Roamio Plus stuck on Welcome Starting Up - motherboard swap?

Discussion in 'TiVo Roamio DVRs' started by JZA, Mar 23, 2020.

  1. JZA

    JZA New Member

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    Dec 8, 2019
    I have Roamio Plus that's stuck on "Welcome, Stating Up". One day I saw the screen showing that graphic and that's all I've seen on this unit since. I tried a new WD Red 3TB, and same response.

    I've convinced TiVo to, if I repair the unit by replacing the motherboard, transfer the lifetime subscription to the new ID. Is that a big win? I guess I would buy a used/working unit on eBay--I've seen them for as low as $50. ...more on this below...

    By the way, I now us e a Bolt, on T3 firmware, and it occasionally fails to wake up and needs to be power cycled. We also have minis, and even more frequently they can't get a tuner and we have to wake up the Roamio. I've read that there's a wake-up bug in the last T3 version... so perhaps I should go to Hydra (blech!) on that unit. (I was in the process of abandoning the Bolt when the Roamio Plus failed.)

    Regarding the idea of repairing the Roamio+ via mobo swap/other when there are newer/fasted units available... I currently use a Bolt, and tho it's faster, it's also noisy, prone to not wake up, doesn't have lifetime, and has only 4 tuners (we have 5 minis); but the Roamio Plus has six tuners, is heavy and quiet, and has lifetime (we also have a 4XL with lifetime, but it's slow) -- so paying for subscription while two lifetime units sit idle just irks me. I'll probably wait until TiVo offers the transfer special in the summer before going back to the Bolt or buying an Edge. If I succussfully fix this Roamio+ plus, then I can use it now, and then sell it later, either with or without the lifetime subscription.

    Back to the problem unit..., the two LEDs at the front of the Roamio Plus's mobo blink at about 6-10 seconds after power-up, the screen goes to black for ~2 seconds, then the Welcome graphic returns and just sits there forever. I've tried other random hard drives, but I haven't prep'ed any of them. (I've upgraded a Bolt just by installing a new unformatted drive). Forums say that it could be a weak power supply, but extensive reading leads me to believe that's a plague on units with PS's that have 5V & 12V rails -- lots of wires. The Roamio Plus has just two power wires -- 12V+ and 0V-, and with the PS looking fine (no bulging caps or burns) I doubt it's a PS issue.

    That leaves the motherboard. Is it possible that these units can die a death from a loose solder joint at an ASIC chip? Or other such mobo-based fault? Are there any stories of successful repairs to this behavior that involved anything besides the HD and PS?

    So does anyone have an opinion about resurrecting a Roamio Plus, vs spending that money elsewhere? (given my preferences for lots of tuners and the old-style heavy steel cabinet)
     
    Last edited: Mar 23, 2020
  2. Thom

    Thom Unemployed and loving it !

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    Your power supply could still be the problem. I assume you have measured across the 0v and 12v leads with a voltmeter? Besides measuring across these two leads with your meter set on the DC scale, you should also measure across these two leads with meter on the AC scale. When you first connect your AC voltmeter across these DC power supply leads, you will see it jump up to a high voltage then immediately settle down to zero volts AC or close to zero. If you see the meter settle down to an AC voltage about 0.2v AC or higher, your power supply has a voltage dipping problem causing it to trigger the reset circuit on the TiVo motherboard.
     
  3. JZA

    JZA New Member

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    Dec 8, 2019
    Ok, so I just checked that--the 12V is stable with no dip and no AC reading across it. I'm using the 2V AC scale and it says below 0.02V . I watched it closely in those first seconds, and kept watching for a good 5 minutes. No cycling at all.

    I also tried a known-working power supply, and still no change. I opened up my 4XL -- it uses the same STA002 power supply as the Roamio+. I swapped them but no change. Same: The Roamio+ still won't boot. The 4XL boots fine off either PS. Swapped them back and same again.
     
  4. Thom

    Thom Unemployed and loving it !

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    Is the TiVo sata cable soldered into the motherboard, or plugged in? If plugged in, try a known good sata cable. If you can't try a different sata cable, then carefully examine the motherboard capacitors for bulging. If no obvious bulging, or you don't want to mess with replacing suspect capacitors on the motherboard, then it is time for a replacement.
     
  5. Thom

    Thom Unemployed and loving it !

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    Also, have you tried doing a kickstart code as the Roamio is booting up?
     
  6. JZA

    JZA New Member

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    Dec 8, 2019
    The SATA cable is the plug-in style. I swapped it with the one from the 4XL, which is the same except it's not 90° at the hard drive.

    I even replaced the CR2032 battery...

    "Kick start code" ?! No -- how do I do that??

    I found this page: TiVo Kickstart Codes and Information BUT I never see the amber light.

    <snip>

    Sigh... "Notes: 1) The kickstart process will not work if your TiVo is perpetually stuck at "Welcome, Powering Up..." If you have those symptoms, you'll want to take a look at our TiVo repair and troubleshooting guide."

    ... alas, dead end.
     
    Last edited: Mar 23, 2020
  7. Thom

    Thom Unemployed and loving it !

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    I'd try a kickstart 57, or maybe a drive test.

    Here is a thread about starting kickstart on a Roamio:

    Roamio Kickstart

    Have you examed your motherboard for suspect capacitors?
     
  8. Thom

    Thom Unemployed and loving it !

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    Oh, read the Roamio Kickstart thread from the first post. It's not long.

    Roamio Kickstart
     
  9. JZA

    JZA New Member

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    Dec 8, 2019
    I don't see any suspect board components -- no bulging caps or crispy chips.

    WeaKnees' troubleshooting guide, after all I've done so far, leaves me with:
    • Corrupt software
    • defect chip on mobo
    Software corruption should be able to be fixed, right? I'm told that a 3TB or smaller drive can just be dropped in; and kickstart can be used.... But if I can't get past the Welcome screen then I'm toast????

    Is there a way to prep a new drive? (I've read so many to-do's on this, I'm completely unsure which tool to try).

    As a last resort... So I should mention that TiVo.com has promised me they'll transfer my Lifetime to a new motherboard. (I even called them back to reiterate what I had asked them, and to confirm -- I've been warned that they usually pull a 'I don't know what you're talking about' when called back after a mobo swap is complete and it's time to do the transfer).
     
  10. Thom

    Thom Unemployed and loving it !

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    Starting with the Roamios, part of the TiVo software was moved from the hard drive to a flash chip on the TiVo motherboard. This flash chip contains the bootable software. Thus, the Roamios and later TiVos boot from the motherboard, not the hard drive.
    Try a kickstart 52, assuming you can get kickstart to work.
     
  11. JZA

    JZA New Member

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    Dec 8, 2019
    Ok... here's where I'm at. I can't get into kickstart, and WeaKnees guide confirms that a defect on motherboard is indeed a failure mode. I've been told that getting TiVo to agree to transfer Lifetime to a new TSN upon repair is a win, so I'm going to go for it. I'll report back here when the next step is done. I'm assuming that once a working mobo is acquired (I'll just keep the new/used Roameo+ in it's same case, since the label will reflect the correct TSN), I can get my lifetime transferred. Fingers crossed!
    Thanks for all the suggestions and support!
     
  12. Thom

    Thom Unemployed and loving it !

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    One last reminder...the Roamio remote MUST be in IR mode to initiate a kickstart. If the remote is in RF mode, kickstart can not be initiated.

    Overall, assuming TiVo transfers your lifetime, getting another Roamio is probably your easiest route.

    Assuming the problem is a corrupted flash chip on your motherboard, you might be able to desolder the flash chip from a booting Roamio, transfer it to your broken Roamio, and repair your TiVo that way. By booting Roamio, I mean one that actually gets to the point where it accesses the hard drive.

    The TiVo Service Number is stored inside the CPU chip.

    I am assuming the flash chip is a separate component from the CPU chip.
     
  13. JZA

    JZA New Member

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    Dec 8, 2019
    Good info -- thank you. I caught the bit on the IR mode... It seems there's something corrupt on the mainboard which is causing it not to boot (I supposed the BIOS equivalent is "post" or find an MBR).
    Considering that the only view that TiVo.com has into the unit is the TSN/ID, since they've agreed to transfer the sub to the new TSN, I think I can avoid any hardware reworking, part swapping, etc. I'll let you know how this turns out.
     
  14. kpeters59

    kpeters59 Well-Known Member

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    TiVo will usually offer a refurb and a LifeTime transfer for a reasonable fee, which is effectively the same thing you're trying to do anyway.

    -KP
     
  15. JZA

    JZA New Member

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    Dec 8, 2019
    Yeah, they like to offer a replacement, but each time they said "for only $150 plus the cost of transferring the subscription". I guess it's hit or miss on what rep you get.
    Personally, I don't like the physical hardware of the Bolt. I like the Premier/Roamio's heavy steel chassis, quiet 3.5" drive, quieter larger fan, six tuners,... I own 3 TiVo units already (besides 5 minis), two with Lifetime plans. I know the Roamio is older and slower, but it's a bit quieter, 3TB, six-tuner, 1080p (otoh, I saw a 65" 4K Scepter at Walmart for $350!), T3 (I'm old-fashioned), with lifetime, for ~$80; which just feels easier than another Bolt refurb.
     
    Last edited: Mar 24, 2020
  16. HerronScott

    HerronScott Well-Known Member

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    I'd get them to verify that they'll do this transfer if you repair the unit as I'm not aware of anyone else ever getting this kind of offer (other than through the usual repair/extended warranty vendors) especially since replacing the motherboard is really no different than transferring lifetime to another unit.

    Scott
     
    Mikeguy and kpeters59 like this.
  17. JZA

    JZA New Member

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    Dec 8, 2019
    To TiVo's credit they did transfer my lifetime to a new TSN. Caveat this is a one-time courtesy due to my being mislead by the person(s) who originally told me it could be transferred. (I tend to hold my ground like no other, so don't get your hopes up everyone.)

    Before I bought the used Roamio+ I called TiVo support a second time to confirm: Yes, they were going to allow a transfer Lifetime from the failed unit to the TSN of the replacement motherboard. I proposed that I would send my unit to a repair person to cannibalize a replacement/used unit for a working motherboard (a ridiculous proposition in retrospect), and their agreement was made a support person, but it was outside of their policy and should not have happened, and I should have known better than to believe it.

    Upon receiving the unit I called TiVo to do the TSN swap. They said "No. I apologize for..." Two weeks and a lot of tenacity on my part and they finally said Yes, but I was a very squeaky wheel, and this is a "one-time courtesy" (achieved by my dragging it up to corporate).

    You might ask "Why a Roamio+?" I dunno, because I had 3TB 3.5" drive slated for original Roamio+, and my in-service Bolt's tiny fan is very loud, and it usually doesn't answer when called from the Android client -- it also sometimes doesn't wake up for minis (a wake-up bug introduced in the last T3 build ~2 years ago; I'm yet to see if the Roamio is plagued by it,.. oh, and Hydra sucks so I don't want to upgrade to T4 to fix the wake-up problem).
     
    Last edited: Apr 16, 2020

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