External Drive Only

Discussion in 'TiVo Series3 HDTV DVRs' started by jrw77, Apr 17, 2011.

  1. jrw77

    jrw77 New Member

    Apr 17, 2011


    I'm looking to purchase a used TIVO Series 3 or HD unit on Ebay. As the hard drive in the unit may need to be replaced not long after I purchase it, I was wondering if these units can operate using ONLY an external hard drive such as the WD My DVR Expander? Instead of replacing the dead internal hard drive can I use only the external hard drive? Or will the external hard drive only work when paired with an active internal hard drive? Thanks.
  2. cwerdna

    cwerdna Proud Tivolutionary

    Feb 22, 2001
    SF Bay Area, CA
    Yes, it can run that way. I've been doing it ever since the internal drive on my TiVo went belly up or got corrupted. My external 1 TB Expander is my A drive.

    I just switched around the cables so the connector for the external connector is plugged into the A drive connector on the motherboard.

    Only problem is, supposedly the 500 gig Expanders are crappy and unreliable. It's unclear if the 1 TB ones are any more reliable. My 1 TB Expander is at about the 1.5 year mark in age now and it's still working ok. (knock on wood)

    I plan to eventually take apart the Expander, remove its drive and mount it internally in the TiVo HD.
  3. Series3Sub

    Series3Sub Well-Known Member

    Mar 14, 2010
    So, this can only be done as a hack? Good to know for those who are just thinking of only plugging it into the USB.
  4. Thom

    Thom Unemployed and loving it !!

    Jun 5, 2000
    Southern Calif.
    The Series 3 OLED display model has the external SATA connector soldered to the motherboard, if I remember correctly.

    However, it is quite easy to plug a flat SATA cable into the internal SATA connector, and route the flat SATA cable out the side between the cover and the bottom lip of the chassis, near the rear of the chassis. There's more than enough room for the flat cable to fit without having to do anything to either the cover or the chassis. Just position the cable in a spot that won't get snagged by the locking tabs on the side of the cover.

    Doing this, you can have both your internal and external drives out where you can easily disconnect/backup/restore/whatever/reconnect them.
  5. lrhorer

    lrhorer Active Member

    Aug 31, 2003


    On the THD It doesn't require a hack, just swapping the jumpers. On the S3, it requires modifying the chassis.
  6. lrhorer

    lrhorer Active Member

    Aug 31, 2003
    I wanted to swap the drives, not just make both external. Here was my solution:


    I cut two holes in the S3 chassis and mounted a pair of eSATA connectors taken from a dual eSATA bracket. I plugged the internal drive into the back side of one adapter and then plugged a short eSATA jumper into the external storage port from the back of that connector. I then ran an internal jumper to the interior SATA port on the motherboard from the second eSATA adapter.
  7. Jim5506

    Jim5506 Member

    Oct 2, 2004
    Lubbock Texas
    I recently had to replace the internal HDD on my TiVo HD.

    WD makes a special drive made for DVR's, I got a 1 TB one for about $80.

    Instructions for copying the OS from youe old drive to the new one are on the internet for free.

    So my upgrade from a failing 160Gb drive to a 1 TB drive cost about $80.

    I bought my HD TiVo on eBay for about $100, Since I was already a TiVo subscriber, TiVo let me buy a lifetime subscription for it for $299, now I have a 250+hour HDTiVo with lifetime sub for less than $500.

    I could probably come close to selling it on eBay now for what I have in it.

    Plus all the enjoyment of using it and being able to copy OTA recordings to my PC for commercial removal, etc. (I have satellite so the cablecard slots don't help me at all)
  8. mattack

    mattack Well-Known Member

    Apr 9, 2001
    Yabut, new 2+ TB drives are now about that price.. (Though admittedly, we're now getting beyond the sizes that the normal upgrade tools support.)

Share This Page

spam firewall