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Old 07-14-2009, 11:10 AM   #1
e30cabrio
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500GB TiVo Expander failure

I have an XL, S3, & HD. I had my 500gb WD Expander on the HD for over a year when I started having pixilation and sporadic TiVo freezeups.

I did hours of troubleshooting with Cox & TiVo, finally I moved the expander to the S3 and had the same issues, I moved it to the XL, same thing.

Obviously the Expander is at fault BUT I took the drive out and it has been working fine in my PC for two weeks.

My question is does it seem possible that there is a problem with the electronics between the drive & the TiVo?

I found a 1TB drive on Newegg for 79.99 but if the issue is not the drive that will not solve the issue.
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Old 07-14-2009, 11:51 AM   #2
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The short answer to your question is yes, it's possible that there's something wrong other than the WD HDD itself. It seems like we're seeing more and more WD My DVR Expander failures such as you describe (drive good but no longer works w/TiVo) recently...most being a little over a year or so old.

It's possible that the enclosures are failing (bridge, chipset, etc.). The supplied eSATA cables have been known to be problematic though. Did you try replacing the cable? The recommended SIIG Serial ATA external cable is less than $12.

In any case, if it is the enclosure (or even the cable) you have a couple of options. One is to simply replace it of course. The other is to put the WD drive into one of the recommended enclosures such as the Antec MX-1 and reconnect it to any of your TiVo's.

FYI, TiVo recognizes eSATA drives by the exact model number. You can use "unauthorized" drives via plug and pray on Series3's, but not on TiVo HD's or HDXL's. So if you're thinking of adding a different drive to your HD or HDXL you'd need to pull the internal drive and use winMFS to marry the two. (Best bet with a TiVo HD is to simply upgrade the internal drive.)

All of the information you need regarding expansion drives, upgrades, troubleshooting, etc. can be found on the Drive Expansion and Drive Upgrade FAQ sticky thread. (Probably best to ask questions there as well.)

Best of luck and let us know how it goes.
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Old 07-14-2009, 12:14 PM   #3
e30cabrio
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I bought that cable a week after I got the drive as the cheap cable it came with disconnected when an ant thought about walking near it.

The HD is the one with insufficient space and I really don't need another drive so I guess I'll either get another one of these, one of the ones that are unsupported but work or maybe I'll go internal although as the HD is in warranty and these seem to have an 18 month lifespan and this one is right about there I may hold off on that.

As always thanks for your help.
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Old 07-14-2009, 12:17 PM   #4
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I have had at least 25 different external drives in the last 7 years and every single one of them eventually went bad. The type (USB, 1394 or sata) did not make any difference. They all eventually failed. But, also in every case it was the external case that went bad, the drive inside was perfectly fine once installed in a computer or another case. One of the manufacturers I talked to said he would only expect the external case to function for about a year.
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Old 07-14-2009, 12:24 PM   #5
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The HD is the one with insufficient space and I really don't need another drive so I guess I'll either get another one of these, one of the ones that are unsupported but work...
Keep in mind that there's no such thing as an eSATA drive that is "unsupported but works" for TiVo HD's (only Series3's). The 500GB and 1TB WD My DVR Expanders are the only one's that will work with HD's and HDXL's via P&P. Otherwise you have to pull the internal drive and use winMFS to marry them. That's why upgrading the internal drive on the TiVo HD is what most people end up doing.
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Old 07-14-2009, 12:27 PM   #6
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One of the manufacturers I talked to said he would only expect the external case to function for about a year.
That's a sad statement isn't it? Wonder why?
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Old 07-14-2009, 03:50 PM   #7
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I had my WD 500GB Expander fail after 1 year exactly. I understand the frustration, I lost about 80 shows. It is the only HDD I have ever had fail, so I wonder why the failure rate is so high? Obviously many people have had the same problem.
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Old 07-14-2009, 05:51 PM   #8
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I had my WD 500GB Expander fail after 1 year exactly. I understand the frustration, I lost about 80 shows. It is the only HDD I have ever had fail, so I wonder why the failure rate is so high? Obviously many people have had the same problem.
Yes, I meant to say in my reply above, my WD DVR expander quit working 13 months after its purchase. And due to muy experience with so many external drives, I don't believe the fault is in any way a TiVo problem.
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Old 07-14-2009, 07:10 PM   #9
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Am I the only one that finds it interesting that they seem to fail just out of warranty?

I spoke to the first line of tech support and was told it was out of warranty before I opened the box. I said the fact the HDD was good showed the issue is between the drive & TiVo and that there seemed to be a trend in that direction.

I called corporate and left a message for the Executive customer service liason.

We'll see what happens.
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Old 07-14-2009, 07:32 PM   #10
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Am I the only one that finds it interesting that they seem to fail just out of warranty?

I spoke to the first line of tech support and was told it was out of warranty before I opened the box. I said the fact the HDD was good showed the issue is between the drive & TiVo and that there seemed to be a trend in that direction.

I called corporate and left a message for the Executive customer service liason.

We'll see what happens.
Good luck, and let us know. I am dissapointed enough with regards to the $ aspect, but losing total seasons of shows is really bad. I love having to pay to rent shows I had but lost....
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Old 07-14-2009, 07:44 PM   #11
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I had my WD 500GB Expander fail after 1 year exactly. I understand the frustration, I lost about 80 shows. It is the only HDD I have ever had fail, so I wonder why the failure rate is so high? Obviously many people have had the same problem.
My WD 500GB DVR expander lasted exactly 13 months. Amazing
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Old 07-14-2009, 07:50 PM   #12
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My WD 500GB DVR expander lasted exactly 13 months. Amazing
Talk about planned obsolescence. Sheesh! This is not sounding too good. Might be worth a poll pretty soon.
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Old 07-15-2009, 12:06 AM   #13
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I've had three WD external HD's go bad on me during the last three months (two of them My DVR's). All over one year old (average life about 18 months). Really quite frustrating. I really don't want to buy another WD at this point, but given the lack of official support for anything else I'm not sure what to do.
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Old 07-15-2009, 08:11 AM   #14
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The process ?

Just so I understand, if the enclosure is bad but the drive is ok, what is the process exactly that one goes through to be able to keep all of the programs on the drive? Or did I misunderstand that this can be done? Thanks. Sometimes this all gets a little confusing.
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Old 07-15-2009, 08:46 AM   #15
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Talk about planned obsolescence. Sheesh! This is not sounding too good. Might be worth a poll pretty soon.
I had one expander given to me as a present. It died out of warranty - drive was burning hot - obvious it was dead. I just junked the whole thing and put in an internal 1TB drive and never looked back. Internal drive is just a much better solution and 1 TB more than serves my purposes.
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Old 07-15-2009, 09:47 AM   #16
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If the enclosure goes bad but the drive is still good, you could just buy a new enclosure. The eclosures are running < $20 on ebay.
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Old 07-15-2009, 09:51 AM   #17
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I had one expander given to me as a present. It died out of warranty - drive was burning hot - obvious it was dead. I just junked the whole thing and put in an internal 1TB drive and never looked back. Internal drive is just a much better solution and 1 TB more than serves my purposes.
Absolutely the way to go if you can.

I know for some folks an eSATA drive like the My DVR Expander is more-or-less the only option though so it's unfortunate that they don't seem to be lasting much more than a year. I'm not sure about TiVo's awareness level, but I'd think they would not be happy about that.

Last edited by richsadams : 07-15-2009 at 10:04 AM. Reason: Typo...aurgh!
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Old 07-15-2009, 10:01 AM   #18
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Just so I understand, if the enclosure is bad but the drive is ok, what is the process exactly that one goes through to be able to keep all of the programs on the drive? Or did I misunderstand that this can be done? Thanks. Sometimes this all gets a little confusing.
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If the enclosure goes bad but the drive is still good, you could just buy a new enclosure. The eclosures are running < $20 on ebay.
Sound advice. TiVo recognizes eSATA hard drives by the drive model number so a working drive can usually be installed in a new enclosure. Since the drive is running 24/7 users should be cautioned to buy a replacement enclosure that has good cooling abilities. Ideally an enclosure with a fan such as the recommended Antec MX-1 works best but there are plenty of folks using other fan-less enclosures successfully. Enclosures without active cooling should be placed such that there is plenty of air circulation/ventilation.

Be sure to remove and install the eSATA drive per these instructions:

http://www.tivo.com/mytivo/howto/get..._capacity.html

Of course if the drive has been divorced all recordings since it was installed will be lost.
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Old 07-15-2009, 09:20 PM   #19
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A very nice man from Executive called, I had explained myself fully including the serial number in my message, he said he added a year to the warranty and that I could now go online and create the RMA. I did an advance RMA and await a replacement drive.

Pretty cool WD.
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Old 07-16-2009, 05:38 AM   #20
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A very nice man from Executive called, I had explained myself fully including the serial number in my message, he said he added a year to the warranty and that I could now go online and create the RMA. I did an advance RMA and await a replacement drive.

Pretty cool WD.
Good deal, at least you get a replacement. Maybe WD is aware of the high failure rate on these drives. Hopefully you won't have any problems with this one. I won't use another one.....don't trust them anymore.
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Old 07-16-2009, 02:14 PM   #21
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Talk about planned obsolescence. Sheesh! This is not sounding too good. Might be worth a poll pretty soon.
I shouldn't tempt fate by saying this, but mine is 18 months old and still working fine...
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Old 07-24-2009, 09:07 AM   #22
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After hours unsuccessfully trying to get the drive to work on all three TiVos and all of them saying unsupported device, (the S3 let me set it up anyway but then did not see the space). I have an explanation of what the issue is and a great solution from WD.

It took three days but finally they determined they had flashed the firmware on the refurbs in a way the TiVo did not recognize.

They agreed to send me a new drive and for the inconvenience a 1TB to boot!

It will be here Monday and now the HD will have more space than the XL.
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Old 07-24-2009, 12:08 PM   #23
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It took three days but finally they determined they had flashed the firmware on the refurbs in a way the TiVo did not recognize.
Never heard that one before. Assuming you mean "they" are WD? That's very interesting and might help others that follow.
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Old 07-24-2009, 02:43 PM   #24
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Yes WD, their representative said they were unaware the change had caused an issue and that I had helped them figure it out.
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Old 07-24-2009, 03:07 PM   #25
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Yes WD, their representative said they were unaware the change had caused an issue and that I had helped them figure it out.
Assume you'll bill him for the appropriate hours?
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Old 07-24-2009, 06:24 PM   #26
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I got a 1TB drive for my trouble, that's good enough for me.



It came today.

Thanks, I did not know it was usable.

Last edited by e30cabrio : 07-24-2009 at 07:27 PM.
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Old 07-24-2009, 07:17 PM   #27
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e30cabrio -

You should edit out your TiVo service number from that screenshot - it really shouldn't be shared - for your protection.

Just a FYI ...
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Old 07-24-2009, 11:13 PM   #28
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Mine just recently died as well, about 18 months after installation.
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Old 07-25-2009, 02:16 AM   #29
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ChocolateThunder??? Sounds like a Claim Jumper desert.
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Old 07-25-2009, 09:16 AM   #30
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It's from the cat, the things are thing 1 & 2 or Chocolate Thunder or Kevin (my XL's name)

lol
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