Loss of sat info, unit "jumpy"

Discussion in 'TiVo Help Center' started by beaubreeden, Jan 24, 2006.

  1. beaubreeden

    beaubreeden New Member

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    Jan 24, 2006
    Baton Rouge, LA

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    A few weeks ago, my D*Tivo (Hughes SD-DVR80) unit started giving me an error message, saying that it needed to retrieve satellite info again, which I had no problem with, until it said that it couldn't retrieve that info. I checked my connections, sat signals for A, B, and C are in the 90+ range.

    Around the same time, my unit became "jumpy". The smoke effects and screen drawing effect would stop and start about every two seconds. Sometimes this would happen when I watched live or recorded tv as well. The recorder would save every bit of what was to be recorded, but on playback, it would stutter, often causing live tv to lag, and causing a 1 hour show to take about 1:20 to playback.

    Then the random reboots occurred. In the middle of whatever it was doing, if it would lag minutes at a time, the unit would reboot, wait a few minutes, reboot again. Every once in a while, it would actually act as if it were working fine.

    I wouln't mind so much except that now, abotu 80% of the day its looking for that satellite info that it just can't seem to find, and I'm missing all my shows! (It still manages to catch the reruns of CSI I end up deleting anyway lol.)

    Any suggestions? I'm going to do a "erase everything and start over" but if that doesn't work, I don't know where to go. I think it bites that I've had this thing only a year, on a two year committment, and if I couldn't find the tech know-how, I'd have to replace it.
     
  2. litzdog911

    litzdog911 TechKnow Guide

    12,027
    1
    Oct 18, 2002
    Mill Creek,...
    This could be the classic symptom of hard disk failure, or soon-to-be failure. Can you still get it to restart when you disconnect/reconnect AC power? If so, and you value the recordings on your Tivo, you may want to act fast to replace or upgrade that hard drive. But try these tips first:

    *** Note that problems like this can also be caused by AC power spikes or fluctuations. Your Tivo is essentially a computer inside, so you should seriously consider powering it with an uninterruptable power supply (UPS). Good quality 350VA UPS's are available for well below $50 and will power your Tivo for nearly an hour, plus they provide much better powerline isolation and protection than a surge protector.

    http://www.staples.com/Catalog/Browse/Sku.asp?PageType=1&Sku=474045


    *** Check your Tivo's internal temperature. If it's running too hot you'll sometimes see problems like this. Look in "Messages & Setup" -> "System Information" and scroll down a couple of pages to see the internal temperature. Anything under 50-deg C is usually OK. If it's higher than that, make sure you have good airflow under and around your Tivo. It's a good idea to raise your Tivo up an inch or so for better airflow. Some folks use pop bottle caps under each corner.


    *** If your Tivo is a combination DirecTV+Tivo receiver, you should try re-seating your access card. Remove power, remove the access card, wait a few minutes, re-insert the access card, and reconnect power.


    *** If you're comfortable opening up your Tivo (which will void your warranty if you still have one), then disconnect and reconnect all the cables leading to the hard drive(s). Sometimes connections can work loose, or tarnish, and re-seating them will help.


    *** If these steps don't help, then it's likely a hard drive problem. You can try a "Clear and Delete Everything" (in the Tivo's "Messages & Setup" menu). That might help the drive repair itself, but you will lose your recordings, Season Passes, and other settings.

    *** Finally, if all else fails, then you might want to try connecting your Tivo drive(s) to your PC and run the disk manufacturer's DOS-based diagnostic utilities. These are usually available for download from their web site. Unfortunately they don't always detect all of the failures that can disrupt your Tivo. Some folks have reported success using the SpinRite disk repair utility available from Gibson Research at http://www.grc.com/sr/spinrite.htm or HDD Regenerator at http://www.dposoft.net/#b_hddhid

    Also check out these sources of information, much of which you'll find in the Tivo Underground Upgrade Center forum:

    http://www.tivocommunity.com/tivo-vb/forumdisplay.php?s=&forumid=25

    http://www.weaknees.com/index.html

    http://tivo.upgrade-instructions.com/

    http://www.newreleasesvideo.com/hinsdale-how-to/

    http://www.ptvupgrade.com/products/instantcake/

    http://www.9thtee.com/
     
  3. beaubreeden

    beaubreeden New Member

    25
    0
    Jan 24, 2006
    Baton Rouge, LA
    Wow, thats a lot of information! But I appreciate your reply!

    Without waiting for someone to respond to this post, I went ahead and did the "reset". The standard warning came up, telling me not to unplug the unit, and that it could take "up to an hour"...

    ...that was 12 hrs ago (and counting). This ring any bells or blow any smoke that would make you pinpoint the problem to... hard drive? firmware? total FUBAR?

    I'll try the hard drive test. If thats what it is, I have my eye on an inexpensive biggie at Best Buy they are promoting this week. I'm good with electronics, computers, etc. so I shouldn't have any problems testing or replacing. However, since I have only been enjoying the system without appreciating the components that make it tick (until now) I felt this forum would be the best to start out for solutions (after Tivo tech support page and a worthless call to DirecTV (duh!)).
     
  4. litzdog911

    litzdog911 TechKnow Guide

    12,027
    1
    Oct 18, 2002
    Mill Creek,...
    If it doesn't come back from the "clear and delete everything", then it's most likely a hard drive failure. Test the drive as I described, and use the information in the links provided to replace/upgrade the drive. Additional upgrade questions should be posted in the Tivo Upgrade Center Forum here.
     
  5. beaubreeden

    beaubreeden New Member

    25
    0
    Jan 24, 2006
    Baton Rouge, LA

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    Things seem to be better now. I stopped it from its clearing processes (aka unplugged it) and tested the drive. The WD software found a few bad sectors that it said it fixed. I put the unit back together, and booted. When I went to bed last night (this morning) it said it was clearing the drive.

    Just woke up, and it was waiting in guided setup mode!

    I'll still replace the drive, but at least I can wait a few days before I do.
     
  6. litzdog911

    litzdog911 TechKnow Guide

    12,027
    1
    Oct 18, 2002
    Mill Creek,...
    Good to hear!
     

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