DCT6412 Hard Drive Upgrade? - Page 9 - AVS Forum
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post #241 of 438 Old 06-01-2011, 03:27 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DCTneo View Post

I'll summarize the successful drive upgrades mentioned so far in this thread and which model of drives were used:

It might be helpful also to note (where known) what provider's firmware is on the box. And are these all DCT6412? or are some of them DCT32xx, DCH6416, etc.?
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post #242 of 438 Old 06-01-2011, 03:38 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hoglard View Post

So far it recorded about 147GB so it might be hitting the 160GB hard drive limit in the firmware:

I'm not liking the sound of that.

I wonder if you could double that (yeah, I know, 320GB is still not really exciting) by putting the original drive onto IDE1 and running them both. I suppose, though, that if it was as simple as all that, someone would have already done it a couple years ago. (Of course, it would have required *two* Moto-formatted drives, which weren't exactly easy to come by or to produce.)
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post #243 of 438 Old 06-01-2011, 03:48 PM
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When installing the image to the drive in Linux, do I have to plug the hard drive in externally, or can I put it inside the computer?
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post #244 of 438 Old 06-01-2011, 04:05 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by markj801 View Post

When installing the image to the drive in Linux, do I have to plug the hard drive in externally, or can I put it inside the computer?

The 1 TB hard drive? Shouldn't matter. Just make sure to use SATA or eSATA to connect it to your computer...if you use a USB hard drive enclosure, it's sure to take far longer.
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post #245 of 438 Old 06-01-2011, 04:12 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by whetstone1 View Post

It might be helpful also to note (where known) what provider's firmware is on the box. And are these all DCT6412? or are some of them DCT32xx, DCH6416, etc.?

My cable box is a DCH3416
Firmware: 18.77
S/W Ver: 78.53 - A28p0-4.1005.r-8
I'm on Comcast in the SF Bay area

I've tested the image on 2 different WD10EARS and a WD10EVDS.

I tried unsuccessfully to put the image on a Seagate 750 GB hard drive (I expected it to fail, but was curious). The cable box reformatted it to 160 GB.
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post #246 of 438 Old 06-01-2011, 09:16 PM
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My summary post on page 8 of this thread has been updated with model numbers, firmware, and cable providers if available:

http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showt...4#post20494374

If you have successfully upgraded your PVR, let me know so you can be included!
More data points provide better info.
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post #247 of 438 Old 06-02-2011, 11:12 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DCTneo View Post
... what cable provider are you with, and what's the firmware version on your box?
My cable provider is Cox. I will check firmware version when I get home - I assume it is somewhere on the diagnostic screens, right?
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post #248 of 438 Old 06-02-2011, 11:38 AM
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******Update*******

The following post is outdated.
There are now confirmed reports of COX cable customers who have successfully upgraded the DVR hard drive to 1TB, so it would appear that the firmware/software limiting recording to 160 GB is no longer an issue.  However, there could be some COX cable markets where the older firmware/software is still in use, so your mileage may vary.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hoglard View Post
My cable provider is Cox. I will check firmware version when I get home - I assume it is somewhere on the diagnostic screens, right?

It's easiest to check by leaving the cable box powered on, press Menu, and then select Menu from the on-screen display. Then choose Setup > Cable Box Setup > Select to display

You will see firmware version, software version, and a bunch of other information.

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post #249 of 438 Old 06-02-2011, 05:00 PM
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Thanks to everyone who invested their time in putting this thread together. I managed a successful upgrade using a WD10EARS in to my DCT 6416.
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post #250 of 438 Old 06-02-2011, 06:40 PM
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Everything went well, but when I put the drive in the box, it tells me that dvr service is disabled and nothing will record. Any ideas what happened?
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post #251 of 438 Old 06-02-2011, 07:05 PM
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I think you have to wait about 15 minutes Markj801 for the drive to setup.
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post #252 of 438 Old 06-02-2011, 07:07 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by riley847 View Post

I think you have to wait about 15 minutes Markj801 for the drive to setup.

Yeah but it's been a day

EDIT: Nevermind, I'm an idiot lol. I forgot to plug the sata & power cables into the hard drive :/
It appears to be working great now!
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post #253 of 438 Old 06-02-2011, 10:13 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TNO821 View Post

It's easiest to check by leaving the cable box powered on, press Menu, and then select Menu from the on-screen display. Then choose Setup > Cable Box Setup > Select to display

You will see firmware version, software version, and a bunch of other information.

The power is on, I press Menu button, and I don't see that. I have DCT6412III.

But I found this on one of the diagnostic screens:

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post #254 of 438 Old 06-02-2011, 10:54 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TNO821 View Post

It's easiest to check by leaving the cable box powered on, press Menu, and then select Menu from the on-screen display. Then choose Setup > Cable Box Setup > Select to display

Quote:
Originally Posted by Hoglard View Post

The power is on, I press Menu button, and I don't see that. I have DCT6412III.

Huh...maybe the DCT6412PIII has a different menu. Or maybe your firmware/software is a bit older. I seem to recall that the menu was the same when I traded my DCT6412PIII for my DCH3416.

Does your DCT6412 has HDMI? I've read that any Motorola cable box that has DVI instead of HDMI can not perform the 1 TB upgrade.

Anyways, here's what it looks like when you hit the Menu button on the DCH3416 (if anybody with a 6412 or 6416 sees the same thing, please chime in):







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post #255 of 438 Old 06-03-2011, 07:47 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TNO821 View Post

Does your DCT6412 has HDMI? I've read that any Motorola cable box that has DVI instead of HDMI can not perform the 1 TB upgrade.

My understanding is that the earlier DCT6412 / DCT6416 (phase I and II) have DVI output and PATA drives, the newer phase III models have HDMI output and SATA drives.

The DCT3412 / DCT3416 series I believe all have HDMI output and SATA drives?
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post #256 of 438 Old 06-03-2011, 03:13 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DCTneo View Post

My understanding is that the earlier DCT6412 / DCT6416 (phase I and II) have DVI output and PATA drives, the newer phase III models have HDMI output and SATA drives.

The DCT3412 / DCT3416 series I believe all have HDMI output and SATA drives?

Yeah, I think that's right. I've never heard of the DCT or DCH 3412 or 3416 ever having DVI or PATA hard drives.

I'm less sure that all 6412/6416 Phase III's are HDMI and SATA.
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post #257 of 438 Old 06-03-2011, 04:31 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TNO821 View Post

Huh...maybe the DCT6412PIII has a different menu. Or maybe your firmware/software is a bit older. I seem to recall that the menu was the same when I traded my DCT6412PIII for my DCH3416.

Does your DCT6412 has HDMI? I've read that any Motorola cable box that has DVI instead of HDMI can not perform the 1 TB upgrade.

Anyways, here's what it looks like when you hit the Menu button on the DCH3416 (if anybody with a 6412 or 6416 sees the same thing, please chime in)

My DCT6412III has HDMI (no DVI).

Here is a link to reference info on Motorola cable boxes: http://www.motorola.com/Video-Soluti...ital-Set-Tops/

This spec sheet here gives impression that the only difference between DCT6416III and DCT6412III is the 120GB versus 160GB harddisk (look at the second page).



When I press Menu button (on either the remote or the set top box itself) I get this:





....so I assume the difference in GUI appearance must be due to varying firmware versions (likely affected by cable provider customizations, as seen on the picture above).
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post #258 of 438 Old 06-03-2011, 05:19 PM
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This is unrelated question but someone on this thread can know the answer:

The COX branded remote control which came with the DCT6412III DVR box has only Power Toggle IR command assigned to the physical "POWER" button. Does anybody know if this Motorola box supports discrete Power On and Power Off IR commands? This is needed if you run macros on a universal remote.
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post #259 of 438 Old 06-03-2011, 05:25 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hoglard View Post

My DCT6412III has HDMI (no DVI).

Thanks for the info!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Hoglard View Post

When I press Menu button (on either the remote or the set top box itself) I get this

Wow! Your menu looks nothing like mine. I didn't realize there could be so much variance among providers. Good to know.
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post #260 of 438 Old 06-03-2011, 05:30 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hoglard View Post

This is unrelated question but someone on this thread can know the answer:

The COX branded remote control which came with the DCT6412III DVR box has only Power Toggle IR command assigned to the physical "POWER" button. Does anybody know if this Motorola box supports discrete Power On and Power Off IR commands? This is needed if you run macros on a universal remote.

I don't know. I leave mine on 24/7 and have read that there is not much power savings to be had by putting the cable box into standby mode. (I've read that the 3416 and the DCX 3400 in particular dras no less power when in standby. But I think the 641x is better.
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post #261 of 438 Old 06-03-2011, 06:26 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TNO821 View Post

I don't know. I leave mine on 24/7 and have read that there is not much power savings to be had by putting the cable box into standby mode. (I've read that the 3416 and the DCX 3400 in particular dras no less power when in standby. But I think the 641x is better.

I leave mine on too. And so the macro on the universal remote does not send out power toggle command.

But that macro unfortunately has no means to realize that somebody physically pressed the power button last night. So the next time that someone wants to watch TV and presses the "Watch Cable TV" macro button and then complains the universal remote does not work :-( ...I hope you caught my drift...

It would also be desirable to power down the DVR box as it is my understanding the hard disk does not buffer signal from the two tuners for time-shifting purposes. Therefore no head movement, less hard disk wear, and little bit less power consumption should result...
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post #262 of 438 Old 06-07-2011, 09:51 PM
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For anybody whose cable box refuses to record past 160 GB, there's information in this thread. It seems like the problem can only be corrected by your cable company, probably through a guide update (rather than a firmware update).
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post #263 of 438 Old 06-08-2011, 09:36 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TNO821 View Post

For anybody whose cable box refuses to record past 160 GB, there's information in this thread. It seems like the problem can only be corrected by your cable company, probably through a guide update (rather than a firmware update).

Thanks for letting us know about this thread. I am with Cox, so it affects me too.

I went ahead and purchased WD10EVDS. I just need some time to image it, swap it with my WD15EARS and fill it up with recordings again. I should report back before the end of the week. We will see how it works with my old Cox firmware/software (we already established that WD10EVDS works).
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post #264 of 438 Old 06-08-2011, 10:29 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hoglard View Post

Thanks for letting us know about this thread. I am with Cox, so it affects me too.

I went ahead and purchased WD10EVDS. I just need some time to image it, swap it with my WD15EARS and fill it up with recordings again. I should report back before the end of the week. We will see how it works with my old Cox firmware/software (we already established that WD10EVDS works).

FYI, my brother also applied the 1TB image on a WD15EARS drive and it seems to be working for him so far (his provider is Shaw Cable). I told him to try recording more than 40 hours HD content or 20% of the drive, he confirmed that all is working as expected and he is enjoying many times increased capacity on his PVR. So the ~160G drive usage limitation may be imposed by Cox cable. Hoglard, let us know if Cox lifts this limitation with a software update.
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post #265 of 438 Old 06-09-2011, 08:48 PM
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I've been away from the forum quite a while (busy, travelling etc.) and I just returned for the unfortunate fact that my AV receiver just broke down but what a nice surprise here! To quote TNO821: This. Is. AWESOME!!!!!!! You, guys, rock!

I'm so sorry I missed the moment it happened (thank you DCTneo for providing the much sought after image!) but man, I'm so glad it finally proved TNO821's hunch about eSATA formatting was correct!

Now I guess I just have to buy a 1TB drive & try it myself, although having to watch HD programming on an old 29" CRT TV instead of the big projector screen + surround sound while my receiver is out of service is no fun

Anyway, I will try to provide some answers to some of the questions I saw while I read the last few pages of this thread.

First the Advanced Format disks topic. The worst that can happen performance-wise when you use an AF disk with any kind of read/write operation that is not aligned to the 4k sectors on the AF disk is that a read-modify-write operation will actually be used instead of just a write operation (read operations are not a problem since 2 consecutive sectors are read into the buffer in one single go). This will *significantly* slow down the write operation as the disk has to complete an extra rotation at least.

However I don't think that would affect the DCT performance. If you are interested by the real-life impact the non-aligned writes may have: I tested 2 x 2GB F4 Samsungs on an old Pentium 4 running Linux and the best write throughput I managed to get (using 4kB-aligned write operations at the very beginning of the disks) was around 135 MB/s. The *worst* write throughput I managed to get (using non-aligned writes towards the end of the discs) was 22.3 MB/s. Now I did not actually do the math for the CATV HD bitrates (plus that mixing read and write operations would probably degrade the throughput even more) but I reckon 22 MB/s should be sufficient for recording 2 HD streams while also playing a 3rd HD stream (the most intensive thing I think you could ask a Motorola HD box to do in terms of HDD throughput). So I reckon you should be fine in terms of performance if you use Advanced Format disks (BTW, the Samsungs I tested are 5400rpm disks).

I also believe wear & tear is not an issue for drive longevity as any misaligned sectors are read or written in sequence anyway (the heads don't need to move more, just the discs may have to spin more, but they spin anyway all the time in a DCT so no extra harm inflicted here either). I can't see any increase in noise either since no extra head movement is required.

Capacity should not be an issue as long as your disk has at least the same number of 512-byte sectors (real or "emulated") as the image you're trying to write on it, but I'm not so sure about the geometry thingy - the disk may or may not work in a Motorola box after imaging is complete, depending on how the STB accesses it. Bad blocks remapping can indeed eat into the number of available sectors so that may be a real problem if you end up with too few available sectors.

Right, that was all about Advanced Format disks.

Regarding the electrical power used by a Motorola DCT box. This, from my own point of view really sucks I live in this country where 1 kWh of electricity costs just a tad more than 40 USD cents (!). I'm living alone and not using anything too power-hungry except the water heater for the washing machine and I still end up having to pay around 150 USD each month just for electricity! Now you can imagine I am looking for ways to turn greener and greener and cut down the cost of electricity. My first "suspect" was the DCT box, which stays really hot even while in "standby". So this weekend I used a P3 Kill a Watt to measure how much electricity the DCT3412 uses. Bad news - it uses around 32 W regardless of whether you're watching TV, recording anything or even putting it in standby! Exact figures are hard to get (the consumption is not fixed, it "wobbles" around certain values) but I'd say it uses around 31 W in standby, 32 W while watching TV and 33 W while recording (all of them with a Power Factor of 0.55 for anybody who's really into this kind of stuff ). So no, no power to be saved in standby. In fact I think this makes these deviced *illegal* in the state of California (at least). A real bummer if you ask me, as I have to pay the power company around 10 USD each month just for the Motorola box alone. I would have loved to have a real power-off button to turn it off for good when not in use (no way I can access the power cable behind the furniture for this), even if that meant having to wait for the program guide data to load again after each power on. But that's life.

Now, last thing - a small request. DCTneo, could you please also include things like drive rpm, cache size, geometry & capacity info in the post where you listed the drives that are proven to work? I reckon that would make life much easier for those who are looking to buy a "compatible" drive and are worried about different "batches" of the same manufacturer & model.


Great many thanks again to TNO821 for putting so much dedication into this and to DCTneo for the image! It feels so good - more space for everybodyyyyyy!!!!

Cheers!
Dan
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post #266 of 438 Old 06-09-2011, 10:36 PM
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Done. List of confirmed-to-work drives (including specs) updated as requested by dan74:

http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showp...&postcount=213
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post #267 of 438 Old 06-10-2011, 05:21 AM
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Just some more info about my drive/machine

WD10EALX drive
Comcast Detroit, S/W Ver 7853-A28po-4.1005.r-8
Platform 18.77
015.HA_C 18.77
TVGUIDE 78.53
SCVASTB 6.21
MACGINT 34.45

Kevin
----------
Motor City Custom Audio
Bringing you Custom subwoofer kits, with flames if you want
Onix and Melody Valve Hi Fi Audio Dealer serving the Midwest and Canada
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post #268 of 438 Old 06-15-2011, 10:55 AM
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Hello to all. After two weeks of testing I can confirm of another successful hard drive upgrade, with a brand new WD10EVDS. My drive is now 60% full, with a lot of HD and SD recordings. I have a DCT3416, firmware version 16.74, and my cable company is Cablevision in Mexico City (the largest cable operator in Mexico). Thanks to all that made this possible, especially to DCTneo and TN0821 for the excelent tutorial.
Greetings from Mexico.
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post #269 of 438 Old 06-15-2011, 01:41 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dan74 View Post

I've been away from the forum quite a while (busy, travelling etc.) and I just returned for the unfortunate fact that my AV receiver just broke down but what a nice surprise here! To quote TNO821: This. Is. AWESOME!!!!!!! You, guys, rock!

Hey ya, Dan! Good to see you (er, I mean read you)

Quote:
Originally Posted by dan74 View Post

First the Advanced Format disks topic
...

Very good to know! Thanks for posting. I never thought that the reduced performance would be anywhere near enough to prevent the recording of 2 HD streams while playing back a 3rd, but I assumed that there would be extra wear-and-tear on the drive. It's good to know that there really isn't.

Quote:
Originally Posted by dan74 View Post

Regarding the electrical power used by a Motorola DCT box. This, from my own point of view really sucks

Yeah, that's what others have found about all of the Motorola STB's in the 341x range and newer. I'm 99% sure that I have read a post claiming the 641x STB's consume a lot less power when in standby, but I might be misremembering that.

Anyways, welcome back! And I hope your AVR woes get resolved quickly.
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post #270 of 438 Old 06-15-2011, 03:58 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by whetstone1 View Post

I'm not liking the sound of that.

I wonder if you could double that (yeah, I know, 320GB is still not really exciting) by putting the original drive onto IDE1 and running them both. I suppose, though, that if it was as simple as all that, someone would have already done it a couple years ago. (Of course, it would have required *two* Moto-formatted drives, which weren't exactly easy to come by or to produce.)

IDE1 is only enabled if the cable company allows the use of external drives. I'm not aware of any cable company in the USA that allows external drives on Motorola DVR's.

For anybody that is with a cable company that does allow external drives, you should be able to get your DVR to format the external drive for you (and it could be up to 1 TB in size). However, I suppose if the firmware or guide software were old, it might not be able to format up to 1 TB in size...it could maybe be limited to 160 GB. But that would get you up to 320 GB (the 160 GB internal drive plus the 160 GB external drive).
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