9.4, S3, external drive - did Tivo poison-pill us?

Discussion in 'TiVo Series3 HDTV DVRs' started by AbMagFab, Aug 16, 2008.

  1. AbMagFab

    AbMagFab What happened, TiVo?

    Feb 5, 2001


    So I have 5 Tivo HD/S3's in my house. I've had Tivo for almost a decade in some form. I've done everything up to hacking DirecTivo's and old-school SA Tivo's. In total I've owned over 20 Tivo's of various flavors.

    I'm at the point where standard Tivo software offers everything I need, so I don't bother with anything anymore, except upgrading hard drives.

    I've had a S3 for years with an external hard drive, and never a problem. When they rolled out 9.4, it killed my FAP. Oh well, I was expecting it as they warned us there was a new driver issue or something. Fine.

    So I upgraded to a WD10EACS external drive in an Antek MX-1. Seemed safe as many people have been using that for years as well.

    Now, barely a week later, the Tivo S3 has green-screened on me. Not sure what it's doing, or when it will be done. I went in to turn it on and I was getting no signal from it, so I power-cycled it, and that's when the green-screen came up.

    After years of never a problem, since 9.4 I've had two severe issues with my S3 + external hard drive. So did Tivo adopt some sort of "poison pill" if we don't buy their hugely overpriced and sadly undersized external drive? If so, I'm really disappointed in them. Currently it's the only Tivo with an external drive I have, and the only one with any sort of problem.

    Again, I've had external drives and internal upgrades on all my Tivo's since pretty much the day I buy them. Never a problem, until 9.4.

    Just me? Anyone else getting unusually high problem rates since 9.4?
  2. lrhorer

    lrhorer Active Member

    Aug 31, 2003
    'Just you. I have three Series III class TiVos with upgraded hard drives, two of them with external drives. The THD is upgraded with a 500G WD internal drive (actually, it's external: my THD has no internal drive, but the external drive is primary). One S3 has a stock 250G drive with a 750G external. The other is a Weaknees 1T TiVo with an external 1T Hitachi Deskstar drive. The stock S3 / 750G setup does lock up and GSOD every four or five weeks or so. It is reproducble as a problem with the eSATA cable, however, and only happens when the TV is turned on. The EMP pulse from the 400W bulb coming on is too much for the eSATA cable I have. I could resolve the issue by moving the TiVo and external housing, or probably by just replacing the eSATA cable, but since the GSODs are quite brief and always resolve themselves, I've been too lazy to bother. In any case, it's definitely not a 9.4 issue, since it has been occurring since January 2007, when I very first upgraded the S3 with the external drive.
  3. JStew

    JStew Member

    Oct 1, 2007
    Not a chance it's just you. People are reporting problems with the guide remaining on the screen after selecting the channel they want, problems with lockups, green screens/blue screens and the ever-popular external drive going to hell in a handbasket. I just sent mine to Western Digital for a replacement and there's never a guarantee the replacement will work with 9.4. Of course, I also lost about 40 hours of programming when I divorced the external drive but I had no choice.

    There are quite a few upset people around. Just read some of the comments in the forums.
  4. AbMagFab

    AbMagFab What happened, TiVo?

    Feb 5, 2001
    Yippee... Nice job on the update... My Tivo finally came back up, and it looks like it kept most of the recordings. Except of course it didn't record anything tonight... while it was green-screening...

    If it keeps up this low-reliability, I might actually have to consider one of the FIOS DVR's - something I never thought I'd do. But without reliability and ability to expand, the Tivo has little else going for it (the improved UI only matters so much).
  5. Dr_Diablo

    Dr_Diablo Dr_Diablo

    Nov 23, 2003


    Since the recent update, the screen goes blank yet the audio continues during playback of a recorded program
  6. jrm01

    jrm01 New Member

    Oct 17, 2003
  7. JohnBrowning

    JohnBrowning Member

    Jul 15, 2004
    Plano, TX
  8. aaronwt

    aaronwt UHD Addict

    Jan 31, 2002
    All seven of my boxes have been fine. 100% reliability like before.
  9. FiosUser

    FiosUser Member

    Nov 16, 2007
    Don't even think about going to the Verizon DVR--you will hate it (because it really is not very good at all). You would be better off just getting a new S3 without an upgraded hard drive.
  10. Beachbum55

    Beachbum55 Member

    Jan 1, 2004
    I always smile when I see your signature line. :) 7 Tivo's??!! Does each person in your househould have their own Tivo?

    I have one S3 with a DVR expander and a Pioneer Tivo in operation, and there's no way I can keep up with stuff I record.
  11. George Cifranci

    George Cifranci TiVo Bolt 500GB - TE4 UI

    Jan 30, 2003

    I have the exact same issue with my Series 3. My TV is a Sony SXRD (R60XBR1). I have a Antec MX-1 eSata connected to my S3. I have a friend with the same setup and issue but he has the official Tivo eSata drive instead of the MX-1.

    Otherwise my Tivo S3 has been fine.
  12. AbMagFab

    AbMagFab What happened, TiVo?

    Feb 5, 2001
    5 of mine are fine, too. Just the S3 with the external is a problem.

    Quantity doesn't mean much when one has a problem.

    It seems enough people are having a new problem with 9.4 that it can't be simply coincidence. Intentional by Tivo or not, the effect is the same.
  13. brewman

    brewman Member

    Jun 28, 2003
    It's not unique to 9.4. Every software upgrade TiVo has issue has resulted in a flood of "the upgrade killed my TiVo" threads.

    It's as simple as this - TiVo's OS writes the new software upload to the alternate boot partition and then switches over to that. If that boot partition has a minor disk error (bad sector) then you're TiVo will exhibit bad behavior ranging from random lockups to failure to get past the power up screen.

    If you add the WD DVR expander to their TiVo then you've increased the odds of a disk error killing your TiVo when upgraded.

    TiVo (the company) forces you to play russion roulette with your TiVo DVR with every software update, and apparently they've made the business decision that it's cheaper/better for them to not address the problem. This won't change until a competitive product enters their niche.
  14. AbMagFab

    AbMagFab What happened, TiVo?

    Feb 5, 2001

    That's a pleasant theory, and certainly true in some cases.


    1) I spinrite'd and surface scan'd and SMART'd the original drives, and they were 100% (no errors)

    2) The brand new drives I put it to deal with the original FreeAgentPro poison-pill were at 100% when I put them in.

    In both cases, the Tivo green-screened.

    It has nothing to do with the hard drives. I know what that is and when it occurs, and these two green-screens in two weeks of 9.4 on 4 different drives had nothing to do with the drives.

    9.4 is far less stable than previous releases, at a minimum. At worst, they have put some sort of poison-pill in for non-Tivo external drives.
  15. Diacritical

    Diacritical Member

    Jan 10, 2003
  16. cdp1276

    cdp1276 Member

    Mar 24, 2003
    Portland, OR
    It's def not just you, and I had more problems with the WD TiVo approved expander drive than the SA one I have on my other S3. No issues with that and it was an old drive I used to use with my SA 8300HD when I had that DVR before S3.
  17. DocNo

    DocNo Member

    Oct 10, 2001
    Bristow, VA
    Dude, put down the tin foil hat :rolleyes:

    Funny, my 750GB FAP is working just fine w/9.4 :rolleyes:

    for someone who has owned 20 Tivo's, you seem to have pretty thin skin.

    For all these problems you are having are you sure it's not an environmental problem? How's your power? Using a quality UPS? Not some line interactive standby unit like a cheap APC, but an on-line UPS that can really deal with and correct crappy power?

    It might be cheaper then continually replacing hard drives. But then again it wouldn't be near as much fun impugning Tivo's integrity for smoting you with continual plagues either, would it?

  18. AbMagFab

    AbMagFab What happened, TiVo?

    Feb 5, 2001

    You've really got to get a new line... 320 posts and about half of them sound exactly the same.

    From simple minds...
  19. JohnBrowning

    JohnBrowning Member

    Jul 15, 2004
    Plano, TX
  20. saeba

    saeba Active Member

    Oct 12, 2004
    Over the past week, I've experienced a large number of issues with my TiVoHD with the WD DVR Expander. The system would reboot or reboot and hang. Sometimes, when the reboot failed, I had to power off/on the external drive in addition to the TiVoHD in order to get the system to successfully restart. Today, I removed the external drive in order to see if that clears the problem. The drive is just under a year old so if this is the issue, I guess I'll try to see if I can get it fixed under warranty.

    So is there any idea if these issues are with 9.4 or just failing external drives?


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