Will a new HDD fix my Series3?

Discussion in 'TiVo Series3 HDTV DVRs' started by rrgreene, Oct 24, 2011.

  1. rrgreene

    rrgreene New Member

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    Oct 3, 2005
    Hello,

    I've owned a Series3 + lifetime for many years (I got one as soon as they were available). Lately I've been having issues where it would act weird. Maybe one out of every 20 recordings is corrupted in such a way that it's unwatchable (blocky, sound broken, etc.). I suspect it's possible my old harddrive might have some bad sectors in it's old age.

    Here are the options I see:

    Buy a new harddrive and try to repair my TiVo myself (market rate). This might not be a bad option to extend the life of my TiVo, but I'm not positive this will fix things. It's the cheapest option, but potentially might not resolve my issues.

    Upgrade to a new box - I'd go with the new Premiere elite w/ lifetime ($1000). I'm not crazy about this idea given how everybody is so unhappy with the new HDUI and I'm personally very disappointed with how slow TiVo is innovating and fixing bugs.

    Build myself a HTPC and go with WMC7 ($800-$1000). I like this option because it'd allow me to have one modern integrated box that does all my TV, streaming, DVD watching, etc. There are a few features that TiVo has (record the buffer, buffer all tuners at once) which are nearly dealbreakers for me.

    What do you guys think? Should I try to change the HDD, or get a new box (either another TiVo or a HTPC)?
     
  2. dlfl

    dlfl Cranky old novice

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    Jul 6, 2006
    Dayton OH
    On an older S3, although the HDD is probably the most likely failure, there is a fair chance it's the power supply. Look for bulging and/or leakage-stained electrolytics (the larger metal cans). These can be replaced for just a few bucks and some soldering. Test the voltages at the HDD connector, should be 5V and 12V. A new PS will be $100 (weaknees.com) but you might be able to buy an S3 on eBay for less than that and swap in its supply.

    One attractive option for HDD replacement is a pre-imaged plug-in drive from DVR_DUDE on eBay:
    http://www.ebay.com/sch/dvr_dude/m.html
    As low as $120 for 1 TB or $150 for 2 TB.

    You can get the drive a lot cheaper if you want to install the TiVo system imiage yourself, but if you don't have, or can't beg, a good image, you end up paying $40 for Instant Cake so you're not saving much.

    IMHO it's worth it even if you have to fix/replace the PS and also buy a new drive -- for a lifetime S3.
     
  3. atmuscarella

    atmuscarella Well-Known Member

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    Oct 11, 2005
    Rochester NY
    Regardless of if you buy a new Elite or not I would try to get the Series 3 HD fixed. With lifetime service it has pretty good value. So i would try a new hard drive first.

    Good Luck,
     
  4. lpwcomp

    lpwcomp Well-Known Member

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    John's...
    Seeing as how the TiVo is only having occasional problems with recordings, he would probably be able to image a new drive from the existing drive, saving his settings, SPs, and possibly existing recordings in the process.
     
  5. Teeps

    Teeps Well-Known Member

    2,123
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    Aug 16, 2001
    Torrance,Cal...
    For a same size swap this will absolutely work, I've done it myself.

    OP,
    Building an HTPC will most likely, be an exercise in frustration. And, though a HTPC can do many things; it is not a TiVo replacement. I have both, they each have their place in the home theater.
    IMO, one will never replace the other.
     
  6. rrgreene

    rrgreene New Member

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    Oct 3, 2005
    It's not possible to save the image and restore on a larger harddrive? If I'm replacing the HDD I'd like to upgrade from the stock drive to a nice big one.
     
  7. lpwcomp

    lpwcomp Well-Known Member

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    John's...
    It most definitely is possible. I did it using a failing THD hard drive except for saving the recordings*. Fairly easy using WinMFS if you're going from the stock drive to a larger HDD(up to 1TB)**. See http://www.tivocommunity.com/tivo-vb/showthread.php?t=370784&highlight=WinMFS. Note: both the costs involved and the drive recommendations are out of date.




    *I only had one left and it was bad(playing it caused the TiVo to boot).

    ** I think you can actually go to 1.26TB on a T3 OLED.
     
  8. Teeps

    Teeps Well-Known Member

    2,123
    81
    Aug 16, 2001
    Torrance,Cal...
    I have a 2tb (dvr_dude) drive in my S3. He has an additional service to transfer your recordings to an upgraded drive. I believe he quoted me $50 for that service.
     
  9. pmiranda

    pmiranda Member

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    Feb 12, 2003
    Austin, TX
    Definitely upgrade the drive. I found a 1TB Seagate from newegg for $70, downloaded winmfs for free, and copied over all my old recordings and setup in a couple hours. If you have a computer with two free SATA ports, two spare SATA cables and power supply connections, then you'll be in good shape. I didn't bother putting the drives in the case for the copy, just set them on top of a piece of paperboard next to the open case.
    You'll need a couple smaller torx bits as well, but that's covered in the excellent instructions in the thread linked above.
     
  10. lillevig

    lillevig Cold in East Iowa

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    Marion, Iowa
    If you decide to buy a drive and do the copy yourself, then I highly recommend that you pick up a couple of USB to SATA/IDE adapters off of eBay or Amazon (less than $10 each). That way you don't have to crack a computer case to do the copy.
     
  11. dlfl

    dlfl Cranky old novice

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    Dayton OH
    .... keeping in mind things will go 2x to 3X slower this way and you cannot copy recordings over -- just the TiVo system. In which case there isn't any advantage to haviing TWO adapters. Just hook up the existing drive first and backup the system, then hook up the new drive and restore to it. Speed won't matter much for these ops.
     
  12. lillevig

    lillevig Cold in East Iowa

    1,778
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    Dec 6, 2010
    Marion, Iowa
    Is there something in WINMFS or MFSTools that recognizes USB to SATA adapters and refuses to do a disk to disk copy?
     
  13. dlfl

    dlfl Cranky old novice

    8,874
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    Jul 6, 2006
    Dayton OH
    I may be wrong about that. However it would take major patience to transfer several hundred GB (or more) of recordings though two USB adapters.

    Also, if a drive needs wdidle run to prevent boot lockups, that requires a direct SATA port connection, I believe.
     
  14. lpwcomp

    lpwcomp Well-Known Member

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    John's...
    Wrong and right. It can be done and would take longer.

    True, but be aware that attaching a TiVo drive to a Gigabyte motherboard can cause problems.
     
  15. lillevig

    lillevig Cold in East Iowa

    1,778
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    Dec 6, 2010
    Marion, Iowa
    Just for grins I thought I would take a spare 250GB S2 drive and try the dual(ing?) USB MFScopy to another empty 250GB drive. Looks like it is working but I agree that this is probably one of those things you set up at bedtime to run overnight.

    UPDATE: Copy completed just fine after about 3 hours. Curiously, it thought I had extra disk space (I used identical drives) and wanted to do an MFSAdd after the copy completed.
     

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