Samsung HDD failed, what's the drill?

Discussion in 'TiVo Series 1 - UK' started by AndyC_772, Jan 6, 2006.

  1. Jan 6, 2006 #1 of 14
    AndyC_772

    AndyC_772 New Member

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    Jan 7, 2002
    Hants, UK
    Hopefully a quick one :)

    A few months ago I replaced the two discs in my Tivo with Samsung 7200rpm 160Gb units. This evening one of my recordings started to dissolve into the tell-tale mess of MPEG macroblocks, so it looks as though one of them has suffered a premature death.

    Is there a Samsung utility to scan the disc and find out which one has failed?

    I bought the discs from PC World, who are currently out of stock of that model. Has anyone had experience of dealing direct with Samsung? Am I right in expecting the worst from a call centre? :( Can I get an advance replacement so I can clone the old disc onto a new one?

    Thanks,
    Andy
     
  2. Jan 6, 2006 #2 of 14
    6022tivo

    6022tivo A Happy Member

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    Oct 29, 2002
    North West, UK
    "tell-tale mess of MPEG macroblocks"

    Sign of the LBA patch not being applied properly on a <137GB Disk Maybe???

    I could be wrong, and often am.
     
  3. Jan 6, 2006 #3 of 14
    blindlemon

    blindlemon tivoheaven.co.uk

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    May 12, 2002
    Malmesbury, UK
    http://www.samsung.com/Products/HardDiskDrive/utilities/hutil.htm

    www.rexo.co.uk deal with Samsung RMAs in the UK and are normally very efficient (3-4 days).

    However, they don't do 'advance' RMAs AFAIK (no need to, unlike Maxtor:p) so your best bet is to get a replacement from somewhere else, clone your drive to that then RMA the broken drive and sell the RMA replacement as 'sealed, with manufacturer's warranty' on eBay.
     
  4. Jan 7, 2006 #4 of 14
    AndyC_772

    AndyC_772 New Member

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    Jan 7, 2002
    Hants, UK
    I'd be surprised; the machine has worked fine for several months, and I did spend quite a long time and care over the installation. (See my thread which turned into more of an on-line diary of woe at the time here!)

    The symptom is, on one recording only (so far):
    - sound is fine
    - video plays continuously with no stuttering or freeze-up
    - every 20 seconds or so, part of the picture becomes corrupted, and remains a mess of blocks until (presumably) the next I-frame refreshes the whole screen.

    I'd have thought that if there were a problem with disc addressing, it would get to some point in the recording and then suddenly freeze or start playing from a different recording entirely. The symptoms look to me more like a series of momentary drop-outs in the video stream, consistent with an area of bad sectors on one of the discs.

    Thanks for the advice about Samsung RMAs, if it gets any worse then I'll dismantle the machine and swap them out. Seems like an awfully short lifespan for a new drive, though - is it normal for a TiVo to 'eat' discs like this? My unit is in a cupboard behind a door, but the back of the machine is open to the air so I'd be surprised if it were getting unusually hot.
     
  5. Jan 7, 2006 #5 of 14
    blindlemon

    blindlemon tivoheaven.co.uk

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    Malmesbury, UK
    TiVo eats all drives - the only difference is whether it has them for breakfast, lunch or tea :D:D

    IMHO Samsung and Seagate drives are still the best choice for TiVo use. Samsung are quieter but Seagate have the 5 year warranty. Both are normally very reliable - although as with any product you will always get a small percentage that fail early.

    Unfortunately, as you've guessed, your problem could be just a single dodgy sector - and while this would not be a problem in a PC, the TiVo has no code to force the drive to reallocate bad sectors, so it's bad news in a TiVo.

    However, if you're up for a bit of down-n-dirty drive hacking, this howto appears to have the lowdown on forcing a sector reallocation. NB. I have not tried this method myself so cannot vouch for it. If you want to give it a go then you should obtain a working backup before starting :eek:
     
  6. Jan 7, 2006 #6 of 14
    AndyC_772

    AndyC_772 New Member

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    Jan 7, 2002
    Hants, UK
    Mmmm... thanks, but if it's all the same to you, I'll spend the time sticking forks in my eyes instead :up:

    If it's just a sector or two, I think I'll leave it. I have a backup of the TiVo software, a DVD recorder to back up the recordings I want to keep, and the drives have a 3 year warranty - so there's no hurry.

    Thanks for the assistance :)
    Andy
     
  7. Jan 7, 2006 #7 of 14
    iankb

    iankb New Member

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    Reading, UK
    Unless Samsung differ from other manufacturers, the replacement drive will have had it's warranty period on their database reduced by the age of the old drive. Now I know why I would never buy a hard drive from an eBay seller. :rolleyes:
     
  8. Jan 7, 2006 #8 of 14
    blindlemon

    blindlemon tivoheaven.co.uk

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    Malmesbury, UK
    Ian, I think we've had this discussion before.

    Like last time, I wasn't suggesting that he should sell it as having a full 3 year warranty - rather that it should be described accurately as sealed (which it will be) and with a manufacturer's warranty (which it will have) to whenever that warranty expires - eg. September 2008.

    The failed drive is only a few months old, so the RMA warranty should extend at least two years, possibly longer. If he wants to describe the drive as a 'sealed manufacturer's replacement' (as I would) rather than just 'sealed' then that would clarify the matter even further, but in either case I don't think anybody could accuse him of misrepresenting the item.

    I agree, there's not much point buying bare hard drives on eBay when prices at eBuyer etc. are hardly any higher, but some people like to think they're picking up a bargain by doing so, and who am I to deny them their little bit of pleasure? :)
     
  9. Jan 7, 2006 #9 of 14
    LampyDave

    LampyDave Member

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    Sep 4, 2003
    Cardiff, UK
    I replaced a 120Gb Samsung drive a while ago - it was just over a year old, and the others bought at the same time are still working fine over a year later. The process was pretty quick and easy, through a company called MPBP (I think).

    I've kept the new drive which I had to buy as a spare. It was fairly easy (after a lot of reading here) to use dd_rescue to clone the drive but I understand that it's much more difficult if the geometry of the fresh drive is different. As drive models are replaced you may not be able to get another exactly the same if another one dies in a year or two.

    Cheers,

    DAve
     
  10. iankb

    iankb New Member

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    Oct 9, 2000
    Reading, UK
    Fair enough, but your post suggested otherwise, and I didn't want people to get the wrong idea.

    The reason why I don't like buying drives from any reseller is that you've no idea how long they have had the drive in stock, and most (if not all) manufacturers set their warranty period from date of manufacture. Unless you buy from a wholesaler with large turnover, you are always in danger of buying old stock, as from computer auctions, eBay, overpriced retailers (PC World?), etc.

    The problem with TiVo drives is that they are used 24/7, and there is a strong likelyhood of needing to claim on warranty.
     
  11. blindlemon

    blindlemon tivoheaven.co.uk

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    May 12, 2002
    Malmesbury, UK
    How so?

    OK, I didn't spell it out as I did when replying to your post, but I don't see how you can infer from the above that I'm suggesting anything one way or the other in relation to the length of warranty on offer.

    I know they're not a wholesaler but, at last, there's a reason (apart from price) to buy from eBuyer :D
     
  12. AndyC_772

    AndyC_772 New Member

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    Jan 7, 2002
    Hants, UK
    Maybe in fact the easiest thing to do is take the faulty drive out completely, and just have a 160Gb Tivo. Now I have DVD-R as well, all the recordings I want to keep are on disc anyway, so I don't mind about losing the recordings that are currently on the Tivo, nor do I need such a huge capacity.
     
  13. JamieP

    JamieP Member

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    Aug 2, 2004
    Modern disk controller will mark a sector as bad and mark it pending for replacement. It will automatically be mapped out the next time the sector is written to. Just delete the recording and the bad sector should get remapped the next time the sector is rewritten. If you get too many of these, it means your drive has probably seen better days and should be replaced.
     
  14. Benedict

    Benedict Always Thinking!

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    Jun 8, 2002
    East...
    Don't be too sure. I ordered a 160GB WD drive from eBuyer just before Christmas that was manufactured in March 05! :eek: It ended up going back as it was DOA and was replaced with one from November 05. :)
     

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