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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
This thread is designed to assist people wishing to add an eHDD to an 8300HD. Check out the links below:

Note regarding the May 2011 Rogers firmware update:

http://www.digitalhome.ca/forum/showthread.php?t=140406

This firmware was supposedly to fix problems with the eHDD. Post your experiences in this thread.


Note regarding the October/November 2010 Rogers Firmware Update:

The latest firmware may put your i/eHDD to sleep and most will wake up again, but some people have reported issues as outlined in the firmware thread. As mentioned earlier, the WD "black" drives seem to cause the fewest issues and it has been hypothesized that the 300/CX instead of the 360 Vantec enclosures may also have issues. Please read the last few pages of this (eHDD) thread for the latest updates on enclosures/drives. It seems the make/model/series enclosure is quite important. Here's the link to the new firmware thread where this is also discussed in post 1, as well as in recent posts.

The Thermaltake enclosure discussed near the end of this thread is one that seems to work for everyone after the firmware update. Use anything else and you'll be risking a sleepy drive.


http://www.digitalhome.ca/forum/showthread.php?t=131572


Edit: For detailed eHDD instruction information, please see the following article on Digital Home.

http://www.digitalhome.ca/2009/12/do-it-yourself-sa8300hd-pvr-expander/ (Since the article was written, SATA II drives can also be used. For additional "wordsmithing" of the above article, please see the following post.) eSATA cables that come with most new enclosures like the Vantec work.

http://www.digitalhome.ca/forum/showpost.php?p=414689&postcount=639


Short form instructions for startup below:

Make sure there are no scheduled recordings at the time you're trying to connect the external HDD.

1. Assemble the drive in the enclosure.
2. Turn off the 8300.
3. Unplug the 8300.
4. Plug in the power to the enclosure.
5. Turn on the enclosure (HDD ready light is on). Give it a minute to completely power up.
6. Plug the SATA cables in both the enclosure and the
8300.
7. Plug in the power to the 8300.
Once it's booted up press the power on the 8300 and
the TV should have a message asking you if I wanted to format the drive.
8. There will be no notice regarding the formating being complete, so wait a few minutes just to be safe, then Unplug/Replug (reboot) the STB one more time. This second reboot is often necessary to see the correct % on the drives.


Note also that this is not officially supported by Rogers, there are no "guarantees".

Some people who purchased their PVRs have swapped out the internal drives, as discussed in the following thread.

http://www.digitalhome.ca/forum/showthread.php?t=15719


See the following post for a summary of the various drives used in this thread - some more likely to cause issues (Seagate bad, WD good)? Drives with the powersave function (like (early) MyBook (non-PVR, FreeAgent) are not compatible with the SA8300HD, the drive needs to be "on" 24/7. Some people have been able to make the WD "green" drives work, however, some people have had problems. The WD Black drives seem to be the most compatible.

http://www.digitalhome.ca/forum/showpost.php?p=466178&postcount=782


More summary information on Drives/Enclosures:

http://www.digitalhome.ca/forum/showpost.php?p=505907&postcount=907


Thanks to mackbig for the following link to Cox instructions and storage explanation - pages 16/17 of the link:

http://www.cox.com/support/digitalcable/dvr/pdf/SA8300HD connects.pdf


Note that the largest external drive installed to date is now 1.5 TB (post 1586), but care needs to be taken to use the correct drive/enclosure combination.

http://www.digitalhome.ca/forum/showthread.php?p=812475#post812475

Lots of drives have been discussed in this thread. Do a search of this thread for the drive make/model that you're looking at purchasing. If it hasn't been discussed here in a positive manner, be prepared for disappointment!

Anyone adding an eHDD to their PVR should consider purchasing a UPS (Uninterruptible Power Supply - Battery Backup). This is because the unit will not always restart properly after a power failure - you may need to reboot the PVR manually. You can purchase a small (say 350-500VA) UPS for about $40-50 and this will prevent problems associated with power failures. You can plug your other equipment into the surge protected side of the UPS for protection of the equipment - do not plug high draw items into the battery side, otherwise the (small) UPS is of no value. Apparently, the PVR will now reboot properly without a UPS, however, it is still good advice to have a UPS, since the unit will often keep recording during a short power failure, the equipment will be protected from failures, small surges, etc. If there's a cable amp upstream, it also needs to be plugged into the UPS. Power outages while recording can cause "head crashes" - not good.

http://www.digitalhome.ca/forum/showthread.php?t=56058




Please see the following summary post for a "list of equipment and links" contained in this thread (this link contains some of the older information from early posts and is usually not necessary but may be some good background for those interested

http://digitalhome.ca/forum/showpost.php?p=281168&postcount=376 (Post 376)

Other Notes:

You cannot move eHDDs between different PVRs because the index for the programming is on the internal HDD to preclude just that. The internal drive must be functional for the PVR to operate. The programmes on both drives are encrypted and cannot be viewed on a computer.

When you add a new eHDD, most recordings will go to that drive, until it's as full, percentage-wise, as the internal. From then on, the recordings will be assigned based on a "percentage full" priority.

You can "turn off" an eHDD. When you turn it back on you'll be asked to reboot in order to use it again. Of course when the drive is off, all recordings will go to the internal and if you try to access any recordings on the external, you'll simply be taken to the DVR screen instead of to the programme.

One should not consider the PVR as an archive. It's designed for time-shifting. If you archive to a very large HDD, be ready for disappointment at any time if the drive or index fails and after a few years this is quite likely.

To check the status of your i/eHDD, go into the SA diagnostics, pages 34/35 and thereabouts. Edit - new firmware now shows "unavailable" with minor information around page 18

http://www.digitalhome.ca/forum/showthread.php?t=17719

Some people have made a finicky eHDD active again by "hot plugging" the SATA connection with the eHDD and PVR both on. This is not recommended, but if you wish to use it as a last resort...

If your eHDD has stopped working, here's a list if things to check/try.

http://www.digitalhome.ca/forum/showthread.php?p=1382464
 

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57 said:
Anyone have access to an SATA drive to try out????

Would really like to try this out, I was going to buy a new SATA HDD for my computer soon anyway so I could try this out and if it didn't work I would use the drive in my computer. But what kind of cable do you use?...a normal SATA cable does not fit.
 

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57 said:
I read on another forum that someone was able to connect a "regular" SATA drive to this unit and the unit formatted the drive as soon as it was connected. (May be service provider specific). It simply asked "do you want to format the drive?"

The 8300HD then writes to the drive that is "less full" and then when they are equally full, alternates drives. Very interesting.

Anyone have access to an SATA drive to try out????

Tried and failed - connected an external Western Digital SATA drive to the 8300HD - no prompt to format, not even an indication that a new piece of hardware was attached. SARA information shows a couple of "Software Anomolies", but they are still there even after disconnecting the external drive.

Oh well... it was a worthy experiment.
 

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57 said:
Thanks for trying. Did you try rebooting the STB when the drive was connected?
Yup.. Followed the instructions in the user guide - powered off everything, connected the external drive, powered up the external drive, then powered up the STB. Tried rebooting with everything connected, still no joy.

I think I'll just leave the rig beside the STB, wait for a firmware update, then try again.
 

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I googled "8300hd sata" and got this:

http://www.edbott.com/weblog/archives/000585.html

March 26, 2005
Add an SATA drive to your 8300HD DVR
Ah, I love the Internet! I especially appreciate communities that made up of people who use the same toys I do and are committed to making those toys work better. This post is a perfect example. A poster at AVS Forums discovered the secret that allows you to plug an external SATA drive into an 8300HD DVR and magically increase your storage capacity:

I plugged the unit in as described in the 8300HD manuals found online, and the 8300HD recognized the external drive and asked me if I wanted to format it. Once this was done (it did this very quickly) the remaining disk space on my existing 8300HD increased accordingly.

I tried this months ago, with no success. The secret, it turns out, is to get a cable with a standard SATA connector on one end and a SATA II connector on the other. (A standard SATA cable will not work.) I searched extensively, and I can confirm that only one vendor appears to have this cable available for sale. Will I order it on Monday? Oh, you betcha! And then I will quadruple my high-def storage capacity. Woo-hoo!

(Now, if only someone could figure out how to activate a 30–second skip function for the execrable SARA software. Anyone?)
______________________________________________

mouflon, did you use a SATA I to SATA II cable? If so, where did you get it?
 

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After reading pages of the posting at AVS it appears that this only works with SARA installed on your STB, not Passport. Rogers has SARA do they not? Do they have any plans to upgrade?
 

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dogbolter said:
mouflon, did you use a SATA I to SATA II cable? If so, where did you get it?
Good point - I used a standard cable (it needed a bit of persuasion to fit). I have ordered from my distributer an SATA I to SATA II cable that should be here in a week or so. I'll let you know how it works.
 

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mouflon said:
8300HD - SATA II to SATA I cable, external SATA enclosure, WD 160GB. I now have double the recording space!!!
Excellent. :)

Now I might try that out. Do you think you can go above 160Gb? Drives are just so cheap right now...
 

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Okay so who knows:

Where can you get a cable?

and

What do you put the drive in?

Are there external drives available with SATA connections??

Inquiring minds say "Cool, but practically, how can you do it?"
 
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