My theory on being stuck at 2nd call in Guided Setup

Discussion in 'TiVo Series 1 - UK' started by aalanl, Dec 28, 2005.

  1. aalanl

    aalanl New Member

    Oct 20, 2003


    I am posting this on behalf of my mother, who lives in the UK and has a UK Thomson Series 1 Tivo. Although I actually live in the US I've been trying to help her, remotely, with a problem in her Guided Setup. My question is a little further down as I need to explain the circumstances a bit first. My apologies if I seem a little verbose but there seem to be quite a few likely contributing factors in this problem.

    Background is that I purchased this Tivo on eBay in October 2003, when I was in the UK. The seller at the time had good ratings and seemed highly thought of. However since that time his ratings declined (rapidly in the past few months) and he seems to have opted to close out that eBay account, therefore I haven't been able to get in touch with him to ask about some of this, particularly my central assumption below.

    Until earlier this month my mother's Tivo had been running fine these past two years (apart from some common nuisance problems about having to retry the daily call). I had set it up for her with Aerial + Analogue Cable (she lives in Northern Ireland near the border and gets broadcast programmes from RoI stations as well as NTL analogue cable).

    After NTL confirmed that it might be a very long time before digital cable was available in her area, she opted to have Sky Digital installed in place of the NTL analogue cable. I have been guiding her through the setup process but we have been unable to complete Guided Setup (Aerial + Digital Satellite) as her Tivo never connects/completes the 2nd call of the process. The 1st call is usually completed after a few retries, usually after having had to start again from the beginning. The unit also seems to sometimes (but not always) timeout/restart itself (while waiting for yet another 2nd call retry confirmation) overnight or early next day.

    I've looked through a lot of postings about problems with calls, guided setup, larger drives, 2.5.5a software and I have a theory about what the problem is.

    The eBay seller had already upgraded the unit that I bought for her with a larger drive (seemingly 120GB) and 2.5.5 software. However at that time he also was selling units that had larger drives than 137GB.

    My understanding of this is that such larger drives would require the Tivo to have the LBA48 kernel patch installed. My theory of the current problem is based on the assumption that he would likely install/patch all the Tivos he was selling in the same fashion i.e. with the LBA patch even if the individual unit drive wasn't larger than 137GB.

    At the time of setup back in late 2003 my mother was expecting to get a new TV in the same time period (likely after I had left the UK), so after reading about the teletext problem on this forum, I had requested the 2.5.5a software version from Tivo CS. This was downloaded OK just before I left, and seemed to run fine these past couple of years. I also gather that this 2.5.5a software version cannot be 'opted out of' (after setup) at Tivo CS.

    However it now seems that her daily call problems and this current problem with being unable to make the 2nd call in Guided Setup may be linked to the apparent issue (that I saw referred to in several threads here) where the LBA48 kernel patch gets overwritten/damaged by the 2.5.5a software install. From what I've read here it looks like this causes the swap file to become inaccessible and that makes the 'indexer/dialler' program crash, needing a restart. Since the Tivo obviously cannot be restarted or power-cycled within Guided Setup without starting all over again, only the 1st call is ever being completed.

    All the seemingly related threads that I've seen suggest that one should try to connect a PC directly to the Tivo, and/or extract its hard drive to modify within a PC. Since I cannot be present to do that myself, and my mother doesn't have the expertise either, I was wondering if it was likely that a (hardware) repair/upgrade company like PACElink might be able to fix this problem (assuming my theory of the problem is accurate)?

    We are hoping this would be fairly straightforward for them, or a similar repair company. I suspect that her Tivo is relatively sound in hardware terms and we would prefer not to resort to a Tivo CS swapout of her unit at this stage.

    Any information or suggestions would be gratefully received. Thanks.
  2. blindlemon


    May 12, 2002
    Malmesbury, UK
    aalanl, you have PM ;)
  3. aalanl

    aalanl New Member

    Oct 20, 2003
    I'd like to thank blindlemon for helping us to confirm my theory about my mother's Tivo problem.

    It seems that it was indeed the combination of:

    1) the presence of a modified LBA kernel (even on a sub-137GB drive), and,

    2) the subequent 2.5.5a software download.

    That showed up as a failure of the dialling to operate more than once after a system restart. This is turn made the 2nd call in any Guided Setup (the first we had tried for more than 2 years after the event) impossible.

    When the kernel was repaired (with blindlemon's services: PM to him for more details and/or visit his tivoheaven website) and the swap file made usable, the dialling was then fixed. This made it possible to complete any new Guided Setup, and also improve daily call peformance (no daily restart needed any more either).

    I can only say that I wish I'd known about this combination of issues back in 2003. However getting that 2.5.5a software downloaded from Tivo UK, to fix the notorious 'Teletext bug' (either then or on any future susceptible TV) seemed like a good idea at the time ...

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