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When do you give up on a hard drive?

post #1 of 9
Thread Starter 
The WD 120gb upgrade hard drive in my 5504 finally went after 8 years. Yesterday, the unit reset and was stuck in the dreaded please wait loop. For many months, I ignored stuttering and needed restarts because it always came back and worked like a champ. Even the one-time loss of all recordings from the replay guide didn't phase us. After all these years of faithful service, I figured it was just a matter of time and there was likely nothing I could do about it but be there at the end.

After a short but heartfelt moment of silence, I popped in the original 40gb drive and all worked fine. So the MB, fan and PS must be fine, right?. I went to my hard drive reserve and pulled out a Seagate 160gb 7200.7 model that should be compatible (fingers-crossed). But before I formatted, re-imaged and patched that drive, I had a thought. Why not hook up the failed 120gb drive instead and see if I can run a diagnostic? I mean a failed hard drive shouldn't work with my PC, right?

Using my IDE to USB adapter (best $10 I spent after getting a SATA-only PC), I ran both the quick and extended WD diagnostics on the WD drive and everything passed. So I patched the drive hoping to save shows and placed it back in the 5504. No change - still please wait.

So I decided to re-image and patch the WD drive using the image from the original 40gb drive. After that, I popped it back and IT WORKED. Back from the grave, I was able to setup all my inputs and settings, and enjoy live tv on my old friend last night.

However, this morning brought bad news - the dreaded please wait loop was back. A few restart attempts after disconnecting/reconnecting the drive, tightening screws, and checking connections made no difference.

What is a ReplayTV hobbyist to do? Is it possible to revive a HD that your ReplayTV has rejected? Was I dreaming last night when it worked? Should I try more steps like a low-level format, other diagnostic software, or another image?

Or is it over? ... please be gentle.
post #2 of 9
Try using RTVPatch to Backup Source Drive. It is likely that you will see errors doing this backup. That should tell you that the drive is bad. It is quite common to see these kinds of problems, and reimaging or reformatting forces the drive to remap the bad sectors, but they will still come back. And, by the way, re-patching won't normally correct any problem with the drive, unless you let Windows manage the drive, which will render it unbootable by the ReplayTV.

You are kidding yourself trying to get more life out of this drive. Unless you simply don't care whether it continues to operate or that you'll be able to play back any of the recorded shows, you should simply replace it. You can either use your original drive, or look for a 160GB DB35 or SV35 drive, they're the easiest, most compatible drives to find. IDE DB35 drives end with ACE, and SV35 drives end with AV, so that's what you should look for.
post #3 of 9
Thread Starter 
Thanks for the advice. I was able to backup source drive and create an image file without getting any errors messages. However, that image must be corrupt as it did not work on a replacement drive. Oh well, it was worth a try just to see how far I could get. It was frustrating to see the old drive work again and then fail. So thanks for sharing your experience so at least what I saw was not unusual.

I have installed a spare Seagate Barracuda 160gb 7200.7 using an image downloaded from replaytvupgrade.com. All seems to be working well so far. Hope I get some solid time out of it. I will keep a lookout for those other drive models you mentioned for a later replacement if needed. That's if my DW doesn't force me to switch to the cable DVR at that time wink.gif
post #4 of 9
It's just as well that you used a fresh image. The only point of using your existing image would have been that it would have still had your RTV configuration and your recording schedules. But, when things aren't working, then you really need to use a fresh image, so you've definitely done it the right way now.
post #5 of 9
Thread Starter 
I had hoped to minimize the setup time, but the fresh image is working so I can't complain.
post #6 of 9
Thread Starter 
UPDATE 4/30/13 - The Seagate 160gb 7200.7 replacement drive seems to have died after 2 months of use. Now to be fair, this hard drive had served as the main drive on a CPU for several years so I was not sure how much life was left in it.

Now I am looking at ordering a replacement drive online like this one http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16822148723-

Before I order the drive, I wanted to see if anyone thought there could be other issues with the unit. I suppose the power supply could be suspect, but I don't have the tools to test it. Is it safe to assume the power supply works if it can power up a spare drive? Or is there a chance that the power supply is contriubitng to early drive failure?
post #7 of 9
Well, it probably would be best if you could check the voltage going to the hard drive, but if the RTV is working OK and you're only having hard drive problems, it's likely the hard drive.

That Seagate DB35 ACE drive looks fine. Although, it's only 120GB and a 160GB should be just as easy to find. You might even be able to find a new 160GB drive rather than a used or refurbished one. But, sticking with a DB35 ACE drive is the way to go!
post #8 of 9
Thread Starter 
Thanks for the quick reply. Everything else was working fine before it rebooted and got stuck at please wait screen. I will test the unit again with my spare 40gb drive just in case. Two months ago I tightened screws and inspected the power supply cable to motherboard which did not appear to have any burn marks. I could see about borrowing a volt meter from a neighbor. Do you know which wire to test and what the voltage should be on the hard drive cable?

Thanks for the suggestion on the 160gb - found a refurb at newegg for the same price - $14. Can't seem to find any new ones though - most are refurbed or system pulls that still run. Any recommendations on where to look for new ones?

Slightly off topic, I have another unit with power supply issues and that one seems to be erratic (won't always boot, tuner goes out, etc.). The spare hard drive would not work in that one.
post #9 of 9
Quote:
Originally Posted by thefish View Post

Thanks for the quick reply. Everything else was working fine before it rebooted and got stuck at please wait screen. I will test the unit again with my spare 40gb drive just in case. Two months ago I tightened screws and inspected the power supply cable to motherboard which did not appear to have any burn marks. I could see about borrowing a volt meter from a neighbor. Do you know which wire to test and what the voltage should be on the hard drive cable?

Red to Black should be 5 volts and Yellow to Black should be 12 volts. You should test it while it's plugged into the hard drive, so you'll have to meter the back of the connector.
Quote:
Thanks for the suggestion on the 160gb - found a refurb at newegg for the same price - $14. Can't seem to find any new ones though - most are refurbed or system pulls that still run. Any recommendations on where to look for new ones?

I just search for ST3160 and see what I can find. Make sure they end with ACE! Sometimes you can find new drives on eBay.
Quote:
Slightly off topic, I have another unit with power supply issues and that one seems to be erratic (won't always boot, tuner goes out, etc.). The spare hard drive would not work in that one.

Instructions on checking the power supply is here. You can often find replacement power supplies on eBay, and there's a recent thread on fixing the RTV power supply here.
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