TiVo died? :(

Discussion in 'TiVo Series 1 - UK' started by manolan, Jan 10, 2012.

  1. manolan

    manolan New Member

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    Feb 13, 2001
    LONDON, UK
    So, I came back after Xmas to discover that my TiVo won't boot. It goes through the cachecard startup and then switches off after caching data. I haven't noticed any handy error messages appearing on screen!

    The TiVo had not been switched to the AltEPG as I was mainly using it to watch the large backlog of programmes! The cachecard was originally installed because the modem had committed suicide. I remember that had a disproportionate impact on the boot process, but I don't think it can be that again.

    The hard drive and cachecard came from TiVo Heaven pre-configured, so I have no experience of doing the detailed stuff myself. But I'm fairly experienced in using different flavours of Unix (but not down at fstab sort of level!), so the Unix toolset is familiar to me.

    I have a spare TiVo in the attic, so I could (following chips34's experience) put the HDD in it and see what happens. I also have an external IDE enclosure, so I could mount the drive on another computer and take a look if there are any useful log files.

    If I'm going to do that, presumably there are still some gotchas when mounting a TiVo drive under Windows. Is that the case with all flavours of Windows, including Windows 7? And is there any way round it, or do I have to boot one of my machines into Linux?

    Which route would the experts take?!
     
  2. drgeoff

    drgeoff Member

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    Nov 10, 2005
    Do not put a TiVo disk in, or attach via USB or Firewire to, a PC which will boot into Windows. Windows has a nasty habit of writing things to the boot sector and this will cause problems for a TiVo.

    The recommended course of action is to disconnect the Windows drive and boot the PC from one of the many CDs specifically tailored for working with TiVo drives. Some (most or even all?) of those bootable CDs do not support external USB drives so best to put the drive on an internal IDE cable.

    I don't have a cachecard so am not familiar with how that boots. You could try temporarily removing it to see if the TiVo will boot.

    Hopefully someone else will be able to offer more concrete fault finding advice.
     
  3. manolan

    manolan New Member

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    Feb 13, 2001
    LONDON, UK
    I was aware that earlier versions of Windows (well, somewhere around the 2000, XP, Vista era) had this unfortunate habit. I was wondering whether Windows 7 still does this and particularly if the disk is mounted as an external hard drive. And if the disk is not connected at boot time.

    Unless there's some reason not to, I think I'd rather boot from a Linux image I have that supports external disks (used it to examine a duff Terastation disk once upon a time). It has a full set of Unix utilities rather than the subset I have been told is usually found on TiVo upgrade disks. But that depends on any useful log files being under a filesystem that it understands.

    And, indeed, there being useful log files that might point to the problem.

    Removing the cachecard might be an option, but:

    a. it is very tight and I am reluctant to remove it unless there's a strong reason to suspect it.

    b. I don't know whether the TiVo would boot. I recall that it was necessary to comment out the modem config to get it to boot before (the modem having failed) and I don't know whether it will boot with no modem and no network card. Anyone?
     
  4. drgeoff

    drgeoff Member

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    Nov 10, 2005
    I forgot to mention that even if Windows does not mess up the TiVo disk it will not be able to read it because it doesn't understand the file system. So there is nothing to be gained and potentially something to be lost by letting Windows touch it.

    There is another reason to use the CD images specifically intended for TiVos and that is byteswapping. http://www.tivocommunity.com/tivo-vb/showthread.php?t=311973. An ordinary Linux system won't work.

    See also http://www.tivocommunity.com/tivo-vb/showthread.php?p=4342776
     
  5. spitfires

    spitfires wassock

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    Dec 19, 2006
    South Coast, UK
    Do you mean literally switches itself (power) off? No GSOD or anything? So you get the cachecard screen appear which chugs away for a bit and then... the power goes off?
     
  6. manolan

    manolan New Member

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    Feb 13, 2001
    LONDON, UK
    Yes. Literally switches off. Cachecard goes through start up process and the stage of "caching data" (which I think completes), then the whole thing switches off. Any ideas?
     
  7. manolan

    manolan New Member

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    Feb 13, 2001
    LONDON, UK
    Hmm. Thinking about it again, this reminds me of a problem I once had with a PC which was overheating. I will check the fan tonight to see whether it is running and then report back.
     
  8. drgeoff

    drgeoff Member

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    Nov 10, 2005
    Nothing in the TiVo normally produces so much heat that the lack of a running fan would cause overheating within a few minutes of powering up. (Unless your Tivo is in a closed cabinet and being cooked by other items.)

    Probably more fruitful to check the PSU.

    If you are not experienced at working with mains powered equipment with the lid off, be very careful. Unlike PCs, there are high voltages on the PSU board which can be readily touched.
     
  9. spitfires

    spitfires wassock

    724
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    Dec 19, 2006
    South Coast, UK
    Sounds like the power supply then.

    Modern power supplies will switch themselves off if they detect an incorrect output condition but I didn't think the TiVo's PSU was clever enough for that (due to its age).

    I would try installing the disc in your spare TiVo and see if it starts up. There's no need to transfer the cachecard initially, just install the disc and see if you can access your recordings.


    As drgeoff says, please be VERY careful around the power supply and do not touch any part of it.
     
  10. millsb

    millsb New Member

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    Aug 24, 2009
    As there's been no reply for over a week, do we fear the worst?
     
  11. spitfires

    spitfires wassock

    724
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    Dec 19, 2006
    South Coast, UK
    :) Let's hope he's just fixed his TiVo, and not gone bang in a cloud of smoke.
     
  12. manolan

    manolan New Member

    401
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    Feb 13, 2001
    LONDON, UK
    Hah!

    No, sadly I have just been ill with flu and then busy trying to catch up with a backlog of work. Hopefully I will have a chance to look at it this weekend.

    I am relatively comfortable working around unprotected live power, but thanks for the warnings.
     
  13. Pete77

    Pete77 New Member

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    Aug 1, 2006
    Not Far...
    Its a brave man who makes such a statement immediately before embarking on such work;):eek:
     

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