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Old 01-15-2013, 07:08 PM   #1
EvilMidniteBombr
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Failing hard drive?

TiVo HD upgraded to a Hitachi HD31000 1TB drive. It has a single M cable card provided by Comcast.

Symptoms: Video and audio will freeze randomly and repeatedly. The actual freeze time will last for several seconds, play again for a second or so, then freeze again for several seconds. The freezing episodes will usually last for several minutes. When it happens, commands from the remote are sometimes ineffective. Sometimes I am able to get it to respond and fast forward until it video resumes normal playback. The pausing effects recorded content, recording content and "live" TV. In fact, I've found that when video freezes in and out on a recorded program, it effects live TV as well.

This behavior causes the TiVo to reboot about 1/3rd of the time. Usually it will reboot when I am unable to get the TiVo to respond to remote commands.

Additional info: I don't know if it's related or not, but I've had problems with the tuner for over a year. There are some occasions when watching one channel will cause the other tuner to go black. (It will not show any video or play any audio when this happens)


Does this sound like a hard drive in it's last days of life?
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Old 01-15-2013, 09:52 PM   #2
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Hard Drive for Digital Recording Specified

Quote:
Originally Posted by EvilMidniteBombr View Post
TiVo HD upgraded to a Hitachi HD31000 1TB drive. It has a single M cable card provided by Comcast.

Symptoms: Video and audio will freeze randomly and repeatedly. The actual freeze time will last for several seconds, play again for a second or so, then freeze again for several seconds. The freezing episodes will usually last for several minutes. When it happens, commands from the remote are sometimes ineffective. Sometimes I am able to get it to respond and fast forward until it video resumes normal playback. The pausing effects recorded content, recording content and "live" TV. In fact, I've found that when video freezes in and out on a recorded program, it effects live TV as well.

This behavior causes the TiVo to reboot about 1/3rd of the time. Usually it will reboot when I am unable to get the TiVo to respond to remote commands.

Additional info: I don't know if it's related or not, but I've had problems with the tuner for over a year. There are some occasions when watching one channel will cause the other tuner to go black. (It will not show any video or play any audio when this happens)


Does this sound like a hard drive in it's last days of life?
Reading your note, it shows an upgraded drive. Is it a AV specific drive or a desk top drive ? Several notes on this forum reference desk top or data drives being ill suited for DVR applications. Data drives conduct data checks and attempt to recover data errors on the fly. Probably not noticable when drive is mostly empty.

Otherwise, pull the drive, put in a desktop and run disk diagnostics. Could be drive, could be power supply.
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Old 01-15-2013, 11:27 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by EvilMidniteBombr View Post
TiVo HD upgraded to a Hitachi HD31000 1TB drive. It has a single M cable card provided by Comcast.

Symptoms: Video and audio will freeze randomly and repeatedly. The actual freeze time will last for several seconds, play again for a second or so, then freeze again for several seconds. The freezing episodes will usually last for several minutes. When it happens, commands from the remote are sometimes ineffective. Sometimes I am able to get it to respond and fast forward until it video resumes normal playback. The pausing effects recorded content, recording content and "live" TV. In fact, I've found that when video freezes in and out on a recorded program, it effects live TV as well.

This behavior causes the TiVo to reboot about 1/3rd of the time. Usually it will reboot when I am unable to get the TiVo to respond to remote commands.

Additional info: I don't know if it's related or not, but I've had problems with the tuner for over a year. There are some occasions when watching one channel will cause the other tuner to go black. (It will not show any video or play any audio when this happens)


Does this sound like a hard drive in it's last days of life?
It sounds like you need to lift the lid and make sure there's nothing wrong with the power supply so as to eliminate it as a problem source before attempting any more troubleshooting, given the not-so-seldom occurrences of "capacitor plague" in S2 and S3 power supplies.
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Old 01-16-2013, 09:53 AM   #4
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Originally Posted by ramblinche81 View Post
Reading your note, it shows an upgraded drive. Is it a AV specific drive or a desk top drive ? Several notes on this forum reference desk top or data drives being ill suited for DVR applications. Data drives conduct data checks and attempt to recover data errors on the fly. Probably not noticable when drive is mostly empty.

Otherwise, pull the drive, put in a desktop and run disk diagnostics. Could be drive, could be power supply.
The hard drive is one of the ones recommended in the upgrade FAQ thread in this forum. I've had this drive in the TiVo since April 2010 and it's been pretty good the whole time.

Unitron, what do you recommend I do to check the power supply? Just give it a visual inspection or something more detailed? I doubt I have the tools or knowledge to diagnose a power supply. BTW, I do know the difference between a resistor, a diode and a capacitor.
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Old 01-16-2013, 10:34 AM   #5
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The hard drive is one of the ones recommended in the upgrade FAQ thread in this forum. I've had this drive in the TiVo since April 2010 and it's been pretty good the whole time.

Unitron, what do you recommend I do to check the power supply? Just give it a visual inspection or something more detailed? I doubt I have the tools or knowledge to diagnose a power supply. BTW, I do know the difference between a resistor, a diode and a capacitor.
You can grab a 2TB WD20EURS for $100 right now from newegg or Amazon.

See the thread I put the wrong dates on in the Coffehouse forum.

jmfs will let you use all 2TB in the S3 HD.

Read up on "capacitor plague".

There's a wikipedia page, and discussion of it in several threads here.

One is this one

http://www.tivocommunity.com/tivo-vb...ight=capacitor

First eyeball the caps to see if you see the slightest sign of bulge.

Can you get your hands on a voltmeter?

Do you have any soldering experience?
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Old 01-16-2013, 05:22 PM   #6
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You can grab a 2TB WD20EURS for $100 right now from newegg or Amazon.

See the thread I put the wrong dates on in the Coffehouse forum.

jmfs will let you use all 2TB in the S3 HD.
Interesting. I'll look that up.

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Can you get your hands on a voltmeter?

Do you have any soldering experience?
Yes. I have both. Are you leading toward suggesting replacing the capacitors in the power supply?
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Old 01-17-2013, 01:51 AM   #7
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Interesting. I'll look that up.


Yes. I have both. Are you leading toward suggesting replacing the capacitors in the power supply?
As long as you know enough not to pick up the soldering iron by the hot end, you should be able to do it, although a soldering gun would be preferrable to put a lot of heat in a small area quickly, before all that copper dissipates it.

You have to use Low ESR replacements rated for 105 degrees celsius/centigrade, and the same uF number, capacitance wise, and at least as high a voltage rating, although you can go the next step higher or even the one after that, if that's all that's available.

The topic has been discussed in depth around here, with people posting cap lists even, just make sure which model power supply board you have (the HD used 2 different ones) and that it's the one they're talking about.

But you shouldn't have to replace every cap, just the ones showing signs of failure.

If there are none showing signs, that's where the voltmeter comes in.

Caps can look good and be bad.
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Old 01-17-2013, 11:12 PM   #8
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I'm a bit rusty on my basic electronics. If the capacitor is bad it won't show any voltage across the leads and/or will have continuity. Correct?
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Old 01-18-2013, 01:24 AM   #9
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I'm a bit rusty on my basic electronics. If the capacitor is bad it won't show any voltage across the leads and/or will have continuity. Correct?
Don't try and measure across the capacitors.

For now, you only need to measure the power supply's output voltage with everything connected and the Tivo powered up.
Take caution: the power supply is unshielded, *risk of electric shock*.

Use the black wire on the power supply for reference (it's probably safer to use the Tivo chassis).
And you're looking for these voltages on the other wires:
Red ~5V
Yellow ~12V
Orange: ~3.3V

Test the wires at the connector that plugs into the motherboard if possible (safer).

If your voltages are within the +/- tolerance, it is safe to assume that the problem might be the hard drive.
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Old 01-18-2013, 02:22 AM   #10
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I'm a bit rusty on my basic electronics. If the capacitor is bad it won't show any voltage across the leads and/or will have continuity. Correct?
The voltmeter is to see how well regulated the power supply is.

To properly test the Low ESR caps in a TiVo's switching power supply, one would need an ESR meter and some advanced knowledge (not Einstein level, but a bit beyond your average car stereo installer).

If you test a capacitor with an ohmmeter, which applies a voltage across what's being tested (and with electroytic capacitors you have to know your ohmmeter and know which lead is positive relative to the other one when in ohmmeter mode, and make sure to connect according to the polarity markings on the capacitor--moving needle type meters often are positive on the black and negative on the red in ohmmeter mode, but that's not guaranteed, so you need to use another voltmeter to be sure) and measures how much current flows, you will, if the capacitance is large enough (in microFarads), see some current flow as the capacitor charges up to the voltage level being applied by the meter leads, and then when it's fully charged the current quits flowing (because there's no longer a difference in potential to drive the current), so it looks like it has low resistance to start which increases until it looks like an open circuit.

That's if the cap is good.

And you have to take the cap out of the circuit to test it that way.

Or you can connect the cap across a known voltage source for a few moments, disconnect it, and then test it with a voltmeter, and it should read the same voltage as the source, but that reading will slowly decrease as the cap discharges through the relatively high resisitance of the meter.

Those are "quick and dirty" tests.

If it reads zero Ohms (or a very low resistance) right away and stays there, it's shorted.

If it's in the neighborhood of 10,000 uF or more and reads infinite resistance right away and stays there, it's open.

If it's a little bitty capacitor it'll probably charge up almost immediately and look like it's open.

But in the case of the TiVo power supply, what you want to do is set the voltmeter to a scale of from zero to a level greater than 12 Volts.

Then you connect the meter's negative (black) lead to the TiVo chassis (ground), if you've got an alligator clip on the end, or stick the needle probe down into the plug on the motherboard where one of the black wires goes in (this is called back-probing), and then you take the positive (red) lead and stick it in where a yellow wire goes and see how close you are to +12 Volts--you should be within a couple of tenths of a Volt above or below.

Then you move the red lead to a red wire and look for +5 Volts.

The orange wire, if there is one, is +3.3 Volts, or should be if all is well, the original OLED S3 has a grey wire that feeds the front panel display via the white ribbon cable between it and the motherboard, and that's +8 or +9 Volts, but if there's a problem that's not where it'll be, 'cause that's a low current circuit, and the Series 1 and some Series 2 TiVos had a white or brown wire for the tuner's voltage divider varactor tuning that is a low current circuit in the neighborhood of +30 Volts.

The big current draw is on the 12 and 5 Volt outputs, and it's the caps on one or the other or both that are the usual suspects.

If you don't see any visual signs of bad caps--leakage or bulging, then you check the voltages to see if they're within spec.

Bad caps in the +12 V circuit can cause bad readings on the +5 V line as well, and vice versa, so if your voltage readings are off, say by an entire volt or more, that's confirmation that there's a problem and that you need to take it to a repair tech.

You can plug in the TiVo with the hard drive power lead disconnected and check the 5 and 12 and then hook the drive up, throwing extra load on the supply, and see if that drags the voltage levels down or if it remains regulated and takes the extra load in stride.

It should be able to adjust faster than your eyes can see it happen.

Never try to measure voltage with the meter set for Ohms.

Connect the voltmeter ground lead (black) as far away from the power supply as possible and work from the non-power supply side of the TiVo--Do not touch the power supply while the TiVo is plugged into the wall socket.

And always, always know exactly where both ends of the TiVo power cord are.

I like to use one of those outlet strips with a switch I can easily and quickly reach.
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Old 01-22-2013, 05:20 PM   #11
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Finally got around to taking the lid off my TiVo HD. From just a visual inspection, all of the capacitors seem to look normal except for C503. The top of that capacitor is bulging. It may be starting to leak as well. There is a tiny spot of something on the top in the center. This cap is the only one that has that on it.

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Old 01-22-2013, 07:09 PM   #12
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It's dead, Jim.

Good pic for showing what a bad capacitor looks like (I might steal it for future reference, you mind? ), bad for the power supply.

It's a given that the bad capacitor needs to be replaced, but you should consider replacing the other capacitors on that section of the circuit as well.
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Old 01-22-2013, 07:18 PM   #13
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Finally got around to taking the lid off my TiVo HD. From just a visual inspection, all of the capacitors seem to look normal except for C503. The top of that capacitor is bulging. It may be starting to leak as well. There is a tiny spot of something on the top in the center. This cap is the only one that has that on it.
Apparently you have the version of the HD supply which is similar to the one from the first S3 model, the one with the clock and buttons on the front.

Which means you don't have the same one I have.

So, based on my general knowledge, if the cap right behind that one (as you look at the picture--good picture, by the way) is numbered C502 or C504 or C603, and is the same size and the uF rating and voltage rating is the same, go ahead and replace both of them, because they're almost certainly connected in parallel, like light bulbs in a 2 bulb fixture, which means it's been having to do the job of both.

That white stuff in between them is just some glue that was used to hold them in place to get soldered, and is no longer necessary.

If you replace them yourself, you need Low ESR capacitors rated for 105 degrees (centigrade/celsius), the uF (microFarad) rating has to be the same and the voltage rating the same, or if you can't find them at that rating, the next higher one, like 16 instead of 10 or 25 instead of 16.

If you have a goor TV repair shop nearby (be sure they know why switching power supplies need low ESR caps, even if you don't know yourself--that'll be a measure of whether they really know what they're doing), you might be able to buy them there or even get them installed for $20 to $40, maybe a little more.
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Old 01-22-2013, 07:19 PM   #14
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It's dead, Jim.

Good pic for showing what a bad capacitor looks like (I might steal it for future reference, you mind? ), bad for the power supply.

It's a given that the bad capacitor needs to be replaced, but you should consider replacing the other capacitors on that section of the circuit as well.
You got your answer in while I was composing mine.
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Old 01-22-2013, 09:26 PM   #15
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Thanks for the compliments on the picture. Feel free to use it as needed and thanks for asking.

I'm hoping that will cure my video freezing problems and I won't have to replace the hard drive. Especially since the freezing is definitely getting worse today. More frequent freezing and another reboot.

Now for the dumb part. I didn't write down the specs on the capacitors before I put the lid back on and hooked it back up. SMH. Maybe I'll have time to do all of that tomorrow morning before I have to go to work. Hoping to get replacements before
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Old 01-23-2013, 11:14 AM   #16
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Apparently you have the version of the HD supply which is similar to the one from the first S3 model, the one with the clock and buttons on the front.
Here is a picture of the entire power supply. The bad capacitor is the first one (on the left) in the group of caps right by the output lines.



What is the best place online to buy capacitors? Especially if I wanted to buy replacements for most of the capacitors on the power supply. I'm looking for the most reliable and at the best price. I've looked on Amazon and I really don't want to have to pay several different shipping costs.
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Old 01-23-2013, 11:31 AM   #17
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Does Radio Shack even sell capacitors anymore in their brick and mortar stores?
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Old 01-23-2013, 11:58 AM   #18
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Does Radio Shack even sell capacitors anymore in their brick and mortar stores?
Low ESR, 105 degree caps are what you might call a "specialty item", and RS doesn't get enough call for them to make it economically feasible to carry them or to have sales people who have much of an understanding of what a capacitor is, much less the differences between the different kinds.

There's a list of S3 OLED caps with digi-key part numbers on page or 3 of this thread

http://www.tivocommunity.com/tivo-vb...d.php?t=473394

which might be some help.

You don't want to look for something like C503 in it, you want to look for something like 3,300uF, 16V, or 2,000uF 10V

There's another thread somewhere where someone lists S3 HD caps, but I can't remember exactly where.

digi-key or Mouser are good mail order sources.
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Old 01-24-2013, 08:25 PM   #19
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I've replaced those two caps on my HD. They are 1000uf 10 volt. Mouser part number 667-EEU-FR1A102LB.

Try this link: https://www.mouser.com/Search/Produc...-EEU-FR1A102LB

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Old 01-26-2013, 05:46 PM   #20
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You don't want to look for something like C503 in it, you want to look for something like 3,300uF, 16V, or 2,000uF 10V
Yeah, I knew that. The C503 number is just a part/location indicator for the board assembly. I was able to get my TiVo HD apart the other day and get the numbers off the caps. That's the same time I took the photo of the whole power supply.

Thanks, irepoder. Those are the same caps that I need to replace.

Thanks to both of you for the supplier suggestions.
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Old 01-27-2013, 05:51 AM   #21
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Yeah, I knew that. The C503 number is just a part/location indicator for the board assembly....
Not everyone here grew up taking things apart to see how they would have worked, so I try not to assume knowledge they may not have.
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Old 01-27-2013, 07:22 PM   #22
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Not everyone here grew up taking things apart to see how they would have worked, so I try not to assume knowledge they may not have.
No sweat!

I ordered some replacement caps and hope to have them soon AND that they'll cure this problem w/ my TiVo.
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Old 02-04-2013, 07:10 PM   #23
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I got my capacitors this weekend and had a chance to install them this morning. I replaced the two pictured above and five 2200uf caps. The 2200's were just precautionary.

I'm hoping this has cured my problem. Thanks for all of the help.... so far.
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Old 02-05-2013, 01:01 PM   #24
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Well, it appears that the capacitors were not the solution to my problem. The freezing issue is worse now. In fact, after rebooting the TiVo twice (hard reboot and soft reboot) it would freeze during the TiVo animation sequence. I tried watching live TV and video freezes more than it plays. In fact, it's starting to cause the menu screens to become unresponsive. It's difficult navigating anything at all.

I'm going to try removing the drive and replacing it with the 500 GB drive I had before I installed the current 1TB drive. If everything works fine, then I know I need to replace the hard drive. If the problem is still there, It may be time to say goodbye to this box.

FYI, my TiVo has been frozen on the same partially loaded menu screen for several minutes now. I don't even get the yellow LED that indicates a command from the remote has been received.
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Old 02-05-2013, 01:43 PM   #25
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Well, it appears that the capacitors were not the solution to my problem. The freezing issue is worse now. In fact, after rebooting the TiVo twice (hard reboot and soft reboot) it would freeze during the TiVo animation sequence. I tried watching live TV and video freezes more than it plays. In fact, it's starting to cause the menu screens to become unresponsive. It's difficult navigating anything at all.

I'm going to try removing the drive and replacing it with the 500 GB drive I had before I installed the current 1TB drive. If everything works fine, then I know I need to replace the hard drive. If the problem is still there, It may be time to say goodbye to this box.

FYI, my TiVo has been frozen on the same partially loaded menu screen for several minutes now. I don't even get the yellow LED that indicates a command from the remote has been received.

If it's any consolation, you had a textbook case of capacitor plague and that had to be dealt with before any other diagnostics could be trusted.
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Old 02-05-2013, 06:20 PM   #26
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Quote:
Originally Posted by unitron View Post
If it's any consolation, you had a textbook case of capacitor plague and that had to be dealt with before any other diagnostics could be trusted.
It is, actually. It was clear that at least one of the capacitors needed replacing. Replacing wasn't that big of sa deal. iI was just hoping for the cheaper solution to the problem.

I've got the old 500GB drive in now. Since it hasn't been in a machine for several years, it's got a bit of updating to do. However, it should be noted that none of the freezing has yet.

Is there a recommended method to test the (possibly) bad drive without harming any fo the data on it? It's a Hitachi desk star 1TB drive.
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Old 02-05-2013, 09:14 PM   #27
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I've been reading a bit on the TiVo HD Upgrade Instructions thread. I'm probably going to replace the 1TB drive with a 2TB drive. I'd like to keep the recordings that I have on the 1TB drive. I still have the original 160GB drive and a 500GB drive. So my question is, should I try to clone the 1TB drive to a 2TB using jmfs and Winmfs. Or should I just consider those shows on the 1TB drive lost and use one of the smaller drives to prepare a 2TB drive?
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Old 02-05-2013, 09:30 PM   #28
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Quote:
Originally Posted by EvilMidniteBombr View Post
It is, actually. It was clear that at least one of the capacitors needed replacing. Replacing wasn't that big of sa deal. iI was just hoping for the cheaper solution to the problem.

I've got the old 500GB drive in now. Since it hasn't been in a machine for several years, it's got a bit of updating to do. However, it should be noted that none of the freezing has yet.

Is there a recommended method to test the (possibly) bad drive without harming any fo the data on it? It's a Hitachi desk star 1TB drive.
The UBCD has some various hard drive diagnostic programs on it.

Or you could go straight to Hitachi

http://www.hgst.com/support/downloads/
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Old 02-05-2013, 09:37 PM   #29
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Quote:
Originally Posted by EvilMidniteBombr View Post
I've been reading a bit on the TiVo HD Upgrade Instructions thread. I'm probably going to replace the 1TB drive with a 2TB drive. I'd like to keep the recordings that I have on the 1TB drive. I still have the original 160GB drive and a 500GB drive. So my question is, should I try to clone the 1TB drive to a 2TB using jmfs and Winmfs. Or should I just consider those shows on the 1TB drive lost and use one of the smaller drives to prepare a 2TB drive?
If you have a spare 1TB drive handy, I'd use

ddrescue

on the jmfs cd to "Xerox" the other one while it's still working.

(actually I'd use

dd_rescue

on the MFS Live cd v1.4, but they're very similar)

and then put the clone in the TiVo to make sure you got a good copy and that everything still works.


Otherwise use jmfs to copy the 1TB to a 2TB (after running the long diagnostic on the 2TB just to be sure there's nothing wrong with it), and, without expanding, try the 2TB in the TiVo.

Since it's a "Xerox" it'll think it's a 1TB, so you won't see an increase in available space yet, but you can check that everything's working right.

Then you can go back to jmfs and expand into the rest of that 2TB.

If that works okay, then you can then run the appropriate long diagnostic on the 1TB that's been in the TiVo.
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Old 02-06-2013, 01:49 PM   #30
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I only have the "bad" 1TB drive which means I can't clone it exactly. I just ordered a WD20EURS from amazon and will be using it to replace the 1TB drive.

If I use UBCD to diagnose the "bad" drive, which version should I use? Windows or Linux? Does it matter to the drive being diagnosed? I don't want to take a chance on the diagnosing software to write something to the "bad" drive that would make it totally unusable in a TiVo.
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