TiVo Power Cycles every time I turn on my AV Receiver

Discussion in 'TiVo Series3 HDTV DVRs' started by Lrscpa, Jan 21, 2012.

  1. Lrscpa

    Lrscpa Member

    Apr 20, 2003


    This one has me stumped. All of a sudden, whenever I would turn on my AV Receiver, the TiVo-HD would power cycle.

    What's very odd, is that the receiver is plugged into a surge protector, then into one outlet; while the TiVo is plugged into a APS UPS box (about two yrs old-along with the tuning adapter and the TV), and the UPS is plugged into a different set of outlets (though likely on the same circuit). When I would hit the power button on the remote, the receiver lights up immediately as it normally does, and at the same time the UPS lets out a single beep, and the TiVo goes through the power up cycle.

    Perhaps a dead battery in the UPS, or I need a new UPS.

    Or perhaps even the receiver remote (default Pioneer, as opposed to a Harmony) is inadvertantly sending a power cycle code to the TiVo??

    This started a few weeks ago, and nothing in the rack has been changed.
  2. GBL

    GBL covert opiniative

    Apr 20, 2000
    Twin Cities, MN
    Do you have an external esata (My DVr Expander) hard drive attached?
  3. windracer

    windracer joined the 10k club

    Jan 3, 2003
    St. Pete, FL
    There's no discrete remote code I know of to reset a TiVo.

    I would investigate the UPS, sounds like you're on the right track. The battery is probably dead so powering up the AVR causes a power fluctuation, the UPS tries to compensate but there's no battery power and the TiVo reboots.
  4. Lrscpa

    Lrscpa Member

    Apr 20, 2003
    @GBL - no external drive attached.
  5. Speed Daemon

    Speed Daemon Member

    Jan 15, 2012


    What's probably happening is that the inrush current that happens when you energize large power supplies is starving your TiVo's power supply just long enough to make it stop working and reboot an instant later when normal power is restored. It can happen no matter which outlets you use. (if you have a masochistic need to know the technical reason why, just ask. ;))

    Two years is a good time period to replace your UPS battery whether it needs it or not. By the time it's obvious that you need one, the battery can swell up so you can't get it out without a jackhammer. Use a label maker to put the date you last changed the battery in a conspicuous place, so you're fairly conscious of when it's close to time to go new battery shopping.

    Your UPS probably doesn't have a dead battery, though. Most will let you know one way or another long before the battery is completely dead. The more likely thing is that your UPS doesn't have automatic voltage regulation (AVR), or its AVR circuitry isn't fast enough and/or doesn't provide enough voltage boost for your situation. The small time window that inrush current needs to wreak havoc is very small, so it may not give a common "standby" UPS time to kick in.

    There are two affordable ways to correct this sort of problem:

    1. Buy an AC voltage regulator to place between the AC outlet and the UPS. Models that can handle the load of your TiVo cost as little as $50 retail.
    2. Buy an inrush current limiter for your receiver. This can be harder than you'd think.
    The Kill A Watt PS-10 power strip web page cryptically mentions "Soft Power-Up" but doesn't elaborate. Terms like this, like "soft start" are often used as code for inrush current limiters. Look for stuff like this. DON'T get power sequencers! These are intended for large PA systems, to turn on large power amplifiers one at a time. That's no help for your receiver.

    No matter which product you choose, check about return policies in case it doesn't help. IME, products costing less than $100 aren't quite enough sometimes. Really useful features tend to start showing up above $100. The "Watts up? Pro" has the really useful troubleshooting tools at $130 that Kill A Watt meters don't have. The really good AC voltage regulators start at around $500. Now we're talking serious cash, and you'd better know exactly why you're spending money like that IMHO. Beware of the really expensive high-end stuff! Even respected makers of pro audio, video and computer power solutions are offering high-end product lines. If you really want to spend a lot of money for a $500 product in a $1000 case, I'm not stopping you. Just be forewarned that the $1000 case isn't going to make any of the usual over-the-top high-end claims come true.
  6. Lrscpa

    Lrscpa Member

    Apr 20, 2003
    @Speed Daemon - why not.

    Interestingly enough, by unplugging the TiVo from the UPS and plugging it directly into the wall has alleviated the problem for now. I had originally purchased the UPS to keep the TiVo (and tuning adapter) from restarting during those annoying summertime thunderstorms where the lights will flicker occasionally.
  7. Phantom Gremlin

    Phantom Gremlin Active Member

    Jun 20, 2002
    Don't overthink this. If the UPS beeps, that means its input voltage sagged (because of the receiver power up current) and the load on the UPS was too large for it to properly compensate.

    I'm not 100% clear from your post whether your TV is plugged into your UPS. If so, don't do that. You're probably overloading the UPS. You want the UPS to protect the TiVo and tuning adapter. You probably need a larger UPS if you want to watch TV during a blackout.

    The battery in your UPS is probably not 100% right now, but I'd expect it to last much more than 2 years. Most of my batteries last 4 or 5 years. Unfortunately the pricing of batteries is such that you often *can't* buy a replacement from APC at a reasonable cost (third party replacement is a whole different can of worms). E.g. APC wants $40 plus shipping for a replacement battery for a BE350G model, while Best Buy recently had an equivalent new APC UPS on sale for $43. BTW I use that model for just a TiVo, it's not adequate to also power a TV.

    I did recently order some replacement batteries from APC, but that was for a few larger UPSes I have. E.g. it would have cost $130 to replace a UPS and the battery was $87 including shipping. So I gambled that I will save a few bucks that way.

    If you have an APC UPS (not clear since you did say "APS UPS") then you can get an idea of when the UPS was made by looking at the serial number. E.g. one of mine starts with 3B1016. Ignore the first two characters. That means it was made in year 10 week 16.
  8. unitron

    unitron Well-Known Member

    Apr 28, 2006
    semi-coastal NC
    Best to keep the TiVo on a UPS in the long run.

    It can be almost as cheap to buy another UPS on sale as to go get a new battery for it at somewhere like Batteries Plus, and definitely so if you check the price of ordering an "APC brand" replacement from APC, including shipping.

    Get another one, put the TiVo and the tuning adapter on it, and put the TV on the old one.

    That way the one the TiVo is on is only lightly loaded.
  9. Speed Daemon

    Speed Daemon Member

    Jan 15, 2012
    There are two basic types of UPS, backup and online. An online UPS takes AC line current and converts it to DC for charging and maintaining the battery. Coming from the battery is an inverter that turns the DC from the battery into AC. A standby UPS does essentially the same thing, but the inverter stays turned off unless the power goes out completely. Otherwise the AC input to the UPS goes straight to the output outlets.

    While an online UPS doesn't need to do anything to supply power to the load if AC line power is lost, the standby UPS must figure out when the power is out so it can turn on the inverter. It can't use something simple like zero voltage to start the inverter because 60Hz AC is at zero volts 120 times a second. The only reliable way is to wait to start the inverter after the voltage is zero for a certain amount of time. So a standby UPS always has some delay between losing AC line power and getting the inverter started up.

    Most home wiring uses a system called split-phase. Split phase is a single phase system that is able to get two voltages by using a center tap neutral wire that gives half the voltage between neutral that exists between the two live wires. Most of your home wiring uses the lower voltage between the neutral and one or the other hot wire.

    Most people don't think about AC wiring having resistance, but the fact is that everything has some resistance. Even superconductors aren't 100% efficient. With split-phase, this becomes a problem when more current flows between one hot and the neutral than does with the other hot wire. This results in having a voltage potential on the neutral wire. It's this voltage that causes audio buzzing and sometimes a nasty shock. The latter is why a ground wire is also used in many appliances.

    So if the receiver is on the same leg as your UPS, Ohm's Law tells us that the high current and wire resistance will cause a voltage drop. And since the other leg is actually part of the same circuit, it will also be affected.

    The primary function of any UPS is to provide some form of power to the load when the utility power quits. Although some UPS makers claim that their products provide AC voltage regulation, surge protection or power conditioning, it's likely to be a very inexpensive afterthought if anything at all. A standby UPS isn't a very good choice if your lights just flicker.

    Flickering lights are most often caused by wind, which can move overhead power distribution wires enough to make less than solid connections become intermittent. That's if you're lucky. Eventually the loose connection will break, and the result can be as damaging as a lightning strike.

    Speaking of lightning, that's the other most likely source of problems. If your lights are just flickering and not all dying right after one brilliant flash, the lightning is probably far away. Power substations and generating facilities have sophisticated equipment protecting their facilities. When activated, they essentially turn off parts of the power grid, which is what makes the lights flicker.

    Flickering lights mean you got lucky...this time. If you want your equipment to survive more serious power faults, invest in a serious power protection system. The best one that I know of is disconnecting all sensitive equipment for as long as there's a weather threat. That's fine when you're going to be home the whole time and have nothing to record. I use Brick Wall protectors, which can dissipate a 18 megawatt surge every minute for 1000 minutes (nearly 17 hours). This is based on IEEE standards for worst possible indoor conditions.

    When it comes to a UPS, an online type would be best. There are long run time models, but they're expensive. So instead I use a regular 1000-1500 kVA UPS to power my DISH box, 2 HD TiVos and the TV. Even with a fairly large UPS I only get 30 minutes or so of run time. So the TV is needed to do an orderly shutdown if necessary.
  10. MichaelK

    MichaelK Active Member

    Jan 10, 2002
    Another weird aside:

    One of buildings I work in the facilities group buys tripplite ups' for critical computers. They buy all the same model for consistency- big tower models larger than a typical pc.

    They use them on the building automation system pc's, on lab equipment controls, on sewer system controls, etc. recently one died so they replaced it with another of those same model. There was some sort of fault with the unit that it picked up RF interference and would crap out. If you keyed up a portable radio near that one it would beep, die off, and take down the building control system PC with it. They replaced it with another (again same model) and all was fine.

    It's beyond my knowledge how RF interference can cause (even a faulty) UPS to choke- but apparently it can.

    Reading the rest of the posts it seems more logical its a run of the mill UPS issue but before i read it all when i saw AV receiver it made me thing of that odd ball UPS at work...

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