Bolt and the dreaded four flashing lights

Discussion in 'TiVo Bolt DVR/Streamer' started by DeltaOne, Mar 13, 2019.

  1. DeltaOne

    DeltaOne Mount Airy, MD

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    Sep 29, 2013
    I'm helping someone with a 2.5 year old Bolt.

    Two days ago we woke this Bolt from standby. Watched a few shows. Then began getting error messages about the Bolt not being on the internet. Our internet connection was fine.

    Next we restarted the Bolt and got the dreaded four flashing lights. So, after a bit of research here on the forums, we figure the hard drive might be the problem. We removed the hard drive.

    We decided to use SpinRite to assess the health of the drive. First question: will the drive spin up? It does. Next we run SpinRite on level 2, and 10 hours later SpinRite gives the drive a clean bill of health.

    Today we put the drive back in the Bolt. The Bolt begins booting, for about 20 seconds, and then we get the four flashing lights again.

    Looking for advice. Is the problem on the Bolt's logic board? Is there any way to get the recorded shows off of the hard drive?
     
  2. shamilian

    shamilian Member

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    check the power supply to the bolt.
     
  3. DeltaOne

    DeltaOne Mount Airy, MD

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    I haven't tested the power supply with my meter, and I doubt we have another power supply in the house to test or swap.

    I'm thinking the power supply is okay, since the TiVo powers on and begins booting, for about 20 seconds, before it triggers the four flashing lights.
     
  4. ggieseke

    ggieseke Well-Known Member

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    If it passed SpinRite, I agree with shamilian. Try a different power supply.
     
  5. JOSHSKORN

    JOSHSKORN Member

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    @DeltaOne have you replaced your hard drive with a larger capacity one? Back when I had a Bolt, I tried to do this, which worked fine for awhile, then I got the 4 flashing lights. I gave up on it and just ended up buying a Bolt+. I think in my case, though, I had free service with my Bolt, so transitioning onto the Bolt+ was easy, granted, I did lose all of my recordings.

    Just telling you what I'd experienced. I guess it could be your hard drive, but ggieseke probably knows more than I do. That said, check the power supply, as he mentioned.
     
  6. DeltaOne

    DeltaOne Mount Airy, MD

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    Update: we put a brand new 3 TB drive in the Bolt and it fired right up. Yay!

    Next: we're using MFSTools to copy the content from the old drive to the new drive...then we'll pop it back in the Bolt.

    We'll also order a Bolt power supply so that we have one on the shelf...if needed.

    Question: we know the old drive's SMART status was "Failing." Was the old drive not working in the Bolt because the Bolt polled the SMART status when booting...finds "Failing" and stops?
     
  7. DeltaOne

    DeltaOne Mount Airy, MD

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    Thanks, but no...Bolt was using its original 3 TB drive. And the new drive we just put in is a 3 TB.
     
  8. DeltaOne

    DeltaOne Mount Airy, MD

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    MFSTools is copying our data from the old drive to the new drive.

    Question: we did put the new drive in the Bolt, so it could be formatted. Removed it at the set up screen. Was this step necessary? Or would that have been taken care of within the MFSTools copy process?
     
  9. jth tv

    jth tv Well-Known Member

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    Which model drive ?
     
  10. DeltaOne

    DeltaOne Mount Airy, MD

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    The new drive is a Seagate. I don't have the model number handy just now.
     
  11. V7Goose

    V7Goose OTA ONLY and Loving It!

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    I suspect that all of your recordings are already lost (because of the way the Bolt works when it sees a different drive).

    If a Bolt is booted with a different drive than the one it had on the last shutdown, it wipes the drive. Since you booted it with the new drive BEFORE you copied the old drive to it, it quite possibly will consider that drive as a "different" one when you boot it after the copy. Please let us know if it works or not.

    As for your original drive being bad or not - it is bad. Spinrite is outstanding for doing detailed evaluations of the drive surface and recovering data, but there are other things that can and do go bad. SMART test are rudimentary at best, but they do check more things than just data reads and writes.
     
  12. V7Goose

    V7Goose OTA ONLY and Loving It!

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    And I suggest you warn your buddy that his new Seagate drive is liable to crap out in less than a year. Many of us do not believe that there is any current Seagate drive that is reliable in a Bolt. I think that all of their 2.5" drives are SMR, and they do not work for long in this service.
     
  13. DeltaOne

    DeltaOne Mount Airy, MD

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    We did boot the new drive before the cloning procedure. I guess the question is does the cloning procedure put back any and all information that tells the Bolt this is the same drive it used before. Time will tell - I will report back.

    I think of SMART this way...when SMART says failing -- the drive is failing. When SMART says OK...the drive may fail at any time.
     
  14. DeltaOne

    DeltaOne Mount Airy, MD

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    An SMR drive wouldn't have been my first choice, nor would I have chosen a Seagate. I will note that Tivo Ted, on here recently, stated that "some" SMR drives are fine for TiVo use. Supposedly a list of approved SMR drives will be out at some point.

    The owner of this Bolt likes to let seasons accumulate...then binge watch. So when the original drive failed a few days ago it was very bad news. I suspect his new strategy will be to move recordings to a safer place. He's learned his lesson. ;-)
     
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  15. shwru980r

    shwru980r Well-Known Member

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    If you are using the new TE4 interface, you should probably downgrade to the old TE3 interface, since you aren't using a stock Tivo hard drive. There have been reports of non-stock hard drive failures with TE4 updates.

    i've had a Seagate 3TB Laptop HDD SATA 6Gb/s 128MB Cache 2.5-Inch Internal Hard Drive (ST3000LM016) running in my Bolt since July 2017.
     
  16. DeltaOne

    DeltaOne Mount Airy, MD

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    So your drive has been running for about 1.75 years. Is your Seagate a SMR drive? I tried looking up the specs but didn't find any that listed SMR vs PMR for that drive.
     
  17. shwru980r

    shwru980r Well-Known Member

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    I'm not sure if it's SMR or PMR. There was already a newer version of this drive when I bought it. It's a 15mm drive and there were many complaints because it was too thick to fit in a laptop. This one was listed as returned for that reason and the packaging was opened, but the price was $99. There were some reviews by people using it in a Bolt.
     
  18. DeltaOne

    DeltaOne Mount Airy, MD

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    V7Goose, above, says he thinks all 2.5-inch Seagate drives are SMR. I did some research with the google, but couldn't find definitive information.
     
  19. V7Goose

    V7Goose OTA ONLY and Loving It!

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    If you do research on posts from back around 2016, there were reports of one Seagate SMR drive model that seemed to be working for one individual who had two of them with firmware version 1.0, but everyone who bought that same drive with later firmware had them fail quickly. And even the first guy had one of those original drives fail last year too. Perhaps a search on the keywords seagate and firmware would produce results?

    (UPDATE: Those original reports were from user aaronwt.)

    I may not have all the details exactly right, but that is the way I remember it. Based simply on the very very very HIGH failure rates of all the Seagate drives used in Bolts that I have seen reported in these forums, I personally would NEVER try one for any reason. But that is just my opinion. Y'all get to do what you want.

    And one more comment: PMR drives tend to be thicker than SMR drives (they need more platters for the same capacity) - so MAYBE a 15mm drive is an indication it is PMR? I do not know, and I already said, I would never trust ANY 2.5" drive with a Seagate label!
     
    Last edited: Mar 16, 2019
  20. DeltaOne

    DeltaOne Mount Airy, MD

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    Update: We used MFSTools to copy the shows from old drive to the new drive. Copy took 60 hours. Results: the Bolt booted but the shows were not there.

    Perhaps the copy failed because we had put the new drive in the Bolt...up until the Welcome screen. Perhaps the copy failed because the old drive was sick (the SMART status was failing). Some research told us that putting the new drive in the Bolt would not cause a problem, but maybe it did. I'm pretty sure that we also formatted the new drive as FAT32, after it had been in the Bolt, because it helped us be 100% sure that we were copying from the old drive to the new drive...and not vice versa. When both drives were formatted for the Bolt it was hard to tell them apart in Virtual Box on our Mac.

    Once we knew the copy had failed, we started fresh. Re-format the drive as FAT32, put it in the Bolt...and through the entire set up process. We don't want to go through that 60 hour copy process again.

    We did learn one thing: We had kind of expected to have to re-activate the cable card. We tried to use the Xfinity web site for cable card activation...but it didn't work. Next we called the Xfinity cable card hotline, and the rep was courteous and helpful and had the cable card running within just a few minutes. The rep told us the online activation is for new, first time activations only. She said the Xfinity app for smartphones can handle situations like we were facing...where the cable card is already activated.

    So...the Bolt owner lost many hours of recordings. And lost all the One Passes.

    Going forward we have a new, non-SMR drive coming. The Seagate SMR drive that's in the Bolt now will become long term storage for TV shows that get copied off of the Bolt...this Bolt owner likes to let seasons accumulate and then binge watch.

    Thanks, all...for the help and advice here.
     

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