Tivo Series 3 reboot issues/bad CC connection?

Discussion in 'TiVo Help Center' started by ReidWings, Nov 8, 2011.

  1. Nov 8, 2011 #1 of 23
    ReidWings

    ReidWings Member

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    I have a Tivo Series 3 (original) that has been working great for years but recently started giving me the dreaded reboot issues.

    It started with one of my cablecards going south and no longer picking up channels. I had them replaced numerous times and finally got them working again with 2 functioning cards. However, the Tivo randomly reboots itself with greater and greater frequency now.

    The second you place any cablecard in the slot, the Tivo will reboot itself before the card has even been recognized by the Tivo. It will then go into a reboot cycle which may or may not loop. Sometimes, the Tivo boots back up and works for a few hours, sometimes a few minutes, before rebooting again.

    Having read about reboot cycles, I replaced the HD using mfstools hoping that it was simply a failing HD. However, with the new drive the reboot issues still persist.

    I notice that if I remove both cablecards, the tivo boots fine every time and does not go back into reboot cycles. If I leave EITHER card in either slot, the reboots still occur.

    Thus, I think it is safe to conclude that the issue is with the cablecard slot/connection. I don't think it's the card itself since I've had them replaced 3 times now and the problems persist and also because it reboots the instant the card touches the slot, not after the CC is recognized.

    So, is there anything I can do to try and fix this myself? Could a blown capacitor be doing this or a bad wire connection somewhere along the way? Or should I give up at this point and get a replacement unit?

    I appreciate any help/advice people have to offer!

    Thanks!!!
     
  2. Nov 8, 2011 #2 of 23
    unitron

    unitron Well-Known Member

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    Go to badcaps.net and educate yourself on how to visually inspect the power supply for the sometimes subtle signs of "capacitor disease".

    Wikipedia has a page on "capacitor plague" that's also helpful.

    If your power supply is in the early stages, it may be still functioning but a little flaky or marginal, and that can cause all sorts of strange symptoms.
     
  3. Nov 8, 2011 #3 of 23
    ThAbtO

    ThAbtO TiVoholic by the bay TCF Club

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    To clarify, you should specify that this is the Tivo Series 3 OLED or Original Series 3. The 'Not HD' spec would be confusing as if it cannot record HD but it can. Sometimes it helps to specify the TCD number as shown on the box, or in System Info screen service number (just the first 3 numbers is sufficient.
     
  4. Nov 8, 2011 #4 of 23
    unitron

    unitron Well-Known Member

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    I understood him (her?) to mean an original Series 3 (TCD648xxx), although the next time he/she used HD I wish they'd just said hard drive instead.
     
  5. Nov 8, 2011 #5 of 23
    unitron

    unitron Well-Known Member

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    To expand on what I said earlier, when you put the card in the slot and the problem starts, maybe it's because putting the card in the slot increases the load on the power supply, which may be at the limit of its capability because of being in the early stages of capacitor disease. Generally something draws the most power the instant it's connected.

    Have you tried putting the cards in while the TiVo is unplugged from the wall socket and then plugging it in?
     
  6. Nov 8, 2011 #6 of 23
    ReidWings

    ReidWings Member

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    Yes, I have tried that. Sometimes the tivo will boot normally and sometimes go into a boot cycle. It's very unpredictable. The power supply issue does make sense.

    After reviewing the badcaps website, I see two caps that appear to be bulging at the top slightly, but I don't see any that have any oozing at the base or obvious problems. Here is a photo of the two in question, what do you think?

    http://imgur.com/H7D6H



    Thanks!
     
  7. Nov 8, 2011 #7 of 23
    unitron

    unitron Well-Known Member

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    I think, wait, make that, I know, I see two capacitors that have gone bad and need to be replaced.

    (no guarantee that there aren't more, but if the tops of the others are absolutely flat, and nothing's leaked from the bottom, they're probably still good, it's usually the ones near that coil of wire that go bad)

    Do you have any experience with a soldering iron?

    Is there an electronics parts store other than Radio Shack in your area?

    Maybe a good electronics repair shop? One that can say, "Yes, we do know why it's important to use low ESR (Equivalent Series Resistance) electrolytic capacitors in switching power supplies".
     
  8. Nov 8, 2011 #8 of 23
    ReidWings

    ReidWings Member

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    I do have some experience soldering, but not a ton. I have a soldering iron and solder. I've done some minor projects, most notably soldering some wii motherboards, so I think I could probably handle it.

    All the other capacitors look very flat and aren't leaking, so hopefully it's just these two.

    I have a radioshack about 500 yards from me, and there is a TV repair shop up the road, but I don't think there are other repair shops nearby. Should I go to RS and get the low ESR capacitors or is it not worth doing myself if I'm not that experienced soldering?
     
  9. Nov 8, 2011 #9 of 23
    unitron

    unitron Well-Known Member

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    You sound like you can handle the soldering part of it.

    Go to Radio Shack and get a spring loaded solder sucker or one of those things that looks like a soldering iron but has a squeeze bulb, and while you're there you might as well get some of their pitiful quality de-soldering braid as well, but don't bother looking at their capacitors.

    It looks like one of those caps is a 2200uF, and probably 16V.

    What's the other one?
     
  10. ReidWings

    ReidWings Member

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    They are both 2200uF, 6.3V. There is a Fry's not too far from me so hopefully I can get them there! Any specifics to look for other than low ESR and the 2200/6.3 specs?
     
  11. unitron

    unitron Well-Known Member

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    You should be able to get away with 2200uF at 10V or even 16V if necessary.

    The uF and low ESR (look for a rating of 105 degrees centigrade/celsius, 85 degrees ain't enough) are the important parts, although you don't want to get too high above the original working voltage rating.

    Make sure you get radial lead caps, the kind with both leads coming out the bottom, instead of axial lead, where one comes out each end, and notice the stripe with the negative sign on the side of the caps and which hole it was in so as to get the polarity right when you put in the replacements.

    If neither Fry's nor the repair shop have the right thing in stock, let me know, and I'll see about hooking you up.

    Fry's should have them for a dollar or so each, the shop might want more. If you're in a hurry go as high as $5 per, if it's a good brand like Panasonic or Rubycon, knowing that they're making out like bandits but in this day and age of disposable electronics you'll be helping make sure they're still around when you might need them in the future.

    It's not absolutely impossible that something other than capacitors have gone bad in the power supply, but most likely that's all that has, and replacing them will do the trick.
     
  12. ReidWings

    ReidWings Member

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    Thanks! Your advice is really really appreciated. I'd have been lost without it.

    I'll probably get to Fry's on Thursday - I'll let you know how it goes and post an update.
     
  13. ReidWings

    ReidWings Member

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  14. ReidWings

    ReidWings Member

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  15. unitron

    unitron Well-Known Member

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    When you say local store, can you physically lay hands on the merchandise?

    (all of my allelectronics catalogs only list a California address)

    If they're rated at 105 degrees centigrade/celsius they should work.

    If they're only rated at 85 degrees, grab a couple anyway and put them in for test purposes.

    If that fixes things, order the 105 degree ones and swap them out when you get them, the cheap ones should be good for a day or three, but I wouldn't want to trust them long term in that particular application.

    Be sure not to put them in backwards polarity wise (+ and -). Use a Sharpie to mark the circuit board before taking out the old ones if it doesn't already have obvious polarity inidcators silkscreened on it.
     
  16. ReidWings

    ReidWings Member

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    Yes, I should be able to lay my hands on it in person as they have a physical store locally.

    I found another shop (closer) that has 2200uF/16V with 105 temp. Is using 16 ok or is it better to have 6.2 or 10? If its safer to have the 10, I'll hold out until Saturday to get the right cap. Otherwise, I can pick up the 16v tonight.
     
  17. unitron

    unitron Well-Known Member

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    Take 2 and call me in the morning.:)

    Seriously, if the originals were rated at 6.3V they might have been used on the 3.3V rail, but the problem caps I've seen so far have been on the 5V rail, and I've seen 16V rated ones used on it, so you should be okay.

    I probably wouldn't go higher than 16V on the 3.3V rail or 25V on the 5V rail, but you should be okay, especially if it's a brand like Rubycon or Nichicon or Panasonic.

    Go grab those puppies and solder 'em in.

    Report back.

    You don't know how jealous I am of you having local sources other than Radio Shack.
     
  18. ReidWings

    ReidWings Member

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    Attempt 1: failure.

    Evidently, my soldering iron is very weak. I couldn't desolder the bad caps off! I held the iron on the solder points under the board, and it barely softened the solder. My soldering iron is 15Watts. I'm gonna try and pick up a better one tomorrow and try again!

    Will report back with my results!
     
  19. unitron

    unitron Well-Known Member

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    Radio Shack has a thing that looks like a soldering iron but has a squeeze bulb that's made for de-soldering.

    Perhaps one of those better nearby parts sources with which you are blessed has something similar.

    One trick to unsoldering is to apply the tip of the iron to the place to be unsoldered and then melt a little bit of new solder onto it. The heat conducted by the melting new solder and the rosin flux in the new solder help the old stuff melt more easily. You can do that trick with the sucking bulb iron as well.

    When re-soldering, remember, heat the work and let it melt the new solder.
     
  20. ReidWings

    ReidWings Member

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    Nov 1, 2004
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    Success!!!

    Thanks so much for your advice/guidance.

    I ended up getting a 25V soldering iron and using that and a solder sucker to desolder the bad caps. That portion was much harder than I imagined! I tried using desoldering braid but didn't seem to have much success with that.

    Replaced the 2 bad caps and the TiVo is working great so far! It started right up with the cablecards inserted and hasn't rebooted once since fixing it last night.

    Thanks again, your help was invaluable. I fixed my TiVo without paying them 150 for a replacement and was able to learn quite a bit along on the way.

    Thank you!!
     

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