TiVo constant reboot after power loss

Discussion in 'TiVo Series3 HDTV DVRs' started by pgoelz, Jul 24, 2011.

  1. pgoelz

    pgoelz Active Member

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    May 1, 2005
    Help! I have a TivoHD with a WD 10EACS 1TB drive in it. It has run flawlessly for a year. Today, we had a brief power outage (not the first since the 1TB was installed) and after it came back on, the TivoHD is constantly rebooting. It powers up and gives me the "Powering up" screen, the HD is spinning and I can hear it accessing. But maybe 30 seconds later the screen goes blank, the power LED goes out and comes back on and the boot attempt cycle repeats over and over. Pulling the power cord and re-trying does not cure it.

    If I put the original 160GB drive in it boots fine and runs normally.

    If I restore the truncated backup from a year ago when I installed the 1TB drive, it continuously reboots.

    If I do a complete copy from the original drive to the 1TB drive, it continuously reboots.

    I tried disabling the idle timer with WDIDLE3, no change. Note that this is an older 1TB drive, made in Jan. 2009 and I have had no issues with the idle timer in the year since I installed it. If I reformat the 1TB drive in Windows, I can read and write to/from it normally. But if I delete the format and copy the 160GB drive to it in WinMFS, I am back to constant reboots.

    I'm stumped. The only thing I can think of is to buy another 1TB drive, move everything I have on a second WD WD10EADS to it, and try copying the original Tivo drive to the other WD drive.

    What's the chance this is a MOBO issue, even though it works fine with the original 160GB drive?

    Paul
     
  2. unitron

    unitron Well-Known Member

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    I understand the desire to figure out what's causing that very strange behavior, but allow me to suggest that you grab one of those $79.99 WD20EARS from newegg (if the discount code hasn't expired) and use the instructions here

    http://www.tivocommunity.com/tivo-vb/showthread.php?t=462179

    However, first you might try grabbing another 160GB or larger drive, dd (or dd_rescue) the original to it, and try it in the TiVo to make sure there's really nothing wrong with the original. As contradictory as it sounds, a drive that actually works in the TiVo isn't necessarily good.


    One other thing occurs to me. Perhaps your power outage damaged your power supply just enough to let it still run the original drive but not quite run the 1TB.
     
  3. pgoelz

    pgoelz Active Member

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    Thanks for the response..... here's the puzzling update.

    I had a second similar 1TB WD drive so in desperation I moved its contents off onto backup drives, deleted its partitions and did a restore from a fresh truncated backup from the original Tivo drive. Worked fine. So SOMETHING happened to the first 1TB WD drive during the power failure. Very odd because it seems to work 100% except it won't boot.

    I did measure the voltages to the HD.... 5V and 11.8 to both the original drive and the non-booting 1TB drive. Caps in the power supply look fine.

    There is the possibility that there was a power surge when the power came back.... the A/C was on and blew the breaker because the outage was too short to allow the pressure to bleed off. That might have caused a transient when the breaker blew. But I can't see that damaging the hard drive and not the power supply. Actually, I can't see it damaging anything.

    So my Tivo is happy and functional and I am still puzzled what happened to the first 1TB drive that allows it to be formatted in Windows or by MFS, read and write just fine, but it won't boot in the Tivo.

    A side note that might need to be added to the sticky.... when I restored the truncated backup to the new drive, it still referred to the recordings that I did not restore. I had to delete them manually, which I assume I had to do to make sure the Tivo wasn't confused about available storage space?
     
  4. unitron

    unitron Well-Known Member

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    Apparently TiVos and PCs put the partition table/map in slightly different places. At one time I had a drive that had been used in both and fdisk -l (on the MFS Live cd v1.4) showed the "DOS" style partitioning, and pdisk -l showed the Tivo partitioning.

    Anyway, perhaps the drive was damaged right where TiVo needs to write some partition info, but not where a pc does.

    Did you try pdisk and mfsinfo on the drive to see what they said?


    As for the "ghost" recordings, I've run into that before. It's the result of the recordings not being copied, but the database/index of them being copied.

    Did you do

    backup -f 9999 -6so ....?
     
  5. pgoelz

    pgoelz Active Member

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    Good thought. No, I have not tried pdisk.... never heard of it. Googling seems to show it is a Mac utility? Not sure how I could make a bootable disk that includes it.

    Yeah, I figured as much. Hopefully, just deleting them will clean things up.

    No. What utility uses that syntax?

    Paul
     
  6. lpwcomp

    lpwcomp Well-Known Member

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    John's...
    This is exactly why you should have a TiVo on a UPS.
     
  7. pgoelz

    pgoelz Active Member

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    Good point. If I pick up a new HD today I'll have a look at a UPS. However, the UPS only postpones the inevitable since we occasionally have multi-hour power outages. Or is the Tivo guaranteed to handle an unexpected power loss as long as there is no associated surge and as long as the power is off long enough that the Tivo has a chance to fully power off?

    Re: MFSINFO, I did look at the drive that would not boot and the info looked OK to me. It showed partitions with normal looking characteristics. I tried deleting the volume in Windows, deleting the format in MFSTOOLS, restoring, etc. and nothing worked. Are there any hidden tools I am unaware of?

    Paul
     
  8. lpwcomp

    lpwcomp Well-Known Member

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    John's...
    The TiVo should be fine if connected to a UPS. The main purpose of the UPS is to avoid the momentary outages that are the usual cause of disk damage.

    When you used WinMFS to re-image the drive, did you have it available to Windows at any time prior to re-installing it in the TiVo? That will cause problems. Then again, maybe the damage to the disk was somehow limited to the boot sectors.
     
  9. pgoelz

    pgoelz Active Member

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    Not sure if I understand the question.

    The "failed" drive was originally a Windows drive. Before I installed it in the Tivo a year ago, I deleted the partitions and copied the original Tivo drive to it. That worked perfectly and it ran flawlessly for a year.... until yesterday. It survived several power outages and soft reboots.

    For the first couple restore attempts after the power failure, it remained Tivo formatted and Windows did not recognize it.

    I then tried deleting the Tivo format, formatting it as a Windows drive and testing it as a Windows drive. That worked perfectly. I then deleted the Windows partitions, restored it from my truncated backup, and it was back to refusing to boot.

    I restored the same image to a different WD green 1TB drive and that worked perfectly. That drive is now installed in my Tivo and working great.

    The "failed" 1TB WD drive has once again been formatted in Windows and works perfectly. I may try imaging it as the C: drive in one of my PCs to see if it will boot to Windows.

    And yes, when I replaced the drive that I ended up putting in the Tivo (it was a video drive in my main PC) I also got a $44 UPS so the Tivo is safe. I hope.

    I didn't want to wait for the $79 Newegg 2TB drive so I got the same drive locally for $89.

    So the crisis is past although we lost all our recordings. Knowing what I know now, it would have been interesting (if very slow) to try copying the failed drive to a new drive. I suspect the data on the drive was very possibly OK. Moot now ;)

    Paul
     
  10. unitron

    unitron Well-Known Member

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    That's from the aforementioned MFS Live cd, which also includes pdisk and a linux version of fdisk.

    The -f switch saves all the streams with an id number of whatever number you put after it. The idea is that the ones on the TiVo before any shows are recorded have low numbers and 9999 is sure to get all of them. It also tends to get the index of recorded shows, but not the shows themselves.

    Nothing against WinMFS (it's by the same guy as MFS Live), but it's handy to have both.
     
  11. lpwcomp

    lpwcomp Well-Known Member

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    John's...
    If a TiVo disk is visible to Windows, i.e. it shows up in Explorer, it will be rendered unbootable in the TiVo.
     
  12. unitron

    unitron Well-Known Member

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    It's already not bootable in the TiVo, for reasons none of us can figure out, so apparently he's going to leave it as a mystery and use it in a computer with a different drive in the TiVo.
     
  13. lpwcomp

    lpwcomp Well-Known Member

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    John's...
    I was just explaining the question based on the fact that he stated "Not sure if I understand the question." Also for future reference.
     
  14. pgoelz

    pgoelz Active Member

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    It was never visible to Windows in Explorer prior to attempting to boot in the Tivo. The only time it was visible to Windows was when I intentionally reformatted it as NTFS. When formatted as Tivo, the storage management utility in Windows could see it as a hard drive but did not understand what it was or how it was formatted and offered to initialize it for me (which I of course declined).

    Paul
     
  15. lpwcomp

    lpwcomp Well-Known Member

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    John's...
    Maybe the drive just got tired of being cooped up in the TiVo.
     
  16. unitron

    unitron Well-Known Member

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    I believe the phrase is "You owe me a new keyboard":)
     
  17. Kit_C

    Kit_C New Member

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    Escondido,...
    I had a very similar failure on my S3, with constant reboots on a Hitachi 1TB drive that I added several years ago. I replaced the drive with a WD 1.5TB model (no joy), and the OEM 250GB Tivo drive worked at first and then failed.

    I ended up sending the TiVo to WeaKnees, and they diagnosed a power supply failure. They replaced the power supply, and my 1TB drive (and my original 250GB drive, and the replacement 1.5TB drive...) now works fine.

    I'd recommend running the Western Digital life test on your WD10EACS. If it shows no errors, I'd order a power supply.

    Kit
    San Diego
     
  18. pgoelz

    pgoelz Active Member

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    I considered the power supply but....

    1. The voltages look OK with either the original or the "failed" drive installed.
    2. There are no bulging caps and no other signs of trouble.
    3. It works perfectly with a DIFFERENT 1TB WD drive as well as the original drive.

    The "failed" drive spins up and I can hear it accessing. It just won't advance farther than the first boot screen.

    The drive that is currently installed and working perfectly is using the exact same image as the one I restored many times to the "failed" drive.

    Unless the new drive starts acting up, I'm calling this solved... but it remains a mystery. The only down side from all this is that I didn't realize that it now seems possible to expand a TivoHD to 2TB. Had I known that, I would have bought a 2TB drive instead of a 1TB. Perhaps the sticky should be changed to reflect the 2TB option?

    Paul
     
  19. jrtroo

    jrtroo Chill- its just TV

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    As noted above, run the drive diagnostics for the drive through your pc. You may have a minor issue with the drive which could be addressed. I went through a similar experience and the removed tivo drive (500gb) has been chugging away for 3 years in my pc.
     
  20. pgoelz

    pgoelz Active Member

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    I have already run Windows diagnostics on the "failed" drive. I formatted it as NTFS, wrote about 100GB of data to it and then ran checkdisk with the box checked to scan for bad sectors. It came back 100% clean with no errors detected.

    Still a mystery. I think this weekend I'll image it as the C: drive in my secondary PC and see if it runs reliably. If so, it will at least serve a purpose in a machine that can crash catastrophically and not hurt me (I have it backed up and it doesn't chenge much week to week). 1TB is overkill in that machine but smaller drives aren't much cheaper these days so no biggie. It currently has a noisy IDE drive installed, so the green drive will be an improvement ;)

    Paul
     

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