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Discussion in 'TiVo Bolt DVR/Streamer' started by JOSHSKORN, May 14, 2016.
If that's the case, even more reason to avoid using Seagates in a Tivo.
Unfortunately this seems standard for the Seagate drives that use SMR and there are no fixes for it in this case that I've seen. I do wonder if it would be possible to use MFStools to copy the drive to a replacement 3TB drive (Toshiba seems to be the current recommendation) and have it work assuming the drive isn't really dead. The drive hardware change might cause the TiVo to reformat it though.
I might try that.. sadly don't have the time at the moment.
At the time I did the upgrade to 3TB (it was a first install actually the bolt hadn't been activated yet) I think the Seagate was the only 3tb drive available. this was about 1 year ago, maybe a bit more. That toshiba either wasn't available or was so back ordered as to be not available no matter the price.
Well, when i opened the case I was surprised to find that it would appear a bit that the harddrive main connector (SATA and POWER) might have been a bit loose. so, somewhat excited I pushed it in further and set the lid back down ontop (enough for the LED contacts in the front to seat on the motherboard) Alas, same thing.
Opening up the unit and trying to plug the drive into my laptop with a USB to SATA connector and 2A power supply, all I heard was clicking.. hadn't heard that when it was inside the bolt but the fan could have made it sound that way. Again, plugging into laptop it won't even mount. Seems to be a total catastrophic failure at this point. Do drives like this require more power? the regular power supply that I use is 12v/2a and 5v/2a.. historically has worked for all the 2.5 and 3.5 drives I needed to test.
I took a shot and popped in the original 500gb drive that came with it, and it seemed to boot with no flashing lights - so I'm thinking that the device is ok, but the drive is toast.
At this point, I'm thinking I'll order one of the toshiba 3TB drives and try and replace it. I guess I won't be getting any of the shows off this puppy... alas, when we die most don't say "I wish I watched more TV".
Once another drive is put in a bolt, there's no getting recordings off the drive removed (except maybe your deleted recordings). Although, in your case I don't think there was any way to recover your recordings.
Pretend you've never had TiVo before, and the TiVo Bolt and Toshiba 3TB just came in the mail. You are real excited to try out your new toy again. Install 3TB Toshiba and continue.
Well, I'm sad to report that I had the 3TB Toshiba installed and I also got the blinking lights problem. Advice needed. Specifically:
1) In April, I swapped the 500GB Bolt drive for a 3TB Toshiba MQ03ABB300. The new drive was recognized immediately and it ran perfectly for six months.
2) Yesterday it wouldn't start up. Got blinking lights on front of the bolt. Tried uplugging for hours. Nothing worked.
3) Removed 3TB drive. Swapped back in the original 500GB drive and everything worked again. Lost all recordings, of course.
I'm disappointed, but happy that the Bolt works, and of course the Toshiba drive is still under warranty. I'm just wondering what I should do next. When I put the Toshiba drive in an external enclosure, I can't read it, but under Disk Management, it sees the drive as an unformatted 2.8GB. Under "properties" it says "This device is working properly."
Advice? Should I format the 3TB drive to see if it works? Try it again? Attempt a Toshiba warranty claim?
Update on my saga. I contacted TiVo and got a swap on my Bolt.
Immediately I threw the WD drive in there, never even booting with the stock drive. This was probably around the 12-15th of September. So far, it's been behaving itself, but it historically took a few months before the problems started.
Although this new box has a much newer (re)manufacture date on it, it still doesn't Kickstart 54 (SMART diagnostics). Bummer.
My impression of all this drive mayhem is not that the hard drives themselves are failing, but that somehow the data is getting corrupted over time, and then the data corruption starts snowballing. I can't say why or how it starts, but I blame the Bolts themselves somehow - I can't believe that we're all getting bad drives. Formatting the drives and starting over always "fixes" the issue for a while.
I'm wondering if it's some kind of firmware issue, something incompatible somehow with all but a select couple drives.
Drives are failing, because they are not meant to operate in the extreme heat of the Bolt design.
With our newer model drives the maximum temperature is now at 60 degrees Celsius.
The operating temperature range for most Seagate hard drives is 5 to 50 degrees Celsius.
WD operating range 0 to 60C
These are maximum temperatures...
When operating at max temperatures ( or over them ) the failure rate will increase and the mtbf will decrease.
This is a major flaw in the bolt design. (Fashion over Function)
The old tivo design produced temperatures of 40-45C
This new bolt design produces temperatures of 60-70C.
Most ICs are ok at these temperatures but not disk drives.
The only solution is external disk drives.
ODT (on die temperature) != drive temperature
Also I believe TiVo changed what the temperature was measuring on the newer designs, so comparing old and new design is Apples to Oranges.
That's how an SMR drive would "fail" -- it's an incompatibility problem and not a true failure. But the Toshiba's not an SMR drive because the datasheet says so...right? It's not like manufacturers would make a mistake, right?
Or it could just be that this model of Toshiba drive sucks. It happens.
... and, that's not "hard drive failing" in exactly what way?
It's exactly a failure. Any storage device should accurately and reliably store data. SMR requires more time to do a small write, since a lot of data needs to be re-written. But, the only tradeoff should be performance (speed). Not reliability. A storage device not being able to reliably store data IS as "true failure", no excuses.
You are absolutely right. Modern drives include advanced algorithms not only for error detection but also for error correction and subsequent remapping. By the time one actually sees corruption, lots of things would have gone wrong.
It's not physical / mechanical
The drives aren't >dying<; formatted they're good-to-go again, and put in another device (like a computer) they're likely perfectly fine. This is a data issue specific to the Bolt somehow.
I actually intend to toss my Toshiba 3TB into my Mac mini server, soon as I find the time to pop the thing open
First, many of the drives were dead, even on a PC.
Second, even if you could format them and they work on a PC, that doesn't mean the drive wasn't failing. If you had a sector that had too many errors for the reed solomon error recovery (or whatever they are using on a particular drive for error recovery) to account for, the drive won't remap that sector and it won't be usable either because it'll fail error detection.
If you format the drive with 0s, then the drive can remap the sector, because you no longer care about the data, so it doesn't have to assure the data read is consistent.
I've had many drives that failed in this way and I'd format 0s then they would be usable again. Some would last many years. Others would last a few days before they started acting up again.
Drives don't just fail for physical / mechanical reasons. The sectors on the platter can become unstable or they can run out of sectors for remapping. This is still a drive fail.
I hadn't seen that reported anywhere. If so, I stand corrected. My own testing to-date hasn't revealed any issues with the drives out of the TiVo. I may perform more tests on my Toshiba and see what comes up...
I did an experiment using tivos reported temp and a probe placed in the air cavity above the heat sink.
Tivo ODT ~= Air/Operating Temp + 10C.
so I think the Operating environment is close to (ODT - 10C) or ranges from 50C to 60C.
Still at the high end of the recommended operating temp environment......
What's surprising is that Tivo actually touts the new design for cooling purposes. From TiVo BOLT+ | Replace your Cable Box DVR with a Unified Entertainment System:
"Oh, and that distinctive, arched design isn’t just for looks, it serves as a clever cooling system."
While I really like the Bolt's new features compared to the previous DVR we bought (Tivo HD) (2 more tuners, streaming services, unified search, RF remote), the reliability of the Bolt is substantially worse.
Our Tivo HD is about 10 years old (and has finally started to fail; if we unplug it or power is lost, we need to use the blow-dryer-on-the-motherboard trick or it won't power back up). In all this time, we have never had a tuner fail. Compare that to the Bolt series, for which we're on our 2nd replacement in 2 years for crappy tuners (they will stop tuning, we'll get artifacting on some channels, etc.). So frustrating, because the software is really great. But if the hardware doesn't last, it's a losing proposition...
You were good until the last sentence. The sectors on the platter becoming unstable is technically considered a physical failure.
Logical failures (the ones you were talking about in this post) are rare but can happen. They usually happen when power is lost in the middle of a write operation.
I've had a 3.5" drive in the past stop spinning because the motor died. It was replaced under warranty. But it certainly failed because of a mechanical reason.