HDD failing? Diagnosis tips?

Discussion in 'TiVo Series 1 - UK' started by AWT, Oct 6, 2007.

  1. Oct 6, 2007 #1 of 20
    AWT

    AWT New Member

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    I suspect that the Samsung 400GB drive in my TiVo might on the way out. I'm getting stuttering during playback and long pauses. As an example of a pause, during playback today the picture froze and although the Tivo UI responded to pressing FF 3x nothing else happened. I came back 10mins later and it was okay.

    I'm still in the investigative stages right now. A brief look at the logs in TivoWeb hasn't revealed anything but I might be looking for the wrong thing or in the wrong place.

    I've been doing the odd bit of extraction recently and I'm wondering whether the overheads of running the server app on the Tivo and/or the system overheads in maintaining a FTP data stream might be messing up the odd recording (i.e. the recordings that I've noticed stuttering).

    What should I check for in what Tivo log file to get further insight? Short of running Samsung diags on the drive hooked up to a PC, are there any other checks I can make?

    Thanks
    Andrew
     
  2. Oct 6, 2007 #2 of 20
    blindlemon

    blindlemon tivoheaven.co.uk

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    The things to lok for are "uncorrectable sector" errors and/or DMA errors in kernel log.

    However, if there are no errors in the logs I would tend to suspect something other than the drive. Have you tried disabling all your hacks? Inconsiderate database use can very occasionally cause picture freezing - one example of this is my setupMode0.tcl script.
     
  3. Oct 6, 2007 #3 of 20
    AWT

    AWT New Member

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    Thanks blindlemon, it was a case of me searching for the wrong things....
    Code:
    Oct 6 11:49:47 (none) kernel: hda: disabled DMA
    Oct 6 11:49:47 (none) kernel: hda: ide-tivo re-enabled DMA
    Oct 6 11:49:48 (none) kernel: ide0: reset: success
    Oct 6 11:49:58 (none) kernel: Stopping immediate on Ide
    Oct 6 11:49:58 (none) kernel: IDE: tivo DMA engine aborted
    Oct 6 11:49:58 (none) kernel: hda: irq timeout: status=0xd0 { Busy }
    Oct 6 11:49:58 (none) kernel: hda: irq timeout: error=0xd0 { BadSector UncorrectableError SectorIdNotFound }, secCnt=208, LBAsect=13684944
    Oct 6 11:49:58 (none) kernel: hda: disabled DMA
    Oct 6 11:49:58 (none) kernel: hda: ide-tivo re-enabled DMA 
    I'd better get my recordings off that drive asap! :(
     
  4. Oct 6, 2007 #4 of 20
    AWT

    AWT New Member

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    What are my best bets for getting stuff off the old drive?

    Okay, I can ftp download as much as many programs as I can right now (disk space permitting). I plan on trying dd rescue once I have a new drive to hand. Is there other stuff like settings/season passes that I can readily FTP off the failing drive and FTP back on once it's replaced?

    I bought this drive trade from work and I'll get it sent back for a replacement. Before I do that I need to buy a replacement - blindlemon, would you be prepared to sell me a bare 400GB Samsung and if so, how much? :)
     
  5. Oct 6, 2007 #5 of 20
    blindlemon

    blindlemon tivoheaven.co.uk

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    I only have tested, pre-configured drives in stock (I like to get ahead!) and there are not many people selling those drives any more. The postal strike also makes things a bit more difficult.

    I'm currently getting mine from www.refreshcomputers.com/ who use CityLink and appear to dispatch same day if you order early.

    The best way to deal with returns on Samsung drives is to send them back directly to their UK service agent www.rexo.co.uk who normally turn around a replacement within a few days.
     
  6. Oct 7, 2007 #6 of 20
    Pete77

    Pete77 New Member

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    Disappointing to hear that one of these is failing already, although of course the failure of an individual drive early does not mean that the series as a whole is not long lived. Touch wood my two Samsung HA250JCs are still running fine.

    Out of interest how long has this 400Gb drive been running in your Tivo? I suppose you could try one of the 750Gb IDE Seagate drives as an alternative to the Samsung.

    The BT online shop is selling them for £125.71 including delivery at www.shop.bt.com/productview.aspx?quicklinx=42L3

    Scarcely any more money than two 400Gb Samsung drives for almost the same capacity. And of course Seagate drives come with a 5 year warranty that ought to see out most of your Tivo's remaining useful lifetime.

    The BT Shop uses overnight courier delivery rather than postal delivery.

    Very few people seem to have fitted a 750Gb Seagate so far in the Tivo, mainly because you can only fit one (power consumption) and historically due to high pricing.
     
  7. Oct 7, 2007 #7 of 20
    AWT

    AWT New Member

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    I'm not sure exactly when I bought the drive, definitely sometime earlier this year, but I'll probably check when I'm at work tomorrow. It was in the month they started broadcasting 24 Day-6 since I accidentally left a few episodes on the old drive! :)

    I am planning on buying another 400GB Samsung and using dd-rescue to copy the old to the new and then RMA'ing the old unit. Presumably the old one will be swapped like-for-like so I could theoretically run 2x 400GB further down the line? I might in fact just keep the replacement as a spare in case I find myself in this situation again.

    The 5-year warranty on the Seagate is interesting - that's quite a guarantee for a drive destined to spend its life in a PVR!
     
  8. Oct 7, 2007 #8 of 20
    Pete77

    Pete77 New Member

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    But if you start checking out user reports of first installation date at www.storagereview.com you start to realise the average hard drive life is probably around 5 years, even though of course quite a number fail below that and a few stalwarts make it to 10 years or more assuming the PC is still in use at that time...............

    My checking out of the individual drive series results at StorageReview seemed to reveal that only some IBM (now Hitachi) drive series made in the late 90s actually nearly all had consistently abismally short lives. Maxtor drives don't on the whole seem to have done nearly as badly as their reputation with certain members of this forum would tend to lead us to believe.

    Only Seagates seem to stand out as genuinely lasting longer than other makes.
     
  9. Oct 7, 2007 #9 of 20
    blindlemon

    blindlemon tivoheaven.co.uk

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    Do you ever NOT mis-represent what somebody else has said? :mad:

    As you know very well, my aversion to Maxtor drives is specifically in relation to their use in TiVos - the storagereview data relates to PC use.

    In PCs, maybe.

    The Seagate drives I've sold for TiVo use have, so far, been less reliable (more failures within the first couple of months) than Samsungs. The 400gb DB35 drives (allegedly specially designed for PVR use) were particularly bad in this regard.

    And good news for you Pete: the most reliable drive I've ever sold - by far - has been the Samsung HA250JC :)
     
  10. Pete77

    Pete77 New Member

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    Hopefully they are considerably more reliable than this Samsung MP0804H 80Gb 2.5" drive which is 30 months old and about to turn up its toes at any moment judging from the squeeking and other strange sounds it makes as it tries to write and the various file allocation errors which a Scandisk on bootup (NTFS formatted disk) failed to correct, with the drive instead rebooting half way through.

    I think I have only kept the disk going this long by keeping the machine running 24/7 over the last 2 weeks instead of letting it go cold. If the disk cools down then there are all sorts of nasty retry noises from the heads when it starts up.

    People seem to swear by the Seagate Momentus range for Notebooks but the actual customer reports at StorageReview.com seemed to show quite a few failures in this range....

    As to the issue of the lack of appropriateness of Mator drives for Tivo use do you have any empirical evidence which actually bears this out?

    By the way you will notice that I did not mention any specific bashers of Maxtor drives in Tivo use in this forum. As you are by far from being the only one I'm a little mystified at to why you appear to have taken these comments somewhat personally. :eek: :(
     
  11. blindlemon

    blindlemon tivoheaven.co.uk

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    Care to name the others?

    So far, all the failed 120gb upgrade drives I have seen in customers' TiVos have been Maxtors. My own first upgrade drive was also a Maxtor and that died after a few months. I replaced it with two 5400rpm Samsung drives that are still going strong... :)
     
  12. Pete77

    Pete77 New Member

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    I though that I seem to remember hearing somewhere or other how two drive set ups in a Tivo ran so much hotter than and were inherently more unreliable than a single drive setup ;) :p
     
  13. AMc

    AMc Active Member

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    A failure in either drive will kill the Tivo. You are twice as likely to experience a fatal error with two drives running at the same time than with one drive alone - it's just basic probability.

    I've got two drives, one is old and the other very old. At the time I did it it was an acceptable trade off between price and performance i.e. 30GB free storage. If I were to do the upgrade now I would make a different choice.
     
  14. Pete77

    Pete77 New Member

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    Does having two drives not in some way reduce the load by spreading the program writing activity across two drives rather than one.

    Or is the Live Buffer only exclusively written 24/7 to Drive A (I think this may be the case).

    Also for whatever reason a lot of the original 30Gb and 15Gb Quantum drive setups are still running. I wonder if the 40Gb Quantum by cramming in more data or having more platters or something was not in some way pushing the edges of the envelope more.
     
  15. blindlemon

    blindlemon tivoheaven.co.uk

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    Yes, that's true - but I did my upgrade before the days when large single drives were economical - 120gb was a big drive in 2003!
    Probably, slightly. But I wouldn't count on it to increase the reliability of the drives very much :)

    The best plan is to avoid Maxtor and go for Samsung - esp. HA250JC - IMHO :up:
     
  16. Pete77

    Pete77 New Member

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    But you can be unlucky with the longevity of individual Samsung drives too as AWT's experience shows.

    I also seem to recall that there was one of the Samsung 120Gb or 160Gb hard drive series on which the failure rates were not nearly so encouraging.

    I agree that touch wood the HA250JC does seem to have exceptional durability properties in a PVR but that being so its hard to understand why Samsung have never come up with a 400Gb or 500Gb successor model built to the same specs.
     
  17. blindlemon

    blindlemon tivoheaven.co.uk

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    Lack of demand I expect. 99% of drive sales are still for PC use, so making a special drive for PVRs is only viable if your sales are astronomical - eg. like Seagate.

    I suspect the 160gb drive you have in mind was a Seagate, BTW - the 160gb 7200.9 was very poor for aggravating the "helium sound" bug, even when a re-test in a PC showed no problems.
     
  18. Pete77

    Pete77 New Member

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    I am sure there was once a time when you actively preferred Seagates over Samsungs because you felt there was little to choose between them on quietness but Seagate drives offered a 5 year warranty compared to only 3 years on Samsung. I am pretty sure that in those days you also tended to believe that Seagates were probably more reliable precisely because they were prepared to offer a longer warranty, even though you did believe that Samsung drives were definitely the quietest.

    It seems your views have now changed in the light of subsequent experience. ;)

    It is noticeable that no manufacturer who has launched a new hard drive in the last 12 months at 500Gb or above has bother providing an IDE interface version.
     
  19. blindlemon

    blindlemon tivoheaven.co.uk

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    Even the HD400LD is now becoming scarce :(

    I'm going to have to start supplying SATA drives with an IDE adapter soon... :eek:
     
  20. Pete77

    Pete77 New Member

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    Are SATA adapters bulky and/or do they require their own power supply?

    Surely there must be some kind of major downside controlling a drive designed for SATA operation with IDA/PATA instead?

    There seems to be a 500Gb Western Digital Caviar IDE drive available for only £64 delivered at www.shop.bt.com/productview.aspx?quicklinx=4L6H

    I don't think reliability of Western Digital is that bad but I suspect they are probably a lot noisier than a Samsung or a Seagate.
     

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