Series 3 lock-up problems

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

  1. Sep 8, 2009 #801 of 847
    dlfl

    dlfl Cranky old novice

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    Dayton OH

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    You can also do it even if your PC has no SATA adapter, using a USB-to-SATA adapter, e.g., Vantec from Amazon at $24 . I just ran the extended test on a 1 TB drive. It took almost 10 hrs. but it works. But the USB port must be 2.0.
     
  2. Sep 8, 2009 #802 of 847
    jconta

    jconta New Member

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    Feb 10, 2004
    That's one of my concerns - my desktop does not support SATA so I'd need an adapter cable, then to go through all that and find that the drive is fine...

    My bigger concern is that its an "upgraded" Tivo software issue (far too many people having the same problem all at the same time in my mind) and without a decent sized cache, a new drive won't fix it either.
    Neither DVRUpgrade nor Weaknees specify exactly what type of drive your getting beyond the size, nor the cache specs.
    I know the cache size issue is a hypothesis, but it seems to fit from what little I know.

    Thanks for the input everyone.
     
  3. Sep 9, 2009 #803 of 847
    richsadams

    richsadams Well-Known Member

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    Quite the contrary, by comparison to previous upgrades, very few people are having any issues if one were to go by posts on this forum. FWIW thousands of TiVo's (including ours) are working just fine and in fact even better for us FIOS users since the latest upgrade (v11.0d) was released.

    I think I'm the "author" of the OEM drive cache theory and a few (probably intoxicated) types have jumped on board. ;) TiVo OEM drives have 2MB cache. The replacement/upgrade drives the third party companies are using have a minimum of 8MB of cache. Whether a drive employing a larger cache has anything to do with resolving the issues some folks are experiencing is certainly debatable.

    One thing that's really hard to argue with is the fact that almost without exception, those that have replaced their hard drives are no longer experiencing any problems. YMMV of course.
     
  4. ZakJ

    ZakJ New Member

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    Sep 20, 2009
    San Diego, CA
    I am currently dealing with this same problem. My symptoms are:
    1) Pixelation and sound dropout on HD channels
    2) Extremely slow menu response (clears up immediately if I disconnect the cable or pull out cable cards)
    3) Self rebooting

    I had the cable company out today and they made it worse! Prior to today I had maybe 2 self reboots in the 3 years I've had the box. I had 3 reboots today after the installer "fixed" it. He found that some of the connectors had some exposed insulation so he replaced them. He also replaced a splitter. His initial measurement of the signal was a -7 (on a scale of -10 to +10, Im not sure what exactly he was measuring). After the "fix" it was at -3. He said the closer to 0 the better.

    The Tivo diagnostics showed SNR of 35 and signal strength of 95, which Tivo tech support said was ok. But it also showed non-zero for RS corrected/uncorrected. The Tivo froze up on the diagnostic screen and rebooted itself.

    While he was waiting for the Tivo to reboot, the tech checked on my cable modem. He saw the same RS corrected/uncorrected issues there. He was able to check some of my neighbors and saw they were also experiencing this problem. He is sending out another tech to analyze the signal outside of my house.

    When I spoke to Tivo tech support, one guy suggested the signal may be too strong and I should install an attenuator. This is making more sense now that the cable tech made the signal stronger and the problem is getting worse.

    Has anyone solved this problem by installing attenuators?
     
  5. dlfl

    dlfl Cranky old novice

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    95 is well inside the optimum range of signal strength (80 - 99) according to TiVo support documents. Is it constant for all channels?
     
  6. ZakJ

    ZakJ New Member

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    Sep 20, 2009
    San Diego, CA
    It is when I look at it. Unfortunately, when the picture is all messed up and I try to get to the Diagnostic screen, the TiVo reboots itself.

    So far, the only way I can reliably watch live HD TV is if one cable card is tuned to a SD channel.

    I am still trying to get the cable company to fix whatever the problem is. In the mean time, I'm going to try an attenuator.

     
  7. JimWall

    JimWall Member

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    Oct 19, 2002
    Tivo is always writing to disk both channels. And you are doing additional I/O watching one of the channels or watching one that is already recorded. Since one needs to be SD and it has problems with both being HD then I think you have a disk drive problem. It cannot handle the higher I/O requirements of 2 HD channels writing to disk at the same time.
    I suggest you replace the drive and get one with more cache and more space.
     
  8. Thess

    Thess Drive-By Poster

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    Mar 23, 2002
    Durham, NC
    Hi there. New S3 owner.

    My config:

    TiVoHD (not XL), about 3 weeks old, upgraded this past weekend to 1TB drive via full backup and restore/expand method from factory drive. Replacement drive is a Seagate which is *not* on the recommended list (full disclosure)
    1 multi cablecard
    Tuning adapter

    Since the drive upgrade this past weekend, Tivo has exhibited the following behavior 3 times in 24 hours:

    1) Watch TV (usually Live tv as I recall, not playback). Hit pause and walk away.

    2) Come back 20 min or more later, discover TiVo will not respond to remote commands. Screen is usually blank or what looks like a swirled partial frame of video (nothing obvious). Yellow remote light does not light up.

    3) Drive activity can still be heard

    4) Responds to front Format button

    Have waited up to about 20 minutes past this point and it never seems to come back, have to yank the power.

    It's not a remote control issue (have tried factory remote and Harmony remote).

    I've skimmed the beginning and ends of this thread and a few others. Does this sound like a potential issue with the new (admittedly non-rec'd) drive? I'm going to try pulling the cable next time based on some reports here. Complicating matters (maybe?) is that I also moved the location of the TiVo at the same time to a diff. outlet in the house.

    I don't think this ever happened once prior to the drive upgrade, but we'd only had it a few weeks.

    (Does TiVo refuse all warranty support, as per the FAQ, once drive is replaced? I did know this was a possibility and I am forewarned, just wondering what the reality is.)
     
  9. richsadams

    richsadams Well-Known Member

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    Sorry to hear that your new TiVo is having trouble. It does sound like a drive issue (although there are a couple of other things that it could be).

    I wouldn't worry too much about the drive you're using being recommended or not. Drives that are not recommended generally do not boot up at all or go into a reboot cycle. If it worked (at all) it should continue to work normally. In other words, a drive will either work or it won't.

    My advice would be to slip the original drive back in and use it for a week or so to see if the issue manifests itself again. In the meantime I'd run a drive diagnostic on your new drive to see if it has any problems. Seagate has a good drive diagnostic program you can download for free. If it fails (usually due to bad sectors...these things happen) you can return it to the retailer or get an RMA from Seagate for a new one. If it passes an extended test (full read/write/read - takes about 12 hours) I'd then use your original drive to re-image it again. Put it back in TiVo and see how things go.

    TiVo is aware of upgraded drives via the logs they keep (from data TiVo sends to the mother ship). However IIRC there are only two posts in the past couple of years wherein TiVo refused to replace a defective unit while it was under warranty because of that. Generally speaking if TiVo is failing with the original drive installed (or reinstalled) you can exchange it for a replacement. Many folks here have done just that without any problems. (Of course they didn't mention the upgrade to the CSR.)

    Best of luck and let us know how it goes.
     
  10. bkdtv

    bkdtv New Member

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    Jan 9, 2003
    DC Metro Area
    I too would recommend you reinstall the original drive to see if the behavior continues. If it doesn't, then you should look into a different drive replacement, preferably a recommended model.

    The Seagate drive could be defective. If your TiVo is placed in an enclosed cabinet, some Seagate 7200rpm drives can also overheat in the TiVo (or cause the TiVo to overheat), causing problems much like you describe.
     
  11. Thess

    Thess Drive-By Poster

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    Mar 23, 2002
    Durham, NC
    Thanks very much for the detailed response, and the tip on the Seagate utility. It was a new drive so it is probably worth spending the diagnostic time on if this continues.

    I can't quite find any other posts reporting the same lockup behavior as mine (remote doesn't work but drive keeps crunching/Format button works), but I'm still digging through past posts.

    Edited to add: to bkdtv, thanks also. This is indeed a 7200 RPM drive that is not known for coolness/quietness (don't have the exact model at hand), and my ent center is not the best ever for airflow (could be a lot worse and I don't crowd the tivo, but still). I had access to a couple of these drives for free, or I'd have just bought a rec'd one. Honestly, I've been half expecting a problem. We'll see how it goes.
     
  12. kas25

    kas25 Member

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    Mar 10, 2003
    NJ
    My Tivo Series 3 which i've had for several years with a DVR expander is now frozen on the powering up screen. Tried several power pulls, unplugged the expander, etc. No luck. Two reds lights on the far left and lots of others in the middle. I have Verizon Fios, in case that matters. No freeze ups to date so this was out of the blue. Any suggestions?
     
  13. richsadams

    richsadams Well-Known Member

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    When it's running you can check TiVo's temperature on the System Information screen (scroll down until you see the temp reading). If it's running higher than 55c it could be problematic as bkdtv points out. ("Normal" is somewhere between 40c and 48c or so for 5400 RPM drives.) Modern drives can run as high as 70c w/o failing but high temps mean a shorter lifespan and other associated problems.

    Keep us posted!
     
  14. richsadams

    richsadams Well-Known Member

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    If TiVo is stuck on the "Welcome! Powering up" screen it means that the motherboard cannot communicate with the hard drive. Usually that means a failed hard drive.

    When you say you unplugged the eSATA drive, do you mean you properly divorced it or did you just unplug the SATA cable and/or power cycle it? If you divorced it and it still won't boot up, the internal drive is most likely dead. If you didn't divorce it you should do that to determine if it's the WD My DVR Expander causing problems.

    If you can post a few more details it might help to resolve the problem. Whatever the case, it's probably a good time to upgrade the internal hard drive to 1TB and get rid of the expansion drive. It's a fairly simple and inexpensive (<$100) DIY process...takes about an hour. More info on that can be found by clicking on the link below my sig.
     
  15. kas25

    kas25 Member

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    Mar 10, 2003
    NJ
    Thanks for the help. I just unplugged it as I asume divorcing it requires being able to go somewhere in the set up screen. I can't get past the power up screen so i assume divorcing is out of the question?
     
  16. richsadams

    richsadams Well-Known Member

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    If you haven't already, I would dsiconnect the eSATA drive completely and see if TiVo will boot up. If it does, there's obviously a problem with the eSATA drive (cable, enclosure, hard drive, etc.).

    If you've already completely disconnected the expansion drive from TiVo and it still won't boot up, then it looks like the internal hard drive has failed. Again you have the option of replacing it yourself or buying a pre-imaged drive from a third party such as DVRUpgrade.com.

    Let us know how it goes and best of luck.
     
  17. rocko

    rocko Cuckoo for TiVo

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    Oct 29, 2002
    Northeast...
    If you've disconnected the external drive and can't get past the "powering up" screen then I'd say your internal drive is borked. Time for a 1TB replacement, either pre-loaded or bare plus a copy of Instant Cake and bake it yourself.
     
  18. Thess

    Thess Drive-By Poster

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    Mar 23, 2002
    Durham, NC
    Update on my freezing issue a few posts back: I went ahead and ordered a recommended WD drive. But I can avoid the freezing for now (or at least experienced none last night) as long as I hit the TiVo button (to go to the main menu) rather than leaving playback paused if I'm walking away for any length of time. Weird.

    I meant to check the system temperature last night but got distracted by a shiny object or something. It happens.

    Edited to add: well, heck. I'm starting to wonder if this is my actual problem (remote interference):

    http://tivocommunity.com/tivo-vb/showthread.php?t=433960

    It would explain why 1) it happens after pausing and the screen goes dark, 2) why the tivo appears to be alive and just ignoring remote commands.

    My TiVo is pretty close to my Samsung LCD.
     
  19. kas25

    kas25 Member

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    Mar 10, 2003
    NJ
    I am not really comfortable replacing a hard drive myself. I assume i could just buy a new Tivo HD and use the dvr expander which i already have? One other thing I noted when I power up is a clicking noise? Is that the failed hard drive sound? Thanks.
     
  20. richsadams

    richsadams Well-Known Member

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    Jan 4, 2003
    Hard drives normally make "clicking noises" during seek, record, etc. (some louder than others) but they are random. A repeated clicking sound is likely a hard drive failure. Have a listen to these noises...

    http://datacent.com/hard_drive_sounds.php

    Replacing a hard drive sounds complicated but it's really quite simple. Have a read of the Drive Expansion and Drive Upgrade FAQ, particularly Section V, #18a. It takes me about 20 minutes to upgrade a hard drive now and most of that time is just spent on turning screws. Understood if you're not up for that, but you can also buy a fully imaged drive from a third party like DVRUpgrade.com and pop it in.

    Here's a YouTube video showing how to replace the hard drive in a TiVo Series3, but the method is identical with a TiVo HD.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ca5EUGZsqvU

    A new TiVo should work fine with your WD My DVR Expander of course.
     

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