How reliable are the Bolts?

Discussion in 'TiVo Bolt DVR/Streamer' started by mandms7, Aug 19, 2018.

  1. Aug 19, 2018 #1 of 106

    mandms7 Member

    Mar 11, 2006
    Bay Area, CA


    I've been a TiVo customer since the Series 2, and every TiVo I've owned (Series 2, Premiere, Roamio Plus - all with Lifetime) have all been rock solid. I still have my Roamio, which if it wasn't for its painfully slow streaming apps (Amazon, Netflix) I wouldn't even consider the Bolt. I know I can just buy a Amazon Fire Stick for better performance, but I'd rather be able to do everything with one remote and input. The amount of threads related to the Bolt's high temperature issues have me very concerned about its long-term durability. I don't want to be 2 years into ownership of a Bolt and have the hard drive or main board crap out.

    Are my concerns justified? Is there any pattern of several year old Bolts failing?

  2. Aug 19, 2018 #2 of 106

    opus123 Member

    Feb 13, 2005
    Don't think Bolts have been around long enough to corroborate your reliability concerns, but they certainly could have been designed better to dissipate heat... which is a top reason for tech failure. I'm impressed with the speed/responsiveness of the Bolt vs my old TiVo-HD, but never had a Roamio to compare properly. Roamio's design certainly accommodates heat dissipation better, so If you're happy with Roamio performance, I'd just go with an Amazon/Apple/Roku device for streaming... unless you're offered a great deal on a Bolt (e.g. the $99 lifetime transfer) or are an OTA-only viewer. With the recent rumors of Amazon adding DVR support to future FireTv's I assume you'll have more viable alternatives to choose from in the next year or so.
  3. Aug 21, 2018 #3 of 106

    ohboy710 Member

    Jun 30, 2008
    The Hard Drive on my first Bolt died after 13 months. I was reading in another forum that this was very common because of a crappy hard drive model installed.. not sure if they have changed and started using a different type or not. Oh yes and my Bolt gets VERY hot. I gave my old Roamio to my mom which has now been working for about 6 years so I personally think the Roamio was better (although a little slower).
  4. Aug 21, 2018 #4 of 106

    scole250 Member

    Nov 8, 2005
    Goldsboro, NC
    I just replaced a couple 6 year old Premieres with 3TB 6 tuner Bolts w/lifetime. I thought it was well worth the $40 for the 3 year extended warranty.
    aaronwt likes this.
  5. Aug 21, 2018 #5 of 106

    darklyte Joe

    Sep 16, 2003
    New York, NY


    I've been with TiVo since series 1 and never had an immediate concern about their hardware, or any other electronics product in this cost bracket that I've purchased, until the Bolt.

    Sure on the old models the HD would fail after a few years and I've had to refresh capacitors in the PSU. But my S3 is still running fine 10 years later otherwise... and it never runs boiling hot.

    As soon as I got my bolt, it was immediately obvious, regardless of what you think of the aesthetics of the case (ugly), that it was not engineered for proper heat dissipation which has a direct negative impact on the lifespan of the device.

    I am no engineer or tech wiz, but...
    WHY is the only fan in a bolt as far away as possible from any of the main heat generating components?
    Why is the clearance for the bottom exhaust is so minimal that simply raising the device a half inch produces a few degree temp drop?
    Why aren't there at least a few exhaust holes in the case somewhere besides on the bottom?

    This is either incompetence at some stage of design/engineering, or if you believe in more sinister thinking, planned obsolesce to keep us TiVo fans from being able to hold on to the boxes for so many years. Because even a few minor tweaks that would have little to no impact on cost would help.

    That said, no one knows if these heat concerns will actually be valid or if we are all just cranky worry warts accustomed to the old machines that were built with real quality in mind.

    Hardware aside, I will say I expected some meaningful and positive user experience changes to the OS but the new interface was a huge disappointment, and not just because I was used to the old one, so I reverted back to the old OS immediately.

    So the new machines are faster and have online features and a few other things the old ones don't depending on your unit.

    If you're old one is running fine, carefully evaluate your reasons for upgrading and the costs in deciding what to do. The apps, specifically Netflix, is an inferior user experience on TiVo than an Amazon fire stick (and I assume other devices, I only have Fire). For example, Netflix is slower, harder to search and the app is just less robust overall, there are no live previews of things when you scroll through etc. The app integration experience isn't on par with what you are getting from other new devices and you'll probably find yourself still using them for most things instead.

    So if its running fine, and you aren't getting a cheap upgrade deal, I'd definitely wait it out.... I can't imagine its worth it if you have a Roamio. IMO
    compuguy and DocNo like this.
  6. Aug 22, 2018 #6 of 106

    TexasDVR Member

    Feb 20, 2013
    Other than a few SW Bugs that should not be there with Experience 4, the Hot box is a concern. My Bolt VOX is about 2-3 weeks old and so far so good.

    I do have it raised up on 1" tall rubber feet and I am thinking about placing cooling fans under it.

    Some have already complained about the failing "tuners" and "hard drives" that may be related to the heat.

    The mfg date on mine is Feb 2018, I have no idea what changes have been made in production, if any?
  7. Aug 22, 2018 #7 of 106

    darklyte Joe

    Sep 16, 2003
    New York, NY
    I wouldn't count on any meaningful changes being made in production, Tivo is not exactly known for the speed of updating their hardware.

    Since you've already got a unit, test it out for a few more days and otherwise you are still in the return window and can swap your lifetime service back to the old unit.

    Otherwise people are reporting laptop coolers underneath help, or you could go to the next level and add a fan on top which is what I'm working on.

    Another member suggested a Noctua NF-F12 5V fan for this, it is a 5 volt fan and comes with a USB adapter that you could plug into the back of the unit. I haven't tried that yet, but it seems the easiest route if you don't mind cutting a hole in the top of the case but prefer to not mess with the mainboard.

    NF-F12 5V
    compuguy likes this.
  8. Aug 22, 2018 #8 of 106

    scole250 Member

    Nov 8, 2005
    Goldsboro, NC
    I forgot to mention this before, but even if you didn't buy the extended warranty when you purchased the Bolt, you still have 90 days from the purchase date to call them back and buy it.
  9. Aug 22, 2018 #9 of 106

    leiff Active Member

    Aug 24, 2005
    SF Bay area
    the nf-f12 5v fan recommended, I don't think anyone here has posted 1st hand experience with. I see it can be had for $20 at Amazon.
    I just received my Xfinity S4 140 mm quiet rated fan from Amazon for $15. It moves enough air for me and is also quieter then Tivos internal fan by a long shot
  10. Aug 22, 2018 #10 of 106

    darklyte Joe

    Sep 16, 2003
    New York, NY
    Yeah I came across that fan also and was considering it until I learned about the Noctua 5V version and the discussion on the static pressure.

    That aside, Noctuas are generally among the best fans you can buy if you can get past the ugly brown color. I tested out using a permanent marker on another one I already have and it looks pretty good! I'll report back once mine is up and running.
    Last edited: Aug 22, 2018
  11. Aug 22, 2018 #11 of 106

    aspexil Active Member

    Oct 16, 2015
    We bought our 500G Tivo Bolt when they came out 3 years ago plus a 2T drive. Immediately upgraded it to 2T and then turned it on. It's been running ever since. The ODT was about 65-67C and with a laptop cooling fan I purchased last month now runs solid 55C every time I check it. So I don't think you need to worry too much about reliability.
    mattyro7878 likes this.
  12. Aug 23, 2018 #12 of 106

    elorimer Member

    Jan 1, 2012
    I follow the design but it seems backwards to me. The tuner and the cablecard seem like they generate the most heat, so we have the fan on the left pulling outside air from the right over the cablecard and the tuner, across the chip and down out of the left side. To provide less back pressure for exhaust down they bend the case. That means the hot air from the tuner and the cable card, plus the chip, go over the cooler hard drive.

    Anyway, I lifted up the left side an inch to improve the outflow, and the ODT went up as more hot air rose up and over the chip. Ha!

    If one is trying to improve airflow, you would want a fan moving air up on the right, and down on the left. I think the laptop fans are either up or down, aren't they?

    EDIT: I lifted the back, so that the unit leans forward. So heat would be rising to the back, away from the hard drive. ODT went from 62 to 59.
    Last edited: Aug 26, 2018
  13. Aug 23, 2018 #13 of 106

    Joe39565 Member

    Mar 19, 2014
    I can't wait until the rest of my bolt "upgrade" components arrive just to see what the ODT drops down to. Drilled about 70 holes in the bottom of the case, some of which are in the hard drive and cable card area to get as much air flow as possible with the case closed up and sitting normally. I've just finished installation of the 12 V 120 mm fan on the top cover. 100_0481.JPG 100_0482.JPG
  14. Aug 25, 2018 #14 of 106

    mkrsm New Member

    Jan 31, 2016
    I just had a Bolt failure last week. I bought it in early 2016 (Sept 2015 build date). After the house power was turned off and on, the BOLT came up with all the front LEDs blinking. I think this indicates a hard drive failure. As others noted, the unit always ran quite hot, not good for hard drives. After trying a few things, Tivo customer service replaced the unit for a fee. I didn't have an extended warranty.

    Now trying to figure out how to go back to the Tivo Classic interface.
  15. Aug 25, 2018 #15 of 106

    JoeKustra in the other Alabama TCF Club

    Dec 7, 2012
    Ashland, PA...
  16. Aug 26, 2018 #16 of 106

    Riftur New Member

    Nov 1, 2016
    Oh wow, I just got my Tivo bolt and am very disappointed at the new OS. Mainly because I can not just push play on a folder and have all the episodes play. I like to do this when doing chores around the house and have still been using my old Tivo for this purpose. When you do the rollback, does the skip feature still work? What options of note do you loose? Thanks
  17. Aug 26, 2018 #17 of 106

    HerronScott Well-Known Member

    Jan 1, 2002
    Staunton, VA
    Voice control through the VOX remote if you bought that version. Yes, SM still works. :)

    Riftur likes this.
  18. Aug 26, 2018 #18 of 106

    Riftur New Member

    Nov 1, 2016
  19. Aug 27, 2018 #19 of 106

    mkrsm New Member

    Jan 31, 2016
  20. Aug 27, 2018 #20 of 106

    Sibedog New Member

    Aug 27, 2018
    My Bolt+ crashed a week ago, a little over a year old (thank goodness for extended warranty). Still have a PremiereXL, Roamio and Roamio Pro working just fine. But the most frustrating part (other than losing all my recordings on the Bolt) is the replacement came with the new UI. I hate it. Seems to take many more steps to do anything than the old UI. I called and asked them to switch me to the old UI - and it didn't work. They had to file a ticket on it. I hope to heck they figure it out soon because this new one is driving me crazy.
    mickrussom likes this.

Share This Page

spam firewall