TiVo Dying after power outages -upgrade or repair?

Discussion in 'TiVo Coffee House - TiVo Discussion' started by WizarDru, Nov 1, 2011.

  1. Nov 1, 2011 #1 of 14
    WizarDru

    WizarDru New Member

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    Jan 18, 2005
    Malvern, PA
    My TiVo HD is ailing. After a series of 'momentaries' over the weekend, we had a two minute power drop and then a 7 hour power drop. Since then, my TiVo HD has been periodically freezing and rebooting (and eventually locking during the load screen). I've had it since 2007 and use it in the bedroom (the newer Premiere, that replaced the other TiVo HD last year lives in the living room). I should point out that there's nothing on the failing TiVo that I worry about losing.

    The way I see it, I can do one of the following:

    1) Repair and replace the hard drive
    2) Get a weakknees repair kit
    3) Upgrade to a new unit

    Option 1 is something I did long ago for my series 2, to upgrade it's capacity. I remember it being a hell of a lot of work involving building a linux boot, hooking and unhooking hard drives and other stuff. It took a long time and was pretty frustrating, as I recall, though it did work eventually.

    Option 2 is still some work, but not as much.

    Option 3 is currently my favorite. I can upgrade to a TiVo premiere for $99 and get retain my multi-unit discount. No work at all and better features and sounds about the same or less cost than Option 2.

    Anything I've failed to consider? Has Option 1 become much easier?
     
  2. Nov 1, 2011 #2 of 14
    jrtroo

    jrtroo Chill- its just TV

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    I would first try the kickstart codes. The drive replacement process is much easier now than for the old series 2, there is a windows tool and a new tool by comer which will allow a 2TB drive.
     
  3. Nov 1, 2011 #3 of 14
    eDbolson

    eDbolson Member

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    And by all means get yourself a UPS. A $50 model will protect from spikes and brownouts and allow you to more "gently" shut it down (although there is no "shutdown" command for a TiVo, saving it from a series of outages is certainly more gentle!)
     
  4. Nov 1, 2011 #4 of 14
    WizarDru

    WizarDru New Member

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    The last time I tried the Kickstart codes was on the other Tivo HD...the one I replaced last year when it did something similar to this one. The Kickstarter tests ended up doing MORE damage to the drive and making it so it didn't even start properly. And it took two days to determine there was nothing more to be done. That's a lot of time I'd rather not spend fixing it.

    Judging by the article listed here, it's easier than before...but still not 'easy', per se. I'll have to think about it. If I don't have a handy drive lying around, I'm not going to spend $100 to manually upgrade the unit when I could upgrade to the premiere in the bargain for the same price. On the other hand, if I can do it quickly and cheaply, I might do it.
     
  5. Nov 1, 2011 #5 of 14
    ThAbtO

    ThAbtO TiVoholic by the bay TCF Club

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    There is WinMFS, and I didn't have to make a boot CD, just boot from my windows HD. Makes it a little bit easier to upgrade, plus no lengthy Linux commands to type.
     
  6. Nov 1, 2011 #6 of 14
    mattack

    mattack Well-Known Member

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    Yes, it has.

    1) burn jmfs to CD
    2) boot from it with both drives connected (NOT in *dual* USB dock unfortunately)
    3) follow easy to use prompts

    Does your TivoHD have a lifetime subscription? if so, it's then likely definitely worth fixing.. (I have a drive that's gone bad -- though apparently filesystem corruption -- and definitely intend to fix it.)
     
  7. Nov 2, 2011 #7 of 14
    jlb

    jlb Go Pats!

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    I purchased a USB-eSata adapter which made it a little simpler (for me at least).
     
  8. Nov 2, 2011 #8 of 14
    unitron

    unitron Well-Known Member

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    Since you've got that Premiere you may be able to get lifetime on the HD for $99. There are a couple of threads about that around here somewhere.

    Two things you should do, assuming you have a PC to which you can hook up the TiVo's drive.

    Get the drive manufacturer's diagnostic software and run the long test on it.

    Before you run the long test, assuming you're running XP SP2 or newer on that PC, go to mfslive.org and download and install WinMFS.

    Start Windows with the TiVo drive attached, do not use any of the Windows stuff, like drive management, on it, open WinMFS, select the TiVo drive, click on mfsinfo, see if it's set to boot from partitions 3 and 4, if so, use bootfix or fixboot or whatever it's called, option 2, check mfsinfo again to make sure it's now set to boot from 6 and 7.

    If it's already set to use 6 and 7, use option 1 to set it to use 3 and 4.

    Then try it in the TiVo again.

    Whether that works or not, run the manufacturer's long test on it.

    Before running long procedures on a suspect drive, wrap it in a couple of layers of paper towel and stick it in the freezer overnight.
     
  9. Nov 2, 2011 #9 of 14
    shwru980r

    shwru980r Well-Known Member

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    You could look for a cheap unsubscribed Tivo HD on Craig's list and swap the hard drive with yours.
     
  10. unitron

    unitron Well-Known Member

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    If you did that you should start by confirming that it works and then swapping the power supplies temporarily to see if the problem moves.
     
  11. WizarDru

    WizarDru New Member

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    Jan 18, 2005
    Malvern, PA
    Thanks for the input, all. After reviewing all the options, I chose the path of least resistance and got a TiVo Premiere. I just don't have the desire to spend a few hours upgrading the TiVo HD. I've been down that road and even if it is simpler, it still requires me to use a special boot disk, open both the TiVo HD box and my personal PC and then play with fire a little bit. It sounds easier than it used to be, but not MUCH easier. Given that the premiere offers extra features that I'd like, such as improved support on the iPad app, better transfer speeds between devices and eventual support for streaming and such, it seemed like the better option.
     
  12. jrtroo

    jrtroo Chill- its just TV

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    Not sure what you are doing with your old unit- but it could be worth performing a kickstart now. If it works you can sell the unit, and if not no harm done.
     
  13. WizarDru

    WizarDru New Member

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    Jan 18, 2005
    Malvern, PA
    Good point, that. Might resell it on ebay, then.
     
  14. unitron

    unitron Well-Known Member

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    If you got a Premiere you should see if you can get the $99 lifetime deal on the HD to increase its resale value.
     

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