Expanding storage on a 1TB Bolt DVR

Discussion in 'TiVo Bolt DVR/Streamer' started by Tipperton, Jun 14, 2019.

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  1. Tipperton

    Tipperton Member

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    Hi Everyone!

    I have a 1TB Bolt DVR running Experience 3 that works perfectly but is beginning to run low on storage space so I want to expand it.

    I am not interested in opening up my DVR and replacing the drive after cloning it, I am perfectly happy to just connect an appropriate external drive to the DVR's eSata port.

    After doing a couple of quick searches on Google, I found that what I am looking for is a "western digital my book av dvr expander". I noticed that there seem to be a number of models when I search Amazon or eBay but since I couldn't find a model number, I couldn't be sure which one I should get.

    Is Western Digital my only option? From experience I've developed a preference for Seagate over WD.

    Can anyone recommend a specific model that is known to be compatible with my TiVo DVR, or does anyone know what TiVo recommends?

    Thanks!
     
  2. UCLABB

    UCLABB Well-Known Member

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    The only drive that will work is one specially formatted for TiVo. TiVo doesn't sell them anymore AFAI. You can try Weaknees. I suppose you don't want to hear it, but you'd be far better off opening the box and dropping in a 3tb. Cheaper, better and more reliable. Adding an external doubles your chance of failure and loss of content.
     
  3. JoeKustra

    JoeKustra in the other Alabama TCF Club

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  4. Tipperton

    Tipperton Member

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    I agree that replacing the internal drive is probably more reliable, but I also realize that if I want to keep all my recordings and one passes, I'd need to clone the internal drive to the new drive and cloning software is notoriously inaccessible to those of us who rely on a screen reader to use our computers. So I decided that for me using an external drive is likely the better option.
     
  5. JoeKustra

    JoeKustra in the other Alabama TCF Club

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  6. Pokemon_Dad

    Pokemon_Dad Ruler of Unown UI

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    Last edited: Jun 14, 2019
  7. tapokata

    tapokata Active Member

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    Adding an Expander drive to the Bolt does not affect recordings or settings the are on the internal drive. However, removing the expander drive (not just a casual disconnect) will result in the loss of all recordings, as TiVo distributes recordings across both drives. I have a WD DVR expander on a Bolt with a 500 GB drive, and it's starting to have issues, such as having to reboot the TiVo repeatedly to bring it back online (the first or second reboot will typically create a warning that the Expander drive is not connected).

    I had a 500 GB expander fail that was connected to an old HD. The wife was not pleased with the loss of all her recordings.

    The Expander drives are no longer supported, and despite owning one, I wouldn't recommend it as a solution.
     
  8. Pokemon_Dad

    Pokemon_Dad Ruler of Unown UI

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    Mine lasted seven years, until I replaced the TiVo HD for other reasons. I managed to avoid disconnecting it even while moving house, so never lost any data. It worked as well as the equivalent sized internal drive I put into our other HD XL. So yes it's a roll of the dice, but Bolts are known to commit suicide by internal drive failure all on their own more often than most too.
     
  9. Tipperton

    Tipperton Member

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    Thanks for that link to eBay but:

    1. Is that the only one on eBay? That is an auction that doesn't end for over 6 days and if I'm going to go this route I'd prefer not having to wait a week to order what I need. An actual model number of what I should be looking for would be more useful.

    2. That listing only lists USB 2.0 but the information I have says that the Bolt will only recognize an expander hooked up via eSata.

    Although I'd prefer to be able to do this expansion myself, if replacing the internal drive is the best way to expand my Bolt, I can get sighted help when needed so I'd like to know what is involved and what is needed as far as a compatible drive and drive cloning software that can successfully clone my current drive to the new drive. I do have experience in cloning drives when upgrading a PC so I'm not a beginner, I've just never done this with a TiVo before.
     
  10. tapokata

    tapokata Active Member

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    I don't think that ebay drive is the correct model. I have a "My DVR Expander", Western Digital model number WDG1S10000VN.
     
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  11. Pokemon_Dad

    Pokemon_Dad Ruler of Unown UI

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    Weaknees can supply a prepared drive so you don't need to do anything on a PC. From there it's similar to installing a PC hard drive, except you just pop it in and then use the TV screen. There are some tiny screws and such of course. Weaknees also provides a service where you send in your TiVo for backup, upgrade, and restore.
     
  12. JoeKustra

    JoeKustra in the other Alabama TCF Club

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    Thanks. It would seem there is no answer for this issue. Using Google I found none available.

    BTW, I used one on my first Roamio for about a year. Then the guts died but the drive was fine.
     
  13. JoeKustra

    JoeKustra in the other Alabama TCF Club

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    I posted links (post 3) to threads on Bolt drive replacements. I don't own a Bolt.
     
  14. Tipperton

    Tipperton Member

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    I saw those links, but I also saw comments that made me nervous about whether I could do it with or without help. This is why I'd prefer to go the external drive route despite the risks.

    But if I can successfully clone my current drive to a bigger drive that will work in the Bolt, I'm willing to try it. If it doesn't work out, I can always go back to the original 1TB drive and go with an external drive instead.

    Does anyone know what drive TiVo used in the 3TB Bolt Plus and does anyone know of any drive cloning software that can clone the contents of my current drive to the new drive that the Bolt won't choke on?
     
  15. Mikeguy

    Mikeguy Well-Known Member

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    I believe that TiVo has been using Western Digital drives, but the models used have not been available retail (and the 3TB drive now has been discontinued by Western Digital). However, Weaknees.com sells them, albeit at a dear price. TiVo Bolt Line (Including VOX, Plus, and OTA) TiVo Upgrade Kits and Hard Drives

    Alternatively, many people have purchased and used with success a Toshiba 2.5" 3TB drive, model number MQ03ABB300 (sadly, now also end-of-lifed by Toshiba), which has been available via Amazon.com off-and-on (the price sometimes escalating--it currently is way expensive) and at macsales.com at a fair price (currently shown as sold out--unknown if more will come in); in checking just now, it also is available at some other webstores.

    There is a great Bolt box hard drive replacement how-to video on YouTube.com, to listen to/watch, for both a feel of the process and a guide:



    Also, Weaknees.com has prepared the following written instruction guide, also very nice. https://www.weaknees.com/instructions/tivo-bolt-and-bolt-plus-upgrade-installation-instrucitons.pdf Really, the hardest part about the process is prying the Bolt box's lid off (there are a bunch of interior, pressure-fitted plastic tabs--but even if some tabs get broken, it's no big deal).

    For your OnePasses, freeware kmttg will allow you to download your OnePasses list (as well as your channel list, and Suggestions thumb ratings) to your PC before removing your old drive, and then to re-install those onto the new drive. Works well. The discussion thread here: New program for 1 step TTG downloads, decryption, encoding - kmttg. The software can feel a bit less-obvious at times, but people are happy to assist here (especially in the kmttg thread).

    I know that a near-full 1TB drive can hold a lot, but if you want to avoid cloning, note that instead, you also can transfer copies of non-copyright protected shows to your PC (and an attached storage drive) before replacing the old drive, and then back to the new drive after it is installed, under the TiVo TE3 user interface (the TE4 user interface does not support PC-to-TiVo box transfers). Freeware pyTivo Desktop works well for this. pyTivo Desktop The discussion thread here: Easier to use pyTivo. Of course, it will take substantial time, but pyTivo Desktop and the TiVo box are doing the work--simply cue up a bunch of shows at a time, let the software and box do their work, and then repeat (repeatedly). ;) Note that some metadata (e.g. show subtitles) may be lost in the process.
     
  16. Tipperton

    Tipperton Member

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    May 23, 2017
    Thanks for all of that.

    If I decide to go with replacing the Bolt's internal drive, I will clone my current drive to the new drive, for that I'll need to know if a particular drive cloning software works best for a TiVo drive, or if all that is needed is compatibility with a particular file system.

    At the time I didn't know what it was, I just know that I had a feeling that upgrading my Bolt to TE4 wasn't as good an idea as it might have at first seemed, so I passed on that idea and am still running TE3.

    Seems to me that TiVo is missing the boat with these expansion drives. I would think that a lot of people would be willing to pay for a reasonably reliable plug and play solution to adding additional storage to their DVRs. But instead of solving the problems, they just abandon it.
     
  17. Mikeguy

    Mikeguy Well-Known Member

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    I agree, but TiVo seemed to have abandoned the idea of expansion drives many years ago. Most recently, it also stopped selling a 3TB Bolt, Western Digital having stopped offering the 3TB drive that TiVo has been using and TiVo noticing that its sales of the 1TB Bolt are much hotter (of course, TiVo charging an industry-standard premium price on the 3TB Bolt)--unknown if a 3TB Bolt will return.

    When I've questioned here why TiVo had abandoned expansion drives, people have noted the cost issue in developing/supporting them. (But that's true with any product.)
     
  18. ggieseke

    ggieseke Well-Known Member

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    Use MFSTools 3.2 from the Upgrade forum. It will copy the drive and expand it to use all the space on you new drive in one step.
     
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  19. Tipperton

    Tipperton Member

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    May 23, 2017
    After seeing a number of recommendations for weaknees for TiVo upgrade kits, I went to their web site to see what was offered.

    Well, weaknees is out of the question for me, their web site does not work through a screen reader, I click on the links and nothing happens and I'm not inclined to fight it, their loss, not mine.

    I'm probably going to have to go with a external DVR expander because it seems that the recommended hard drives are only available used or pre owned and I'd rather get a new drive. It may not be the best option, but it does avoid having to open up the TiVo and cloning the current hard drive.
     
  20. Mikeguy

    Mikeguy Well-Known Member

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    Should it assist, here is the direct link to Weaknees.com's Bolt box 3TB internal hard drive upgrade kit: Single 3 TB Replace TiVo Upgrade Kit for 849000.

    Also, a quick web search just now located new Toshiba MQ03ABB300 3TB 2.5" drives currently in-stock and available for sale (I searched on the MQ03ABB300 model number)--that is a replacement drive that often has been recommended here. I'm not familiar with the stores, but here are a couple of the lower-priced hits (they seem legit). Note that the pricing is significantly below the Weaknees price for its 3TB drive (which seems to be the Western Digital drive that TiVo used for its 3TB Bolt boxes, not generally available thru retail channels), although the Weaknees price also includes 3 Torx screwdrivers for doing the hard drive replacement, written instructions (which also can be downloaded, as mentioned earlier), and Weaknees support.

    Servers4less.com: MQ03ABB300 Toshiba 3TB 5400RPM SATA 6Gbps 16MB Cache (512e) 2.5-inch Internal Hard Drive for External Storage

    Harddiskdirect.com: MQ03ABB300 - Toshiba 3TB 5400RPM SATA 3GB/s 64MB Cache 2.5-inch Hard Drive
     
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