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Documenting my Bolt Experiences...

Discussion in 'TiVo Bolt DVR/Streamer' started by clay.autery, Feb 3, 2018.

  1. Feb 3, 2018 #1 of 142
    clay.autery

    clay.autery Member

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    Feb 2, 2018
    Northwest...
    02/12/2018 - Original Post edited for semi-brevity and reorganization. (Click on any image to open high resolution version in a new tab/window.)
    ********************
    This thread documents the modifications and upgrades I have made/will make to improve overall performance/capability and maximize the functional lifetime of my TiVO Bolt 500GB.

    Thanks to ALL who came before and upon whose shoulders I am standing. :)

    BoltPrime:
    Tivo Bolt 500GB (white)
    Date of Manufacture: 11 September 2017
    Current Software: 21.7.2.RC12 (-USC-11-849)

    THERMAL CONCERNS: In my opinion, the stock machine has serious thermal management issues.

    ODT (as delivered): 73° C

    This temperature reading shocked me. Isolating BoltPrime completely from external heat sources reduced the temp perhaps by a degree. Initially, I was not controlling for tuners in use, recording, transfers, et al.

    Disassembled the unit to take some measurements and begin analysis of the thermal design. Left top covers off as a temporary measure to keep temps down. Here are initial cover-off temps:

    Stable 1 Tuner in use Temp: 54° C
    Stable 4 Tuner in use Temp: 55° C
    Stable 4 Tuner in use and streaming NETFLIX: 55° C

    Ordered some materials to improve stock chassis thermal performance:

    Noiseblocker BlackSilentFan XS-2, 50mm x 50mm x 10mm fan
    4-pin MOLEX TX4 Extension Cables, 5 each

    It appears the stock 15mm fan's headroom is so restrictive that it seriously hampers the already quite limited airflow rate. BoltPrime's 2-pin power supply circuit appears to be acoustically "quiet", but I am still going power the fan from the 4-pin HDD header 12 vdc rail to maximize fan speed/flow. I considered hunting up higher flow fans, but have reconsidered for now.

    The prime heat generators in the device are the processor and cable card, but the shielded devices (tuner, et al) near the coax jack generate some heat as well and/or conduct heat from the inadequately cooled CableCard. The chassis engineers' thermal design intent is clear; it was simply, I suspect, compromised by higher priorities (production cost, size, et al). Ultimately, I do not think that I can adequately address the thermal management shortcomings without adding additional airflow. Such is not happening without additional ventilation and/or fan(s).

    Consequently, I have purchased 2 additional "dead" Bolts to use for backup (BoltBack) and spare parts (BoltDonor). I can/will hack on the additional cases, keeping the original chassis unmodified.

    ====================

    02/04/2017 - Thermal Management Update:

    On a lark, I moved the fan from its place and simply set it on top of the heatsink, blowing down. Here are the results:

    1 Tuner: 40° C
    4 Tuners + Netflix: 41° C

    An additional 14° C reduction vs. case removed, w/ no forced air.
    A full 32° C (44%+) reduction over the "as delivered" configuration by a) blowing a little air over heatsink, and b) providing a larger delta temp between heatsink and surrounding air.

    [​IMG]

    02/12/2018 - Here are the temperatures gathered for BoltPrime to date:

    At Idle, OE Fan (CC): 73 ° C
    At Idle, Noiseblocker BlackSilentFan XS-2 (CC): 64° C
    At Idle, Noiseblocker BlackSilentFan XS-2, LS elevated (CC): 61° C
    At Idle, Noiseblocker BlackSilentFan XS-2, LSFI elevated (CC): 59° C
    At Idle, Noiseblocker BlackSilentFan XS-2, Vertical (CC): 54° C
    Sustained transfer, Noiseblocker BlackSilentFan XS-2 (CC): 67° C
    Sustained transfer, Noiseblocker BlackSilentFan XS-2, LS elevated (CC): 62° C
    Sustained transfer, Noiseblocker BlackSilentFan XS-2, LSFI elevated (CC): 60° C
    Sustained transfer, Noiseblocker BlackSilentFan XS-2, Vertical (CC): 56° C

    TODO: control for CableCard cover removed vs installed.
    • CC = with CableCard; NCC = No CableCard
    • LS elevated = Left side of chassis elevated until internal fan is parallel to ground. Idea is that this will assist in breaking the air circulation short circuit and allow a little more efficient internal convection.
    • LSFI = LS as above with addition of fan exhaust isolator. (aka: . See images/dimensions.
    • "Sustained transfer" = Recordings being written TO the device under test (DUT) from another device.
    Note: All temperatures after "At Idle, OE Fan" are with 3TB Toshiba drive w/possible additional heat.

    The following images illustrate "Left Side elevated" (LS), fan isolator prototype, and "Left Side elevated with Fan Isolator (LSFI), and Vertical.

    [​IMG][​IMG]
    [​IMG][​IMG]

    ====================

    Voltage Probing: Here are the voltage readings from selected locations. The red numbers in the following image correlate with the measurements below.

    Vacant 4-pin header adjacent to the SATA header:
    Pin 1:
    3.55 vdc
    Pin 2: 0.00 vdc
    Pin 3: 4.76 vdc
    Pin 4: 5.09 vdc

    Fan Header:
    Pin 1:
    12.21 vdc
    Pin 2: 0.00 vdc

    HDD Power Header:
    Pin 1:
    0.00 vdc
    Pin 2: 5.10 vdc
    Pin 3: 0.00 vdc
    Pin 4: 12.21 vdc

    All voltages appeared rock steady on the VOM. I do not have a frequency counter or scope capable to look for switching activity on the 2-pin header power supply circuit.

    [​IMG]

    ====================

    Wireless Network Adapter/Antennas: BoltPrime is physically connected to the network with wired Ethernet, so I decided to function test the system without the WiFi adapter installed.

    02/04/2018 - Removed the Wireless Network Adapter and set it on top of the HDD to test. Rebooted the Bolt and cannot find any indication that it knows the adapter is missing. The card, antennas, and routing clips could be removed form the chassis. Set a static IP address.

    02/06/2018 - Unintended consequences... Bluetooth functions are integrated on the WiFi adapter. Remove it and you lose RF remote capabilities to include VOX. Ultimately, I plan to put BoltPrime in a closet, thus I need to maintain the RF functions.

    02/10/2018 - Considering purchasing a Roamio VOX remote with Bluetooth dongle. Should work, and if it does, I can remove the WiFi adapter. I've become concerned that the BoltPrime's WiFi adapter, even not being used, is interfering with my router's WiFi some 12 inches away and may be vulnerable to attack since I have no way to monitor or control it.

    ====================

    I will continue to post back to this thread with updates as I proceed.

    Love this stuff...
     
    Last edited: Feb 13, 2018
    darklyte and kpeters59 like this.
  2. Feb 3, 2018 #2 of 142
    clay.autery

    clay.autery Member

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    Feb 2, 2018
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    BoltBack Related Work:

    Installation of Internal 4TB Seagate Drive:

    02/10/2018 - OK, with the backup Bolt (BoltBack) up and running, I moved on to replacing the disk drive to increase the storage capacity and frankly just for the practice using the tools and procedures.

    Pretty uneventful really...

    1) Removed 500GB drive with antenna wire clips left in place.
    2) Removed SATA/PWR connector from OE drive and put it in place on the Seagate 4TB drive. (no mount bracket yet)
    3) Plugged HDD pwr and data cables in and set disk drive in place next to motherboard.
    4) Booted BoltBack up to "Country Screen".
    5) Pulled power plug from back of unit.
    6) Attached 4TB drive to laptop using USB connector and wire mentioned in Post #75 above.
    7) Ran mfsr.exe with right-click, "Run as Administrator", and reformatted the drive.
    8) USB ejected and disconnected drive when it was finished.
    9) Installed Noiseblocker BlackSilentFan XS-2 in place of OEM fan, connected temporarily to OEM 2-pin header.
    10) Mounted drive in bracket, put SATA interface back on it, installed and re-assembled BolBack fully, sans screws. (Left those out to aid disassembly later until all finished).

    Booted machine up, completed Guided Setup, and machine is working perfectly with 640 HD hour capacity advertised.

    NOTE: I "prepared" the drive using the "B" option of the DISKPART procedure in Post #75 above prior to first installation. Not required, but I've decided this will be part of my standard procedure prior to placing ANY drive into TiVo service to remove drive condition from troubleshooting consideration if a problem arises. Alternatively, I may begin using WD's DLD if it works successfully in my testing.

    ====================

    Thermal Management:

    02/10/2018 - Fan on OE 2-pin power header has dropped idle temperature of the box from 54° C to 49° C fully assembled. Will post back once the materials arrive to build the inline tap for the 4-pin, HDD power header.

    02/11/2018 - This will be updated in a piecemeal fashion as I accomplish other tasks.

    At Idle, OE Fan (NCC): 54° C
    At Idle, OE Fan (CC): 60° C
    At Idle, OE Fan, LS elevated (CC): 59° C
    At Idle, Noiseblocker BlackSilentFan XS-2 (NCC): 49° C
    At Idle, Noiseblocker BlackSilentFan XS-2 (CC): 61° C
    At Idle, Noiseblocker BlackSilentFan XS-2, LS elevated (CC): 56° C
    Sustained transfer, OE Fan (NCC): 58° C
    Sustained transfer, OE Fan (CC): 64° C
    Sustained transfer, OE Fan, LS elevated (CC): 64° C
    Sustained transfer, Noiseblocker BlackSilentFan XS-2 (NCC): 59° C

    * CC = with CableCard; NCC = No CableCard
    * LS elevated = Left side of chassis elevated until internal fan is parallel to ground. Idea is that this will assist in breaking the air circulation short circuit and allow a little more efficient internal convection.
     
    Last edited: Feb 12, 2018
  3. Feb 3, 2018 #3 of 142
    clay.autery

    clay.autery Member

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    Reserved for future use #2
     
  4. Feb 3, 2018 #4 of 142
    clay.autery

    clay.autery Member

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    Reserved for future use #3
     
  5. Feb 3, 2018 #5 of 142
    UCLABB

    UCLABB Well-Known Member

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    May 29, 2012
    Riverside, CA
    Just checked my Bolt +, ODT is 72.
     
  6. Feb 4, 2018 #6 of 142
    clay.autery

    clay.autery Member

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    Yep... that just seems way too high to maintain a healthy machine in the long term.

    I wouldn't be at all surprised if the max temp for the processor is much past 80° C.

    Sent from my SM-G950U using Tapatalk
     
    Last edited: Feb 11, 2018
  7. Feb 4, 2018 #7 of 142
    JoeKustra

    JoeKustra in the other Alabama TCF Club

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    Wow! Is there a blanket on top? :cool:

    Some things come to mind. Is the sensor poorly located? Is the software that read the sensor buggy? Is the software that displays the temperature buggy? And so on.

    Even a Mini without a fan never gets above 55C. That's consistent on a V1, V2 and V3.
     
  8. Feb 4, 2018 #8 of 142
    jrtroo

    jrtroo Chill- its just TV

    4,833
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    Did you search this? My recollection is the temperature sensor on a bolt in in a different location than older units, thus the differentiation.

    Your opinion on temperatures does not mean it is out of design temps.

    High Temperature on Bolt+
     
  9. Feb 4, 2018 #9 of 142
    kpeters59

    kpeters59 Well-Known Member

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    Wow! 70* is awesome...if it was Fahrenheit!

    -KP
     
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  10. Feb 4, 2018 #10 of 142
    clay.autery

    clay.autery Member

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    Joe...

    It is my unferstanding that the newer Bolt has an "on die" temp sensor, meaning INSIDE the processor case. This is similar to most computer processors made in the last 15-20 years.

    The ODT that I am quoting is from the TiVo software on the Bolt from the third screen of Menu--> Help--> Account & System Info--> System Information

    Alternatively the New TiVo Mini I just got terms the temp, "MBT" which typically means "motherboard temperature".

    Mine is 68° C right now streaming Amazon.... resting is in the high 50s. No telling for sure where the sensor is in the mini, since it is a fanless design with little interior flow.

    :)
     
    Last edited: Feb 11, 2018
  11. Feb 4, 2018 #11 of 142
    clay.autery

    clay.autery Member

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    Hi! :)

    I'm not making comparisons. I'm simply reacting to:

    1) The seemingly excessive on die temperature.

    2) The 18° C delta in on die temperature between a stock boxed BOLT and with the case stripped off.

    High ODT can reduce service life of the processor, and the higher resulting interior temps can negatively affect performance and service life of other components.

    The high temp delta points to serious thermal design compromises in the design.... which frankly are evident from a cursory inspection.

    It is clear that they did the best they could within the constraints placed upon them.... engineering is a war of compromises.

    But thermal management got the short end of the stick this time.

    You can bend the laws of physics, but you cannot break them. ;)

    My list of engineering concerns does not prioritize looks.... My #1 priority behind performance is longevity. One of the best ways to increase longevity is to keep temperatures as low as possible within the limits of other constraints.... chiefly money.

    Enjoy your Sunday! :)
    -Clay

    Sent from my SM-G950U using Tapatalk
     
    Last edited: Feb 11, 2018
  12. Feb 4, 2018 #12 of 142
    JoeKustra

    JoeKustra in the other Alabama TCF Club

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    With 20.7.4.RC18, the System Information item has changed to "MBT: Internal Temperature:" (same with Hydra) which is still vague. True, things are different on a Bolt. I'd like to add one other item to longevity: reduce temperature changes. I'd be happy with any temperature if it is stable. I get a 4C swing daily since the room temperature can vary from 68F to 74F on any day. Standby has a minimal effect.

    One other observation. While watching live TV or a recording a program or two I can't see an internal temperature change. But file transfers do seem to cause a slight warm up.
     
  13. Feb 4, 2018 #13 of 142
    Tony_T

    Tony_T Well-Known Member

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    I'm not seeing that (21.7.2.RC12).
    I see ODT (and I'm at 58 to 60 whenever I check)
     
  14. Feb 4, 2018 #14 of 142
    JoeKustra

    JoeKustra in the other Alabama TCF Club

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    I guess Bolts are... different. :)

    It is kind of weird that the same software version looks different on different hardware platforms.
     
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  15. Feb 4, 2018 #15 of 142
    clay.autery

    clay.autery Member

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    Interesting.... When did you get that version? Both my Bolt and mini are on 21.7.2.RC12 (different extensions). Bolt has ODT and mini has MBT.

    MBT does cast some murkiness about where the temp sensor is located, but on the Bolt at least, I will proceed with the idea that it is on the BCM7449S die versus a themistor chip on the motherboard until I get concrete proof to the contrary.

    Yes, reducing thermal swings is a close cousin to keeping temps low. Thermal cycling CAN shorten lifespans, but I don't think you have anything to worry about with a 4° C swing. In my experience, it requires a much larger swing and/or a higher frequency of cycling to appreciably shorten lifespan, all other things being equal. But added to excessively high component temps, it just adds insult to injury.

    Yes, # of tuners and streaming made little difference in my measurements either.... the spread I observed could have largely been due to the HVAC in the house being on or off, or other factors, or a combination of factors.
     
    Last edited: Feb 11, 2018
  16. Feb 4, 2018 #16 of 142
    clay.autery

    clay.autery Member

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    Is that box stock? Do you know the ambient temp around the device? Is it in the path of your HVAC vent or other airflow? What is the build date for your machine? DO you have a pin heatsink or a finned heatsink on your main processor? I'm trying to pin down the wide variances in temp from machine to machine.

    It is weird isn't it. My Bolt and Mini are on the same software base, but the extensions are quite different.
     
  17. Feb 4, 2018 #17 of 142
    JoeKustra

    JoeKustra in the other Alabama TCF Club

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    As for software versions, everything after the RC number is hardware (TSN) specific. The last three digits are always your first three digits of your TSN, but the other digits can vary. I've seen "USA", "USC" and the TSN.

    BTW, that 20.7.4.RC18 is the classic UI. It's the same for a Mini (all versions), on a Roamio, Bolt and a Premiere. It does look different on all three platforms. Also, to see all software versions for classic UI see -> https://support.tivo.com/articles/Essential_Summary/TiVo-Software-Version-Information just scroll down.
     
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  18. Feb 4, 2018 #18 of 142
    clay.autery

    clay.autery Member

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    Extensions: That's what I figured. Thanks for the confirmation and additional specifics.

    Ohhhhh.... I just noticed the major revision on the version number you posted. Doh!
    Thanks for the link!
     
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  19. Feb 4, 2018 #19 of 142
    BobCamp1

    BobCamp1 Well-Known Member

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    My On Die Temperature is 60 C. My Bolt is out in the open and isn't over or under anything. It seems a little low to me.

    First, the ODT is only accurate to within +/- 5 C.

    Second, normally the on die temperature runs very, very, very, very, very, very, very, very hot. Did I mention how hot it is? It's really f***ing hot. Really hot. Really, really hot. You will not believe how hot it is. Even now, as I say this, you're thinking, "but it shouldn't be THAT hot." So once again I will say it's very, very, very, very, very, very, very, very, very, very hot.

    How hot? Anything under 100 C is definitely fine, most modern CPUs and FPGAs (or hybrids thereof) can go up to 110-120 C and be perfectly happy. As a result, 75 C feels like winter to it.

    There are two signs that something may actually be wrong:

    1. On startup, the fan runs at maximum speed. After it is finished booting, it should slow down. If it continues to run at max. speed the entire time, there is a problem.

    2. The hard drive temp. should not go above 55 C. It is the only reason the Bolt has a fan at all. The only real way to measure that is to use a thermocouple attached to the hard drive case. The unofficial way to measure it is to touch it for 5.0 seconds. Did you get a first degree burn or worse that required medical treatment? If not, it's cool enough.

    And last, it is physically impossible for a 2-pin fan header to implement PWM. It is linear voltage regulation, done poorly so that the Bolt is a lot noisier than it should be.
     
  20. Feb 4, 2018 #20 of 142
    clay.autery

    clay.autery Member

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    Just finished testing the removal of the Wireless Adapter Card and posted the edit to Post #1.

    Success! The Bolt exhibits no error or indication that the card is removed, though the machine remained connected to the wired network. Will remove the components and store them with the original case when I do the fan replacement and case bottom replacement.

    I'm also shopping for the neoprene rubber with PSA both sides (in various thicknesses) that TiVo uses to attach the antenna to the fan and prop up the end of the heatsink, and attackes the other two antenna mounts to the case bottom. Already have the double-sided tape used to attach the 2 antennas to their mounting brackets.

    NOTE: Of course, you also lose the RF Remote and have IR Remote only.

    Click on the image for a full resolution version in a new window.

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Feb 11, 2018

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