Drive Expansion and Drive Upgrade FAQ

Discussion in 'TiVo Series3 HDTV DVRs' started by bkdtv, Oct 19, 2007.

  1. Dec 6, 2007 #561 of 10473
    richsadams

    richsadams Well-Known Member

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    Thanks very much for posting all of the detailed info. If only others would be as specific! ;) I read and re-read all of the steps you took and I think I see one error (which bkdtv pointed out earlier...and I missed until just now :eek:).

    It appears that you did not properly divorce your original eSATA drive from TiVo before installing the new eSATA drive. Although all you did was swap one drive for another, TiVo recognizes eSATA drives by model number.

    When you re-booted TiVo with the "new" eSATA drive attached it would have been looking for your original eSATA drive. Not finding it caused it to believe there was data corruption. It properly went into diagnostic mode; triggering an MFS assert (GSOD), which marks the file system as being damaged. The repair process detects and repairs inode/data problems, and then runs mfscheck to clean up database and directory problems.

    So the lesson here appears to be that if you're going to swap out an eSATA drive for another one, be sure to divorce the existing drive first.

    1. Unplug TiVo.
    2. Disconnect the AC cord and eSATA cable from the eSATA drive.
    3. Plug TiVo back in and follow the onscreen divorce instructions.
    4. After TiVo has fully rebooted w/o the eSATA drive unplug it again.
    5. Plug the new eSATA drive in, turn it on and connect the eSATA cable.
    6. Plug TiVo in and follow the screen instructions to marry the new drive.

    Divorces can be messy. :rolleyes: Glad to hear your new marriage working out! :up:

    BTW, if you happen to look at your new drive again, can you post the full model number? It should be one of these two:

    WD10EACS-00ZJB0 (OEM)

    WD10EACS-32ZJB0 (Retail)

    It'll help others in the future...your chance to give back to the community! :)
     
  2. Dec 6, 2007 #562 of 10473
    gwsat

    gwsat Member

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    I continue to follow this thread, albeit fitfully, because of the depth of knowledge and experience you regular posters to the thread exhibit about adding eSATA drives to S3s and HDs. Despite the great work of all of you who have gone before me, I am still putting off adding an eSATA drive to my S3. So far, the mild inconvenience of being limited to 250 gig of recording capacity bothers me less that the risks currently inherent in adding a 1 TB eSATA drive. I don't want to add anything smaller. Maybe WD will add one that TiVo blesses sometime. I hope so
     
  3. Dec 6, 2007 #563 of 10473
    keenanSR

    keenanSR Well-Known Member

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    I assume you're looking for an out-of-the-box solution? The 1-TB Hitachi that Best Buy has on sale for $199 on occasion work great, but you'll need to remove the drive from the USB case and use an eSATA case. I picked up 2 more of these drives at that price just before turkeyday, they are not back to around $360 I believe.

    I use an Antec MX-1 which has also worked perfectly, those can be found occasionally for about $40 when on sale. So far about $240 I've got a 1-TB solution that so far seems to be bullet-proof.

    It takes about 15 mins to extract and re-house the drive, very, very, low on the technical ability scale.

    Food for thought anyway.
     
  4. Dec 6, 2007 #564 of 10473
    BigHat

    BigHat Member

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    My std Western Digital external drive is on backorder.

    My question fort you pros:

    Should I just cnx the order and get another drive (same or bigger)?
     
  5. Dec 6, 2007 #565 of 10473
    richsadams

    richsadams Well-Known Member

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    Guess it depends on what you mean by "std Western Digital external drive...", how much space you need, what model TiVo you have, etc. Need some more info.

    BTW, pros at what? ;)
     
  6. Dec 6, 2007 #566 of 10473
    Bodie

    Bodie Member

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    Thanks, I can only hear anything if I get down right next to it, so it stays the way it is.
     
  7. Dec 7, 2007 #567 of 10473
    BigHat

    BigHat Member

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    Sorry,
    To answer your questions. I meant the Tivo expansion drive that's marketed as such. I have S3s. In terms of capacity; can there be too much space? :)

    Actually, I have a 500mb drive in one S3 already, so 500mb would likely be enough, but a TB drive would be nice.

    I guess the point is the drives at BB and Tivo store are backordered and wondered if there are other plug and play options.

    Thanks.
     
  8. Dec 7, 2007 #568 of 10473
    brettatk

    brettatk Thread Killer

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    Powder...
    Since you have a S3 and not a HD Tivo, I've heard that with the new update from Tivo the Apricorn Xpander drive is plug and play. You can get a 1TB drive for like $379 I think. Here is the link:

    http://www.apricorn.com/product_detail.php?type=family&id=37
     
  9. Dec 7, 2007 #569 of 10473
    StuRothrock

    StuRothrock New Member

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    I received my Series 3 HD yesterday - I let it cook all night to see if it would download the update. It did not.

    I forced a "Connect to the TiVo service now" - It installed 9.2a-01-2-648 - rebooted with 1TB WDC WD10EACS green drive - received a message that it found the external drive - rebooted - It was all very sweet - System Information reveals - up to 165HD hours, or 1561 SD hours.

    I can't wait to get a 4 drive external eSata case to see what TiVo reports - hehehehe!!!!!
     
  10. Dec 7, 2007 #570 of 10473
    gwsat

    gwsat Member

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    Keenan – Thanks, I will look at that. The MX-1 housing has clearly proved itself and $200 for an Hitachi 1 TB drive that will work with the TiVo S3 in that enclosure is tempting. Unfortunately, as of about 5 minutes ago the Hitachi DeskStar 1 TB internal drive is $330 on BB’s Web site. I’ll continue to keep an eye out at BB to see if it goes on sale again, though.
     
  11. Dec 7, 2007 #571 of 10473
    richsadams

    richsadams Well-Known Member

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    As brettatk points out, Apricorn's DVR Xpanders are a good P&P solution...whichever size you like. They are fan-cooled, come with a good eSATA cable and a number of folks here have been using them for a while. Their 1TB model uses Western Digital's new "green" drive which others here are using as well.

    Since you have a Series3 you can pick from a variety of expansion drives on the recommended list on the first post of this thread (note the ones that are not recommended as well). Included are some very easy DIY options which only entail buying a drive and an enclosure to put it in. A few mounting screws later and ta-dah...a new drive! See #'s 25 - 28. DIY is considerably less expensive in most cases.

    Our Seagate DB35 drive/Antec MX-1 enclosure has worked flawlessly with our S3 for about seven months now.

    Good luck and let us know what you settle on. :up:
     
  12. Dec 7, 2007 #572 of 10473
    keenanSR

    keenanSR Well-Known Member

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    Yes, you'll have to keep watch. It's been on sale twice that I can remember. Also, the sale price has been pulled before the normal Sat at midnight cutoff they use normally so you really have to act quickly.
     
  13. Dec 7, 2007 #573 of 10473
    thilt

    thilt New Member

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    FWIW, the 1TB Apricorn DVR Xpander is about $20 or so cheaper at Newegg.
     
  14. Dec 7, 2007 #574 of 10473
    richsadams

    richsadams Well-Known Member

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    Good info. Thanks for that. :up:

    Apricorn had a $50 rebate on it last week...but that's evaporated. :cool:
     
  15. Dec 8, 2007 #575 of 10473
    leeherman

    leeherman Well-Known Member

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    Well, I finally gave up on expanding my new S3 with an eSATA drive.

    I posted earlier in this thread about "stuttering" and pixelation I began experiencing as soon as I connected a "non supported" drive to my S3. I was using an external case and cable I'd been using successfully with my SA Explorer 8300HD. The only change was using a new 500 gbyte WD drive instead of the 300 gbyte drive used with the 8300HD.

    Based on what I've read in this thread, I bought the recommended SIIG cable. No luck. Same problem. I then bought the recommended Antec MX-1 enclosure, placed my new drive in it and connected it with the SIIG cable. No joy. Finally, I tried the old, successful 300 gbyte drive. Again, stuttering and pixelating.

    I've already sunk $200 in enclosures, drive, and cable. At this point I give up. I put the 300 gbyte drive from my old SA DVR in my Tivo server PC and will transfer programming to the Tivo server if the S3's drive fills up.

    Naturally, I'll gladly listen to any suggestions anyone might have, but I don't see myself spending another $200 to get the "supported" drive. I'm not confident it'll work any better.

    Is it possible to add a second drive INTERNALLY to an S3 like I did to my S2? Anyone here with any experience in doing that?

    Thanks!

    LH
     
  16. Dec 9, 2007 #576 of 10473
    lrhorer

    lrhorer Active Member

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    San...
    I'm not sure what you are asking. If you want to copy the contents of you internal drive to another drive of the same size, the Linux dd command can do it. If you want to make a compressed backup of the data on your internal drive, or copy it to a larger internal drive, WinMFS or MFSLive can do it. If you merely want to expand your TiVo, and 1.25T is enough for you, then just add a 1TB external drive using mfsadd and be done with it.
     
  17. Dec 9, 2007 #577 of 10473
    lrhorer

    lrhorer Active Member

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    San...
    It's really not hat difficult, but yes, IMO, the MFSLive CD is the way to go. I think first, however, you need to put straight in your mind what you want to do and exactly what steps you will be taking to do it.

    Now that in itself is not as simple as it sounds, but on the other hand if done carefully it will likely be the most difficult part of the process.

    Decision 1: Backup or don't

    Common sense says no matter what you should back up, and it is my recommendation to you. I have never attempted a TiVo upgrade without some level of backup, and it has saved my butt on more than one occasion. If you decide not to backup, things get much simpler, and quicker but if you wind up with a bricked TiVo, don't blame anyone but yourself.

    Decision 2: Level of backup

    Assuming you are going to backup, you need to decide at what level the backup will occur. At the minimum level, you will need a single drive the same size or larger than your current drive. If you are going to a larger drive, you can copy the entire original drive to the new larger drive and increase the partition to fill the new drive. In this case, the original drive is the "backup", and it will be put onto the shelf for the rest of the operations. It's a fairly secure operation and it gets you a larger internal drive as a starting point for further expansion.

    Alternately you can have an extra drive the same size as your internal drive and copy everything over to it before continuing. This is the belt-and-suspenders approach, and it will take some extra time, but for the first time TiVo hacker it's not a bad idea. A compromise solution is to just copy the running partitions, rather than the data from all the partitions. This doesn't guarantee you won't wind up losing all the recorded programs, but at least you won't brick the TiVo and it takes much less time.

    Decision 3: Level of expansion

    Level 1: Add an external drive without changing the internal drive

    If you have a stock TiVo, this can result in up to 1.25TB of storage, with a single 1TB external drive. If you bought an expanded TiVo, it can result in up to 2TB. Some users have successfully expanded their TiVos using an eSATA RAID array. The S3 is limited to 2.2TB. The HD TIvo is not, but I do not know what the largest HD TiVo in existence might be. This method is extremely fast. Excluding backups, it only takes a few moments once the drives are mounted in the PC.

    Level 2: Increase the size of the internal drive.

    This is much more difficult and time consuming unless you don't care about losing the current recordings. The difference between 1.25TB and 2.0TB with single drive solutions is not much, but if you ever intend to upgrade the internal drive I suggest you go ahead and do it at the outset before any other upgrade.

    Level 3: Increase the size of the internal drive and add an external drive

    This really is not any more of a significant upgrade than Level 2. It just requires an extra drive.

    Decision 4: Hardware

    If you don't intend to do a backup (remember, you were warned!!!) and only intend to do a Level 1 upgrade, then the only hardware you need is the external drive and how slow the drive subsystem might be is not an issue.

    If you only intend to copy the running partitions, then even a USB to SATA adapter is probably OK, but I don't recommend it.

    If you intend to copy or backup anything more than the running partitions, I definitely recommend a native PCI x4 or x16 SATA adapter. Anything else is absurd. It may avoid other issues, as well.

    Decision 5: Software

    To some extent, this also depends on what decisions were made above. If you have a stock drive in your TiVo and you only want to do a Level 1 upgrade, it really doesn't matter much. Otherwise, I do recommend MFSLive. There are fewer pitfalls, and it's faster. If you don't have a stock drive, then my understanding is at the moment it is the only way to go.

    Oh, by the way, I would think you might be able to borrow someone else's PC for a few hours to do the upgrade, rather than trying to make the ancient PC do the job.
     
  18. Dec 9, 2007 #578 of 10473
    lrhorer

    lrhorer Active Member

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    San...
    That's too bad. Many of us have done it with no problems.

    OK, but which drive, specifically? Is it one which other users have successfully used? Some drives are definitely problematic with the TiVo. Note the 8300HD has had its share of problems with certain drives, as well.

    I've used both a Seagate Barracuda 750G married with a stock TiVo 250G and a pair of Hitachi 1TB drives. Both the 750 and one of the 1TB drives are in Antec MX-1 housings. Other than occasional (fairly rare) autonomous reboots apparently caused by using the stock Antec eSATA cable, the setups run flawlessly.

    Well, it wouldn't be my preferred method of handling the situation, but note since the drive is supported officially by TiVo, if it doesn't work they are compelled to get it working, whatever it takes.

    It might be hypothetically possible, but I wouldn't recommend trying. First of all, other than geography there really isn't any significant difference between an internal and external drive. They use the same controller and the same SATA port. Secondly, as I recall there really isn't any space inside the case for a second drive, and there certainly isn't an available bracket.

    Before attempting anything of this sort, I would recommend upgrading your internal drive, or preferably getting one of the drives known to work. For the former you could go with one of PTV Upgrade's or Weaknees' pre-configured drives. For the latter, a Hitachi 1TB is my favorite. The Seagate Barracuda also works fine, altyhough it is reported to be noisy (I haven't noticed it). The Seagate DB 35 is supposedly a great choice, if a bit pricey. You already have the external housing.
     
  19. Dec 9, 2007 #579 of 10473
    richsadams

    richsadams Well-Known Member

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    lrhorer, your last posts (like many others) were valuable, thoughtful and communicated well. I know the folks you're helping directly on this thread appreciate what you've written, but there are many others that benefit from the assistance as well. Efforts to help others like yours and many other contributors here are too often taken for granted…generally not on purpose, but it happens.

    Just thought a "thank you and well done" was in order. :up: :up:
     
  20. Dec 9, 2007 #580 of 10473
    Burt Spielman

    Burt Spielman Member

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    Madison,...
    Thanks for spelling this out so lucidly.

    Let me relate my experience with your points, one by one:

    First of all, I've been in touch with Spike, the author of the MFSLive and WinMFS software. He states that the Boot CD will not work to expand an already expanded drive, leaving WinMFS as the only solution.

    Decisions 1 and 2: Backup and Level of backup
    I've already posted that I performed a WinMFS backup of the WeaKnees upgraded 750GB internal drive. I was able to do this successfully both on a PIII Windows PC and on an Intel iMac running Windows XP Pro SP2 under Parallels Desktop. The backup files reside on the internal hard drives of the respective computers (in the case of the Mac, on the "C" drive created by Parallels Desktop).

    Decision 3: Level of Expansion
    I've opted for Level 3, in your parlance. My difficulties began with having initially been misled by the expansion FAQ (since corrected), which omitted the crucial mfscopy step after the backup. Stating that the mfscopy is "much more difficult and time consuming" is only partly correct. It isn't difficult at all (albeit with some pitfalls along the way), but, thus far, it has definitely been time consuming.

    I've so far attempted the mfscopy on both the PIII PC and on the Mac running Windows. In each case, I've been using the USB-to-SATA adapters specified in the FAQ. And, the transfer has been dreadfully slow, mention of which has only recently been added to the FAQ. I aborted the copies because I needed to replace the original drive in the TiVo to record upcoming programming.

    WinMFS repeatedly freezes on-screen during the copy, thus providing no indication of the progress of the copy. When I asked Spike about this, he suggested a relatively easy solution: Use the Windows Task Manager to monitor the hard disk reads and writes. As a non-Windows user, I needed to do a little Internet research to figure out specifically how to do this, but it was actually very simple: Invoke Task Manager with Control-Alt-Delete, click on the Processes tab, then click on View to edit the columns displayed in Task Manager. (New to me as a Mac user, as I don't ordinarily fool around with the fuel injection system in my BMW either.)

    Windows Task Manager reported that, after about 14 hours of copying using the Mac's USB 2.0 ports, only 11% of the transfer had occurred. As I mentioned, I aborted the copy and returned the 750GB drive to the TiVo while I await additional hardware.

    Decision 4: Hardware
    My experience jibes with your comments. Using USB-to-SATA adapters (as specified in the FAQ) provides acceptable performance for the backup, even with the old PIII PC, and somewhat better in the Mac scenario.

    However, these adapters are inadequate for the mfscopy, at least on the hardware I have access to, again a fact not mentioned in the FAQ. Undoubtedly, the transfer would be faster on a PC (or a Mac) with more horsepower. I agree that, even on the latest PC (or Mac; mine is the first of the Intel iMacs, with an Intel Core Duo—not Core 2 Duo or Core 2 Extreme), they might still not provide satisfactory speed.

    You recommendation of a PCI SATA controller for the PC is the method I've ultimately decided to adopt on the basis of my experiences so far, even though I already ordered a USB 2.0 controller for the PC. Fortunately, these controllers and cables are available online at very low cost, well below $20.

    Decision 5: Software
    As I mentioned, Spike says that, for an already expanded internal drive, only WinMFS will work.

    And, finally, your comment about borrowing someone else's PC is exactly the route I'm expecting I'll have to pursue. Once it arrives, I'll give the PCI SATA controller a spin in the old PIII PC, though I don't have high hopes for a great speed improvement.

    As we agree, a combination of SATA connections and more processing horsepower is the probable solution to my problems.

    I do think that bkdtv would do well to spell out some of this stuff in the otherwise excellent FAQ. I'd avoid mentioning USB-to-SATA adapters altogether, for example, and I'd add the Windows Task Manager copy monitoring information.

    Thanks again for your post, as it allowed me to elucidate my experiences.
     

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