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Old 03-24-2014, 10:14 PM   #1
Agent86
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Question Series3 Failing In An Unusual Fashion

I woke up this morning to find my Series3 launch unit in a "Powering Up" reboot loop. I've had almost every TiVo I've owned lose its hard drive at one point or another, so I know the drill, but this time it looks like something else is happening.

On the off chance that my TiVo was issued 11.3, I tried the Kickstart code to flip the active partitions on the drive. No luck, same result. I also tried manually flipping the partitions with WinMFS. No dice.

So, as usual, I popped the drive out and put the original factory drive back into the TiVo to confirm the drive is bad. However I was shocked - it didn't work - still stuck with the "Powering Up" reboot loop.

A quick peek at the internals doesn't show anything outwardly wrong. The power supply and capacitors look good. None of the chips on the main board appear to be damaged.

I start thinking that perhaps something connected to the TiVo could be somehow interfering with things, so I started yanking cords and CableCards in various combinations. This is where it gets really bizarre.

After much trial and error, I find that the TiVo will get past the "Powering Up" screen when using the original factory drive and only one CableCard. It can be either card or either slot. You can also put the card in the "opposite" slot and it will work. However if you insert both cards in any manner it won't get past "Powering Up".

Even more bizarre, the drive I thought was failing won't get past "Powering Up" at all. No matter what you do with cords and CableCards.

At this point my running theory is that I have an electrical gremlin in the CableCard section of the device. Why the old drive/software works with a single CableCard but the newer software doesn't is a bit of a puzzle. My guess is maybe some kind of timing issue where the older software is a bit more "tolerant".

Regardless, given that I can only seem to boot the device on an old software release with a single CableCard, it appears the end is nigh. I figured I'd throw up the hail mary and see if anyone else had any ideas I haven't already tried.
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Old 03-24-2014, 10:18 PM   #2
squint
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It could be that the power supply capacitors failed without leaking or bulging. When a S3 unit is able to boot after removing some load (taking out one CableCard or switching to a HDD that draws less power), one suspects the power supply.
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Old 03-24-2014, 10:51 PM   #3
unitron
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Agent86 View Post
I woke up this morning to find my Series3 launch unit in a "Powering Up" reboot loop. I've had almost every TiVo I've owned lose its hard drive at one point or another, so I know the drill, but this time it looks like something else is happening.

On the off chance that my TiVo was issued 11.3, I tried the Kickstart code to flip the active partitions on the drive. No luck, same result. I also tried manually flipping the partitions with WinMFS. No dice.

So, as usual, I popped the drive out and put the original factory drive back into the TiVo to confirm the drive is bad. However I was shocked - it didn't work - still stuck with the "Powering Up" reboot loop.

A quick peek at the internals doesn't show anything outwardly wrong. The power supply and capacitors look good. None of the chips on the main board appear to be damaged.

I start thinking that perhaps something connected to the TiVo could be somehow interfering with things, so I started yanking cords and CableCards in various combinations. This is where it gets really bizarre.

After much trial and error, I find that the TiVo will get past the "Powering Up" screen when using the original factory drive and only one CableCard. It can be either card or either slot. You can also put the card in the "opposite" slot and it will work. However if you insert both cards in any manner it won't get past "Powering Up".

Even more bizarre, the drive I thought was failing won't get past "Powering Up" at all. No matter what you do with cords and CableCards.

At this point my running theory is that I have an electrical gremlin in the CableCard section of the device. Why the old drive/software works with a single CableCard but the newer software doesn't is a bit of a puzzle. My guess is maybe some kind of timing issue where the older software is a bit more "tolerant".

Regardless, given that I can only seem to boot the device on an old software release with a single CableCard, it appears the end is nigh. I figured I'd throw up the hail mary and see if anyone else had any ideas I haven't already tried.
Power supply.

If it boots okay until you ask more of the supply (but not more than it should be able to handle) then the power supply has to be fixed before you proceed any further and once it is fixed you might not need to proceed any further.

So it's actually failing in a very usual fashion.

And if WinMFS can see the drive,

mfsinfo

will show you which version of the TiVo software it's running, as well as which trio of partitions are the current primary boot set.
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Old 03-25-2014, 12:42 AM   #4
Agent86
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Power Supply certainly sounds like something fixable!

Is there a guide to servicing it anywhere, or perhaps even a kit with the necessary parts?
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Old 03-25-2014, 03:15 AM   #5
unitron
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Agent86 View Post
Power Supply certainly sounds like something fixable!

Is there a guide to servicing it anywhere, or perhaps even a kit with the necessary parts?
Start reading here.

http://www.tivocommunity.com/tivo-vb...d.php?t=473394

If you know by which end not to pick up a hot soldering iron, you can probably fix it.

But you need to know about stuff like Low ESR, so read the thread.
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Old 06-03-2014, 12:25 PM   #6
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I just wanted to update this in case anyone else references it in the future.

I went ahead and replaced the domed caps in the PSU and the S3 sprung back to life - AWESOME!

For anyone else walking down this path, I've compiled some information into a single location that you may find useful.

Last edited by Agent86 : 06-04-2014 at 12:07 AM.
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Old 06-04-2014, 11:12 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by Agent86 View Post
I just wanted to update this in case anyone else references it in the future.

I went ahead and replaced the domed caps in the PSU and the S3 sprung back to life - AWESOME!

For anyone else walking down this path, I've compiled some information into a single location that you may find useful.
You rock.


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