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Old 01-16-2013, 08:15 AM   #1
buscuitboy
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Question recurring problem for my S3 with new drive

OK, I have an S3 (OLED) unit with lifetime service. About a year ago, it started freezing up on me. I opened up the case and saw a bulging cap on its power adapter. I didn't feel comfortable replacing this cap so I took the power supply out and took it to a local shop to have this one cap replaced. I asked them to test the others and they said they were all good except this one so it was $17 to have this fix.

Got it home, plugged it in and it still ultimately wound up freezing up on me. I then unplugged the coax cable and noticed that it wouldn't freeze up at all on me. I could play back any recorded content fine, transfer to/from the unit, use Netflix, etc. Was just not able to have any kind of 30min live TV buffer. Therefore, I figured the stock 250GB hard drive had somehow gotten corrupted & either needed replacement or a new image to it.

I was then able to get a hold of an Series 3 (OLED) image for it and had a spare Western Digital 500GB SATA drive that would work as a replacement. I finally was able to get the image successfully put on the 500GB drive via a desktop PC. I put it in the S3, powered it up and went through the setup process. All worked good and it was running fine for months.

Now, this S3 is not heavily used and basically in a finished basement rec room. For months, not a lot was recorded to it and it essentially is a cable box for when guests or family members were over and staying in that area of the basement. All has worked good, but over time I decided to use this S3 to start programming some season passes & record some weekly shows. Then offload/MRV them to our main Premieres upstairs. Sort of as an additional storage device on the side.

Well, just the other day I noticed it is starting to freeze up again like before. I unplugged the incoming coax and as before, it works perfectly fine and all other functions can be performed (Netflix, Pandora, MRV, playback, etc.). Since nothing important is recorded to it (or I can MRV stuff if needed), I'm willing to put another freshly imaged drive in it, but I wonder what is really going on here.

Basically, it seems like if too much stuff is recorded to it, it winds up not functioning properly and freezing up. I probably need to run some tests on BOTH WD hard drives to make sure they are ultimately OK. I suppose there could be some bad sectors on BOTH drives, but any other thoughts on what could be the problem here?

Last edited by buscuitboy : 01-16-2013 at 08:35 AM.
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Old 01-16-2013, 09:26 AM   #2
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Two things stand out for me:

1. Other capacitors on the power supply could be starting to fail.

2. You say the Tivo stops freezing when you unplug the coax cable. That to me sounds like you might have a problem with your cables' grounding system.

Of course, it could just be the hard drive, but you might want to check the above before getting a replacement.
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Old 01-16-2013, 10:53 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by steve614 View Post
Two things stand out for me:

1. Other capacitors on the power supply could be starting to fail.

2. You say the Tivo stops freezing when you unplug the coax cable. That to me sounds like you might have a problem with your cables' grounding system.

Of course, it could just be the hard drive, but you might want to check the above before getting a replacement.
I would think if another capacitor was going, then it would have freezed up a long time ago, but maybe not.

Also, about 2yrs ago, I was having some Comcast reception and internet issues. Comcast techs (not contractors) came out and determined/decided it was my inside coax wiring so they ran ALL NEW coax wiring to all 4 of my TV & internet outlets. There were two of them and they had to run all this wiring on the outside of the house, but it cleared up all my issues at the time and has been working good ever since. My two main TiVo Premieres have been working flawlessly too.

Appeared to have grounded it as needed since there is now this extra brown & bare copper wire near the main box on the side of the house. Or is there maybe another method for grounding? If so, how do I determine if it needs to be grounded properly?

If worse comes to worse, I could get another drive and put the image on it again and as needed. I can find homes for these other two drives (250GB stock & 500GB WD) if needed too

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Old 01-22-2013, 07:47 AM   #4
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Exclamation

OK, I am starting to think it may be another capacitor that is going. It now seems to be caught up in a continuous reboot loop even after unplugging/plugging it in (& no coax connected). I opened up the case and look at the other capacitors on the power supply and there doesn't appear to be any other "buldging" capacitors, but I'm thinking that doesn't necessarily mean they aren't failing, correct?

I am at work now, but I am gonna try to have it start up without either of the cable cards and see what happens there. Is it possible the S-cards (I think Motorola) I have inserted in it are causing this reboot issue too? Or is this really a very common issue with the power supply?

If its the capacitors, I have found someone selling the same exact Series 3 model online ($50) and have considered buying it to simply swap power supplies instead of buying a replacement from Weaknees ($150). However, I wonder if this one will only start failing as well.

I am not comfortable replacing the capacitors & I can take it to the place I got the original failing one replaced. I'm thinking this might be the better option in the long run as it would assure that they are all then good. In the past, it cost $17 to have the one capacitor replaced so I wonder how much to replace them ALL.

Will look into it and maybe compare since the Series 3 for sale online also includes a USB wireless adapter, glo remote & its hard drive (that I could strip and use in a PC).

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Old 01-22-2013, 09:24 AM   #5
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Some comments FWIW:

A used S3 PS is just as likely to have bad caps as your present one.

Isn't the Weaknees price actually $100 after you send them your old PS for a $50 credit?

The fact you had one bad cap a while ago makes it MORE likely you will have more. It would be good to measure the voltages if possible. Also, when you had the one cap replaced did they use a "low-ESR" type?

There are something like 10 such caps so replacing all of them could easily cost you $100 at a local shop. However, my understanding is only the 3 or 4 largest ones are the likely failures -- the ones filtering the 5V and 12V.
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Old 01-22-2013, 09:38 AM   #6
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Yea, I was thinking getting the capacitors replaced is probably the better long term solution. I'm not sure if they replaced the other cap with a "low-ESR" type. ANy way I can look at it and tell?

I also thought that even if I get this $50 Series 3 and use its power supply to replace mine and it winds up failing in a year, I at least got the glo remote, USB adapter and extra hard drive so not a total loss. Also, I could truly determine if its the power supply that is the issue here. If it fully works again, then its obviously the power supply. If it keeps rebooting then its something else (like hard drive).

If I go with a Weaknees replacement power supply for $100, I would hope the ones they sell are power supplies that have been fully refurbished and the capacitors have been replaced, right?
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Old 01-22-2013, 09:58 AM   #7
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Open it up, disconnect the drive, take out the cable cards, disconnect cable/antenna leads, wi-fi or ethernet, and just have the power cord and an RCA video cable plugged into the yellow jack and the other end into something that can show video.
Plug in the power cord and see if you get the Welcome screen and if it's steady.

If so, plug in the hard drive and see what happens.
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Old 01-22-2013, 10:50 AM   #8
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Do the regular TiVo HD and TiVo HD XL (series 3) have these power supply issues as well? I have thought about trying to get one of these cheap instead and then eventually trying to $99 lifetime it. Plus, they only require one M-card (even though they have two cable card slots) so that could be less headaches in the long run with my Comcast.

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Old 01-22-2013, 11:12 AM   #9
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Quote:
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Do the regular TiVo HD and TiVo HD XL (series 3) have these power supply issues as well? I have thought about trying to get one of these cheap instead and then eventually trying to $99 lifetime it. Plus, they only require one M-card (even though they have two cable card slots) so that could be less headaches in the long run with my Comcast.
Yes, practically all of the S2s and S3s are potential victims of "capacitor plague".

The reason I got an HD for just the cost of shipping was that once I unboxed it I had to replace caps.

I don't think I've heard of the S2 dual tuners having the problem, but since they were being built around the same time as the first S3s I'm sure some of them must have.

Funny thing is that the 649 power supplies have CapXon brand caps, almost universally referred to as CrapXon, so maybe they're low quality for what they are but weren't made with the flawed stolen formula.
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Old 01-22-2013, 11:16 AM   #10
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Originally Posted by buscuitboy View Post
Yea, I was thinking getting the capacitors replaced is probably the better long term solution. I'm not sure if they replaced the other cap with a "low-ESR" type. ANy way I can look at it and tell?

I also thought that even if I get this $50 Series 3 and use its power supply to replace mine and it winds up failing in a year, I at least got the glo remote, USB adapter and extra hard drive so not a total loss. Also, I could truly determine if its the power supply that is the issue here. If it fully works again, then its obviously the power supply. If it keeps rebooting then its something else (like hard drive).

If I go with a Weaknees replacement power supply for $100, I would hope the ones they sell are power supplies that have been fully refurbished and the capacitors have been replaced, right?
Something to consider when deciding if you grab that used one, the original S3 is the last model where you could move the lifetime sub by moving the TSN by moving the crypto chip to another of the same model motherboard, although you need someone experienced with soldering and de-soldering surface mount devices to do it.
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Old 01-22-2013, 11:59 AM   #11
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Question

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Something to consider when deciding if you grab that used one, the original S3 is the last model where you could move the lifetime sub by moving the TSN by moving the crypto chip to another of the same model motherboard, although you need someone experienced with soldering and de-soldering surface mount devices to do it.

I'm not experienced with soldering and wouldn't trust myself. Plus, I have taken the current power supply out when I got the capacitor fixed several months ago and it wasn't that hard. I would think just swapping power supplies would be the the better option here instead of messing with the crypto chip (and then ultimately also possibly have the power supply fail as well)

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Old 01-22-2013, 12:33 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by buscuitboy View Post
I'm not experienced with soldering and wouldn't trust myself. Plus, I have taken the current power supply out when I got the capacitor fixed several months ago and it wasn't that hard. I would think just swapping power supplies would be the the better option here instead of messing with the crypto chip (and then ultimately also possibly have the power supply fail as well)
I'm just saying that if you buy the other unit to cannibalize for parts (power supply, remote, hard drive, front panel, etc.), the day may come with that model when the motherboard can be one of those parts if necessary.
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Old 01-22-2013, 08:09 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by buscuitboy View Post
.........
If I go with a Weaknees replacement power supply for $100, I would hope the ones they sell are power supplies that have been fully refurbished and the capacitors have been replaced, right?
Yeah, I would hope so too but I wouldn't bet on it. You would have to ask them but my guess is they replace caps that bulge and test it, and that's their definition of "fully refurbished".
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