Repair shaky Tivo HD? Or just bite the premiere upgrade bullet..

Discussion in 'TiVo Series3 HDTV DVRs' started by herbman, May 1, 2011.

  1. May 1, 2011 #1 of 14
    herbman

    herbman Member

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    I have a Tivo HD (original, not XL) and it's probably rebooting about once every 2 weeks on average. It seems likely to me that a drive replacement is what's necessary to get it working again. I am quite technically minded and completely fine operating inside its chassis (I have assembled/diagnosed countless PCs and servers over the years) and have no issues in linux environments or windows ones, so repairing it myself would mean getting the necessary drive, and some equipment (sata usb docks, some screwdrivers).

    My question: Does it make sense to give this new life and get the supplies to do so? Or should I simply just get a Premiere? My TV is HD, I use a lot of the net features as it is, and it seems appealing, but the upgrade offer Tivo is giving me is $199 for the standard model. I have no interest in the cheaper model with the higher monthly cost and/or commitment. I would figure my upgrade costs to be somewhere around $100 or slightly more, factoring in the price for a dual sata USB dock and cable, the drive, whatever screwdriver I need, etc. My time is also of value to me.

    I'm leaning at this point with the Premiere. Thoughts? It's getting to the point where my wife is getting tired of the outages, so I think I need to act soon.
     
  2. May 1, 2011 #2 of 14
    dwit

    dwit Active Member

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    Your choice, but you will have no problems whatsoever backing up your Tivo image and restoring it to new drive using winmfs, at least(copying all shows also, if desired). This will probably cost a total of only $50 - $60 for a new 1 TB hard drive. You may not need any adapters if you can arrange a couple of free sata ports on your computer's motherboard(in addition to your windows drive).

    For $$70 - $80 or so, you could even use the JMFS program to copy your drive over to a new 2 TB hard drive. In this case, you will only need a total of 2 free sata ports on your motherboard, as you will be working off a bootable cd to run the program.

    Only tools needed will be a couble of torx screw drivers.

    My computer capabilities are probably much less than yours, but with the tutorials here, I have been able to repair/upgrade my units quite easily.

    Good luck.
     
  3. May 1, 2011 #3 of 14
    herbman

    herbman Member

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    No spare PC, so no sata ports. Just a laptop and iMac. I also didn't factor in shipping. Existing programs aren't actually a big deal. Going to look into pre-imaged drives, and maybe see if there are kits with the right torx driver too.

    Also, is there an easy way to verify if it's the drive? I assume it because of spontaneous reboots but I suppose it could be something else.
     
  4. May 1, 2011 #4 of 14
    dwit

    dwit Active Member

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    It's most likely the drive, but it could be the power supply. Don't have any experience of bad power supplies, so can't really advise there. You might just open your unit up, blow out any dust, check and reseat all the (seviceable) connections, etc. Make sure the cooling fan is operating, etc. Make sure the unit is well ventilated, etc. Could possibly be an overheating issue. Do you check the temperature in the "Account and System Info". After running smoothly for 3.5 years, my Tivo HD started acting funny recently. After doing a thorough cleaning/ tuneup as just described, it has been running like new for the past 3 weeks or so. I was all psyched up to do a drive replacement but it seems that will not be necessary, for now.

    Tivo also has an onboard diagnostic utility that tries to diagnose/repair drive issues. I have never used it, but you may look up "kickstart" here to find how to use it.

    Of course, you can also remove the drive and run the manufacturer's diagnostic utility to try and check the drive. However from what I have read here, do not let these utilities try to repair the Tivo drive as it may corrupt the Tivo OS.
     
  5. May 1, 2011 #5 of 14
    shwru980r

    shwru980r Well-Known Member

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    Buy a used Tivo HD without service. If your existing Tivo HD has lifetime service, then exchange the hard drive with the unsubscribed Tivo. If your existing Tivo doesn't have lifetime service, then you could just transfer the service to the Tivo you just bought and not even have to change the hard drive. If the problem turns out to be a power supply, then you would still be covered with an extra power supply from the Tivo you just bought. You should be able to find a used Tivo HD without service for < $50.
     
  6. May 1, 2011 #6 of 14
    lrhorer

    lrhorer Active Member

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    I cannot at this point in time recommend a Premier, so my advice has to be to stay with the HD.

    Surely you can borrow a spare PC?
     
  7. May 1, 2011 #7 of 14
    P42

    P42 Active Member

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    lrhorer, what is it about the Premiere that stops you from recommending it?
     
  8. May 1, 2011 #8 of 14
    herbman

    herbman Member

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    This may get a bit technical, but why do I need both drives hooked up simultaneously? What is to stop me from just getting out the original drive, do a full rip with dd to a file, then hooking up the other and dd'ing it back? I could then run the mfs live cd to expand it to full size.

    I may be ignorant, but is there a reason that is not doable?
     
  9. May 2, 2011 #9 of 14
    dwit

    dwit Active Member

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    Read the winmfs tutorials(threads). If you just want to restore your unit to it's factory delivered state, only one drive(in addition to the windows drive) needs to be attached at a time.

    Doing other things(copying saved shows), by other procedures(linux commands, etc) is beyond my scope.

    At this stage, if the drive is dying, the first thing you want to do is back up the image to save on your pc, cd, usb, etc. Pretty sure there are methods outlined on how to do this on a Mac.
     
  10. atmuscarella

    atmuscarella Well-Known Member

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    Rochester NY
    The bigest issue people seem to be having with the Premiere is that people don't like the way the new UI (referred to on these forums as the HDUI) works.

    If you don't care about a flashy UI and just care about functionality you can turn off the HDUI and use the old UI (referred to on these forums as the SDUI) which is the same UI that your TiVo HD has.

    I use the SDUI and have no issues with my Premiere. I consider the Premiere an evolutionary not revolutionary upgrade and would not upgrade either my Original Series 3 or my TiVo HD while they are still working.

    Good Luck,
     
  11. mattack

    mattack Well-Known Member

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    What? Isn't the "lifetime service" tied to a chip on the motherboard?

    (I have a "dead" S3 -- the fan comes on, the hard drive gets power -- but nothing else.. Seems like it might be the power supply but I haven't had more evidence yet.)
     
  12. GreenMonkey

    GreenMonkey New Member

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    May 28, 2008
    I did an InstantCaking of a Tivo drive using a USB enclosure on a laptop. Don't necessarily need a spare SATA port.
     
  13. jjon2121

    jjon2121 Member

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    Phoenix
    You don't even need an enclosure. Just a sata to usb adapter like this: USB 2.0 to IDE / SATA Converter Cable

    You also don't need a torque screwdriver. Just find a small flathead that fits snugly between two points of the screw.
     
  14. herbman

    herbman Member

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    Apr 8, 2008
    It kept hanging and I didn't want to deal. I bought a refurb 12.95/mo premiere from TiVo for 99. I will probably run SDUI. Thanks for all the tips anyway.
     

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