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Old 10-09-2012, 10:10 PM   #1
Greg Lovern
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Dead "My DVR Expander"?

After a power outage early today our Tivo is giving us a yellow screen then a blue screen. Due to a quirk in our TV we can't read them; the TV normally starts up distorted until self-correcting, but never self-corrects when Tivo sits there with a startup error.

When I unplug the power from the "My DVR Expander", there is a very brief flash of orange at the circle in front, then nothing but a very faint buzz; so faint I have to put my ear right up to it and even then I just barely hear it. It doesn't sound to me like the drive is spinning up. If I recall correctly, there is normally an orange glow all the time when it is powered up. Is that correct?

Does it sound like the problem is with the "My DVR Expander" drive enclosure? If so, does it make sense to send it to Western Digital for repair? We've had it for 5 years.

Any suggestions?


Thanks,

Greg
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Old 10-10-2012, 12:29 AM   #2
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First, I would suspect the wall wart power supply. You can look at it to see what voltage it's supposed to output, and then measure with a volt meter.
If you have a spare lying around with the same voltage and current specs with a plug that fits you can try that.
You should be able to find a universal wall wart that is voltage adjustable with several plugs. One of those might fit.

If the wall wart power supply checks OK the next suspicion is the internal electronics of the enclosure.

In that case you could send it in for repair, but how much will that cost?

Can they guarantee your data (recordings) will be saved? Probably not, at least not without additional cost.

Do some research.
You might be able to extract the hard drive from the WD enclosure and put it in an Antec MX-1 external hard drive enclosure and continue on, saving your recordings.

Now about your Tivo. Does it attempt to boot up properly without the external HD attached? I suspect you may have a problem with your Tivo's internal power supply as well.
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Old 10-10-2012, 01:04 AM   #3
Greg Lovern
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Quote:
Originally Posted by steve614 View Post
First, I would suspect the wall wart power supply. You can look at it to see what voltage it's supposed to output, and then measure with a volt meter.
The voltage seems to check out correctly at about 12 volts.

But I tried checking the current too (should be 2A), and it seems to bounce around rapidly ybetween 0 and about 1.2A, and everything inbetween. I don't know much about this kind of testing though. I carefully followed the multi-meter's instructions but I could have done something wrong. Does it sound normal for the current to cycle around like that?

I tested the current for the wall wart for a baby monitor, and the reading was steady.

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Old 10-10-2012, 02:31 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Greg Lovern View Post
But I tried checking the current too (should be 2A), and it seems to bounce around rapidly ybetween 0 and about 1.2A, and everything inbetween. I don't know much about this kind of testing though. I carefully followed the multi-meter's instructions but I could have done something wrong. Does it sound normal for the current to cycle around like that?

I tested the current for the wall wart for a baby monitor, and the reading was steady.

Greg
Not knowing how you "tested the current", it's hard to say. You can't accurately measure the current without a load (the power supply hooked up to the device it powers).
Even with that, you have to measure current "in series". If you don't know what that means, then you aren't going to accurately measure current with a multi-meter.
Without a load, it would make sense that the current reading fluctuates (there's not a constant demand for power).

It also depends on whether the wall wart outputs AC or DC voltage (if you have a digital multi-meter it should indicate which).

As far as the current rating, it is only listed as to what that power supply is capable of providing.
If your device requires 2 amps, then you don't want to use a substitute power supply that only outputs 1 amp (made up numbers).

For testing purposes, you could use a wall wart with a higher current rating as long as the voltage is the same.
The expander will only use the current it needs to operate.
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Last edited by steve614 : 10-10-2012 at 02:38 AM.
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Old 10-10-2012, 09:19 PM   #5
Greg Lovern
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I've ordered an Antec MX-1, thanks for the suggestion.

Any idea how to open up a "My DVR Expander" enclosure without using a hacksaw? I don't see screws on it anywhere.


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Old 10-10-2012, 10:44 PM   #6
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Nope, but I have extracted a drive from a Seagate enclosure once. It wasn't easy. I had to completely destroy the external case.
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Old 10-11-2012, 07:12 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Greg Lovern View Post
I've ordered an Antec MX-1, thanks for the suggestion.

Any idea how to open up a "My DVR Expander" enclosure without using a hacksaw? I don't see screws on it anywhere.


Greg
Somewhere on the Google there's at least one YouTube video showing someone opening up a WD external drive.

Not necessarily the same model as the TiVo logo'ed one, but there might be enough similarity to give you some clues.

You might something like some guitar picks to slide in between case halves to keep them separated at one point while you tease them apart a little further on.

Like opening a lot of remote controls.
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Old 10-16-2012, 12:10 AM   #8
Greg Lovern
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All is well

The Antec MX-1 arrived today. I took the drive out of the "My DVR Expander" and put it in the Antec. When I turned it on, I heard normal hard drive spin-up sounds along with the Antec's quiet fan.

The Tivo started right up with it and is working normally now. Woo-hoo!

I didn't notice the last post here so I didn't see the youtube video, but opening the "My DVR Expander" was not difficult. Just pull off the soft plastic gasket from around it and then pry the two main parts of the case apart. I was able to do it with my fingers but using a screwdriver to pry with might have made it easier. Once the case it open it's easy to see what to do.


Thanks,

Greg
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Old 10-16-2012, 08:50 AM   #9
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Old 02-24-2013, 10:07 PM   #10
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I thought I would share my own experience with a dead WD MyTiVo extender drive (1Tb).
I had the same issues with the TiVo saying there was no drive connected. I could not hear any drive noises from the MyTiVo drive and the light flickered on the front. There did appear to be power from the external power supply but I did not lode it to see if the voltage dropped.

The Antec MX-1 drive is not available in Australia and the Vantec enclosure models I could find that others had sued were also not available but I could get this model: Vantec NexStar HX Superspeed SATA to USB3 and eSATA (NST-330SU3-BK) which worked very well and includes a quite fan:

Instructions:

Moving a hard drive from a Western Digital MyDVR (TiVo) into a new enclosure

Remove the soft plastic gasket from around the case (runs around the edges).
The front and side shell moves out to lead the centre metal frame which contains the hard drive. Initially use a flat bladed screwdriver to gentle prior open the gap between the outer case and the frame starting from the front (top and bottom). You may then need to leaver out the long sides away from the metal frame in order to loosen it to slide it out. After a bit of the whole centre metal frame will slide out.

In order to remove the hard drive first you must undo four screws that are holding the metal frame to the plastic surround. Once you have done that the metal frame can be removed. The hard drive can be removed from the metal case by removing four Phillips head screws holding the hard drive to the metal frame (these were quite tight). Once you have undone the screws you then need to remove the lead to the hard drive SATA connection.

I installed the drive into a Vantec NexStar HX Superspeed SATA to USB3 and eSATA (NST-330SU3-BK), connected the Vantec drive to power and was then able to hear the hard drive spin up.

I then plugged the external drive into the TiVo and restarted both (started with the hard drive first and waited 10s before starting the TiVo) and the drive was recognised perfectly (took about 15m in all to complete the startup).

This Vantec drive has an 80 mm fan in it which can be turned on or off independent of the drive itself being on all off. I have the TiVo in an entertainment unit and I cannot hear the fan at all sitting on a couch 2m away from it.
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