TiVo HD XL stopped working

Discussion in 'TiVo Series3 HDTV DVRs' started by jswartz, Sep 25, 2011.

  1. jswartz

    jswartz New Member

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    Apr 20, 2004
    Swarthmore, PA
    A couple days ago, I started having trouble transferring files from our nearly 2 year old TiVo HD XL. When I went to the unit itself, it didn't show any picture or play sounds when I hit buttons on the remote, but it did flash a light when I hit a button on the remote. I restarted it, but it soon was in the same state.

    Last evening I started a Kickstart 54 SMART scan. The first tests all passed, but the offline test, which was expected to take 333 minutes is at 865 minutes and still running.

    Clearly there is a problem, but before I send it to Weaknees, I'd like to have an idea of what the hopes are to fix it. If it is a drive failure, I would probably attempt the fix myself. I have a lifetime TiVo contract, so I want to get this unit working, not replace it.

    What I'm looking for are intelligent guesses as to what is failing. I plan to try to open the unit. Are there ways I can troubleshoot the issue? I'd feel better if I had gotten a failure code on the SMART test rather than just having it run endlessly.
     
  2. jswartz

    jswartz New Member

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    Apr 20, 2004
    Swarthmore, PA
    I forgot the main symptom. When I start the TiVo into normal mode, it seems to start OK, but eventually the screen content just disappears. I see the green screen with the racing lightbulbs, but nothing on the screen. This happens when the Tivo is sitting doing nothing, or in one case when I tried to play a recording.
     
  3. Joe01880

    Joe01880 I love my TiVo

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    I'd "guess" its a hard drive failure.
     
  4. dlfl

    dlfl Cranky old novice

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    I would assume it's the drive and get a new plug-in 1 TB or 2 TB drive from DVR_DUDE on ebay. It could also be the power supply. They cost $100 at Weaknees.com or you can probably pick up a used HD or HDXL unit on eBay for less than that and swap that power supply into your unit. Even if you end up replacing both items, it's worth it as you have lifetime, and you will have a brand new drive.

    First, check the internal temperature and if the fan is running. The fact it runs OK for a while suggests it might be temperature.
     
  5. nooneuknow

    nooneuknow not quite dead yet

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    Just pointing out that saying "plug-in", could confuse any novices that read your post. Some might go searching for plug-in (eSATA) external drives.
     
  6. dlfl

    dlfl Cranky old novice

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    Just google "ebay dvr_dude" and you'll be looking at the right drives. I should have said plug-n-play --- that's what the dude calls them.
     
  7. nooneuknow

    nooneuknow not quite dead yet

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    I had originally, thrown in that part, but I had included weaknees, then remembered they deal in externals as well and deleted that before posting.

    Even plug-n-play could confuse some, as that's what eSATA truly is.

    Since I'm not looking to make a debate about it, I'll just offer up that specifying "internal" with either one (or any of the many ways you could describe them) would work.

    Unless the O.P. has more questions, I'm just going to leave it at that.
     
  8. jswartz

    jswartz New Member

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    Apr 20, 2004
    Swarthmore, PA
    Thanks for your help. Although I've never done anything with a TiVo, I'm experienced with computer internals. I'll try to open things up and see what it looks like. I might try to replace the drive myself if I can save settings and cablecard pairing. I'll look in other threads, but if someone has a recommendation on what bare drives are best, I'd appreciate it.
     
  9. nooneuknow

    nooneuknow not quite dead yet

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    You can find all you need to know to do it yourself, and links to free tools to do it, all right on this site (including what drives work, and what is recommended).

    You'll have to dig around a bit. I don't have links to all the related threads handy to post, like so people do.
     
  10. BrianSConover

    BrianSConover New Member

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    Sep 20, 2011
    Avoid Weaknees....They are overpriced and Lou has become the hugest ass imaginable to deal with...I would recommend purchasing a used Tivo Premiere on Craigslist.
     
  11. BrianSConover

    BrianSConover New Member

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    Sep 20, 2011
    And avoid DVRUgrade.com too...I had a problem with my Tivo and he pretty much stated that if my questions and concerns didn't lead to a purchase I was wasting their time and needed to hang up. I eventually purchased a 2TB Tivo formatted drive from a guy on eBay for $100
     
  12. BrianSConover

    BrianSConover New Member

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    $300 for a 2TB drive with an other $99 for installation...JUST SAY NO !
    $99 for a 2TB drive with a $3 tool and 5 minutes of your time...JUST SAY YES !
     
  13. unitron

    unitron Well-Known Member

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    In case the TiVo's power supply has become marginal, you could try supplying the drive with power from a computer, spin it up before plugging in the Tivo.

    If it behaves, suspect your power supply. If it makes no difference, suspect the drive and/or the power supply.

    Under no circumstances attempt to power anything else on the TiVo from an outside source.
     
  14. V7Goose

    V7Goose OTA ONLY and Loving It!

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    Certainly sounds like a bad drive to me - taking forever to run the surface tests (if that is what the "offline" test is doing) can be caused when the scan is finding lots and lots of errors.

    I'd start by pulling the drive and running the WD test utility on it on your computer - that should give you a better indication of what is going on. If it is bad, then you can try to do a truncated backup on it with one of the upgrade utilities (forget about trying to save any programs - they are already toast). Perhaps the small part of the drive where the OS lives is still good since the machine can still boot - If the backup seems to work, then you have a shot at just buying a bare 2TB drive and doing an upgrade - might work for you. If the backup has problems on the bad drive, then you are either going to need a new image from someone or buy an already-upgraded drive from DVR Dude. Good luck.
     
  15. unitron

    unitron Well-Known Member

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    I concur with V7Goose's advice to run the WD diagnostics, but first download the zip of the iso of the MFS Live cd v1.4 from mfslive.org and burn yourself a copy or two.

    Use it to boot from with the TiVo drive and another the same size or larger hooked up to a computer.

    Use the dd_rescue utility to copy the TiVo drive to the other one.

    dd-rescue -?

    will show you the various options.

    Set the block size at 512 bytes and the fallback size at 1 byte.

    It will take forever.

    Maybe longer.

    But that's probably the only way to save your settings and recordings at this point, if it's possible at all.

    Once that's done you can run the diagnostics on the drive.

    You might want to put both drives in the freezer overnight, wrapped in a layer or two of paper towel before doing the copy.
     
  16. jswartz

    jswartz New Member

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    Apr 20, 2004
    Swarthmore, PA
    Thanks for your advice. I ordered a new bare drive. I figure an upgrade won't hurt if the problem isn't with the drive. I just now opened the TiVo. The fan seems a little noisy, but is running. Does anyone know if the speed is supposed to be variable? Are there options other than Weaknees for buying a replacement fan? Is it custom, or standard?
     
  17. jswartz

    jswartz New Member

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    Apr 20, 2004
    Swarthmore, PA
    I tried the MFSLive CD, but on my main computer, it hung during the boot process. On another computer, it completed, but went to a command line. I'm fine with command lines, but have no idea what I would run. Fortunately, WinMFS seems to work and I did backup my TiVo drive. Unfortunately, it will be harder to come up with two extra SATA connections on that computer.
     
  18. unitron

    unitron Well-Known Member

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    Did you backup your drive by making a truncated image or by copying the entire drive to another drive of equal or greater size?
     
  19. tiassa

    tiassa Me --Avatar

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    I'm pretty sure it is a "Generic" 70mm PC Case fan.
     
  20. unitron

    unitron Well-Known Member

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    Peel back the label on the side of the fan that faces the rear of the TiVo (you'll have to remove the fan from the case). If there's a rubber plug, pry it up. You want to get to where the blade assembly shaft goes through the bearing. Pack in a mixture of light grease and light oil. That'll quiet it down some and extend its life.

    You can probably get a 2-wire +12V replacement from allelectronics.com, a surplus dealer, or other online parts houses.

    You want one that's 70mm or 2 3/4 inches square and 25mm or 1 inch deep.
     

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