OK...is it the Hard Drive?

Discussion in 'TiVo Help Center' started by RussF92767, Jan 15, 2012.

  1. RussF92767

    RussF92767 Member

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    Mar 15, 2009
    My Series 2 Tivo started slowing down...now it is extremely slow (but still functional). If I try to watch a show it is recording,the show is choppy. File transfers off the Tivo are taking longer and longer...

    Is it the hard drive? I assume it is because it is the original drive from when I bought the Series 2 back in 2006(?) (Maybe earlier). How can I confirm it is the hard drive?

    If it is the hard drive, can I just pull the old hard drive and place a new one in it? Are there limitations on the size of the new hard drive I can put in it? Will replacing the hard drive affect my lifetime service?

    If it is not the hard drive, then the box is shot, correct?
     
  2. lillevig

    lillevig Cold in East Iowa

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    Dec 6, 2010
    Marion, Iowa
    The two most likely culprits are the hard drive and the power supply. In the power supply, it is usually the capacitors. Google "capacitor disease" to get an idea of what to look for. In general. the tops of the caps should be flat, not rounded (bulging). The hard drive can be checked by trying kickstart codes (check this link for info: http://www.weaknees.com/tivo-kickstart-codes.php). The best way to check the hard drive is to download the disk check utility from the appropriate drive manufacturer. Replacing the drive is fairly easy but it has to be formatted first with the correct Tivo image. There is a whole thread on that under the Upgrade forum. In general, you will need either WinMFS or MFSTools from the website mfslive.org. Let us know what model your Tivo is (TCDxxxxxx) and we can probably find someone to supply the proper image.
     
  3. lillevig

    lillevig Cold in East Iowa

    1,778
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    Dec 6, 2010
    Marion, Iowa
    I should have mentioned that replacing the hard drive does not affect your lifetime.
     
  4. unitron

    unitron Well-Known Member

    16,576
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    Apr 28, 2006
    semi-coastal NC
    Series 2 TiVo's use IDE/PATA drives, so you can have one, or, with an aftermarket bracket, 2 (one set as Master, one set as Slave).

    The size limit appears to be 1TB per drive.

    It'll probably be more economical per GB to use a SATA drive with the proper adapter.

    The which drive to use with which adapter in which TiVo thread is here:

    http://www.tivocommunity.com/tivo-vb/showthread.php?t=416883

    If it's not the hard drive, it's probably the power supply.

    If it's the power supply it's almost certainly one or perhaps two capacitors on the power supply, which means some soldering and about $10 in parts.

    If it's neither the drive nor the power supply, that pretty much leaves the motherboard (assuming it isn't just the fan having failed, resulting in overheating).

    In the unlikely event of it being the motherboard, the crypto chip, which is an SMD (Surface Mount Device), and which is where the TiVo Service Number (to which the lifetime sub is tied) is stored, can be transferred to another motherboard of the same model by someone qualified to solder and unsolder SMD chips. I did it (just barely) successfully on a non-lifetimed S2 in order to save 2TB of recordings (which are also tied to the TSN).

    What, if any, spare hard drives have you got lying around?
     
  5. RussF92767

    RussF92767 Member

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    Mar 15, 2009
    I ran the SMART Test and came back with the following results:

    Initial State: Pass :up:
    Short Test: Fail 7 :mad:
    Conveyance Test: No Start :confused:
    Extended Test: No Support
    Off-Line Scan: Cancelled

    The estimated time on the scan was 17 minutes. I stopped it after 90 minutes.

    The TCD Number is TCD5400000 (I think...the Tivo is STILL restarting...)

    I have two Series 2 Tivos that are not connected (one was bought this same time this one was, the second was purchased a year later. We shelved the first one when we purchased a Premier. The second was purchased as a gift for my father who switched to the Comcast DVR over Tivo so he didn't have to pay the monthly subscription). I could always pull a HD from the in the short term.

    In the long term, I have lots of PATA Hard Drives laying around in 100 GB, 250 GB and 500 GB sizes. I am going to the subscribe to the theory that "bigger is better" in this case, because the Premier is our "family Tivo" but the Series 2 is >my< Tivo!
     
  6. unitron

    unitron Well-Known Member

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    Apr 28, 2006
    semi-coastal NC
    The 540xxx is the nighlight one that the little TiVo guy has probably already fallen off of. It's a single tuner model.

    If one of those not-in-use S2's is a TCD240xxx or 540xxx, you can swap in the power supply for test purposes, to eliminate or identify that as the culprit.

    When you get the PS out of the lifetime 540, take a look at the capacitors under where the heat sink bends over. Good chance of a little bulge in the top of the 2200uF one.

    If the power supply is flaky, I wouldn't automatically assume that a failure of a hard drive test carried out by the TiVo was gospel. You should pull the drive and run the manufacturer's diagnostics with it hooked to a computer. That's probably a Maxtor drive, so the latest Seagate software should work on it.
     
  7. RussF92767

    RussF92767 Member

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    Mar 15, 2009
    Since I have lost the night light guy, and I am certain the first the digits of the TCD are 540, I'll assume that is it. It is a single tuner model, I am certain of that.

    I'll pull the PSU tomorrow. The Tivo fan sounds like it is running solid. The cabinet is well ventilated. I'll look at the capacitors to be safe. Hooking the hard drive up to a computer for diagnostics shouldn't be too much of an issue skill wise, but time wise I might now get to it until next weekend. :mad:
     
  8. unitron

    unitron Well-Known Member

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    Apr 28, 2006
    semi-coastal NC
    I know how that goes.

    But that gives you all week to read the wikipedia capacitor plague page.:)

    Actually it's the 240 supply with the single cap likely to be going bad, the 540 has 2 in parallel that might be suspect.

    And the Dual Tuner Series 2 power supply has a different pin-out, and no 3.3V section, so you can't electrically swap in one of those.
     
  9. RussF92767

    RussF92767 Member

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    Mar 15, 2009
    Well, curiosity and the possibility of living without my Tivo for a long period of time convinced me to crack open my Tivo and take a look at the inside. At first I thought the capacitors had gone by, but then I compared them to the two inactive TiVos I have and they all look the same, so unless all THREE Tivos (two of which have bee inactive in access of a year) have gone by then it should be the hard drive.

    I pulled a working hard drive from one of the other Tivos and installed it in the Tivo. After getting a Error #51, I did a "clear and delete everything" on the Tivo and I am working my way through the Guided Set Up.

    Of course, if this works, then I am back in business. I am NOT ruling out, however, installing a much larger hard drive (or two) later this year...
     
  10. RussF92767

    RussF92767 Member

    44
    1
    Mar 15, 2009
    The new hard drive is making the Tivo work like nothing was ever wrong. So, it was the hard drive after all. Very pleased that it is working well now. Thanks everyone for their ideas and support!
     
  11. unitron

    unitron Well-Known Member

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    Apr 28, 2006
    semi-coastal NC
    You never told us the model numbers of the other 2 machines.

    Was the drive you pulled and put in your 540 at least out of another 540?
     
  12. Hilltopper06

    Hilltopper06 New Member

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    Nov 16, 2010
    Great insight guys. I'm motivated to try and do this myself.

    I currently have a series 2 that is collecting dust in the garage after it began to restart consistently and I could no longer use it. It does have a lifetime subscription on it and I found a similar one on craigslist for $20 so I'm thinking of buying that one and try to replace the hard drive to see if that works.

    Hopefully it's easy.
     
  13. unitron

    unitron Well-Known Member

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    Apr 28, 2006
    semi-coastal NC
    Knowing what you're doing makes it easier. We can help you with the parts you don't know.

    First, what do you mean by similar? What are the model numbers of each?

    Second, before you swap hard drive, possibly unnecessarily, make sure the problem isn't a power supply which has gotten flaky because of capacitor problems.

    And also hook the hard drive up to a computer and run the manufacturer's diagnostic software long test on it.

    Chances are, the hard drive of your current unit is either a Maxtor or a Western Digital.

    For the Maxtor you can use the Seagate software.
     

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