Series 3 lock-up problems

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

  1. Jan 4, 2009 #741 of 847
    raulbenavides

    raulbenavides New Member

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    Jan 4, 2009
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    I had the same problem develop: bulletproof series 3 with no probs for 2 years and 2 months (original HD, pure OTA antenna) then started freezing during programming,and last night the worst: reboot, progress through THX, TIvo guy screen, freeze on menu... then reboot, and repeat.

    I thought it was a hard drive issue, of course, like a good TIVO user, and not software, but I unplugged the antenna and immediately the TIVO worked like new!!!!! Able to watch all recorded content, podcasts, and amazon.com downloads, menus speedy, nothing at to suggest any residual hardware probs.

    However, plugin the antenna and start watching HD, and freezes happen. It even lasts on SD programming for awhile, but start recording, and it slows down tremendously.

    Reasonable deduction: recent software "upgrades" are so buggy that they freeze the system even with routine ATSC decoding and recording, or analog to digital translation for recording.
     
  2. Jan 4, 2009 #742 of 847
    greg_burns

    greg_burns Now in HD

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    Slower...
    If you can watch previous recorded program, then perhaps that portion of the disk is ok. When you plug in cable or antenna it has something to record and it may be trying to use a portion of the disk that is having problems.

    TivoJerry posted something very similar to this theory awhile back.
     
  3. Jan 4, 2009 #743 of 847
    richsadams

    richsadams Well-Known Member

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    Sorry to hear that you're having problems...very frustrating. I have to agree with Greg, it's probably a hard drive issue. TiVo hard drives are subject to I/O data issues when writing to problematic areas (bad sectors). Simply being able to operate TiVo normally and watch existing recordings really has nothing to do with data being processed by other parts of the hard drive when an antenna or cable feed are attached.

    If the recent software upgrade were the problem, it would be a problem for everyone and clearly it is not. As stated many times in many places now and over the past many years, software upgrades invariably reveal hard drive problems for some folks. Hard drives fail...just a fact of life. Since TiVo HDD's are running 24/7 and Series3's, TiVo HD's, etc. are processing a large amount of data (HD programming, broadband downloads, etc.) it's not surprising that their lifespan is cut a bit short (short of the 3 year warranty WD HDD's have on their bare drives in any case.)

    You could try running Kickstart 54 to determine if there are problems with the drive as well as KS57 and/or KS58 to see if TiVo can rectify things on it's own. Or you could pull the drive and run a regular diagnostic program such as WD's Lifeguard.

    The issue you're seeing is not uncommon and is more than likely a failing hard drive though. You could have TiVo replace the box for $149. Or you could buy a pre-imaged drive from DVRUpgrade and pop it in.

    If you're up for a DIY fix, a visit to the Official eSATA Drive Expansion: FAQ + Discussion sticky thread is in order. Even though it started out as an eSATA drive thread, it has everything you need to know about upgrading your TiVo including recommended hard drives and Section III, #30 covers internal upgrades.

    Best of luck and let us know how it goes.
     
  4. Jan 4, 2009 #744 of 847
    raulbenavides

    raulbenavides New Member

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    Jan 4, 2009
    Texas

    I would agree with that if not for the fact that during this time, all my TivoCast podcasts (CNET, NY TIMES) have downloaded to the hard drive without a hitch (I should have mentioned that!) during the exact same time the LIve TV recordings were failing.

    I have told amazon to send two to three hours of programming to my TIVO, if there are any bad sectors, it should show up while watching those shows (damn, that means I have to watch that SI Swimsuit issue special all over again, curse you TIVO). I will also run the various kickstarts, and if it reports an issue I will gladly replace the HD.

    I'll report back later, to be honest I'm surprised my 4 or 5 (?) year old series 2 HD hasn't kicked it. However, even with the workload, this is a pretty early death for any modern HD, but not unheard of.

    I've replaced bad memory and HD's plenty of times in computers, however my problem is: A) I'm not going to give TIVO 150 bucks to randomly troubleshoot a possible bad HD without kickstart absolutely saying "it's fried" B) in computers, I periodically reformat my HD's upon slowdowns to allow the computer to map and isolate bad sectors, and reload your OS fresh and fast. I have literally never had to "ditch" a faltering HD after this process. TIVO gives you no (vendor supported/legal) equivalent. The problem is that HD's ONLY with some BAD sectors are not "replaced", as you know, to me that's just a line to part you with $150, you just force the OS to MAP and avoid those bad sectors.

    Now, you can DIY of course, but then it is not 'vendor supported' and that's a quick 'we can't help' you from the CS phone line later down the line with a legitimate issue they should rectify.

    If you are a registered owner, you should have access to a free disk image or be able to cheaply purchase a formatting utility to place on a USB stick. (I know everyone agrees with that, I just thought I'd point that out!)
     
  5. Jan 4, 2009 #745 of 847
    greg_burns

    greg_burns Now in HD

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    Slower...

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    If you have access to a PC, I would suggest running the WD or Hitachi (your choice) diagnostics on the drive as well. I just have more faith in those tests than the built in Tivo ones. Just my opinion.

    I've never ran across a drive that failed those diagnostics (and I've seen many in PCs/laptops) that could be fixed by a simple reformatting. Not saying you can't, but usually one it starts failing its all downhill from there.
     
  6. Jan 4, 2009 #746 of 847
    greg_burns

    greg_burns Now in HD

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    Slower...
    That sounds more like software bit rot than a HD problem. What tests did you do to determine you actually had bad sectors on those slow computers?
     
  7. Jan 4, 2009 #747 of 847
    raulbenavides

    raulbenavides New Member

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    I don't want to sound like I am dismissing that the hard drive could be bad in ways even Kickstarting could miss.

    I appreciate any comments add, as I know everyone is just trying to be helpful b/c we all LOVE TIVO!

    I'm just frustrated because on a computer is goes like this:

    "damn I hope the HD isn't bad, computers damn slow"

    reformat drive
    IF better: reinstall your backup, lost only time


    if: still slow
    use software to diagnose HD troubles.
    If corrects, re-reinstall OS.
    May have to ditch your backup if also corrupted, but still FREE, lost only tme

    IF HD still bad: "Dammit, HD is dead, but I know it's not salvagable"
    proceed to BB, purchase new, bigger, faster HD.

    --

    With TIVO, it goes like this:

    "why is my TIVO slow?"
    CS rep: "well, probably your hard drive, send us 150 and we'll replace it"
    "how do I trouble shoot do make sure I don't have replace a part"
    CSR: "Send it to us, we'll replace the hard drive"
     
  8. Jan 4, 2009 #748 of 847
    raulbenavides

    raulbenavides New Member

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    Jan 4, 2009
    Texas

    Sure, I'll admit that spontaneous corruption could have occurred and been the majority of the problem. I used to purchase diagnostic progs, but these days, I'm a little minimalist, (and cheap!) If I have trouble with a HD (the last was lock up at boot, corruptions of new and old written data, etc, etc.) I purchase a new, much bigger HD, reformat the old one, move all the contents to the new hard drive, and use the old HD as a scratch drive, for media/downloads/etc/ so it gets use but not mission critical, and monitor it for failures. To this day, i've only removed HD's because they were just to damn small to justify.

    Could there not have been any bad sectors, sure, but, correct me if I'm wrong, the modern formatting process maps and blocks BAD sectors as preventative maintenance.

    That's what I'd like to perform as at the least a troubleshoot step.
     
  9. Jan 4, 2009 #749 of 847
    raulbenavides

    raulbenavides New Member

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    Jan 4, 2009
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    Oh, I *completely* agree. Any major problems with the platter and you have to replace. I hope I didn't give you the impression that I felt you can fix *those* with a reformatting.

    I was only referring to isolated bad sectors that can be mapped and avoided. I have not used many utilities in awhile but not too long ago programs could graphically display good sectors with lets say green and red for bad sectors it indentified and I guess "closed off" for lack of better words.

    Are things different now (I'm actually asking:D)

    As that's good advice, I'll run the diagnostics from my PC.
     
  10. Jan 4, 2009 #750 of 847
    richsadams

    richsadams Well-Known Member

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    KS57 and KS58 are designed to isolate bad sectors and remap the drive. They aren't fool proof by any means though.

    The Hitachi and WD diagnostics will give you good graphical details. The only "pro" diagnostic program that I know of is SpinRite. They specifically claim to be able to "repair" TiVo hard drives. But at $89, why waste the money? An equal replacement HDD costs less and for a little more you can go up to 1TB.

    I understand the desire to make what you have work, but to me it's an easy choice. If I'm going to take the time to pull a drive and mess around with connecting it to a PC, run diagnostics, etc., etc. I might as well save some time and worrying if it will fail later and just put a new one back in. New HDD's (w/quadruple the recording space) aren't that expensive, they will usually solve all the issues you're seeing (and more) and once installed you've basically got a new TiVo. But that's just me. ;)

    If by the off chance that it is something else, the choices are narrowed to returning it to TiVo for an exchange or buying a new one.

    Let us know how you get on.
     
  11. Jan 5, 2009 #751 of 847
    raulbenavides

    raulbenavides New Member

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    Jan 4, 2009
    Texas
    I will probably have to replace HD as a troubleshooting step.

    BUT, my original drive is now corrupted with bad sectors, so I don't have a source drive. What sources do I have for obtaining Series 3 HD disk images to format a new drive with

    ACTUALLY, I'd like to try reformatting the original drive with a good master as a last ditch troubleshooting effort, so a good master would be excellent.

    BTW, I tried rebooting and holding pause to initiate kickstart 57:

    plug in S3, hold pause on remote.

    series 3 shows powering on, all colored lights on.
    then screen blank, and only orange light on for about 1-2 seconds as I frantically press 5 then 7 on remote, but no GSOD, just normal boot sequence, retried several times

    What am I doing wrong?

    Yours frantically
     
  12. Jan 5, 2009 #752 of 847
    richsadams

    richsadams Well-Known Member

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    You can get a fresh copy of the image with Instant Cake. You could use it on the OEM and/or a new HDD. The only downside of using IC as opposed to the OEM drive's image is that you'll need to have your cableco re-hit your cable cards and run Guided Setup, set up Season Passes, etc.

    Regarding KS57, after rebooting hold the pause button until all of the front lights come on and then just the yellow light stays on, let go of the pause button and then press the numbers 5 and then 7 on the remote. You have about 10 seconds to do that. You actually only need to push pause and then enter 5-7 when the yellow light is on and the Welcome...powering up screen shows. But that happens fairly quickly so holding down the pause button from the time you plug TiVo back in is the best way to do it. That said, if the boot partition is corrupted it may or may not work.

    Best of luck and keep us posted.
     
  13. Jan 5, 2009 #753 of 847
    aloelel

    aloelel New Member

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    Jan 5, 2009
    I just ordered a 750gig last few weeks that was preloaded and is plug and play for it. If I have another issue with it I will never buy another Tivo again and I'll go back to my series 2 until that dies and be fully done with Tivo. ;)

    I love Tivo, but after seeing this thread, it only makes me more angry that they haven't sent a fix out or understood that 2mb on the disc is way to minimal...
     
  14. Jan 5, 2009 #754 of 847
    JimWall

    JimWall Member

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    Unfortunately the I/O needed to write 2 HD shows to the HDD is far greater than the I/O rate for downloading anything throught the internet. So it can still be a HDD problem but not a bad sector problem. In the past I have wondered if the I/O error rate on part of the drive triggers the SATA interface to drop down to a lower speed which cannot handle the I/O needed to record video. So TIVO times out and reboots. Tivo software does not have a way to force it back to the highest speed. Windows XP had this problem and addressed it with XP SP2. I have replaced a 1 TB TIVO drive with same problems you are having and new drive solved the problems. Then I reformatted the "bad" drive in windows to get the interface reset to fastest and then used it successfully to upgrade a different TIVO HD.
     
  15. Jan 6, 2009 #755 of 847
    raulbenavides

    raulbenavides New Member

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    Jan 4, 2009
    Texas
    I have an amazon account for downloads of tv shows, etc. With a new drive, will I have any troubles linking that amazon.com account to the S3 again?


    Jim, greg, and rich: After personal experience and my new education, I have to agree buggy software updates are likely not the culprit, and that its the hardware. Just not hardware 'failure' per se, but poor choices at the OEM level HD wise (the buffer theory just feels right!), in addition to software that is not robust enough to handle errors (as Jim pointed out with a (possibly) analogous error in windows fixed in SP2).

    I'm probably going to format and instantcake the oem to (hopefully) get a cheap instant "ah hah!" and get HD back that night, then regardless soon get a new drive with a nice fat buffer. Either way I'll gain a TB of storage in the process!:up:

    I'll post back to add to the little 'knowledge base' we have going here!
     
  16. Jan 6, 2009 #756 of 847
    Sprk Jonz

    Sprk Jonz New Member

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    Jul 26, 2005
    Orange, CA
    I'm having the same issues as described. Crashing, freezing, reboots, drag, etc. I've gone back and forth between Tivo support, Tivo cable card support and my cable company for multiple cards. No luck.

    It seemed that the issue was isolated when I was able to use just an OTA antenna or basic cable. As soon as I added a 2nd source for tuning my Tivo Series 3 freaked out. I've had Tivo tell me I had to send the unit in and pay $150 for a new one. I had Tivo say it was definitely the cards. I performed a kickstart 57 and things seem to be a little better...

    Now I'm stuck with cable cards that won't authorize (DVR diagnostics says 'general tuning error'). Time Warner is coming on Wednesday (what else would you do with your vacation time?).

    Long story short: My Tivo is 100% stable with crappy cable cards or any other source. If I watch recorded content or if I stick with SD channels, all is peachy. The only time things go to hell is when I change to live HD programming. Therefore, I think Jim's I/O rate theory is the best idea for what is happening. I don't think it's the tuner, nor the drive itself. I hope Tivo is reading and considering this as a solution. I'm disillusioned to say the least. One software update, so many people impacted by the same issues, and still no 'official' solution?

    I'm 2 days away from sending my box in and paying $150 for a refurb. If it's the drive, the tuner, whatever, I'm covered with "new" equipment. But if it's cards it will be for nothing. If it's a drive setting, I will have wasted time and money.

    I appreciate all of the dialogue - please keep it coming and let me know if anyone else has some great ideas for troubleshooting or if anyone wholeheartedly believes I should just send it in now. Also, are there any opinions on my timing of card troubleshooting with the cable company before or after getting the refurb?
     
  17. Jan 6, 2009 #757 of 847
    richsadams

    richsadams Well-Known Member

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    That's an interesting theory and not unreasonable. Since most issues are almost always addressed by replacing the OEM hard drive with anything that had more than the OEM's miniscule 2MB's of cache, I postulated the inadequate buffer theory a few upgrades ago.

    It does seem that if it is an I/O error/speed issue that the same thing would happen after replacing the HDD though and that doesn't seem to be the case. But I'm open to anything that makes sense.
     
  18. Jan 6, 2009 #758 of 847
    cogx

    cogx Member

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    I posted a couple months ago about my ordeal with my S3 that one day was working perfectly and then the next it was freezing up for a few seconds at a time and by the next day it was all but unusable, unless I disconnected the OTA antenna and the cable feed (no cable cards). I was able to watch all my record shows and/or download them to my PC with TiVo Desktop, with no input source connected, but as soon as I would connect either OTA or cable, the freezing started up again.

    Doing the quick HDD tests didn't report drive errors, but doing the kickstart 54 "extended test" overnight gave me "Fail (read element)" at 55%. When I finally decided to try to replace the drive, rather than send in for a refurb, I put the original TiVo HDD in a Dell system and ran the full diagnostics and the full sector test gave me back an "Error code: 0F00:0232 - Timeout waiting for IRQ" error at 60% (when I tried to restart the test, my entire PC locked up so that I had to do a forced hard reboot). I decided at that point, it had to be the HDD as the source of the problem.

    I replaced the drive with a WD AV-GP 500GB model WD5000AVVS, first using the Hitachi Feature Tool boot CD to set the AAM value to 128, and all has been well thus far.
     
  19. Jan 6, 2009 #759 of 847
    raulbenavides

    raulbenavides New Member

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    What is this feature that is available on Hitachi drives, and should I favor those drives when considering purchase?
     
  20. Jan 7, 2009 #760 of 847
    Sprk Jonz

    Sprk Jonz New Member

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    Thanks, COGX. I ran the kickstart 54 SMART tests and it failed on the extended test as well (Fail 7). I think I'm in the same boat you were in.

    It seems so odd that so many other people are having this same problem after the update. It's also strange that I can still watch all content on my Tivo, record standard def, and watch content via Netflix without any issues. However, I can't argue with the disc error, can I?

    Although I like to play with PCs and can swap a drive easily, I think I'll be sending my Series 3 out for a refurb - in the interest of time and for future Tivo support.
     

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