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Old 08-28-2014, 04:56 PM   #1
BTDFXD
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Diagnosing "lightning damage"

I have a Series 3 652... Tivo in a vacation property and was just notified that a recent lightning strike likely fried my Tivo. I am going down in a few days and am looking for suggestions on how to diagnose/determine the damage. The unit has a cable card and is connected to a tuning adapter. I upgraded the HD to 1TB and will be taking the original 160 gb drive with me. I also replaced the power supply and will be taking the original which may not have been bad. Any suggestions on how/where I start to rule out damage to cable card/tuning adapter/hard drive/power supply? Maybe another way to put it is there some way to test/confirm if the motherboard is toast? Thanks for any suggestions.
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Old 08-28-2014, 07:12 PM   #2
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There's no good way, other than if it all works correctly, likely no damage. The damage might not leave any visible signs and testing is almost certainly beyond your means.
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Old 08-28-2014, 08:24 PM   #3
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You never can tell, there is nothing exact that gets damaged as it all depends on the were the surge came across the unit first and what gave up first. I recently picked up Roamio Plus from a member here and by dumb luck all it needed was new power supply and after more than a month testing it, it is back to life and working fine which I'm stuck in deciding to keep it or re-selling but I have enough faith in it that I just bought lifetime service for it.

This is the post showing the damage to a power supply after a hit with the Roamio I described:
http://www.tivocommunity.com/tivo-vb...d.php?t=519129

I myself had a Premiere that was damaged after a nearby lighting strike, it was fine except it lost it's HDMI port. I was fortunate and was able to get it replaced under warranty however technically such isn't covered, in my case is was just a couple months old so I was fortunate.
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Old 08-28-2014, 08:28 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by timhbtr53 View Post
You replaced the power supply and the HDD? What does it do when you apply power? And did you try with the cable card out and the tuning adapter not hooked up? Do you get any lights on the front display? With lightning strikes it could have done all kind of cooking on the main board. Is it a lifetime board? I would try one thing at a time on your TiVo. Plug in the P/S to main board without the HDD and try to power up and see if you get anything. If you get display on front but no video try composite cable.
I believe he's describing that he's has a replacement PS and drive that he's going to take with him when he goes to check it out as he hasn't gone to check on it yet?

If the power supply doesn't fix it, then the mainboard is toast. Not much one can do at that point.
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Old 08-29-2014, 06:50 AM   #5
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Correct, I am going down early next week and taking original HD and power supply. I guess if it shows no signs of life I will first change out the power supply and then the HD. Guess I should also try a composite cable connection just in case the hdmi port got zapped. If none of those work, It would seem the motherboard is bad. Unfortunately, I do have lifetime on the unit.
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Old 08-29-2014, 09:05 AM   #6
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Originally Posted by BTDFXD View Post
Correct, I am going down early next week and taking original HD and power supply. I guess if it shows no signs of life I will first change out the power supply and then the HD. Guess I should also try a composite cable connection just in case the hdmi port got zapped. If none of those work, It would seem the motherboard is bad. Unfortunately, I do have lifetime on the unit.
If the unit is under 3 or 4 years old TiVo will replace it for $150 inc. moving the lifetime service, you should call them and find out what TiVo will do for you, you may get back a newer model.
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Old 08-29-2014, 02:54 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by BTDFXD View Post
I have a Series 3 652... Tivo in a vacation property and was just notified that a recent lightning strike likely fried my Tivo. I am going down in a few days and am looking for suggestions on how to diagnose/determine the damage. The unit has a cable card and is connected to a tuning adapter. I upgraded the HD to 1TB and will be taking the original 160 gb drive with me. I also replaced the power supply and will be taking the original which may not have been bad. Any suggestions on how/where I start to rule out damage to cable card/tuning adapter/hard drive/power supply? Maybe another way to put it is there some way to test/confirm if the motherboard is toast? Thanks for any suggestions.
In what part of the country is this vacation property?
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Old 08-29-2014, 02:59 PM   #8
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Thanks for that suggestion but I got the unit in 2009. I did call Tivo and they were most sympathetic but said damage due to natural events weren't really covered. They did offer a refurbished Premier and a transfer of lifetime at a very fair price which I may take advantage of if the Series 3 is kaput.
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Old 08-29-2014, 06:18 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by BTDFXD View Post
Thanks for that suggestion but I got the unit in 2009. I did call Tivo and they were most sympathetic but said damage due to natural events weren't really covered. They did offer a refurbished Premier and a transfer of lifetime at a very fair price which I may take advantage of if the Series 3 is kaput.
I don't know what happed to my post from last night but I would like to know when you get there how it goes. I might have some ideas for you.
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Old 08-29-2014, 07:07 PM   #10
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Thanks for that suggestion but I got the unit in 2009. I did call Tivo and they were most sympathetic but said damage due to natural events weren't really covered. They did offer a refurbished Premier and a transfer of lifetime at a very fair price which I may take advantage of if the Series 3 is kaput.
Why tell TiVo about how you think your TiVo went bad, all you have to say is that it is not working, unless the TiVo box is all black from smoke.
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Old 08-29-2014, 09:24 PM   #11
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You never can tell, there is nothing exact that gets damaged as it all depends on the were the surge came across the unit first and what gave up first. I recently picked up Roamio Plus from a member here and by dumb luck all it needed was new power supply and after more than a month testing it, it is back to life and working fine which I'm stuck in deciding to keep it or re-selling but I have enough faith in it that I just bought lifetime service for it.

This is the post showing the damage to a power supply after a hit with the Roamio I described:
http://www.tivocommunity.com/tivo-vb...d.php?t=519129

I myself had a Premiere that was damaged after a nearby lighting strike, it was fine except it lost it's HDMI port. I was fortunate and was able to get it replaced under warranty however technically such isn't covered, in my case is was just a couple months old so I was fortunate.
So, as I speculated in the other thread, some PM action actually did take place. You acquired a lightning damaged TiVo from the original owner, who was paid, in-full, by insurance for replacement of it, then you installed a power supply, bought lifetime service, and are now considering selling it? I sure hope you list it as the salvage unit it is, should you sell it. Even if you do, it's scenarios like this that would forever make me think twice before ever buying a used TiVo with lifetime service. I mean, c'mon, the whole concept is the lifetime service is for the lifetime of the TiVo. Everything that TiVo was connected to, in any way, was also taken-out, even the cable splitters, and router. It was in a home without grounded wiring, but plugged into a surge-strip designed for grounded wiring. Whatever it's lifetime expectancy was before, has been reduced. How much? Only the person who owns it when it breaks-down will be able to say when it ends. Even then, all that is certain is it didn't gain life-expectancy. Unless selling was the idea all along, I can't see the logic in making it a lifetime service sub so quickly.

I'm not accusing you of doing anything bad, or conspiring to do anything bad. I just have less faith in used lifetime TiVos, after following the life, death, and resurrection of this one. You could list it, show me the listing with it's history included, and I'd still wonder how many others are listed without disclosure.

You have been open about it here, which makes me think of you as a good person. It's the number of not-good persons out there, and no way to insure a TiVo's history (like this one's) will always be passed-along as it might pass through multiple owners, that's bothering me. Unlike a salvage car, which the VIN will (or should) carry the history, there's no way to take a TSN, and know that an insurance company paid out on it, like with a "totalled" car.

I used to work in a position where I had the opportunity to see the invisible damage of ESD to chips by not using ESD-safe handling procedures. They would split the chip casing in a non-destructive manner, then put the chip into a special microscope. It would look like a war-zone inside, even if the chip worked like as if nothing had happened to it. This was uber-important, when the company was building medical equipment, that might be used for life or death situations, and the ESD-damaged chip might fail, killing the patient.

Kind of comparing apples to bowling balls. But, when you get the opportunity to see the hidden damage, like that, in such a context, you never forget it.
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Old 08-29-2014, 09:43 PM   #12
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I don't know what happed to my post from last night but I would like to know when you get there how it goes. I might have some ideas for you.
I was wondering the same thing, when I saw it (or part of it) quoted, but couldn't recall, or find, your original post...

There's no legitimate reason I can see for it disappearing, if the quote of it shows the whole post.

If the quote is only partial, perhaps what was not quoted had content that is forbidden by the forum rules, like discussing how to transplant certain chips, which could be in (or taken in) a context not allowed here. If you've been spending time in the forum we aren't even allowed to name in this one, you must be careful not to forget where you are, when posting. Other than that, I have no idea. Posts don't disappear, unless reported and the mods/admin take it down, unless there's more automated censoring going on than I'm aware of...
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Old 08-29-2014, 09:53 PM   #13
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Why tell TiVo about how you think your TiVo went bad, all you have to say is that it is not working, unless the TiVo box is all black from smoke.
Yeah. My thoughts exactly. Although, not all are wired to think about the possible consequences of honest full-disclosure.

In this case, if holding that back would have got a great upgrade deal, and the lightning-damaged TiVo sent back to TiVo, it would be one less lightning-salvage TiVo potentially in the wild. TiVo extensively tests the ones they sell as refurbs, and would be best equipped to find those that shouldn't be saved and resold.
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Old 08-30-2014, 07:30 AM   #14
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I was wondering the same thing, when I saw it (or part of it) quoted, but couldn't recall, or find, your original post...

There's no legitimate reason I can see for it disappearing, if the quote of it shows the whole post.

If the quote is only partial, perhaps what was not quoted had content that is forbidden by the forum rules, like discussing how to transplant certain chips, which could be in (or taken in) a context not allowed here. If you've been spending time in the forum we aren't even allowed to name in this one, you must be careful not to forget where you are, when posting. Other than that, I have no idea. Posts don't disappear, unless reported and the mods/admin take it down, unless there's more automated censoring going on than I'm aware of...
It's weird, no talk about Charlie Chip just some talk about what he had done so for till I went back a reread his post and found out he was still home. The only think I can think off is I have software that clears my footprint anywhere I go and I must of left it on. "Oh she shame" But if it's toast I wonder if Charlie Chip is alive?
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Old 08-30-2014, 07:56 AM   #15
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It's weird, no talk about Charlie Chip just some talk about what he had done so for till I went back a reread his post and found out he was still home. The only think I can think off is I have software that clears my footprint anywhere I go and I must of left it on. "Oh she shame" But if it's toast I wonder if Charlie Chip is alive?
The only way to know is to transplant it to a donor board. I can't recall if the 652 series TiVo HD was the first model not possible to do that on, or the last one you could. I'm getting pretty far "out of the loop" on anything before the Premiere, which integrated the crypto into the SOC.

It's OK to say "crypto chip", and talk about transplanting it, as long as the goal isn't to circumvent protection. As long as the end result is a TiVo with all the protection mechanisms in-place, to use for with legit TiVo Service, all should be well.
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Last edited by nooneuknow : 08-30-2014 at 08:01 AM. Reason: typo
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Old 08-30-2014, 08:30 AM   #16
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The only way to know is to transplant it to a donor board. I can't recall if the 652 series TiVo HD was the first model not possible to do that on, or the last one you could. I'm getting pretty far "out of the loop" on anything before the Premiere, which integrated the crypto into the SOC.

It's OK to say "crypto chip", and talk about transplanting it, as long as the goal isn't to circumvent protection. As long as the end result is a TiVo with all the protection mechanisms in-place, to use for with legit TiVo Service, all should be well.
Oh yes your right, if it toast put some butter on it and slide it in trash. And we all know lighting can be a tricky thing. You might fix one thing and get it working but what unseen damage is coming down the road. If it came in on AC only the P/S might be a fix but with coax, Ethernet , and any Ext devices that may have been hooked up... Hum you never know. I wonder if it was on a power strip with surge protection, if so does the maker of that strip have any warranty about damage? Of course it would be a fight with them. I use polyphaser's on all my ham radio equipment and TV coax. I had a direct hit last summer replaced the MOV and never lost a dime.
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Old 08-30-2014, 02:36 PM   #17
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For those inquiring why I felt the need to tell Tivo the circumstances of the failure, first and foremost it was the right thing to do; I wouldn't have felt right to put a different spin on it just to potentially save a couple hundred bucks. Secondly, I don't think a " different story" would be remotely more compelling..."hi my 5 year old Tivo with PLS just up and died, I know PLS is for the life of the box, since mine just died, what can you do for me...? Tivo no longer wants or deals in HD 652... Boxes so if this one turns out to be dead, I will try to sell it for parts and cancel lifetime on the TSN.
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Old 08-30-2014, 03:00 PM   #18
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For those inquiring why I felt the need to tell Tivo the circumstances of the failure, first and foremost it was the right thing to do; I wouldn't have felt right to put a different spin on it just to potentially save a couple hundred bucks. Secondly, I don't think a " different story" would be remotely more compelling..."hi my 5 year old Tivo with PLS just up and died, I know PLS is for the life of the box, since mine just died, what can you do for me...? Tivo no longer wants or deals in HD 652... Boxes so if this one turns out to be dead, I will try to sell it for parts and cancel lifetime on the TSN.
Bravo! Nine more honest people like you and we could save a city.
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Old 08-30-2014, 07:13 PM   #19
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For those inquiring why I felt the need to tell Tivo the circumstances of the failure, first and foremost it was the right thing to do; I wouldn't have felt right to put a different spin on it just to potentially save a couple hundred bucks. Secondly, I don't think a " different story" would be remotely more compelling..."hi my 5 year old Tivo with PLS just up and died, I know PLS is for the life of the box, since mine just died, what can you do for me...? Tivo no longer wants or deals in HD 652... Boxes so if this one turns out to be dead, I will try to sell it for parts and cancel lifetime on the TSN.
I've seen so many posts about "lightning damage", where it's anything from "there was a storm with lightning in the area, and they've had AV issues since that storm" to eboydog's acquisition of one that came from a house where a "strike" was claimed, the pictures of the TiVo's insides supported that, the unit was at least part of the path to ground (as backed by the pictures, and state of everything interconnected in the house), to tales of hearing loss, smoke, and a gaping hole in the attic.

The previous owner of eboydog's unit unit got quiet when I tried to ascertain where the lightning struck, and asked more questions trying to verify what path the transient came in on, and what path it exited. I gave the same speech about hidden damage, and disclosure, if the TiVo's future was to include selling it (or any way it would wind up in the wild). I was assured about disclosure, but given the silent treatment on every question to simply try and figure out their meaning of a "strike" and the path of the transient. That felt "off" to me, so I simply quit trying to help.

Your description was adequately vague enough to make it seem like you were assuming it was lightning damage. Since you seemed to be assuming it, rather than saying anything that makes it case-closed, I was simply seeing lessd's inquiry as a valid questioning of if you only thought it was lightning damage, why pass the speculation to TiVo? Maybe a transformer malfunctioned. Maybe lightning had nothing to do with it. You didn't post enough for me to say "yep, that's lightning damage there". If it was lightning, TiVo knows that every one sent in under some trade-up at discount deal might have been lightning damaged. If they couldn't ascertain the nature of a failure, and act accordingly, they'd be obliged to stay out of the refurb/recert/reman biz, as there are liability issues, otherwise.

Unless the level of testing TiVo claims they do with refurbished units is BS, they already know that if they offer you a deal on a newer unit, involving shipping the old one back, they are taking a gamble on any hope that it can be refurbished and resold. While TiVo may not list units of that age as available as factory refurbished units, there have been sightings of them on ebay, with new stickers and refurb TSNs with late 2013 re-manufacture dates. So, that means it's possible TiVo is still putting them back out there, somehow. I'd guess through an outlet, that gets all of them now.

Selling it for parts, or selling parts, meets your code of ethics, knowing that you'd likely be the last in chain of custody to make a disclosure as to what damage has been assumed? If you are convinced lightning took it out, I've seen even better advice posted for such scenarios: Take it to an electronics recycler, and make sure none of it ever gets re-used, except for raw-recycling of base materials, and keep it out of a landfill at the same time. Some just say "open garbage can and insert", which is the same advice, just less eco-friendly.

Last part, "cancel lifetime on the TSN"? Last I checked, you can't get TiVo to do that. TiVo can, and does, in other circumstances, where it's their call.

If that's the only "qualifying" sub you have, to get MSD discount on service for other TiVos, telling TiVo to cancel the lifetime on the TSN would be shooting yourself in the foot, if they actually did do so. Best thing to do, before you consider asking that, is to ask which TSNs you have that meet MSD qualifying sub requirements (ones you paid FULL price on for lifetime, or ones that are monthly at FULL price). Keep in mind the consequences that you might create for yourself, if you remove a lifetime TSN that's MSD-qualifying, and you are getting any MSD discount on any monthly subs (or want to get MSD on a future sub). It's too complex to describe every possible way you might shoot yourself in the foot. Just read-up on their MSD terms, and ask them which TSNs qualify individually.

I'll try to help, if I start seeing enough data for me to ascertain exactly how I can help. Otherwise, I'm done.

EDIT/ADD: Since it's bound to get brought-up, since I overlooked it, a MSD qualify sub gets lost when the unit with that TSN hasn't called home after an extended length of time. So, make sure to factor that in, after reviewing the MSD terms, especially if you plan on adding a new sub in the near future. If you can bring it back to life enough to keep calling home, some actually keep their qualifying unit in a closet, and make sure to bring it out, often enough to make the call home to the TiVo Service, to keep their MSD discount.
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Last edited by nooneuknow : 08-30-2014 at 07:23 PM. Reason: see edit/add
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Old 08-30-2014, 08:28 PM   #20
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The only way to know is to transplant it to a donor board. I can't recall if the 652 series TiVo HD was the first model not possible to do that on, or the last one you could. I'm getting pretty far "out of the loop" on anything before the Premiere, which integrated the crypto into the SOC.

It's OK to say "crypto chip", and talk about transplanting it, as long as the goal isn't to circumvent protection. As long as the end result is a TiVo with all the protection mechanisms in-place, to use for with legit TiVo Service, all should be well.
It was the first S3, the 648, with the OLED display that was the last with a separate Atmel-brand crypto chip you could move to another 648 motherboard, carrying the TSN with it.

The later S3s, the 652 and the 658, were the ones that started the "crypto chip built into the (BGA-mount--grrr!) CPU.

I think they might still have a discrete PROM chip, but I'll have to open one up to be sure.
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Old 08-30-2014, 10:20 PM   #21
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It was the first S3, the 648, with the OLED display that was the last with a separate Atmel-brand crypto chip you could move to another 648 motherboard, carrying the TSN with it.

The later S3s, the 652 and the 658, were the ones that started the "crypto chip built into the (BGA-mount--grrr!) CPU.

I think they might still have a discrete PROM chip, but I'll have to open one up to be sure.
Thanks for the clarification.

652 HD uses a PROM, that could still be easily socketed. They could be programmed in bulk.
746 Premiere uses a different PROM, that somebody at the site we don't speak of managed to socket, but found each one was uniquely programmed. So, any further efforts were abandoned (no "PROM dates" for 746 and later models).

I guess that leaves the OP hoping the mainboard and all the components on it survived, even more so if it's the MSD anchor/qualifying sub TSN for his account.
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Old 08-31-2014, 06:36 AM   #22
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The box is in a vacation condominium and I got an email that my building had been hit by lightning. The property manager inspected all the units and said my tv was fine but the Tivo was kaput. That is the only information I got which led me to conclude the damage was lightning related. I don't think the property manager is familiar with Tivos so I will get a better read on the damage and prospects of repair when I go down next week. All of my Tivos have PLS so there are no applicable discounts associated with this unit. The unit was on a power strip so the suggestion that I see if that has any associated insurance is worth looking into if it is fried.
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Old 08-31-2014, 06:59 AM   #23
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The box is in a vacation condominium and I got an email that my building had been hit by lightning. The property manager inspected all the units and said my tv was fine but the Tivo was kaput. That is the only information I got which led me to conclude the damage was lightning related. I don't think the property manager is familiar with Tivos so I will get a better read on the damage and prospects of repair when I go down next week. All of my Tivos have PLS so there are no applicable discounts associated with this unit. The unit was on a power strip so the suggestion that I see if that has any associated insurance is worth looking into if it is fried.
There's a fuse on the power supply board somewhere, and although expensive and hard to replace components are likely to have sacrificed themselves to save it if it was in any danger (or even if it wasn't), it's not entirely impossible that the fuse blew.

(of course lightning induced voltage spikes can

a. Happen more quickly than sufficient current can be driven through the fuse to blow it

b. Enter the unit on wires other than the power cord)


And I suppose there's always the possibility the property manager doesn't know how to switch the TV's inputs and there's actually nothing wrong with the TiVo after all.
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Old 08-31-2014, 08:23 AM   #24
dianebrat
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Originally Posted by unitron View Post
And I suppose there's always the possibility the property manager doesn't know how to switch the TV's inputs and there's actually nothing wrong with the TiVo after all.
I actually thought the same thing when he posted that, here's to offering some additional hope to the OP.
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Old 08-31-2014, 08:19 PM   #25
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Originally Posted by dianebrat View Post
I actually thought the same thing when he posted that, here's to offering some additional hope to the OP.
I agree. I also say let's offer additional help with that hope.

I was too tired to post the same, and felt I had been a bit rough on the OP, kind of carrying over from the other "lightning damage" cases, of which there seemed to be a rash of lately, with some assuming it, and some knowing it, but looking to "double-dip" by taking the insurance payout, then selling the repaired "totalled" (in the insurance speak sense) equipement, sending it out into the wild, where who knows how many times it might change owners, and no guarantee future disclosure would accompany. When somebody says they had to be honest with TiVo, but might still sell the unit for parts, or sell parts, that kind of seemed contradictory. But, I could have been kinder in what I said. I made some easily contradictory-seeming commentary by mixing together cases, scenarios, and moral values.

That leaves us (at this point) with assumed lightning damage, relayed to the OP, by a property manager. As already stated by others, it sounds like that assumption was made in the right moral manner, but made by somebody who might not even know how to use a TiVo, or insure the TV that still worked was even on the TiVo input.

I'm looking forward to hearing back from the OP, and if need even be, help the OP, any way I can. Until we do hear more, speculating and assumptions are premature. I just hope the TiVo CSR hasn't made a note on the account, prematurely, about that TSN being suspected lightning damage. That might become an issue, if the TiVo is just fine, and the OP tries to get support later, or the OP sells it later, and the new owner gets told there are notes about lightning damage on it.

The power supply "forum experts" are already here, waiting to help if the power supply has sacrificed itself. The thing that can help the OP, and the help team assembled here, is getting as much info about where this lightning hit, how far from the property/TiVo, and what path it took, with the entry and exit points making up the bulk of what can make up a plan to see if there is hope any entry was through the AC mains. While the coax ground is the ground of the TiVo, and where that design power supply is designed to shunt most surges to, as long as the entry was via power, the odds are in the OP's favor.

Until the OP reports in, I'll try to refrain from further worst-case assumptions, or premature statements on anything where info from the OP is needed.

Unitron's posts have been good. There's also the matter of any insurance that might cover this. Any attempts at more than diagnosis might hurt, rather than help. A good surge strip or UPS might offer it's own insurance. However, that depends on the path of the transient, and (often) if the owner registered the surge protection product with the mfg. I have several APC surge strips, insanely large in size, for the amount of outlets. They have some insane amount of equipment replacement guarantee, but require registration, along with the protector and all connected devices being sent to APC to be examined. If they pay for replacing the equipment, they would then own it, and it wouldn't ever become yet another damaged TiVo in the wild (the way I feel it should be). If I find the details on what I have, I'll post a link. If the OP provides the details for their equipment, I'll dig into that.

Sorry for the length. I just wanted to cover everything that's already been brought up, in one shot, until we hear back from the OP.
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Cisco tuning adapters should never be used inline (using the TA coax OUT port) to connect a TiVo, if MoCA is in use. Use a splitter w/PoE filter on leg to TA, use other leg for the TiVo. Enjoy!
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Old 09-01-2014, 06:00 PM   #26
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No one is not going to forgive me if I try to sell my Roamio Plus. If it makes you feel better,if I decide to sell one I will sell my pro instead!

I'm actually leaning towards keeping both as 4tb of storage is too much on one Tivo IMO, having two Roamios with 3tb each is a little easier to handle.

Personally I have ran my repaired Plus though everything I can think of and so far it's been rock solid with no issues other than the problem I had by using a drive that previously installed in base Roamio without wiping the drive first.

I would have not bought lifetime for it had I not been confident with it. Don't hate me just because I manged to pick up a Roamio Plus for less than $100 which includes the new power supply that fixed it.

I lucked out as I bought a cable company Premiere Q Tivo several months ago for $20 that of course, couldn't be subscribed but it was a new, unused so I tore it down for parts like like the hard drive, fan and power supply. It was pure chance that it and the Roamio's Plus Pro use the same power supply, my orginal purpose was to replace a bad power supply in a older Premier but after getting it I found the older Premier required a different one.

If it starts giving me problems, I will post back and let everyone know, I'm not that proud to proven I made a bad decision esp, with adding lifetime service to a lighting damaged & repaired Tivo!
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Old 09-02-2014, 01:26 AM   #27
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@eboydog:

There is no jealousy factor, at all. Helping people with their TiVos, when they don't work properly, is what I try to designate most of my posts towards, followed by upgrade help, then new-to-TiVo setup help, then the rest. That unpaid, often thankless (not always) job gets a lot hardware when the issue is in the hardware. If repairing and reselling "lightning damaged" TiVos leads to those units being sold again, without disclosure at a later re-sell, think of how much harder that makes things.

Like with unitron, almost unable to not first focus being on caps in power supplies, no matter what the behavior of the device, I feel like now I have to ask everybody if their TiVo was acquired new, or secondhand, then assume it might have been lightning damaged at some point, if secondhand. At least, if the current owner of any TiVo suspects lightning may have been a factor, they tend to say so in their first post, even if it just saying "there was a storm recently, and I've had problems ever since".

ESD/lightning can leave something working fine (for now), then cause problems later. I already described how I know the inside of a chip that was ESD damaged may function 100%, but there IS damage. At a microscopic level, it's like looking at the scars of a war-zone with Google Earth. Sure, the missile missed the hydroelectric plant. But, there was damage to the insulation, and a few transmission lines are now weakened at the transformer station next door. It still is operating 100% too. We all know where this analogy is headed. At least, in this analogy, the damage can be seen, and there's the choice of either fixing the damage, or leaving it alone and tempting fate. Now shrink the same stuff down to microelectronics scale, and encase it inside a chip. You can't go in in fix that transformer station's lines and insulation, nor can you even know it's damaged, if it's working fine.

Some can keep their moral values by selling with full disclosure, and I'm not saying it's false morality to do so. But, some fail to consider that those who don't have the same moral values, might take what they bought, likely at a discounted price, then sell it at going price, without any disclosure.

Take the people who are either paid, or volunteer their support, out of the picture, and focus on the unwitting third buyer who doesn't get disclosure from the second owner of the salvage TiVo with lifetime service (for the lifetime of the TiVo itself). It's always a "roll of the dice" on how long the TiVo will live, tending to be in their favor. But now the game is rigged, and less in their favor, and more true "luck" is all they have going for them.

I really do hope the day comes where some consumer protection laws at least try to keep pace with technology, and any insurance payout on damaged electronics requires the brand, model, and serial number to go into a database, making it possible for buyers to check the history of what they buy, even if the insurance company keeps it, and sells it to a recycler, that might not always do what they are supposed to (like repairing it to resell it).

Sure, some would find a way around this. At least it wouldn't be so easy. It would also cut down on insurance fraud, where one damaged device gets paid out more than once, because the insurer fails to collect that data and/or fails to collect what they paid out for (if paid out for replacement). I wouldn't be surprised if some agencies only collect the data for their own use, and don't share it, since they aren't required to, and don't collect what they would rightfully then own, because they don't want to commit the resources.

If I total my car, or it is flood-damaged, and I take the "totalled" payout, I'm given a lesser payout if they don't take the car. Regardless of if I "fix" it, or they sell it as salvage, and it gets sold again, the history follows the VIN of the car. Yes, unscrupulous and immoral people (or companies) get around this sometimes. It still works most of the time, though. If the buyer fails to check the history, that's on them, if there was an insurance payout in the history.

It still doesn't address damaged devices, sold as-is (with or w/out disclosure), without insurance payouts. But, that's not eboydog's situation. In that unit's original owner thread, there were more calls to dispose of it, than to attempt to fix it. Insurance paid for replacement, but didn't take possession of the TiVo.

Surge protector and UPS warranties against damage seem to have it right. You make a claim that they pay, and they get the goods. The goods help them make better products, and don't wind up being salvaged and put back into circulation.

Those who do claim to have across-the-board high moral standards, would agree if in the original owner's shoes, they'd have either disposed of it, or repaired it for personal use, never to be re-sold (which also keeps it from winding up in some future ebay listing without full-disclosure).

That's it. I just want it to be clear that "jealousy" does not factor into any of this, or any part of it. I've shown all my cards. There's nothing I'm hiding, or hiding behind, and no ulterior motives.
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Cisco tuning adapters should never be used inline (using the TA coax OUT port) to connect a TiVo, if MoCA is in use. Use a splitter w/PoE filter on leg to TA, use other leg for the TiVo. Enjoy!
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Old 09-03-2014, 04:30 PM   #28
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Update

Just finished diddling with the "lightning damaged" Tivo and Voila!!! Tivo had power light on front panel but was getting "no signal" message. Checked TV on both channel 3 and 4 and went through the input options to no avail. Changed hdmi cable to another hdmi port on the TV and.....GOAL!!! Good as new and was even getting program updates for the past several weeks. Thanks for all the help and suggestions.
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Old 09-03-2014, 04:46 PM   #29
nooneuknow
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Originally Posted by BTDFXD View Post
Just finished diddling with the "lightning damaged" Tivo and Voila!!! Tivo had power light on front panel but was getting "no signal" message. Checked TV on both channel 3 and 4 and went through the input options to no avail. Changed hdmi cable to another hdmi port on the TV and.....GOAL!!! Good as new and was even getting program updates for the past several weeks. Thanks for all the help and suggestions.
Maybe you should call TiVo and make sure they know it was a false alarm, just in case they made a note about "lightning damage" on the account, from the first call you made. I've found that TiVo does actually log calls and take notes, in my experience, even some of the most mundane things.

Some would be quick to say "if it's calling home, TiVo should know, duh!", but that's not quite the same thing.

Anyway, awesome to hear best case scenario, on anything. You just had a HDMI port go bad, and the timing was the same? If so, that's a bit of a coincidence, if you believe in coincidences... Did you try moving back to the port it was on to begin with, or hook anything else to that port to see what happened? Any indications there was any damage to anything at all, that might be relative to this alleged lightning incident? HDMI circuits do have some protection in them. How the protection works, other than opto-isolation on the signal lines is beyond my knowledge (for now).
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Cisco tuning adapters should never be used inline (using the TA coax OUT port) to connect a TiVo, if MoCA is in use. Use a splitter w/PoE filter on leg to TA, use other leg for the TiVo. Enjoy!
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Old 09-03-2014, 04:53 PM   #30
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I'm guessing the lightning hit might have somehow zapped the hdmi port.
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