I don't want to say goodbye to my STB, but do I have a choice? - Canadian TV, Computing and Home Theatre Forums
 
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post #1 of 13 (permalink) Old 2017-06-29, 03:57 PM Thread Starter
 
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I don't want to say goodbye to my STB, but do I have a choice?

Two nights ago, my wife and I were watching a recorded show on "The Tank", a Motorola DCT-6416 III. We paused it for a bit to chat with our daughter. Then, it powered off, gave us the "8888" display, rebooted and came back up.

However, neither the shows in our DVR folder nor the program guide were working. Ok, that happens, we just wait a bit. Sure enough, the program guide came back, but all of our recorded shows were gone.

Well, after 2 more days I noticed that all of the live TV DVR functions aren't working - no pausing, no rewinding, nothing. I set up a show to tape last night (and it was strange because it said Record to VCR!!!) and, as you might expect, it didn't tape.

I unplugged it and plugged it back in. I waited. And waited. Program guide works, but DVR functionality is kaput.

None of the rental boxes from Cogeco have worked nearly as well as this old beast (and it is the only STB we own). Is it salvageable and does anyone have a recommendation within the Oakville area who might be able to resurrect this faithful companion?

TIA
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post #2 of 13 (permalink) Old 2017-06-29, 04:18 PM
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Very probably a hard drive issue. Did it start making any "clicking" noises recently or did you notice any issues before the total failure?

You can probably replace the iHDD (internal hard disk drive) per the following thread in the Shaw Forum, which uses similar equipment.

http://www.digitalhome.ca/forum/67-s...-post-1-a.html

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post #3 of 13 (permalink) Old 2017-06-29, 09:48 PM Thread Starter
 
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I can't say that it gave any indication that this was going to happen. I think the White Walkers may have gotten to it, as I started to tape the last season to refresh my memory before July 16.

Thanks for the link - I will give it a look and see if I can repair it on my own. The silver lining is that it still works as a simple STB, so it will have to be relegated to another room if I can't resolve this issue.

I'm wondering if reformatting could solve it. I guess at this point there is nothing to lose so I'll give that a shot. (Instructions found here: http://www.digitalhome.ca/forum/569650-post1.html)
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post #4 of 13 (permalink) Old 2017-06-29, 11:45 PM
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Another link that may help:

http://www.digitalhome.ca/forum/30-5...inks-tips.html

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post #5 of 13 (permalink) Old 2017-06-30, 10:47 PM
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An initial step may be to pull the drive and see if it is recognized on a PC. Windows isn't usually up to the job but a Linux live CD/DVD should work. Use the command smartctl to check the drive. An easier option is to use a Windows utility call GSmartControl to check the health of the drive. It may need to have Windows "initialize" the drive first. If the drive is healthy, try deleting all partitions on the PC (completely wiping it is even better) and reformatting it in the PVR.

Hard drives are fairly cheap these days so replacing it is typically a lot cheaper than getting a new PVR or letting the BDU replace it. One upside is that a bigger drive can often be installed.
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post #6 of 13 (permalink) Old 2017-07-01, 10:35 PM Thread Starter
 
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I can get into the diagnostic menu but I can't activate the hidden HDD reformat option even after trying to enable the remote.

When I go to option 13 in the DVR status it shows that DVR is enabled but the encoder number and drive show up as NOT AVAILABLE and the number of drives as 0.
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post #7 of 13 (permalink) Old 2017-07-02, 08:52 AM Thread Starter
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ExDilbert View Post
An initial step may be to pull the drive and see if it is recognized on a PC. Windows isn't usually up to the job but a Linux live CD/DVD should work. Use the command smartctl to check the drive. An easier option is to use a Windows utility call GSmartControl to check the health of the drive. It may need to have Windows "initialize" the drive first. If the drive is healthy, try deleting all partitions on the PC (completely wiping it is even better) and reformatting it in the PVR.

Hard drives are fairly cheap these days so replacing it is typically a lot cheaper than getting a new PVR or letting the BDU replace it. One upside is that a bigger drive can often be installed.
I don't have a windows desktop, only laptops.

IF I have to replace the HD, is this a suitable option WD 1TB 3.5" 7200RPM SATA Desktop Internal Hard Drive (WDBH2D0010HNC-NRSN) : Desktop Internal Hard Drives - Best Buy Canada Or, can I take my unused WD My Book 1TB network drive and connect it externally?
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post #8 of 13 (permalink) Old 2017-07-02, 09:18 AM
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Please check the following thread and post upgrade questions there. Upgrading Internal HDD for Motorola PVR - Please Read Post 1
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post #9 of 13 (permalink) Old 2017-07-02, 01:46 PM Thread Starter
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ExDilbert View Post
Please check the following thread and post upgrade questions there. Upgrading Internal HDD for Motorola PVR - Please Read Post 1
But it says, repeatedly, that the thread you and 57 pointed to is only for a Shaw PVR with specific firmware. And it was even edited by Admin stating that.
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post #10 of 13 (permalink) Old 2017-07-02, 02:29 PM
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@cannon_fodder your hard drive has probably crashed which is why the PVR doesn't even see it in the d13 menu.

The Motorola PVRs has a problem with formatting a new drive internally, usually defaulting to 32 GB. On Shaw it's possible to format up to 1 TB using an external SATA case, however Cogeco doesn't allow external hard drives on the Motorola PVRs. See this thread:

http://www.digitalhome.ca/forum/66-c...ds-cogeco.html

Your best bet would be to buy a pre-formatted drive - Google "Motorola DCT6416 Cogeco pre-formatted hard drive".

This Shaw post has a nice graphic showing the steps involved in removing the case and replacing the drive (you can skip the formatting steps if you buy one pre-formatted.)

http://www.digitalhome.ca/forum/67-s...ml#post2460122

Regarding firmware: the Shaw thread refers to those features becoming available in firmware 16.74. Your firmware on Cogeco is at least 16.75. However, the ability to use an external hard drive has not been enabled by Cogeco.
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post #11 of 13 (permalink) Old 2017-07-03, 05:03 PM
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@Dr.Dave , Thanks for clarifying the issues. I suspect there are other ways to format the drive by using disk imaging software or Linux. I've done so with other makes of PVRs. Having a working, formatted drive would be a prerequisite so it's likely not of use in this scenario. I agree that purchasing a pre-formatted drive is probably the best route. That assumes that the drive is the issue and why I suggested checking it on another system first.
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post #12 of 13 (permalink) Old 2017-07-04, 10:55 AM Thread Starter
 
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Thank you everyone. I will go with Dr. Dave's suggestion (I only found one etailer still offering preformatted drives). Fortunately this happened during the summer TV season, but I want to get this fixed before GoT and summer replacement TV starts back up.
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post #13 of 13 (permalink) Old 2017-07-04, 11:44 AM
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If you wanted to exhaust every possibility before ordering the replacement drive you could remove the case to unplug and replug the SATA cable and power cable to the drive. Reseating the cable sometimes fixes a bad connection to the drive.

The symptoms you describe in post 1 and the d13 menu are both typical of the hard drive not being physically accessible, whether it's a hard drive crash (most likely) or a bad connection.

The replacement drive will include the security tool to remove the case, but I found that a pair of vice grips is easier than pliers if you wanted to double-check the old drive.

Keep in mind that the DCT series supports a max size of 1 TB.
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