Series 3 lock-up problems

Discussion in 'TiVo Series3 HDTV DVRs' started by jscozz, Aug 2, 2007.

  1. Sep 25, 2007 #41 of 847
    richsadams

    richsadams Well-Known Member

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    Sorry to hear of the problems. Hopefully they'll get resolved. Since there have been no software changes over the past 60 days and you've only seen these symptoms in the last three weeks I'd be more inclined to say you're experiencing a “local”, probably hardware problem.

    Your specific symptoms have been around for as long as TiVo's have been around and everything you've mentioned points to HDD trouble. It's possible that there are signal or CC glitches, but what you've described; "takes minutes to get through menu items, picture locks up, etc" are classic indicators of a hard drive with bad sectors, bad read/write heads or both.

    Just to eliminate a hard drive problem you may want to try running TiVo’s diagnostic program, Kickstart 57 to see if that might clear things up. It may or may not but I wouldn’t expect any software upgrade to cure the things that you’ve described.

    Anyway, hope things work out and keep us posted! :up:
     
  2. Sep 25, 2007 #42 of 847
    candacemitchell

    candacemitchell New Member

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    Sep 25, 2007
    I am just another victim of the TiVo Series 3 freeze up. Here is my rundown:

    I began having uses several weeks ago with my Series 3 tiVo rebooting several times and freezing up as well. I thought it was the cable cards since according to TiVo these are the devil... After several different connection attempts I called the Time Warner Cable guy in to test the signal. The line in had a weighed in at 24. This is plenty "hot" to run both my Series 2 and Series 3 TiVos (by the way the Series 2 is working great). So I took out the cable cards, disconnected the cable, and cleared all the infomration off the Series 3 and begain the restart process. The TiVo fired up, downloaded the current infomration and I began adding my favorites back in. I think attempted to connect the cable. Immediately the TiVo began to skip and finally freeze up. I can disconnect the cable and it eventually goes back to normal operation. With no cable cards and good network connection, the cable is the only source of error. Is there something in the Tuner that is causing the Series 3 to "foul" up? I don't understand how it can be hardware when there is no command running when the video freezes!

    HELP!!!!!!!!!!!
     
  3. Sep 26, 2007 #43 of 847
    skweak2

    skweak2 New Member

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    Nov 29, 2006
    I've been experiencing the exact same issue w/ my stock S3. Bought it back in 11/06 it has been working great until 4 weeks ago when it would have slow response to the remote and freeze up on the red flashing light background. I had Comcast Sacramento come out and replace the CC and rewire my cable from the driveway to the house. Still didn't work so I disconnected the S3 for a couple of days and reconnected and then it worked great for a week. Then the freezing happened again - same symptoms as in this thread - only locks up when HD channels are accessed, take the CC out and the S3 works great w/ the saved shows. As a result I thought it was the CC, but after reading this thread I'm not sure. I'm going to have the Comcast tech talk w/ the TiVo tech and see if this can be resolved
     
  4. Sep 26, 2007 #44 of 847
    murrays

    murrays Well-Known Member

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    Here's an update:

    First the issue, S3 would pixelate and freeze, but only when I would tune to an HD channel. I could get the S3 to unfreeze by unplugging the incoming cable. I could watch any of the previously recorded programs in both HD and SD as well as watch live SD programs, but as soon as I tuned to an HD show, it would almost immediately start acting up (including OTA HD).

    I called TiVo after making sure the issue occurred on OTA HD without the CCs plugged in. After troubleshooting they indicated I could send it back to them and replace it for $50.

    Then I went round and round with my RepairMaster extended warranty. Bottom line, it took me two weeks to get the "contract" straightened out and they agreed to cover the $50 fee.

    I should be getting my S3 back in another week or two.

    -murray
     
  5. Sep 26, 2007 #45 of 847
    richsadams

    richsadams Well-Known Member

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    Sheesh! What a hassle! :mad: Thanks for keeping us posted...let us know if the new box plays nice. :up:
     
  6. Sep 26, 2007 #46 of 847
    anfab

    anfab New Member

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    Sep 20, 2006
    Colorado...
    Series 3 reliability appears to be pretty bad - at least to me. I am on my third one since last September. The first one had lockup problems related to HDMI problems (according to technical support) and was replaced in October 2006. Second one died this September with HDD problems after exhibiting the slowness, pixellation, and lockup problems described above. Various troubleshooting options (removing cable cards, not connecting via HDMI, innumerable reboots, etc.) gave temporary relief, but problem always came back. Technical support indicated HDD problems and replaced for $49 plus $10 to ship old one back.

    Meanwhile my Series 1 (Philips - 1 30G drive) has chugged along for 7 years without problem and no HW changes.

    3 in one year is not a good track record! It's great when it's working, but reliability really needs to improve. If the disk drives are really this bad, then TiVo should really put some features in to error correct or at least allow recovery of initial image without having to go through the inconvenience and time of getting tech support to recognize the problem, and then the expense of swapping/shipping, and the inconvenience of reentering season passes (etc.) and losing saved programs.

    I don't know if this is standard in the Community forum (I haven't found it - not that this implies it's not there), but a sticky post on how to make a backup image of a series 3 and how to restore it would be nice. Would be great if this could be done through the eSATA port.

    John
     
  7. Sep 26, 2007 #47 of 847
    PeterDC

    PeterDC New Member

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    Dec 20, 2006
    Well add my voice to those complaining. I have had Tivo since 2001, and the only problem I have ever had is with the S3 I have now. It was working perfectly (wiht the usual audio dropouts, so more normally than perfectly) until about two weeks ago. Then it all slowed down. Menus were slooooow to fill, then response time to the remote grew, it rebooted itself first occasionally, and now frequently.

    I don't know what to make of this. It is as it was out of the box. I don't have HD, so it is not tuned to any HD channels.

    Does this seem like an HDD problem? Tivo HD customer service "expert" Mark told me to (I am not making this up) try not using the extension cord! Any idea what I should tell customer service when I call them again? Surely they are aware of this problem. Will Tivo replace this box? With a new one? Why won't this happen again if they do?

    Peter
     
  8. Sep 28, 2007 #48 of 847
    kirk1701

    kirk1701 New Member

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    Feb 4, 2007
    Might as well add my voice here as well, I started two threads one was answered and then the problem got worse so I added to that thread but no reply then no reply to the new thread but here's where it belongs:

    First I have a 30 to 45 second freeze up in the line up menu when I go to search for shows, tonight I don't know WTF happened, we were watching a recorded show in the now playing list and two shows started recording at 8 PM. It was just a few minutes after 8 and we started to watch another show that was already recorded and all hell broke loose, I could access all the menu’s but no video, no live TV nor tell if the shows that were scheduled to record at 8 were actually recording.

    I played with it a little while and then the colorful background just went grey and the menu looked like freakin DOS!!!

    OK, at this point I knew it needed to reboot but the red lights on the front looked like they were recording so figured I’d wait till 10 because I had two more shows also recording from 9 – 10 PM.

    I rebooted it at 10 and it came back up fine, all 4 shows from the 8 til 9 and the 9 til 10 time slots were all recorded and saved but we still wasted the whole evening because we couldn’t access anything.
     
  9. Sep 28, 2007 #49 of 847
    richsadams

    richsadams Well-Known Member

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    IMO it sounds like data corruption. If everything continues to be good I'd leave it alone.

    However if you encounter these problems again you might need TiVo to do some soul searching. Usually I'd recommend trying Kickstart 57 which runs TiVo's diagnostic program mfs check - similar to "check disk". However since you're seeing problems with the menus it may be that the firmware has been corrupted (rare but can happen with power surges, storms, etc.). That may be remedied by running "Kickstart 58". That will run mfs check as well as mfs cleanup and reinstall TiVo's software to the alternate partition. It will then boot from the newly downloaded firmware and run the diagnostic program.

    Kickstart 58:

    1. Go to TiVo Central
    2. Select Messages & Setup
    3. Select System Reset
    4. Select Restart Receiver
    5. Press Thumbs Down three times
    6. Press Enter
    7. While the system is restarting, during the initial screen, press and hold the PAUSE button until only the yellow front panel light illuminates.
    8. As soon as the yellow lights come on, press "5" then "8" on the remote.
    9. Put the remote down and wait. The system will proceed to the "Almost There..." screen for a moment and then jump to a new screen, "TiVo is installing new software from the TiVo service".
    10. TiVo will reboot and the GSOD screen will come on saying TiVo has encountered a serious error. It will then run the disk management tool which can take from 10 minutes to 3 hours to complete. During this time it will look for and correct configuration problems as well as isolating any bad sectors on the hard drive so they can no longer be used.
    6. TiVo will automatically reboot again and hopefully things will return to normal. (Programs that used any bad sectors may be lost.)​
    If that doesn’t work you may want to contact TiVo and see what they suggest. You could get an exchange unit or look into replacing your hard drive (very easy to do).

    Keep us posted!
     
  10. Sep 28, 2007 #50 of 847
    richsadams

    richsadams Well-Known Member

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    It does sound like it might be a HDD problem. Assuming you've rebooted it already (uplug Tivo, wait 10 - 15 seconds and plug it back in)?

    You might want to run TiVo diagnostics program by using Kickstart 57. If the symptoms persist a call to TiVo is in order. Tell them exactly what you're seeing. They may have some other ideas or offer to replace it. Often you have to pay about $50 to exchange yours for a refurb unit (same warranty as new).

    Why won't it happen again? It might...there are no guarantees in life. Odds are it won't, but HDD's do wear out and TiVo S3's do a LOT more work than our old S2's and S1's which were pretty much bullet proof. IMHO us "TiVo Oldies" are a bit spoiled by TiVo's past performance. The more complicated and high-tech things get, the more opportunities for problems...just the way it is.
     
  11. Sep 28, 2007 #51 of 847
    AbMagFab

    AbMagFab What happened, TiVo?

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    Funny how people with recurring problems, even after hardware replacement, continue to blame the hardware instead of something else (likely signal or environmental related).

    With so many people who have great S3's working reliably, it's clearly not a systemic problem. So if it's systemic to you, it's probably not the Tivo.

    Problem solving is a learned skill...
     
  12. Sep 28, 2007 #52 of 847
    mulscully

    mulscully Member

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    Heat related? is the S3 in a cabnet? is it vented enough?
    I know this sounds stupid, but....
     
  13. Sep 28, 2007 #53 of 847
    kirk1701

    kirk1701 New Member

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    Just got off the phone with support richsadams

    Was transfered to HD engineering????? Figured it was 2 level support but anyhow

    He had me eject the cablecards and try the menu again to see if it froze, it did.

    After telling him about the system freezing last night he said the same thing about a file being corrupted, he just didn't say firmware but I figured thats what he was refering to.

    Anyhow, the Tivo HD is only a week old and they are sending a new one out to replace it, holding $317 on my CreditCard till they receive this one.

    I'll let you all know what happens when I get the new one.

    Now, I have about 9 shows to watch on the one I'm sending back to watch before the new one arrives :D

    I have an excuse to watch more TV then normal :eek:
     
  14. Sep 28, 2007 #54 of 847
    richsadams

    richsadams Well-Known Member

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    Oh...didn't realize that it was a new TiVo HD! Well, by all means...you deserve a new one right away...and at no expense to you. Don't stay up too late cramming all of the viewing in! ;)
     
  15. Sep 28, 2007 #55 of 847
    richsadams

    richsadams Well-Known Member

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    Yep, couldn't agree more. :up: With thousands of boxes out there, there's bound to be some with problems but for the most part I'd wager that it's usually something more local.

    What's really frustrating is how often cableco techs tell people that their signal is "perfect" and it must be TiVo when in reality they have no vested interest in dealing with equipment that they don't sell or understand and just want to get to the next job or coffee break. Can't blame people for thinking that something's wrong with TiVo in those circumstances.

    We had to hammer Comcast when we had macroblocking/pixilation problems a while back. It took four truck rolls before they sent someone that figured out that there was something wrong at the "head end" and after about 20 minutes outside, everything was perfect. You live and learn.
     
  16. Sep 28, 2007 #56 of 847
    bown

    bown New Member

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    Nov 3, 2006
    Has anyone has this problem fixed by the 9.1 software update?
     
  17. Sep 29, 2007 #57 of 847
    fenster

    fenster New Member

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    Sep 25, 2007
    Follow up to my previous post. Well unfortunately mine was a Hard Drive issue. I bought my S3 in Jan of this year. 9 months later this issue that started 4 weeks ago is gone as I replaced the hard drive with a the same WD model drive and all is working again. Sad that after spending $700 dollars 9 months ago, I had to spend another $200 (bought a 2 year replacement warranty).
     
  18. Oct 4, 2007 #58 of 847
    bgreen

    bgreen New Member

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    Jan 7, 2007
    Lindenhurst, IL
    My Series 3 was purchased in January 2007. I added an eSATA drive in August. About 2 weeks ago, I experienced my first lockup. The unit did not respond to the remote, etc. and then a reboot going through a GSOD. This has occured 4-5 times that I am aware of over the last few weeks. I received 9.1 yesterday night and we had a lockup this evening.

    Seems like the consensus is that there was maybe a bad batch of hard drives or at least very similar MTBFs. If that is really the case, a unit swap seems like a sledge hammer approah to a hard drive problem. Can anyone confirm that hard drive replacements in existing units are resolving this issue?
     
  19. Oct 5, 2007 #59 of 847
    JPShinn

    JPShinn New Member

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    Aug 24, 2004
    SF Bay Area
    Same problem here . . . .
     
  20. Oct 5, 2007 #60 of 847
    PeterDC

    PeterDC New Member

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    Dec 20, 2006
    This may not be a systemwide problem, but it is clearly not something "local," in the sense of unique to each case.

    My slowness and rebooting problem culminated in complete freeze up on a single screen. I rebooted while I was on the phone with the third "HD Specialist" I had had the pleasure to speak with, only this one was both a decent person and relatively skilled. Immediately upon reboot, the Tivo main menu was incredibly slow to fill. The "spotlights" in the background moved slowly and incrementally, and it took over two minutes for the Tivo to respond to a command from the remote. (When it did, the "live" program froze almost immediately, then moved jerkily and episodically.)

    This persuaded the tech that it was not a cablecard problem, but a problem with the Tivo. He thought a hard drive problem. That kind of slowness smacks to me of memory bleed of some kind -- maybe from a new version of the software? This was running 8.3. Some of you who are more technically inclined can perhaps diagnose the problem from what I have described.

    So, since he was nice also, as I said, he agreed to send me a new box -- that is what I asked for -- free of charge and to pay for shipping. It's now here, and hooked up, and fine (and running software v.8.1).

    So my question is: Where there a batch of Tivos with bad hard drives? My old one was manufactured in Nov. 2006. Has that problem been solved? Is there a problem with the current system software? Perhaps one that is only implicated by certain configurations at individual's homes? Will my new Tivo break? Will a software update break it?

    Peter
     

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