Series3 eSATA Drive Expansion: FAQ + Discussion

Discussion in 'TiVo Series3 HDTV DVRs' started by bkdtv, May 5, 2007.

  1. MikeMacMan

    MikeMacMan New Member

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    Sep 16, 2006

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    Perhaps I spoke too soon. Since I added the external drive my S3 has been restarting alot. It will restart, bring up a GSOD for a few minutes, then go back to normal. It is really frustrating because I am not sure what to check.

    I used the eSata cable supplied with the MX-1. My sub was about 1 foot in front of the S3 and my center channel speaker was about 1 foot to the left. These were not very close to the eSata cable though. I moved the speakers farther apart. Does anyone have any other ideas on how to troubleshoot my restarting problem? Could my HD be going into "Sleep" mode? I read the "Hitachi Feature Tool" manual and it says that power management is disabled by default.
     
  2. richsadams

    richsadams Well-Known Member

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    Hmmm...hard to say.

    I'd start here at #3 under troubleshooting.
     
  3. maynerd

    maynerd New Member

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    May 7, 2004
    Bad news with my MX-1 & Segate 500GB DB35 set up.

    My MX-1 began making noise. It appears to be the fan. As I was checking to see if it was the case fan, the power cable came unplugged from the device. The Tivo was of course recording at the time. I was able to rehook the drive with my tivo and it worked then I got the yellow screen message a couple of hours later. I then rebooted my Tivo and it started working again. This morning I got up and the tivo had bombed again. This has caused about 3 reboots since last night.

    Now my hard drive doesn't appear to be spinning up. It starts to fire up then it stops and a beep noise comes from the drive. The beep occurs about every 5 seconds and my drive appears to be dead.

    I'm not sure why things have gone from so good to so bad in a very short period of time.

    I think the drive is hosed, any ideas?

    That being said my data is gone if I need to replace the HD right?
     
  4. richsadams

    richsadams Well-Known Member

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    Aurgh! :( That doesn't sound good. It does indeed sound like there's a problem with the drive. You say it beeps? To my knowledge there's no audio on board the MX-1 or any HDD. :confused:

    To start you might want to try Kickstart 57. That will force TiVo's GSOD. Kickstart 57 will run TiVo's version of "check disk" to determine if there are bad sectors on the HDD's (and isolate them) and verify the configuration/software settings. If it can't rectify the problem this way you'll continue to get reboots.

    If Kickstart 57 doesn't change anything I'd go ahead and power TiVo down, remove the drive, open the enclosure, plug it in, turn it on and see if it's indeed the fan or if it sounds like the drive will not spin up.

    If it's the enclosure fan you can get a new enclosure, slip your drive back in and hook it back up without losing any recordings...if you can live w/o TiVo until you can get a new MX-1. If you contact the retailer they might be able to ship a new one right away and give you credit on return of the defective unit. However if you power up TiVo w/o the drive you'll need to divorce it and yes, you will lose the recordings made since you installed the drive.

    If the fan seems okay and the drive won't spin up normally I'd replace the Seagate drive (it has a five-year warranty).

    Another option would be to replace the eSATA II cable. There is constant communication between TiVo and the eSATA drive...a problem with the cable could cause issues on either end as well.

    It's not unexpected to have some defective units (drives, enclosures, cables, etc.) but it is frustrating if it happens to you. :mad:

    Good luck and keep us posted! :up:
     
  5. maynerd

    maynerd New Member

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    Thanks Rich.

    Here's a little more info and I'll try to lay it out better.

    This is what occured in order (as best I remember it)

    1. The ext drive is being loud. I pull it out to get a better listen to it. When I do that it comes unplugged. (It was recording at the time).
    2. Since it has already been separated from my tivo I decide to go ahead and open up the enclosure.
    3. I determine that the bottom (main) fan of the enclosure is making noise.
    4. Deciding that I can't fix the fan I decide to put it back together for the time being so I can at least use my tivo until I can get a replacement HD case.
    5. Tivo has the orange screen asking me if I want to divorce the drive.
    6. I reboot the tivo and it recognizes the drive again and goes through the GSOD it takes about 20 minutes before it is working again.
    7. I watch some shows for a couple of hours things seem ok. I turn off my tv.
    8. About an hour later I notice that the tivo lcd is blank and turn on my tv and the tivo is on the orange screen again.
    9. I check my connections reboot the tivo and the GSOD occurs again.
    10. It runs and a bit of time later it is working again. It's bedtime.
    11. I wake up and sure enough the lcd is blank I turn on the tv and the orange screen is up again.
    12. I check the connections and reboot.
    13. Orange screen is up again no GSOD still not recognizing the HD.
    14. I pop open the drive and listen closely to the HD and it isn't spinning up right and there is a beeping noise coming from the HD. I'm 99% sure it's the HD and not the enclosure.

    That's pretty much a summary of what happened and where I am today.
     
  6. richsadams

    richsadams Well-Known Member

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    Yuck! :( Since TiVo has already gone through the GSOD a couple of times there is data corruption of some sort that it can't resolve at the moment.

    If you haven't already, I'd unplug TiVo and unplug the eSATA drive. Disconnect the eSATA drive from TiVo and then plug it in free and clear of any connections (except electrical), turn it on and see how the fan and drive act. You should be able to hear the drive spin up...and of course the fan shouldn't be making any unusual noises.

    If the drive spins up okay when it's disconnected from TiVo I'd suspect the eSATA II cable.

    If it doesn't spin up when disconnected from TiVo then I'd suspect the drive.

    The enclosure fan may be a problem, but unless it's stopped completely and the drive overheated it shouldn't enter into the mix.

    So IMO it's narrowed down to the cable or the drive. If it's a cable your recordings may be okay...if not and it’s the drive... :mad:

    There is a remote chance that it is TiVo itself and having an external drive is coincidental to what’s going on. But from your description it does indeed sound like an external drive issue. That's the problem with adding peripherals...you never know exactly what's causing a problem until you eliminate things one-by-one. If you replace the cable and/or the drive and still have problems, then I'd divorce the drive and run TiVo without it to see if there are still issues.

    Hope that helps!
     
  7. Aug 1, 2007 #1487 of 2123
    MikeMacMan

    MikeMacMan New Member

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    Sep 16, 2006
    I've checked those.

    1.) I'm using the eSata cable that came with my MX-1. From what I've read that should be a "good" cable.

    2.) The MX-1 is a quality enclosure.

    3.) I guess the drive could be faulty. To check that I think I'd have to hook the drive up to my computer and destroy all my recordings. Its not overheating though because the MX-1's fan is working.

    4.) I've moved my speakers away from my Tivo and I don't have any power cables near it.

    Any other ideas?
    Thanks!
     
  8. Aug 1, 2007 #1488 of 2123
    c3

    c3 TiVoholic

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    Keep in mind that anything can be defective.
     
  9. Aug 1, 2007 #1489 of 2123
    bareyb

    bareyb Under Maintenance TCF Club

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    Can you divorce the external drive and "re-marry" it again? Might be worth a try... :)
     
  10. Aug 1, 2007 #1490 of 2123
    richsadams

    richsadams Well-Known Member

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    You didn’t mention if you had disconnected the drive from TiVo completely as suggested. Have you tried that yet? You could connect it to your PC but you may risk losing your recordings. Just turning it on and listening to it while it is not connected to TiVo (via the eSATA cable) should tell you if it’s spinning up or not. If it doesn’t sound like it’s spinning up to full speed when you turn it on (or continues to “beep” ) then you have your answer…a bad drive.

    I'm using the MX-1's supplied eSATA cable with no problems (along with many others) however there was one report of one that was bad. They replaced it with a new one that was recommended on the original post and that seemed to have cured it. So I wouldn't discount the cable...or any cable for that matter; they can go bad as c3 mentioned.

    If the drive sounds good I’d certainly try a new cable…they are fairly inexpensive, less than $10 I think. If that doesn’t do the trick then I’d divorce the drive and focus on TiVo itself.

    If he divorces the drive all of the recordings made since the drive was installed will be lost, but it might be worth a last-ditch effort.

    Let us know how it goes.
     
  11. Aug 1, 2007 #1491 of 2123
    George Cifranci

    George Cifranci TiVo Bolt 500GB - TE4 UI

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    I had issues with my eSATA cable that came with my MX-1. When I would turn on my TV the S3 would reboot sometimes. That never happened before I connected an external drive. I replaced the cable with the suggested SIIG cable. This one...

    http://www.newegg.com/product/product.asp?item=N82E16812191016

    However, once in a while I will turn on my system (Sony R60XBR1 HDTV, Yamaha RX-V2600 Receiver) and whatever is live on my S3 will freeze. It will come back after a bit of hitting the Tivo button and then going back to LIVE tv but if I try to play back a any prerecorded program I will get an error saying that the TIVO was unable to record the show because of signal or whatever. After I reboot the Tivo I can play those programs fine. It is a crapshoot if it will happen or not. It happens once every week or two since I replaced the eSATA cable on my MX-1.
     
  12. Aug 1, 2007 #1492 of 2123
    nuttzy06

    nuttzy06 New Member

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    I have a general question. Why does the eSATA setup seem to be a bit fragile? I know people have had good success when the environment is right, but the environment does seem to be pretty darn important.

    I can understand the need to keep it in a well ventilated area, away from a lot of heat. But keeping it away from a power source and taking care not to bump it seem pretty important also, and I'm not sure why that is. Is the cable unshielded and subject to interference? I have a wifi access point about 3ft from where the drive will go... I assume that won't be a problem (2.4Mhz), correct? I'm not super knowledgeable about these things so any tips for making a good environment would be great.

    Thanks!
    -Nuttzy :cool:

    edit: fixed a typo
     
  13. Aug 1, 2007 #1493 of 2123
    fred2

    fred2 Member

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    Nuttzy06:

    I would suggest that part of the problem is the poor connectors now used in "modern" devices. They basically use friction fittings to hold them in place. A slight jostling and the connection is intermittantly broken - this goes for the esata cable, usb and mini-usb connections. Remember the old screw connectors for serial cables both 25 and 9 pin? Similar for monitor cables. The spring clip for parallel cables?

    I can almost say that the first esata cable that I had for the Seagate FAP fell out of the socket if you looked at it wrong. And since I have purchased an mx-1 enclosure as insurance, that cable worked NO better with the FAP ***ON THE FAP SIDE*** All fittings appeared tighter on the Tivo side. So in my opinion the FAP's socket may have been a bit larger or shallower so that the cable did not seat all that well.

    Then add in the fact that these devices spin faster and do more and you have greater heat production. That heat has to be shed and it may not work well in nice enclosed furniture cabinets or seated on top of other hot components.

    Now you can throw in the fact that a component on the Tivo has been there for 9 or more months and had no real testing until the backdoor method for installation was revealed. Users may have thoroughly tested their hard drives, and other circuits during the initial 90 day ownership but no one was really able to test the esata port - could that be an issue? Or the Tivo software that allows esata - how much testing? Only speculation.

    My FAP has been running well since some initial problems (moving the drive to see its serial number), trying the mx-1 cable, vacuuming near the setup (cable again) and one or two other early incidents which I, too, attribute to cable issues. I'd say it has been working for at least the last 7 or 8 weeks, three weeks with only recording as I as in Europe and NO-PLAYBACK. Mine is on an open shelf right next to the tivo. The cable is one I got from Frys and trimmed of "excess" plastic insulator.

    Anyone is free to critique my "thoughts!"
     
  14. Aug 1, 2007 #1494 of 2123
    FrogGremlin

    FrogGremlin New Member

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    George - You're not alone, and no-one seems to have yet come up with a definitive explanation. For a while I was suspicious that it was linked to the TiVo sitting idle for "too long," but my recent trip seems to disconfirm that: My eSATAed TiVo ran just fine for 15 straight days while I was in Hong Kong, and then yielded the false "no signal" message and rebooted about 24 hours after I got home Sunday.

    I also have a 60" Sony (although a KDS-A2000, and an HDMI cable running straight from the TiVo to the TV, with digital sound piped from the TiVo through a receiver). It would be interesting if others with the same problem have similar Sony TVs ...
     
  15. Aug 1, 2007 #1495 of 2123
    richsadams

    richsadams Well-Known Member

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    Good info, thanks. :up: Quick question...how is your TV connected to TiVo?
     
  16. Aug 1, 2007 #1496 of 2123
    GooberMan

    GooberMan New Member

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    Since you mention that, and this if off-topic but I gotta ask, has anyone else noticed how loosely the power cord fits into the S3? At least on mine, it doesn't get a very secure connection and if I turn the S3 around to get to the back or just move it a little, it falls out.
     
  17. Aug 1, 2007 #1497 of 2123
    richsadams

    richsadams Well-Known Member

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    I'd say you're right on the money. There are various "perfect storm" scenarios in play...and no one silver bullet to address them all. Everyone's using different equipment with respect to not only the eSATA drives, but cables, TV's, receivers, etc. Taking all of those combinations into account while using an unsupported software activation method is asking for trouble.

    Add to that the “normal” day-to-day issues that are caused by cableco’s, storms, TiVo HDD and software corruption, hardware failures, etc. on a system where an eSATA drive has been added and it’s easy to see why the new drive becomes the scapegoat. We need to keep in mind…particularly those of us that have used TiVo since the early days of the S1…that the S3 hasn’t really been around that long. It is being asked to do much more complicated processing while supporting a multitude of new features that were unheard of in the “old days”. It shouldn’t be surprising when things don’t go as planned, especially when it comes to fooling around with back-door ideas like adding an unsupported feature.

    According to posts that have appeared here and elsewhere (and some have disappeared!) TiVo is currently beta testing the eSATA feature as well as MRV. Both are expected to be supported on the S3 by the end of the year. Apparently there will be a TiVo branded eSATA drive which makes perfect sense. It will cut down on the issues we've been seeing with the various concoctions all of us have put together over the past few months. I'd be amazed if they haven't gotten the message that a solid connection with a quality, shielded eSATA cable isn't important.

    In the meantime we can only succeed through trial and error. I think we've narrowed down the field as to what works a majority of the time and what to avoid, but it's still baby steps. I for one am glad I made the early leap, but for anyone faint of heart when it comes to losing their recordings...I think I'd wait for the official TiVo supported eSATA drive (and software upgrade) to arrive.

    But hey…it’s only TV right? ;)

    Kudos to everyone for posting their experiences! :up:
     
  18. Aug 1, 2007 #1498 of 2123
    richsadams

    richsadams Well-Known Member

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    Ours is pretty tight on all of our boxes. Perhaps they skimped on the plastic the day they made your power cable? ;) I think I'd pick up a new one at Radio Shack, Fry's or order one to see if that takes care of it.
     
  19. Aug 1, 2007 #1499 of 2123
    George Cifranci

    George Cifranci TiVo Bolt 500GB - TE4 UI

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    Via HDMI.

    I also had a weird issue (as well as others) back in January when I would sometimes turn on my TV the Tivo would green screen and lock up. The fix was to stop using the built in Ethernet and instead use a USB to ethernet adapter. After that the green screens stopped. It was like there was some sort of power surge or something that would freak out the Tivo when I powered on my TV (and receiver).
     
  20. Aug 1, 2007 #1500 of 2123
    maynerd

    maynerd New Member

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    I changed out the enclosure, tried kickstarting it and a bunch of different ways trying to get this damn HD to work. I think the drive is fried. I have contacted Seagate for a warranty replacement. There goes all of my cool shows and movies that I recorded. :-/

    Thanks for your suggestions rich!
     

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