I'm now on my 5th Failed TiVo

Discussion in 'TiVo Bolt DVR/Streamer' started by burky39, Aug 18, 2017.

  1. burky39

    burky39 New Member

    Feb 11, 2016
    I am now on my 5th cable TV box in 6 months. The last one lasted 2 weeks, The one before made it 6 weeks. I have NEVER in my entire life (78) experienced so many failures for a piece of equipment.

    I suspect every one of these failures is a result of lightning strikes somewhere in the area, as all failures have occurred right after a thunder boom. Somewhat surprising as in our community there are NO overhead lines. Everything is buried cable, so apparently a ground surge over the copper wiring serving our home is the culprit.

    My Comcast cable service has a lightening arrester installed inside their service box. The coax then comes from that box to my home wiring closet, where I have an additional TII-210 Coaxial Broadband In-Line Surge Suppressor (TII-210MF75F225-31) - cableTVamps® arrester installed BEFORE the cable connection is delivered then to the telephone equipment, the network modem and the TV system.

    The TV system (TiVo Bolt box) ONLY has been the single piece of equipment to fail each and every time. The TiVo Bolt box is on a (good) UPS system along with an 80" TV, DVD drive, sound system, and Ethernet distribution switch. No other equipment connected to the incoming coax has ever been damaged, but the TiVo boxes.

    Apparently the TiVo Bolt box is more sensitive to surges than all the other (phone and computer) devices also connected to the incoming cable. Nothing else (but the Bolts and the original Roamio) have EVER failed.

    A Comcast tech has been here and stated the entry point lightning protector is properly connected.

    I have now replaced almost $1,000 worth of TiVo DVR boxes, and that just doesn't seem right.

    I can only conclude these devices are badly designed and are overly sensitive to surges on their coax input.

    Have others had the same problem and is there a Class Action suit needed to get TiVo to listen? I have written to enginnering suggesting there is a serious issue and offering to help in any way I can (I'm a retired electronics design engineer with many products under my belt) and I fought for months to get responsible conversations going and finally had to write the President of the company to get any action, but it hasn't helped.
  2. sfhub

    sfhub Well-Known Member

    Jan 6, 2007
    What is the failure? Unit won't start, HDMI blank, unit won't tune, 4 flashing lights, etc?
  3. atmuscarella

    atmuscarella Well-Known Member

    Oct 11, 2005
    Rochester NY
    I would say most of us are not having that kind of failure rate, my Bolt is now 19 months old and has not failed. Unless you are specifically telling TiVo your boxes where hit by lighting they should have been covered under warranty. Of course if they got past 90 days old you would have to pay the $50 replacement fee which is a pain in the a** but certainly not enough to think about a class action suite. I once had the same issue with a refurbed Series 3 that I bought. It took 4 tries to get one that work, but the first 3 were all defective out of the box so no cost to me for replacements.
  4. Fant

    Fant Member

    Aug 31, 2016
    That's insane .. 2 odd things .. 1 is that you have a lightning arrestor installed. That is not normal is it? That tells me there is a lightning issue in your area that most people don't have. The 2nd odd thing is that nothing else is failing except the TiVo. I wonder if the TiVo is taking the hit saving your other devices. You'd have to try your system without a TiVo Hooked up on the next few storms but not sure you want to risk damaging your tv :)
  5. shwru980r

    shwru980r Well-Known Member

    Jun 22, 2008
    How old is your lightning protection equipment? My understanding of this technology is that each surge depletes the protection reserve to some degree until there is no protection left.
  6. burky39

    burky39 New Member

    Feb 11, 2016
    Woops. Sorry for the response delay. I expected the forum to email me when there was a response, but never got anything. When I manually checked this morning, I see there are many responses.

    All units have failed exactly the same, including the 1 Roamio and 4 Bolts. After a failure, all front panel LEDs are Off. If you power cycle the DVR, the red LED comes on for ~1 second then goes out (normally the green LED would then light, but nothing does after a failure). The units are TOTALLY dead and non-functional in any way, however the cooling fan continues to run.

    I can't speak to Comcast's lightning arrester but mine is only a few months old and is a Gas-Discharge unit which is claimed to last for 1,500 uses.

    I remain highly disappointed that the TiVo DVR's have failed time and time again and not a single other piece of equipment has ever had a problem. It would appear that something in the TiVo design is vastly different than other products and overly sensitive to surges coming in the coax, which is also connected to other modems, and equipment.

    Assuming I'm not going to see any immediate TiVo design improvements, if anyone with cable system installation experience has any ideas I can communicate to Comcast re what they might want to look for in my incoming network signal paths, it might be helpful.
  7. justen_m

    justen_m Cheesehead

    Jan 14, 2004
    Boise, ID
    I have to ask... where the heck do you live that you get that many lightning strikes?

    In any case, in 20 years I've seen two strikes hit my lake, maybe 200 yards away, and it never hurt my TiVos, S2DT and TiVoHD, or other electronics. Haven't seen a strike with my Roamio or Bolt.

    The only stuff I know to look for is self-reporting info from the cable modem. try pointing your browser to
  8. kpeters59

    kpeters59 Well-Known Member

    Jun 19, 2007
    Houston, Texas
    There is a (good) possibility that you have DC voltage on your cable wire. It's pretty common. For me, it mostly ends up causing hum in an audio system. I suppose it might make the TiVo fail. Except you're the only one having this trouble.

    There's are DC blocks available for the coax wire that might be a good thing to try. I guarantee nothing!

    NorthAlabama likes this.
  9. Sparky1234

    Sparky1234 Well-Known Member

    May 8, 2006

    1. Power across cable
    2. Power across ethernet / phone line
    3. Lastly check house power for volts / hertz and ground.

    I have seen and corrected strange reading across all 3.
    jrtroo likes this.
  10. BobCamp1

    BobCamp1 Well-Known Member

    May 15, 2002
    This sounds like a problem with the "(good) UPS system". I don't think it's coming from the coax. -- you'd think that kind of failure would be the Tivo powering up but not getting a signal, not that the Tivo can't power up at all. I wonder is the brick goes bad or the main unit or both?

    Does the UPS switch to battery power at all? The switching can generate a huge surge in itself. The power that comes out of a UPS in battery mode is also really "nasty" and could be frying your Tivo. And maybe the UPS simply isn't switching when it should. A good UPS system starts at $1500, but really should be at least $3000. In my experience, most consumer level UPSes cause more problems than they solve.

    UPSes don't have great surge protection, and it sounds like you really need that instead of a UPS. You'll have to look at your UPS manual to see if you can plug in a surge protector before the UPS and what kind it should be. If you can't, I'd ditch the UPS and get good surge protectors instead.
    Fant likes this.
  11. jrtroo

    jrtroo Chill- its just TV

    Feb 4, 2008
    I would definitely track these down. Opening the outlet to make sure the wires are not haphazard would be my first next step. Just turn it off at the panel!

    Note: edited to make sure I was clear on my recommendation!
    Last edited: Aug 21, 2017
  12. Sparky1234

    Sparky1234 Well-Known Member

    May 8, 2006
    Use a contactless volt / ohm meter with power on / off. Safety first!!!
  13. aaronwt

    aaronwt UHD Addict

    Jan 31, 2002
    I've been using APC UPSs at home since 1996. Whether they were $40 or $300 I have never run into an issue with the hundreds of devices I've used with them. All my electronic devices are connected to them. And even if I run them for over twelve hours on a UPS, everything behaves the same way as when they aren't running off a UPS.

    EDIT: Actually i remember now that there was one device that did show a difference when connected to a UPS. I had an old HP HDTV from 2006 or so that would generate a slight buzzing sound from the power supply when running on a UPS. But it did not affect usage and was not very loud. But that was the only device I've run into with an issue like that while running on a UPS.

    Every Tivo I've ever owned, since 2001 has always been connected to a UPS. And they have been fine.
  14. BobCamp1

    BobCamp1 Well-Known Member

    May 15, 2002
    Every Tivo I've owned I've plugged directly into the wall with no surge protection or UPS, and they have been fine. My S1 Tivo still powers up after 16 years.

    It could be you didn't really need a UPS, or the UPS ran in battery mode very infrequently, and/or you didn't get many surges. You admitted to having a weird issue with one of your devices, which is more common than you think. I've experienced this at work. The devices' power supplies are supposed to filter out all those nasty harmonics, but a few of them don't and you get weird noises or behavior. The surge protection in those UPSes are just MOVs and could be poorly implemented. The MOVs should be replaced once every two years or so, and if they can't then buy a new UPS.

    Since I have FIOS, running the Tivo on the UPS is a waste of money and is totally pointless. The Tivo can't record anything when the power goes out because there is no signal from the ONT. The UPS's main function is NOT surge protection, but providing power during a blackout. People who only want surge protection are better off spending their money on that instead of a UPS.
    Fant likes this.
  15. Dan203

    Dan203 Super Moderator Staff Member TCF Club

    Apr 17, 2000
    Have you tried simply replacing the power cable to the Bolt? The Bolt uses a wall wart style power adapter, rather then an internal power supply, so it's possible the power surges are killing the tiny electronics in the wall wart and not the TiVo itself.
  16. razor237

    razor237 Member

    Feb 1, 2002
    Jackson, NJ
    Wow that's some crazy bad luck. out off all the TiVo's i've owned the failures were almost always the Hard Drive failing and one power supply. the reliability has always been decent IMO. Lightning strikes can cause havoc, i may be wrong but i've been told that if you've been hit and had EQ fried you should change any surge protectors that it was hooked up too since they may not protect from another surge. you may need a new surge protector for your cable line as well.
  17. aaronwt

    aaronwt UHD Addict

    Jan 31, 2002
    My area has many power surges and Brown outs. If I didn't have my TiVos on a UPS, they would be rebooting almost daily. Each day I have several surges or brown outs that affect things that are not on a UPS. Like my lights, refrigerator, Heat pump, microwave etc.

    The weird Power Supply issue I had was only from one device out of literally hundreds I've used on UPSs since 1996 at home. Out of the ten 2k HD sets I've owned, all have been connected to a UPS, and that was the only one I had the PS issue with. Even my old 32" CRT from the 90's worked fine on a UPS

    I am on FiOS too. For the last ten years, my ONT and router have been on an APC UPS with extended runtime battery. So I am good for around 18 hours during an outage. And I can continue watching TV, using the internet, cordless phones etc. I also use around a dozen other APC UPSs with extended runtime batteries for my other electronic devices.

    I live in a condo so I can't have a whole home generator/battery backup. So these APC UPSs with extended runtime batteries are my best solution. And fortunately I've not had an outage much longer than 12 hours before. Although my runtime of course depends on the devices and power draw at each UPS. So my UHD TV, receiver, subwoofer etc. in that setup are only good for around 2.5 hours during an outage. But my TiVos are all good for over 15 hours during an outage. So I won't miss any recordings.
    Last edited: Aug 22, 2017
  18. Okiesnipe

    Okiesnipe Member

    Sep 5, 2017
    I live in Oklahoma and have lost a router each season. I use a TP Link C9 that sits next to a new UPS. I suspect the EMP enters thru the external antennas. I have learned to keep a spare and exchange the damaged one.

    I would also loose the board in my Chamberlain Garage Door Opener each year (x3) until I added a surge suppressor at the outlet. Now, I have suppressors through out the house.
  19. chicagobrownblue

    chicagobrownblue Well-Known Member

    May 29, 2008
    Chicago, IL
    I'd have a low voltage person or an electrician look things over. Maybe you have a 110 AC leak into your coax or a direct current leak as mentioned upthread. My coax is on a surge suppressor built into my battery backup. Bolts are sensitive to high signal strength, Roamios very much less so.
  20. Angry_Sam

    Angry_Sam New Member

    Jul 29, 2017
    I am also on TiVo bolt number 4 since May this year. Each has had a variety of issues. Typical knee jerk from TiVo is to blame Verizon Fios. I am at the end of my patience with TiVo. I keep asking for a refund of sorts for the failed service I could not use but got billed for. I also want sow thing of the hardware thy can't seem to get working ever. TiVo worked fine for 8 months then crapped out.

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