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Old 09-11-2012, 07:50 PM   #1
ibergu
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Is it okay to turn the TiVo off (i.e. unplug) every night?

Planning on moving my Series 3 to the bedroom, but my wife has bionic ears and swears that she won't be able to sleep because of the noise.

Will we damage the TiVo if we turn it off every night? I know it won't record shows, but that's fine. Just want to make sure that it has no ill effects on the box.

Thanks!
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Old 09-11-2012, 08:03 PM   #2
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I don't recommend simply unplugging it - if you do that regularly you may corrupt the disk contents. If you must remove power, do a restart through the menus and cut the power once the screen goes blank. I doubt, however, you'll have the discipline to do that every night.

Another issue is that some TiVo updates come in on programs recorded late at night, so you may prevent the TiVo from getting updates. If it is connected to the network that may be less of an issue.

Maybe think of other options - I read about a TiVo Mini which might be usable in a bedroom.
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Old 09-11-2012, 08:37 PM   #3
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Thanks Steve.

I'm not that tech savvy. Why would unplugging it corrupt the disk contents?

In any case, I was doing some research and read that putting the TiVo in Standby (and turning suggestions off) might also reduce noise. I'll give that a try.
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Old 09-11-2012, 08:52 PM   #4
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A TiVo is always writing to disk. If you simply interrupt power, you may cause a disk transfer to be incomplete. The TiVo's file system is designed to allow for that, but there is a risk of an issue. Also, the disk drive itself would "prefer" to be parked and spun down rather than have the plug pulled.

Yes, putting it in standby and disabling recording of suggestions might help, but you should experiment.
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Old 09-11-2012, 09:06 PM   #5
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There is one very big ill effect from unplugging it overnight, it won't be able to record anything. A Tivo's goal in life is "record record record" and you're preventing it from doing that
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Old 09-11-2012, 11:15 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by ibergu View Post
Planning on moving my Series 3 to the bedroom, but my wife has bionic ears and swears that she won't be able to sleep because of the noise.

Will we damage the TiVo if we turn it off every night? I know it won't record shows, but that's fine. Just want to make sure that it has no ill effects on the box.

Thanks!
I have had a timer on my TiVo (was the TiVo Series 3, now the TP) for many years, it turns off the unit at 4am and back on at 5PM, software updates happen at about 2am so that never been a problem, and i have never corrupted the hard drive and never had a hard drive or TiVo fail, TiVo is designed to have the power removed without causing any problems, so is your PC. I have nothing i want to record in that time frame, if there was i would turn the timer off for a day or so. I know this is one person with one TiVo doing this, but i would think I would have seen a problem sometime from 2007 to now if there is any problem doing this.
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Old 09-11-2012, 11:50 PM   #7
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I have had a timer on my TiVo (was the TiVo Series 3, now the TP) for many years, it turns off the unit at 4am and back on at 5PM
There is very little or no reason to do that. It's isn't very likely to do anything directly, but it will tend to reduce the lifespan not only of the hard drive but also the electronics.

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TiVo is designed to have the power removed without causing any problems
A more accurate statement would be the design of the TiVo is highly tolerant of such interruptions. Everything critical is read-only.

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so is your PC.
Absolutely not. Your average desktop PC is rather intolerant of sudden power interruptions, especially if it is running Windows or certain versions of Unix, or even Linux with certain file systems. Suddenly killing the power to a PC is an excellent way to cause a wide range of issues, including a total corruption of the OS.

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I have nothing i want to record in that time frame, if there was i would turn the timer off for a day or so. I know this is one person with one TiVo doing this, but i would think I would have seen a problem sometime from 2007 to now if there is any problem doing this.
That is only 5 years, and you have been lucky. Every time almost any component is shut down it causes thermal shock. Every time it is turned on, most components - especially motors (like in a hard drive) and power supplies are placed under high loads from inrush current. Many logic circuits are stressed by low supply voltages until the supply rails stabilize.
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Old 09-12-2012, 01:09 AM   #8
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In any case, I was doing some research and read that putting the TiVo in Standby (and turning suggestions off) might also reduce noise. I'll give that a try.
Another trick is to turn off Suggestions and then tune the TiVo to a channel you don't get, this will stop the recording and should reduce all hard drive noise.

Although if your wife is so sensative to this why are you even considering doing it? Why do you need a TiVo in the bedroom?

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I have had a timer on my TiVo (was the TiVo Series 3, now the TP) for many years, it turns off the unit at 4am and back on at 5PM.
Why? TiVos don't use much power so I can't imagine this saves much.
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Old 09-12-2012, 05:54 AM   #9
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we have TIVO in our bedroom, but we did it through a wired remote system that Radio Shack used to sell (sadly they no longer sell this unit). It sends the video and remote signals back on one wire. I tried a wireless system, but it looked very bad.There are newer units on the market now, ones that support full HD. Take a look at:
http://hometheater.about.com/od/audi...der-Review.htm

... there are several others out there as well.
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Old 09-12-2012, 07:41 AM   #10
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Another trick is to turn off Suggestions and then tune the TiVo to a channel you don't get, this will stop the recording and should reduce all hard drive noise.

Although if your wife is so sensative to this why are you even considering doing it? Why do you need a TiVo in the bedroom?



Why? TiVos don't use much power so I can't imagine this saves much.
You will still hear the fan from the TiVo even it's it's not writing to the hard drive. I can easily hear the fan or hard drive in any TiVo from twenty feet away in a quiet room. But it doesn't keep me from sleeping. I would rather have the noise from the TiVo than for the room to be completely quiet. If it is completely quiet, then I have difficulty sleeping. Because I'm then able to hear all the creaks from the building, pipes, etc. or crickets and other noise from outside. And those noises really keep me up when I hear them.
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Old 09-12-2012, 07:56 AM   #11
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The two biggest arguments (IMO) against unplugging every night is that it prevents the TiVo from doing what it's suppsed to do (Suggestions, downloading program info) and increased thermal cycling as the system warms to operating temp during the day and cools down to ambient overnight which is more stressful than just turning it on and leaving it running.
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Old 09-12-2012, 08:22 AM   #12
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If you replace the hard drive with an ssd, you can probably get by with unplugging the fan and reduce your noise to zero.
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Old 09-12-2012, 09:46 AM   #13
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I'd be concerned that an SSD wouldn't have the service life (write cycles) that a TiVo needs.
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Old 09-12-2012, 10:00 AM   #14
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Well, I would try testing it to see if its bothersome or not. Unplugging it a few times for a test should not impact a drive in good working order. Then make your decision.
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Old 09-12-2012, 10:57 AM   #15
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There is very little or no reason to do that. It's isn't very likely to do anything directly, but it will tend to reduce the lifespan not only of the hard drive but also the electronics.


A more accurate statement would be the design of the TiVo is highly tolerant of such interruptions. Everything critical is read-only.


Absolutely not. Your average desktop PC is rather intolerant of sudden power interruptions, especially if it is running Windows or certain versions of Unix, or even Linux with certain file systems. Suddenly killing the power to a PC is an excellent way to cause a wide range of issues, including a total corruption of the OS.


That is only 5 years, and you have been lucky. Every time almost any component is shut down it causes thermal shock. Every time it is turned on, most components - especially motors (like in a hard drive) and power supplies are placed under high loads from inrush current. Many logic circuits are stressed by low supply voltages until the supply rails stabilize.
Hard to argue with your ideas about power shut off (in Windows I do close all programs before turning off any computer), because they sound good and many people have your belief, it just my not true, as running something does reduce its life also, most people turn their TVs off when they stop watching, never been a big problem. If one turned your TiVo on than off every 10 minutes 24/7 your TiVo life would most likely go down, but twice a day, you will get longer life for your TiVo. But this is somewhat like religion, you may have yours I may have mine, if they are not the same we should not tell (with force) the other, that their life is not being lived correctly.

PS I don't do this for power savings as that amounts to about $1/month, but it does add about 70% to the life of the hard drive (IMHO).
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Old 09-12-2012, 11:18 AM   #16
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PS I don't do this for power savings as that amounts to about $1/month, but it does add about 70% to the life of the hard drive (IMHO).
This argument is as old as time, and as far as I know there has never been any real proof in either direction. Both sides have theoretical merit, but all the "proof" I've seen is anecdotal.

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Old 09-12-2012, 11:45 AM   #17
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This argument is as old as time, and as far as I know there has never been any real proof in either direction. Both sides have theoretical merit, but all the "proof" I've seen is anecdotal.

Dan
I agree !!
We all have our own beliefs and its very hard to change ones beliefs, look how hard it was to convince people that the world was round back in the 14th & 15th century, or where was Barack Obama birth place again ?? LOL
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Old 09-12-2012, 12:38 PM   #18
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I've had nine TiVos over the last ten years or so and have had disk failures only in two cases which both were while powering off and on. I had a third case of file corruption when power failed but was able to recover the disk in that case. I know that anecdotal evidence won't necessarily be meaningful for others but it was sufficient for me to justify getting UPS systems and minimizing powering off/on. Have not had a disk failure since.
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Old 09-12-2012, 02:25 PM   #19
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has your wife ever tried earplugs?

you could also put the TiVo in your main room and then get a TiVo Mini when it becomes available, its doesn't have a Hard Drive or Fan.
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Old 09-12-2012, 07:52 PM   #20
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Doesn't the Mini require a 4 tuner Premier? The OP has a Series3.
But yes, that would be a solution, but quite the $ jump.
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Old 09-12-2012, 08:52 PM   #21
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Maybe stick it in a closet and use the slide remote?
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Old 09-12-2012, 10:13 PM   #22
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Doesn't the Mini require a 4 tuner Premier? The OP has a Series3.
But yes, that would be a solution, but quite the $ jump.
You're correct. I missed that the OP has a Series3.
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Old 09-13-2012, 01:34 AM   #23
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This argument is as old as time, and as far as I know there has never been any real proof in either direction. Both sides have theoretical merit, but all the "proof" I've seen is anecdotal.
Not at all. First of all, many companies and even some individuals have enough systems in service that the number is statistically significant. Indeed, with more than 30 hard drives in my house and more than 100 under my administration at work, I can tell you the systems that are online 24 x 7 have far lower failure rates than those that are shut off. Of the 70 drives in embedded systems that have been running for between 15 and 18 years continuously in our Nortel systems, fewer than 5 have failed in under 10 years, and fewer than 20 have failed, total. Compare that with a roughly 40% failure rate of desktop drives over a 10 year period, per our company records.

The same holds true of other systems, including even internal combustion engines. In the field, diesel generators and pumps last far longer than those in automobiles and trucks. It is not at all uncommon for a diesel field generator or pump to run continuously for 50 years, with down-time only for maintenance, while engines in a start-stop environment often require replacement after only a few years.
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Old 09-13-2012, 01:38 AM   #24
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I've had nine TiVos over the last ten years or so and have had disk failures only in two cases which both were while powering off and on. I had a third case of file corruption when power failed but was able to recover the disk in that case. I know that anecdotal evidence won't necessarily be meaningful for others but it was sufficient for me to justify getting UPS systems and minimizing powering off/on. Have not had a disk failure since.
Three data points is indeed a very small sample, making this, as you say, rather anecdotal, but there is plenty of evidence of a statistical significant sample size out there, as well. I have certainly had hard drives fail while in continuous use. In fact, I had one fail just a couple of weeks ago. The failure rate in intermittently operational systems, however, is quite strikingly higher.
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Old 09-13-2012, 01:57 AM   #25
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Hard to argue with your ideas about power shut off (in Windows I do close all programs before turning off any computer), because they sound good and many people have your belief
Well, first of all, in the case of a computer, there is a much more susceptible failure mode. No matter what, if a power failure occurs in a non-batery backed drive system while a write is underway, that data is lost, period. If the write happens to be to a file allocation table, potentially serious corruption of the entire file system can result. Journalling file systems like ext3 or XFS have ways to help alleviate the data loss in such a scenario, but simple file systems like ext2 or FAT, and to some extent NTFS can easily be trashed in part or even completely by a power interruption prior to flushing the file system write buffers.

Even with more sophisticated file structures and error recovery, however, the loss of power can, to put it quite simply, knock a drive system right on its tucus. 'Just ask me what I had to do when a power outage followed by kernel panic during a RAID reshape on a 12 Terabyte array happened. Backups are a man's best friend.

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it just my not true, as running something does reduce its life also
No, in general not. Certainly wear and tear does occur, but for the most part there is less wear and tear on continuously running systems, unless they are run near or over their design limits.

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most people turn their TVs off when they stop watching, never been a big problem.
That is a little different. In the past almost all TVs were CRTs, and CRTs have a hot filament in them. A hot filament suffers from sublimation over time while hot, so turning off the filament while not in use can significantly extend its life. The phosphors also age during illumination, so turning the set off when not in use will extend its life. Even so, failure of the CRT filament is most likely when the set is turned on or off. With items that do not have a fairly fixed operational life, however, like phosphors and filaments, continuous use tends to be less stressful than starting and stopping.

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If one turned your TiVo on than off every 10 minutes 24/7 your TiVo life would most likely go down, but twice a day, you will get longer life for your TiVo.
'Not likely.

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PS I don't do this for power savings as that amounts to about $1/month, but it does add about 70% to the life of the hard drive (IMHO).
Opinion, neither yours nor mine, is relevant in this case. This is something easily measurable.

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Old 09-13-2012, 10:25 AM   #26
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Not at all. First of all, many companies and even some individuals have enough systems in service that the number is statistically significant. Indeed, with more than 30 hard drives in my house and more than 100 under my administration at work, I can tell you the systems that are online 24 x 7 have far lower failure rates than those that are shut off. Of the 70 drives in embedded systems that have been running for between 15 and 18 years continuously in our Nortel systems, fewer than 5 have failed in under 10 years, and fewer than 20 have failed, total. Compare that with a roughly 40% failure rate of desktop drives over a 10 year period, per our company records.

The same holds true of other systems, including even internal combustion engines. In the field, diesel generators and pumps last far longer than those in automobiles and trucks. It is not at all uncommon for a diesel field generator or pump to run continuously for 50 years, with down-time only for maintenance, while engines in a start-stop environment often require replacement after only a few years.
A drive that will last 15 to 18 years running at 24/7 is not the type of hard drive that most people have, just a guess on my part, a consumer type drive running at 24/7 has about 5 to 8 years of life, but run it for 1 hour once a year against a drive running 24/7 and i am sure you would get a longer life on the once a year drive.
On your comment about internal combustion engines I find interesting, so if the cost of fuel was not in the equation one could leave your car/truck running 24/7 and get a much longer life on the engine, like 50 years, I don't know the cost of replacing a big truck engine vs the extra cost of fuel by keeping it running at idle 24/7, I hope somebody has looked at that.
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Old 09-13-2012, 11:19 AM   #27
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Not at all. First of all, many companies and even some individuals have enough systems in service that the number is statistically significant. Indeed, with more than 30 hard drives in my house and more than 100 under my administration at work, I can tell you the systems that are online 24 x 7 have far lower failure rates than those that are shut off. Of the 70 drives in embedded systems that have been running for between 15 and 18 years continuously in our Nortel systems, fewer than 5 have failed in under 10 years, and fewer than 20 have failed, total. Compare that with a roughly 40% failure rate of desktop drives over a 10 year period, per our company records.

The same holds true of other systems, including even internal combustion engines. In the field, diesel generators and pumps last far longer than those in automobiles and trucks. It is not at all uncommon for a diesel field generator or pump to run continuously for 50 years, with down-time only for maintenance, while engines in a start-stop environment often require replacement after only a few years.
Desktop drives fail more because they use cheaper parts and are attached to cheap PC power supplies plugged directly into the noisy wall socket. I'd bet the Nortel system has several improvements over a typical desktop system, but price isn't one of them.

Diesel generators owned by companies are much more likely to be operated and maintained correctly than those owned by the average person. Oh, was I supposed to change the oil 10,000 miles ago?

Powering a hard drive on puts a lot of initial stress on the disk motor and the internal power supplies. But leaving it powered on puts constant stress on the actuator, a little on the disk motor, the power supply, the voice coil, and the pre-amp on the heads.

By far the most common failure is an externally caused failure (shock, power surge, temperature, etc.). That's a toss-up. When off, it's protected from surges, but the temperature isn't probably constant. Also when off, it might be getting transported. (Don't ever move a hard drive while it's spinning).

The next two most typical hard drive failures are the bearing(s) on the disk platter and misc. electrical part failure. They both get worse with use.

The fourth is the platter itself which gets better the more you use it. Defragmenting is useless for speed, but is excellent for refreshing the data.

In the end, mechanically, it's a toss up or maybe a very, very slight edge to powering it off.

Software-wise, the file system is journaled, so powering it off mid-write won't usually impact anything. I say "usually" because there's a 0.1% chance of something bad happening. It's nothing a "clear to do list and guide data" or "clear and delete everything" wouldn't fix, though most people aren't happy to have to do that. So there's fairly strong incentive to leave it on.

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Old 09-13-2012, 01:08 PM   #28
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Make your wife happy. If you have to replace your TiVo early as a result, you really won't mind that much
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Old 09-13-2012, 01:26 PM   #29
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a consumer type drive running at 24/7 has about 5 to 8 years of life
I have a S3 unit that I bought as soon as they were released in 2006. It's connected to a UPS so it never loses power unless I specifically cut the power to it for some reason. (only happened a few dozen times ever) The hard drive still works fine, but the power supply is giving up the ghost. My point is... the hard drive isn't the only part in a TiVo you have to worry about. You could do everything right to make your drive last 10 years and something else, like the power supply, could cause it to die after 5.

Luckily the drive and the power supply are both easy to replace so neither one dying will render your TiVo completely useless.

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Old 09-13-2012, 01:29 PM   #30
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A drive that will last 15 to 18 years running at 24/7 is not the type of hard drive that most people have, just a guess on my part, a consumer type drive running at 24/7 has about 5 to 8 years of life, but run it for 1 hour once a year against a drive running 24/7 and i am sure you would get a longer life on the once a year drive..
according to western digital, their av-gp drives are expected to be able to run 24/7 and the mtbf (average time before a drive fails) is 1 million hours or just over 114 years. Many on this forum have such drives in their tivo.
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