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My Awesome BOLT Cooling Mods ;-)

Discussion in 'TiVo Bolt DVR/Streamer' started by CIR-Engineering, Mar 21, 2018.

  1. CIR-Engineering

    CIR-Engineering Video Calibration & Electronics Repair Engineer

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    Chicago USA...
    EDIT: I added a lot more photos of the final final final design and mounting. Just scroll down through the thread, it isn't very long anyway.

    I'll post more later because I need to go to bed at a somewhat reasonable hour tonight. But I did my BOLT cooling mod project this afternoon and I am really happy with the results. I can not get my ODT (on die temperature) to go above 31 degrees C. This is down from 72 degrees C!

    IMG_7248.jpg
    IMG_7255.jpg
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    Yeah, 31 degrees C tops while recording four shows, streaming Netflix, and watching another recorded show on a Mini all at the same time with my cabinet door closed :) 70 degrees F in the house, same as before.

    I started by buying a junk BOLT on eBay so that I could use its case to cover me if I need to return my TiVo to stock in case of a warranty issue (I have lifetime service). I used my adjustable hole-saw to cut the top of the BOLT case and then installed a 120mm Cool Master "R4-S2S-124K-GP Silent Case Fan." I keep these fans around because they really are almost totally silent, have a 35,000 MTBF, and are rather inexpensive... my servers are full of them. I placed the fan such that it mostly covered the Broadcom SoC heat sink, but also so that it would blow a lot of air onto the tuners which also get very hot.

    I then modified the bottom of the case by strategically drilling holes and removing lots of bits to allow air flow around the PCB and hard drive. Check out the pics below for before and after. As with the hard drive, I removed the "air dams" to the left of the PCB also.

    Before:
    IMG_7249.jpg

    After:
    IMG_7244.jpg

    IMG_7247.jpg

    Then I soldered a power connector directly to the filter capacitor of the incoming 12 volt power supply for the fan. I did not use the OEM fan connector because I didn't want the fan to ever slow down. This way, the fan stays on full blast whenever the TiVo is plugged in.

    I considered using the stock fan connector and even tested the fan on the junk bolt for three days to make sure it wouldn't overdrive the circuit, but in the end, I just want this thing to stay as cool as possible. Who knows, maybe I will wind up using it... I din't expect results this good and you can feel tons of air blowing out from under the front and back of the TiVo.

    IMG_7243.jpg
    IMG_7245.jpg

    I'll add some silicone to hold the fan wires nice when I open it up again...

    I then transplanted my TiVo's PCB and 4TB WD WD40NPZZ hard drive into the new case. I removed the WiFi cards from the new case because I don't use WiFi and didn't want the wires cluttering things up and running over the heat sink. I removed the "RF" remote receiver from the new case's fan and stuck it to the fan's air dam so that the RF remote would work.

    So... I'll have to open the box again to touch up a few things. I will put up more pix in the next post soon showing the insides and I'll add some tricks to allow you to make sure the fan is centered and things like that.

    I also ordered a dust filter from China about a week ago that will be here one day, to put on top of the fan (I have black and bare aluminum coming for this and several other projects). This is the cover. I think it will do a good job filtering dust and keeping my kids from putting their fingers in the fan or dropping pennies into the TiVo ;-)

    s-l1600 (1).jpg

    When it's all done I am going to move the BOLT out of the equipment cabinet and fasten it to the wall behind my TV in the living room so that I don't have to see the ugly white thing anymore. This BOLT has Mini's hooked up to it, but also has the HDMI split three ways so that we can watch it on two TV's and the projector all at the same time... great for parties especially the Super Bowl.

    Best regards,
    craigr
     
    Last edited: Apr 6, 2018
    Mikeguy, leswar, Tony_T and 6 others like this.
  2. CIR-Engineering

    CIR-Engineering Video Calibration & Electronics Repair Engineer

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    Sep 24, 2017
    Chicago USA...
    Just a note about some good luck. I got this unit as-is on eBay described as having no remote, power supply, or hard drive for $25 shipped. Much to my delight, when I opened it up I found a 1TB hard drive! I figure I can sell that and also the cable card and actually make money on the project. Those crappy after market cable card sockets go on eBay for $35 dollars to convert Roamio OTA's to cable ready. So I figure I should easily be able to get $40 for a real TiVo cable card slot with mounting screws. And the bonus 1TB hard drive is gravy!

    craigr
     
    Last edited: Mar 21, 2018
    kpeters59 and waynomo like this.
  3. CIR-Engineering

    CIR-Engineering Video Calibration & Electronics Repair Engineer

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    Sep 24, 2017
    Chicago USA...
    I was going to build a wall mount, but decided it would be worth the money to just buy the HIDEit Bolt Wall Mount instead of spending a lot of time. I had to make certain the TiVo would fit behind my TV so I pulled it out today to check and took some more photos of the outside while I had the chance. Inside photos will be coming soon.

    IMG_7255.jpg

    IMG_7254.jpg

    IMG_7258.jpg

    IMG_7257.jpg

    IMG_7259.jpg

    craigr
     
    Last edited: Mar 22, 2018
  4. JoeKustra

    JoeKustra in the other Alabama TCF Club

    13,261
    1,821
    Dec 7, 2012
    Ashland, PA...
    Looks nice. I have fans on the top of two A93 Mini boxes. The MBT dropped from 50C to 31C. I used very quiet fans and dust filters. With the dust filter, which needs frequent cleaning, I can even put items on top of the fan. One fan uses a wall wart and one is USB powered. The new A95 Mini does not have vents on top.
     
  5. CIR-Engineering

    CIR-Engineering Video Calibration & Electronics Repair Engineer

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    Sep 24, 2017
    Chicago USA...
    I've thought about adding a fan to my Mini's but only decided against it because of the cost of a Mini versus the cost of a BOLT with lifetime service (and one is in our master bedroom and I don't want ANY noise). I got my Mini's refurbish from TiVo for like $100 delivered. The BOLT I got with lifetime at a really great deal (I think I actually got it for around $240 with everything), but the cost to replace it would be huge. I also added the 4TB WD drive and that was a good $165 or so and I want to keep it cool too.

    I think the dust filter is a no brainier really because dust builds up in there fast without a filter. I suspect, even more dust now that I'm blowing in so much air. I used to open my TiVo Premiere at least once or twice a year and blow it out with an air compressor to clear off the heat sink, fan, and everything else. I would get 3~5 year old TiVo's in from client's trade ups and they were sometimes literally packed with dust even when they came from very clean homes. I'm leaving the BOLT case screws off so that I can remove the entire case without taking that crazy hard drive cover off every time (don't want to break any tabs) just so that I can blow it out periodically. But I'm hoping with the dust filter and vacuuming it every other week or so that I may find I don't need to open the BOLT very often for cleaning ;-)

    craigr
     
    Last edited: Mar 21, 2018
  6. CIR-Engineering

    CIR-Engineering Video Calibration & Electronics Repair Engineer

    199
    97
    Sep 24, 2017
    Chicago USA...
    Added pics to post 3. Inside images coming soon!

    craigr
     
  7. leiff

    leiff Member

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    Aug 24, 2005
    SF Bay area
    Here's a picture of my bolt. I nailed bolt vertically to my wall. i permanently removed the lid all together and disabled the fan as the fan was noisy for me. Now no fan noise and my ODT temp is much lower. under 50 ODT 20180326_165158.jpg
     
  8. m.s

    m.s Active Member

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    Mar 8, 2007
    What's the Toblerone for?
     
    foghorn2 likes this.
  9. CIR-Engineering

    CIR-Engineering Video Calibration & Electronics Repair Engineer

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    Sep 24, 2017
    Chicago USA...
    I considered doing the exact same thing! I am a bit anal about fit and finish though so I really wanted a neat enclosed box.

    I mounted my BOLT behind the TV and rewired everything yesterday. And yeah, I decided to shell out the $30 for the HIDEit Bolt so that it would look good.

    All this was no small task considering this BOLT’s video gets split and HDCP stripped and passed on to the theater projector then is converted to HDBaseT and goes on to the kitchen TV. Wound up redoing the network cables, remote cables, and even the coax all the way from the TV to the theater equipment room (grand central station). I can’t believe I got it done in one day!

    Best regards,
    craigr
     
    Last edited: Mar 27, 2018
    aaronwt likes this.
  10. CIR-Engineering

    CIR-Engineering Video Calibration & Electronics Repair Engineer

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    Sep 24, 2017
    Chicago USA...
    All right, I guess I'm not talking to myself since I have some likes... So here are new pics.

    And it's gone! No more ugly weird white curved box ;-)

    IMG_7294.jpg

    IMG_7295.jpg

    IMG_7290.jpg

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    I'm going to make a hole in the bottom of the case for the IR repeater so I can thread the bug through that and not cover the TiVo logo guy (maybe I'll paint the drywall patches too). I'll do that and post internal pics once I get the fan cover. I also may carve out the non-circular fan shape with an exacto knife, but maybe not (who knows what the next fan shape may be if this one goes bad).

    Temp dropped another degree C after taking the BOLT out of the cabinet too.

    PS: went with the Black HIDEit Bolt Wall Mount to compliment the fan... I think the fan looks kind of like a classy top hat ;)

    Best regards,
    craigr
     
    Last edited: Mar 28, 2018
    rdrrepair and JandS like this.
  11. CIR-Engineering

    CIR-Engineering Video Calibration & Electronics Repair Engineer

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    Chicago USA...
    OK, here it is... FINISHED! Have a look at the internal pics that I promised :)

    Bottom of Case:

    IMG_7385.jpg

    When I looked back at my first post in this thread I noticed that the power supply connector on my main board was cracked (thanks TiVo)! I hadn't noticed the cracks before, but in the close up photo it's obvious. So rather than wait for it to fail, I removed the original power supply connector (which broke apart in my hands as soon as it was desoldered), took the connector off my parts board, and finally installed it on my lifetime board.

    Original Power Connector That Was Cracked:

    IMG_7243_cracks.jpg

    Replaced Power Connector (no more cracks) & Fan Power Cord Glued to the Board for Strain Relief (also zip-tie):

    IMG_7390.jpg

    Thanks for the cracked power connector TiVo, but I'll pass and put one in that isn't broken!

    Obviously the zip-tie will need to be replaced if I ever have to remove the main board again.

    Parts All Back In:

    IMG_7391.jpg

    I even went so far as to remove the sticker over the tuner cover to allow the absolute max heat to escape... I'm a bit crazy maybe ;) Also added the square hole in front of the IR receiver so that I no longer need a "bug" on the TiVo logo outside of the box. The IR repeater just goes inside the TiVo now. This is for control of the BOLT from the theater room or kitchen.

    Fan Mounting and Fan Wires Glued Down:

    IMG_7392.jpg

    You'll notice that the fan has one screw with a washer under it. This is because I wanted to make the first hole elliptical to allow nearly perfect fan alignment over the fan hole ;)

    IMG_7395.jpg


    You can compare the size of the holes in the above two photos; I drilled out the case screw hole so that I could install the second hard drive mounting screw and still be able to open the case without removing the hard drive cover or any screws. This way the case just goes around (over) the screw.

    And Finally Finished New Fan Grill & All:

    IMG_7397.jpg

    IMG_7398.jpg

    IMG_7401.jpg

    No more IR bug :)

    IMG_7399.jpg

    Thanks for looking!

    Best regards,
    craigr
     
    Last edited: Apr 6, 2018
  12. zangetsu

    zangetsu New Member

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    Jan 12, 2010
    thanks for sharing your mod with us !

    the mesh wire filter is a great idea, i use one now and find it much easier to clean than the fan itself.

    i also am jealous of the Aragon 4004 i see in one of the pictures.

    i am curious about your choice of hard drive.

    how has the WD Blue 4 TB worked out for the Bolt ?
    when i went to look for large capacity hard drives that would fit inside a Bolt case, i could only find Seagate which love to fail after a year or so.
    If the WD Blue series work well i would like to use that.

    if i could find a sata power connector that would plug into the Bolt power connector (finding a longer sata data cable should be simple enough) i could place a 3.5 inch drive OUTSIDE the Bolt case.

    so far i have not found anything that fits the Bolt mainboard drive power connector besides the proprietary short one that comes with the Bolt.

    thanks again !
     
  13. zangetsu

    zangetsu New Member

    14
    1
    Jan 12, 2010
    my guess is the box either is being used to keep cables together OR to shield bright indicator lights so they are not distracting.
     
  14. CIR-Engineering

    CIR-Engineering Video Calibration & Electronics Repair Engineer

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    Chicago USA...
    I wouldn’t recommend every WD BLUE drive, but the one I am using is working well for myself and more than 30 of my clients. It also supports wdidle3 so parking can be disabled.

    The BOLT just used a pretty standard 4-pin connector. You could use a multimeter to quickly sort out the four pins.

    Or you can get a standard SATA data and power cable extender like this one.
    https://www.amazon.com/LINESO-SATA-...QL65&keywords=sata+power+and+data+cable&psc=1

    craigr
     
  15. CIR-Engineering

    CIR-Engineering Video Calibration & Electronics Repair Engineer

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    Chicago USA...
    The cable I linked to above would also be good for cutting off the power end and installing a 4-pin connector that could go right on the BOLT.

    craigr
     
  16. CIR-Engineering

    CIR-Engineering Video Calibration & Electronics Repair Engineer

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    Sep 24, 2017
    Chicago USA...
  17. hankuro

    hankuro Member

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    Nov 7, 2009
    Glen Cove...
    Incredibly impressive mod. Meticulous work. Well done!
     
  18. CIR-Engineering

    CIR-Engineering Video Calibration & Electronics Repair Engineer

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    Sep 24, 2017
    Chicago USA...
    Thank you.

    craigr
     
  19. dirtsy

    dirtsy New Member

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    Oct 29, 2017
    Under the...
    Thank you for the inspiration. I tried to be patient, searching eBay for similar deals on non-working Bolts, etc, but had no luck. Then it occurred to me over the weekend that IF I need/can do another exchange with TiVo, I can swap the cover on the Bolt ;). So I only modified the top of the case. Essentially I did the same mod, made a 4.5-inch hole to the top of the case, added a 120mm fan with a dust screen, but I ran the power for the fan to the 5v and ground pins on the unused 4-pin header. I also removed the Noiseblocker XS-2 after-market fan I installed shortly after I purchased my Bolt last summer to open up that end of the Bolt for ventilation. I left everything else intact.

    So far, everything has been great, OTD temp down from 52C-58C (now that I'm using MOCA) to 36C-42C.
     

    Attached Files:

  20. CIR-Engineering

    CIR-Engineering Video Calibration & Electronics Repair Engineer

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    Sep 24, 2017
    Chicago USA...
    Great! I’m glad it worked out for you.

    I only have one concern, I’m not sure if the 5 volt regulator on the unused connector can supply enough amperage for the fan. I don’t know, but you could look for the regulator and check the specs online or see if it’s the same 5 volt rail as the USB. If it’s the same rail as the USB than it’s certainly fine.

    Nice work :)

    I just ordered two more BOLT VOX boxes with the $99 lifetime deal that I will be downgrading from Hydra and performing the mod on as well.

    Best,

    craigr
     

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