Laptop drive in TiVo?

Discussion in 'TiVo Upgrade Center' started by windracer, Apr 20, 2005.

  1. windracer

    windracer joined the 10k club

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    Just out of curiosity, is there any reason you couldn't (or shouldn't) use a laptop (2.5") drive in a TiVo?

    Obviously I would need a way to secure it inside, but I would think this could help with noise/heat issues, potentially. I have a 2.5" to 3.5" cable adapter kit, which allows me to connect a laptop drive to a normal desktop setup (i.e., IDE ribbon cable and power connector) so that's not a problem. It is only a 4200rpm drive, so maybe speed would be an issue? Are laptop drives not meant to be spinning all the time like their 3.5" counterparts?

    I have an unused 40gb drive that I was considering using as a B drive in one of my SA2s.

    Talk me out of it. :)
     
  2. weaknees

    weaknees Active Member

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    We've seen people do it, but considering the fairly harsh environment inside a TiVo (reading/writing 24/7) we really don't recommend it for that type of drive.

    Michael
     
  3. Mark Lopez

    Mark Lopez Just click ignore

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    I'm about to pop one in my old SD DirecTiVo. I don't have a 3.5" spare drive on hand but have a bunch of 2.5" drives. As for the harsh environment, I think having one stuffed in a laptop with practically no airflow is a worse environment. Plus I leave my laptop on 24/7. In my case I have nothing to lose as it's more or less just a spare receiver.
     
  4. windracer

    windracer joined the 10k club

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    Let me know how it goes ... I ended up just throwing it in a drawer and using a 3.5" 200gb drive instead, but would still be curious, from an academic standpoint, how it would work.
     
  5. Mark Lopez

    Mark Lopez Just click ignore

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    Well, I put it in there yesterday and it's working just fine so far. I made a few recordings without problem. On the plus side, the drive is virtually silent. It's so quiet, I was not even sure it was even spinning when I powered up the unit. In any case, only time will tell how it holds up long term. BTW, the drive I used was a 60GB 7200RPM one. I know 7200RPM isn't necessary, but many laptop drives are 4200RPM and that might be too slow.
     
  6. BobCamp1

    BobCamp1 Well-Known Member

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    Over the past five years of my life, I've gone through 5 laptop hard drives and just one desktop drive -- the drive that was in my Tivo.

    Notebook hard drives are notoriously unreliable. But there's no harm in trying, and it should work just fine up to the point it dies.
     
  7. Mark Lopez

    Mark Lopez Just click ignore

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    No offense, but perhaps you have a crappy laptop. At my last company, we had hundreds of laptops (all Toshiba) out in the field and we had maybe 10 drives fail in the 10 years I worked there. I have only had one fail in a laptop that I owned and my laptops usually stay on 24/7. On the other hand, I have had drives fail in 5 out of the 7 Tivos I have owned, including both of my relatively new HD Tivos. Given the abuse that a laptop drive normally goes through, IMO they are actually more reliable than a desktop drive. With one sitting stationary in a Tivo with plenty of air around it (vice smothered in a laptop), I am not too worried about it crapping out any faster than any other drive.
     
  8. kernaltao

    kernaltao New Member

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    Mark,

    Are you using the laptop drive as the primary (A) drive in your TiVo? I have been trying to do this in my DirecTiVo (Samsung S4040R), and I can't get past the "Welcome, powering up..." screen. I know the image that I am using is fine because I can apply it to a standard 3.5" drive, and it boots just fine. I apply the image to the 2.5" drive, check to be sure the image loaded OK, but when I install it in the TiVo, it's as if it doesn't recognize the drive. I have tried different 2.5" drives, different cables, different DirecTiVo units, but not different 2.5" to 3.5" adapters (I have only 1). The adapter works fine when I connect the drive to my PC to apply the image, though, so I don't think it is that. I haven't checked the partition tables on the 2.5" drive to be sure they are correct. I was going to do that next, but I thought I would ask if you had to do anything different to get it to work in your TiVo.

    If anyone else has had success with doing this, I would appreciate any assistance. But please keep it on topic. As in earlier in this thread, it became a discussion on the merits of using a laptop drive in this manner. That is not the type of assistance I am hoping to gain. If you have advice on how to get a 2.5" drive to work as the primary (A/boot/only drive) in a TiVo, I would really appreciate the assistance.

    Thanks
     
  9. robomeister

    robomeister DVD TiVo Expert

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    kernaltao,

    Don't take this the wrong way, but do you have the drive set for cable select (for one drive) or master (for drive A in a 2 drive situation)? Laptop hard drives have slightly different pin configurations than desktop hard drives and determining the proper jumper setting for some laptop hard drives can be difficult. Most times, the descriptions of the settings aren't even on the drives themselves. You'll have to search for them on the internet. Usually the connection between the drive and the laptop determines the mode of the drive (CS/Master/Slave). And the jumpers are smaller and easier to drop and lose. :)

    Regarding the reliability of laptop harddrives. Most times, failure is due to extreme shock to the drive, especially when power is applied. Dropping the computer onto a desk, bed or floor, either on purpose or by accident, can be pretty rough on any spinning object. I my personal experience, I've worked with dozens of laptops and hundreds of desktops, and a bunch of TiVos. I've had many failed desktop hard drives, but all failed laptop drives were due to the user dropping the hard drive or computer. IMHO, laptop hard drives are more reliable, because they are designed to take more pounding. But, they usually have smaller capacities (100GB is huge). As always, YMMV.
     
  10. kernaltao

    kernaltao New Member

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    robomeister,

    Thanks for the reply. Yes, I have looked at the pin configuration, and my particular drive actually has the pin assignments on the drive. It shows that if you don't jumper at all, it will be Device0; if you install the jumper the pair farthest from pin 1 of IDE, it will be Device1; if you jumper across the pairs, it will be Cable Select. I have tried jumpering every possible combination to no avail. I have experienced problems with jumpering 3.5" drives (has to be Cable Select), so this was the first thing I tried.

    I did look at the partition table, and it looks fine. I still can't figure this out!!
     
  11. ttodd1

    ttodd1 Proud Computer Geek

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    In all my years or working with pcs and laptops I've seen way more pc HDs fail than laptop HDs.
     
  12. robomeister

    robomeister DVD TiVo Expert

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    There might be a possibility that the drive is "locked" and needs to be unlocked. I seem to recall something like this. You might need to do some searching in this sub-forum.

    Was the drive previously formatted with NTFS? I'm just stabbing in the dark now, but you could try to low level format the drive. Or find some tool that will overwrite every sector of the disc to "zap" all the information, make it look like a factory fresh disc. Or run FDISK and delete all partitions on the drive. But these might not help at all either. Just something new to try.

    robomeister
     
  13. kernaltao

    kernaltao New Member

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    I will check to see if the drive is locked, but I doubt it. That was usually only associated with Series 1 units. But it is worth a try!

    The drive was brand new when I applied the image, so there were no partitions or formatting on the drive.

    Thanks again for the suggestions.


    Update... Drive was not locked. Any other ideas?
     
  14. robomeister

    robomeister DVD TiVo Expert

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    Beltsville, MD
    Well, a really stupid idea. Hopefully you've already thought of this. Do you have the 2.5" IDE to 3.5" IDE adapter on upside down? The adapters I've seen are not keyed very well. One I have just has a small white dot on one side indicating the key (the location of the missing pin). Also, the power connects to two of the pins, which isn't the best connection, in my opinion. It could be that the are loose or reversed.

    Other than that, I'm out of ideas. Must be that you are not supposed to use your laptop drive in your TiVo. :)

    Anyone else have any thoughts?
     
  15. kernaltao

    kernaltao New Member

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    Yea, I did think of that. It is not that clearly marked on the adapter, but I figured it out based on the IDE cable in my PC. The missing pin is opposite the notch on the exterior of the IDE connector. The short IDE cable in the TiVo has the notch but not the filled-in hole for the missing pin. I connected it to the adapter exactly as I did with the one for my PC (notch "up"). Just to be sure, I connected it the opposite way (notch "down"), but it still didn't work!

    Thanks for all the suggestions. Hopefully someone else will have some ideas. If not, I will just have to give up on it. My friend will be quite disappointed. He uses the TiVo in his RV, and it gets quite knocked around. He only had the TiVo for about 6 months and the drive failed. He was hoping to get some better reliability out of a laptop drive. In the RV, he has a NAS utilizing laptop drives, and it has withstood all of the shaking, vibration, etc.
     
  16. captain_video

    captain_video Member

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    While you can certainly use a laptop drive in a Tivo, the question is, why would you want to? If you already have drives available then that's one thing but I wouldn't go out of my way to get a laptop drive for use in a Tivo. The cost per GB is astronomically high when compared to a desktop 3.5" drive.

    I would think that a laptop drive would probably thrive in a Tivo when compared to a laptop environment. While increased heat may be a factor it will probably be minimal when compared to the lack of shock and vibration a laptop is constantly subjected to.

    The speed of the Quantum drives used in the series 1 Tivos was only 4500 rpm so a 4200 rpm drive will probably work just about as well with no discernible loss of performance. The only reason people use 7200 rpm drives is because they're cheap and plentiful.
     
  17. kernaltao

    kernaltao New Member

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    Mar 20, 2005
    As I mentioned in my first post asking for help, I am NOT seeking advice on whether or not to use a laptop drive, just help in getting one to work with the TiVo. If you have advice on how to get it to work, please let me know. Otherwise, if you have comments about why one should/shouldn't use one, please start a new thread for the discussion.
     
  18. merced

    merced New Member

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    kernaltao,

    I'm in the same boat as you. Did you ever figure out how to get a 2.5" drive to work in your TiVo as a boot (A) drive? I am having the _exact_ same error as you.
     
  19. BlueCan

    BlueCan New Member

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    Newcastle,...
    I'm trying to get a 120G Samsung 2.5" drive to work, and it doesn't seem to be recognized. Bummer, because I was hoping to have the DTivo in my bedroom.

    Anyone have any success (or pointers) on how to get it to function? It's stuck at "Welcome Powering Up..."

    -Patrick
     

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