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Upgrade Path for Multiple Tivo Models - what to do ...?

Discussion in 'TiVo Help Center' started by kebmod, Jun 10, 2018.

  1. kebmod

    kebmod New Member

    Oct 26, 2013
    Hi everyone,

    Anyone knowledgeable please advise/comment, Tivo image questions will follow...as well upgrade thoughts.

    I have 3 different Tivo hardware models: they are: premiere 4-with original 320GB + 1TB external, premiere XL-1TB, and premiere XL4-2TB. They all seem to need new drives, all seem consistently unreliable. All fail KS diag's. It's been happening for sometime now gradually getting worse. Random Symptoms may vary: loading of functions become slow, audio level bursts-LOUD at random when transitioning from rewind or fast forward (major ear-shock with 5.1 MTM horn center channel), occasional record has low or no audio or pixelated content, and couple others not so bad. Never had lock up or dynamic reboot or GSOD yet. Audio drops and video pixelation is enough ...

    What upgrade path might be best (considering cost/benefit)? I've done some research and cannot get past the hump.

    1). As these are all Series 4, does anyone know if it is possible to utilize 1 common image for all the units? I have no idea if Tivo's tweaked kernel code would be that specific or dynamic on boot, how the boot loader works and what it's looking at every time power cycles. They all take roughly 3 min 45 seconds to boot. Having different TSN model numbers and tuner count makes me think - no, I can't use common image (i.e. all have virgin image 758 or all 748) Yes/ No?
    2). Assuming I cannot use the same image...would I be able to use a smaller drive than what is OEM? This question arises mainly from already having 1TB drives sitting around from other 'stuff' I upgraded elsewhere in home (upgrades for desktop, server, nas, cctv dvr etc). It would be great to use my left over 1TB WD blue's somewhere. The XL4 has 2TB oem, sooooo, sticking a 1TB causes what to happen? I do not utilize beyond 20% capacity ever. Record watch delete.

    Options (where I'm at):
    1). Purchase new drives from Weaknees - all problems solved - costly, but done. I'd rather avoid this, I don't have disposable money.
    2). Purchase the correct size drive for each unit, use dvrbar to backup then restore (truncated mode-base image only). Seems reasonable, then I would not need to resize any disk.
    3). Use my existing stock of 1TB disks (wd 1tb blue) for all 3 units. One by one ... either shrink or extend from original size. Going this route, I'd save big money, and likely hunt tivo community for virgin image, which i might need to do either way. I'm not sure I can successfully backup the existing images, having already seen errors...
    4). What else might I do? Replacing the drives is imminent.

    Many Thanks - Tom
  2. JoeKustra

    JoeKustra in the other Alabama TCF Club

    Dec 7, 2012
    Ashland, PA...
    An upgrade thought: buy a OTA Roamio, add the cable card slot and put a bigger hard drive into the box. OTA is $400 All-In (or less), bracket is $30, and easy to increase the drive size.

    Unless you need three units. For an image, check this forum -> TiVo Premiere DVRs
    Mikeguy likes this.
  3. kebmod

    kebmod New Member

    Oct 26, 2013
    Interesting idea with roamio. I could go for more proc power, one step up. I will check out the premeire dvr link right now.
  4. ggieseke

    ggieseke Well-Known Member

    May 30, 2008
    I have clean 746, 748 & 758 images if you need them, but DvrBARS won't restore to a smaller drive. I think MFSTools 3.2 can shrink as well as expand if you want to copy your existing drives to 1TB.

    If you're familiar with virtualization software like VirtualBox or VMware you can set up a VM with the clean image as the source drive, one of your 1TB blues as the destination drive, and MFSTools as the boot CD.
  5. kebmod

    kebmod New Member

    Oct 26, 2013
    Gigabytes of Thanks for images offer and recommendation. Not sure how I'll proceed yet (need blank think time) but it surely seems rational to go with fresh images. Reuse what 1TB WD HD's I have buy when not. I've got lifetime on all units and couple mini's too, starting over would need some compelling reasons. And Roamio has me pickled right now. As well, some other higher priority tasks resurfaced late yesterday derailed my Tivo effort. 110/220.

    Hopefully I can scribble down my thoughts mid this week, straighten out any broken thoughts and go forward prior to any unit down hard. All units still seem usable for now but I won't let the grass grow. It's been years since I've looked into Tivo's wizardry and now I'd like to actually pull back the curtain a bit more. I'm very curious when I have the bandwidth...I'd ideally like enough time to fiddle with a few of my curiosities.

    In the mean time ... I enabled Hyper-V added MFSTools VHD - LOVE that someone made the VHD - LOVE the tool set!! At first I was a bit bewildered as my VM was not refreshing correctly the root was initially empty. Shortly thereafter I remembered I was running a dual (RAID) Samsung SSDs with the latest firmware, it was super buggy on Linux (any), they won't manage trim properly. Twiddle as you may - kept locking up the shell loopdy loop. Got past it.

    Also tried out DvrBARS. Geewiz! I was warmly tickled to hear the Tivo "ding" "ding" I clicked about 5 times for fun. Nice job - Super clean! I'll have to circle back and find the donate buttons.

    This community is fantastic, it's already saved me headache, time, money, Kudos-Kudos! Also I read through bunches of posts everywhere. Tons of knowledge everywhere. I need more blank time to soak it in.

    When I'm static enough to write down thoughts comments and any detailed procedures I will document and repost including references somewhere for Tivo users in my category (confused and somewhat novice) to read from simple view.

    QUESTION: Do you know if Roamio (new motherboard changes from S4) has NVRAM to store Tivo OS? I watched a YouTube and the fella simply removed the old drive inserted the new (from 500 to 2T)" whalla" - sys info screen shows it detected and identified correctly. He also stated Tivo would next auto format the drive. Huh? That suggests the Tivo OS is in NVRAM, pulled out via BIOS bootstrap. If so, this suggests every series above S4 as having NVRAM thus Tivo finally able to sustain software only services company. I read snipits somewhere...the software only part. Fine by me as long as they point to hardware spec's it runs on.

    Many Thanks for your help and this great community --
    JoeKustra likes this.
  6. JoeKustra

    JoeKustra in the other Alabama TCF Club

    Dec 7, 2012
    Ashland, PA...
    Yes, up to 3TB is just a drop & go. Hardest part is getting the right tools and getting the plastic case off without breaking anything. Only the first time is hard.

    UCLABB Well-Known Member

    May 29, 2012
    Riverside, CA
    Yes, the OS is on flash mem. Just pop in a new drive.

    The Roamio Plus/Pro case is easy to open. Just need some torx drivers. I don’t know anything about the base Roamio.
  8. kebmod

    kebmod New Member

    Oct 26, 2013
    Well hummm. Sure would like to make my way to Roamio. Currently roundup (3) Series-4 units and (2) mini's - all lifetime: the Premiere4 (4tuners), PremXL(2tuners), PremXL4(4tuners). Mini's all share tuners off main Tivos in other rooms in the house. Makes me feel better to upgrade at this point. Plus I'm curious about using the toolset. Bare image can't be more than 3-4Gb?

    Once drives are replaced in existing gear they should all be fine for the next x years. After I get going on that I will repost in the premiere forum. JoeKusta led me the right direction. And a bunch of other posts all over were very helpful digging in. This week I'll test out Hyper-V and MFStools VHD using one of the premiere. I have no content (that's worth saving/copying) so maybe I get lucky with copying the original image off the old onto the new.

    ggieseke: I'll ask for an image later on this week if I get stuck with something crapping out off my current drive. Right now Ill try to copy everything over to VHD, only because it would save setup time. Took several hours last time ... tivo and fios pointing fingers during pairing. In the end I wound up with a bad pcmcia card from fios.

    JoeKustra: you mentioned going for Roamio OTA adding cable card. I'll look into that next. I read through a bunch of your posts on that ... only fear I might have is FIOS and clear QAM not mapping correctly across everything and perhaps tivo canceling lifetime if I get lucky to find ota w/lifetime. At this point I'm not smart enough to get going - don't know what I don't know. need to research more, definitely I'll pick that up in the future and post in the Roamio forum. Sounds like fun. I'm curious. Also really like the Roamio NVRAM feature.

    Thanks everyone - I'll pick up posting in the specific forum next time. I landed here soliciting info - got it !!
  9. jmbach

    jmbach der Neuerer

    Jan 1, 2009
    If you are going to use MFSTools to shrink/expand each TiVo unit and not worry about recordings, it should only take about 15 minutes a drive. If the unit has an expander on it, then it would need to be hooked up as well when doing the copy on that unit.
  10. jlb

    jlb Go Pats!

    Dec 13, 2001
    Middlebury, VT
    yeah, next time (if there is one) for me WILL be easier....now that I have pre-broken a few tabs. ;)
    Mikeguy likes this.

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