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July 18th: DSR530 Code CC Fixes, Features & Bugs

153676 Views 1045 Replies 167 Participants Last post by  NO-CRTC
Check your target version tonight/tommorow.

As was posted here earlier and a C&P from another site that references a VP's response to a subscriber regarding the upcoming code:

The new feature set, if all passes, includes the following:

- Far improved operational stability for channel tuning (far few lock-ups during channel change -- in fact, so far we have seen none from that cause)
- Far improved timer performance for DVR recording, and for PPV recordings (again, so far no failures)
- Far improved performance for playback of DVR recordings (again, so far no failures)
- New sorting criteria for recordings
- A way to jump to identified times of recordings (i.e. 1 hour in)
For the majority of us that were on A8, this is great news as we'll finaly get the long sought after features that BC delivered to a selected few hundred.

For those of us on BC just waiting for the box to die after too many reboots, this should be a life saver.

Do check out all the new features in the beginning of the BC thread.

Enjoy the improved stability that CC brings.
Have faith that while not 100%, it's the closest the box has ever been and that new and exciting stuff is in the pipe.

From my experience in the past several weeks, what was quoted appears true for the most part.

Unfortunatly my source of information that gave me a closer view than most is no longer available.

Good luck and enjoy the efforts of many.

I'll still be around to help out as best I can.
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We'll I asked about that and I thought I heard they were in full download mode right now as initially they would do ~ 500 units a day and then after a few weeks when the were done, then any straglers would get it.

But I can neither confirm nor deny rumours stated here the CC got pulled.
We all know how mis-informed CSR's are on that type of issue.

I have a plan to get the machine and the recordings back, but it invloves a surface mount resistor and a bit of soldering on the bottom of the board to bring it up a level in order to be repairable.

Not something the average user should expect, but as we all know, I had special status.

Kevin270, all I can offer about your dilema is to use the unit until you feel as if the value has been gotten from it and then try a different one from somewhere.

Even today, I can't share your view that the CPU is too slow or the system has a major hardware problem.
In ALL cases, because of a unique insight into the unit that few have, I can attribute everything to coding, and in the majority of cases, the serious ones fall squarly at Motorola's feet.
The efforts of the Canadian IPG team will be showcased this fall when the new 207/317 is introduced.
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Kevin270 said:
I never trusted that any firmware would fix the problems because the main problem appears to be a very SLOW CPU in the 530. It runs slower than my old 286 computer did years ago. For a machine that is dedicated to doing just one thing - this is unacceptable.
CE equipment can run on "slow" CPUs precisely because they only have to do one thing. The majority of the grunt work is handled by specialised ICs. The CPU in the 530 likely only handles system management and the IPG. Sloppy coding man, sloppy coding.

Having said that, I can completely sympathise with the CC woes. My 530 worked great for a week, started missing timers, got all kinds of flaky. A reset seems to have helped, but the wife, she's a nagging again! :)

The irony of Motorola developing Six Sigma is becoming less humorous as the life of this machine drags on.

I've kinda lost the faith and have decided to look at other providers. I can't see me touching Bell with a six-foot pole, but that may change depending on how things shake-up with Shaw and the rumoured 'going digital' thing. Hopefully something will happen before my wife decides to toss another 530 remote across the room...
No worries man!

cellarboy said:
... Hopefully something will happen before my wife decides to toss another 530 remote across the room...
Just come see me, I have a drawer full of 530 remotes, some with the buttons in different spots and even a bat wing game controller style one.
Only 2 in the world of that one!
ARR said:
...and even a bat wing game controller style one. Only 2 in the world of that one!
Sounds like that might have a bit of a boomerang effect to it if thrown! I'd just have to make sure I hit the ground if she decided to toss it!! :)
Different Rev Levels ??

APR - You mentioned that your 530 had an early rev level. Is the rev level written on the MB? If it is what is your's? It would be interesting to see if certain rev's are having more problems then others. This might explain why some people have had fewer problems with CC and earlier versions. My machine which was purchased July 05 worked OK on BC and I have only had 1 reset since July 18 with CC. Sorry about your machine and thanks for all your helpful posts. While CC seems like the last straw for some people ( yourself possibly included) for me the 530 is my only option and I'm still happy with it,, but I feel like I am one of only a few.
What is wrong with the 530 code?

cellarboy said:
CE equipment can run on "slow" CPUs precisely because they only have to do one thing. The majority of the grunt work is handled by specialised ICs. The CPU in the 530 likely only handles system management and the IPG. Sloppy coding man, sloppy coding....
I have designed control software and hardware since 1975 and the cause of the issues with the 530 seem pretty obvious to me. I still haven't seen the CC code so it may differ, but I have had all previous versions and the apparent variety of symptons and malfunctions can be explained simply by the oldest trick in the book.... the failure of one or more low level interrupt functions to return the pointers and/or stack on completion of the interrupt function. It could be caused by a buffer overflow somewhere, or simply careless coding of the interrupt routine.

There is a simple test that returned the same failure for me that happens with virtually every code version on two different 530's. Set a timer to record a program on a channel other than the one running "live". Then start to watch a different recorded program, somewhere in the middle of a list of pre-recorded programs. When the new program being recorded stops - the timer hits the end and while you are still watching the recorded program, hit stop! Invariably you will be returned, correctly, to the recorded list, but at the wrong program!

The machine has returned the incorrect pointer to the program being played. In addition, the "live" channel will have changed usually to the channel that the recorded program you were watching.

However if you selected the first program in the recorded list (the earliest recording) it returns to that program. Obviously there is a patch in the high level code that recognises that the returned pointer is out of range (probably negative) and it resets it to the first valid value. The fact that this happens is evidence that the problem is known and the "fix" is simply to patch the high level code rather than find and fix the real problem.

Of course, this observation only indicates a rather benign set of symptoms. Loss of a stack pointer or a overrun buffer caused by a faulty low level function can, and invariably does, cause a huge variety of malfunctions depending on just where other routines were prior to the interrupt. Every one of the problems reported here could be caused by a one byte error in one low level interrupt routine.

The pathetic attempts we have witnessed over the past year and a half, clearly demonstrate that nobody at Motorola has got to grips with the real issue (which could arise in actual firmware or in the operation of one of the many dedicated chip sets) and their "fixes" are simply high level program patches designed to "paper over" the real problem.
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Thanks, very interesting post.

So, assuming whoever Motorola uses to work on this is not simian in nature, could it possibly be that there is some sort of support/agreement/money issue between Motorola and Star Choice?

IOW, it seems that the technical aspect really shouldn't be insurmountable to capable engineers, maybe it's a human problem between Moto and SC.
apsyrtus said:
I have designed control software and hardware since 1975 and the cause of the issues with the 530 seem pretty obvious to me. SNIP
Awesome post.

I have a deal of programming experience myself, but obviously nothing to the level of yourself and some of the issues in previous firmware releases were pretty obvious to even to me (memory leaks etc.) I think Starchoice should be hiring you to take a boo through the firmware and see if you take a stab at cleaning it up!!

This is what drives me absolutely nuts about the issues with this receiver. Most of the problems are at least somewhat repeatable or at least follow a pattern. Don't Motorola have test labs to actually run their work through testing proceadures internally before handing the code off? There's usually a good 6 months between updates, so what exactly are they doing for all that time? I often wonder if there are issues in parts of the code that Motorola can't/don't touch (chipset vendor drivers for example) which they produce work arounds for, then the driver gets fixed and breaks the work arounds etc.

Infuriating, I tell ya.
A *C job - No thanks!

cellarboy said:
I think Starchoice should be hiring you to take a boo through the firmware and see if you take a stab at cleaning it up!!
No way! This deal smells more of infighting and money issues than of purely technical ones. My guess is that there are people who really know what the problem is, at least in general terms, but they won't or can't bite the bullet... It's most likely an expensive fix to do properly, but the longer they can put it off by releasing so called "fixed" firmware the better chance they have of escaping....

My guess is that the best solution we can reasonably expect is too be stuffed around with "fixed downloads" for another year or so until a new properly engineered machine is developed. Then we will be offered an "upgrade" deal to the new machine at a slight discount to the new price. The 530 will never be properly fixed and if we don't take the "upgrade" offer *C will just phase out support (as if anyone will notice any practical difference seeing that support is so ineffectual already).

The worse case solution will be that they will just abandon the whole thing and tell us that our warranty has expired.... Bad luck chaps!
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Has anyone had this happen?

Tonight, I was watching Channel 382. Suddenly, the picture disappeared and the bottom runner popped up. The channel/time listing on the left of the bar was missing, the CC and *Choice logo on the right was missing, and where it would have listed the name of the program, it said Front Panel. Looking at the DVR, everything looked normal, except that instead of a time or channel display, it said FP. I turned the player off and back on and everything seemed to resume to normal.

What does it mean? :confused:
My guess.... Someone must have accidentally pressed the "Source" button at the top of the remote.
GaryE said:
My guess.... Someone must have accidentally pressed the "Source" button at the top of the remote.
Nope. The remote was sitting all by itself.

Any other suggestions?

This machine is acting so weird.
And in my never ceasing line of odd machine behavior...:rolleyes:

Today I had a fully functioning guide. But, while watching a show, the low running banner would say that data was not available...on every channel that I tried. And I could not use the Info key on the remote. Nothing would pop up. I turned the machine off/on with no change. I rebooted the machine and am now waiting for my guide to download again. Although, at least now, when I press Info, it at least says info unavailable.
cellarboy said:
I've kinda lost the faith and have decided to look at other providers. I can't see me touching Bell with a six-foot pole, but that may change depending on how things shake-up with Shaw and the rumoured 'going digital' thing. Hopefully something will happen before my wife decides to toss another 530 remote across the room...
I started looking at other providers and noticed that Bell no longer sells their 9200, but they rent it. I don't like that idea very much. They used to do that with telephones, and after a 10 year period a person would pay thousands of dollars for a cheap phone with a rotary dial. Looking through their website reminded me of how good Bell is at finding ways of grabbing more money out of their customers pockets without the customers always realizing what is going on. Hopefully the younger generation will be smarter.

My only alternative would be to go back to Rogers Digital Cable. I like satellite because I can pick up stations from Vancouver to Halifax. Going back to cable means I would miss some of the programming available across the country, but the trade off is a stable machine. It's certainly something to think about.

quimbysjody said:
Tonight, I was watching Channel 382. Suddenly, the picture disappeared and the bottom runner popped up. The channel/time listing on the left of the bar was missing, the CC and *Choice logo on the right was missing, and where it would have listed the name of the program, it said Front Panel. Looking at the DVR, everything looked normal, except that instead of a time or channel display, it said FP. I turned the player off and back on and everything seemed to resume to normal.
Yesterday I experienced another weird event with the 530. I was watching a live program and decided to use the channel up/down key to move up to the next channel. I pushed the key and my screen went black. The blue banner then popped up with the show name, however the red satellite icon was being displayed on the 530. It would not turn green no matter what! I powered the machine off/on, and the green satellite icon came on, but it was now on channel 200. I was then able to scroll through the channels again without a reboot. The bugs in this machine are unbelievable. Each day I seem to be finding a new one lately.
apsyrtus said:
The 530 will never be properly fixed and if we don't take the "upgrade" offer *C will just phase out support (as if anyone will notice any practical difference seeing that support is so ineffectual already).
I do believe that you have hit the nail on the head. This is exactly what I foresee happening too. The 530 is a baked machine, and what we have with CC is pretty much all that can be expected. Each time I say that, people come back with, "No there will be more upgrades that will fix the problems." Each time the upgrade happens, disappointment sets in once more. It feels like driving a car with the wheels ready to fall off any minute.
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jcol said:
APR - You mentioned that your 530 had an early rev level. Is the rev level written on the MB? ...
They only chnages I know of from pre-production to all the shipped versions are quite trivial.
There is a resistor change on the front panel to slightly brighten the blue leds on all units after the first 3000.
ALL shipped units used Seagate drives, while pre units had Maxtor's.
Those ones are missing a resistor that is used in BDM probes, that's my problem.
There was a minor revisions to clocking the hard drive.
I believe that as made prior to shipment as well.

I'm not aware of any other differences between units, but it's always possible there could be a revision in a driver chip or something like that.
ARR - plse clear out your PM.
G
apsyrtus said:
My guess is that the best solution we can reasonably expect is too be stuffed around with "fixed downloads" for another year or so until a new properly engineered machine is developed. Then we will be offered an "upgrade" deal to the new machine at a slight discount to the new price. The 530 will never be properly fixed and if we don't take the "upgrade" offer *C will just phase out support (as if anyone will notice any practical difference seeing that support is so ineffectual already).
QUOTE]

I am afraid that you are correct. I was going to buy a 530 to give as a gift to my mother, but i have now change my mind since the unit seems to have still some major problems to be resolved. Fool my once, shame on SC, fool me twice, shame on me. Too bad for SC, they have lost a potential customer.
So to sum up just the last 7 days...

I have had my machine spontaenously freeze up at least 5 times, meaning the remote was not being used when it happened.

I have had to reboot my machine at least 7 or 8 times.

I have had the machine freeze up during a reboot.

I have had the machine spontaneously change input to Front Panel.

I have lost Info capabilities.

I am sorry to complain so much, but I am so terribly frustrated! The machine has never worked properly since the beginning, but I was lucky in that my problems were of the minor variety --- resume function did not work, jump ahead took you to the beginning of the program, pause turned the picture black and white --- all annoying, but relatively manageable. I grumbled, I huffed, but I also accepted. And with A8 I was just fine. I didn't have resume, but with everything else working, so I didn't care.

Now I have a very expensive machine, off warranty, that is acting horribly. And what recourse do I have? The machine is working badly due to the code that *Choice downloaded to it. But when the machine finally does break down -- and I don't see how it can keep this behavior up forever -- is Starchoice going to replace it? Somehow, I doubt it.

Vent over, but I don't feel any better. :(
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I hear you !

Your concerns are valid, and I share them. Im looking for a definitive fix here, or some formal assurances of warranty care from Starchoice. Previously it has been posted that Starchoice will 'look after' units until a valid code is working, but I would love Starchoice to actually confirm this and give us a timeframe. I am not looking forward to a 'successfully engineered unit' that I have to spend another 800$ to buy to replace my current 530.

Ug- are you listening Starchoice?
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