Series 3 (refurb from TiVo) freezing & rebooting multiple times daily

Discussion in 'TiVo Series3 HDTV DVRs' started by Alphi, Nov 4, 2010.

  1. Nov 4, 2010 #1 of 15
    Alphi

    Alphi Member

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    Dec 11, 2004
    Grand...

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    About 6 months ago, I bought a refurb Series 3 TiVo (not a TiVo HD, but the older, original Series 3) and immediately had Lifetime service put on it. And for the majority of that six months, it worked perfectly.


    In the last week, it's started giving me fits. Sometimes it freezes up (while watching recorded shows), and I can get it to start again by fast-forwarding and rewinding.

    Other times it freezes and I can't do anything, and after a little while it solves the problem itself and completely reboots. Note: this one seems to be happening more and more - it happened twice this morning already while I was getting ready for work.


    Other times it seems to be working properly except when I try to fast-forward and it responds VERY sluggishly.


    Now yes, the obvious thing is to call TiVo technical support and get this fixed/replaced under warranty (which I plan to call about tonight).

    But I figured I'd post on here and see what I'm in for - whether it'd be an easy fix that they'll just tell me to do over the phone that would fix it, or whether I'll need to plan on sending it back to TiVo for a repair, and being without a TiVo for a period of time. I'm also curious what period of time to expect the repair to take (roughly, of course).

    Edit: This is a Series 3 refurb (lifetime) with two cable cards (both MCards) installed, hooked up to Comcast cable, and hooked to my network via a TiVo wireless adapter.
     
  2. Nov 4, 2010 #2 of 15
    TiivoDog

    TiivoDog FIOS Fast!!!

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    Feb 14, 2007
    Central PA
    I have 3 Series units with Lifetime service, which I bought shortly after they were released. One of them has been very sluggish, would regularly freeze and reboot several times a day. It got to the point, the unit was just not usable anymore. So, I bought an upgrade kit from Weaknees (Link below), which included an eco "Green" WD drive (1 TB), two required torx wrenches and a drive preloaded and ready to go. I opted to not transfer any content to the new drive as I copied what I wanted to keep to another tivo via network. The swap out of drives took 15 minutes and just went through guided setup - it was painless, worked like a charm and the unit is working as brand new!!!

    http://www.weaknees.com/series-3-hd-tivo-tcd648250b.php

    As an FYI, I am sure you could find links and download software to image your drive and/or move content, however for me this was the best approach as my time to dedicated to technology upgrades has become limited with work and 3 kids....

    I hope this helps!
     
  3. Nov 4, 2010 #3 of 15
    Alphi

    Alphi Member

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    Dec 11, 2004
    Grand...
    To be honest, a while ago I replaced the hard drive in my TiVo HD and not even with a prepared kit one (used the software to transfer everything with both drives hooked to my computer), so I have no fear of cracking the seal and swapping drives out on this if it'll fix the problem.

    My only concern is that it's still within warranty (at least parts - oh and for the record I just looked it up, and just bought it in July, so more like only 4 months old), and I don't really want to void that if I have a choice. Especially if it turns out that the problem is something other than the hard drive.
     
  4. Nov 4, 2010 #4 of 15
    Robbdoe1

    Robbdoe1 Tivo Obsessed

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    Dec 29, 2008
    Melbourne, FL
    Tivo is gonna want $49 for an exchange unit. It will be a refurb too. They will try to get you to pay shipping back to them. If you yell loud enough they will waive shipping. The whole exchange process will take a few weeks and you will be without your unit. I just went through this with an original S3. I would recommend you just get a replacement drive and use a backup image if you made one. You will likely need to have the CC's re-paired too, unless you have that backup image.

    Robb
     
  5. Nov 4, 2010 #5 of 15
    yuki-nagato

    yuki-nagato New Member

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    Nov 2, 2010

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    Actually they've changed that. Shipping is paid both ways now. There is still the 49$ to worry about though. However... I do have a few recommendations for you just before you give tivo tech a call.. Boot the tivo without the cable line and the card => that way it pretty well nails down what is causing it from their standpoint.
     
  6. Nov 4, 2010 #6 of 15
    Alphi

    Alphi Member

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    Dec 11, 2004
    Grand...
    That is very good to know, especially as I did a little shopping around earlier for another hard drive, and on Newegg I can get a WD 500GB drive (AV rated) for about $54, and I have the capability to do the backup (did it before when I upgraded my TiVo HD) from the current drive to the new one (and would have the benefit of doubling the space on it anyways).

    My concern about if they exchange it, is yeah, I'd need to have the cablecards repaired, and after the fiasco we had with Comcast getting those installed and working properly the first time, I really don't want to start that mess again.


    My only worry about doing the "backup" from old drive to new, is if the problem is a software issue rather than a hard drive one (or worse still, if it's a non-hard drive hardware issue), then I'd be just recreating the same problem (not to mention wasting the $54 on the new drive).


    I do like the idea of booting it up without anything connected to it (I'll probably even disconnect the wireless adapter, to be sure), just to make sure it's an issue with the TiVo, and not something else (like the cablecard or the cable signal, or whatever).
     
  7. Nov 4, 2010 #7 of 15
    Robbdoe1

    Robbdoe1 Tivo Obsessed

    525
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    Dec 29, 2008
    Melbourne, FL
    It's gonna be a crap shoot if you did not backup the image before your woes started. The image on the unit may be bad and then you would just be transferring the trouble to a new drive. Of course if it works you get the benefit of the CC's being paired. If it does not work then no matter what option you choose they will need to be re-paired.

    Robb
     
  8. Nov 4, 2010 #8 of 15
    shwru980r

    shwru980r Well-Known Member

    3,194
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    Jun 22, 2008
    You could try kickstart 52 to reinstall the software.
     
  9. Nov 4, 2010 #9 of 15
    yuki-nagato

    yuki-nagato New Member

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    Nov 2, 2010
    57 is the repair (green screen) which can frak up the drive to the point of unusability if you're not careful.

    54 does a smart test
     
  10. Alphi

    Alphi Member

    78
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    Dec 11, 2004
    Grand...
    Well, just so you guys know, after spending a few hours on the phone with TiVo tech support last night, turns out it's a bad tuner.

    In a nutshell, the TiVo would get sluggish and unreliable (read: unexpected reboots throughout the day) when I had the coax plugged in, and would be stable without the coax.

    After having to jump through some serious hoops to get to DVR Diagnostics (considering with coax plugged in it would just hang on the "please wait" screen, and with it unplugged I'd get no information), we finally got some information up, and it turned out that the RS Connected and RS Unconnected values were astronomical (after a few minutes in the thousands each, a few minutes after that in the tens of thousands).

    At first the tech thought it was the signal coming to the TiVo (either bad wiring in the house or bad signal in the house), which I was able to disprove by explaining that I had another HD TiVo elsewhere in the house that worked perfectly fine (I even hooked the bad one up to the same wiring as the other HD TiVo and got the same problems - hooking the HD back up and it worked fine).


    So long story short - bad tuner, and now I need to send this in for exchange. Which means, yes, I'll need to re-pair the cable cards when I get the replacement. I just hope that the TiVo tech is correct when he told me that I should be able to re-pair the ccards just by calling Comcast, and without having to wait for a Comcast tech.
     
  11. yuki-nagato

    yuki-nagato New Member

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    Nov 2, 2010
    That was the case until about a month ago when they (all major cable companies not just comcast) started insisting that a tech come out to pop the card into the slot and make a 5 minute call. Expect them to want to send a tech out and be pleasantly surprised if they don't, that's all I can say.
     
  12. vstone

    vstone Active Member

    1,250
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    May 11, 2002
    Martinsville...
    My S3 started freezing about a month or so agao. It was an original SEP 06 S3. Makes me wonder if my tuner is going also. I wouldn't think a tuner would freeze up the unit, but wondered if the tivo hangs making a subroutine call to the cablecard (don't know even know if that's possible). Good luck with having anyone who would know enough to troubleshoot that.
     
  13. Alphi

    Alphi Member

    78
    0
    Dec 11, 2004
    Grand...
    The problem (as I understand it) was that due to the tuner being bad (and sending bad data to the rest of the box), it was using up unbelievable amounts of CPU cycles just attempting error correction.

    If you look at your DVR Diagnostics while your tuners are both on digital channels, you can look at the values for "RS Corrected" and "RS Uncorrected" and it will show how many times it attempted to correct a data issue (from the tuner), as well as how many were able to be fixed (RS Corrected) and how many were not (RS Uncorrected).

    These values apparently just accumulate, until you do a power-cycle on the box, at which time they start over.


    In my case, I'd power-cycle the box, and both values would be in the thousands within minutes.

    At first they thought it was a bad signal from my cable provider, until I pointed out that my other TiVo (a TiVo HD) was working perfectly fine with the exactly same cable company signal (I even moved the failing box to where the working one was plugged in, to make sure it wasn't a problem with my house coax wiring).


    The downside, is it was taking so much CPU doing the error checking, that it would slow down the entire machine so much that I couldn't even get to the DVR Diagnostics screen (or anything else for that matter) as long as the coax was plugged into the TiVo. So I basically had to unplug the signal, go to the Diagnostics screen, and try to time it such that I was able to plug it back in just before the actual screen showed up.


    Long story short: if you think you're having the same problem as I did (slowdown and possible reboots), try unplugging your coax altogether and see if the machine speeds back up to normal speed. If it does, then it's either a bad signal or a bad tuner most likely.
     
  14. atmuscarella

    atmuscarella Well-Known Member

    6,949
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    Oct 11, 2005
    Rochester NY
    Alphi: I also purchased a Series 3 refurb this year, the first one had the problem you were talking about only I was using OTA only. Connect the antenna cable and the TiVo would lock up within minutes pull cable and the unit would work again after a few minutes. I love the unit hopefully the tuners in the one I have last a long time.

    Thanks,
     
  15. shwru980r

    shwru980r Well-Known Member

    3,194
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    Jun 22, 2008
    I think you're better off buying a used S3 from ebay or Craig's list rather than refurbished because a used one has probably been subjected to normal use. The refurbished S3s are cannibalized from broken units that have been returned.
     

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