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Old 10-24-2014, 03:11 PM   #1
stevewjackson
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Suggestions to solve freezing problem?

Our oldest TiVo has been periodically "freezing" on one screen such that it can rewind but will never progress past the freeze point. When it does, using the Live TV button successfully switches to the other tuner, then back again, but it still remains frozen. The only way to "unfreeze" is to change channels, after which it works again -- until it freezes again sometime down the road.

So far we've seen no evidence that any recordings have failed and it only happens during live TV. My wife is the primary watcher of this TiVo and seldom watches recorded programming...

The TV set was an old one that was exhibiting other issues, so we replaced it. The new one doesn't prevent the issue. I didn't think it would, but I gave it a whirl anyway since that old set was getting more annoying by the day...

The box in question is a TiVo HD purchased in late 2007 with an external My DVR Expander drive attached and Product Lifetime Service. I haven't yet run any kickstart codes to see what that might tell me, but I wanted to see if anybody has any specific ideas as to what might be behind this issue or how I might more thoroughly troubleshoot. I'm considering purchasing a replacement drive for the internal and discontinuing use of the external, but I'd like to have a fair idea first if the drive is a likely source of the trouble.

So...anybody have any ideas or suggestions for how I can nail this down better?
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Old 10-24-2014, 05:10 PM   #2
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You have done pretty well if this is the first trouble after 7 years.

The drives are likely candidates, either one, and your idea to go to a single internal drive is a good one, especially if your current drives are 7 years old.

But there have been quite a few power supply failures on that model due to defective electrolytic capacitors, the cylindrical metal cans. Failure is indicated by even slight bulging of the tops or by leakage. You should check the PS first since failure can cause any number of symptoms.

There is plenty of info, including parts lists, and help on fixing the PS and upgrading the drive on this forum. The options depend on how much of a DIY person you are. If you provide that info, help will be provided tailored to your needs.
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Old 10-24-2014, 06:04 PM   #3
stevewjackson
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dlfl View Post
You have done pretty well if this is the first trouble after 7 years.

The drives are likely candidates, either one, and your idea to go to a single internal drive is a good one, especially if your current drives are 7 years old.

But there have been quite a few power supply failures on that model due to defective electrolytic capacitors, the cylindrical metal cans. Failure is indicated by even slight bulging of the tops or by leakage. You should check the PS first since failure can cause any number of symptoms.

There is plenty of info, including parts lists, and help on fixing the PS and upgrading the drive on this forum. The options depend on how much of a DIY person you are. If you provide that info, help will be provided tailored to your needs.
It's not really the first trouble, but the other mysteriously cleared up. Some years back I was getting the hated GSOD and lost lots of recordings. I searched here and learned about kickstart codes and tried lots of things...and then it stopped having the issue. I guess one of those kickstarts repaired whatever was causing the trouble.

I've read over time about the capacitor issue, so I'll see if I can take a look at the interior over the weekend. I'd already begun to suspect that the main issue might be drive-related, though, thinking that maybe the freezing is related to the fact that everything is recorded for the 30-minute buffer. So while waiting for more ideas here, I'll be seriously considering that replacement drive...

Thanks.
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Old 10-25-2014, 05:22 AM   #4
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Originally Posted by stevewjackson View Post
It's not really the first trouble, but the other mysteriously cleared up. Some years back I was getting the hated GSOD and lost lots of recordings. I searched here and learned about kickstart codes and tried lots of things...and then it stopped having the issue. I guess one of those kickstarts repaired whatever was causing the trouble.

I've read over time about the capacitor issue, so I'll see if I can take a look at the interior over the weekend. I'd already begun to suspect that the main issue might be drive-related, though, thinking that maybe the freezing is related to the fact that everything is recorded for the 30-minute buffer. So while waiting for more ideas here, I'll be seriously considering that replacement drive...

Thanks.
That other problem may have cleared up when a new version of the OS was pushed.

There's a poster on here in Baton Rouge whose name escapes me at the moment that can help you with cap replacement if necessary.

If you're still running the original 160GB internal drive, you should probably pull it (you gotta take the cover off to look at the power supply caps anyway) and hook it to a PC and run the manufacturer's own diagnostic software long test.

A negative experience a while back has me convinced that running KS 54 on the TiVo is not the best way to do it.

Do you have any experience with a voltmeter? Sometimes caps going bad do not show outward signs (although any sign of even the slightest bulge or leaking can be taken as a guarantee that it's going bad).
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Old 10-25-2014, 01:31 PM   #5
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That other problem may have cleared up when a new version of the OS was pushed.

There's a poster on here in Baton Rouge whose name escapes me at the moment that can help you with cap replacement if necessary.

If you're still running the original 160GB internal drive, you should probably pull it (you gotta take the cover off to look at the power supply caps anyway) and hook it to a PC and run the manufacturer's own diagnostic software long test.

A negative experience a while back has me convinced that running KS 54 on the TiVo is not the best way to do it.

Do you have any experience with a voltmeter? Sometimes caps going bad do not show outward signs (although any sign of even the slightest bulge or leaking can be taken as a guarantee that it's going bad).
It's been several years back, so I don't recall details about whether there was an update close to the time that earlier issue occurred and then resolved. But any testing that requires a PC isn't an option since I don't own one. I'm a solid Mac user and currently only have a single MacBook Pro available, nothing that runs Windows. I'm also not literate with tools like voltmeters, though I could get help with that if needed.
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Old 10-30-2014, 04:41 AM   #6
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A negative experience a while back has me convinced that running KS 54 on the TiVo is not the best way to do it.
Are you saying a KS54 (SMART diags) borked a drive?

That is one of the most benign kickstarts there are. It's read-only, and any changes made to the drive are made by the drive's internal logic, not the TiVo.

I think you mean KS57 and/or KS58, both of which tend to brick drives, that test fine on a PC's tests (afterward), and require a new image (or a very difficult fix that is beyond my depth, to explain).

KS52 is the next safer one from KS54, and just re-installs the current software to the alternate partitions, and tends to do what 57 & 58 don't do (integrity checks, repairs, and cleanup), when they randomly bork things up. It displays installing update, while running.

KS57 is an integrity check, and repair (displays green screen of death, while running). Not to be used unless a last resort.

KS58 is a cleanup operation, and is rumored to also defrag (displays an update is installing, while running). Not to be used, unless a last resort.

The bad experience I bet you recall, is a GSOD boot-loop, where the GSOD would only display for a minute or two, then reboot, and repeat to infinity.

Thankfully, the new Roamios seem immune to the KS57 & KS58 random drive borkings.
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Old 10-30-2014, 07:03 AM   #7
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Are you saying a KS54 (SMART diags) borked a drive?

That is one of the most benign kickstarts there are. It's read-only, and any changes made to the drive are made by the drive's internal logic, not the TiVo.

I think you mean KS57 and/or KS58, both of which tend to brick drives, that test fine on a PC's tests (afterward), and require a new image (or a very difficult fix that is beyond my depth, to explain).

KS52 is the next safer one from KS54, and just re-installs the current software to the alternate partitions, and tends to do what 57 & 58 don't do (integrity checks, repairs, and cleanup), when they randomly bork things up. It displays installing update, while running.

KS57 is an integrity check, and repair (displays green screen of death, while running). Not to be used unless a last resort.

KS58 is a cleanup operation, and is rumored to also defrag (displays an update is installing, while running). Not to be used, unless a last resort.

The bad experience I bet you recall, is a GSOD boot-loop, where the GSOD would only display for a minute or two, then reboot, and repeat to infinity.

Thankfully, the new Roamios seem immune to the KS57 & KS58 random drive borkings.
Okay, keep in mind that this was 2 or 3 or 4 years ago when I knew even less than the pitifully small amount I know now.


This was KS54--I'd never run it, so I wanted to see what it looked like when it did, it was on an S2 DT, and although you'd think that S.M.A.R.T. tests wouldn't do a thing to the software on the drive, somehow it got screwed up so that it wouldn't boot properly.

I don't remember the exact symptoms, whether it got beyond the first screen to the second or not.

I finally got it to work again by switching boot triads with WinMFS's fix boot (or whatever that name I can never remember is).

Maybe there was something else going on and it was just a co-incidence, but I can pull a TiVo drive, hook it to PC, boot with a Parted Magic cd, or a UBCD cd with Parted Magic on it, and go into GSmart and get answers a lot faster than waiting on KS54 to complete.

The drive in question, by the way, was a 500GB Caviar Blue which is currently being used as the boot drive on the PC I'm using to type these words, so I'm guessing that whatever caused the problem was not the drive itself.

Thanks for the detail on what the other KS's do--the weaKnees page is only informative up to a point, although it tells us a lot more than TiVo themselves reveal on the subject.

EDIT to add:

I've run 57 and 58 several times on several machines in the past, and though doing so didn't always fix the problem, it never seemed to make it worse.
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Old 10-30-2014, 07:59 PM   #8
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Okay, keep in mind that this was 2 or 3 or 4 years ago when I knew even less than the pitifully small amount I know now. This was KS54--I'd never run it, so I wanted to see what it looked like when it did, it was on an S2 DT, and although you'd think that S.M.A.R.T. tests wouldn't do a thing to the software on the drive, somehow it got screwed up so that it wouldn't boot properly. I don't remember the exact symptoms, whether it got beyond the first screen to the second or not. I finally got it to work again by switching boot triads with WinMFS's fix boot (or whatever that name I can never remember is). Maybe there was something else going on and it was just a co-incidence, but I can pull a TiVo drive, hook it to PC, boot with a Parted Magic cd, or a UBCD cd with Parted Magic on it, and go into GSmart and get answers a lot faster than waiting on KS54 to complete. The drive in question, by the way, was a 500GB Caviar Blue which is currently being used as the boot drive on the PC I'm using to type these words, so I'm guessing that whatever caused the problem was not the drive itself. Thanks for the detail on what the other KS's do--the weaKnees page is only informative up to a point, although it tells us a lot more than TiVo themselves reveal on the subject. EDIT to add: I've run 57 and 58 several times on several machines in the past, and though doing so didn't always fix the problem, it never seemed to make it worse.
All my experience is with TiVo HDs and newer. Like you, I also absorb similar reports, where all the details line up, with exactly what I experienced, making it unlikely the reports are just made up, or due to user error. If the details are sketchy, I press for more, and if I'm not satisfied with the details, I don't just add it to the confirmed pile.

Knowing now that your experience was with a S2, might validate things. Although, I think I had one instance, myself, where KS54 resulted in a borked drive. It came back to me, trying to be sure of my own memory. I tried it, and it all passed, but the drive never booted again (without testing and a reimage). TiVo's (typically useless) CSR folk claimed it was because I used the test that scanned all drives it could detect, rather than selecting sda, and since I didn't have an expander attached, that test was the wrong one (the literally 100 plus times I've tried to re-create that situation, failed to do so).

On the "flip side", with KS 57/58, I have found that stock drives, upgrade drives, and so on, from the TiVo HD to the Premieres, sometimes have about the same odds as flipping a coin, when it comes to "will I be stuck in a boot loop?". My earlier mentioned data compilation methods, showed similar logistics.

As with all things on TCF, there have always been folks who say they have run all the kickstarts, on everything, too many times to count, and never borked a drive. Then there are the folks who got a borked drive once, can't even remember which kickstart it was, and warn all never to use them.

What stands out to me, is that I had exactly one time a drive got borked with KS54, and that was on the oldest PROM revision of the TiVo HD.

When I had bought enough Roamios to handle my needs, I went back to all my Premieres and HDs, running kickstarts of every kind, relentlessly, and repeatedly, also playing musical hard drives, and writing down the results. I did this for three months. It wasn't easy, as I had to fashion some paperboard and foil flip-up IR receiver sensor blockers, to only send the commands to the TiVo I wanted to receive them (since all TiVos accept commands from any IR remote address, in the KS window of opportunity, and while running kickstarts). That little share, about what it takes to KS more than one TiVo at a time, should tell you how committed I was to finding out what the deal was. What I found was, freshly imaged drives never once bricked, after three months of KS torture testing, but drives imaged with a well-run backup of them, like after 2 years of running, would all bork via 57 & 58, but never with 52 or 54.

I have never had a drive turn up bad, post kickstart borking/bricking, when examined with a PC. I also did manual log checking, with a hex editor, to track what happened to bork the drives. What I found was that the integrity checks would detect that there were too many inodes per table, stating the number, and limit, set a flag to repair it on the upcoming auto-reboot, fail to fix it, then the next reboot, and every one after, would complain that a MFS super header (and magic something), in a certain partition, was no longer being found, and the boot-looping was this going on in a cycle.

My take on it, was that if something grew too large, during use of a TiVo, it didn't stop the TiVo from working. But, if you sent the TiVo looking, and it found that problem, the attempted repair failed, and something about that, led to the next part, where that header got wiped/corrupted.

There is another member pre-dating me, who made the same discovery, and posted all around here looking for input on if there was a way to fix it. Nobody replied. I gave it a try as well, and got nowhere.

FF, later, after I'm rid of all my older TiVos, and a few members know how to fix it. It has something to do with a string "ABBAFEED" or "EBBAFEED", which has something to do with "magic" in a MFS super header. Of course, this doesn't repair the table with too many entries, which I still don't see anybody having a fix for.

I can say, that a few things seem to be related:

1. The TiVo tends to need lots of hours on the image on the drive to wind up with the MFS "too many inodes per table" condition, which insures 100% that a KS 57/58 will bork the drive, with the magic super header issue.

2. The larger the drive, the faster the limit is exceeded, and the larger the overage. But, stock drives are not immune.

3. A TiVo that is always very busy, and/or doesn't get a manual reboot every few weeks, seems more susceptible to this, than one with a light workload.

4. When TiVo released the software that made 2TB easy for S3 & HD, the problem seemed to take longer to manifest.

Without my notes in front of me, and without the computer hard drive I was using to store all the data, I'm operating on memory alone. This post is likely a typo-riddled, poorly worded, one. I just need to get to the more current threads, for now.
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Old 11-06-2014, 11:09 AM   #9
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Your problems sound somewhat similar to ones I had a while ago, which were all solved by replacing/upgrading the HD.

Note that not ALL TiVoHDs are likely to have the capacitor problem. When I opened my TiVoHD up to do the drive, the caps all looked fine.
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Old 11-06-2014, 01:39 PM   #10
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Your problems sound somewhat similar to ones I had a while ago, which were all solved by replacing/upgrading the HD.

Note that not ALL TiVoHDs are likely to have the capacitor problem. When I opened my TiVoHD up to do the drive, the caps all looked fine.
Although you are correct that not every S2 or S3 TiVo is going to have power supply problems caused by the "problem" capacitors that flooded the supply chain, showing up in lots of other places in addition to TiVo power supplies, a few years back, there is still a not insignificant chance that they will, therefore the possibility of those problems should be kept in mind when troubleshooting S2 and S3 TiVos, since those problems, which result in inadequate performance of the power supply rather than rendering it completely inoperable, can cause all sorts of strange symptoms.


And although an electrolytic capacitor which is bulging or leaking is always one in need of being replaced, one cannot safely assume that a lack of visual indicators guarantees that the capacitor in question does not have problems.
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