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Documenting my Bolt Experiences...

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

  1. Feb 6, 2018 #41 of 128
    clay.autery

    clay.autery Member

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    Bigger Drive!!!

    References:
    Tivo Bolt with Esata cable added
    Latest Software Update Broke my Hard eSATA Drive Hack on Bolt

    Gotta have a bigger drive, and can't get away with repeatedly toasting the recordings and OnePass settings. So, I am gathering up the parts.

    1) Have a second (and third) Bolt 500GZB on the way that I hope to be able to cobble together a second working Bolt AND swap cases with my main Bolt for case hacking purposes.

    2) Have one of the TOSH 2.5" drives and the 4TB Seagate 2.5" on the way, along with external enclosure, cables, et al.

    3) Will put a second Bolt on month-to-month service as a place to backup recordings (as much as possible) and OnePass settings

    4) Ultimately, I anticipate ending up with the largest 3.5" (desktop/server) HDD in a properly powered/cooled external enclosure mated to the Bolt using a SATA to SATA cable.

    QUESTION: Has anyone used a WD Gold drive? As of now, I plan to learn on the Tosh and Seagate drives, but plan to use a WD Gold in 8TB for the final external drive.
     
  2. Feb 6, 2018 #42 of 128
    JoeKustra

    JoeKustra in the other Alabama TCF Club

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    I was with you until you said external. Please reconsider. I have 5TB of reliable TiVo storage. It takes three TiVo boxes. But it's never failed. Even with a cable extension, I wish you would look at alternatives.

    For me, TiVo boxes are like potato chips. :)
     
  3. Feb 6, 2018 #43 of 128
    clay.autery

    clay.autery Member

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    I don't want to PAY for two additional TiVo boxes just to use their drives... Just activating the second one until I can get my (semi-)permanent solution finished up.

    Why do you object to an external drive? As far as the Bolt will be concerned, it will be an "internal" drive. ONE continuous cable from Bolt Motherboard to HDD.
    It will be an enterprise level 3.5" drive in a properly cooled and properly powered chassis, so it should last at least as long as the little blues in the OEM config.

    (As I say, I am going to LEARN while using the Toshiba 3TB and the Seagate 4TB drives I already have on the way. I may discover that I don't need or want to worry about a 6 or 8TB drive.)

    Do you have an opinion on using WD's Enterprise level drives in the TiVo? They're rated for 2 million plus hours MTBF, and up to 550TB data per year....

    I am initially going to hack up one of the EXTRA Bolt cases I bought (on what I suspect are toasted Bolts) to house MY device, allow me to perfect handling a SATA drive external to the case, AND a proper thermal management design. Ultimately, I will likely take the guts of my system, the big (capacity and size) drive, and a proper 12 vdc power supply and integrate them into a single chassis of my own design and construction/modification.

    (Note: I use linear supplies exclusively to keep the RFI level low in and around my property for amateur radio purposes. When I started, there were over 75 switch-mode power supplies in the house. I have reduced that number to something under 30 now.)
     
  4. Feb 6, 2018 #44 of 128
    UCLABB

    UCLABB Well-Known Member

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    I think he wants to have the normally internal drive sit outside the case hence he talks about sata to sata. That way he can use a large 3.5” drive.
     
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  5. Feb 6, 2018 #45 of 128
    clay.autery

    clay.autery Member

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    PRECISELY! Not to mention, I can properly power and cool the drive to maximize its lifespan.

    While initially kludging it all up with a hacked up spare Bolt case and the Rosewill eSATA enclosure, if I get it all working successfully, I will either modify an off-the-shelf chassis or build a new one from scratch to house the Bolt guts , new hard drive, and a nice 12vdc linear power supply.
     
  6. Feb 7, 2018 #46 of 128
    JoeKustra

    JoeKustra in the other Alabama TCF Club

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    Sounds like you have a plan.
     
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  7. Feb 7, 2018 #47 of 128
    ggieseke

    ggieseke Well-Known Member

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    Use standard WD Reds. The Red Pro and the Gold drives are 7200RPM, which generate more heat and vibration that you don't need if you build a new all-internal chassis.
     
  8. Feb 7, 2018 #48 of 128
    clay.autery

    clay.autery Member

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    I realize the Golds are 7200 and that spindle speed is not necessary. I was looking at their AWR of 550TB. Heat I'm not worried about. Been designing thermal solutions for decades. I've kept 10k Barracudas near ambient before.

    But the noise could be an issue. I've learned to appreciate low noise/vibration. I can suspend the drive from Sorbothane dampers.... but...

    The Reds are quite a bit cheaper.... and the pair in my NAS have held up well.

    I'm assuming there aren't enough folks using 3.5" Reds externally to know how they hold up over time.

    Some things to consider... thank you!
     
  9. Feb 7, 2018 #49 of 128
    aaronwt

    aaronwt UHD Addict

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    They should work as well as the green. All my Green and Red WD drives, I have in use, have been running for many years with no issues.
     
  10. Feb 7, 2018 #50 of 128
    BobCamp1

    BobCamp1 Well-Known Member

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    Sorry I didn't reply earlier, I've been busy at work.

    I was going to suggest placing the fan over the heat sink, but you were clever enough to do it on your own and the and of course the ODT went way down. That's actually how we design some of our embedded products -- put a tiny fan over that heat sink and you're good to go. You don't even really need any ventilation holes. But we use SD cards and flash memory instead of hard drives.

    The max. 55 C temp. for a hard drive is universal. Actually, it used to be 50 C, then 55 C, now modern models will even go up to 60 C. It's just a lubrication issue -- it starts to break down at high temperatures.

    External enclosures are notoriously unreliable. The hard drives inside them are fine, but the electronics in the box are really cheap. Plus Tivo doesn't support them anymore.

    By definition, PWM fan control is when two pins provide a constant +12 V and a third is a 25 kHz square wave telling the fan how fast to spin. The fan has circuitry in it that determines the duty cycle of the PWM signal and the fan adjusts its own speed accordingly. If there are only two pins, it cannot be PWM.

    The Tivo fan control is done poorly because it makes more noise than it should. Some people simply use the +5 VDC pin on the USB port and find it's quiet yet provides enough power to spin the fan up. Others also upgrade the fan. If the fan noise isn't bothersome, I wouldn't worry about it.
     
    Last edited: Feb 7, 2018
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  11. Feb 7, 2018 #51 of 128
    JoeKustra

    JoeKustra in the other Alabama TCF Club

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    Since the TiVo's fan has two wires, it is running full speed all the time? But you said there is some control of the fan. I'm confused.
     
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  12. Feb 7, 2018 #52 of 128
    clay.autery

    clay.autery Member

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    Thanks! Are those Reds and Greens you are referring to being used in TiVo machines or other DVRs? :)
     
  13. Feb 7, 2018 #53 of 128
    clay.autery

    clay.autery Member

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    No problem at all Bob! I appreciate you taking the time to converse with me. :)

    Yep, moving the fan over the processor was kind of a no-brainer once I decided to leave the case tops off until I could put together a better solution. The trick solutions would be a large SSD instead of a mechanical, but I don't have stacks of cash to burn on this. ;)

    Thank you! Gotcha on the HDD temp max. I didn't realize that it was pretty much universal, though since you mentioned it, I HAVE been paying attention to the temp ranges on all the HDD specsheets I've read. Yep (at least) the enterprise/datacenter level drives are showing 60° C for the most part.... WD Gold anyway. I figured it was a lubrication limit for the most part. I remember when we were super-cooling systems many years ago, that we had to make sure we didn't get the drives too cold, either. :)

    Regarding External Enclosures: I understand TiVo doesn't support the eSATA externals, or any of what I am doing/gonna do either. I am simply relocating the internal drive external to the case for now... 1) Thermal concerns, and 2) can't shoe-horn a 3.5" drive in the OEM chassis. :)

    I'm gonna hack the case on the spare Bolt that arrived today as a temporary solution for and external fan over the processor blowing in and allow the existing case venting to serve as outlets (maybe partial close of existing fan grate to balance flow and insure cable card sees some air). I'll also hack a hole for the long SATA cable I have en route so I can move the hard drive to the temporary external enclosure (Rosewill). Using that external enclosure once I decide on a larger 3.5" drive to use as the FINAL drive.... and it will be a direct SATA to SATA affair, no inline connections or adapters inline. In the meantime, I'll be "practicing" with the 3TB Tosh and 4TB Seagate I already received. Not doing ANY hard drive swapping until I get a second TiVo up and running w/ monthly service to preserve recordings and OnePass stuff my wife is accumulating. Spouse Acceptance Factor (SAF) is always a concern, you know. ;)

    Ultimately, I will either modify an off-the-shelf chassis or build one from scratch to house the TiVo electronics, the HDD, and (maybe) the power supply(ies). There's a lot of testing and design between here and there. I realize that little to none of this is required, but I enjoy the work and this unit will eventually be shut away in a wiring/equipment closet, and I want it to be bullet proof.... and I want this little box to run for a minimum of 3 years.

    PWM: Thanks... I'm pretty familiar with how standard PWM fan control works. I'm not arguing with you... at all. I was simply pointing out that there are other ways of implementing PWM to control the power supply duty cycle of a fan, thereby controlling the fans speed. :) And I agree with you that whatever method TiVo is using to control fan speed, they have done so at least in some batches with a noisy circuit. I'm fortunate, I guess, in that I cannot detect any noise associated with the powering of the fan. The fan itself is barely audible. Once I integrate the lot into my chassis and thermal design, it will be a moot point as it will be 1) silent, and 2) relocated to a location remote from the listening position. ;)

    Have a great day!
     
    Last edited: Feb 11, 2018
  14. Feb 7, 2018 #54 of 128
    aaronwt

    aaronwt UHD Addict

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    No they aren't running full speed. Like other TiVos, when they initially boot up the fan is at full speed. But then The speed is lowered so it's much quieter. It is extremely loud when the fan is running at full speed.

    Sent from my Galaxy S8 using Tapatalk
     
  15. Feb 7, 2018 #55 of 128
    clay.autery

    clay.autery Member

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    NOT A Variable Speed Fan in MY TiVo Bolt!?!?

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

    Added 02/11/2018
    - Answer? Still don't know, for sure. Yes, I ran the test below, but I MISSED the much higher speed during cold boot-up. The fan CLEARLY runs at a higher speed when the machine is first plugged in. I am awaiting arrival of some pre-made cables from China for another purpose. I will use some of the spares to make an inline tap for the 2-pin header.

    This will make it easier to run a boot-up test while monitoring the fan voltage. This voltage measurement and logic should better answer the fan speed control method question.

    Then, I will run ANOTHER in operation test where I monitor the voltage and fan speed while I artificially raise it to temps higher than 82° C (as high as I can stand it, or until the high speed switch kicks in.... whichever comes first.)

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

    Alrighty then..... I have verified that the OEM fan in MY particular TiVo Bolt is almost positively NOT a variable speed fan. 02/11/2018 - NOT SO FAST! Read above!!!

    Here is how I tested:

    1) At "rest" or 39-40° C, I observed and measured the fan:
    a) listened to and measured it with my SPL meter.
    b) measured the voltage on the header WITH the fan connected

    2) Using a heat gun and the System Information Screen, I slowly heated the processor heatsink and motherboard overall until the ODT was 82° C.
    a) listened to and measured it with my SPL meter.
    b) measured the voltage on the header WITH the fan connected

    Could not discern either by ear or using the SPL meter any discernible difference in fan noise level.
    The voltage on the header was a rock steady 12.21 (+/- 0.03vdc) during the entire run.

    Constant voltage and no increase in noise level indicates no speed change.

    3) Removed VOM and heat source and monitored the visual and audible speed indications while the processor ODT returned to 39° C.
    No visual or audible indications of a fan speed reduction during the 43° C temp reduction.

    I find it highly unlikely that the first/only setpoint for fan speed increase is ABOVE 82° C.

    Comments?
     
    Last edited: Feb 11, 2018
  16. Feb 7, 2018 #56 of 128
    aaronwt

    aaronwt UHD Addict

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    I've never heard any change in my fan speed after it slows down during the boot process. But I've also never seen a temp above 71 on the Sys info screen.

    Sent from my Galaxy S8 using Tapatalk
     
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  17. Feb 7, 2018 #57 of 128
    JoeKustra

    JoeKustra in the other Alabama TCF Club

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    When I power on my PC (and previous PCs) I often hear the fan hit high speed then go quiet. This substantiates the post by aaronwt. But when I got my OTA Roamio last BF, the fan failed after six weeks. I bought a replacement and installed it. I powered up the TiVo with the cover off. At no time could I hear or observe any change in speed. The new fan has seven blades, the OEM has five. My MBT (it's a Roamio) is always about 37C. I have bought another fan and may replace my other TiVo soon since the MBT is creeping up. Two boxes, same room, same hard drive should be equal. Also the fans are both silent.

    Everything about your post seems perfect. All I wish is that with your skill level, I would love it if you used a 'scope rather than a VOM. I'm still bugged about PWM.
     
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  18. Feb 7, 2018 #58 of 128
    ggieseke

    ggieseke Well-Known Member

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    The AV rated Greens were always TiVo's choice for factory drives. Originally they were the EURS line, which was replaced by the EURX line. WD discontinued the AV Greens altogether recently, and new Bolts are shipping 2.5" Blues. Those NPVZ drives are almost impossible to find.

    Most people here have switched to the standard Red NAS drives and I haven't heard of a failure yet.
     
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  19. Feb 7, 2018 #59 of 128
    JoeKustra

    JoeKustra in the other Alabama TCF Club

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    I was very surprised when I bought my Roamio OTA last BF and found it has a WD10EURX WD Green. TiVo must have bought a bunch before they stopped production. That box has a mfg. date of 31 July 2017.
     
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  20. Feb 7, 2018 #60 of 128
    clay.autery

    clay.autery Member

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    I will do another test from a cold boot up to verify it doesn't have a fast speed on startup.

    I have a quite recent production date. AND I don't have the noisy/buzzing from the motherboard when the fan is powered and blade manually stopped. (AKA: noisy regulator or other component in the pwr circuit).

    It is possible that a "fix" was put in place to control for fan/circuit noise by removing the variable speed function and thus accounting for the much higher ODT I observed initially.

    That is common... to see high fan speeds right at startup... for various reasons... I've observed it many times. As I said above, I will check the fan speed from a cold boot and see if I can detect a higher speed.

    ONE possible reason beyond aging fan for the temps creeping up is a deteriorating thermal interface between the heatsink and processor slug/case. Not uncommon in production applied thermal pads, or the like. A quality replacement interface material from Bergquist or similare may well return to previous temp... or better, fix the retention method to keep the heatsink squarely on the processor and use a quality thermal interface paste like Arctic Silver..... lap the heatsink flat and smooth (3000+ grit, higher the better) and you can get that interface layer to 0.001-0.003" or so.

    Yeah, I wish I had a scope and/or a frequency counter that could reliably measure up to 100MHz.
    When I retired, I lost access to most of my cool tools. I am still building my own lab. :)

    Thanks! I have 3TB Reds in my small/old Synology DS214+ NAS. Never heard an angry peep from them in over 3 years, but they don't see a super high read/write volume.

    I'll have to give it some thought.... It's down to money and whether the difference between 28 and 36 dbA seek noise will be an issue.

    Thanks all!
     

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