Is my HDD dead?

Discussion in 'TiVo Series 1 - UK' started by itm, Sep 12, 2011.

  1. itm

    itm New Member

    244
    0
    Aug 12, 2001
    London, UK
    Following a power cut my Tivo started rebooting itself every 5 minutes. Suspecting a HDD failure, I removed the drive (a Samsung HA250JC) and ran Spinrite on it (level 2) to try and revive it. It completed the analysis, reporting no errors/corrections, and I replaced it in the Tivo. When I then tried to reboot the Tivo it wouldn't restart - the green light would flash but nothing was displayed on the TV.
    I then removed the HDD again and mounted it in a Linux machine. The drive was visible in GParted, but showed as being unpartitioned.
    Does it look as if the disk is trashed beyond recovery?
     
  2. drgeoff

    drgeoff Member

    63
    0
    Nov 10, 2005
    Was Spinrite running on a Windows PC? I seem to remember that putting a TiVo into a PC and letting the PC boot Windows XP or later is a very bad idea. Windows overwrites some important (to Tivo) data on the drive.

    Maybe someone more knowledgeable can confirm this and say if there is any way to retrieve the situation without re-imaging or losing existing recordings. If not then now is your opportunity to change to the AltEPG image, if you haven't already done so :).

    Of course the drive may have been kaput before Windows saw it but I've been running one of those Samsungs for years and suffered quite a few power cuts without problems.
     
  3. unitron

    unitron Well-Known Member

    16,576
    41
    Apr 28, 2006
    semi-coastal NC
    I'm not sure Gparted is going to show TiVo partitions. Does it know how to read an Apple_Partition_Map in addition to the standard pc type partition table?

    You need to look at it with the MFS Live cd v1.4 and run

    pdisk -l /dev/whereveryouhookeduptheTiVodrive

    (and that's a lowercase L after the hyphen).

    You can also run

    mfsinfo /dev/whereveryouhookeduptheTiVodrive

    and see what that says.

    If you're not even getting the "Welcome, powering up" screen, that's not a hard drive problem, because that bitmap is built into the motherboard.

    You might need to check your power supply for capacitor disease.
     
  4. itm

    itm New Member

    244
    0
    Aug 12, 2001
    London, UK
    I'll see if I can find somewhere to download the MFS Live CD to check the HDD, but I'm not seeing the "Welcome, powering up" screen either, so does that definitely mean that it's not the HDD that's causing this specific booting problem?

    I'm not sure I have the skills to check the power supply, but does anyone supply replacement power supplies which are easy to replace?
     
  5. unitron

    unitron Well-Known Member

    16,576
    41
    Apr 28, 2006
    semi-coastal NC
    Go to mfslive.org for the iso for the cd.

    (or maybe it's the zipfile of the iso)

    If you have a replacement power supply, it's simple to swap out the old one.

    I'm in North Carolina so I can't speak to UK power supply availability, but you could check the power supply for bad capacitors.

    Go to badcaps.net and/or google capacitor disease to learn what signs to look for.

    You might be able to replace any bad caps and get the supply working properly again much less expensively than buying a replacement.

    On the other hand, with TiVo having discontinued service for Series 1 machines in the UK, you might be able to pick up another machine or 3 to cannibalize cheap or out of the trash.

    Try booting the TiVo with the hard drive removed from the machine.

    If the power supply is not dead, but ailing, not having the drive trying to pull current may let it supply enough to boot the motherboard.

    If you get the Welcome screen that way, then the motherboard is probably still good. Once you get the Welcome screen, you can unplug it, because without a drive that's as far as it's going to go.

    If the above does happen, you can try using a computer power supply to supply power for the hard drive and just connect the data cable from the TiVo to it, have the drive already powered before plugging in the TiVo, and if it goes past the Welcome screen to the Few more minutes screen, you've shown that the power supply can no longer power both the board and the drive.
     
  6. AMc

    AMc Active Member

    2,623
    0
    Mar 22, 2002
    East of England
  7. unitron

    unitron Well-Known Member

    16,576
    41
    Apr 28, 2006
    semi-coastal NC

    I'm pretty sure SpinRite stills supplies its own operating system from which it boots, so there shouldn't have been any danger from a pre XP Service Pack 2 version of Windows scribbling on the drive (overwriting bootpage) at boot.

    The last thing a low-level utility like SpinRite needs is to have any flavor of Windows or DOS getting in the way.
     
  8. itm

    itm New Member

    244
    0
    Aug 12, 2001
    London, UK
    I removed the drive and tried rebooting, watching the internals as I did so. I still don't get the Welcome screen, and the only sign of life from the system is the power light on the cachecard, which flashes on and off. The fan doesn't start up.

    Does this mean point to a dodgy power supply?
     
  9. drgeoff

    drgeoff Member

    63
    0
    Nov 10, 2005
    The fan not starting does indeed cast suspicion on the PSU. Do you have or can you borrow a multimeter?
     
  10. itm

    itm New Member

    244
    0
    Aug 12, 2001
    London, UK
    I inherited a multimeter but am ashamed to say that I have no idea how to use it. Is anyone able to offer an idiot's guide to using it to check the PSU?
     
  11. drgeoff

    drgeoff Member

    63
    0
    Nov 10, 2005
    Safety first! Keep well away form the PSU itself. I think you know that is the board at rear right.

    Does the multimeter have probes which will go into the "holes" of the 4 pin power connector for the disk drive?

    Is it a digital meter (number display) or an analogue (moving pointer above a scale) one? A digital one and some analogue ones will most likely have a rotary switch to select what you want to measure and the range. Some analogue ones instead do this by having a choice of holes that you plug the test leads into.

    You need to set the meter to measure DC volts (DC V or V DC). Not AC volts AC V or V AC), nor any current (A, mA, uA), nor resistance (K, M) etc. And you want the range to be more than 12 volts - ideally 15v or 20v or 25v if the meter has one of those. Some digital meters are 'auto-ranging' - and you only need to select DC voltage.

    When you think the meter is set correctly try measuring a newish AA or AAA battery. It should be about 1.5 volts.

    Report back if you have success with the above and we'll proceed to the next step. If not, try to answer the questions above.
     
  12. itm

    itm New Member

    244
    0
    Aug 12, 2001
    London, UK
    It's an analogue meter. The -COM terminal is presumably the negative terminal, but I'm not sure where to connect the positive probe - the other sockets are labelled:
    - OUTPUT
    - +DC 1200V
    - +DC 600V
    - (AC 1200V)
    - + V - Omega - A
     
  13. itm

    itm New Member

    244
    0
    Aug 12, 2001
    London, UK
    OK I've managed to test a 1.5v battery using the +-Omega-A port on the multimeter. The probes are small enough for the 4-pin HDD power connectors - which pins should I be connecting the probes to?
     
  14. itm

    itm New Member

    244
    0
    Aug 12, 2001
    London, UK
    Ok after a bit of Googling I got the following readings from testing the power from one of the HDD power connectors:
    - Black & Yellow terminals: 12V
    - Black and Red terminals: 5V

    Does this mean the PSU's healthy, or is there more that I need to check?
     
  15. itm

    itm New Member

    244
    0
    Aug 12, 2001
    London, UK
    A bit more testing....if I leave the multimeter probes in place for longer (e.g. 15-20 secs) the voltage readings from both the 5V and 12V terminals occasionally dips a few volts then bounces back up again. Could this be an indicator of the PSU problem?
     
  16. drgeoff

    drgeoff Member

    63
    0
    Nov 10, 2005
    The 5 and 12 volts on the red and yellow wires are what I would expect but the dips you mention are puzzling. Was this with the hard disk drive connected?

    Try unplugging both the cachecard and disk drive. Power and 40 way cable out of the drive. You should get the Welcome screen and the voltage rails should be steady.
     
  17. unitron

    unitron Well-Known Member

    16,576
    41
    Apr 28, 2006
    semi-coastal NC

    The fan not running could mean a power supply problem or a motherboard problem since the motherboard switches power to the fan, depending on internal temperature sensing.

    That meter should have some sort of battery inside to provide current for the resistance measuring function. It's probably very old by now, and you should take it out before it leaks, and put in a new one.

    You can operate the other functions of the meter without that battery.

    There is a possibility that the meter has 2 batteries, one for the resistance measuring, and another to power a Field Effect Transistor "front end" that let's you get more accurate measurements that don't divert as much current from what you're measuring. You will need that other battery to operate the Voltage and current measurement functions if you have that kind of meter.

    If you have to plug the meter into a wall socket to get it to work you have an old vacuum tube meter which will probably still have a separate battery to operate the resistance measuring funtion.

    If you've got two batteries, you should probably replace both.

    Without seeing it, I'm guessing that ordinarily you put the black lead into the com (common) jack and the red into the

    +V
    (positive voltage)

    Omega

    (resisitance)

    -A

    (current, measured in Amperes, or fractions thereof)

    jack.

    In addition to those jacks do you have some sort of range selector switch?

    If so, describe it.

    And while you're at it, give us the brand and model of that meter.

    It sounds like it might be a fairly good and originally expensive old one.

    The black wires on the 4 pin Molex connector are the ground connectors, the yellow is the +12, and the red is the +5.

    The 2 black wires are tied together inside the power supply, so they are at the same potential (O Volts), so you can measure the difference in potential (the voltage) between either the yellow or the red and either one of the black wires.

    The meter should have a very high internal resistance (except for the current measuring part, which is beyond your current knowledge and skill), so it puts very little load on the power supply when you measure the power supply's output voltages.

    If you don't have the drive connected it may read higher.

    If you have the drive connected you may see some fluctuation as the drive draws more or less current from either line, depending on what it's doing and needs electricity for, but a good power supply shouldn't let it drag it down for long by more than about a Volt or less.

    I'll try to post back soon with info on what voltage you should be able to read on which wire on the cable assembly that comes off of the power supply and plugs into the socket on the motherboard.
     
  18. itm

    itm New Member

    244
    0
    Aug 12, 2001
    London, UK
    OK I powered up with both the cache card and the HDD fully disconnected (both power and data cables from the HDD). I got no Welcome Screen, no fan, and only a brief flash of the green LED on the front panel of the Tivo. The voltage readings were fluctuating on both the 5V and 12V terminals of the HDD power connector coming from the PSU.
    The multimeter is a Micronta 22-211 (bought from Radio Shack in the USA). There are photos of it in post #8 of this thread:
    http://www.rcuniverse.com/forum/m_8569240/anchors_8571273/mpage_1/key_/anchor/tm.htm#8571273

    I've set the range selector to the "15" setting in the "DC V" range of the dial (the other ranges on the dial are AC V, DC A and OHMS). The needle of the analogue display goes to 5 or 12 on the dial, depending on whether the +ve probe is connected to red or yellow pin of the Molex connector respectively, but is now less stable - i.e. it bounces below 5V/12V every couple of seconds.
     
  19. sjp

    sjp Active Member

    1,724
    1
    Oct 22, 2001
    London, UK
    do you mind giving an idea of where you are in London?
     
  20. drgeoff

    drgeoff Member

    63
    0
    Nov 10, 2005
    Just a thought which might or might not be relevant. The SCART signals which the TiVo uses to tell the TV to "switch to me" and "I'm using RGB mode" may not be active until the software from the hard disk is running. So you might not see the Welcome screen unless you use the TV's remote to manually select the input that TiVo is connected to and set it to composite instead of RGB.

    However, having said that, the symptoms you describe do sound like the PSU is in trouble. But whether the PSU is faulty or the motherboard has a fault which is making it draw too much power is difficult to say. Trying another PSU would be the next logical step if you had one :).

    You seem to be using the multimeter OK. Just be sure the momentary dips you see are not caused by intermittent connections of the test probes. Give them a good clean if you haven't already done so. Are the dips repeating quite regularly or do they appear to be random. (And the meter gives a steady reading when you measure a battery?)
     

Share This Page