Fixing a TiVo with a bad DVD Writer

Discussion in 'TiVo Upgrade Center' started by robomeister, Jan 19, 2006.

  1. robomeister

    robomeister DVD TiVo Expert

    Feb 4, 2005
    Beltsville, MD
    Hello all,

    I am the owner of several Pioneer DVR-810H-S TiVos. Unfortuately, one of them has a DVD writer that is broken. The TiVo is out of warranty, so returning it for repair might be out of the question. And I've upgraded the harddrive (see sig below).

    While upgrading the hard drive in these units, I noticed that the DVD-RW drive is a Pioneer DVR-A05-XA. One of my other 810s has a Pioneer DVR-A06-XA. The firmware in the original drive is DVR-77h v1.31. So I thought I could get a Pioneer DVR-105 or a DVR-106 and put it in to the 810 and all would be well. I found a DVR-106D on eBay and installed it into the misbehaving DVR-810H-S. In testing the "new" writer, I found out that it could play DVDs, both pressed and burned, with no problems, but I can't burn anything. The firmware in the DVR-106 is v1.08.

    Is there something special in the firmware of the DVD writers in the TiVo with DVD-RW units? If so, is there a way to have the firmware of my "new" writer updated? Or a way to force a firmware update? If one of the reps from TiVo can help on this, I'd be very grateful.

    I've looked for tools to read the firmware out of the DVR-A05-XA, but nothing exists. I've tried looking for the DVR-77H firmware, but haven't found anything there either.

    Any comments are welcome. Thanks in advance.
  2. PRMan

    PRMan New Member

    Jul 26, 2000
    On the DVD replacement firmware sites there are utilities to backup your firmware and restore it. Surely this would work, if the drive were compatible (and still receives power).

    If not, use one of your working drives.

    It would not surprise me if TiVo has custom firmware on there.
  3. robomeister

    robomeister DVD TiVo Expert

    Feb 4, 2005
    Beltsville, MD
    I looked on several of the firmware sites ( and one other I can't recall right now) and it seems that Pioneer DVD-RWs refuse to work with the firmware "readers." There are several posts that say it is impossible to read the firmware out of the Pioneer branded drive.

    I'll do some more research and see if I can find a firmware backup tool that works with the Pioneers. You never know until you try. Any suggestions on programs to try would be welcome.

    I'm trying to get a DVR-105, a DVR-107, a DVR-108 and a DVR-109 to try as well. Maybe I'll get lucky and one of these will work. :)
  4. shfawaz

    shfawaz Member

    May 12, 2004
    Were you sucessful in replacing the DVD drive? I have the same Tivo unit and every disc including blank, -R, commercial and the like give the message "unsupported disc cannot read". Is there any suggestions or Ideas on how to fix this or is this drive basically dead and cannot be replaced. I bought this unit at Costco less than a year ago and I have the privlege of returning if I can't get it fixed.

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