Diagnosing sickly Tivo HD

Discussion in 'TiVo Help Center' started by Anony-mous, May 29, 2015.

  1. Anony-mous

    Anony-mous New Member

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    May 29, 2015

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    Hello,

    I'm new here and am hoping someone can help me pinpoint what may be wrong with my Tivo HD.

    Symptoms:

    Blocky/pixelated channels, worse on HD channels, low signal strength via diagnostics (varies between 0-44), utterly insane number of RS errors, high-pitched whining noise

    I had the cable guy come out to check the line, no problems with signal on other devices. My Premiere gets a 93% on that same exact line and plays fine. I also replaced the cable card and hdmi cable, just to rule out possible issues there. It made no difference.

    As for the whine, it seems to come from the HD, so am currently doing that kickstart HD test on it. Older recorded content plays back fine on the Tivo, however, so it may not necessarily be a HD problem.

    Some of the capacitors on the power supply look a teensy bit 'puffed up' near the top, but did not notice any blown capacitors on the power supply itself. No clicking sounds or problems starting the Tivo.

    So, any ideas? I thought maybe due to the RS errors, I would need a line filter/attenuator thingy, but that probably doesn't make a whole lot of sense if the signal strength is coming in at 44%.
     
    Last edited: May 29, 2015
  2. fcfc2

    fcfc2 Well-Known Member

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    The noise is most likely a fan or perhaps a really strange bad hard drive but I would guess fan. Puffy capacitors are defective period. The only question is have they failed entirely or not. Fans can usually be replaced, so can hard drives, so can capacitors, so can power supplies, how handy are you?
    Frankly, it sounds like you should consider scraping it unless you are the handy type.
     
  3. Anony-mous

    Anony-mous New Member

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    I did the fan toothpick test, and fan wasn't making the whine. It's the HD, as I tested the system with it off and then on. Whine was noticeable after HD started up. Not so sure that explains the RS errors or signal issues, however.

    As for being the handy type, I'm hardly an expert, but I don't expect any problems replacing the HD or power supply. I've done such fixes on computers (albeit ages ago). But once we get into replacing capacitors, that may be above my repair level.

    And unfortunately I can't scrap it, as it's tied to lifetime. I ordered a relatively cheap NIB Tivo HD from eBay, so can replace both the harddrive + power supply with brand new equipment. But I'm not so sure they are even the real problem (although at least it should fix the whine).
     
  4. shwru980r

    shwru980r Well-Known Member

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    You could try to find a used Tivo HD without lifetime service on craigslist and offer $5-$10 and then just swap parts until the problem is resolved on your Tivo HD. If your Tivo HD isn't lifetime, you could just switch over the TSN on your account to the Craigslist Tivo.
     
  5. Anony-mous

    Anony-mous New Member

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    Yeah, sort of taking that route. But I am going with a new Tivo HD for replacements (cost $60 on eBay). I figure if I'm going to replace things like the power supply or HD, might as well spend a bit more and go new -- should last for a while then. Mine has lifetime, so I can't just ditch it completely.

    But if the problem is with the motherboard, then I'm in trouble. Power supply/HD should be easy to swap, just checking if there is anything else I should look at (or even possible to fix).
     
  6. timhbtr53

    timhbtr53 Grumpy Old Man

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    The whine sound your here is the power supply. It has a oscillator circuit on it and with the caps domed they or broke down. I would make a order from Mouser Digi-Key who ever who like and recap it. It will save you from a lot of headache's. If you need any help please PM me and I will help in any way I can. Tim.
     
  7. ThAbtO

    ThAbtO TiVoholic by the bay TCF Club

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    Check your cable coming from outside to your Tivo. There may be some bad splitters or something else.
     
  8. Anony-mous

    Anony-mous New Member

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    Unless the added power draw of the hard drive is causing the power supply to whine, it's the hard drive. Hard drive disconnected and there is no whine at all.

    And thanks for your offer of assistance on recapping, but I plan to go the 'replace entire thing' route. Just going to take a power supply board from a good tivo and swap it over.

    I guess I just found it odd that the power supply would affect the signal strength under diagnostics, hence why I wanted to check for opinions here.

    When I posted here, I also asked these same questions over at weaknees and they think it is the power supply. Hopefully just swapping a new one in (might as well swap the HD too while I'm at it), solves the problem.
     
    Last edited: May 29, 2015
  9. Anony-mous

    Anony-mous New Member

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    May 29, 2015
    Cable guy checked those, twice. Doesn't seem to be an issue with the signal or splitters. As a test I hooked up a premiere to the same cable line, and it works fine at 93% strength. Tivo HD shows 0-44%.
     
  10. timhbtr53

    timhbtr53 Grumpy Old Man

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    _____________________________________________________________

    I have seen a few hard drives that the controller board was smoked because of a bad power supply. But anyway I hope you get your problem fixed soon. Sounds like you did everything right to have the cable checked. Sorry if I jumped in to fast but I have a bad habit of trying to help fellow TiVo users.
    Have a great weekend.
    Tim
     
  11. 84lion

    84lion Member

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    FWIW I have a Tivo HD that exhibited similar symptoms as far as cable signal strength. I noticed pixelation on one particular cable channel, checked and found that the signal strength was low. I checked my wife's Tivo, and hers had perfect numbers. I swapped the cables between my Tivo and hers, and again my Tivo showed low signal strength. I figured it was the cable tuner, purchased another used Tivo HD, and just used that one instead. My Tivo didn't have any noise or other issues. And, I checked the off-air antenna and the numbers were fine, so I just re-purposed it for off-air recording only. It's working just fine for that purpose. I was ready to send the thing out for repair but kept putting it off...and since we just purchased a new Tivo Roamio Pro, I'm glad I left it alone.
     
  12. Anony-mous

    Anony-mous New Member

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    May 29, 2015

    My fear is that the tuner is busted... not sure if that can be replaced or fixed, or what it even looks like inside the box. I should do the over the air test like you did... tried it, but my antenna wasn't picking up any channels. Where in settings on the tivo do we scan using just the antenna?

    I hooked it up, went to some channels that I assumed I would get, and instead just got a lot of static.
     
  13. 84lion

    84lion Member

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    Under Settings (Channels, I think) there is a "Channel Scan" - I think you have to do that for the channels to load.
     
  14. ThAbtO

    ThAbtO TiVoholic by the bay TCF Club

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    You would need to re-run guided setup to change from cable to antenna and vice versa.

    You can also hook up both antenna and cable to their respective inputs and re-run guided setup for Antenna + Cable (Series 3 and Premiere 2 tuners only.) You would only have 2 tuners in any setup, it would record in 2 channels of cable or antenna, or 1 of each at the same time. Some think it would be recording 4 channels (2 from cable and 2 from antenna at the same time), but that is not true.
     
    Last edited: May 29, 2015
  15. Anony-mous

    Anony-mous New Member

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    Thanks for the info. I'm not at home right now to try it, but will give it a shot tomorrow.

    Another thought that has occurred to me, and it's a long shot, but could the little cablecard slot itself be broken? What happens if I try using a multicard in slot 2 on a Tivo HD? Full functionality would only work in slot 1, but at this point I would be delighted to get one tuner working... I can live with the 2nd one being dead. I don't want to mess up anything though if we aren't supposed to put that card in there.
     
  16. unitron

    unitron Well-Known Member

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    Remember the first rule--

    ALWAYS KNOW WHERE BOTH ENDS OF THE TIVO POWER CORD ARE AT ALL TIMES!!!

    When you get the new old stock 652 (I'm assuming by HD you mean you have a TCD652160 and bought a second of the same model), plug it in and let it boot up until it wants you to go through Guided Setup.

    Then unplug it.

    The reason for doing that is to make sure it's all functioning properly.
    If it gets that far, it probably is.

    Then remove the power supply from the sick TiVo, remembering that in addition the screws holding it down to the chassis there's also a small one that goes into the top of the AC input jack from the outside of the back panel.

    Set it aside.

    Leave the hard drive installed in the old unit (although you have to unplug it to change out the power supply) and leave the cable card alone.

    Open up the new unit.

    Remember, all of this is going on with the power cord unplugged from the wall and from the back of the TiVo.

    Remove the power supply after eyeballing it closely for cap swelling (probably won't be any yet, since it's "new") and install it in the first TiVo.

    Only then, with what we'll assume to be a known good power supply installed, can you do any other troubleshooting with any confidence.

    And you might as well swap the fans as well, although the old one is probably fine, and there are threads around here where I and others outline how to re-lube them with a combination of light grease and light oil.


    If your old power supply was whining due to oscillation due to bad caps, it's quite possible that it would only be doing it when loaded by both the motherboard and the hard drive.

    If you're still running the original 160GB hard drive, you can "Xerox" it onto the new one with a Linux command line utility from a boot cd, and all your shows and cable card pairings and all that will still be intact.

    But first get the power supply swap done and we'll go from there.
     
  17. Anony-mous

    Anony-mous New Member

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    May 29, 2015
    Thanks for all the suggestions.

    I was thinking about it after I posted last night, and realized I probably should wait until after swapping the power supply before doing any antenna or card slot testing, as a faulty power supply could be causing all sorts of weird problems. Guess I was just a little impatient, as I probably have to wait around a week or so for the new Tivo to get here... figured I could test some other stuff while I was waiting. But it'd probably be a waste until the power issue is sorted out.

    And yeah, I always unplug the tivo and wait a while before poking around in there... I'm a little paranoid about getting shocked. Good suggestion about swapping fans too. Might as well.

    I was a little unsure if I should boot up the new one when it gets here, as I didn't know if the initial boot sort of linked that specific harddrive to the motherboard or not. I suppose it doesn't, although by the sounds of things, the cable card pairings are? That wouldn't affect my initial bootup of course (no need to put a cablecard in new box), but it would probably mean I should 'xerox' my older hardrive, as you say. I didn't know if I needed to copy it, or if I could do a simple swap and forget about it ... should be same exact harddrives in each, all with tivo info/os and all of that stuff.
     
  18. unitron

    unitron Well-Known Member

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    Each TiVo (not each model but each unit) has a unique TiVo Service Number.

    Up until the model before yours (the original Series 3, the TCD648250) this number was contained on an integrated circuit chip on the motherboard called a "crypto chip".

    Starting with the model you have the crypto chip is incorporated into the main CPU chip as they tried for more of a "System On a Chip" thing to save money.

    This number gets recorded somewhere on the hard drive and is used to identify that particular unit to the TiVo servers that keep track of stuff like whether you have a current subscription or not, and it's also used to tie the recordings to that particular unit, so that you couldn't move the hard drive to another of the same model TiVo and watch the shows on it.

    I'm pretty sure, but only guessing, that when the TiVo leaves the factory the TSN isn't on the hard drive yet, but gets written to it somewhere during the initial setup performed by the customer.


    If you move an already set up hard drive from one TiVo to another of the same model, it'll work, in that it'll boot up, but you won't be able to use it as a TiVo until you Clear & Delete all the stuff on it that was specific to the original TiVo (like recordings, cable card pairings, what your ZIP CODE is, who your cable company is, which channels you get, whether you want the 'bloop' sounds on or not, et cetera) and let it "marry" the drive to the new motherboard with its new TSN.

    Same thing if you restore a backup image from someone else's TiVo to your hard drive--it has to clear up the TSN conflict.

    Since none of "your" stuff will be on the drive on the new TiVo (and assuming there aren't any great shows on there you'd want to watch off first), it makes sense to "Xerox" your present drive to it as a backup if you think the present drive is fixin' to die soon.

    But get the power supply situation squared away first and see where you stand before making any other decisions.
     
  19. Anony-mous

    Anony-mous New Member

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    Got my 'New' Tivo HD in today from eBay, and have a quick question. Is there a root menu somewhere that I can check hours used on this model?

    According to the auction, it was supposed to be a new, sealed Tivo HD. It was sealed... or re-sealed, I should say. The Tivo itself was in a ripped and open plastic bag inside, batteries already in remote, and all video cables were missing from the box. So it could have been a store return... or just used and some guy is trying to pass it off as new. If possible, I'd like to check if there are any hours on this thing.
     
  20. ThAbtO

    ThAbtO TiVoholic by the bay TCF Club

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    That would be in System Information screen under Settings.
     

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