Lifespan of the Series3

Discussion in 'TiVo Series3 HDTV DVRs' started by abap21, Jun 18, 2012.

  1. abap21

    abap21 New Member

    Jun 12, 2012


    Hello, I'm considering buying a used Series3 or HD. Do these have a typical lifespan before they need work/replacement, or is it not possible to tell? Thanks for your help.
  2. daveak

    daveak Series 3 Novice

    Mar 23, 2009
    Anecdotal evidence here - I bought mine refurbished 3.5 years ago and it is still functioning well. I just put a new HD in it, but I probably didn't even really need to do that. I was getting some occasional freezing and weird pixalating so it was a good excuse to upgrade. I wouldn't buy lifetime on the box (at this point) unless it already has it, IMHO. There are a number of relatively inexpensive fixes even if you have a problem - unless it is a motherboard issue. Then you are done.
  3. poppagene

    poppagene User

    Dec 29, 2001
    Many of the series 3 tivos are at the stage of life where some minor repair is needed. The most likely issues are blown capacitors on the power supply or the need for hard drive replacemnet. Both issues are relatively easy to address and there are plenty of posters on this forum that provide helpful advice on how to accomplish these repairs when needed.
  4. abap21

    abap21 New Member

    Jun 12, 2012
    Great, thanks. If the seller is willing to let me know, are there any particular questions to ask (image freezes, pixelation, etc.)?
  5. Teeps

    Teeps Well-Known Member

    Aug 16, 2001


    You do not mention the price of the S3 or whether it's got a lifetime subscription.
    If it's cheap enough and has life time sub...
    Consider having the caps replaced in the power supply and have it upgraded to a 2TB internal drive while in the shop.

    Assuming a liftetime sub and $300 asking price you could be into the whole thing for about $700 with power supply repair and large hdd upgrade.
  6. JoeTaxpayer

    JoeTaxpayer Member

    Dec 23, 2008
    The weak link in the TiVo is the Hard Drive. I think even the TiVo folk would agree that the drive is pretty much out of their hands. There's value in the series 3 TiVos as the drive swap is either very simple (by buying an imaged drive on line) or a bit more DIY (by imaging on your own).
    Lifetime S3s on eBay seem to be going for <$400 in general. An OLED THX Series 3 (with the front showing show names when recording) just went for $396.
    I've not had to change a PS yet, but I think I've opened every TiVo to swap drives.
  7. mr.unnatural

    mr.unnatural Well-Known Member

    Feb 2, 2006
    Tivos don't have a specific lifespan. They'll last as long as they last, just like any other consumer electronics product. There are no maintenance intervals to be observed. Depending on the age of the unit, chances are the hard drive could die in transit, or it could last another five years or more. Nobody knows.

    Make sure the seller will guarantee it against being DOA and you should be fine. When you get the Tivo, check it out and make sure it's fully functional and then make a backup image of the hard drive using WinMFS. If and when the drive eventually dies you can then simply restore the image to a new drive of equal size or larger and be up and running again in no time.
  8. mattack

    mattack Well-Known Member

    Apr 9, 2001

    Elite/XL4 is getting around $700 including lifetime subscription, so I'd suggest getting that if you were willing to go that high..

    (I say that even as I made eBay bits on some S3s.. but only for parts to hopefully *temporarily* recover my existing lifetime S3.. then sell...)
  9. abap21

    abap21 New Member

    Jun 12, 2012
    Thanks for the tips, they are very helpful. I ended up getting a S3 OLED with lifetime and a 1Tb external drive for $300. Once I get it, should I check the power supply caps, or really just wait until a problem arises? Also, is the point of backing up the hard drive to save previous recordings, or does it have another function (i.e. making it easier to transfer lifetime service, etc.)?
  10. stahta01

    stahta01 Simple Member

    Dec 23, 2001
    Fort Wayne,...
    The backup means you will not have to buy or beg for a image for your machine when the hard drive dies.

    It does not help with lifetime service; lifetime is related to the motherboard.

    No idea if it is worth it to replace the caps; before the power supply fails.

    NOTE: If you mess up the backup; you will need to buy/beg a image to get the TiVo working. I would not do the backup unless you are good at computer hard drive replacement and have the ability to follow written directions well.

    FYI: Most TiVo experts do not use an external hard drive because it doubler the main point of failure.
    NOTE: If you have already hooked up external hard drive it may be too late to make backup image.

    Tim S.
  11. daveak

    daveak Series 3 Novice

    Mar 23, 2009
    He could divorce the drives and then make an image.
  12. abap21

    abap21 New Member

    Jun 12, 2012
    Would you recommend divorcing the drives and then making an image? And since I wouldn't have any shows on it, just to use Win MFS?
  13. unitron

    unitron Well-Known Member

    Apr 28, 2006
    semi-coastal NC
    The point of doing what's called a truncated backup is not to save shows but to have a backup for the software on the drive that makes the TiVo a TiVo.

    That software is more or less specific to each model.

    That way, when your drive fails or gets scrambled, you can bring the TiVo back to life.

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