How to prevent 4 flashing lights after power outages?

Discussion in 'TiVo Bolt DVR/Streamer' started by JOSHSKORN, Aug 20, 2019.

  1. JOSHSKORN

    JOSHSKORN Member

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    This will be at least the second time this has happened to me. Last summer, my TiVo Bolt+ went out after my electric company had a brown-out. I had to order a replacement. A couple of weeks ago, of course while I was on vacation, the electric company had a scheduled power outage, power was out for 2 hours. I had someone at home during my vacation, got contacted that the TiVo Bolt+ was displaying the 4 flashing lights. I instructed to unplug it overnight, because I have had experience where it came back to life by doing this. No such luck this time around. I'll be ordering my SECOND replacement in the morning.

    Is there a way to prevent this from happening to my TiVo Bolt+ box? It looks like it just can't handle loosing any power and when it does, it causes the hard drive to crash. Suggestions for an Uninterrupted Power Supply?

    Any chance it could be a bad power supply? If so, should I try something aftermarket or is that a bit too risky? I've also read that the culprit is the hard drive, which if that's the case, there's no point in replacing that since I'll lose my shows anyways getting a new hard drive or new Bolt+.
     
  2. ej42137

    ej42137 Well-Known Member

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    UPS; CyberPower is my favorite ever since APC sold units that fried their own electronics when the battery wore out.
     
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  3. JOSHSKORN

    JOSHSKORN Member

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    How long can a Bolt+ run on no power from electricity when plugged into one of these things? Any estimate? I would plug only this into it, probably.
     
  4. ej42137

    ej42137 Well-Known Member

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    Hours. But that's not the point; putting it between your TiVo and the power company is to reduce the probability of a power outage killing your TiVo. If your TV isn't on a UPS you're not going to be using your Bolt when the power goes out.

    If your power is out for very many hours I bet your cable system is probably offline as well due to some major disaster. Where I live the cable goes out way more often than the power, but they don't usually fail at the same time, and never for very long (the power; the cable once went out for more than a week.)
     
    Last edited: Aug 20, 2019
  5. pgoelz

    pgoelz Active Member

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    This sounds a lot like the PUIS (Power Up In Standby) feature that some hard drives have. If this firmware feature is enabled, the hard drive powers up in standby and is not accessible until it is taken out of standby by the BIOS. If the Bolt does not issue whatever command the hard drive is looking for when it powers up, the hard drive will appear totally dead.

    I discovered this years ago when a momentary power failure caused the hard drive in my Tivo Series 3 to appear totally dead. It would not spin up at all. However, placed in my PC, it seemed fine. I tested it, re-formatted it, re-imaged it (plugged into my PC) and it worked perfectly. But every time I put it back in the Tivo, it refused to spin up. The power supply checked out fine. I eventually decided the drive was defective and replaced it. Then while continuing to research the issue I read about PUIS and I am near certain that was the issue. That "dead" hard drive is still in use as a backup drive in my desktop PC to this day. Since the Series 3 could be power cycled without incident before this happened, I have no explanation why PUIS suddenly became enabled but it definitely started after a brief power failure.

    Not saying this is your issue but it sure sounds like it. My Roamio and Bolt (that replaced the Series 3) have both been power cycled many times without incident, so there is no inherent problem with a power interruption damaging a Bolt. And if you think about it, there is no actual power button on a Tivo.... you just pull the plug..... so it HAS to be able to survive a power interruption.

    If you are comfortable with opening it up, put your ear to the hard drive and see if it spins up. If it does, PUIS is not the issue. But if it does not spin up, PUIS could be the cause. If PUIS is a feature on your hard drive, some research should locate a low level command line method to disable it. Unfortunately, this needs to be done in DOS from the command line while plugged directly into a SATA port in a PC so it is not that simple.

    Paul
     
    Last edited: Aug 20, 2019
  6. JOSHSKORN

    JOSHSKORN Member

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    Not that simple? Depends who you're talking to. LOL.

    So what if I did this, ran the DOS command? What next? Would the TiVo magically come back to life without problems or would I reformat it and essentially lose all of my shows?
     
  7. ej42137

    ej42137 Well-Known Member

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    I have two answers for you:

    1. All your shows will still be on your Bolt. You will bask in satisfaction for having fixed your problem with no magic involved. (IMO this is the more likely scenario.)

    2. Your Bolt will think it's a new disk, and reformat. You will regret losing all your shows, but will console yourself with the thought that they were already lost but now at least you have a working TiVo. Before you put your Bolt back on the shelf, you will consider replacing the HD with a larger one that doesn't have PUIS, and if you are made of money perhaps an 8TB SSD. Larger than 3TB?
     
  8. JackMcC

    JackMcC Member

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    I would go with a true sinewave ups from a reputable company like UPC that has software to perform a controlled shutdown during a power outage and the ability to correct for over/under voltage fluctuations from a brownout. They're also good for other sensitive electronics like LCD tvs and PCs that don't perform well with square wave or psuedo sinewave outputs.

    Sent from my SM-G960U using Tapatalk
     
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  9. Thom

    Thom Unemployed and loving it !

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    It is probably just a bad external power supply. The only part in the TiVo that needs the full 12vdc from the power supply is the hard drive. The mainboard runs on less voltage, so a damaged external power supply that cannot output a full 12vdc will cause a TiVo Roamio (base model) and a TiVo Bolt to flash all lights.

    Search for a thread titled TiVo Flashing Lights Of Death.
     
    Last edited: Aug 21, 2019
  10. ej42137

    ej42137 Well-Known Member

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    Controlled shutdown works for Windows or Linux; but AFAIK TiVos don't provide any way to configure the controlled shutdown.

    I heartily agree with everything else JackMcC says.

    The great majority of power outages are transient; a UPS will eliminate them from consideration. TiVos are designed to be shutdown by pulling the plug, a few longer shutdowns that exhaust your UPS shouldn't be an issue if you avoid the power spikes associated with a power outage by putting in a UPS.
     
  11. ej42137

    ej42137 Well-Known Member

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    Who the hell is UPC?
     
  12. Mikeguy

    Mikeguy Well-Known Member

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    [​IMG]
     
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  13. Thom

    Thom Unemployed and loving it !

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    I think he meant APC...
     
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  14. ej42137

    ej42137 Well-Known Member

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    If he did, now there are two things in that post I don't agree with.
     
  15. JackMcC

    JackMcC Member

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    What do you have against APC? Their smart UPS product line is a great UPS and the replacement batteries aren't more than $100.

    Sent from my SM-G960U using Tapatalk
     
  16. ej42137

    ej42137 Well-Known Member

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    Refer to msg #2.

    I had three of those pieces of crap fry one after the other as their batteries wore out; I only found out later that it was a known problem with their lower-end units that they refused to fix until much later. At the time they also charged exorbitant rates for special-order non-standard replacement batteries that turned out to be two common (and and much cheaper) batteries taped together with double-sided tape.
     
  17. kpeters59

    kpeters59 Well-Known Member

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    I'm pretty sure every Cyber Power unit I've installed was eventually replaced. Usually either with an APC or a Tripp-Lite.

    -KP
     
  18. ej42137

    ej42137 Well-Known Member

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    Every CyberPower UPS I've bought is still running.

    However, if you could provide details of your negative experiences we would all benefit.
     
  19. JOSHSKORN

    JOSHSKORN Member

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    I'm still waiting for TiVo to ship my replacement Bolt+, they should receive my defective Bolt+ by the end of today, so naturally, they'll ship it as soon as they receive it.

    I want some advice on purchasing a CyberPower UPS. It'll be from Costco, and I'll probably go there this weeekend. I've never owned one, so I don't quite understand how it works, much less, what to expect.

    I'd read something about turning the unit on when you're expecting the power to go out, but in my case, usually I wouldn't know when it'd happen. That said, can they, or do these units normally stay on?

    Those that have had their units fail, what can I expect? Does it cause mass fire? Should I put the local fire department on speed dial and keep a fire extinguisher handy? Does it just smoke? Stop working?
     
  20. ej42137

    ej42137 Well-Known Member

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    I don't know where you got the idea that you only turn the UPS on when power is about to fail, that is completely wrong. You need to keep it plugged in and on all the time to keep the battery charged and (for those models that provide clean power) clean your power.

    You plug it into a convenient wall socket. There are some settings that you may or may not want to change, but you can do that at your leisure (consult your manual). Plug the stuff you care about into the ports labelled "Battery". Plug stuff the other stuff into the ports that are only labelled "Surge". When your power goes out you will get an alarm; your beloved devices will continue to get power as long at the battery lasts.

    (If you were connecting the UPS to a PC, you would have software to install and a USB or Ethernet cable to connect your PC to the UPS; but this isn't something that applies to a TiVo.)

    The only failures I have had is for the battery to die; that will happen eventually to every UPS, but the battery should last some years. With the CyberPower units I have now, you get an audible warning when the battery is failing; if you ignore the warning, when the battery dies your devices will continue to run but they will power off when you have a power outage. Replacing the battery is simple.

    Your clock radio is more likely to burst into flames than a UPS.

    Why I Hate APC
    In the past when I was using lower-end APC UPS devices, I would often get no warning when the battery died, and a dead battery would kill the UPS permanently. I doubt this is still the case, but this planned obsolescence, plus a battery that was not supposed to be customer replaceable, was very expensive to replace, and consisted of two common batteries wired together and glued together with double-sided foam tape all gave me a very bad experience; I will never buy another APC product, even if I have to plug my electronics into a wall socket in the middle of a thunderstorm.
     

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