 10%.

Use a thin voltmeter probe and you can poke it into the back of the connector that carries a bunch of these wires to the motherboard.

Other than that, I don't know any other way to check out the PS beyond bulging caps.
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Last edited by dlfl : 10-31-2013 at 09:37 AM.
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Old 10-31-2013, 11:54 AM   #21
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So you're saying the problem returned but was it just on the HD or also on the Premiere? I.e., can you wiggle cables now without causing pixelation on the Premiere (or for that matter, without increasing pixelation on the HD)?
The problem was just on the HD (S3 actually). The Premiere was fine. Moving the cables around had no effect on the Premiere. When I first connected the S3, it was not having the problem, where in the past it was almost constant. I watched the S3 for a few minutes and did not have a single instance of pixelation. I then placed reset the TiVos in the cabinet as they should be.

Then the kids watched some TV, but were watching on the Premiere because the S3 was recording stuff on both tuners. Later when I tried to switch back, the picture was back to pixelating.

I was thinking it could be related to the HDMI connection, but that seemed unlikely because the sound is a separate connection to my audio system and it has problems at exactly the same time as the pixelation occurs.

Are the power supplies between TiVos interchangeable at all? I have a TiVo HD in another room (same model series as the S3). Any chance I can try that power supply in the S3?
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Old 10-31-2013, 01:17 PM   #22
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The problem was just on the HD (S3 actually). The Premiere was fine. Moving the cables around had no effect on the Premiere. When I first connected the S3, it was not having the problem, where in the past it was almost constant. I watched the S3 for a few minutes and did not have a single instance of pixelation. I then placed reset the TiVos in the cabinet as they should be.

Then the kids watched some TV, but were watching on the Premiere because the S3 was recording stuff on both tuners. Later when I tried to switch back, the picture was back to pixelating.

I was thinking it could be related to the HDMI connection, but that seemed unlikely because the sound is a separate connection to my audio system and it has problems at exactly the same time as the pixelation occurs.

Are the power supplies between TiVos interchangeable at all? I have a TiVo HD in another room (same model series as the S3). Any chance I can try that power supply in the S3?
The 648 (OLED, first of the S3s) has a 3Y Power Technology power supply design unique to it, and the 652 and 658 (HD and HD XL) use the same supply but there are two versions of it, one made by 3Y and one made by AcBel. All are subject to an increasingly likely chance of "capacitor plague".


The pinout for the plug that goes to the motherboard socket is the same on all 3 of these supplies EXCEPT for the extra wire (gray, 7.5 Volt) on the 648 supply, so you can put an HD or HD XL supply into a 648 for test purposes, but since we don't yet know what, if anything, that gray wire would connect with, or short to, on a 652 or 658 motherboard, do not use a 648 supply anywhere except a 648.

Supposedly that 7.5 Volt output on the 648 supply is just for the front panel OLED display.
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Old 10-31-2013, 08:06 PM   #23
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Originally Posted by dbenrosen View Post
The problem was just on the HD (S3 actually). The Premiere was fine. Moving the cables around had no effect on the Premiere. When I first connected the S3, it was not having the problem, where in the past it was almost constant. I watched the S3 for a few minutes and did not have a single instance of pixelation. I then placed reset the TiVos in the cabinet as they should be.

Then the kids watched some TV, but were watching on the Premiere because the S3 was recording stuff on both tuners. Later when I tried to switch back, the picture was back to pixelating.

I was thinking it could be related to the HDMI connection, but that seemed unlikely because the sound is a separate connection to my audio system and it has problems at exactly the same time as the pixelation occurs.

Are the power supplies between TiVos interchangeable at all? I have a TiVo HD in another room (same model series as the S3). Any chance I can try that power supply in the S3?
Sometimes with electronic components that are beginning to fail, they work OK when cold (ie just started) but as they warm up, the electrical characteristics start going more out of spec, enough that you start noticing the symptoms. That might be the power supply or some other component on the board, but the power supply would be a good place to look given what you have tried already.
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Old 11-03-2013, 07:15 PM   #24
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Sometimes with electronic components that are beginning to fail, they work OK when cold (ie just started) but as they warm up, the electrical characteristics start going more out of spec, enough that you start noticing the symptoms. That might be the power supply or some other component on the board, but the power supply would be a good place to look given what you have tried already.
I was able to keep it cool enough by moving the S3 out of the cabinet and next to the TV. It has been working correctly now for over 3 days. This is an acceptable temporary solution until I have time to replace the caps that are bulging slightly.
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