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Old 03-10-2003, 11:38 AM   #1
weaknees
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WARNING: Please read before upgrading Series2 TiVo

Hi--

(If you have already upgraded your HDVR2 or Series2 TiVo, this does not apply to you. Also, although we have referenced a potential power issue with the 230040, 240040 and 240080, this is NOT what we are writing about here.)

We don't mean to alarm anyone, but we have encountered a problem that can potentially cause permanent damage to your TiVo. This problem is easily avoided, and will only occur if you are not careful when upgrading your HDVR2 or Series2 TiVo.

The issue we raise below definitely applies to the HDVR2 and we have suspected this problem with the new-architecture Series2 standalone TiVos (230040, 240040 and 240080) as well.

Overview: When looking inside your TiVo, you will notice a white ribbon cable running from the front panel of the TiVo to the motherboard. It is a white ribbon cable that plugs directly into the motherboard.

Here's the WARNING: NEVER power-up your TiVo with this cable either slightly or completely removed from the motherboard. It must be firmly seated when you power up the TiVo.

Here's the reason: Doing so can permanently damage your TiVo. In some cases, the TiVo will power up but will not respond to the remote. In other cases, the TiVo will not power up at all (and will just click). With the HDVR2 and, potentially, the other Series2 TiVos, even if you later plug this cable back in, your TiVo still may not respond to your remote.

Therefore, when removing the power cable and IDE cable from your TiVo's factory hard drive, be VERY careful of this cable. Do not dislodge it. If you do dislodge it, just re-insert the cable before powering up.

We have been including a warning in our HDVR2 upgrade instructions and TwinBreeze bracket instructions, but thought that a bit of UPPER CASE might also help save a TiVo or two.

Good luck with your upgrade... and sorry for the alamist title.

Michael
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Old 03-10-2003, 12:08 PM   #2
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Thanks for the warning ... I just ordered the twinbreeze + fan setup and I appreciate knowing this in advance (since I might be one of those people who have a tendency to ignore printed stuff
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Wanna know about what is different from a DirecTV DVR with TiVo and a standalone TiVo -OR- newbie links to hack your box -OR- info on improving your NTSC PQ -OR- info on HDTV resolutions -OR- [to be added]?


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Old 03-10-2003, 07:40 PM   #3
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I don't have Series2, so I'm following this just for curiosity. Why would it not work after plugging the cable back in? Is the hardware actually damaged, or is it a software problem that would require restoring the drive from backup?
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Old 03-10-2003, 07:53 PM   #4
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Restoring the drive from a backup doesn't help - but if anyone has other thoughts, please tell us!

Michael
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Old 03-10-2003, 09:29 PM   #5
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I saw this white ribbon/cable when I upgraded my HDVR2 two weeks ago. I guess I was carefull enough not to disconnect it. Lucky me. Hinsdale, would it be possible to add this info to your guide too?
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Old 03-15-2003, 05:35 PM   #6
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Angry

OK, this just happened to me. It was not mentioned in the hinsdale how to, and I saw this post after I encountered problems and searched this board.

Sure enough, the cable came slightly out and I didn't see it until after I plugged TiVo back in and had problems. Now the remote doesn't work.

Am I screwed?
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Old 03-15-2003, 08:16 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally posted by weaknees
Restoring the drive from a backup doesn't help - but if anyone has other thoughts, please tell us!

Michael
My first thought was that you'ld have to reset the PRAM or the NVRAM or maybe even the PMU (Power Management Unit). My thinking being that it is a PowerPC logic card...

Not knowing the internals, I have no idea how to do that or if it's even possible. (It must be or Hughes wouldn't be able to fix these things.) Is there a little, teeny tiny button somewhere near the CPU? Is there some combination of front panel buttons that reset or drop the device into firmware during the boot cycle?

Then I had an entirely different thought. What if it were as simple as retraining the remote? See page 115 of the HDVR2 manual. Manually navigate to the System Information panel, scroll down two panels to where it should say "Remote Address: Not Set(0)" (if it still says that) and try setting it back to "0."

Let me know what happens. I'm curious.

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Old 03-15-2003, 08:55 PM   #8
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Question: Do all Series 2 TiVos support multiple recorders with independent remotes (like the HDVR2)?
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Old 03-15-2003, 08:55 PM   #9
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Huh? Wut? Manually navigate? Are you talking about a series 2?
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Old 03-15-2003, 11:58 PM   #10
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I put this as a sticky since it could save people from damaging their TiVos.
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Old 03-16-2003, 01:36 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally posted by Ye Ha
Huh? Wut? Manually navigate? Are you talking about a series 2?
If you have an HDVR2, there are controls built into the face of the unit. It was my understanding that the TiVo will no longer respond to the remote. The controls built into the face of the unit may still work.

What I'm suggesting is to use those controls on the front of the unit to navigate to the System Information page containing "Remote Address: Not Set(0)" and then following the directions for making the TiVo learn an individual remote.

Sorry. I have no intention of trying this myself because mine still works. Good luck.
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Old 03-16-2003, 08:58 AM   #12
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I'm guessing that there is a component that "blows" on the motherboard when the front panel connector is not seated during power up - at least that's what I read in to what has been said before. I doubt it's a mere case of changing the remote code.

It's not that Hughes "can't" fix it, but it's more cost effective for them to just swap in a new (or refurbished) mainboard.
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Old 03-16-2003, 01:28 PM   #13
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It just seems odd to me that a missing component would cause physical damage to something on the main logic card. I could understand it if the component, in this case a daughter card, were seated improperly (ie, half out). But, weaknees is saying it happens if the main logic card is powered up and the daughter card is completely disconnected.

What's really odd is that, at least from my reading of weaknees' report, the controls on the face of the HDVR2 still work once the daughter card is reconnected. (Weaknees?) The same daughter card controls the IR input and those face controls.

If some component on the main logic card were physically damaged by a missing external component (ie, hard disk, RAM, IR sensor) at boot time, bench testing the main logic card would be a huge problem. I just have difficulty believing that such a huge design mistake could have been made.

What seems more likely to me is that a PRAM or Non-Volatile RAM (Firmware) setting is lost or corrupted when the IR sensor is not found during the hardware test. Again, probably a design mistake.

But, generally, a logic card reset (ie, PRAM reset, NVRAM reset or PMU reset) will force everything back to a factory baseline and the main logic card will be forced to relearn all of its components. That is, if the engineers had the foresight to plan for such a contingency.

On some systems, this may require a complete power drain. Basically, pull the power cord then pull the main logic card backup battery (that little round silver thing, looks like a big watch battery). Leave it out for a few hours. This will kill any settings stored in semi-permanent programmable RAM (ie, the clock, receiver settings, etc.).

THIS IS A LAST RESORT! IT MAY REALLY CAUSE BAD MOJO!!!!!!

Short of that, most main logic cards are designed to be reset in one way or another. (Some are really designed to be reset by pulling the backup battery.)

It may be policy that Hughes does not want people touching the main logic card. And, once an HDVR2 is returned, Hughes would have an onus to return a guaranteed refurb. This would require a bench test of all components. In that case, it would be cheaper to strip each box, assembly line the bench tests of all the components and build refurbs for return. Hence, a flat $150 charge for all out of warranty repairs.

That being said, it may be that the firmware can only be reprogrammed on a bench and there is no way to fix this problem except at the factory. Again, from my thinking, a bad design flaw.

But then I noticed that I can buy two or three HDVR2s and train each box/remote pair so that each box will only respond to one of the remotes. That way all three or four HDVR2s can be in the same room and still be controlled independently.

So, my thought is that the main logic card has simply forgotten about the factory default setting: "Remote Address: Not Set(0)." So following the instructions on page 115 of the HDVR2 manual may allow for the reset of that lost default.

In Hughes' mind, this problem is caused by user "abuse" and is not covered by warranty. They probably don't want to tell people how to fix something that violates their warranty terms, especially if that requires putting hands close to an unshielded power supply.

If the battery were bad (ie, shorted out somehow, had bad contacts), it could cause the same problem and a lot more. That would probably be covered by warranty.

Just a few thoughts.

Last edited by designr : 03-16-2003 at 02:40 PM.
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Old 03-16-2003, 02:03 PM   #14
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jonny_ns brings up an interesting question in the thread: Changing the HDVR2 IR Code Set
Quote:
Originally posted by jonny_ns
Also, there is the following line in "System Information":

IR Controller Version: TiVo!

Does anyone know what this means?
My first thought was: "Doubtless, the main logic card is designed to support future versions of the IR remote by simply replacing the IR daughter card."

Weaknees- What does the "IR Controller Version:" report in damaged HDVR2s?
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Old 03-16-2003, 03:47 PM   #15
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All of your suggestions are great. We had the exact same reaction when we first encountered it. We were sure to post only after we had tried everything possible. There are a number of IR code resets, remote resets, etc. that we tried. We, too, were surprised to find that the front panel will work (on the HDVR2), but that the remote will not.

Bottom line: Having that cable partially engaged creates some sort of a short that will knock out one of the chips. It is the chip immediately to the right of the connector, closest to the edge of the motherboard. In the HDVR2, permanent damage may also result if the cable is completely removed when the TiVo powers up.

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Old 03-16-2003, 04:49 PM   #16
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Well, then. That begs the question: How can Hughes prove the device failure was a result of user abuse and not from a inherent design flaw?

I once received a brand new computer that was factory sealed and DOA. When I opened it up, the CPU daughter card was laying on its side, loose on the main logic card. One RAM DIMM was half out and the VRAM contacts were corroded. After I put it back together, everything worked just fine (except the CD-ROM which was toast). I needed it that day, otherwise I would have returned it.

My point is that Hughes' quality control can not guarantee a 100% grade. Shipping abuse can easily unseat connectors that are a little out of tolerance. Moving the device from one room to another might be just enough to jiggle an already loose connector and short that chip. Even a little corrosion, maybe even a particularly humid day, could result in this kind of damage.

Is there even one HDVR2 that has outlived its one year warranty?

I'm sure not everyone with these defective HDVR2s wants to go the RMA route and wait 6-8 weeks for an in-warranty replacement. But, if Hughes knew of some "unofficial" trick to resurrect these boxes, they would never risk the liability of suggesting users open the box.

So, I guess all these defective HDVR2s will have to be returned to Hughes for free replacement. The same would go for any other defective Series2 TiVos.

After all, who's to say a Hughes assembly line worker didn't nudge the connector wrong causing a pin on the connector to get loose which resulted in an intermittent short between the main logic card and the daughter card which ended up causing a failure months later.

Arguably, such a design flaw combined with such poor quality control could result in a class action lawsuit that would force Hughes to recall and/or extend the warranties of all HDVR2s under the provisions of some States' lemon laws.

I would be incensed and immediately demand a refund if it were mine...

Just another thought.

Last edited by designr : 03-16-2003 at 05:14 PM.
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Old 03-16-2003, 05:29 PM   #17
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I have a TiVo Series 2 TCD230040. There are no controls on the box itself, just the remote.

I called TiVo and opened a case, they know that I have opened the box.

I read the warranty in the installation manual. There is no mention that opening the box voids the warranty, nor was there any sort of sticker nor label on the box itself.

I've had the TiVo for almost 3 months, so, although the cable "may have come lose in shipping," it has been operating fine.

Having said that, I used to design computers as well as qualify others for purchase and I required that all cables have locking connectors to that they couldn't come lose. I can't believe the cable in question does not have a locking connector in light of the potential to damage the unit.

I plan to call corporate on Monday and pursue the warranty issue with them.

Sorry the moderators didn't make this thread sticky sooner as it would have saved me a lot of aggravation as well as potentially $150.

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Old 03-16-2003, 05:38 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally posted by Ye Ha
I have a TiVo Series 2 TCD230040. I called TiVo and opened a case...
Well... Do you still have your case number? You opened a case, they should have given you a case number. You may need to refer to the case number for the case that you opened.

Perhaps you misspoke, or perhaps you were misquoted. Certainly, you didn't mean to suggest that you opened the case of your TiVo. Regardless, that's hearsay because I heard you say you opened a case...
Quote:
I wasn't there, nobody saw me, you can't prove a thing.
- Bart Simpson


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Old 03-17-2003, 02:47 PM   #19
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Quote:
Originally posted by designr
Well, then. That begs the question: How can Hughes prove the device failure was a result of user abuse and not from a inherent design flaw?

So, I guess all these defective HDVR2s will have to be returned to Hughes for free replacement. The same would go for any other defective Series2 TiVos.

After all, who's to say a Hughes assembly line worker didn't nudge the connector wrong causing a pin on the connector to get loose which resulted in an intermittent short between the main logic card and the daughter card which ended up causing a failure months later.
Are there any cases of this happening to anyone who has not had the box open and been muddling around inside? If not, and you're suggesting that folks who had inadvertently broken their TiVos themselves send them back for warranty repair, then I have to ask whether you're familiar with the word fraud.

If someone takes it upon themselves to go rummaging around in the innards of their TiVo, and buggers it in the process, then they should be prepared to accept the consequences of their actions. It's called personal responsibility, and it seems to be a scarce commodity these days.
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Old 03-17-2003, 02:53 PM   #20
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Eccles...

WELL SAID!

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Old 03-17-2003, 07:55 PM   #21
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Quote:
Originally posted by Eccles

If someone takes it upon themselves to go rummaging around in the innards of their TiVo, and buggers it in the process, then they should be prepared to accept the consequences of their actions. It's called personal responsibility, and it seems to be a scarce commodity these days.
This *is* a good point. One would like assume that folks who take a risk in doing this are prepared to hold themselves accountable for their actions. Unfortunately, some folks don't even think about the consequences of their actions in the first place, or are willing to knowingly compromise their integrity, even if it negatively impacts others; there's always been a fear that entering into the upgrade process blindly, then involving the vendors in ongoing support issues could ruin the game for everybody.

They really should put the warranty labels on the back of the units like they used to; perhaps with even stronger wording.
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Old 03-19-2003, 05:22 PM   #22
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Eccles...

As you have no doubt been following the discussion, you noticed that the Series 2 TiVos in question, the HDVR2 and the TCD230040, have absolutely no warranty exclusion regarding the opening of the box. There is absolutely no warranty exclusion regarding the removal and replacement of the existing hard drive. And, there is absolutely no warranty exclusion regarding the addition of a second hard drive.

The only exclusion regarding the modification of these devices applies only to their modification for use with a non-original broadcast system, say changing the device from NTSC to PAL:
Quote:
A product that has been modified or adapted to enable it to operate in any country other than the country for which it was designed, manufactured, approved and/or authorized, or repair of products damaged by these modifications.
As with any small computer system, these TiVos are implicitly, if not explicitly, upgradeable by the end users. And, as this discussion board makes so patently obvious, it is common practice to upgrade and enhance these TiVo computer systems.

If Dell or Apple or HP sold boxes that could not be upgraded, they would be out of business in a heartbeat. If Dell or Apple or HP invalidated their warranties every time a user added a hard drive, their sales would drop dramatically. So, also with TiVo. I, and many others, would have opted for ReplayTV or the new DVD equipped HP Media Center PVR instead.

And, such an "unauthorized modification" exclusion would not, if one existed, be enforceable insofar as TiVo (and Hughes) is obliged to respect the provisions of the Gnu General Public License, one provision of which explicitly restricts TiVo (and Hughes) from imposing restrictions on copying (and using) the system software:
Quote:
6. Each time you redistribute the Program (or any work based on the Program), the recipient automatically receives a license from the original licensor to copy, distribute or modify the Program subject to these terms and conditions. You may not impose any further restrictions on the recipients' exercise of the rights granted herein. You are not responsible for enforcing compliance by third parties to this License.
[In fact, the legality of the private El Gamal key is questionable in light of the provisions of the Gnu General Public License. This El Gamal public/private encryption system prevents the modification of the Open Source system software in direct contravention of one of the explicit provisions of the Gnu General Public License.]

Had you been following this thread more closely, it would have been apparent to you that the failure of these TiVos is the direct result of a design defect. Only an idiot designs a main logic card that self-destructs if something is missing, in this case the IR daughter card.

These users did nothing outside bounds of a normal hardware upgrade. These users did not scratch the main logic card. These users did not damage a connector. These users did not short the power supply. In fact, an industry standard technique for troubleshooting computer systems is to disconnect external devices in order to isolate the source of problems.

As with all manufacturers, Hughes includes one broad exclusion which addresses "misuse" and "unauthorized repairs:"
Quote:
Product replacement because of misuse, accident, lightning damage, unauthorized repair, or other cause not within the control of TiVo Inc.
It is painfully obvious to those that have been following this thread that Hughes is shirking their personal responsibility and hiding behind these exclusions by crying "unauthorized repair" and blaming end users for their own design defect.

I, for one, wholeheartedly endorse forcing Hughes to prove that these TiVos died as a result of "misuse" or "unauthorized repair" and not as a result of Hughes' own engineering mistakes.

Say you bought a new truck and, say, you then bought and installed a third-party camper shell. By your reasoning, your bumper to bumper warranty would be null and void because you made a non-factory modification.

Let's say you took your new truck to the local gas station and got an oil change. And, let's say the gas jockey unplugged the computer to get at the oil filter. By your reasoning, your bumper to bumper warranty would be null and void when your new truck explodes in a huge fireball because you made an unauthorized repair.

Let's say you were driving your new truck down the road, going a few miles an hour over the speed limit. Now, let's say you hit a great big pothole. And, let's say that great big pothole damaged your suspension.

By your reasoning, you'd go to the dealership, apologize for going to fast and for hitting a pothole and demand to be allowed to pay for the repairs.

I don't think so.

So, don't get all high and mighty with me about how people should take personal responsibility for a design defect in their TiVos when you know as well as I do that Hughes is not going to take personal responsibility for their lack of engineering quality control.

And, perhaps you shouldn't bandy about the word "Fraud" so lightly or someone else might also bandy about the words "Libel" and "Slander."
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Old 03-19-2003, 05:27 PM   #23
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Weaknees (Michael) ...

I applaud you for disclosing this problem to the public the moment you found out about it. Many companies would want to sweep such an issue under the rug.

Needless to say, you will be more than happy to take personal responsibility for your failure to adequately test every possible contingency before shipping your mod/instruction kits.

No doubt, you will be want to take personal responsibility for your failure to warn your customers that by failing to reconnect the white cable properly, permanent damage to their TiVos would result.

And, you will insist upon doing the right thing by paying for the repairs of all the TiVos that were damaged during unauthorized modifications performed using your mod kits and your original instructions which failed to warn of this issue.

I don't think so.

I agree with you that damaging a board or connector as a result of neglect should invalidate the TiVo warranty. People who are not comfortable making these upgrades should let someone else perform the upgrade. And that third party should be prepared to take responsibility for their workmanship.

Arguably, leaving a serial connector partially connected is very bad form and may well be construed as "misuse."

But, leaving a connector completely disconnected should never result in physical damage to a main logic card.

If Hughes insists that these TiVos died as a result of "misuse" or "unauthorized repair" and not as a result of their own design defect, then I see no reason to help them shirk their personal responsibility.
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Old 03-19-2003, 05:28 PM   #24
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Tivoupgrade (TiVoKing)...

How does insisting that Hughes build a more reliable and less proprietary product "negatively impact others?"

I suppose that if Hughes resumed putting warranty surrender stickers on the backs of new TiVos, they could also stop using Open Source software and pay for their own programmers. And, I suppose they would be willing to accept reduced sales figures as subscribers migrate to other platforms.
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Old 03-19-2003, 05:52 PM   #25
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Designr--

While we still respectfully disagree with your view, we did want to point something out: We are quite confident that leaving your cable partially connected will very likely (if not definitely) cause permanent hardware problems.

We believe (but are not 100% sure) that pulling the cable out entirely can cause harm in the HDVR2. We have seen one situation in which the cable was out and the remote did not work...but there was no way for us to confirm whether the cable was indeed fully dislodged while the TiVo was powered up.

Our goal, frankly, was to raise a BIG red flag and to be very conservative. This is a big issue, and if there is even a slight chance that pulling the cable can cause harm, we thought it best to let people know.

If your beef is with a "defect" caused by a cable being completely removed, then let's give Hughes the benefit of the doubt here.

I'm quite confident that this problem would not arise (or would arise in extraordinarily rare circumstances) if no TiVo customer ever opened a TiVo.

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Old 03-19-2003, 06:07 PM   #26
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Quote:
Originally posted by designr
These users did nothing outside bounds of a normal hardware upgrade.
True, but through bad luck or ineptitude, they disconnected a critical component and caused damage.

Quote:
Let's say you took your new truck to the local gas station and got an oil change. And, let's say the gas jockey unplugged the computer to get at the oil filter. By your reasoning, your bumper to bumper warranty would be null and void when your new truck explodes in a huge fireball because you made an unauthorized repair.
Oh goody, analogies. Okay, I'll play along...

When it comes time to replace the brake pads on my hypothetical truck, I elect to do the job myself because, heck, it's routine maintenance and I won't void my warranty. But in the process of refitting the brake caliper, I somehow damage the hydraulic line, and the first time I hit the brakes at the end of my street, the pedal goes to the floor and my truck self-destructs into a telegraph pole.

You want to tell me that the manufacturer should fix that under warranty?
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Old 03-20-2003, 12:27 AM   #27
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Quote:
Originally posted by designr
Tivoupgrade (TiVoKing)...

How does insisting that Hughes build a more reliable and less proprietary product "negatively impact others?"

I suppose that if Hughes resumed putting warranty surrender stickers on the backs of new TiVos, they could also stop using Open Source software and pay for their own programmers. And, I suppose they would be willing to accept reduced sales figures as subscribers migrate to other platforms.
I never insisted that Hughes build a more reliable and less proprietary product. In fact, I didn't even suggest it, nor do I desire it. I think that the system is just fine as it is -- even with the flat ribbon cable inside. Don't think we weren't aware of it either - we've been well aware of it. Just as aware in fact, as the fan which one could easily catch ones tongue in, especially if the unit were plugged in at the time.

My desire is that they put the warranty sticker on it -- just to let people know (as they should already know) that taking the cover off represents the breaking of their warranty - and the fact that it is not intended that folks go in - and if folks do, all the power to them, risks and all.

So I agree with Eccles - people need to take responsibility for their actions -- even if they don't realize what they are doing when they are doing it.
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Old 03-20-2003, 12:44 AM   #28
c3
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Join Date: Sep 2000
Location: Silicon Valley, CA
Posts: 3,041
We all agree that's a poor design. There's no question about it. However, if it breaks because you have opened the case and messed with it, you pay for it. There is a warranty sticker on the unit, and it says "common sense".
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Old 03-23-2003, 11:33 AM   #29
FourSKY
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Join Date: Aug 2002
Location: Minnesnowta
Posts: 5
I bought a defective tivo series 2 on ebay a few weeks ago for $130. When I got it, I pluged it in, and it powered up and gave me the setup screen. The remote would not work at all. I tested the remote on my other tivo, and is worked fine. I looked inside the box and found the cable you are referring to halfway connected ( is was in there like this < ). I plugged it back in and it powered up and worked fine.
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Old 03-23-2003, 01:09 PM   #30
Barb
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Join Date: Mar 2003
Posts: 32
I just went through an upgrade of my Series 2 AT&T Tivo (ended up not working because my new drive was bad), but when I plugged my old drive back in, my screen kept freezing once I started watching t.v. I opened the Tivo back up, reseated everything, and it still happened. Finally, I took the white ribbon cable out and reseated that (even though I had been very careful not to touch it during the upgrade.) When I turned the Tivo back on, everything started working perfectly again. For what it's worth, if anyone runs into the problem of the screen freezing, pull out the ribbon and reseat it -- that might do the trick for you.
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