Bolt hardware inferiority?

Discussion in 'TiVo Bolt DVR/Streamer' started by threxel, Jul 25, 2020.

  1. threxel

    threxel New Member

    9
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    May 6, 2004

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    I bought a Bolt 1tb all-in on 12-2017. In September 2018 I returned from a summer in the north and tried to reactivate my Tivo and it wouldn't recognize the cable card. I assumed it was Spectrum's problem until they brought out a Tivo Vox and proved it was my unit. Tivo replaced it for a fee since it was out of warranty.
    The refurb unit (Manufactured 5/18) went completely dead except for fan noise this week. To my surprise Tivo agreed to ship another refurb out without the 150 transfer fee. I am of course happy about this.
    However, I have owned a DirectTV HD Tivo(sold), Tivo HD box(sold), Tivo Premiere, Tivo Romio. All of these devices (DTV obsolete) are still running to this day some of them over a decade old.

    What is with these Bolt units? Not enough cooling? I don't want to have to keep paying for defective units. I wouldn't be upset if a 10 year old unit went bad (i replace my own hd when they happen), but a 1 and 2 year old units should not be going bad so quickly. Plus the unit operation it self was always sketchy, like random garbled video play back, little black outs of video that the audio continued, random reboots, crashes when accessing Apps and those dreaded prerolls would hang the unit sometimes.
    I keep the unit on top of my av furniture unit so it gets fresh air. Its connected to a UPS constantly to protect from surges and power problems. The cable is properly grounded.

    Any incite or suggestions for refurbished unit coming in that I can try and keep it running longer?

    There has been lack of progress on any ideas like being able to use IPTV or record streaming to the box. There have been no new apps in years, hello Spotify, Showtime, AppleTV+ or Disney+ or a Roku app that was promised and never delivered. I think this is probably going to be my last chance with Tivo.
     
  2. cwerdna

    cwerdna Proud Tivolutionary

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    Feb 22, 2001
    SF Bay Area, CA
    If you believe it's lack of cooling (stock cooling of Bolts DOES suck, runs too hot), then take steps to have it run cooler like I suggested at TiVo offering Bolt Vox to replace Roamio Plus and many other places.

    My never been opened 3 TB Bolt+ w/original stock drive from April 2017 still runs fine. It runs 24/7 and I have all the power saving/management features disabled.

    I used to keep it cool w/laptop cooling pads with fan(s) in them. Now I use those two AC Infinity fans. If you want to start w/o spending too much $, I think you should start with MULTIFAN S4, Quiet USB Cooling Fan, 140mm and stick some rubber feet under it to raise it a bit more if it's on top of a surface w/no holes in it. You can run it faster w/higher voltage with their 6.5 volt AC INFINITY, Turbo Fan Power Adapter.

    If you wish, you could then later add [IN STOCK ON AUGUST 25, 2020. NO PRE-ORDER] MULTIFAN S2, Quiet USB Cooling Blower, 120mm.
    Streaming providers will almost certainly not allow recording of streams due to licensing and DRM reasons. I wouldn't hold your breath for that.

    As for new apps, I also wouldn't hold your breath for that, unfortunately. I'd look to other popular boxes/sticks w/growing users bases for that, unlike TiVo.
     
    Last edited: Jul 25, 2020
  3. aspexil

    aspexil Member

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    Oct 16, 2015
    Get a laptop cooling pad. I'm running the Bolt on OTA only and leave the cable card door open on the laptop cooling pad. It has been running since Oct 2015 with zero issues (knock on wood) with a 2Tb hard drive upgrade. The cooling pad definitely makes a 10C difference in operating temp at least at our house.
     
    Dan Cour likes this.
  4. lujan

    lujan Active Member

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    May 24, 2010
    How do you run the cooling pad? Is it USB?
     
  5. MrDell

    MrDell Active Member

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    Jul 8, 2012
    Rhode Island

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    Most are usb .... if you are going to use a usb fan I would suggest plugging it into a wall outlet and not your tivo for power (with an adapter)
     
    lujan likes this.
  6. threxel

    threxel New Member

    9
    1
    May 6, 2004
    Thank you for the advice on the heating issues, I suspected that it was probably the cause, it just sucks that a design like that could make it into the wild if its not adequate. Does turning it over help or is there a heat radiated through heat sink in the top as well?

    I am sure there is some validity to this, but there a lot of services do let you download content to a phone or tablet for offline viewing and there are services like Playon.tv that you can record to a media server. I would more like to see the ability to subscribe to a steaming service like YoutubeTV be able to record it like cable and DD, RW, remove commercials, etc. I am sure that would be an issue. Most of these sites are very clunky at any kind of manipulation.

    New Apps seems like a no-brainer for keeping customers in your ecosystem, but I am not sure what the game plan is anymore. I am finding that I less and less use for Tivo as the world continues to change and Tivo doesn't really innovate or keep up with the times. I mean if they really wanted to, they could docker or VM out their Stream to add some value to these newer units with the CPU power to run it. Would be nice to actually have all the apps replaced with a docker of that OS, its android based which is linux based so how difficult could it be to docker?
     
  7. threxel

    threxel New Member

    9
    1
    May 6, 2004
    Any reason why you wouldn't plug it into the USB power on the back? I was looking at the cost of these units and figured I could make on out of wood rubber feet and 1 or 2 fans from the piles of computer fans I have. The fans usually only draw a watt or two.
     
  8. MrDell

    MrDell Active Member

    169
    45
    Jul 8, 2012
    Rhode Island
    Some people have mentioned that the extra current draw from the Tivo USB tends to increase the temperature a bit. I took their advice when I added a cooling fan to my Bolt and plugged it directly to an outlet with an adapter.
     
    Dan Cour likes this.
  9. cwerdna

    cwerdna Proud Tivolutionary

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    846
    Feb 22, 2001
    SF Bay Area, CA
    I agree it's ridiculous that the cooling on TiVo Bolts is so poor. It was fine on earlier units (e.g. Series 1, 2 and TiVo HD).

    I've never heard of people turning it over. I'm not sure that's a great idea. You'd have the the very hot Broadcom chip radiating heat back into itself. Skip to about 2:51 of to see what's inside.

    One guy had his unit vertically w/the fan at the top saying that helped keep his ODTs down. That might be good for keeping the ODT down but I'm not sure that's too helpful for the drive is now more warm air as at the top and drawn out by a weak fan.

    I think the only time I might do something like that is if I'd built a box where the unit was held in place vertically and there were also fans blowing into the CableCARD area and another sucking it out via the fan outlet.
    I'm not familiar with playon.tv. As for services that let you d/l to phone or tablet, notice they only let you d/l there? And, they're almost always DRMed, may have resolution limits and have other limits like how many times you can d/l them in a certain period of time, how many devices you can d/l to per account, expiration of content, etc.
    Yep.

    OP, just start with MULTIFAN S4, Quiet USB Cooling Fan, 140mm and hopefully, you have a spare USB AC adapter lying around.
     
    Last edited: Jul 26, 2020
    MrDell likes this.
  10. Rugged Ron

    Rugged Ron Member

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    10
    Jul 5, 2011
    My first Bolt 3TB drive lasted 17 months. It's replacement lasted 4 months. I had a laptop cooling fan under it at all times. I finally took it out of service and will use it as a backup. I replaced it with my trusty Roamio that is 5 years old and still going strong. The 2.5" drives aren't meant for this type of service.
     

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