DCT6412 Hard Drive Upgrade? - Page 4 - AVS Forum
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post #91 of 438 Old 02-24-2011, 09:51 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dan74 View Post

Funny, I assumed that the DVR would ask you if you want to format the drive...

It doesn't ask anything. The front of cable box displays a blinking light and then some characters show up on the display as it initializes. Nothing appears on the TV at all until you power up the cable box, which by then has already formatted the drive.

But I have read that you'll be prompted about formatting an external drive.

Running with the assumption that your cable company allows external drives, all you'd need to do in order to prove\\disprove that this overall scheme works is to get any SATA drive larger than 160 GB...any size at all, as long as it is bigger than 160 GB (well, remember that the Motos don't accept anything bigger than 1 TB). Let the eSATA format the drive and then toss it inside the DVR as the internal hard drive. If you see the full size, it worked! (use the "Power Off > Select/OK" trick to pull up the internal stats and peek at the hard drive size)

That alone would be huge...just knowing that this absolutely works.

The only other part is having somebody else (such as myself) test an image of the larger-than-160-GB DVR formatted drive and verify that it works.

So far we've managed to prove that sharing the image with the community will not be a problem...we just need to know that a drive formatted in someone else's cable box can work in others. And that's tricky when we're currently stuck at 160 GB for the partition size...whose to say that your cable box isn't going to immediately reformat the drive b/c it notices that my cable box had originally formatted it. Which is also why I want to stick a short recording on my DVR hard drive and upload another image. Hopefully it can help prove that your cable box isn't "rejecting" my image (it's type o, I swear...Type "o", not Type-o...oh forget it).

By the way, I've been using mostly laptop 2.5" hard drives during my tests. They work fine (though I wouldn't want to have both tuners recording HD at the same time...laptop hard drives aren't as spry as desktop hard drives). So if you have a laptop SATA drive larger than 160 GB, that'd be fine for a test.
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post #92 of 438 Old 02-25-2011, 06:36 PM
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I've recorded a short standard-def clip to the same 200 GB hard drive that previously had 100% clean DVR partition(s).

I am now using the Linux dd | gzip combo to create the disk image and will upload the results as soon as it finishes.

I'm hoping that, once this image is loaded on another Moto cable box, the MyDVR screen will show the recording that I've made. It would not be playable of course, due to DRM, but I'm hoping it will appear in the list of recordings. The only real value here is that it would prove that my DVR hard drive image is not immediately being rejected when loaded onto another cable box. It is possible that any other cable box that loads this image would immediately decide to format the drive again (which actually wouldn't bother me, as long as it retains the same partition size).
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post #93 of 438 Old 02-25-2011, 08:31 PM
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************************************************************ ************************************************************ ***************
*****DISCLAIMER: The following post is outdated and the steps should not be performed. If you are looking to upgrade your DVR hard drive to 1 TB, see this post! *****
************************************************************ ************************************************************ ***************




OK, I've uploaded the new Motorola STB DVR HDD image (is that enough acronyms for ya?)

This one has a very short SD recording on it, plus 2 tuners worth of caching (unless powering off auto-deletes that)

It came out to about a 250 MB .gz file which I further compressed using WinRar 4.00 Beta 7. Its final size is 58 MB. I may have been able to get gzip to get it smaller, but I'm in a big time crunch and couldn't risk any fighting with type-o's, unknowns, mistakes, etc...otherwise it would have to wait until later in the weekend, as I'm running late for lots of beer drinking.

Here's the link:
http://www.sendspace.com/file/v0uqgc

The .rar file contains a .gz file which can be used with the Linux dd command to image any SATA hard drive of at least 200 GB.

I'm hoping that, once loaded, you'd see the short recording I made from the DVR's "My Recordings" screen. I expect that it wouldn't be playable, due to DRM. But hopefully it'll show up with the very generic name that it got when I recorded it (it was something like "Fri 02/25/2011"...the name was so generic b/c the DVR had just been power-cycled and the guide data was blasted).

If anybody else wants to try testing this and isn't comfortable with Linux, just let me know (you can look earlier in this thread where I provide some directions and screenshots for downloading and using the Trinity Rescue Kit, but I can come up with more specific directions if anyone is interested).
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post #94 of 438 Old 03-01-2011, 09:40 AM
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So... I connected a SATA disk (full) to my DCT3412 box and I got the dreaded message saying that "the use of external drives is not authorized with your account" I went to my cable operator's office to ask if they would be willing to activate the SATA port and they said no

OTH I still don't have a spare 200+GB SATA disk to test the images. And on top of this I realized that I also don't have the reverse-something tool to open the DVR box So it may take a while to test the images...
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post #95 of 438 Old 03-01-2011, 09:39 PM
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Well that sucks

The tool that you need to open the DCH3416 is sometimes known as a GameBit (this same bit is used to open old NES video game cartridges, SNES, N64, GameCube, TurboGrafx-16, etc). It is also known as a "4.5mm tool". It is an "inverted Torx" screwdriver and I've been told that you can find them at most auto part stores (though I got mine on eBay).

This link also has them:
http://www.newelectronx.com/proddetail.php?prod=BITMOTO
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post #96 of 438 Old 03-02-2011, 09:10 PM
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I have been following you guy's efforts. I have the DCT3412. I purchased a sata hd (250gb) to try the image that TNO821 has posted. I have to get my Linux working to do this.

I have a question. Does the post by Dan74 mean that a drive generated from your image file probably won't work without opening the box? Or should I just try the image to see what happens?
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post #97 of 438 Old 03-02-2011, 10:00 PM
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************************************************************ ************************************************************ ***************
*****DISCLAIMER: The following post is outdated and the steps should not be performed. If you are looking to upgrade your DVR hard drive to 1 TB, see this post! *****
************************************************************ ************************************************************ ***************





Quote:
Originally Posted by Bears2007 View Post

I have been following you guy's efforts. I have the DCT3412. I purchased a sata hd (250gb) to try the image that TNO821 has posted.
I have a question. Does the post by Dan74 mean that a drive generated from your image file probably won't work without opening the box? Or should I just try the image to see what happens?

Hey ya Bears2007! Thanks for trying to help out! Yes, the only real way to test my image is to load my image on your hard drive and then open the cable box and connect your hard drive to the internal SATA connection. The problem that Dan74 is now experiencing is the 3 screws Motorola uses on the back of the cable box are very non-standard and require a special screwdriver bit.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bears2007 View Post

I have to get my Linux working to do this.

Don't bother installing Linux. Just see my post here where I explain how to download the free Trinity Rescue Kit bootable CD .iso
It lets you boot into Linux and has a menu selection to "Mount all Local FileSystems", which will allow you to see my image file that you downloaded.

Dan74 discovered that, like me, his eSATA port (on the back of the cable box) is not enabled by his cable company, so we're not able to get the cable box to format a drive to anything larger than 160 GB.

Question: Have you tried hooking an external drive to the eSATA port on the back of the cable box? If your cable company allows that, it'd be a major win for us trying to create a big image to share with the community.
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post #98 of 438 Old 03-03-2011, 08:44 AM
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I have linux on a flashdrive, but it doesn't like my broadcom wifi. I just hook up a dlink dongle. I misplaced the dongle, but found it last night.

Thank you for your reply.

I plan to:

1) Download your image file
2) Copy it to the drive
3) Try to connect it to the DCT (while powered off? Then what?)

4) If this fails, I will take the lid off and try the internal connection

Does this seem ok?
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post #99 of 438 Old 03-03-2011, 01:41 PM
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************************************************************ ************************************************************ ***************
*****DISCLAIMER: The following post is outdated and the steps should not be performed. If you are looking to upgrade your DVR hard drive to 1 TB, see this post! *****
************************************************************ ************************************************************ ***************




Quote:
Originally Posted by Bears2007 View Post

I have linux on a flashdrive, but it doesn't like my broadcom wifi. I just hook up a dlink dongle. I misplaced the dongle, but found it last night.

I plan to:

1) Download your image file
2) Copy it to the drive
3) Try to connect it to the DCT (while powered off? Then what?)

4) If this fails, I will take the lid off and try the internal connection

Does this seem ok?

Sorry, but there is no way to "connect" to the cable box. It won't let you. You have no choice but to open the cable box.

The steps should be:

1. Download my image file (on whatever system you want...Windows or Linux, etc...it just needs to have a CD or DVD drive)

2. Download and burn the Linux "Trinity Rescue Kit" CD ISO file from:
http://linux.softpedia.com/progDownl...load-8142.html
(it's just under 150 MB and easily fits on a CD)

3. Shut down your computer and hook your new 250 GB SATA hard drive to it (be sure to hook it to a SATA connection, not USB (too slow).

4. Insert the Trinity Rescue Kit CD and boot your computer from it.

5. At the first prompt take the default, "Run Trinity Rescue Kit 3.4 (default mode, with text menu)"

6. You'll see Linux boot up for a few moments (Note: it'll complain if the internet can't be found, but you won't need it for this, so just ignore it)...be patient and eventually you'll see a menu.

7. At the "Trinity Rescue Kit easy menu", choose the fifth option "Mount all local filesystems"

8. Once it finishes mounting your drives, you will be returned to the "Trinity Rescue Kit easy menu"...choose "Go to a shell" (the fifth choice from the bottom).

This will drop you to a command prompt where you can use the dd command to image the drive. Remember to first use the sfdisk command to verify which drive is the new 250 GB drive and which one is your computer's hard drive.

After imaging is complete, you need to shut down the computer, disconnect the 250 GB drive, and hook it into the cable box.

**You can see screen shots of using the Trinity Rescue Kit in my earlier post here
I was demoing different stuff (using the dd command to duplicate a hard drive), but it is very similar to what I just described.
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post #100 of 438 Old 03-05-2011, 12:28 PM
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@TNO821: I believe Bears2007 meant he/she will connect the disk drive to the DCT.

Also, any live boot CD would do, not just the "Trinity Rescue Kit". For instance I like RIP (Recovery Is Possible) Linux. You could also boot them from USB memory sticks, virtual machines etc. if you don't like burning CD (I don't).

If your PC/laptop doesn't have an eSATA port you could also use an external HDD enclosure with USB2/Firewire port(s) - this is what I use myself.

Good luck with your tests - I hope you fare better than me (i.e. have an enabled eSATA port).

Cheers
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post #101 of 438 Old 03-05-2011, 12:36 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bears2007 View Post

3) Try to connect it to the DCT (while powered off? Then what?)

Search for Motorola DVR Set-top External Storage User Guide.pdf : I found it here:
http://www.motorola.com/staticfiles/...er%20Guide.pdf

There are 2 ways to connect a SATA disk drive to the DVR:
1. open the DVR box and replace the internal HDD (you will need the special tool to take out the screws; also - according to TNO821 your HDD will be instantly reformatted once you power on the DVR so you will loose all the data on in);
2. via an eSATA cable connected to the back of the DVR.

The 2nd option is really easy to test - just plug the disk cable into the port (DVR running) and in a few seconds it will display a text on the TV telling you whether the port is active or not.

Good luck!
Dan
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post #102 of 438 Old 03-05-2011, 02:03 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dan74 View Post

@TNO821: I believe Bears2007 meant he/she will connect the disk drive to the DCT.

The part that has me puzzled is that step 4 said removing the lid would be a last resort...I don't see how removing the DCT lid could be avoided, unless the idea is to connect to the eSATA port...

Quote:
Originally Posted by dan74 View Post

Also, any live boot CD would do, not just the "Trinity Rescue Kit". For instance I like RIP (Recovery Is Possible) Linux. You could also boot them from USB memory sticks, virtual machines etc. if you don't like burning CD (I don't).

Absolutely, but I keep mentioning the Trinity disk only b/c I have step-by-step screenshots which can assist people who may be new to Linux. For anybody familiar with Linux, use whatever LiveCD you want.
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post #103 of 438 Old 03-05-2011, 02:11 PM
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Hey all, I'd like to ask everybody who'd really like to see this experiment succeed to take a moment and hook an eSATA drive to the back of your Motorola DCT or DCH cable box. (Don't open the cable box, just use the eSATA connection on the back)

I promise it won't "insta-wipe" your data! You'll get one of two on-screen messages: 1. Your account is not authorized for an external drive, or 2. Do you want to format this external drive? Yes/No

And if you don't have an eSATA enclosure, consider getting a SATA-to-eSATA adapter cable like this one at Amazon

If we could just find just one person who is in an area where the eSATA port is enabled, we could make this happen! You could be The One! (can I call you Neo?)
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post #104 of 438 Old 03-08-2011, 05:08 PM
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I guess it's just the 2 or 3 of us... kinda sad
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post #105 of 438 Old 03-14-2011, 03:46 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dan74 View Post

I guess it's just the 2 or 3 of us... kinda sad

Yeah...small club, eh?

Well, like I said in an earlier post, I don't even want 1 TB of space (it would cause me to slack off with firewire capturing). So if nobody else cares, that's fine by me.
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post #106 of 438 Old 03-27-2011, 09:08 PM
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First of all, are you guys experimenting using SATA drives or IDE?

For some background info on the drive upgrade:
www digitalhome.ca/forum/showthread.php?t=112018
Apparently WD Green 1TB drive reportedly works well and the maximum recognized size is 1TB.
Drive should be formatted externally (using eSATA port) and then installed internally, which avoids the firmware limiting larger drives to 160GB when formatted internally.

My goal is for each TV in our house (2) to have its own DVR with upgraded storage (1TB).
Have been working gradually towards this for almost a month.
We already rent a DCT6416-III ($15 monthly).
Inquired with cable provider about enabling the DVR Expander (i.e. eSATA port), but have yet to confirm if it is working.
I sourced a second unit from ebay and recently got it activated.
Looking for another DVR (preferably same model) so I can ditch the monthly rental fee.

I purchased a pair of 1TB SATA drives (WD Green 3.5" model WD10EARS) for the upgrades.
Using latest version of Western Digital DLG (Data LifeGuard) Diagnostic software,
completed Extended Test and Write Zeros to Drive for both drives.
I expect the remaining parts to arrive in the mail this week... 4.5mm security bit and appopriate drive cable (eSATA to SATA).

I have read that the drive format process does not take very long.
With the drives tested and zeroed, a drive image should compress quite well (small size).
My plan is to save an image of the newly formatted drive using either Clonezilla or g4u, as these do sector-to-sector copying and should be free to duplicate.
Original drive to be set aside at least initially. The saved image written to the second drive and installed into the DVR should prove that the plan works.
If my DVR's eSATA port cannot be activated then I will get one of the drives formatted at my brother's house (he has a DCT3416 and his provider is Shaw, which supposedly enables the eSATA ports by default). Somehow I will eventually get this to work!

Image using either Clonezilla or g4u:
- For unsupported file system, sector-to-sector copy is done by dd in Clonezilla
- One of the questions arising a lot is "what filesystems does g4u support". The answer is: "all of them". g4u reads the disk bit by bit, starting from byte #0 to the end. It includes any MBR, boot record, partition table and the partitions themselves without further investigating the structure of the data stored in these partitions.
- clonezilla uses gzip compression by default
- g4u images uploaded to the FTP server are compressed with "gzip -9". This saves as much disk space as possible, but also takes a long time - several hours are not uncommon.
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post #107 of 438 Old 03-27-2011, 11:01 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DCTneo View Post

First of all, are you guys experimenting using SATA drives or IDE?

SATA. I've got a DCH3416, which only accepts SATA drives. I think you'd have to go all the way back to DCT6412 Phase II to have a STB that accepts IDE drives.

Quote:
Originally Posted by DCTneo View Post

I have read that the drive format process does not take very long.

Correct...it's a few seconds. It's like when you perform a quick format...it's not doing very much to the drive.

Quote:
Originally Posted by DCTneo View Post

Somehow I will eventually get this to work!

Awesome! You'll be my new hero! Let me know if there's anything I can do to help.
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post #108 of 438 Old 03-28-2011, 05:32 PM
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Going bonkers waiting for the silly SATA cable to arrive.
It's been a few weeks wait already, probably still on the slow boat from China.
There doesn't seem to be any way to tell if the eSATA port is enabled, other than physically connecting an external drive?
I went through the following diagnostic settings but no mention anywhere of a SATA port:
# Turn off the box (press POWER on the remote).
# Immediately press OK/SELECT. Press it again if the display (black text on white background) does not come up within a second.
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post #109 of 438 Old 03-28-2011, 08:18 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DCTneo View Post

Going bonkers waiting for the silly SATA cable to arrive.
It's been a few weeks wait already, probably still on the slow boat from China.
There doesn't seem to be any way to tell if the eSATA port is enabled, other than physically connecting an external drive?
I went through the following diagnostic settings but no mention anywhere of a SATA port:
# Turn off the box (press POWER on the remote).
# Immediately press OK/SELECT. Press it again if the display (black text on white background) does not come up within a second.

Correct. There is no way to know if the eSATA is going to work. Technically, I think there is a screen that will tell you if it is "enabled", but that info is nearly worthless. All that means is that it is able to detect when you hook an external drive to it. (I've never seen a Motorola cable box show this as disabled) Even if your cable company doesn't allow external drives, the drive will be detected...an error message appears on screen telling you to contact your provider. The message looks like this.

Wait a minute! Do you have a DCH or a DCT? I was under the impression that the DCT boxes don't have eSATA ports. I believe that all DCH boxes have eSATA ports. Are you sure you're not confusing another port for an eSATA port?

If your brother has a DCH3416, then he absolutely has an eSATA port. You may have no alternative than to format the drive at his home.
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post #110 of 438 Old 03-28-2011, 10:25 PM
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No the DCT6416 III definitely has an esata port on the back, right beside the firewire ports. Ebay auction 270713708547 is expired but has good enough pictures to see the port labels. I believe that earlier revisions (phase I and II) do not support it however. Phase III is definitely the one to get, as it has HDMI instead of DVI, and SATA drive instead of IDE. I have also read that supposedly the analog tuner is also improved. I know that ours has eSATA port on the back and I am looking for another unit for our other TV.
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post #111 of 438 Old 03-28-2011, 10:34 PM
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Awesome! Good to know.

Just FYI, eSATA doesn't power the drive. So if you intend to hook up the WD 1TB drive via the eSATA-to-SATA cable that you mentioned, you'll also need to power the drive. Just make sure you have either an external enclosure or a PC nearby to connect the power to. (although a lot of external enclosures won't work b/c they have a custom molded data+power connector, which means you won't be able to also connect the eSATA-to-SATA cable.
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post #112 of 438 Old 03-29-2011, 08:54 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TNO821 View Post

Awesome! Good to know.

Just FYI, eSATA doesn't power the drive. So if you intend to hook up the WD 1TB drive via the eSATA-to-SATA cable that you mentioned, you'll also need to power the drive. Just make sure you have either an external enclosure or a PC nearby to connect the power to. (although a lot of external enclosures won't work b/c they have a custom molded data+power connector, which means you won't be able to also connect the eSATA-to-SATA cable.

Being employed as a computer / network technician, I already have these things at my disposal (just not the eSATA-to-SATA cable). I intend to use a hard drive power adapter, which goes between the wall socket and hard drive (with adaptor for SATA power).

After my drives arrived, I used a spare computer off the shelf to do the Extended Test and Write Zeroes To Drive. Each of these operations took almost 4 hours, so I estimate that's how long the drive imaging will take.
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post #113 of 438 Old 03-29-2011, 10:24 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DCTneo View Post

Being employed as a computer / network technician, I already have these things at my disposal (just not the eSATA-to-SATA cable). I intend to use a hard drive power adapter, which goes between the wall socket and hard drive (with adaptor for SATA power).

After my drives arrived, I used a spare computer off the shelf to do the Extended Test and Write Zeroes To Drive. Each of these operations took almost 4 hours, so I estimate that's how long the drive imaging will take.

Good deal! Sounds like you've got everything you need (once the eSATA-to-SATA cable arrives). I just received a WD Green 1 TB drive that I'll use to test out the image. Assuming this whole thing works, I will also create various different image files in several formats (Acronis, Norton Ghost, etc.)...my goal is to make this as easy as possible for other people to do.
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post #114 of 438 Old 03-30-2011, 08:25 AM
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Sounds like you're as anxious as I am for my eSATA-to-SATA cable to arrive!
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post #115 of 438 Old 03-30-2011, 06:42 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TNO821 View Post

I just received a WD Green 1 TB drive that I'll use to test out the image.

Forgot to ask, which model number of drive? The WD10EARS drives that I have are 64MB cache, the WD10EADS have 32MB cache.

Still no cable yet, it's overdue to arrive along with a few other small ebay orders I'm expecting. Hopefully it arrives this week.
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post #116 of 438 Old 03-30-2011, 07:21 PM
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Originally Posted by DCTneo View Post

Forgot to ask, which model number of drive? The WD10EARS drives that I have are 64MB cache, the WD10EADS have 32MB cache.

Still no cable yet, it's overdue to arrive along with a few other small ebay orders I'm expecting. Hopefully it arrives this week.

64MB of cache...it is the WD10EARS
I bought it from Amazon, as they had the lowest price when shipping was considered. I have apparently somehow become a permanent Amazon Prime member (only paid for 1 year, and that was several years ago), thus I always get free 2-day shipping on everything sold through Amazon (but not their partners in the Amazon Marketplace).

So the entire cost including shipping was $54.99, which seems like a great deal to me.
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post #117 of 438 Old 04-04-2011, 02:00 PM
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No SATA-to-eSATA cable in the mail yet, although the 4.5mm bit (to open the chassis) finally arrived today.

Also, I purchased another DCT6416III from ebay this weekend.
So I will now own a pair of identical PVR models outright and have the means to open them up.
I also intend to experiment with swapping a DCT hard drive into another unit to experiment whether the other DCT can access the recorded content from the drive.
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post #118 of 438 Old 04-07-2011, 02:45 PM
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SATA-to-eSATA cable finally arrived today!
So now I should have all the necessary parts.
Connected the drive to the PVR, powered up the drive, and then.... nothing.
While at home on my lunch break, I spoke with one of the customer service reps from my cable provider about getting the PVR to recognize the drive.
The rep escalated the issue but I had to get return to work before tech support was able to call me back.
Hope to experiment further this evening.
I previously called my cable provider to verify that a PVR expander (i.e. eSATA drive enclosure) could be supported.
Failing any results tonight, I will look at bringing my drive setup to my brother's house this weekend and getting my drive formatted using his PVR.
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post #119 of 438 Old 04-07-2011, 06:08 PM
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Originally Posted by DCTneo View Post

SATA-to-eSATA cable finally arrived today!
So now I should have all the necessary parts.
Connected the drive to the PVR, powered up the drive, and then.... nothing.

That's not cool. It didn't even display the "not supported" message?

Have you tested with any other eSATA interface? Lots of laptops have eSATA ports on them...you'll want to do this to verify that there is nothing wrong with the adapter cable.

Quote:
Originally Posted by DCTneo View Post

I previously called my cable provider to verify that a PVR expander (i.e. eSATA drive enclosure) could be supported.

The problem is that very few reps will have any real knowledge of how the eSATA (or the FireWire capturing stuff) works. And I really doubt that they know specifically which models of cable boxes support eSATA, etc.

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Originally Posted by DCTneo View Post

Failing any results tonight, I will look at bringing my drive setup to my brother's house this weekend and getting my drive formatted using his PVR.

That sounds like the best bet.
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post #120 of 438 Old 04-07-2011, 09:21 PM
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Confirmed by the cable provider's customer support tonight. Because I'm not in one of their major service areas the eSATA port on my receiver cannot be activated. Oh well at least I've got all the parts now. Hope to visit with my brother this weekend, and get one of my drives formatted by his DCT3416. While I bring all the necessary bits I'll offer to help upgrade his drive also, so long as he provides a spare WD10EARS drive with which to do the upgrade.
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