What about external eSATA?

Discussion in 'TiVo Upgrade Center' started by clark_kent, Dec 17, 2015.

  1. clark_kent

    clark_kent Member

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    My apologies in advance if this has been asked and answered, ​but has anyone done any research on how to use a generic eSATA external enclosure on the Bolt or Roamio? Looks like the community has a handle on upsize/downsize/copy/restore/backup but what about external eSATA? I've looked, but did not find anything. It's obviously doable, Weaknees has a solution. It's not my intention to deny Weaknees any business, I just like doing my own thing, like building my own PC.
     
  2. ThAbtO

    ThAbtO TiVoholic by the bay TCF Club

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    Only Tivo-Approved DVR Expanders works, and nothing else. Basically, there are only a 500MB and 1 TB available and they may be going out and not make them any more.
     
  3. ej42137

    ej42137 Well-Known Member

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    From his message I gather OP knows all that, and is asking if anyone other than Weaknees knows how to marry an arbitrary eSATA drive as previous generations of TiVos could be linked to an existing drive.
     
  4. unitron

    unitron Well-Known Member

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    Since eSATA enclosures should connect the raw drive's data connector directly to a SATA port on the PC motherboard (or in this case the TiVo motherboard) you could probably use any of the drives on this list

    http://www.tivocommunity.com/tivo-vb/showthread.php?p=10734217#post10734217

    in any old eSATA enclosure.
     
  5. clark_kent

    clark_kent Member

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    Yes, I'm asking if any of you smart people out there know anything about attaching a generic eSATA. I doubt Weaknees is using old enclosures and one off drives. I do think it's great that we have a Weaknees for TiVo fans that want to upgrade but are not inclined to do it all on their own.

    There's a lot of talented people that have contributed a significant amount of know how to this community. And, for those of us who do like to do their own thing, we have WinMFS, DvrBARS, MFS Reformatter and whomever needs an Image can get one. This is all a result of talented contributors and I say "Thank you!" your contributions are appreciated by grateful people (like me) that like to DIY.

    I am somewhat surprised that none of our talented contributors have taken a run at eSATA. What say you smart tech type contributors out there? Care to take up the eSATA challenge?
     
  6. ggieseke

    ggieseke Well-Known Member

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    I hope to add the capability to marry any external drive to the internal when I finally get off my butt and start writing DvrCopy. It never interested me before because I won't be using it myself, but now that there are no new expanders available for the DIY crowd the thread count of people wanting them is growing. TiVo should just certify the entire line of My Book eSATA drives and be done with it, but that probably isn't going to happen.

    That said, eSATA is rapidly going the way of 1394 firewire. In a year I'd be surprised if anyone is building new eSATA external drives.
     
  7. unitron

    unitron Well-Known Member

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    Most everyone with those chops tends to avoid giving two drives a chance to fail and kill their recordings and just concentrates on a bigger internal drive instead.
     
  8. ej42137

    ej42137 Well-Known Member

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    Like he said. I'd rather wait for larger drives to become available than significantly increase my risk of failure.
     
  9. clark_kent

    clark_kent Member

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    Personalt, I'm ok using a NAS type of drive designed to run 24/7 like the WD Red or Purple and doing a burn-in for 10, maybe even up to 30 days to weed out infant mortality before attache it to TiVo. If the drive fails during burn-in, I can simply return it as a DOA. Today, you can get up to a 8TB 3.5 inch disk for internal use on a Roamio, but I don't think we'll be seeing any 8TB or even 6TB 2.5 inch drives in the very near future for the Bolt.
     
  10. unitron

    unitron Well-Known Member

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    A TCF member who looked into the matter extensively recommends not using the WD Purple drives with TiVos.
     
  11. clark_kent

    clark_kent Member

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    Thanks, good to know. I actually have Red in my TiVo's and Red in a RAID.
     
  12. clark_kent

    clark_kent Member

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    I think you are correct in that eSATA is going the way of the Dodo bird. Unfortunately, it looks like we are stuck with eSATA for at least a year or two as the only means of external expansion since the Bolt just got released with eSATA.

    I read one post where the internal SATA was used to "tether" to an external device. While this is creative, it seems somewhat precarious and probably not one for prime time application. External eSATA expansion for DIY may become more relevant since the Bolt's 2.5 HDD is more limiting than what is available to DIY with Roamio.

    It's encouraging to hear that you are considering making an external expansion capability available to DYI and intrigued by your comment "marry any external drive to the internal" ?? .. does that imply that you would not be using the external eSATA connection?
     
  13. ggieseke

    ggieseke Well-Known Member

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    No, eSATA is still the only language TiVo speaks for expanders and I can't change that. The only thing I'd do is pre-format the external drive and make the necessary changes to to MFS file system headers to "marry" it to the internal drive.

    As previously noted, I have no interest in it for myself so it's low priority on my To Do List. Replacing the internal drive with a bigger one is still the route most people prefer.
     
  14. clark_kent

    clark_kent Member

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    FYI:

    http://www.tivocommunity.com/tivo-vb/showthread.php?t=536140

    :)
     
  15. JoE 15

    JoE 15 Member

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    Yea I'm extremely interested in an eSATA option. I wish I had swapped my hard drive when I first got my Bolt, but I was under the impression that the eSATA port was open to all external drives (lack of research on my part).

    I really do not want to go through the hassle of backing everything up with applications I have little to no knowledge in.
     
  16. bradleys

    bradleys It'll be fine....

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    What is the possibility that the Bolt Pro will have a USB 3.0 port as a replacement for the eSATA port?

    I am not sure what sense it makes to spend time certifying a bunch of new devices when eSATA is dead and their availability is going to continue to decline pretty rapidly.
     
  17. ggieseke

    ggieseke Well-Known Member

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    I have been watching that thread, along with several others both here and at the official TiVo forums. I'm really surprised at the number of people who still want them.

    The only thing I can see in favor of an external drive is that people are afraid to lose their warranty. Anything I develop would require opening the case and hooking the internal drive and the prospective external up to a computer to perform a shotgun wedding. It would break the warranty anyway.
     
  18. clark_kent

    clark_kent Member

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    Do you think that that is the way weaKness does it? I don't think they say anything about voided warranty.
     
  19. ggieseke

    ggieseke Well-Known Member

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    I'd bet my hat on it, but they do provide their own 180 day warranty. That's why you have to send the unit to them instead of just ordering an expander and plugging it in.

    There are two ways to skin this cat. If the external drive is 4TB or less you can hack the whitelist of approved drives and let the TiVo format the external. That requires being able to read the entire MFS file system and modify the right tyDb database file.

    For drives over 4TB you have to create the appropriate MFS partitions and headers on the external, then modify the "superheader" on the internal drive to add those partitions to the overall MFS filesystem. Even if you hack the whitelist at the same time you won't be able to divorce the external and reattach it later because the TiVo auto-format routines can't handle drives that big.

    Either way you have to modify the internal drive.
     

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