Odd recording issue - Roamio Plus, M-card or Tuning Adapter?

Discussion in 'TiVo Roamio DVRs' started by thefisch, Feb 25, 2019.

  1. thefisch

    thefisch Member

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    Jul 25, 2015

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    After 3.5 years of mostly trouble free operation on our Roamio Plus, we've started experiencing a recording issue in the last week or so. We are with Spectrum (formerly Brighthouse) and still have the original BH M-card and Cisco STA1520 tuning adapters. We also have a Roamio Basic in another room for the kids with the same type of M-card and TA but there's been no drama with that one. About once a month, I power cycle the TA's for both as preventative maintenance. Until now, the Roamio Plus has operated just fine along with the Mini connected to it. The only prior issue with the Roamio Plus is that sometimes when I cycle through the 6 tuners, one or two tuners will display black and I have to press select to tune the channel again. This mostly happens with upper tier and premium channels. Not sure why that happens but it wasn't affecting any recordings so I ignored it. Although now it might have been an early sign of the current issue.

    So now to the present issue - for some onepasses, scheduled recordings start but only the first minute or two is recorded. Mostly this has happened on ABC but it also happened on NBC and HBO once or twice. History manager does not show any event so it seems as far as TiVo is concerned the recording was successful. Other recordings worked fine so there didn't seem to be a consistent channel or show this happens with. First time we noticed this , I restarted the Roamio and TA but the issue happened again a few days later in between days of successful recordings.

    Last night, I was able to observe the beginning of a scheduled recording that failed and noticed some odd behavior. The recording started on schedule but a minute and 10 seconds in the recording stopped, a brief black screen and live TV played with the buffer. I had to go into the guide to start recording again (wouldn't work from live TV with record button) and then it only recorded the first minute again. I noticed then that when the recording would be interrupted that the tuning adapter would blink a few times and the screen with go black for a moment. I also noticed at least once a grey box popup on screen that said updating channels with a progress bar. While I did not note the channels, the other tuners were on other random channels (probably due to suggestions recording).

    I rebooted both the TiVo and TA and left the TA unconnected at first and the recording worked fine (it was on ABC). I connected the TA after 20 minutes and the recording continue with no issue. At this time, all the tuners were on the same channel (ABC) thanks to the reboot. About 30 minutes later, three other shows started to record on schedule and had no issue (one was AMC and another HBO and the third on PBS).

    At first I suspected the TA since it started blinking when the recording stopped and then the grey box with updating channels message but perhaps that is normal behavior if the TiVo has a hiccup and stops communicating with it. I am not sure if the channel I was trying to record is the issue or perhaps a different channel tuned in on another tuner that triggered something. Hoping for some advice on how to troubleshoot since the issue is intermittent.

    For what it's worth, after the first recording stopped, I set all four scheduled shows to record on the Roamio Basic with the same type of equipment and those all recorded without issue.
     
  2. Mar 4, 2019 #2 of 13
    thefisch

    thefisch Member

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    Well maybe the forum is good luck. In the week since posting the thread the issue has not happened again. Perhaps a restart was all that was needed. Time will tell...
     
  3. Mar 4, 2019 #3 of 13
    tim1724

    tim1724 Active Member

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    Jul 3, 2007
    Temple City, CA
    Sounds like typical TA weirdness to me.
     
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  4. Mar 6, 2019 #4 of 13
    CinciDVR

    CinciDVR Contentious Member

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    Cincinnati, OH
    I'm with tim1724 in that I think it's TA weirdness. How many shows did this happen on? Did every failure have 1-2 minutes of recording, or was there more variation? Did it always happen around the same time? Did it ever happen when more than one recording was in progress, and if so were all of the recordings truncated, or just one?
     
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  5. Mar 6, 2019 #5 of 13
    thefisch

    thefisch Member

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    Thanks for the feedback. After each reboot, I check the TA values for tuner, FDC and RDC and they don't seem out of whack. Maybe the weirdness is just randon like that. Perhaps I need to reboot TA more frequently than monthly. If the problem resurfaces and starts to happen consistently, I may swap the TA in question with the other one I have with the Roamio Basic. Not sure I can do that without contacting the cable company. If the problem follows the TA then I guess I would swap it out.

    We probably missed about 6-8 shows during that one week. Meanwhile, there were several that still recorded fine.
    Yes. There was no variation.
    While most of what we record is between 7-9pm, I do think this happened with one late night show.
    When I observed the behavior the one evening I wrote about above, all the recordings stopped that were in progress. So it affected all tuners the same it appears.
     
  6. Mar 6, 2019 #6 of 13
    tim1724

    tim1724 Active Member

    549
    127
    Jul 3, 2007
    Temple City, CA
    With my STA1520 a monthly reboot doesn't do anything useful. It can fail at any time, even 30 minutes after booting, whereas other times it works perfectly four or five months without me needing to reboot it. There are a few different failure modes. The one I encounter most often is that it loses its connection to the SDV server at the head end; once that happens it just refuses to do anything (but for the most part it acts like it's working, so the TiVo doesn't usually notice that it's not working)
     
  7. Mar 6, 2019 #7 of 13
    thefisch

    thefisch Member

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    Jul 25, 2015
    Do you just reboot to fix or wait it out? Since I got to observe the issue only once, I didn't think to count how many times the TA light blinked or checked the TA menu for values. If/when it happens again, I hope to gather more data points.
     
  8. Mar 6, 2019 #8 of 13
    tim1724

    tim1724 Active Member

    549
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    Jul 3, 2007
    Temple City, CA
    I reboot the TA. Nothing else fixes it. When it's in the "I can't find my server so I'm not going to do anything but I'll pretend I'm working and tell the TiVo that everything's fine" mode I don't think it blinks the LED to indicate a problem .. because it doesn't seem to think there is any problem.

    There are other failure modes in which it will blink the LED. (For example, ever since the last TA update that Charter pushed out around 2 years ago my TA will refuse to boot if it's connected to the TiVo via USB. I have to disconnect the USB, power cycle the TA, wait until it's reached a point where it gets to what I call the "fast blink" stage, then reconnect the USB. Or alternatively I can reboot the TiVo and the TA at the same time, which will cause the TiVo's USB port to be inactive during the critical phase of the process. Either way it's a pain.)
     
  9. Mar 6, 2019 #9 of 13
    thefisch

    thefisch Member

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    Jul 25, 2015
    Thanks for the info. I would mind the reboot less if you didn't have to disconnect the usb and then wait to reconnect it later. A simple power cycle of the TA would be so much easier.
     
  10. CinciDVR

    CinciDVR Contentious Member

    166
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    May 24, 2014
    Cincinnati, OH
    I have a Cisco STA1520 that is used with Spectrum (used to be TWC). Since configuring a regular reboot of the TA, I haven't had a single recording failure. Before that, I would probably have a failure every 3-4 months.

    Before I setup an automated reboot, I was able to simply unplug the power to my TA at which point the Tivo would say it had lost communication with the TA. Then I would plug in the TA and after it rebooted the Tivo would say that it detected a TA. I never had to unplug the USB.

    My automated reboot happens once a week at 4am Monday morning. I bought a $16 timer off of Amazon that has two plugs that can be individually programmed. I plugged the Tivo into one, and the TA into the other. Then at 4am, the timer turns off both plugs. At 4:01 it turns back on the plug for the TA. At 4:06 it turns on the plug for the Tivo. I would have chosen a less frequent reboot, but this timer only supports daily or weekly, nothing longer. The timer I use is https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01M31OP44?ref_=ams_ad_dp_ovrl.
     
  11. tim1724

    tim1724 Active Member

    549
    127
    Jul 3, 2007
    Temple City, CA
    That worked for me until two or three years ago when Charter pushed out a firmware update.
     
  12. CinciDVR

    CinciDVR Contentious Member

    166
    38
    May 24, 2014
    Cincinnati, OH
    I hate it when updates break things!
     
  13. thefisch

    thefisch Member

    367
    7
    Jul 25, 2015
    So I ended up swapped the offending TA for another one from Spectrum last week. After getting them to activate the new TA (well new to me, it was made in 2012), everything seemed fine at first. But after a few days, we had the recording issue again. It seems the TA has trouble tuning to certain channels that are in certain tiers of the Spectrum service. These may not be shows we are watching but random suggestions that TiVo records on various channels available to us. When that happens the TiVo and TA seem at odds and the tuners drop their feed and then try to tune in again. While this is happening, I am not able to cycle tuners to check them all. The TiVo won't let me change any channels or swap tuners at that time but I can watch recordings without issue. Restarting the TiVo so they are all tuned to one channel returns the TiVo to normal operation as I suppose it is no longer fighting with the TA.

    At first I thought I could come up with a list of trouble channels by waiting for a recording issue to occur and then take note of the channels tuned across all the tuners, figuring one of them might be causing issues for the TA. But the bad channel seemed to be some random channel among the 300+ I have rather than the same one each time, so I am taking another approach to isolate the issue. First I turned off recording suggestions to remove the issue of random channels recording. Haven't really seen any decent suggestions record in a while anyway. Second, I unplugged the TA and then browsed through every channel in my guide on the TiVo to see which ones require the TA and then removed any of those that I really don't watch from my channel guide. I did't get rid of them all as we do watch certain channels like Starz and the NFL network sometimes. But I thought shrinking the pool of TA-required channels might help reduce or eliminate the issue.

    It will take some time to see if this approach helped eliminate the issue or not. I will report back later on.
     

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