Freezing and pixellation - will a new hard drive help?

Discussion in 'TiVo Series3 HDTV DVRs' started by benraymond, Jul 18, 2011.

  1. benraymond

    benraymond New Member

    Mar 30, 2008
    Have a series 3 with a My DVR expander 500GB. Now, getting a lot of freezing and dropouts, particularly on HD channels. Comcast service with two cable cards Also will get lots more hesitation with the UI at points, much more than I remember. Was thinking of getting rid of the external HD anyway and getting a 2 TB DVRDude upgrade. Realize that I will lose my shows.

    Does anyone think that this will help?

    Any replies greatly appreciated,

  2. mattack

    mattack Well-Known Member

    Apr 9, 2001
    Have you added more splitters or somehow changed your actual cable connection?

    If you mean video freezing (and not the Tivo itself entirely freezing), and video dropouts, that COULD be a bad hard drive.. but could also be not-quite-strong enough signal.

    If you have added new splitters or possibly are using a different outlet (another room) than you used before, maybe you're not getting a strong enough signal. I had to add an amplifier (on my own) to get a strong enough signal when I got my cablecards.
  3. WebG

    WebG New Member

    Jan 30, 2005
    Don't have the expanded drive, but when my S3 started stuttering and having incredibly slow UI, I had an inkling that the drive was failing.

    And it did. So my opinion, based solely on your symptoms with no other info? Yes.
  4. dlfl

    dlfl Cranky old novice

    Jul 6, 2006
    Dayton OH
    Verifying good signal is a good idea before doing anything else. Got to DVR Diagnostics while tuned to a channel (or two) that is (are) showing the video glitches. What are the RS Error counts doing? Ideally should be zero but probably OK if they are a few hundred and not increasing. Large counts increasing fast are a definite signal problem. In that case what are the Signal Strength and SNR values?

    Otherwise a hard drive is the most likely candidate and the 500G expander has a bad reputation with many failures before 18 mos service.

    Your idea for the 2TB internal upgrade is an excellent one. Unless you're on Verizon FIOS or don't use cable TV, you will need to have your CableCARDs re-paired, which may require a truck roll on some systems.

    There is a smaller probability it's a failing power supply and you could do some simple checks on it if you're so inclined. However I think the 2TB upgrade is a good move even if it is the power supply, i.e., you eventually will be glad you did it even if you also end up replacing the PS.
  5. benraymond

    benraymond New Member

    Mar 30, 2008
    Thanks for the replies.

    No splitters or change in the video line by me. The MyDVR expander is now 4 years old. Just had to replace the fan in the series 3 itself because it was squeaking and then failing to spin.

    Currently no problems with the signal tonight, but will wait for the problem to recur before checking the signal.

    If I have comcast, I am likely to need the truck to re-pair the cable cards? Bummer.

    How does one check a power supply? I do have a multimeter in my basement somewhere...
  6. bikegeek

    bikegeek Member

    Dec 28, 2006
    Amesbury, MA
    The Comcast web site mentions self-installs for cable cards beginning 8/1. You may be able to avoid a truck roll with a call to support.
  7. benraymond

    benraymond New Member

    Mar 30, 2008
    Great. Zero RS errors on a channel with lots of issues :mad: - Looks like I should get a new HD.
  8. dlfl

    dlfl Cranky old novice

    Jul 6, 2006
    Dayton OH
    To check the PS you of course have to have the cover removed and the AC connected -- Warning be careful of exposed line voltage!

    You can check the 5V and 12V going from the PS to the hard drive through a standard 4-wire harness. Two wires are black and both of these are ground or negative. Meaure the voltages from the two colored wires to either of the black wires. If possible, do this with the cable still connected (so the HDD load is still on the PS). Otherwise disconnect the cable at the HDD and stick probes into connector. Specs are +/-5% for 5V and I think they are +/-10% on the 12V. However I'm a little unsure about the 12V spec. It seems a little loose but it's hard to find that spec anywhere. Also, look for bulging or leaking electrolytic capacitor cases, the relatively large metal cans on the PS board. That's "capacitor disease" and is a common failure. You can replace the capacitors if you can solder and you need to get premium "Low ESR" capacitors if you do so. There are other voltages furnished by the PS but I don't think anyone here can tell you how to check them.

    Unfortunately replacement PS's cost at least $100 (see You might do better buying your model Tivo on EBay and scavenging the power supply from it, although this will be an old PS too! I assume you like your TiVo, so it's probably worth doing it first class.
  9. Qwertinsky

    Qwertinsky New Member

    Oct 24, 2006
    Check the WD DVR Expander first, I had similar problems a while back and it turned out to be the expander hard drive.

    Simply un-marry it through the Tivo menu and unplug it.


    Then see if the problems persist.

    Replacing the internal hard drive is really pretty easy if you follow the directions found in the forum.

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