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Building a Troubleshooting Checklist

post #1 of 113
Thread Starter 
Okay, here's the challenge:

Your friend calls you to say their new ReplayTV just showed up, and they're having problems (yes, I know, that could mean anything). What do you tell them to do?

We get so many messages here, it would be great to be able to have a master troubleshooting checklist generated by the community to work with.

So, what questions do you ask? What steps do you give them to try?
post #2 of 113
And JT, maybe we could send the finished product to India
post #3 of 113
GREAT IDEA!!! Can you make it "sticky" when it's done? (ditto the India stuff )
post #4 of 113
Love the idea!!! It's all been documented here, but it would be great to consolidate it!

This would be great if you could create a little 4-d database for the FAQ where the user can type in a keyword and get options.

Where to start?

S-Video input isn't working:
Are you using input 2?
Does composite work?

Cables can often be the problem, try taking a known working cable off another piece of equipment.



Remote control isn't working:
1) Always get fresh batteries, this is more often than not the problem. Even if you think the batteries are good, and you don't have a tester, try another set of batteries.


Video signal problems:

Bad image quality on coax input
The tuner on the 5k isn't that great any loss of signal strength can cause problems. The best option is to have the cleanest, strongest signal possible.
1) Is the line split? Try connecting the line from the wall directly to the replay without using splitters.
2) Splitters cut the signal down the best thing to do is make sure you have a line with the least about of signal loss. Here's a good reference:
http://www.swhowto.com/VideoLoss.htm
3) Amplifiers do wonders, get one that will work with your setup.

Splitters and Amps need to work with the system you are on:
Digital Cable and Cable modem users need bi-directional with a range of 5MHz-900MHz or greater.
Analog Cable folks just need the 50-900MHz


My TV has no problem displaying channels I can't display on my ReplayTV.
- TVs are made with very wide tolorances to the NTSC spec. The TVs have a lot of hardware dedicated to dealing with these variations. The replayTV isn't as robust when dealing with slightly out of spec signals. The best option is to clean up the souce as much as possible.



No channel 6 on a 5k box:
The replay RF tuner is still pretty poor. (Personally I'm not convinced there isn't a hardware problem, but...)
- See above for maximizing the signal strength and minimizing the splits.
- Channel 6 is very close to the freqency is between 83-85MHz very close to FM bands. A FM trap may be a good option to try.

Edit Addition:
If you have a problem with channel 6 and rebooting your 5k box doesn't help try this:
Disconnect the cableTV coax cable.
Restart your replayTV
When you get the "No Signal Detected" blue screen reconnect your cableTV coax to the RF Input.

The replayTV configures the tuning based off what it "thinks" is good tunign. A lot of times channel 6 has issues when it's booting. This sometimes is fixed if the tuning is done after the unit has completely started up.



Closed captions Problems:

Closed Captions are garbage or aren't recorded by the replayTV.
- See the previous signal strength comments. Closed captioning comes in as data on line 21 (out of visible image) but there is only 2 bytes of data for every NTSC field (2 fields make a complete picture). So a bad source singal will very easily lead to problems for the replay in recording the CC data.

Closed Captions disappear when playing back recorded shows
- This is a known problem, at the moment the only fix is to reset the replay. Reset the replay by pressing the power button for 10 seconds.


We can go on forever.....
post #5 of 113
A few more...
Video is stuttering on playback or while watching live.
This is generally a problem caused by a bad disk or heat. Heat isn't a problem on replayTVs with fans, 4k, 4.5k and 5k models. If it is a disk problem and the unit in under warrenty talk to tech support.

Video is stuttering on playback from remote replayTV
Oh, man too many to go into. Make sure the LAN is optimized, I've only used a wired switched LAN. I've had no problems.

Switches are important, better than hubs. Switches streamline the transfer.

If you are using a wireless LAN configuration, try running wires as a test to see if the problem is the replayTV or the LAN.

ReplayTV can't see other ReplayTVs on the LAN:
Problems are generally fixed with a reboot (how power button on unit for 10 seconds). Reboot all machines on your LAN, sometimes you'll need to reboot the routers, switches and hubs. It doesn't hurt to reboot everything before calling Tech Support.
post #6 of 113
Add 'use DHCP for best results' (still seems to work better, I believe) to the network section....

Great idea to have this at the top. No one ("") reads the 'big FAQ' or the manual, but this concise advice they might.

(And then we can concentrate on weighty issues like what the heck is in the releases...)
post #7 of 113
Thread Starter 
stuck... keep 'em coming...
post #8 of 113
My ReplayTV tries to dial, but after a little while on the "Connecting" screen, it times-out and says it'll try again later.
Could be caused by bad lines in your area, or pairgain. Try pressing "Zones" on the Prefix screen and manually setting the modem speed lower one step at a time. Try to disconnect power in between each attempt to reset the modem.
post #9 of 113
When switching between "Modem" and "Network" in the Setup area, 243-Zones Net Connect still tries the original setting.
Disconnect power from the ReplayTV and reset.

The blue light is causing my kids to go blind.
Buy them sunglasses.
post #10 of 113
My suggestion:

List the system as links (5000 series, 4000 series, 3000 series, 2000 series).

Then put in two ways to get a list of issues. One would list every single issue and the user could just scan the list. From there it would give the text summary of the issue and possible resolutions.

The other would be to categorize the list of issues into some sort of tree but many issues could span multiple problem branches.
post #11 of 113
Thread Starter 
Okay, here's a frequent one to address:

What do you say to someone whose machine stops on "Please Wait"? Before you recommend an RMA, that is
post #12 of 113
Factory reset? Or, you can't get past it anyway anyhow, you mean?
post #13 of 113
Thread Starter 
Let's say it just stuck at "Please Wait".

Try booting with cables unplugged?
Re-image drive?
RMA?

Anything in between that I'm missing? Mine work right, so I haven't gone through this
post #14 of 113
Please wait is a tough one...

Generally a problem with the disk, either bad file, bad sector or bad software from an upgrade. The solutions, there are not many. Generally you have no control at this point, the system won't get far enough in the boot process for user input...

First this is the best way to "reset" the replay.
1) unplug the replay power from the jack.
2) unplug all connections from the replay
3) press power button a couple of times.

Steps 2 and 3 are very important, electricity coming in over the coax, RCA or ethernet connections can be enough to keep parts of the replay "live" you can't get a true reset until all juice is gone. Pressing the power button helps to ensure the stored energy in the caps and such is discharged.

After that these questions are important:
Is the replay in reboot loop? On the SS series there was a problem where the system partition was having files corrupted. The only solution was to reimage the drive. This could very easily be the cause on the other replayTVs too.

If the replayTV is still covered by DNNA and you haven't opened it up and upgraded the drive. RMA might be the best option, sucks for DNNA, but if the unit is a refurb it might be the best option. There could be more problems further down the road. Sucks cuz it costs the DNNA money...

If you opened the replay, it's not under warranty or you've upgraded the drive....
Open it up, take the disk out, run maxtor's diagnostic software PowerMax
PowerMax Tools Download Page
Check for errors, Maxtor drives generally have a 3 year warranty, use it if you need to!

If no errors were reported in diagnostic scan LLF (low level format) is a good option. Disk problems LLF is always a good idea, LLF maps out bad sectors on the disk. Bad sectors can cause all sorts of problems on PVRs because PVRs don't generally write verify (with good reason). It's assumed the write worked without problems. On system files this could be fatal.

Reimage the drive with the images available online and with RTV_Patch
ReplayTV OS Images

RTV_Patch Link
post #15 of 113
Replay shows Welcome page with three choices, Press Guide, ReplayGuide or Menu. But replay doesn't respond to choices.

If the replay has a problem establishing a network connection this will happen. The machine can appear hung for a LONG time. I've waited 40 minutes while trouble shooting the problem. Turned out the switch had a bad port. Whenever you have any network problems try swapping cables, swapping ports on switches/routers. And once again... reboot every piece of equipment in the chain.
post #16 of 113
Great idea. Here are some real life ones from a guy who just bought a 5 series refurb from the sblu estore. I'm using comcast digital through a motorola dct2224 box. Ethernet connection to net through router to dsl connection. The cable box is set for channel 3, replay out to channel 4. I also connected the rca aux outs of the cable box directly to the tv for an alternate source when replay is funky. For Replay simplicity the only connections to replay are catv from the box to the replay to the tv. I'll start with the most consistent problem:

The remote -- it is very sporadic and slow. It requires multiple presses, and since you don't know if each input took or not, sometimes it advances further than you intended. I noticed after a reboot it sometimes seems to operate fine during the setup phase. Thereafter it always bogs down. Oddly, so does the remote for my cable box. In checking the info page for the box I notice it's set to IR blaster -- no. I don't know if this is the correct setting for the box, but I can't change it. I've replaced batteries with fresh ones for the remote. I've covered the settop box's ir sensor with opaque material. Seems to be no difference in replay remote performance.

Channel Guide: When I first set up the unit, it received the channel guide. However it is gone now, it just lists the channels with no info. I can usually go to those channels, however. I've tried to retrieve the channel guide again by resetting the connection and re-requesting a dhcp address from the router. No channel guide. I don't know if this is related, buy I can't do anything at myreplaytv.com either after two days -- maybe they don't recognize me either?

Channel changing takes at least five seconds. I can deal with that, but I don't know if it's normal.

On the plus side, yesterday I managed to record something. The pause and slomo functions seem to work.

I've rebooted many times, soft and hard. All symptoms remain.

I'm out of ideas short of getting an RMA
post #17 of 113
to update: Now I have the channel guide, thanks to the 243 zone command, which I haven't found in the manual, so maybe that should be in a troubleshooting guide?

I'll move to another topic with the next questions.
post #18 of 113
How about this senario.

(I am experiencing this one right now and have not had much time to troubleshoot it yet)

With replay plugged in blue light automatically comes on. No display, just passing through cable signal. Can not turn the blue light off by pressing power or bring up any displays.

Have tried soft reboot. Blue light comes back on, same thing. No please wait screen.

Have tried hard reboot. Blue light comes back on, same thing. No please wait screen.

I guess the next step is Reimage drive????

After that RMA ????
post #19 of 113
Additions/comments to Jeff's list

Quote:


Originally posted by Jeff D
Love the idea!!! It's all been documented here, but it would be great to consolidate it!

S-Video input isn't working:
Are you using input 2? Have you selected S-Vid for input 2 in Setup?
Does composite work?

Cables can often be the problem, try taking a known working cable off another piece of equipment.


Remote control isn't working:
1) Always get fresh batteries, this is more often than not the problem. Even if you think the batteries are good, and you don't have a tester, try another set of batteries.
2) make sure there isn't another remote inadvertently activated and sending an interfering signal. If it's a remote for an older Replay, make sure that the Replay device is selected

post #20 of 113
Quote:


Originally posted by sickboy007
How about this senario.

(I am experiencing this one right now and have not had much time to troubleshoot it yet)

With replay plugged in blue light automatically comes on. No display, just passing through cable signal. Can not turn the blue light off by pressing power or bring up any displays.

Have tried soft reboot. Blue light comes back on, same thing. No please wait screen.

Have tried hard reboot. Blue light comes back on, same thing. No please wait screen.

I guess the next step is Reimage drive????

After that RMA ????

Takes more than a minute on booting 5k with cable, THIS SHOULD BE DOCUMENTED here. My first experience with the 5k and cable and I had the same question:
http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showt...hreadid=283196

More than 2 minutes and I'd guess there is a problem, this is a SLOW boot with pass-thru until the replay official boots up to the "welcome" or "please wait", can't remember which.
post #21 of 113
Quote:


Originally posted by sickboy007
How about this senario.

(I am experiencing this one right now and have not had much time to troubleshoot it yet)

With replay plugged in blue light automatically comes on. No display, just passing through cable signal. Can not turn the blue light off by pressing power or bring up any displays.

Have tried soft reboot. Blue light comes back on, same thing. No please wait screen.

Have tried hard reboot. Blue light comes back on, same thing. No please wait screen.

I guess the next step is Reimage drive????

After that RMA ????

Yes, like Jeff said, it takes a while to boot up with the cable pass through. Try viewing the s-video or composite video output. You should be able to view the boot up progress (if any).
post #22 of 113
I appreciate the responses.

Thanks for the tip on the delay using the coax out. I did not know that. My other unit uses the s-vid and I do see an instant response.

However, I did allow the unit more than a couple of minutes to reboot, and never did see a please wait screen.

I went ahead and reimaged the drive w/72 , and it still took me a few tries to get it to connect to the server. ( I even had to reboot to try a phone line and then went back to ethernet with a new cable before it finally worked).

Anyways I am back up and running and I have updated to 110.
I am still concerned with what could cause this problem. I only have a couple more weeks of warranty on this one. (a refurb)

While my unit is open does the operator of the new FTP site need a copy of 110 image? Where should I send it?

As far as the troubleshooting guide, are you planning on adding a section for multiple units (ie. not seeing other guides or being able to record on second machine), or for IVS configuration. The later could be more of a configuration guide than a trouble shooting guide.
post #23 of 113
Quote:


Originally posted by sickboy007


I went ahead and reimaged the drive w/72 , and it still took me a few tries to get it to connect to the server. ( I even had to reboot to try a phone line and then went back to ethernet with a new cable before it finally worked).

Anyways I am back up and running and I have updated to 110.
I am still concerned with what could cause this problem. I only have a couple more weeks of warranty on this one. (a refurb)

While my unit is open does the operator of the new FTP site need a copy of 110 image? Where should I send it?

As far as the troubleshooting guide, are you planning on adding a section for multiple units (ie. not seeing other guides or being able to record on second machine), or for IVS configuration. The later could be more of a configuration guide than a trouble shooting guide.

I think you voided you chance at an RMA by opening the unit up. If you didn't now the replay servers have all the information on your unit, yes everything is tracked. Shows, Drives, drive space, software versions. It's pretty easy for them to tell what you've done to the unit.

IVS I've already started to touch on, no? hmmm maybe I didn't bother yet.
post #24 of 113
I had a moment while setting up a refrub replacement tonight...

What I see out the video 1 output and coax output during a reboot of the replay.

Both displays are from the same replayTV.

The lower display is toshiba portable DVD player fed from the 5040's video 1 output. Upper display is 1983 Sony TV fed from the 5040's coax output.
LL
LL
post #25 of 113
Was there any sound?
post #26 of 113
My hinky remote is now working normally after 243 zoning again and receiving the updated software from Replay. The only other thing I did differently was assign replay the channel 3, which is also the output of my cable box. For some reason I thought they should be on different channels. In any case, the semi functional remote is now a fully functional remote after the software update. I was just lucky that Replay did a software update at this time since I don't know how to reinstall an existing version of software. Hope this helps someone.
post #27 of 113
Is there a troubleshooting in the manual. I haven't looked in a long time.


Problem: No signal from the Compenent out.

You must use a different output and setup the component in the menu first.
post #28 of 113
Quote:


Originally posted by jleavens
Okay, here's a frequent one to address:

What do you say to someone whose machine stops on "Please Wait"? Before you recommend an RMA, that is

Do this at least once:
unplug it for an exaggerated amount of time. From evening to morning or from evening til after work is good; you won't be using it anyway. I've seen a faint but distinguished pattern of this sometimes solving the problem.

Do this at least once:
After booting it up give it an exaggerated amount of time to figure itself out 20 min is probably fine, about the same amount of time it takes to shower and remember it's out there trying to boot.
post #29 of 113
cow, remember 'unplug' always has to mean 'unplug *everything*'. Important, since for the average user who has a stuck PC or the like, they just pull the power (not the keyboard, mouse, and speakers... ).
post #30 of 113
My replay is saying my PCB serial number is missing

This is NORMAL
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