Can I add a separate hard drive to my tivo?

Discussion in 'TiVo Coffee House - TiVo Discussion' started by Ziggie, Jul 11, 2011.

  1. Ziggie

    Ziggie TiVo Since 2003

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    I'd love to expand the hd space on my Tivo series 3 (High Def, but not the premiere).

    Can I add any external hd to it or is there a specific drive that Tivo requires? I do not want to void my warranty. Also, is it a complicated process?

    Thanks for any help you can offer :)
     
  2. dwit

    dwit Active Member

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    Yes, you can add an external hard drive to the original Series 3 model(model# 648250), or the Tivo HD. The original Series 3 can use essentially any eSATA hard drive, on essentially a plug and play basis. Best to get a drive, or drive + enclosure, designed to be used for such purpose. Western Digital has external drives built with this in mind(My Dvr Expanders).

    The Tivo HD model can only use the WD my dvr expanders on a plug and play basis. Any other external drives will require opening up the Tivo to remove the hard drive in order to "marry it" to the external drive by connecting the drives to a computer. If one was moved to do this, it really would be better to just forget about external storage in favor of just installing a large capacity single, internal hard drive(up to 2 TB).

    After reading your entire post, looks like the WD 1 TB My Dvr Expander is the choice for you.

    ps: Looks like it has been redesigned lately and is now called the Western Digital My Book AV Dvr Expander, and is available at Amazon, Best Buy, etc. Be advised that the largest capacity of these drives that you can use is the 1 TB model.
     
  3. Ziggie

    Ziggie TiVo Since 2003

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    Dwit, thank you! Your reply has really helped me a lot. I appreciate you taking the time to explain this procedure to me.

    Have a great day! :)
     
  4. jrtroo

    jrtroo Chill- its just TV

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    your older unity is out of warranty- it is easy (and much cheaper) to upgrade your internal drive. Go to the upgrade center forums for easy to follow instructions.

    The premiere is just as easy to update, if you are nervous about the warranty just wait until the 90 days are up and then upgrade.

    If you ever have an issue- just keep your old drives stored safely on a shelf...
     
  5. unitron

    unitron Well-Known Member

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    The Premiere is a Series 4 platform, not Series 3.

    Adding an external drive introduces the possibility of having it fail and render all of your recordings on both the internal and external drives unavailable.

    You should look into the TiVo Desktop software, which will let you copy to and from TiVo and computer. Unless the anti-copying bit is set on a particular show before it even gets to the TiVo.

    If you do use TiVo Desktop, don't try to copy to a computer's hard drive to a FAT32 partition, you need a partition that's NTFS formatted to be able to handle the file sizes involved.
     
  6. Ziggie

    Ziggie TiVo Since 2003

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    Well, I'm here to report that adding the expander to the premiere unit was a huge fail :(

    We did everything right.. followed every instruction. It recognized the expander, played fine for about 8 hours. Turned the tv on this morning and got the "external drive missing" error message. Nothing wrong with any of the connections, it just won't work.

    Tried a new eSATA cable. Didn't help.

    Lost all our recordings after removing the expander. I am so upset, I could cry.
     
  7. dianebrat

    dianebrat wait.. I did what? TCF Club

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    I thought you said in the first post that it WASN'T a Premiere?
    Even in that case, the only thing you should lose should be items recorded after you attached the expander, which would be less than 24 hours worth of things.
     
  8. P42

    P42 Active Member

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    Sorry to hear that Ziggie :(
     
  9. Ziggie

    Ziggie TiVo Since 2003

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    Yes, Diane.. my apologies. I tried to update my post + reply to unitron yesterday, but it seems my posts didn't go through.

    We tried to attach expanders to both tivo units (series 3 + a premiere). The series 3 (knock on wood) seems to be working just fine.

    The premiere is the one that was a big fail :(
     
  10. Ziggie

    Ziggie TiVo Since 2003

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    Thanks P42. I'm just so bummed :( I wish I could get an expander to work with this premiere.
     
  11. shwru980r

    shwru980r Well-Known Member

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    Return the defective expander and try a new one.
     
  12. Ziggie

    Ziggie TiVo Since 2003

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    But it worked. Do you mean it could become defective in less than 12 hours? It's brand new.

    Is it defective or is the premiere just too fussy?
     
  13. P42

    P42 Active Member

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    Honestly Ziggie the computer skills needed to upgrade the internal drive on a Premiere are pretty minimal. The software does step you through it very well. The hard part is opening the Tivo and PC to insert the drives.....just something to consider.
     
  14. dianebrat

    dianebrat wait.. I did what? TCF Club

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    brand new is the most common time for it to fail, next most common time is the first 30 days.

    You can test the expander with a computer, it's just an external hard drive and you can run WDC diagnostics on it.
     
  15. Ziggie

    Ziggie TiVo Since 2003

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    P42, our premiere unit has the extended warranty on it (purchased because I had heard so many horror stories about the unit) so we're content to leave it as it is. We did want to add the external drive but that didn't work :(

    Do I just connect it to my laptop with a USB cable? What are WDC diagnostics please?

    In the end though, if the premiere won't recognize the drive, I guess it doesn't matter if the drive is good or not, right? (hope that makes sense)
     
  16. dianebrat

    dianebrat wait.. I did what? TCF Club

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    Connect it to your laptop, get the diagnostics program from the support pages at westerndigital.com (wdc.com).
    I would certainly want to know if it the Premiere or drive were the defective component, especially if the Premiere has a warranty on it.
     
  17. Ziggie

    Ziggie TiVo Since 2003

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    Thanks Diane! I took a look around the wdc site but can't seem to find the diagnostics file? Do you happen to have a direct link to it please?
     
  18. dianebrat

    dianebrat wait.. I did what? TCF Club

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    Oh that's just weird, they list NONE of the diagnostics on the Support page for the unit, try this http://support.wdc.com/product/download.asp?groupid=114&sid=3&lang=en

    It's "Data Lifeguard Diagnostic for Windows" it doesn't have to be for the exact same drive.
     
  19. P42

    P42 Active Member

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    Ziggie, I too have the extended warranty on my TiVo, more to protect the $400 Lifetime subscription then the $100 of hardware. Should the hardware fail I'll be taking the original disk back off the shelf and putting it back in the Tivo before shipping it back. There are no "warranty void if broken" tell tale seals.

    There is the morel issue of lying, but I see it as a minor gray area.

    edit: given that you've already gone some time, money and effort in the external drives do spend some time verifying the condition and making them work. If they are broken and returnable for credit/cash do consider going internal.
     
  20. dwit

    dwit Active Member

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    Really, I don't see much reason to suspect the Premiere.

    Have you tried switching the expanders between the Tivo units?
     

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