Replacing and upgrading the DVR530 Hard Drive (will Void your warranty!) - Page 4 - Canadian TV, Computing and Home Theatre Forums
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post #46 of 232 (permalink) Old 2007-12-20, 08:52 PM Thread Starter
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The temp. is read from the Hard Disk sensor and used to enable the fan in extreme conditions in order to maintain warranty conditions on the hard drive.
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post #47 of 232 (permalink) Old 2007-12-21, 09:15 PM
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Finally got the security bit in the mail ..

installed a 500gb in my dsr530 .. . working good so far.

Will be installing a 750gb in my parents unit later this weekend.

Thanks a lot ARR
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post #48 of 232 (permalink) Old 2007-12-21, 10:15 PM Thread Starter
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Good on ya!

I'll be doing my own this weekend, but just a small spare 250GB I had lying around.
Been having a lot of spontaneous reboots, mostly during DVR use, so figured I try a faster driver with a bigger cache and see how the performance improves.

Their are some reports of improved performance from an early adopter and former field tester to support this claim.

Don't really need a super big drive with multiple other HD PVR's kicking around.

As for my 'problem', I'm hearing it's more likely due to the particular vintage of the unit, we shall see.

Keep those report of drive sizes, observation and successes coming.
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post #49 of 232 (permalink) Old 2007-12-22, 11:53 AM
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Yes, I would be most interested to hear from persons that have had improved stability in their 530 after installing a larger/faster drive.
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post #50 of 232 (permalink) Old 2007-12-23, 08:13 PM
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improved stability and Happy Holdays to everyone

Well, I'm not a long timer, but as I installed a 250 GB initially, before the service was even activated - and upgraded to a Seagate DB35 500GB (had a hard time sourcing a Seagate IDE DB35 at the larger size) I have not had a single freeze or reboot. Both of the drives had larger than stock cache, and both were/are 7200 RPM units.

I've been "live" since early November. So I hardly think I qualify as a good reference site, but thus far, I am totally happy with the stability. The drive is over half full of HD movies....and growing. It's a media device for me, a storage box for HD movies. ;-)


ps - happy holidays to everyone
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post #51 of 232 (permalink) Old 2007-12-24, 10:18 AM
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chmod, I'm thinking of getting the same 500GB drive. Any comments on how quiet it is and what temperature you are typically at?
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post #52 of 232 (permalink) Old 2007-12-27, 05:00 PM
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Let me get this straight....

A factory reset is the only way to format the drive and consequently requires a phone call for re-authorization.

You will then have two drives that can be swapped back and forth without anything more than a power down.

Next step would be a way to format a new drive with vxworks on a pc and then copy the contents of the original drive over. (understanding that the encryption would only allow the drive(s) to work on the one machine)

Starchoice now puts the 530 under the "lifetime warantee" program, so this puts us all into the "don't do anything permanent to void the warrantee" category.

Thinking the 500G is a good price point (on sale this week for $118) but this brings up the big argument of "how big is enough"

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post #53 of 232 (permalink) Old 2007-12-27, 06:27 PM Thread Starter
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I'd say you summarized it right.

Is 500 enough, 750?
While we have reports of them working, I'd see to see some reports of boundary testing on these larger drives.
By that I mean, how does it behave when getting close to 90% of capacity?
Are there limits on the number of DVR list entries?
You could have a ton of SD listing.
What if you just did a 24 hours manual recording for several days.

Last edited by ARR; 2007-12-27 at 06:33 PM.
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post #54 of 232 (permalink) Old 2007-12-27, 07:13 PM
Join Date: Jan 2006
Location: Langley, BC
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Testing report on 750 GB Upgrade

I have upgraded the DVR530 to a 750 GB Seagate (ST3750640A) hard drive. This drive is from the more commonly available Seagate Barracuda 7200.10 series of drives. I used this drive since the DB35 Series that some posters have recommended can be very hard to get your hands on.

The Original DVR530 Hard Drive
My current DVR530 (my fifth replacement) was sent out about mid July 2007. It was a brand new unit and it has worked acceptably so far. The unit ID is 000-03435-xxxxx-xxx. The hard drive it came with was a Seagate ST3160212ACE you can see the specifications here. It is interesting to note that this is a 7200 rpm drive which is an upgrade from the original DVR530 drive which was a 5400 rpm model. When I first received this unit it seemed as though the DVR list etc. was a little snappier than the old box. This could be partly due to the faster hard drive, but I really can't say for certain.

If you look at the specifications for the original ST3160212ACE drive you will notice that it is a DB35 series with only a 2 Mbyte cache. Seagate claims that the cache algorithm has been optimized for PVR application. What is this optimization? Well, a Seagate rep that I spoke to said that the controller on the DB35 series will actually discard data if needed so that it can keep up with as many as 10 simultaneous streams of video data. He claimed that this is why Seagate doesn't recommend the DB35 series drives for regular PC use, and why Seagate tries to keep the drive only available to manufacturers. Do I believe this guy? Well I have seen this rumor elsewhere on the internet, but if I don't see it in a specification document it really isn't much more than "possibly" true. It could be that he was just trying to convince me that I should be satisfied with one of the more commonly available drives. The DB35 series also has a reduced peak startup current draw of 2.0 amps.

The Replacement Hard Drive
Currently if you go shopping for a 750 GB Seagate drive you will most likely see the drive I installed which is the ST3750640A you can get the specifications here. It is a Barracuda 7200.10 series 7200 rpm drive with 16 Mbytes of cache.

Comparison of Specifications
Here is a few comparisons of the drive specifications from Seagate:

Cache buffer (Mbytes, higher is better):
- Original drive: 2
- New drive: 16

Sustained data transfer rate (Mbytes/sec max, higher is better):
- Original drive: 83
- New drive: 78

Average seek (msec typical, lower is better):
- Original drive: 18 (read), 20 (write)
- New drive: 11 (read), 12 (write)

Startup current (typical) 12V (peak) (lower is better):
- Original drive: 2.0 amps
- New drive: 2.8 amps

Ambient temperature:
- Original drive: 0 to 60 deg. C (operating)
- New drive: 0 to 60 deg. C (operating)

Drive acoustics, typical idle (lower is better):
- Original drive: 2.48 bels
- New drive: 2.8 bels

Drive acoustics, typical seeks (lower is better):
- Original drive: 2.53 bels
- New drive: 3.2 bels

Annualized Failure Rate (AFR, lower is better)
- Original: 0.70%
- New: 0.34%

Contact start-stop cycles (25°C, 50% rel. humidity, higher is better)
- Original: 50,000
- New: 50,000

So, according to Seagate the original DB35 series drive is actually less reliable than the new drive (although real world use may be different from their estimates). Certainly the extra cache on the new 750 GB should improve performance considerably, especially when multiple streams are being recorded/written which is often the case due to the 90 min. live buffer on the DVR530.

The new drive installed without any problems. Be careful and patient separating the old drive from the connector circuit board. Since both the IDE and power connectors are on this board it's quite firmly attached. Connecting the new drive is much easier then getting the old drive out. The real key to this upgrade is the huge heatsinks that the DVR530 provides for the hard drive. The heat sinks do an excellent job of keeping the drive cool. Note that you may have a hard time getting the heat sinks separated from the original drive due to adhesion of the thermal compound. As long as you have removed all the screws the heat sinks should come off with a firm pull (don't use a tool to pry them off). The default jumper settings on the drive should match the settings on the original drive (but check to make sure). The unit won't fully work until you perform the factory reset with Starchoice. You will need a suitable excuse for this. From the time that the unit received the first hit (Trip Count) until it was actually authorized and showing video seemed much longer than normal. I suspect this was due to the time it took to format the larger drive. The Diags. R screen shows 678G total and 665.9 free with the drive empty. You will lose all custom settings due to the factory reset.

I have the DVR530 installed in a glass fronted, open backed cabinet with about 6 inches of clearance above the unit. There is no other significant source of heat in the DVR530 cabinet (watch out for audio receiver/amplifiers as they typically produce a large amount of heat). My original DVR530 drive ran at about 42 deg. C. The new drive runs at about 47 deg. C without any supplemental cooling other than the heatsinks (the max. operating temp. is 60 deg. C so it’s well within limits). Using an infrared thermometer before and after the upgrade didn't show much change in temperature on any external area of the DVR530 case, but it may be a good idea to have some supplemental cooling in the summer or whenever the ambient room temperature may be hotter.

These new drives are in fact very quiet. I cannot hear the DVR530 through the glass door at all. If I open the doors the sound level seems just as quiet as the original drive even when the disk is seeking. You really have to be listening to hear it.

The new drive definitely "feels" a little faster when opening the DRV list etc. A short recording (say 2 - 3min.) allows you to access the DVR list which reports 529 SD / 132 HD hours left after installation. The real question is can the unit actually read/write to the full size of the disk? Well, 132 recording hours later I have managed to fill the disk with mostly HD material. Once the disk is over 90% full (about 13 HD hours remaining) you will get the following warning message whenever you access the DVR list: "Your disk is over 90% full. Please delete any unwanted recordings to recover space." You can simply press Enter to go past this warning and carry on as usual. Ultimately I got to 3 SD / 0 HD hours left. The Diags. R screen reported 3.9 G free. There were 94 items in the DVR list which took about 3-4 seconds to open. I tested watching movies from various parts of the disk. Sometimes the unit was recording at the same time, sometimes it was idle. I'm pleased to say that even the very end of the last recorded program played back without any problems.

Testing Still Needed
The main thing I would still like to see tested is how many items the DRV list can actually handle. I record HD programs almost exclusively so I'm not likely to ever go above 100 items, but if you record a lot of SD material you could go way beyond this. Anyway, I will leave that testing to someone else.

Happy upgrading!
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post #55 of 232 (permalink) Old 2007-12-27, 09:01 PM
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DB35 Drives

Here is one place I have seen them:
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post #56 of 232 (permalink) Old 2007-12-28, 01:00 AM
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Hey Gromit - that's just awesome info there.


Question re activation hit. I've heard that if you do a factory reset with the remote, then wait overnight a hit will come down automatically. Any truth to that?
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post #57 of 232 (permalink) Old 2007-12-31, 05:10 PM
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Would Starchoice not get very suspicious with all these calls for a refresh?

What "suitable excuse" could we use? (better if they are not all the same)
I am guessing you would have to leave the unit unplugged for more than a week for this to actually happen?

Be great if we could just leave it a few days and it would resync.
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post #58 of 232 (permalink) Old 2007-12-31, 08:20 PM Thread Starter
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Perhaps one of the friendly agents or 'friends' of agents could offer up some advice on the possibility of an 'automatic' tier reauthorization if you wait overnight or longer and if their are a lot of call-ins for a reset that is setting off any alarms.

On the call-ins, I suspect not if you consider how many 530's are out there and the potential numbers of upgrades spread over time and the number of agents, I suspect it hardly gets noticed, and what's it to them any way if it's out of warranty and if it makes the box more stable and a better performer, then they should welcome it and take note of all the free field testing they are getting.

I know one of the developers is aware of this thread and didn't seem concerned.
I'm sure Moto drops in occasionally as well, at least they did when I brought specific threads of value to their attention through some contacts I had.
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post #59 of 232 (permalink) Old 2007-12-31, 09:44 PM
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Originally Posted by smp01 View Post
Question re activation hit. I've heard that if you do a factory reset with the remote, then wait overnight a hit will come down automatically. Any truth to that?
Actually I was hoping someone like ARR might know the answer to your question. I don't know myself, but it would be great if it worked the way you suggest. Hopefully someone can shed some more light on the way the "hit" works that causes the unit to reactivate and format the hard drive.
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post #60 of 232 (permalink) Old 2008-01-01, 12:38 AM Thread Starter
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The re-hit is ONLY required to restore the authorization tiers.
It's the locally performed reset using the hidden menu's that force the format of the hard drive.

I'm led to believe that nightly the channel map, Timezone and a few other items get refreshed in the box, but am uncertain regarding tier authorizations.
Unfortunately my main source of info has left as well.

I suppose if someone had an older spare receiver that was running, like an old DSR401 or 305 something and reset it and left it sit a day or so, we could figure it out if the channels came back by themselves.

Any brave souls with a handful of boxes on their account care to sacrifice one for a few days, like take one for the team?
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