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An update on the issue of replacing the hard drive in a 9400;
1. I saw a list of hard drives that work. Unfortunately, it is very old. I have drives that are close to models the forum stated as working; (I am very much trying to get 2TB to work.)
  • (Drive Seagate ST2000VM002 is stated to work with an old firmware) Tried the Seagate Pipeline ST2000VM003 - Not working yet!
  • (Drive Western Digital WD10EAVS stated to work) Tried the WD10EACS as I have 5 of them - Not working yet

2. With each drive above, I have connected it to a Windows Computer, deleted any partitions, then used a tool (Sea Tools for Windows for Seagate, Micronit Data Wiper for WD) to "Erase Overwrite" which writes 0s to the whole drive, then erased the 9400 NVRAM (Menu, 6, 3, INFO, BROWSE, THEMES, TV/Video), unplugged and installed the HDD. The 9400 should then ask if it can format the drive and in each case, it did not. I tried invoking a format. Also left the drive in overnight on - bothing has worked.

3. So I took a 1TB Toshiba out of another 9400 and it works - I can record.

4. Possibilities at this point are either drive compatibility or the way the drive is prepared. So I downloaded and made a boot CD of Clonezilla, an open source disk cloning tool because it can handle Linux file systems. During cloning, it failed citing bad sectors on my working Toshiba 1TB drive (@Mark H. - This could be your problem too.)

So currently, I am trying to find a way to find the bad sectors, mark them as unusable so the firmware knows this and then clone again.
My issue is most likely just incompatible drives, but I will exhaust every possibility before giving up on 2TB capacity and drives I already have. I know 1TB is alot, but I am following the great axiom of "Because I just might be able to". The Linux File system can handle 2TB and a 2TB can be used externally..
Any thoughts will be appreciated.
I have some old Seagate HDD from from a 9241 (ST3320310cs and ST3320311cs ), they are only 320GB but I would gladly have reduced capacity if it fixed my problem. Would they be compatible?
 

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I have some old Seagate HDD from from a 9241 (ST3320310cs and ST3320311cs ), they are only 320GB but I would gladly have reduced capacity if it fixed my problem. Would they be compatible?
Here are the drives compatible with a 9241 which is all I can find.

 

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The 9242 and 9241 should take the same drives or be very close. They are basically the same receiver with a few hardware features removed on the 9241.
 

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The drive models have to match exactly. I believe they are coded into the Bell software.
My experience agrees with this statement. I did not have a wide array of drives to try, and I ran into complications while trying to clone, but it would seem the receiver firmware is to some extent hard coded to only work with a small set of drives. Bell puts so little effort into the receivers. Another Satellite system I have allows you to organize the shows you record in order with S1 E5 for example as a field. Wonder if the 9500 has any of that. Anyway, I have abandoned my efforts to make another drive work and have located a used Toshiba 1TB a 1H drive from my home.
 

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It's definitely a firmware issue due to compatible drive models being hard coded. Not sure why they did so but I suspect it was to prevent people from replacing or upgrading drives themselves. Early drives were available at retail but later models were not, which has led to a shortage of drives. Most of the drives needed have not been made for many years due to firmware and hardware revisions. Some people resorted to modifying the drive list in firmware. The main issue with that was it had to be done again after every firmware update.

Bell's satellite PVRs are not designed or made by Bell. It was done by the US company EchoStar, Dish Network's parent company. The design of the 9242 and 9241 is over 12 years old. It was based on the 9200 which was released about 2006 with the 9242 and 9241 following shortly after. Bell receivers were based on US Dish Network models with rebranding and small firmware and minor hardware changes. Many of Bell's receivers were discontinued used or surplus models purchased from Dish Network. By today's standards, these are ancient designs, essentially the first mass produced HD PVRs in existence. They were very good designs in their day. The are better than most other PVRs made before or since but are dated. Given a choice of PVRs, I would still choose a 9242 or 9241 over most offered by other companies in the years since. The 9500 and 7500 receivers have slightly more modern designs and are also based on Dish Network models that have been sold by them since 2012. I suspect that Bell's migration to newer hardware was forced by the lack of availability of more ancient hardware from Dish Network.
 

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Since I have some time I tried installing some spare HDD I have lying around. Both were unsuccessful after erasing NVRAM and manual reformat of HDD.
I tried a Seagate ST3320310cs from a 9241 and WD5000AVDS from a Rogers Netbox.
 

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Hi Mark,

Three possibilities I see, but I am not a Bell Tech ;0)

1. If during live TV and playback of recordings: Signal from the dish near the threshhold of dropping out at time of recording. If this had been a storm, it would not persist. If it does persist, ensure signal level is well above 70 for 82.
2. If during live TV and playback of recordings: I suppose an issue with HDMI could also cause this. Try connecting a different way - either through an audio receiver with HDMI - or direct to TV to see if it persists. Some components can have firmware updates applied to correct things like this, but typically only high end stuff. (My Anthem AV Pre-amp does.)
3. If only during playback of recorded content: Damaged sectors on a hard drive can do lead to this. There is a way to mark sectors as bad and to not use them and continue with the drive afterward. It involves connecting the drive to a computer, deleting all partitions, create a new partition, run the drive manufacturer's software to discover and mark bad sectors. This would not be discovered by any test other than one which scans every sector of a hard drive. After marking them bad, you'd have to delete the partition, possibly do a full erase with overwrite (Sea Tools for Windows for Seagate Drives or Macronit Data Wiper Free for others) to write 0's to the whole drive and then clearn NVRAM on your receiver (Menu, 6, 3, INFO, THEMES, BROWSE, then within 5s press TV/VIDEO and you should get a message that NVRAM was corrupted and will be cleared, disconnect power, install your drive, then connect power and it should format and make your drive usable again.)

NOTE: All content (Movies/shows) and timers will be gone. Also, it depends how many sectors are bad on a drive, I believe they can operate fine with up to 200 bad sectors and a small amount (Less than 50) is normal, but more is a sign the drive could be failing.
If it was audio only, I would try turning Dolby Surround on the Bell 9400 audio menu off to see if it changes.

I hope this helps. Lets see what others who are more experienced will say.
After a few days of observation, audio dropouts don't seem to occur with live TV, only recorded or time delayed programming. However something odd is happening, if I rewind the program when I encounter a dropout the dropout doesn't always reoccur at the same time as it did originally. I would have thought the dropout would repeat at the same time if it was a HDD problem.
 

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I have a Bell 9400 in which the hard drive failed. Now after rebooting the receiver just displays a flashing red light on the front and will not boot up. I've replaced the defective Toshiba DT01ABA100V HD with a new Toshiba (bought from Wallmart) DT01ABA100V but the receiver will not come back to life- just stuck on flashing red light no matter what (left it plug for 2 days), and a black screen on the TV. The only time anything shows on the screen is when the smartcard is pulled. A message says to please insert smart card but then the receiver reboots to a flashing red light and no picture or sound.

What should I try next??
 

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Some years ago there was a bunch of chatter about 92xx boxes with a flashing red LED but otherwise apparently dead. I can't find it, presumably due to the current format.

I had a 9241 show a HD failure after a power outage. I had already replaced the caps. In trying to troubleshoot the drive issue, I ran the long diagnostics - this put the box into the flashing red LED mode with the same smart card behaviour you describe. I tried a lot of things but couldn't get it going. At some point after that, I cancelled Bell for other reasons.

Later on I took another stab at it and plugged in an external drive - one of the suggested fixes. This brought the box out of its coma and it asked me to format the drive. I said NO, unplugged the external drive, and the box worked, including the HD! I sold it and that's the last I've heard of it.

Kevin
 

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Thanks KevinK! Your solution work! My plug external drive revive the unit but can't get it to format the Toshiba HD. I'll get back if i am able to get another model of Hd going. Thanks!
 

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Are you sure the original drive is dead or is it just a case of the box telling you it's dead? My whole saga started with a "dead drive" message, which turned out to be incorrect.

Bell may have some code somewhere that causes it to reject your new drive, even if it's identical. Long story short - try the original drive if you haven't yet.

Kevin
 

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Thanks for the advice KevinK.. Canada computer verify the old hd with their computer and certified that it was fried. I tried two of their hd considered video possibly compatible and fail the format of the 9400. I suspect like you that some code reject my new drive. I'll keep looking for a seagate at a good price that is suppose to do the job.

Richard
 
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