My new 300 hour TiVo

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by BrianW, Jun 18, 2002.

  1. BrianW

    BrianW Cinematographer

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    As luck would have it, my hard disk died in my 2.5-year-old, standalone, 30-hour TiVo. Also, as luck would have it, Fry's recently had a sale on Western Digital 120 GB hard drives for $109. Also, as luck would have it, I had made a backup of my TiVo's hard disk image about a year ago for just such an event. (I really believe in backups! [​IMG]) What could have been a stroke of bad luck turned out to be very good luck. I bought two 120 GB drives at Fry's, transferred the backup to one of them, blessed the other, and now I have a 240 Gigabyte TiVo with over 300 hours of recording capacity in Basic Mode.
    I've elected to record everything in High Quality mode, giving me 133 hours, which is plenty. I could have had more than 80 hours at Best Quality, but, truth be told, I can't tell the difference between Best and High Quality unless a football or basketball game is on, and I don't watch such things anyway. Besides, I got greedy when I saw all those hours. Though 80 would be plenty, 133 is way better for a very marginal decrease in quality. So now I can save some things permanently, just to keep on hand - mostly kids' shows, actually.
    The only problem is that I couldn't save my original recordings from my original crashed TiVo drive, so I've got a 300-hour TiVo with absolutely nothing to watch!
    Oh, the humanity!
     
  2. Pamela

    Pamela Supporting Actor

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    Lucky you! I'm waiting for my warranty to run out before I upgrade mine. I have another month (can't be to careful [​IMG] ).
    If you don't mind me asking, do you have a lifetime sub, or month to month?
     
  3. Reece

    Reece Stunt Coordinator

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    Good for you Brianw[​IMG]
    I'm jealous now [​IMG] I have been wanting to upgrade my sa but have been too scared due to my lifetime sub. I got my tivo when the subs were only $200 and now they are $250. If I kill this unit then bye bye sub.[​IMG] Normally I feel pretty comfortable with computers but this makes me nervous. Recently I payed for a sub for my directivos and I was told by directv that the sub follows the card not the unit. If this is true then I only have to worry about replacing the unit if I screw up. However another $650 for a new sa & sub would kill me.
    The Hindsdale upgrade looks pretty straight foward. Is it as simple as it seems? Did you encounter any problems or scary moments during the upgrade?
    Man your lucky!
    I've got 2 120GB HDs just waiting for me, and I feel like I'm in Vegas at the crap table with my paycheck in my hand.
     
  4. BrianW

    BrianW Cinematographer

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    Pamela: I have a lifetime sub on my SA TiVo. I didn’t crack the case to back up my hard drive until the warrantee ran out. You’re wise to wait, but given today’s prices on large hard disks, I don’t think I could hold out another month. As for being hesitant to perform an upgrade on a unit with a lifetime sub, I feel just the opposite: All hard drives eventually fail. Performing an upgrade (or at least a backup) protects your investment in a lifetime subscription. If I hadn’t cracked my unit open and performed a backup, my unit would be toast now, and my lifetime sub would now be worthless. Since I performed a backup, I was able to recover from a complete drive failure, preserve my investment in a lifetime sub, and expand my unit’s capacity. You can wait until a hard drive failure to perform an upgrade, but I’d open it up and perform a backup the day the warranty expires. (Wait… that’s just what I did do. [​IMG])
    Reece: It was a lot easier than I thought it would be. In fact, I’ve upgraded three other TiVos since then (my wife’s, my parents’, and one of my surveillance TiVos) without a hitch. I guess you might say that I’ve got the bug.
    If you’ve read the Hinsdale instructions, then you’ve got a pretty good idea of what’s involved. For me, it was a lot easier to do than the instructions seem to indicate. As long as you make a backup first, then you can recover from almost any mistake you subsequently make. The most difficult thing about it is to be mindful of jumpers/primary/secondary/master/slave settings and connections. I actually made a mistake the fist time and used the wrong version of TiVoMad to expand my A-Drive and ended up with a 240 Gigabyte, 30-hour TiVo. Who needs one of those? But when I realized my mistake, I restored my backup again, re-expanded and blessed, and ended up with the correct configuration.
    Some advice I can pass on:
    1. Disconnect your computer’s hard drives when you’re not actually doing a backup or restore. Expanding, blessing, and copying a disk image can blow your computer’s hard disk away if you’re not careful about how the hard disks are connected and how you enter the commands. If you mess up and blow away your TiVo drives, even the original, then you can always recover from your backup. But if you blow away your computer’s hard drives, then you’re hosed. Disconnecting them during non-backup and non-restore procedures eliminates this possibility.
    2. Measure twice, cut once. (In other words, check jumpers twice, enter commands once.)
    3. ALWAYS use Shift-PgUp to make sure the Linux boot disk sees the drives at their full capacity. Don’t assume anything, even with subsequent reboots with the disks in the same configuration as the previous reboot.
    I can’t guarantee success, but I can say that it was easier for me than I thought possible, even after reading the Hinsdale instructions. I also believe that performing an upgrade (or simply doing a backup) puts you in a better position to recover should anything go wrong down the road.
     
  5. Reece

    Reece Stunt Coordinator

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    Thanks for the heads-up BrianW. I see your point about HD failure. It's been some time since I've purchased the sa and I know the warranty has expired, so it would make sense to at least back-up. I think I'll practice first on one of the directivos for the reasons I mentioned earlier. Then I'll back up the sa.
    Whew...After rethinking your point I feel less nervous [​IMG] .
    My apologies to Hinsdale for misspelling his name. I've got nothing but respect for that guy.
     
  6. BrianW

    BrianW Cinematographer

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    Yeah, I should talk. I sound brave now, but the fact is I was so chicken to do the upgrade that I waited until my original hard drive actually died before I had the nerve to do it. Believe me, it's a lot easier to take the plunge when you have nothing to lose.
    Yes, it was very easy. And, yes, I'm very glad I did it. But I share your conservatism when it comes to protecting your investment. Don't allow anyone (including me) to convince you to do something you're reluctant to do, especially when hundreds of dollars' worth of equipment and non-transferable services are at stake. Just wait until you're ready, and you'll do fine.
    Having said that, I think you should go for it! [​IMG]
     
  7. Pamela

    Pamela Supporting Actor

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    Looks like I'm gonna have to do it! I think I will buy the pre-blessed hard drive kit from weaknees.com, though. It seems a lot easier.

    If I put in two hard drives, replacing the original, will I be able to get the 3.0 software back? Will Tivo automatically upgrade it?
     
  8. BrianW

    BrianW Cinematographer

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    Pamela, I'm assuming that you'll be buying one of the two-drive kits featured on this page. If so, then that will work just fine. If the hard drives you buy don't have v3.0, then your box will be updated to v3.0 sometime after you install the new drives. Since updates are still occurring en mass, it may not happen right away, but it will eventually happen.
    It's up to you to decide if the premium charged by weaknees.com is worth avoiding performing the upgrade yourself. But before you decide to go with weaknees.com, at least read the Hinsdale instructions.
    But in the end, if you do go with weaknees.com, don't let anybody tell you that you "wimped out" or that you spent too much money. You're an adult whose fully capable of doing the math and deciding what your time is worth. If you decide it's better for you to go with weaknees.com, then do it, and be happy knowing that you absolutely made the right decision. After all, nobody is more qualified to make that decision than you are.
    Congratulations, and Good Luck!
     
  9. Ron Snaider

    Ron Snaider Auditioning

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    I am in the same situtation as Pamela, and if I go with a pre-blessed drive to install, then you are foregoing the opportunity to make a backup.

    I have extra equipment to move the drives around, but you make a good point about time vs. money and it's value to me.

    My point, if you go pre-blessed and install, you still have no backup if things fail. Just something to consider.
     
  10. Dmitry

    Dmitry Supporting Actor

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  11. Pamela

    Pamela Supporting Actor

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    Well, I read Hinsdale and everything is Windows. I have a Mac. Guess I'll have to fork over the extra dough for the pre-blessed drives. Either way, i'm gonna upgrade my TiVo, darnnit!
     
  12. Reece

    Reece Stunt Coordinator

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    Pamela...don't give up your Mac quest just yet.
    From what I understand, (If I'm wrong somebody please correct me), the Tivo OS is a flavor of Linux and the commands that are used to back-up, bless, etc.. are linux command line code. Linux is based on Unix and the Mac OS shell sits on top of Unix. In other words, if you use Mac your already using Unix which is basically just like using Linux. So there has to be a community of Mac users "hacking" the Tivo. If you do a search on google or at the Tivo community forum you may find others who are in the same boat as you.
    Here and Here are Linux how-to.
    Don't ever let the PC stop you..
     
  13. GordonL

    GordonL Supporting Actor

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    Or get a friend with a PC to help you out. I did the Linux boot floppy method so you really don't need Windows.
     
  14. Pamela

    Pamela Supporting Actor

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    Drats, foiled again! I found the appropriate Mac software. But I found out my Beige G3 doesn't support slave drives. I'd have to do a ROM dimm upgrade. Might as well just buy the dang things pre-blessed.
     
  15. Raleigh Smith

    Raleigh Smith Auditioning

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    About two weeks ago my Tivo was unable to connect to download the program guide data. My Tivo is over 1 1/2 years old. I called Sony 2x and they were unable to walk me through getting the phone call to connect. The Tivo dials, and has even connected on a test call, however the Tivo will not hang up the phone. I am now have no guide data. I opened the unit today and it appears that the unit does not have a separate modem. I was hoping it did, and then I could purchase a new one and take out the old.
    Does anyone know if I can purchase a new motherboard?
    Or suggest another method of fixing the unit?
    What are the Hinsdale directions and where do I find them?
     
  16. BrianW

    BrianW Cinematographer

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    Raleigh, check here.
    This kit will give you the parts you need to repair your modem, but it takes an experienced hand with a soldering iron.
     

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