What's happening to my Tivo S3?

Discussion in 'TiVo Series3 HDTV DVRs' started by merowe, Sep 9, 2011.

  1. Sep 9, 2011 #1 of 28
    merowe

    merowe New Member

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    Jan 6, 2002

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    I've got a Tivo S3, stock internal drive, but I did add an external drive a couple years back. The machine recently started acting strange. First thing I noticed is that every so often, I'd get pixelation, audio, and video stutter. Sometimes, but not always, I'd rewind the live buffer a little bit and it would be much better the second time around. It seems to happen less often in recordings, but that might be because they are older recordings - not sure... I have not seen any of these issues in recent recordings, but I've watched TV in short busts (and mostly live) recently.

    The other thing I've noticed is that twice in the past week, I've turned on the Tivo and got a blank screen. TV is on, but no feed is being inputted (TV shows this by showing the video input). I click Live TV, Tivo button, etc.., and I see the LEDs on the S3 light up, but no sound or video change. I have to reboot to get things working again.

    Anyone have any clue what is going on? What should I be looking to do?

    Thanks for any help!
     
  2. Sep 9, 2011 #2 of 28
    Chris Gerhard

    Chris Gerhard Well-Known Member

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    One of the two hard drives or the external drive enclosure going bad is my guess. Someone else might suggest power supply issues.
     
  3. Sep 9, 2011 #3 of 28
    uw69

    uw69 Member

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    I would agree that the hard drive is the most likely problem. Which hard drive requires investigation. I would make sure you have watched or moved any programs you want from your Tivo and then go through the external hard drive removal process. Once the external drive is removed see if your "symptoms" are still there. If they are then the internal hard drive is the likely culprit. If the Tivo is acting normally, then the external drive could be going bad.
     
  4. Sep 9, 2011 #4 of 28
    dwit

    dwit Active Member

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    Check/replace/reconnect the eSATA cable. Check both ends of the cable to ensure the connectors are securely attached.Try to ensure the cable and the enclosure are never disturbed(moved).

    Maybe you will get lucky and this turns out to be the issue. Otherwise, agree with all above.

    If you are up to it, remove the cover of the Tivo to inspect inside. Visually check the power supply for bade capacitors(leaking, bulging).

    Ensure the fan is in operation, and clean any dust and debris that may have accumulated on/near the vents and motherboard.
     
  5. Sep 9, 2011 #5 of 28
    Teeps

    Teeps Well-Known Member

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    The symptom you describe is a hdd failing... the question is, which one.
    In another post a strategy was suggested for diagnosis. However moving recorded shows is time consuming and if they are copy protected, impossible to move.

    I would check the connections as others' have suggested; cheap and easy.
    If that fails, it's going to get expensive and/or time consuming.

    Here are 2 choices:

    1. buy replacement drives of matching size and do a bit copy from failing drive to replacement. This works; I've done it, to my S3. You can do either drive or both. No data is lost during this process and when you reconnect and boot TiVo, it's as though nothing had changed.

    2. install a single internal 2TB drive. I recently did this upgrade. Down side is all data is lost. But there are ways to preserve existing data if you really want to, just takes more time and $$$
     
  6. Sep 9, 2011 #6 of 28
    rhain

    rhain Member TCF Club

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    This is something to look VERY CLOSELY AT! Several Years ago during the 2008 Summer Olympics my S3 was rebooting on a daily basis and I search for information in the same manner you currently are. I described almost the same symptoms you are describing.

    Somebody suggested exactly what is suggested above so I did it and my S3 started behaving much, much better.

    We have a house cleaner that is not careful about moving the equiment around when she is dusting and my S3 started acting up again, so when it did, the first thing I did was check the eSATA connections to make sure they was snug and completly inserted.

    I really thought I was in need of a new HD but it appears to just have been the cable.

    I hope this helps!!
     
  7. Sep 9, 2011 #7 of 28
    merowe

    merowe New Member

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    Thanks everyone for the feedback.. I have one question with regard to what Teeps said above - can I really get 2 gigs on my internal drive on an S3? I thought that only worked on TivHDs as the max was smaller on an S3.

    If I can do that, I think that'll be the route I go. I'd rather have one drive and halve the chance of drive failure.

    So what's the best way to copy the files off? I'm thinking of getting pyTivo and I should be able to select everything important and batch copy over a day or two. Is pyTivo the easiest? Or is there a more convenient options?

    I did already check the eSATA cable, but didn't see any problem. Do people really think replacing will fix? How can a cable like this just go bad? Especially since it hasn't moved in ages. I guess it could have been bumped, at most, but that should damage the cable (but loosen, it could have).


    Thanks again for all your help! I tried doing searches, but I felt like my problem didn't line up with other people's problems. You guy's have given me the confidence in going forward - so thanks!
     
  8. uw69

    uw69 Member

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    The cable is and easy/cheap place to start...before going to more expensive options like hard drive replacement!:)
     
  9. rdaubner

    rdaubner New Member

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    Jan 16, 2003
    I also have a series 3 with an esata drive connected and noticed this week my machine was rebooting and actually locked up last night.
    In addition I also had lock ups during the 2008 summer Olympics.
    I did get a higher quality cable and the problem resolved itself. By that time the Olympics were over and the TiVo wasnt nearly as active as during the Olympics.

    Are there any utilities like checkdisk for windows that I can use to scan and maybe fix the esata drive connected to my pc or Mac?

    Any way to check if there was an update this past week for s3?
     
  10. Teeps

    Teeps Well-Known Member

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    I have one in my S3 at this time. Recording time for HD is 318 hours.


    Best way to remove files, I don't know.

    The guy I bought my upgrade drive from, dvr_dude. Offers a file transfer service for $50. The turn around time is the only inconvenience.
     
  11. dwit

    dwit Active Member

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    Are you aware of the Tivo's built in "Kickstart" diagnostics? These scan and can sometimes repair errors. However the WD DVR Expanders are notorious here for their short life spans.

    Do a search here, or at Tivo.com support on how to initiate the Kickstart diagnostics.
     
  12. merowe

    merowe New Member

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    Is that FAQ at http://www.tivocommunity.com/tivo-vb/showthread.php?t=370784 simply not up to date (see #6)? This is what I've always seen and why I decided just to go the external drive out (I originally put my drive in when 1.5tb and 2tb was too expensive).

    I'm just surprised that Tivo would have upgraded the firmware and/or linux kernel to support this... However, maybe they did just that!
     
  13. lpwcomp

    lpwcomp Well-Known Member

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    John's...
    I think the only to put a 2TB internal drive into a Series 3 OLED (TCD648250 model) is to buy a pre-configured one from dvr_dude or DVRUpgrade.
     
  14. merowe

    merowe New Member

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    Jan 6, 2002
    Any idea what they are doing that we can't?
     
  15. lpwcomp

    lpwcomp Well-Known Member

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    John's...
    Nope. Oh, I might be able to make a (S)WAG or two but there's no point.
     
  16. Teeps

    Teeps Well-Known Member

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    I don't know about the faq. I don't know what magic the dvr_dude does to make it work and frankly I don't care. The cost of the upgrade met my price point so I got one.

    I originally had an external drive and was needing more storage. When I read (in another thread) about 2tb internal drive, I thought hot dam I'm in...
     
  17. aymanme

    aymanme Member

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    May 8, 2001
    Austin, TX
    I don't know what they do; However, I suspect that they setup the drive for more than 16 partitions. I believe the tivo works with more than 16, it is just that mfsXXX tools do not. However, I have no first hand knowledge that this is the case. My tivos are all running custom kernels to support 2T drives.
     
  18. aymanme

    aymanme Member

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    May 8, 2001
    Austin, TX
    BTW, this is basically exactly what my TiVo machines do before they finally die. I've lost 2 drives on the S3 in both the same way and the symptoms were exactly as you described. Eventually it would no longer boot, so I'd make a backup now if you can.
     
  19. Joe01880

    Joe01880 I love my TiVo

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    My DVR Expander also died about 9/5. It was doing what the OP described in the opening post. I ran a KS54 which showed Fail7 errors on the secondary drive. I removed the the expander and my TiVo ran fine except with the fall season starting the stock HDD wasnt going to cut it. I bought one from DVR DUDE as well (2TB) and so far so good. I was lucky that in that TiVo with it being end of summer i was caught up on shows from last season and summer.
     
  20. unitron

    unitron Well-Known Member

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    Is the question whether TiVos will work with more than 16 partitions per drive, or more than 6 MFS partitions per drive? I think it's the number of MFS pairs that really matters.
     

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