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Explorer 8000 or 8300 Hard Drive upgrade - Page 4

post #91 of 221
I recieved a notice that on July 13th I would have to erase and re-setup any recorded shows that were in ch. 40 and lower due to a "system upgrade to enhance quality as well as increase storage space". Of course I was wondering what really was going to happen and prepared to loose the recordings I had stored and not watched yet - which I did not! So I followed teh instructions and re-setup my lower channel recordings. I had a 67% full drive before the upgrade, and after the upgrade I had the same. It was only when I recorded a show did I see the results of the increased storage space show up. After a one-hour non-HD show, my storage sapce dropped to 23% !!! I was amazed to say the least. I have over 60 shows HD and non-HD on my drive now and its just barely over 1/2 full! Whatever they did increased my "stock hard drive" storage space tremendously! I have noticed that my non-HD channels are a lil less than sharp and on my non-DVR (straight analog coax) TVs the picture is a lot worse. Bummer, guess I will have to make some time for the friendly Cox repair guy to come out and see what the deal is.

Anyways, I am now running the stock 80g HD and have AMPLE room for what I need to record. Too bad I spent so much money on the external options and then the bigger internal swap too.
post #92 of 221
well the hard drive did not change so I guess they changed the compression used to record. Maybe they went from mpeg2 to mpeg4 that would really increase the amount of hours a hard drive can recoed.

I hope that is true then it's good news.

Gary Pranzo
Media Impact
post #93 of 221
Does you box do multiple "speeds" for recording? When I got my first DVR, at first I was annoyed that it had NO settings for that; but I soon realized that all I really wanted was "no diff. in quality from real time." And that's exactly what it delivered, live and from the drive were identical (and we're talking all the way to the most stunning HD images, like something from DiscHD). So I have to actually watch stuff off the drive in a timely manner. And wait patiently for the passport OS upgrade that enables the SATA port so I can throw 500G into it.
post #94 of 221
Hi Guys,

I have 2 SA8300hd pvrs so day to day recording space is not an issue but I certainly find the idea of archiving my favorite films in HD attractive, more attractive in fact than purchasing one of the new HIRES dvd format players.

I've noticed in your discussions that external SATA hd/drvs are being used.

If I have to go that way I will but for the last 5 yrs I've been using a HTPC which is in the adjacent room of my HT with hdwre connections going through a grommeted hole in the baseboard and a Logitech RF cordless key/mse are the only items that move from room to room.

I already have an SATA 250gig internal drive and have found a US supplier of a 6' SATA 1 to SATA 2 cable.

Has anyone tried using an internal drive and if not are their technical reasons for this or are externals just a preference?

I also have a DVHS player which accepts firewire. Have any of you tried to move any archived material to one of these without dnrezing?

Peter M.
post #95 of 221
Originally Posted by templeofdoom View Post

Any additional details you can provide???

Don't know if anybody already finished this thread but yeah, replacing the drive is easy. Just buy a Maxtor IDE 300GB drive off eBay. To open the box ya need a torx wrench #10 bit. (Sometimes called 'security' bits or 'tamper proof' bits.)
Just go to Canadian Tire and get sku# 25-6272-8 "Tamper-Proof TORX for about $35 CND if you want a full set.

Disconnect and open the box with the #10 torx bit.
To get at the HD is a little tricky but possible with an ordinary phillips screwdriver.
Take out all the screws holding the drive in place. (also with a #10)
Use a razor blade to very gently peel the tamper sticker off the hard drive.
(Don't pull back on it or it'll change color and read 'VOID'.

Pull the old hard drive out like any ordinary computer HD.
Put the new 300gb hard drive in and reconnect everything.
(I left mine loose inside and just stored the screws inside the unit for the future when I want to swap the drives back.)

Start it up.
The box display gives error things and does a bunch of number stuff for awhile so just go do something else for 10 minutes.
Basically just keep checking every few minutes while it goes through the whole booting up process then if it stops, just hit the power button again and it'll reboot.
After a few of times of hitting the power button you get the stupid green message
"your drive is not ready... please wait"
(.... which everybody knows is a crock since you can wait for hours staring at this message and nothing will happen)
Just power off one last time and power up and yer ready to go.

To check the HD space, hold down the 'select' button and wait for the mail light to flash. While still holding it down press the 'info' button and scroll down a couple of pages. The middle column should now read 278GB for a partition size and 272gb of free space. (the rest is probably taken up by the operating system)
post #96 of 221

It would seem that one of the most important aspects of using an SATA hd'drv for extra storage on an SA8300HD is that it is pristene and will not compete with SA's OS.

Reading the following may help.


Peter M
post #97 of 221
While SA may or may not supply an OS, it seems all cable companies put their "own" OSes on these boxes (far as I know, SA only supplies this box to cable companies).

It gets more complicated... there are 2 major OSes (known as SARA or Passport) and a few variants (differing versions). AND the same cable company uses different OSes in different markets. I'm in with probably a million cable customers in Manhattan, NY with an older version of Passport that does NOT allow use of an external SATA drive.

Another example, only the very latest SARA update has 4 times fast... yet the oldest version of passport has had to for quite a while.
post #98 of 221
I am trying to upgrade the internal drive on an Explorer 8300HD. I am using a WD2000 drive as a test (before I go out and spend some $$$ on a 500 GB). I have followed the various recommendations on this thread.

When I plug in the unit, the unit appears to start formatting the drive. The display shows a "r xxx" counting down in hex to 0. Once that finishes, I get a "Proc" message, followed by a "Upgr" message for a few seconds and finally a "Er 54".

At that point, the unit appears hung. The Power button does not work. If I unplug the unit and plug it back in, it goes through the same sequence again.

Has anyone else seen this?


post #99 of 221
FWIW I recall that it took a long time of TiVos being out there before the whole "replace" the internal drive got consistent and repeatable. Since I got my first SA DVR (4-5 years ago) I have not seen near as much interest in "upgrading" the internal drive. My guess was that dealing with it was simply better obscured than what TiVo did years ago.

What IS slowly rolling out is an ability to actually USE the eSATA port on 8300HDs. Some folks have successfully added 750G drives! There are tons of issues and a lot of disparity, but the trend is absolutely clear, at some point this is going to be THE option for increasing storage (yeah, the geek in me would still think about 500G internal with a 500G external, but hey, I'm an American, so I have that constitutional right to be piggy about it).
post #100 of 221
First of all I would like to thank everyone with the wonderfull hint you gave.
I registered in this forum because of this.
I bought a 8300HD yesterday and I replaced my HD today from an 80gb to a 300gb.
Was a little worried a couple of time.. when it was on the Blue Screen for a long time.
And it kept turning itself off..
and I kept turning it back on..
but it went flawlessy..

This got to be a very easy thing to do.. I have left my 80gb hd in the package of the 300gb with the sticker on it that I have not touched at all..

Thank you all


post #101 of 221
First, Many thanks to those you provided the initial information on how to open and change the internal hard disk on a Scientific Atlanta 8300 HD PVR.

I was able to successfully test and replace the internal 160 GB drive with a Maxtor 300 GB (6L300R0). Once this test was successul, I went out and bought the Maxtor 500 GB (6H500R0) and this is the final internal disk in my system.

It is interesting to note that the 300 GB is slightly quieter than the 500 GB. The next task is to change the mounting bracket to reduce the noise created by the disk.

I used my cell phone to create short videos of the upgrade process. If anyone is interested, let me know. Specifically, when you insert a new hard disk and plug in the power, the is the sequence of events that will appear on the display:

- NU -

Er 60
Er 63
Fr 00
Fr 09
h 057
... (this will count upwards and wrap a few times)
h ###
d ###
r ---
d 3d4 (value may change based on disk size)
r 3d4
... (count down)
r 000

Unit power cycles (I powered the unit ON after 1 min)

hdd -
- NU -

Unit power cycles (I powered the unit ON after 1 min)

Then the unit finally started receiving the cable signal and all was normal.

To verify the size, enter diagnostic mode. Press the Select button on the front until the Message icon appears on the front display. Then press the Info button. The first diagnostic screen should appear. Press the Vol- to go backward until you get to the hard disk screens. There are several screens which will provide hard disk information.

Good Luck!
post #102 of 221
Thanks to everyone for the info.

I just installed a Seagate 500 GB IDE drive inside the 8300HD. Got similar results with the HEX # counting down, had to turn off the box twice, but finally got it to work.

I'm having some weird problems. It seems that on scheduled recording, the DVR only saves 16 minutes of the recording. I was only watching another channel today and saw it record the whole 2-hour show, but when I went to play it back, there was only 16 minutes.

I previously had a 300GB external SATA drive connected with no issues, but didn't want an extra piece of equipment hanging off the box - hence the 500 GB upgrade.

Anyone has similar results? Is the 500 GB drive just to big for the 8300 to handle?
post #103 of 221
I had the same problem. I installed the 500 GB internally and strange things started to happen. I my case, the system would never remember the HD settings (480P, 720P, ...) and always powered up in SD mode.

I removed the 500 GB and went back to the 300 GB and have not encountered any problems since. SARA must have some upper limit for the drive.
post #104 of 221
FWIW, I have read speculation that limited RAM in the 8300's may be a factor in it being able to keep particularly large directories (from large drives) in memory. However, I have seen posts from those that have used up to 500G externals drives (making it 160 internal plus 500G external) functionally.

OK it was successfully done in Quebec City, but how about other locations/cable companies?
post #105 of 221
Hey, Riverside_Guy,

The guy in Quebec City only installed a 300 GB drive internally. I have yet to see a post for a successful larger internal drive.

post #106 of 221

At 10gigs pr hr of HD internal drive installation will soon become tedious for a serious archiver.

I purchased a 2 meter SATA1- II cable which passes though a grommeted hole in the baseboard of the HT to my office. I now only use the power front end of the OB box and carved a whole out of the side of an empty Kleenex box to hold the drv (business side up for ventilation)

The 160gig internal is full and I've written down the programs.

Inow have a 250,300,320, and a 750.

I'm hoping that someone can figure out how to marry something liked a timed record, ie 8pm-10pm that might work with an ATI AIW phantom timed record.

Peter M.
post #107 of 221
Originally Posted by thefarmer View Post

Hey, Riverside_Guy,

The guy in Quebec City only installed a 300 GB drive internally. I have yet to see a post for a successful larger internal drive.


Indeed that's an issue; but I'd like to hear about a TWC-NY customer doing this to a 8300HD. There is a VERY big difference in the exact same hardware used by different cable companies functions.
post #108 of 221

Hers a cheap way to test the SATA port.

Install an sata drive into a PC but only send it power. The SA8300hd need an SATAe ended cable the drive needs SATA 1.

Unplug (from the wal)l the SA. Connct the two units making sure the outboard drive is receiving power (PCs on).

Plug the SA bsck into an electrical socket and let it boot back to the time of day on its face. Then hit the on button.

If it works the SA will show you a big screen telling you so and asking if you want to format. Hit the yes button AND WAIT.

When it's finished go to your recoeded programs and hit the B button. If the SA say's yuy've used 12% but have 42 programs recorded your good to go in a more permanent way.

Peter M..
post #109 of 221
Did someone put a 500gb in the 8300HD without problems ?

post #110 of 221
Originally Posted by Memi View Post

Did someone put a 500gb in the 8300HD without problems ?


I was wondering the same, what is the largest internal drive anyone's gotten to work? I don't seem to recall seeing any posts where anyone sucessfully got over 300 gb's internal.

For any Canadians around here, Futureshop ran a deal today 8300hd pvr for $299 plus $100 off your cable bill. You can basically own this PVR if you're in Canada for $200. When I went they were selling out fast, so you'd better hurry.

post #111 of 221
I have a Maxtor 250 & 300 as well as a Seagate 320 & 750.

I have had some hiccups on the 750 which were possibly my fault. I generally go foward 6 days in my Rogers Cable TV guide and setup my records going backwords.

Unfortuneately, I occaisionally start watching a recorded HD program while I've fprgotten that two other programs have sarted recoding. Basically this is a nonno, and will create havoc with the other two records and stammering in the program being watched.

For films I always do a trial record in the standard manner. I then ff it to the beginning and press stop. I then make a note of how many minutes of PROMOs are on the front end. I then go to the end of the film and ff backwords to the credits and again press stop and make a note of the minutes lost on the backend.

When I recod it a second time I do a manual record hoping that I'll get only the film, (or at least very little waist. HD at 10gig perhr is bad enough so any space I can save, particularly if I'm thinking of a long term archive is like money in the bank.

Peter M.
post #112 of 221
I just called Time Warner Cable before buying this external hard drive (Maxtor QCV 300MB) to increase capacity. The tech I talked to said that the port on the back of the Cable Box (8300HD) has been disconnected to prevent external devices from being hooked up. Not sure if that was a BS answer to get me off the phone or not. Has anyone tried this and got it to work?
post #113 of 221
The cable box is a TWC 8300HD and the external drive I want to purchase is a Maxtor QVC 300MB. Will these work together?
post #114 of 221
It would seem that the 8300hd is made by Scientific Atlantic. The I/O ports on this model allow a great deal of flexibility.

The bad news is that these ports ie: SATA, Firewire, cable card and such are under the controle of your cable provider. That said, the general level of training given to customer service people is often not the best.

In Ontario the largest is Rogers. If I remember correctly the fact that our SATA port was live was learned (and announced in these forums) by one of it's customers well before Rogers was oipenly supporting it.

If you decide to experiment remember that the cable has tobe SATA1 to SATAe or 2 at the other end.

If you have an SATA drive but not a separate powered enclosure, you can install it in your PC but only connect the power cable. It's the *#)) that has to recognise and format it.

Good luck,
Peter M.
post #115 of 221
I am a Cablevison Customer in New Jersey. (Cablevison uses SARA). I just purchased a Maxtor 300GB QVX Expander External Hard Drive and attached it via SATA to an SA8300HD. Worked flawlessly and my recording time went from 62% to 22%.
post #116 of 221
There are a few other threads devoted to external drives, I thought this one was for those swapping out the internal one...
post #117 of 221
Hi, I'm in Ottawa and Rogers is my cable provider.
Has anyone successfully installed an internal 500GB drive into their 8300HD?

Did you run into any issues?
Which model of drive are you running?

Thanks in advance,
post #118 of 221
Looks like there hasn't been much activity on this thread for a while but here goes my question anyway:
Are there certain boxes that will only work on certain cable companies?

I got a box from my buddy on the east coast. He was running SARA and my neighbor's box is running SARA. I plugged the box in, it showed the time, then it rebooted, acting like it was updating. It gave the same errors as above when you replace the HD and then started counting backwards in hex. I figured "cool, it's updating." Well after it counts down to 000 it shuts down. I power it on and it says "boot", then just show a black screen on the TV and ---- on the front display panel.

I've tried replacing the HD with a 40 gig I had laying around with the same result. I've checked the diagnostics and it's running sara... I can load up the diagnostic and shut the thing down, then load it up again with no problems, it just wont load the user interface for some reason...

Any suggestions?
post #119 of 221
post #120 of 221
anyone know how to copy files from the explorer 8300 hd pvr I mean the saved showes .
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