Going Green with Tivo? Powering down

Discussion in 'TiVo Coffee House - TiVo Discussion' started by cmaasfamily, Jan 29, 2008.

  1. cmaasfamily

    cmaasfamily New Member

    Jan 26, 2006


    Looking around for ways to cut back on the power consumed by all the electronics that are always on, on warm standby, etc. it occured to me that the Tivo is a good candidate.

    Setting aside the obvious - learning to live with one or two Tivos instead of three :)rolleyes:) - I noticed that my old Series2 records everything I ever watch within a four hour window, and I only watch it within a 90 minute window.

    I could put a timer on the outlet and power down the Tivo (and TV) for 18 hours a day and not miss anything of interest.

    My question: would the Tivo be happy enough and have time for connecting, indexing, etc. if it was only on for six hours a day and rebooted twice a day?

    I know the savings won't be huge, but its a start. Thoughts?
  2. jjberger2134

    jjberger2134 Member

    Nov 19, 2002
    I applaud you for your green efforts, but a TiVo is not designed to be used like that. Besides missing system updates, programming updates, and shows at off hours (not a priority for you), you risk damage to the hard drive and power supply.

    When you need to replace these items, you will most likely use more gas to buy and replace those items than you would have saved in electricity. Not to mention the energy used to manufacture and transport the replacement items to you or your local store.
  3. Binko

    Binko New Member

    Jan 26, 2008
    It's a pretty amazing thought to have TiVO go to sleep. I think you've found a feature TiVO needs to add. There's a lot of tricks and bear traps - television buffering, making sure it gets woken up to record..... But it's probably doable. Think about it, if it could go to sleep, the fan could stop, the hard drive stop spinning..... all wear and tear, all using energy.

    No, I'd never turn that thing off or unplug it. You will kill the hard drive if you did that.
  4. sathead

    sathead Member

    Jan 12, 2008
    My cable company rental Scientific Atlanta 8300HD DVR goes into full (S3) hibernation mode when I hit the off button.
    Yes, the hard drive spins down too. It's a really nice feature- less energy consumed, less heat dissipated and less noise from a constantly spinning hard drive and fan. It wakes itself about 60 seconds before a scheduled recording is about to commence, when the recording ends... it goes back to full hibernation mode. No live buffering when the unit is in hibernation mode, if you want buffering- just turn it on first... no big deal.
    If Scientific Atlanta can do it, the folks at TiVo can do it too (if they care to).
  5. Adam1115

    Adam1115 Well-Known Member TCF Club

    Dec 15, 2003
    Denver ish


    I've always wondered, assuming you don't have suggestions enabled, why it can't spin down the hard drive.

    I mean, the TO DO list KNOWS if nothing is scheduled to record for say, the next 3 hours, why not spin it down...?
  6. ZeoTiVo

    ZeoTiVo I can't explain

    Jan 2, 2004
    thats the thing - the spinup takes way more energy than constantly spinning - it would need at least a 3 hour window to save some electricty - and spinning the drive up and down will be a lot more wear and tear than just constantly spinning and buffering live TV.

    I make enough use of the live buffer as I do not have suggetions on. I do also have my TiVo's recording quite a bot during the day - so maybe there is a 3 hour window at night but I think in the long run it is just not worth it.

    Now the OP might have a case with his only 6 hours a day timer. What the OP would need to do if he accepts the risk of powering the unit off and on each day is to manually connect to TiVo during the up time - you can still watch and record shows while that is going on
  7. BigJimOutlaw

    BigJimOutlaw Well-Known Member

    Mar 21, 2004
    The "wear and tear" concerns are often overstated. Hard drives aren't quite THAT fragile. Unless they are faulty from the start, they can mange 1x/day bootups fine for years.

    For every anecdotal story of premature HDD deaths, there are others of long-lasting ones.
  8. vman41

    vman41 Omega Consumer

    Jun 18, 2002
    The physics don't add up for that statement. A typical drive uses 8 watts or more, so in 3 hours uses at least 86400 watt-seconds of energy. To use the same amount of energy in a 20 second startup time the drive would have to draw 4320 watts. If this were the case, no one's PC could ever boot because the circuit breaker would blow getting the drive up to speed.
  9. scandia101

    scandia101 Just the facts ma'am

    Oct 20, 2007
    MN, greater...
    No need for that. After a power loss and missed connection, the tivo will try on it's own to connect again about 40 minutes after being powered up.

    In your plan it would only reboot once a day.
  10. netsurfer

    netsurfer New Member

    Jan 16, 2008
    I verified your math and you are correct. Since my hard drive spins up in 10 seconds I must be drawing 8640 watts. Lets see, watts divided by voltage = amps. 8640 divided by 115 volts = 75 amps.

    I will have to go to home depot to get an 80 amp breaker for my dedicated Tivo circuit. I will also need some seriously big electrical wire. Should I get 4 gauge or 2 gauge? Will running that wire right to the internal Tivo power supply void my warranty? Oh, wait a minute. I just realized I now have to massively beef up the Tivo power supply. Any suggestions? Who makes a power supply that big? Will it fit through my door or do I have to store the power supply in the basement?
  11. cmaasfamily

    cmaasfamily New Member

    Jan 26, 2006
    Thanks for all the ideas. I've heard lots of discussion on drive wear and tear with startup. Most more recent info seems to suggest impact is minimal.

    I think I'll give it a shot and report back in a couple of weeks. I'll start with a 12 on/ 12 off cycle that covers both by normal recording and normal watching period.
  12. dwit

    dwit Active Member

    May 4, 2004
    Atlanta, GA
    I'd probably be more concerned about the power supply.

    To a certain extent, a hard drive is a hard drive and is designed for for daily on/off use.

    The Tivo power supply is definitely not designed for such.
  13. netsurfer

    netsurfer New Member

    Jan 16, 2008
    Ok, you got me curious so I hooked my power consumption meter up to my Tivo Series 3.

    For ten seconds, while the hard drive spun up it was 47 watts. Then the digital readout dropped to 39-40. Basically is hovers on 40 more than 39 so I would say power consumption is 40 watts.

    40 watts times 24 hours = 960 watts x 365 days = 350,400 total watts per year.

    Divide that by 1000 watts in a kilowatt hour = 350.4 kilowatt hours per year.

    At the national average of 10 cents per kilowatt hour the Tivo would coast $35.04 per year to run. Shut it off for 12 hours per day and you save about $17.52 per year. IF you are at 10 cents per kilowatt hour where you live.

    Had to edit this because I forgot to include this info.

    Selecting STANDBY from the Tivo menu had no effect on the power consumption. The panel lights did turn off.
  14. AlexK777

    AlexK777 New Member

    Jan 20, 2008
    Well, unless Tivo has magic panel lights, turning it to standy will reduce power consumption, just not enough to measure on your meter. It would probably be in the millamp range (as in, pennies per year).

    However, for more anecdotal information on the hard drives. I work with a lot of computer in my day job, and I see hard drives fail all the time at the 3-4 year point. However, I had two series 1 Tivos, both with 2 drives in them, and they both lasted for seven years. I hardly ever hear of hard drives failing on a Tivo, even though they are the same hard drives as PCs use. I have to think that running constantly is a big difference between the Tivo and a regular PC.
  15. netsurfer

    netsurfer New Member

    Jan 16, 2008
    I think this would be the proper way to say it.

    My watt/hour meter says that Tivo uses 40 watts per hour.
    The OP wants to shut his Tivo down for 18 hours per day.
    That saves 720 watts per day.

    Because he would be using a timer to turn the Tivo back on for 6 hours per day there would be one spin up required per day.

    During spin up, my measurement on my Tivo showed consumption at 47 watts per hour but that is only 7 watts per hour more than normal running, AND it was for only a 10 second duration.

    In an hour there are 360 ten second segments. If we divide 7 watts by 360 we get .019444 watt.

    So it looks to me like the spin up uses up less than 2/100 of one watt of energy. In other words it would take 37,029 spin ups per day to offset the energy savings of 720 watts per day. 720 watts divided by .01944444 = 37,029

    There are 86400 seconds in twenty four hours. So if we shut the Tivo off for 2.33 seconds that is the equivalent of one spin up, not 3 hours as you stated. That is a ratio of 4,635. You were a little off base. Just a little. Big smile.
  16. netsurfer

    netsurfer New Member

    Jan 16, 2008
    So what purpose does standby serve?

    As I understand it the fast rotational speed of the disks makes the read and write heads float on a cushion of air and never make contact with the disk. However, on spin down the heads make contact on the "landing zone"

    I think that is just a zone where no data is stored, for fear of destroying it upon landing and takeoff.

    Yes, no, maybe?

    Heads are fragile at 1/300 th the thickness of a human hair. Protect them at all cost. Then all you have to worry about is the drive logic circuit, NOT REALLY, and the motor and bearings. Liquid sealed bearings are going to last a lot longer than 7 years in my opinion and the motor does not generate enough heat to burn out its windings.

    Protect the heads and you will have hard drives that last a very long time. Unless the magnetic coating on the disk starts to fall off. That has happened before on drives about 10 years ago. They traced it to a cheap wash solution from China that made it difficult for the magnetic coating to stick to the disk.
  17. Mike_TV

    Mike_TV Active Member

    Jan 10, 2002
    Not to derail the thread but as a side point Windows Vista Media Center will come out of standby a few minutes before a show starts, record the show and then put the PC back into standby/sleep mode.

    I'm sure a future version of Tivo could provide similar functionality if they wanted to.
  18. sathead

    sathead Member

    Jan 12, 2008
    Back when TiVo and ReplayTV DVR's were designed, electricity was relatively cheap compared to hard drives.
    If there was any doubt about the potentially harmful effects of multi drive spindowns per day, it looks like the engineers erred on the cautious side. Now that the tide has turned and electricity has quadrupled in some locations (I pay $0.25/KWHr on Long Island) and hard drives are dirt cheap... maybe it's time for TiVo to revisit the spindown/hibernation issue. Maybe make it it an option as it is on all out Windows computers. Let the user decide if he wants to enable powersaving on his box.
    When My SA8300HD is hibernating- it consumes 1 Watt.
  19. netsurfer

    netsurfer New Member

    Jan 16, 2008
    Does it come out of hibernation to record? Or do you have to take it out of hibernation manually?
  20. ZeoTiVo

    ZeoTiVo I can't explain

    Jan 2, 2004
    an option would be good as it would let the specific situation dictate the benefit.

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