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Old 12-08-2012, 01:33 PM   #1
earworks
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"Welcome, Powering Up" Freeze--Hard drive not spinning

I've had zero problems with my 5+ year old Series 3HD until yesterday. It was locked up and required a hard restart by unplugging. Now it just freezes on the Welcome, Powering Up screen. The fan spins, but the hard drive doesn't. Popped the top and did a a quick visual. All normal except at least one bulging cap. Is it likely that the power supply has failed and *not* the internal drive?

Many of you have tons more experience with this than I.

Depending on what you all have to say, I'll probably just swap out the cap, and any others that look suspicious before replacing the HD.
Thanks in advance for you help!

Cheers,
Tom
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Old 12-08-2012, 06:38 PM   #2
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You must fix the power supply first. There's no point to checking the drive in the Tivo until you do that.
At least, replace the bulging capacitor. If you know what you are doing, I suggest replacing all the capacitors on the output side of the PS (who knows when the next one is going to blow?).

While you are dealing with the power supply, check the hard drive on a computer* with the manufacturer's diagnostic using the long test.
That will be the best indicator on whether the hard drive is bad or not.

* If you have a computer with a GigaByte brand motherboard, let us know before you test. Extra steps may need to be taken to ensure a Host Protected Area is not written to the Tivo hard drive.
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Old 12-15-2012, 12:13 PM   #3
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I agree with the idea to plug it into a PC (if you can) and do some diagnostic there before deciding it is bad. Many drive manufacturers have diagnostics software for their drive that you can use to see how it is operating. That is, if it can spin up at all - if it can't on a PC then you know exactly that the drive is at fault.

I see a lot of people talking about bulging caps as if they were instant signs of failure which they are not. Yes, they are going to fail eventually, but a bulge on the top does not indicate they are failed now. And while it is relatively easy to buy some replacements and swap them out (or have an electronics repair shop do it) that doesn't mean you should do it if otherwise they are working fine.
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Old 12-15-2012, 12:46 PM   #4
earworks
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Thanks for the responses. I've been involved in electronics tech work for years, so for me the power supply caps were a no brainer. That didn't, however, fix the problem. Just eliminated a possibility and extended the life of the power supply.

Tested the drive in a SATA dock and sure enough, the drive fails to spin up. I guess that's to be expected of a drive that spun non-stop for 6 or 7 years.

I purchased a new Seagate drive and the DVRUpgrades "Instacake" software download. Have spent a week trying to get the software to run properly and create a new system drive for the TiVo. No success.

I've enlisted the help of several computer gurus who are as flummoxed as I am.

I'm not sure how best to get my machine up and running again without spending more money than it's worth.

I miss my TiVo!

Anyway, thanks for the help!

Cheers,
Tom
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Old 12-15-2012, 02:03 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by scottsh View Post
I see a lot of people talking about bulging caps as if they were instant signs of failure which they are not. Yes, they are going to fail eventually, but a bulge on the top does not indicate they are failed now.
I beg to differ.
Something happens inside of the capacitor and creates enough force to dome the top, and you don't call that a failure?
Think about it. It certainly isn't from normal operation.

Also, if you run a power supply out of spec (which is what is happening if you have failed caps on the board), you run the risk of damaging the hard drive or motherboard.

It's very possible that the OPs hard drive failure was caused by the bad power supply.
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Last edited by steve614 : 12-15-2012 at 02:12 PM.
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Old 12-15-2012, 07:32 PM   #6
earworks
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Looking over the various forums I saw that there have been others with challenges using the InstaCake disk image. Finally managed to get it to work today using an older PC and attaching a USB to SATA adapter. I've just installed the drive and am going through the setup process now. Fingers crossed, but it looks like I've got TiVo again. Yay!

Cheers,
Tom
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Old 12-16-2012, 11:15 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by scottsh View Post
I agree with the idea to plug it into a PC (if you can) and do some diagnostic there before deciding it is bad. Many drive manufacturers have diagnostics software for their drive that you can use to see how it is operating. That is, if it can spin up at all - if it can't on a PC then you know exactly that the drive is at fault.

I see a lot of people talking about bulging caps as if they were instant signs of failure which they are not. Yes, they are going to fail eventually, but a bulge on the top does not indicate they are failed now. And while it is relatively easy to buy some replacements and swap them out (or have an electronics repair shop do it) that doesn't mean you should do it if otherwise they are working fine.
They're signs of failure which has already occurred.

In the case of Low-ESR high-temp rated caps such as are used on the TiVo power supply and other high-frequency switching DC-DC conversion circuits, such as those which are the CPU supply on PC motherboards, the bulge is an indication that it's either a counterfeit cap or one made with the incomplete stolen electrolytic formula or both, in other words, what we've come to know and hate as "capacitor plague".

And it means the cap has already gone bad, although sometimes they go bad and don't show any visible signs and sometimes they were bogus and never met spec in the first place.
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