The Official AVS Dish DTVPal DVR Topic! - Page 640 - AVS Forum | Home Theater Discussions And Reviews
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post #19171 of 19184 Unread 05-25-2016, 04:36 PM
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Order has been restored, my PAL is back up and running without any issues. It is a beautiful thing. Praise the Lord, and thank you to the fine folks here.
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post #19172 of 19184 Unread 07-18-2016, 06:23 PM
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It appears my pal is either dead or dying. It is perpetually in the "Please wait loading" stage. I have unplugged the device several times already, but every time it starts up it hangs at the "loading" stage.

I plan to keep it unplugged overnight and see if that makes a difference. Even if it does, I think it is close to the end of its life and no longer reliable. I have already ordered something else, but I was thinking about trying to repair this and use it as a backup device - or when i need to record a third program on the rare occasion.

Based on your experiences, what do you think I will likely need to do to make this function normally again? Don't need specific instructions right now; just a general description of what would need to be done to help we decide whether to make the effort or not.

Thanks.
Haiku
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post #19173 of 19184 Unread 07-18-2016, 06:33 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by haiku View Post
Based on your experiences, what do you think I will likely need to do to make this function normally again?
The only thing I can recommend is to see if P Smith will still work on these. He's the only one that seems to have mastered them. He cured one of mine several years ago and it is still in daily use. Well worth the price!

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post #19174 of 19184 Unread 07-18-2016, 08:25 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by haiku View Post
It appears my pal is either dead or dying. It is perpetually in the "Please wait loading" stage. I have unplugged the device several times already, but every time it starts up it hangs at the "loading" stage.

Based on your experiences, what do you think I will likely need to do to make this function normally again? Don't need specific instructions right now; just a general description of what would need to be done to help we decide whether to make the effort or not.

Thanks.
Haiku
There are a few things you can try yourself:

  1. This probably won't work but it's easy to try: boot the Pal with the antenna input disconnected. If you're lucky enough to get past "loading..." go to the menu and do a factory defaults reset.
  2. The problem could be the hard disk drive, especially if the animation of the "loading..." screen keeps freezing. If that's the problem you'll have to take it apart (not easy but doable) and replace the HDD (easy once you have it apart). You'll lose your recordings, but at least your Pal will be usable again. You can use any SATA HDD up to 1TB; the Pal will format it when you boot up again so make sure you save any old files on it first.
  3. Last resort: take it apart and look at the electrolytic capacitors on both circuit boards. Replace any that are visibly bulging. This requires soldering skill so you may want to find someone that repairs electronics to remove and replace the bulging capacitors for you.

If none of that works, you'll have to try sending P Smith a private message as Wiscojim suggested.
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post #19175 of 19184 Unread 07-19-2016, 07:12 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by haiku View Post
It appears my pal is either dead or dying. It is perpetually in the "Please wait loading" stage. I have unplugged the device several times already, but every time it starts up it hangs at the "loading" stage.

Thanks.
Haiku
Do you have the latest firmware installed? The current Firmware F208 is here
http://www27.zippyshare.com/v/65643705/file.html

Can't remember whether it's possible to upgrade once locked in to the "loading please wait' screen though.

May the FORK be with you!
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post #19176 of 19184 Unread 07-20-2016, 01:55 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wiscojim View Post
The only thing I can recommend is to see if P Smith will still work on these. He's the only one that seems to have mastered them. He cured one of mine several years ago and it is still in daily use. Well worth the price!

.
Thanks for the suggestion. To be honest though, I wasn't all that happy with this device when it was working "normally." I probably won't be investing any money to fix this. Thought I might be able to fix it myself if there were some simple fixex.
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post #19177 of 19184 Unread 07-20-2016, 02:12 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JHBrandt View Post
There are a few things you can try yourself:

  1. This probably won't work but it's easy to try: boot the Pal with the antenna input disconnected. If you're lucky enough to get past "loading..." go to the menu and do a factory defaults reset.
  2. The problem could be the hard disk drive, especially if the animation of the "loading..." screen keeps freezing. If that's the problem you'll have to take it apart (not easy but doable) and replace the HDD (easy once you have it apart). You'll lose your recordings, but at least your Pal will be usable again. You can use any SATA HDD up to 1TB; the Pal will format it when you boot up again so make sure you save any old files on it first.
  3. Last resort: take it apart and look at the electrolytic capacitors on both circuit boards. Replace any that are visibly bulging. This requires soldering skill so you may want to find someone that repairs electronics to remove and replace the bulging capacitors for you.

If none of that works, you'll have to try sending P Smith a private message as Wiscojim suggested.
Thanks for the help. As you thought, pulling the antenna didn't do anything.

Right after I first got the device, I replaced the HDD with a higher capacity one. I still have the stock drive and put it back in and it did not solve the problem. It was a pain to open up the case - even though I had taped over the tabs the first time I opened it. It doesn't seem to work with either drive.

In theory, both drives could be bad. I wasn't able to verify that either of these drives were working. I hooked them up to my windows 10 computer using a sata to usb adapter/bridge. The bridge was recognized but the drive was not accessible; I could not "initialize" it or assign a drive letter to it. I tried using ext2volume manager but it said it was RAW and would not mount either drive. Do I need some other special utility to mount and test these drives because of how the drives are formatted by the dtvpal?

I inspected the caps. There was no obvious evidence that any of them were blown based on anything I could see.

Thanks again.

Haiku
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post #19178 of 19184 Unread 07-20-2016, 02:19 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by golinux View Post
Do you have the latest firmware installed? The current Firmware F208 is here
http://www27.zippyshare.com/v/65643705/file.html

Can't remember whether it's possible to upgrade once locked in to the "loading please wait' screen though.
Yes, I did have the last fw for the device installed. Maybe I will copy the firmware on to a flash drive and see what happens. Perhaps it will interrupt the cycle in some fashion and give me something to work with.

Thanks.

Haiku
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post #19179 of 19184 Unread 07-20-2016, 06:44 PM
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Yes, I did have the last fw for the device installed. Maybe I will copy the firmware on to a flash drive and see what happens. Perhaps it will interrupt the cycle in some fashion and give me something to work with.

Thanks.

Haiku
Update. When I put in the flashdrive with the update on it, it changed some of the behavior of the device. After hanging at the "loading stage" for a few minutes, it would turn itself off. However, it responds to the remote and turns on. I was able to access the menu and the default reset command. However, after restarting it now hangs at the Searching for channels/find new channels" window. "No Services Stored." I touched the tuner and it is running really hot. I wonder if the tuner has failed.

It does soft reset using the remote but ends up at the channel setup menu which only has the point antenna, continue or help options. The first 2 options end up freezing. Help only goes to the help screen and only has the option to returnn to the previous screen.

Although this has not turned into a fix for my problem, it might be worth noting that a flash drive with an update on it might help someone else in the future if they need to escape a hang.

In any case, my new DVR is scheduled to arrive on Friday.
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post #19180 of 19184 Unread 07-21-2016, 12:26 PM
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From the symptoms you described in your last post, it does sound like one of the tuners (naturally, the one it uses to scan for channels) has failed P Smith could probably fix that but I think at the moment you'd have to ship it overseas to him. Oh, well, it was worth a try.

BTW, I don't think I've seen the trick of using a USB stick with Pal firmware to get out of a "loading" loop before. Thanks for letting us know; it may help someone else.

As for the format of the HDDs, the Pal uses a proprietary file system without an MBR. Also, the "stock" drive was shipped with a firmware setting that prevents it from powering up on a Windows PC. (That setting can be fixed; search this thread for info on the "hdparm" utility.)

If you want to reformat either drive for PC use, you can create a new MBR and partition, then format the new partition. I'm not sure how you do that with Windows 10, but with Windows 7 it's usually Start / Programs / Administrative Tools / Computer Management, then select Disk Management. Hopefully it's not too different in Win 10.
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post #19181 of 19184 Unread 07-21-2016, 01:51 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JHBrandt View Post
As for the format of the HDDs, the Pal uses a proprietary file system without an MBR. Also, the "stock" drive was shipped with a firmware setting that prevents it from powering up on a Windows PC. (That setting can be fixed; search this thread for info on the "hdparm" utility.)

If you want to reformat either drive for PC use, you can create a new MBR and partition, then format the new partition. I'm not sure how you do that with Windows 10, but with Windows 7 it's usually Start / Programs / Administrative Tools / Computer Management, then select Disk Management. Hopefully it's not too different in Win 10.
Thanks. I just downloaded hdparm. Hopefully, it will allow me to reclaim one or both of these drives. At this point, this is probably the most I expect to get out of this. If it can, I might give it one more shot with a drive that I can confirm is actually working. Right now, the behavior seems to suggest it is the tuner but it would be good to actually rule out drive failure(s).
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post #19182 of 19184 Unread Yesterday, 04:52 AM
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and try to use some programs to verify a health of the drive, like MHDD(selfboot/DOS) and Victoria(WinOS)
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post #19183 of 19184 Unread Today, 04:01 PM
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and try to use some programs to verify a health of the drive, like MHDD(selfboot/DOS) and Victoria(WinOS)
That's the plan. The problem is finding something that works with a usb-sata adapter bridge. So far, nothing i have used can interactive with drives formatted by my dvr.

I justed downloaded hdparm and will look into the programs you mention too. Thanks.
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post #19184 of 19184 Unread Today, 06:14 PM
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There's a free program called "Crystal Disk Info" that will display the SMART data from a USB-connected HDD. It's not a full diagnostic, but just seeing the SMART data should let you know if there's been a problem with either HDD.
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