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RNG200 external HD worked, then stopped

post #1 of 11
Thread Starter 
I added an external eSATA drive to my Comcast RNG200 (SARA about 5 weeks ago, following directions here and elsewhere. Everything went as expected. It saw the new drive and asked me to confirm I wanted to format it. I did and then the next time the box was turned on, the extra storage was seen. I recorded several shows in a row on it (because it had so much free space, compared to the internal HD). It worked perfectly.

We had a power failure and I had not yet connected the DVR and external drive to a UPS . :-( Ever since then, the RNG200 will not see the external drive, no matter what I do to it.

I have been following the detailed instructions for the SA 8300SDC for how to get the box to see the hard drive again. Most of the steps listed work, but not all of them. (For example, Vol+ & Vol- and Info does nothing on the RNG200. No reboot, nothing.)

I have done the hard reboot (holding down power button while plugging in the power cord. That clearly forces infor to be loaded again through the cable. It takes several minutes to complete. But it does not see the external HD.

I connected the eSATA drive to my computer and it saw it as unformatted. (Not initialized is what it said.) I formatted it on the PC, thinking that this might prompt the RNG200 to format it again for its system, but it does not ask to do that.

I swapped out the RNG200 box with Comcast, hoping that a new box would see the HD and ask to format it. Nope.

Any other suggestions on what to try?

FWIW, Comcast support on the phone says that the RNG200 does not support an external drive like this. Ha, ha, ha. It worked for me for several weeks.

post #2 of 11
Thread Starter 

I played around with the external HD tonight and the fan on the Antec enclosure started making weird noises. The enclosure is not that old. I swapped the HD out of the enclosure and into another one I had around the house here and tried it again with the DVR. This time it seems to work. So I guess the enclosure went bad with the power outage.l I have a UPS on it and the DVR now so that should not happen again.

I hope this helps someone else with a similar problem in the future.
post #3 of 11
I just swapped my SA 8300 in for the RNG200 and am surprised at how little record time is available. I don't understand it since the hard drive is supposedly twice the size and I'm recording the same HD programming on it as with the SA 8300. Is there something in setup that tells the RNG200 to record in SD vs HD mode?

Is your external drive still working for you? Which hard drive did you purchase?

post #4 of 11
PVR's record what the receive. Analog or SD digital takes about 2GB per hour and HD digital takes about 8GB per hour.
post #5 of 11
I'm also interested in what hard drive and enclosure you purchased.
post #6 of 11
What possible explanations are there for why the older recorder could record much more than the newer model? Nothing has changed except the DVR. Same cable input with same HD programming. I don't get it??
post #7 of 11
A quick search on Bing found some links that may help you:

post #8 of 11

Just to be sure, any instructions for the SA 8300 apply equally to the RNG200?
post #9 of 11
I used an Antec eSATA external enclosure with a Western Digital 750HD hard drive and it works flawless in the Houston Comcast area. I have around ~100 hours of HD recording space. I posted all the specs to the community database and even posted a small video on YouTube as "proof" that it works (just search YouTube for "comcast rng200 esata")
post #10 of 11
Comcast in my area uses the Scientific Atlantic RNG200 under the Cisco label for its HD DVR cablebox. As many of you know, Comcast has little or no information (or live help) on how to connect an external hard drive to the e-SATA port on the RNG200. Or, what drives are recommended.

The AVS forum was helpful in pointing me in the right direction. Here is what I used and was able to achieve success in expanding the 160GB internal hard drive that is in the RNG200.

I purchased a Western Digital DVR Expander called "My Book AV" and it connected up easily and works perfectly thus far. It only comes in the 1TB size and the RNG200 recognized it and offered to format it. However, this offer to format takes about 30 seconds or more to appear on the screen. The format literally takes only a few seconds to perform and no notification is provided on screen. I checked the recording usage and it went down to 9 percent. WD's specs for the My Book AV DVR Expander doesn't list the RNG200 on the package or on its web site as tested for compatibility. It does list the SA 8300 HD on its web site. So I had a good chance it would work with the RNG200. I previously tried a e-SATA drive and it offered to format, but never stated that it recognized the drive like it did with My Book AV DVR Expander.

In regards to connection, I powered down the RNG200 and connected the DVR Expander (and turned the external hard dive on). I then powered up the RNG200 and got some interesting screens from Scientific Atlantic. I tried the menu button and then the info button on the RNG200. Either intentionally or by coincidence, the format screen appeared after I touched the info button and I simply followed the directions from there. About 30 seconds or more elapsed by the time the format screen, which may be the issue rather than any buttons I pressed.

Much thanks to members of the forum for getting me pointed in the right direction. The specs state I can record up to 120 hours of HD programs, Nice!
post #11 of 11
I bought a Western Digital 1 TB etxernal HD

Hooked up out of the box to unit on the eSATA port
Asked if it wished me to format; YUP! Wait a few! In a few minutes my recording 'space' went from 80% used to 10%
I have NO IDEA whether or not it records to the new 1 TB unit first or fills up the 160 GB drive but I have a LOT of space for NOT a lot of $ invested
NOW I must experiment with extracting recorded stuff using the firewire port
to my PC to record in sformat T.B.D. for blu ray
That link fround here on the avsforum.
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