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Documenting my Bolt Experiences...

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

  1. Feb 4, 2018 #21 of 142
    JoeKustra

    JoeKustra in the other Alabama TCF Club

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    Ashland, PA...
    I'm curious. What error do you receive when you disconnect the Ethernet cable? On my TiVo it switches to WiFi. When I plug it back in, it switches back.
     
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  2. Feb 4, 2018 #22 of 142
    Tony_T

    Tony_T Well-Known Member

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    White Bolt I got in Nov.
    I installed a larger HD.
    Bolt in in a cabinet that is ventilated with a fan.
     
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  3. Feb 4, 2018 #23 of 142
    clay.autery

    clay.autery Member

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    Thanks for the reply, Bob! I really appreciate the additional information. I'm going to reply down here rather than inline as it tends to get messy. :)

    60° C is a lot lower than mine for sure. Assuming your +/-5° C tolerance was maxed out on both ends.... You -5° C and me +5° C = 65° C --> 68° C. Still a 3° C difference.
    What is your date of manufacture on your box? Does it have a finned heat-sink or a cross-cut finned heat-sink (pins)?

    Do you have a reference for the +/-5° C tolerance you quoted? Not doubting, but I'd like to read the source as I can't seem to find the datasheet for the BCM7449S.

    I know some processor cores can run core temps to and north of 100° C. That doesn't really make much difference to me. 75° C isn't "winter", simply more tolerable. Less hot is virtually always better for performance and longevity in the world of processors. Additionally, all that retained heat has to go somewhere, so it raises the temp of other components, traces, et al. Most non-military components have a max temp of around 85° C. "Milspec" often runs 125° C.

    Fan Speed: I've not noticed much speed change in my fan between boot-up and stable operation. For there to be a speed change on a fan, typically some controller must change it, typically either by varying the voltage below (in this case) 12 vdc and above the turn-off voltage, OR via some sort of PWM routine. So you are saying it is being done by voltage variation and not PWM? That the noise folks are hearing from the fan circuit is a noisy regulator? Could be... I don't know.... yet.

    Hard Disk Dirve: Yes, the hard disk drive has to be kept within a certain temp range too, and for sure below a certain rated temp. The hotter a drive gets, the shorter its life will be all other things being equal. Please cite your source for the 55° C temp spec you quote. Is that for the TiVo chosen OEM drives? Because not all drives have the same environmental restrictions. I may well unpack all my old temp testing equipment and grab some temps from the hard drive case top, circuit board, and motor hub. Probably not, since I will ultimately probably wind up putting a large enterprise level 3.5" in and external enclosure with good cooling and a proper power supply with at least 50% headroom.

    PWM: No way to do PWM on a 2 pin fan? Hmmmm.... True, there is no dedicated tach signal from the fan on a 2-pin fan, but you CAN ABSOLUTELY control a 2-pin fan speed using PWM. You simply don't use the fan speed as your feedback loop data provider.

    Method 1: Use standard PWM/switching to controll the on/off duty cycle of the fan power supply. Use the ODT or other temperature as the monitored value in the control loop for the power supply. Lots of ways to build the loop and set the speed curve, but essentially as the ODT increases, the fan speed increases up to the point where duty cycle reaches 100% (no switching).

    Method 2: (Much less likely) Circuitry in the fan creates a square wave AC signal that is injected onto one of the power leads. The signal is picked up at the header and fed to the control loop of the PWM switching supply. The AC signal rides the same conductor as the DC signal.... same way DC is injected onto an antenna feed-line to power a device at/near the antenna feed-point.

    Either way, it is most probable that the fan speed is being controlled by varying the duty cycle of the 12 vdc supply rather than varying the voltage amplitude. I will try to verify this for sure the next time I have the device on the bench.

    Have a great Super Bowl Sunday, if football is your thing! :)

    ______________
    Clay Autery
    More, Better, Faster...
     
    Last edited: Feb 11, 2018
  4. Feb 4, 2018 #24 of 142
    clay.autery

    clay.autery Member

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    Good question.... When I went to confirm where you turned off Wirless in the software, I found nothing, but remembered where I had definitely seen references to "Wireless" in the Settings sub-menus. With the card out, there is no mention of wireless ANYWHERE that I can find in the settings.

    So.... when "She who must be obeyed" is not watching next time, I'll shut her down and put the card back in to see how it behaves with removal and insertion of the Ethernet cable.

    I just removed the Ethernet cable while in operation and there are no pop up errors. In the Network Status Screen it had not updated to not connected; still showed the last good information. Running the diag tests of course failed.

    Remember what the heat-sink looked like? Like mine in the picture above, or with continuous fins.
    Could you look on the bottom label and report back the Manufacture Date? Thanks!
     
  5. Feb 4, 2018 #25 of 142
    JoeKustra

    JoeKustra in the other Alabama TCF Club

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    Ashland, PA...
    Thanks for checking. It's normal for nothing to happen when the network fails. That is until it's needed. Then things cascade with usually a Cxxx error, loss of Search and WTWN becoming grayed out and those thumbnails of programs changing to generic blocks of color. If you are watching the Network Settings screen, you can watch it switch between Ethernet and wireless. If I unplug my Ethernet cable it take a few seconds to switch to wireless, probably since it's already configured. You can't configure a wireless connection while Ethernet is connected. In a sense, you can't really choose from a menu.
     
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  6. Feb 4, 2018 #26 of 142
    clay.autery

    clay.autery Member

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    Thermal Management Update:

    Just for grins, I unsecured 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 and Streaming Netflix: 41° C

    Another reduction of 14° C vs. case removed, no forced air.
    A full 32° C (44%+) reduction over the "as delivered" configuration by simply allowing a cheap little 50x15mm fan to blow a little air over the heat-sink!

    (Click on image for full resolution version in a new window/tab)

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Feb 11, 2018
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  7. Feb 4, 2018 #27 of 142
    JoeKustra

    JoeKustra in the other Alabama TCF Club

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    Ashland, PA...
    That's amazing.
     
  8. Feb 4, 2018 #28 of 142
    clay.autery

    clay.autery Member

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    Northwest...
    Yep... It is amazing what you can do... sometimes with little to no expense. I JUST won an AS IS Bolt on eBay. Time to get serious about it. ;)

    By the way....

    QUESTION: Has anyone taken the heat-sink off a Bolt to inspect the thermal interface material?

    Is it thermal interface tape, TSA/PSA both sides? Or a thermal interface pad? Or a paste?
    Unless the thermal interface compound is already Arctic Silver, and I am sure it isn't, then I will be replacing what is there with Arctic Silver.
    And I will be replacing the spring-loaded, snap-in, heatsink fasteners with a removable/repeatable solution.
     
  9. Feb 4, 2018 #29 of 142
    LarryAtHome

    LarryAtHome Member

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    Feb 18, 2008
    How is your cable connection. I found mine to heat up and be quite warm. I installed a fan connected to the USB connector that sits on top of the case and blows over the cable connection. Does the connector heat up just due to the amount of heat the processor gives off or is it a source of heat as well? The USB connection runs the fan at a lower voltage than it is rated for and it spins slower and quieter, but creates enough air movement to keep the connector cool.
     
  10. Feb 4, 2018 #30 of 142
    Tony_T

    Tony_T Well-Known Member

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    Won? As in free?
    As is? As in broken?

    :)
     
  11. Feb 4, 2018 #31 of 142
    clay.autery

    clay.autery Member

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    Prior to shucking the case tops, the F-connector (Cable/OTA IN) would get REALLY hot. You COULD keep your fingers on it, but you certainly didn't WANT to do so.

    Now, it's still noticeably warm, but not hot.

    I do not know (yet) why it gets so hot. I suspect that something under that shield is generating some heat. I also think that the cable card and to a lesser extent the processor contribute to heating up the connector via conductive coupling, et al. The F-connector (male/jack) acts a little bit like a heatsink/heat "pipe".

    You could drain some heat out of the case by fitting a heatsink onto the jack, or pressed onto the cable connector.... like a copper/aluminum spinner nut. Would act as a sink and a way to ease spinning the connector on/off.

    AS IS, as in "Store Return, operational status unknown, no returns. Maybe it will work, maybe not. I only bought it to cannibalize the case, so I can hack on it. :D I'm hoping to find another one soon. Perhaps between the parts remaining from the two devices, I can piece together one functional machine and sell it to cover the acquisition costs (at least in part).

    Not as many dead Bolts available as one might think. Someone is collecting them. ;)
     
    Last edited: Feb 5, 2018
  12. Feb 4, 2018 #32 of 142
    UCLABB

    UCLABB Well-Known Member

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    Thanks, the OP had me a little worried. Sounds like my 72 is fine.
     
  13. Feb 5, 2018 #33 of 142
    clay.autery

    clay.autery Member

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    Northwest...
    It was not my intent to "worry" anyone.

    I am simply documenting my observations, reasoning, and actions (planned and executed) as regards putting my TiVo in shape to serve my needs for the maximum amount of time possible.

    I never said that 73° C was out of spec. And if you don't plan on using your Bolt for more than a couple of years, you'll likely be fine. I am looking to go 3+ years. The box will eventually be tucked away in a closet converted to equipment/wiring closet.

    I don't want to have to think about it or worry that my "lifetime" service agreement will suffer an esrly termination due to heat, et al.

    :D

    Sent from my SM-G950U using Tapatalk
     
    Last edited: Feb 11, 2018
  14. Feb 5, 2018 #34 of 142
    aaronwt

    aaronwt UHD Addict

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    Northern...
    My Bolts only get near that temp if I stream content to a device. Since it has to convert everything to h.264. Even with the stock fan this was the case. But with the Black silent fan my Bolts are around 57C to 59C when in use.

    I've typically run my Bolts on wire shelf. Or you can raise it up a centimeter above a solid shelf. Either way the temps get lowered.

    I've owned seven Bolts now and they all behaved similarly. Although there was a few degree variance between some of them
     
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  15. Feb 5, 2018 #35 of 142
    clay.autery

    clay.autery Member

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    Mounting Foams and Fasteners:

    Spent several hours researching and hunting for various foam densities and thicknesses with PSA applied to both sides in an attempt to find easily acquired replacements for the following:

    1) Wireless antenna to case fan mount
    2) 2 x Wireless antenna brackets to case
    3) Heatsink leveling prop.

    Had very little success, so I've decided to make what is needed from raw materials. Ordered some 1/16" samples from one company, and then some 3/16" foam and 0.003" double-sided permanent bonding tape from another.

    I chose what I think is slightly under the durometer for the antenna to fan mount because I am looking to find a more compressible foam for the heatsink prop. More about that below.
    Sort of like "Adjusting Fire" in artillery, I am using this purchase as a spotting round. I will order lower or higher Shore A values as needed to fit the application (stock and/or upgraded). The intent is to replicate the stock part as closely as possible for returning a modified machine to stock trim.

    Additionally, I want to make a custom part for the heatsink prop. The stock part is too thin, which is causing the heatsink to tilt (run-out of 1/32" over the length of the heasink). Assuming there is a conformable thermal pad between the sink and the processor in stock trim, that "tilting" is (sort of) acceptable. But heatsinks should sit level on the devices upon which they are primarily mounted for minimum interface thickness and best thermal transfer.

    So, I am not only trying to replicate the stock part for return to stock trim, I am planning a heatsink installation "kit" to retrofit my device.

    Kit contents (performance):
    - Heatsink shim (oversized) - To allow installation compression bringing the sink precisely flat on processor to minimize thermal interface material thickness required
    - Mounting hardware - Specialized hardware allowing for repeated removal and reassembly and adjustable heatsink leveling on processor.
    - Arctic Silver thermal interface compound - to replace what I assume is a thermal interface pad. I may research and find a Bergquist or other pad to replicate the stock part for returning to stock trim.

    Hard drives, cables, spare Bolt, and lots of other parts are en route for other aspects of this project.

    Y'all have a great day! :)
     
  16. Feb 5, 2018 #36 of 142
    Tony_T

    Tony_T Well-Known Member

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    For foam mounts replacements, I usually use Command Strips
     
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  17. Feb 5, 2018 #37 of 142
    clay.autery

    clay.autery Member

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    Yep, those things are awesome for lots of things. Especially if you aren't looking to make it look "stock". :) AND, they are generally cleanly removable. But largely, I am trying to replicate the OEM parts in function/appearance. Except for the heatsink.... there, I am looking for a precision fit for performance reasons.

    With regard to the little foam piece propping up the front of the heatsink, the STOCK part is not thick enough. Ideally, it needs to be slightly taller than the top of the processor with respect to the motherboard, so that when the sink is fixed to the motherboard that it compresses some under the spring tension and is closer to level. To do it this way, you have to watch the density closely so that you don't stress the motherboard, etc. For "stock" appearance, it needs to be 1/8" nominal with PSA both sides and very firm.

    A better solution is to use spring-loaded, threaded fasteners at each corner of the heatsink and use a depth mic or caliper to set the heights above motherboard evenly and at the right height at the 4 corners. I would also add foam inserts around the fasteners at least on the 2 forward corners under the heatsink that require compression to prevent tilting.
     
  18. Feb 6, 2018 #38 of 142
    clay.autery

    clay.autery Member

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    Northwest...
    WOW!!! Sometimes, I wonder if I'm entering some kind of early onset dementia of some sort.

    I don't use the VOX functions on my Bolt much, if at all, but yesterday, I noticed that it wasn't working.... So I reset the remote and tried to re-pair it... It would not re-pair....
    <much fiddling, head scratching, and an intervening sleep cycle pass>

    Hmmmmm.... cannot use TiVo button + D to switch to RF mode... only works in IR mode....

    DOH!

    Wireless card is NOT just an Ethernet card.... It also contains the RF functions (BlueTooth).

    Power off, reinsert card, power on.... Remote pairs first try.

    Geeeeeeeeezzzzzzzz! :blush:
     
  19. Feb 6, 2018 #39 of 142
    JoeKustra

    JoeKustra in the other Alabama TCF Club

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    Ashland, PA...
    Law of unintended consequences hits again. :)
     
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  20. Feb 6, 2018 #40 of 142
    clay.autery

    clay.autery Member

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    Yup! LOL! Frequently.... :)
     

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