TiVo sees no STB input, AUX works OK (yes, very similar to another recent problem)

Discussion in 'TiVo Series 1 - UK' started by manolan, Jan 3, 2008.

  1. Jan 3, 2008 #1 of 16
    manolan

    manolan New Member

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    LONDON, UK

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    I recently upgraded my other half's TiVo set up to include a Wharfdale Freeview STB and a Sony LCD TV. This worked fine for about a month, but stopped sometime over Xmas and New Year (we were away).

    What is happening is that the TiVo complains it can't see any signal. However, pressing AUX shows the signal successfully (and, I would say, at a very good quality).

    Changing channel in Live TV changes the channel of the STB.

    A restart has no effect.

    Any thoughts?
     
  2. Jan 3, 2008 #2 of 16
    blindlemon

    blindlemon tivoheaven.co.uk

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    Unplug at the wall, leave the STB switched on, wait for 30 seconds, plug back in :)
     
  3. Jan 4, 2008 #3 of 16
    manolan

    manolan New Member

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    Indeed, surprised I didn't think of that myself... must have been tired! Worked perfectly, thanks.
     
  4. Jan 4, 2008 #4 of 16
    iankb

    iankb New Member

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    Another success for Occams's Razor (well almost). A more timely solution than waiting for some workman to dig through the power cable and accidentally cause a powercut. :D

    If they had marketed the TiVo as a computer system, that is the first thing that anybody would think of doing. Calling it a consumer product has masked the fact that this is only a computer in disguise. If TiVo had put a reset button on the front, I'm sure that it would have saved TiVo a lot on customer support over the years, on one side of the pond or another.
     
  5. Jan 4, 2008 #5 of 16
    mikeyp

    mikeyp New Member

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    Yes, but imagine the frustration and all the broken recordings when someone's button pressing 2 year old visits. I think the buttonless design was simply ingenious! Not to mention how much smarter it looks that all my other kit with its millions of buttons on the front.
     
  6. Jan 5, 2008 #6 of 16
    Pete77

    Pete77 New Member

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    For total reliability put your Tivo on a timer and have the timer shut it off once a day at 5am for 2 minutes. You then ensure occasional problems with Tivo losing track of its video input sources while you are away do not cause you to lose days and days of recordings.

    I just put my tv on yesterday and found the dreaded blue screen on my Sky and Freeview sources for Tivo. I then restarted the Freeview and Sky boxes but this did not help and I then soft rebooted my Tivo through the menus and System Reset, which also did not help. But finaly I rebooted the Tivo by pulling the mains plug and hey presto the tv sources were back.

    Those here who ask why I have Tivo on a timer to reboot it once a day must either never go away on holiday or are in denial that Tivo while quite reliable is still not a 100% reliable device.
     
  7. Jan 7, 2008 #7 of 16
    Ian_m

    Ian_m Active Member

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    I have had my TiVo since Nov 2000and never once had it not record due to either TiVo software failure or set top box failure. My major "not record incidents" have been disk failure in 2005 (ignore the SMART RE_ALLOCATED sectore count at your peril !!!), failure to set a season pass (or season pass order) as TiVo cannot mind read what I would like and finally router failure (in 2006) so TiVo unable to get guide data whilst on holiday.

    Yes I have seen software errors, once or twice, the database funnies usually fixed by next daily call or even maybe as last resort a manual reboot, but I have never seen my TiVo hang in such a state it doesn't record.

    May I suggest that you have something very wrong with your TiVo and/or set top box if you are having to power cycle every 24 hours ?

    Anyway power cycling seriously reduces the life time of components which is why most computers/electronic equipment fails when you turn it on. For the more technical minded, for instance capacitor lifetime depends on temperature (each 10°C reduction doubles life) applied voltage (can't alter as this is decided by the designer) and surge current. The surge current being the highest at power on. As the capacitor gets older its resistance gets higher and each surge reduces the expected life even more till eventually it fails.
     
  8. Jan 7, 2008 #8 of 16
    Pete77

    Pete77 New Member

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    The frequency of losing track of the tv source is about once in 6 or 8 months but it does happen. If I was away for 2 weeks that would be a disaster.

    But the current inside the Tivo circuitry beyond the power supply is very low so I highly doubt that is actually a major issue. In my experience a computer turned off every day overnight and then turned on it is not the motherboard which eventually fails but the hard drive. They in turn are much more likely to fail if the drive is allowed to cool down completely. Here the unit is only being turned off for 2 minutes so no cool down of note occurs.

    I have another non Lifetime subbed Tivo kicking around I can always transfer my sub over to if this unit fails in any case.
     
  9. Jan 7, 2008 #9 of 16
    Ian_m

    Ian_m Active Member

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    You clearly don't understand basic electronics (ie I x V = P), let alone electronics reliability....Sorry to be so negative Pete.....but....

    The the circuitry inside the TiVo, is low voltage (5V) but is high current (at least 6A on 5V) as a rough estimate @ 30W on 5V rail (??), but surge currents into components can be into 100Amps for very short times, seriously reducing component life.

    PSU's in most modern PC's are made much more reliable now a days as they no longer switch the mains off just "power down" with components charged. Thus there is no current surge when powered on, greatly increasing reliability.

    I have been reading a thread (somewhere ??) recently to do with these "power save" extention leads and issues people have been having with their TV's dying when the "power save" extension lead turns on. In fact Philips (I think) state that you should not turn the TV on and off at the wall (ie use external switch) but use the button on front of the TV or else the life of the TV will be affected !!!! The original poster has just had to paid £50 to get his TV fixed, which really peeved him off after paying £25 (for the lead) to try and save an estimated £16 a year !!!!, so after 6 months was running at a major loss.....
     
  10. Pete77

    Pete77 New Member

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    All heil to Ian m the electronics expert then. But unfortunately it seems that you do not understand the basic laws of statstical probability.

    The laws of statistical probability say that although turning the power off every day for 2 minutes may shorten absolute component life the chances of my Tivo motherboard failing before Tivo withdraws its UK service are so low as to be negligible, even though they are higher than before. Whereas the chances of me experiencing another Tivo program source loss while on holiday are real and therefore more worth taking account of.

    I have been running a Netgear router on a timer that shuts off once a day for 3 years and it hasn't failed yet due to the electrical current surge. Ditto my 19 years old Sky and 3 year old Freeview boxes. But if I don't shut them all off once a day sooner or later they experience a software crash that is permanent and that doesn't come right on its own.

    Whilst I may be increasing the chance of my Tivo motherboard failing slightly the chance is so small anyway that it probably won't happen to me and therefore I am prepared to take that chance. Especially as once a day rebooting also means I can now use Tivoweb without ever worrying about it causing a Tivo reboot. I always had to worry about this if Tivo had been on few days and the use of Tivoweb after all the other hacks I also have running was the last straw and caused Tivo to spontaneously reboot.

    This now never happens as once a day rebooting means the Tivo memory is not all cluttered up with all kinds of memory overflow and other garbage.
     
  11. Ian_m

    Ian_m Active Member

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    Why don't you fix the problem rather than "cover it up". For instance I get up times in the 100's hours on my TiVo, looking back on my previous posts I was 181 days on 15/6/2007. Currently 28days (due to TV system rearrangement before Xmas).

    And yes I have TiVoWeb+lots of modules, dailymail, tracker etc all running no issue. And no I am not a Unix expert, I just followed the guides.
     
  12. Ian_m

    Ian_m Active Member

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    Actually remembering about it, didn't someone (might not be this forum) have a CRON script to reboot "nicely" every 24hours and also order the "capacitor reliability" kits from CPC for his Sky box to sort out his stability problems.
     
  13. Pete77

    Pete77 New Member

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    My approach works for me and your approach works for you.

    Why don't we just leave it at that rather than trying to prove who is right and who is wrong.
     
  14. Pete77

    Pete77 New Member

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    A soft reboot doesn't remedy the same issues as a cold reboot. For instance the lost STB box source problem was not remedied by a soft reboot.

    On the other hand a cold reboot does not fix the lost sound problem and only a soft reboot does. Fortunately I do not suffer from the lost sound problem on my box.

    I believe soft rebooting daily is part of the Zipper hack bundle that is available for Series 2 US Tivos.
     
  15. mikerr

    mikerr TiVoCentral.co.uk

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    Jun 2, 2005
    Lancashire, UK
    I wonder if some people are being a little disingenuous here ?

    Heat cycles (cold-warm-cold) are far more likely to harm components' longevity than a power cycle IME provided there is a reasonable time between power off and on ... 30 seconds or more.

    There is the real advantage of a reboot unfreezing and clearing any problems once every 24 hours. In industry we do similar for mission ciritcal devices (software sends a heartbeat signal..if it isn't received, it hard reboots).

    Which STB are you using that has never ever frozen up or required a user input? :confused:
    A hard reboot once daily is simply a belt and braces approach, which avoids a weeks worth of "press ok to continue" messages or frozen screen from the STB and the lost recordings from tivo.

    And yes, I use a mains timer too. :D
     
  16. Pete77

    Pete77 New Member

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    Indeed that is my belief which is why I allow 2 minutes off for the Tivo daily power down. This is long enough for the hard drive to wind down and the power to discharge but not long enough for the Tivo's components to begin to significantly cool down.

    At my last company they tried to run some Unix data servers 24/7 but in the end they always crashed unexpectedly at peak times. Setting cron jobs to reboot them daily or weekly in the wee small hours proved a more reliable approach. I was not one of the techies responsible for setting this up but I got to hear the complaints of unreliability about the servers that were not periodically rebooted then crashing.

    I believe that becuase Linux is a great deal more stable than most Windows operating systems have historically been that some Tivo users see a virtuous circle in keeping their Tivos on as long as possible and see that as a kind of medal of honour in its own right.

    The point is though that I have a dual Sky and Freeview setup which may in itself lead to more database stability issues than those who have lone Sky, Freeview or cable databases and single program sources (i.e. the majority of Tivo users). And as has also been found there are differences in hardware tolerances between different Tivo machines so perhaps I have some component or capacitor fault that causes the signal to very occasionally be lost that another box may not have. As replacing the motherboard is beyond my capabilities rebooting daily on a timer seemed the more practical and simple approach.

    And I have already done as much as I can to avoid these issues by replacing the power supply with a new one.
     

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