What is the average life of a DirecTivo?

Discussion in 'DirecTV TiVo Powered PVRs & Receivers' started by ntwrkd, Jan 8, 2006.

  1. Double-Tap

    Double-Tap Alien Hunter

    Apr 18, 2002
    U.S. Midwest


    I don't remember having a hard drive fail, either in my numerous computers or seasoned SVR-2000 TiVo. Lucky, maybe. A UPS is crucial, IMO. It's a small investment to protect your electronics. Buy a refurbished unit (usually includes new battery) and save a good chunk of money if you can't afford new. The warranty on the UPS itself is far shorter but a brand like APC should last for years, at least until the battery wears down and needs replacing or lightning makes it give up the ghost. I've bought two refurbished APC SUA-1500's, each about half off new cost, and they look and perform like brand new. A UPS offers the additional benefit of keeping your video sources and TiVo units running/recording if the power goes out.
  2. JorgeGVB

    JorgeGVB New Member

    Jul 14, 2001
    My original Phillips unit has to be over 4 years old now and it is the most used. I replaced the hard drive shortly after getting it with a larger drive from Weaknees. I have 3 units total and never had one fail yet. I also have them attached to UPS units.
  3. HarryD

    HarryD New Member

    Jan 9, 2002
    When I purchased my Philips DSR 7000, I replaced the original 40 gig with a Weaknees 120 gig drive. Turns out this drive is made by Samsung. It failed in less than a year. Called Samsung and got a replacement. The replacement went into my kid's PC and eight months later it failed again.. Samsung replaced that one as well and now this one is in my Linux PC.
  4. tbeckner

    tbeckner TiVo Fan

    Oct 26, 2001
    Bend, OR, USA
    I started to write a post that could explain all the possible problems that could cause failure rates like this, but that could be real confusing.

    I wish I could help you uncover the reason for you abnormal failures rates, but without more detailed information about the time period that covered the equipment from initial installation to the point of failure, including the original shipping of the equipment, I would be shooting in the dark.

    One thing that could have a real effect on hard drive failure and not have any effect at all on other electrical or electronic equipment is the physical handling of the equipment. If the hard drives where mishandled during any physical movement, including the original shipping from the manufacturer, that could have an effect of the failure rate. But the physical mishandling of the hard drives prior to your installation would not be something that you would have had control of.

    But if your hard drives are failing and you are not having any other electrical or electronic equipment failures, then it is highly likely that you’re hard drives are failing because of physical mishandling or over heating. I did notice that you live in Georgia, and if you don’t have Air Conditioning, then it is likely that heat could be the problem. These units are not really made to take heat above 85 degrees for any long time period.

    Again, your failure rates are far above normal.
  5. SecureTalk

    SecureTalk New Member

    Apr 8, 2002


    I have two T-60 DVRs, One purchased in late 2000 and one in early 2001

    One is hacked to add a second drive, and one only has it original drive

    Both are still running non-stop (except for a day or two) with their original drives. despite one being damaged during both Hurricanes Ivan and Katrina. I had to hose the mud out of the receiver.
  6. Pauli

    Pauli New Member

    Mar 1, 2004
    Long Beach, CA
    I have no experience with a Weaknees upgraded unit, but my assumption is that the extra fan and hard drive cause additional noise. I can believe that the extra fan would help with cooling, but not without a price with unacceptable noise levels (for me, at least). Can you give me an opinion on the noise increase?
  7. BeanMeScot

    BeanMeScot Sci-Fi Junkie

    Apr 17, 2002
    Atlanta, GA
    I couldn't live without AC! I do let my house get to about 79F during the day and bring it back down at night during the summer. I keep my house at 58F most of the winter. All the units I have/had are DirecTivos and those tend to run hotter, in general. Mine was usually 47 C when I checked it. That never seemed to fluctuate. I have my suspicions about what caused some of the failures. For instance, my desk has a door for the computer. I think it got too hot in there. One Tivo failure happened after my home was flooded. After everything was dry, I hooked the Tivo back up but did not have the UPS. Several houses in the neighborhood kept tripping the transformer because we were pulling so much electricity while using dehumidifiers and fans. After the electricity popped a few times, the Tivo died. With my most recent failure, I had gotten Comcast cable but was still watching some archived shows on my Tivo. When I was connecting the TV to the Tivo, it seemed to be giving me some small shocks. Then my Tivo quit working. Those are the only ones where I feel like I know what happened. I have had several other hard drives fail for no known reason.

    I was trying to think of how many drives have failed. It is a daunting number. My SAT T60 failed at least 3 times (I finally just sold it after repairing it one last time). I have had 2 computers fail, one laptop and one desktop, both Tivos I have right now have failed at least once. That's at least 7 hard drives in 4 years (in 2 houses).
  8. tbeckner

    tbeckner TiVo Fan

    Oct 26, 2001
    Bend, OR, USA
    It appears that there are many different reasons why the hard drives are failing, but overall that is way above average failure rates.

    Flooding could have had an effect on your equipment, even if the equipment did not directly come into contact with the water.

    And temperature of 58F in the winter should NOT hurt but could actually help your equipment if there is not a moisture problem, although I believe 58F would be very uncomfortable to humans, except at night.

    To list some reasons in your post:

    • Electric Supply Problems "houses in the neighborhood kept tripping the transformer "
    • Static Electricity or Potential Difference Problems "it seemed to be giving me some small shocks"
    • Heat Problems "I think it got too hot in there."
    • Flooding/Mositure Problems "One Tivo failure happened after my home was flooded."
  9. buzzz32

    buzzz32 New Member

    Dec 26, 2002
    I have a 4 year old Hughes 40 hour that just recently refused to power up and emits only a small humming noise - no green light will come on.

    Is it gone forever? I am not too concerned with the new ones basically being free.

    Sounds like I still want a Tivo based unit, not the DirecTV DVR.
  10. Jerry_K

    Jerry_K Don't know much

    Feb 7, 2002
    One Hughes series one DTivo four years without one glitch

    One Phillips 6000 same four years without a glitch

    One Phillips 6000 upgraded twice as hard drives became less expensive. Now at dual 160 gig (137 gig seen by the Tivo) and no problems. The only problem is my lovely wife can fill it up. LOL.

    No special treatment. No fans. No UPS just keeps running. Love those DTivos.

    I have not had to visit this site in over three and a half years. Now that is fantastic. I just popped in to see the state of HD on Direct. Then I did a bit of research and discovered HD is not ready for prime time. And it is VERY expensive. Maybe later.
  11. captain_video

    captain_video Member

    Feb 28, 2002
    Someone said that there are only two types of hard drives - dead or dying. The post by Dan Collins pretty much sums up what you're dealing with when you use a hard drive in a Tivo. It's a harsh environment that will kill hard drives. I've had numerous drives go bad over the years for one reason or another. Here are a few key points to consider:

    1. Always use a UPS with your Tivo. You'd use one with your PC so why shouldn't you use one with a Tivo. Many UPSes provide regulation and spike protection that will prolong the life of both the Tivo hard drive and the electronics. I get a lot of voltage spikes and brownouts in my area during the summer which would otherwise be a death sentence for my DTivos. A UPS keeps your Tivos spinning even when the rest of the house is in the dark.

    2. Make sure you have adequate ventilation. I can't say enough about providing cooling air to your Tivo. If you like the weaknees fans then go for it. Personally, I think all of their products are sold at extortionist prices and refuse to buy anything from them for that reason. You can buy similar products elsewhere for far less. Monitor the temperatues of your Tivos to head off any potential problems (i.e., check the systeminfo screen regularly). The temp of your Tivo should always be in the mid 40's or lower. If it's high 40's or 50's then you've got a problem and the drive will surely be heading down the drain in short order.

    3. Make a backup of your Tivo drive. Better yet, get another drive for use in your Tivo and copy the image from the original drive to the replacement. Put the original drive away for safekeeping so you'll have it to use in a pinch. If the Tivo OS gets updated, then put the original drive back in the Tivo so it will take the update, make a new backup, and store the drive away again. Any future drive upgrades should be done using the original backup image instead of trying to add-on to an existing upgrade.

    4. Get the DTV service plan. For $7.99/month, it's cheap insurance against hardware failures, especially if you have HDTivos. I've already had two DTivos (DSR-704 and HR10-250) replaced under the plan and it didn't cost me a cent.
  12. Dkerr24

    Dkerr24 Lost in Big Bend

    Oct 28, 2004
    Okla, USA
    Not exactly. You pay $95.88 a year for the 'didn't cost me a cent' :)
  13. Giorgio

    Giorgio New Member

    Aug 4, 2003
    2 years if u are lucky as I saw above weeknees is your best option anyone with an opion on the R10??

    Dvr2 hughes
    R10 DVR

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