500GB TiVo Expander failure

Discussion in 'TiVo Series3 HDTV DVRs' started by e30cabrio, Jul 14, 2009.

  1. Aug 17, 2009 #41 of 256
    richsadams

    richsadams Well-Known Member

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    According the author of MFSLive/winMFS:

    Details on this post:

    http://mfslive.org/forums/viewtopic...it=combine+internal+and+external+drives#p5626
     
  2. Aug 21, 2009 #42 of 256
    kingmob

    kingmob New Member

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    Just curious, how did you get the drive out of the case? I can't see any obvious way to take it apart, and some quick googling didn't find instructions.
     
  3. Sep 8, 2009 #43 of 256
    b0rg

    b0rg New Member

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    My second DVR Expander in just under 22 months failed this weekend.

    I posted about it here.
    Here's the short version:

    First one lasted just about 11 months. I started experiencing freezes, pixilation issues about 9.5 months into using it. One day a few weeks later I got the awesome blue screen which notifies you that your external storage is no longer connected.

    I called WD and got a replacement rather easily.

    This past weekend (9/5 to be exact) my second drive failed. Had some minor pixilation issues about a week before, but nothing even close to what it was last time. Again, on Saturday mid-afternoon I turned on my TV to find the same screen.

    Went through all the troubleshooting steps to no avail, so I called WD and they refused to replace the drive or help me at all. The tech said that even though my first one failed and they replaced it, I still only had 12mo of warranty from my purchase date, which has expired.

    After a few minutes of arguing that these drives are suppose to last much longer than 11 months each and thats why we pay a premium for them, the tech tells me that "typically the DVR expander drives fail after about one year." I got him to repeat it, just to make sure I was not crazy. He then told me I could fix it if I could plug it into a computer and format it, which at that point I had to remind him that these drives don't have a USB interface. He suggested I find a computer with an ESATA connection.

    I managed to get his manager on the phone which ignored me when I asked if what his support tech had claimed was true, that these drives last one year. After much arguing he promised to have someone call me today... Of course, nothing yet.

    Just thought I'd share my experience with Western Digital.
     
  4. Sep 8, 2009 #44 of 256
    richsadams

    richsadams Well-Known Member

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    Well that's pretty sad. :( FWIW the weakest link with the WD My DVR Expanders has been the eSATA cable. Replacing theirs with one of the recommended cables listed on the Drive Expansion and Drive Upgrade FAQ cures the problem. But that's obviously not what's happened to you.

    Based on quite a few posts here it appears that in a number (majority?) of cases it's not the actual WD MyDVR Expander hard disk drive that's failing but the enclosure. More often than not the actual hard drive passes a deep diagnostic. There seems to be an issue with the WD My DVR Expander's bridge or chipset or...??? that goes south after about a year for some reason.

    Since TiVo recognizes eSATA drives by the actual hard drive model number, several folks have successfully pulled the drive out of the WD enclosure and placed it in one of the recommended external drive enclosures (like the Antec MX-1). They were able to save all of their recordings and life was good again. (If you try that make sure you unplug TiVo (don't divorce the drive, etc.) perform the eSATA drive "upgrade", connect it back up to TiVo, power it up and then plug TiVo back in...it shouldn't know the difference.)

    Anyway, sorry to hear about your frustration. Keep us posted and hope things get straightened out.
     
  5. Sep 9, 2009 #45 of 256
    milo99

    milo99 Well-Known Member

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    Falls...

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    well, unfortunately, your experience is not unique. I called up Tivo to tell them about my drive failure (i had an open ticket about my issues so i thought i'd call them and let them know the 'resolution'), and the tech said they were aware of hte problem and are supposedly working on a solution with WD. I couldn't tell if it was just a placating remark from the tech or if that's actually the case...

    any way, the poll i crated last month was kind of telling. as unscientific as it was, having that many people have failures is not a good thing at all. i'm not sure who "up the chain" at WD needs to be "made aware", but i want to definitely pass the info on to them in one form or another.

    I think this is something we need to raise a stink about, because that's not an acceptable lifespan for something like this, and i don't know how much effort they're making to resolve it.
     
  6. Sep 9, 2009 #46 of 256
    richsadams

    richsadams Well-Known Member

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    Agree completely. Even though the WD My DVR Expanders only have a one-year warranty TiVo needs to be made aware of this issue. If so many are failing on or about the end of the warranty period, there's a problem.

    WD has a three-year warranty on their bare drives but only a one-year warranty on most of their other external drives. I imagine they rightfully take into account most external drives are subject to more physical issues and abuse than an internal computer drive. However once a TiVo external drive is attached I'd guess that most are very rarely moved. So if in a majority of these cases the enclosure is failing and not the hard drive, WD must be aware of it and really needs to address it.

    TiVo can and should bring some pressure to bear on WD to not only improve their product but take care of the folks that have already invested their money (not to mention their frustration with losing their recordings). After all, a majority of the current and potential customers for the WD 500GB and now 1TB external drives are TiVo customers first. This issue reflects badly on both companies.
     
  7. Sep 9, 2009 #47 of 256
    b0rg

    b0rg New Member

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    Update from post #43 above...

    Much to my surprise I got a call from a Mr. Glass which apparently works for WD corporate.

    He was very cold and fairly rude. The entire time we were on the phone (about 5 minutes) I felt that it was a huge burden for him to be talking to me. He started with "You requested for someone to call you from the corporate office." Which I responded with "Yes."

    It all went downhill from there. No matter to what I said about my drives failing he just kept reiterating that these drives have a one year warranty. Each time sounding more and more annoyed. He didn't seem to care that neither of my two drives lasted one year.

    To shorten this post, he finally offered to extend my warranty so I can get a replacement, but the replacement would carry a 90-day warranty. Obviously I tried to argue my case of two drives not lasting even 1 year a piece, and it should have a one year warranty, but he was not hearing it.

    He finally asked "Do you want to take this warranty extension and replace your drive or not?"

    So I had very little choice but to accept his offer.

    Conclusion: WD has lost me as a customer. I will never purchase another WD drive again for myself/family or work. With that being said I know I will probably indirectly end up using a WD drive with something I end up purchasing.

    There is zero reason for someone from a corporate office to be rude to a customer who has already been dealing with with failure issues and terrible support.


    @richsadams: That's a great idea. I ordered the external drive enclosure and will give it a try. Thanks.
     
  8. Sep 9, 2009 #48 of 256
    richsadams

    richsadams Well-Known Member

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    Well that pretty much sucks. Thanks for sharing though. I just don't understand corporate folks that are willing to lose a customer for any reason...especially one that took the time to make an inquiry when most would just throw the product away and not buy it again. But in this case for what? A lousy external hard drive? How much good will could have been bought for a few dollars? Unbelievable.

    A story about bad customer service is repeated to an average of ten people. Stories about good customer service are repeated to an average of three. In this case, likely dozens or hundreds will read about your bad experience with Western Digital when the jerk on the other end of the phone could have had a win-win for their cost of a hard drive. The cost to obtain a new customer over maintaining an existing customer is about ten fold. How foolish is this guy? He saves a dime and loses a dollar. Were he my employee he'd not last very long.

    If he gave you his full name you should post it here. Maybe word will get around so his superiors can see how much damage he's doing.

    In any case, thanks again for letting us know and hope the new drive lasts a bit longer. :up:
     
  9. Sep 9, 2009 #49 of 256
    janry

    janry New Member

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    Unfortunately, you wind up with another external drive you can't trust. Do you really want to plug it in and hope you remember to replace before it gets to be a year old and fails. And, even if you do you wind up having to back-up your recordings so you don't lose them when you change it out.

    That is the delima I was facing when my replacment expander hit the 12 month mark this summer. I decided to go with in internal upgrade.
     
  10. Sep 10, 2009 #50 of 256
    flip123

    flip123 Member

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    I agree. When my expander died I decided I did not want another one, even if it was free. The real cost was in all the lost shows.
     
  11. Sep 10, 2009 #51 of 256
    SC0TLANDF0REVER

    SC0TLANDF0REVER I Love my TiVo!

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    Add me to this list... I decided to just upgrade the internal drive to a 1TB.
    I'm currently pulling all my shows off onto my Mac for longevity. I may also back up to my PC so that I can send them back to the new drive.
     
  12. Sep 11, 2009 #52 of 256
    pogmothon

    pogmothon New Member

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    Sep 11, 2009
    After getting TIVO in about Sept last year, I put the 1 TB internal WD drive in (in November), and everything worked like a dream up to a week ago, when I suddenly started to have rebooting problem. However, reboot always got "stuck", so I had to unplug to force another reboot. Frequency of this event increased, until a few days ago it just would not reboot (staying on the reboot screen indefinitely, no matter how many reboots I tried). As the TIVO is still under warranty (and have extended Harvey Norman warranty), I decided to swap back in the 160 GB disk, and now it all appears to work perfectly again. So it appears that the WD 1 TB disk (the correct one for this application) has failed.

    Has anyone else experience this?

    I will check the 1 TB disk by installing in enclosure and connecting to a PC, but will I have to try a reformat to check if it has failed? Any thoughts? And if it has not failed, if I get an eSata enclosure for it, can I use it as an expansion drive? If is has failed, maybe WD will honour the warranty on it (and give me the TIVO expander drive in its place - or is that expecting pigs to fly?)

    Thanks for any insights
     
  13. Sep 11, 2009 #53 of 256
    milo99

    milo99 Well-Known Member

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    Falls...
    wow. i second the notion to post the guy's full name. I would also write a letter to some of the higher ups, maybe 1 or all of the people listed here:
    http://www.wdc.com/en/company/corp-officers.asp

    Hearing this kind of thing is NOT encouraging. They label this as a "home entertainment" product. What kind of home entertainment product is expected to last only ONE year??
     
  14. Sep 11, 2009 #54 of 256
    richsadams

    richsadams Well-Known Member

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    Welcome to the forum. Unfortunately it does sound like the 1TB drive failed. Annoying because these days you'd expect several years of service out of it but these things happen.

    If you use WD's Lifeguard diagnostic test you won't have to reformat the drive...although if you run the extended diagnostic (read/write/read) everything will be wiped anyway. If later you decide to use it as an eSATA drive you'll have to marry it to the internal drive and reformat it anyway.

    WD Lifeguard:

    http://support.wdc.com/product/download.asp?lang=en

    The drive has a three-year warranty so you should have no problem getting an RMA/replacement from WD. You can process the exchange on your own by going to the Western Digital Product Replacement site OR you can call Western Digital Customer Support at 1-800-ASK-WDC (275-4932) to have an agent process the exchange.

    WD Product Replacement Site:

    http://websupport.wdc.com/warranty/rmainfo.asp?custtype=end&lang=en

    On the last point, yes, I think pigs flying would be more likely. ;)

    Me? I'd just get a replacement drive from WD, image it as you did before and put it back in TiVo. Odds are the new one will last a good long time.

    Best of luck and let us know how it goes.
     
  15. Sep 12, 2009 #55 of 256
    pogmothon

    pogmothon New Member

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    Thanks very much for your response (can't 'quote' your response as don't have sufficient posts yet).
    Well, interesting developments: I used WinMFS to delete everything from the drive (at least that's what I think it did), and ran WD diagnostics, which showed nothing wrong (Lifeguard). So I then recopied the contents of the original TIVO disk back to the 1TB one, reinstalled it in the TIVO, and IT ALL SEEMS TO BE OK NOW! Of course, it's too early to tell, but it looks like a simple disk corruption issue.

    Here's a long-shot explanation: Over the past couple of weeks, we have had very bad digital reception on a couple of UHF channels (SBS in Australia - the only channels worth watching!). The rebooting problem started after some days of this. Any chance that this could have caused a disk corruption? Seems unlikely....
     
  16. Sep 12, 2009 #56 of 256
    richsadams

    richsadams Well-Known Member

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    If things are back to normal after a re-image it does indeed sound like data corruption. It's also possible that there are bad sectors on the HDD and things were fine until TiVo tried to use the area(s). So things may be fine forever, or it's possible that you'll run into some issues again one day. Time will only tell.

    Data corruption can come from all sorts of areas. Usually trouble starts when a boot partition is corrupted, but again, other areas of the disk may have some issues. If the disk's error correction is overloaded things can go south as well. Power problems like surges, spikes, brown outs and short term failures can be problematic too..hard to say what happened.

    Be sure your TiVo is on a UPS and all of the connections are good and life will probably be fine.
     
  17. Sep 14, 2009 #57 of 256
    pogmothon

    pogmothon New Member

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    Thank you very much Rich. All seems OK for now.
     
  18. Sep 14, 2009 #58 of 256
    hybucket

    hybucket Member

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    A couple of maybe silly questions, but..since I don't really want to lose any of the programs on the TiVO HD..
    My expander is about 6 months old...can I expect it to die at any minute?
    Are there are any who use it actually getting MORE that a year out of it?
    Is there any way to save programs on it to the TiVO hard drive before it is disconnected?
    If the shelf life is ONLY a year, what's the point of even getting one (probably a rhetorical question)?
    From what I'm reading here, you almost need to backup EVERYTHING on your TiVO somewhere else in anticipation of the expander dying. That's ridiculous.
     
  19. Sep 14, 2009 #59 of 256
    milo99

    milo99 Well-Known Member

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    Falls...
    to answer you questions,

    Q. My expander is about 6 months old...can I expect it to die at any minute?

    they seem to get close to the 12 month span before failing, at least the ones that do...

    Q. Are there are any who use it actually getting MORE that a year out of it?

    some... my poll on the other thread:http://www.tivocommunity.com/tivo-vb/showthread.php?t=431689

    Q. Is there any way to save programs on it to the TiVO hard drive before it is disconnected?

    no, the Tivo utilizes both drives when recording, but you can save it onto your regular PC via Tivo Desktop

    Q. If the shelf life is ONLY a year, what's the point of even getting one (probably a rhetorical question)?

    yea, count me in the group that if i'd known this ahead of time, i would've just upgraded the internal drive...
     
  20. Sep 14, 2009 #60 of 256
    hybucket

    hybucket Member

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    Nov 26, 2004
    Thanks for the responses.
    How does one upgrade the internal drive, and I don't mean "personally," as I would not want to attempt going inside there myself.
     

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