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DCT6412 Hard Drive Upgrade? - Page 5

post #121 of 438
I got 2 WD10EARS drives formatted using my brother's PVR! The format didn't take long and worked as expected. I did learn that the PVR will not format all drives externally however. My brother bought a new Seagate 1TB desktop drive to upgrade his PVR, reasoning that it would be faster than the WD green drives. True enough, but fast enough for PVR usage but with lower drive temps and less power usage.

When we connected the 1TB Seagate desktop drive it prompted to be formatted (OK) but afterwards there was a message about the drive being either incompatible or not supported, can't remember exactly which. Both my WD10EARS drives worked OK though. I expect to dump the drive image to a file some time on Monday using either g4u or clonezilla. Send me a PM where I can email the resulting drive image to.
post #122 of 438
Got my second PVR activated tonight, and got my first PVR drive upgraded. Drive info still says 160G (incorrect) but also correctly references the model of the new hard drive (WD10EARS). The real good stuff however lists as follows:

DVR / Hard Drive Status
Record Capacity Remaining
978491277312 B

The 1TB drive seems to be fully recognized! In the next few weeks I'll swap the old hard drive into the other DVR to find if it will read the contents of its peer's hard drive. After that, I'll be upgrading the hard drive on my second DVR also (and returning the rental, thus saving us the monthly surcharge).
post #123 of 438
Quote:
Originally Posted by DCTneo View Post

Got my second PVR activated tonight, and got my first PVR drive upgraded. Drive info still says 160G (incorrect) but also correctly references the model of the new hard drive (WD10EARS). The real good stuff however lists as follows:

DVR / Hard Drive Status
Record Capacity Remaining
978491277312 B

That. Is. AWESOME!!!!!!!
You, sir, rock!

Finally! After quite some time, this whole thing pays off. And I have to be stuck on a business trip when the case is cracked! As soon as I get home on Friday, I am going to be messing around with this and trying to simplify some kind of community template.

Thank you so much, DCTneo, for making this possible! And thanks to dan74 for the breakthrough with the zeroing-out of the hard drive for compression purposes!
post #124 of 438
So far 3 hours HD programming recorded and the PVR reports 2% space used. 1TB drive should allow to save an estimated 120 hours of HD video. Double that for a second PVR (also with dual tuners) and that's a lot of TV watching!
post #125 of 438
Tonight I swapped one hard drive into the other PVR just to experiment. PVR1 could read PVR2's hard drive contents, but not could not play any of the saved programming or video (the video showed up only as a black screen with no sound). That confirmation concludes my experimentation, so I upgraded the drive in my second PVR and set the PVR aside. For the next week or so I'll try and watch the saved content on the rental PVR before returning it and replacing it with the second PVR. I can now consider this project successful and almost complete! Done deal.

Another thing worth mentioning is about the "4.5mm nintendo security bit" I got from ebay to open the PVR chassis. I figured I'd get a cheap one from ebay since I couldn't expect to use this tool more than a few times. The cheap bits listed on ebay (most of them) aren't that great and I would next time opt for a better quality one for a couple of bucks more. The one sold by "video-game-museum" on ebay seem to be better quality and probably worth the extra cost. Even though I had the bit on hand to open my brother's PVR and my second PVR, it kept hopping off the 3 security screws on the back of the PVR. For my second PVR I reverted to my previous tool that had more leverage (a small pincer pliers) and seemed to work a bit better so long as one is careful and patient. I masked off around the screws with painter's tape so as not to scratch the surrounding areas while removing the security screws. After removing the security screws I replaced them with regular computer screws instead (CD drive mounting screws I believe have the same threads but can be rotated with a regular philips bit).
post #126 of 438
Okay, this has been a fun ride and we're just about at the last stop! I just arrived home from a business trip and will be popping the 1 TB drive into my Motorola DCH3416 shortly. I will then be creating images that I will post here for everybody else to use.

I want to find the easiest free method possible for everybody else to consume this image...I'm looking at free imaging apps such as ODIN, XXCLONE and Macrium Reflect...though it appears that XXCLONE and Macrium Reflect can not handle Raw Imaging (they only appear to work with common filesystems such as FAT, NTFS, EXT)

I'd like to avoid any need for command-line knowledge, be it Linux or Windows.

I also intend to create images using the more popular commercial products such as Norton Ghost, Symantec Ghost (corporate edition), Acronis, etc.

Suggestions/requests would be appreciated!
post #127 of 438
TN,
Thank you for working on this project. I have been following this thread for some time. I can't wait until you are able to post that image. Thanks again.
post #128 of 438
Just a quick update, so far I have 7 hours of HD programming (and 30-minutes of non-HD) saved on my PVR and it is reporting 4% storage used. So the initial estimate of 120 hours HD capacity could be about right or possibly rated even a bit conservatively.

For those that may be waiting for a 1TB drive image for a Motorola PVR, I created 2 images from my formatted WD10EARS drive in clonezilla and g4u formats which have been sent to TNO821 for further experimentation. After zeroing the hard drive and formatting with my brother's Motorola DCT, the resulting clonezilla image was 10MB and the g4u image was about 1.5MB.

Just a quick update from my last post about swapping hard drives between PVRs, I didn't have the sound connected so one PVR with a different PVR's hard drive installed there could indeed be sound but the saved video just played back as a black screen.
post #129 of 438
Quote:
Originally Posted by DCTneo View Post

Just a quick update, so far I have 7 hours of HD programming (and 30-minutes of non-HD) saved on my PVR and it is reporting 4% storage used. So the initial estimate of 120 hours HD capacity could be about right or possibly rated even a bit conservatively.

For those that may be waiting for a 1TB drive image for a Motorola PVR, I created 2 images from my formatted WD10EARS drive in clonezilla and g4u formats which have been sent to TNO821 for further experimentation. After zeroing the hard drive and formatting with my brother's Motorola DCT, the resulting clonezilla image was 10MB and the g4u image was about 1.5MB.

Just a quick update from my last post about swapping hard drives between PVRs, I didn't have the sound connected so one PVR with a different PVR's hard drive installed there could indeed be sound but the saved video just played back as a black screen.

Please try recording past the capacity of the originally installed drive to make sure there is not a problem which is masked by the free space indicator giving a false positive.
post #130 of 438
Quote:
Originally Posted by qz3fwd View Post

Please try recording past the capacity of the originally installed drive to make sure there is not a problem which is masked by the free space indicator giving a false positive.

That's a good point. I'll set it up to just record non-stop until it exceeds the capacity of the 160 GB partition.

Thus far my imaging tests have shown that the freely available tools leave a lot to be desired in terms of Raw Imaging. XXCLONE and Macrium Reflect do not support Raw Imaging (sector-by-sector copying) at all, and ODIN ends up crapping out with an error message just 16 minutes in (it also displays an error upon launching the app, but it lets you click past it...it seems clear that it is very unhappy about not seeing any type of partition that it can understand). I've also just tried the free Easeus Todo Backup Home, and it does not allow for backing up or restoring unrecognized partition types either.

Of course, the Linux dd command can be used, but that's going to be beyond many people's comfort level.
post #131 of 438
I just got back from Frys Electronics with yet another WD10EARS 1 TB hard drive. I noticed an ad that said that Frys will price-match any retailer, including internet...so I printed out the Amazon.com page for the WD10EARS ($54.99 with free Super Saver shipping) and brought it in. They griped a little that they were losing money on the deal (which I totally believe), but they still honored it.

Just thought I'd pass that along for any of you lucky enough to live near a Frys.

Okay, so back to imaging the cable box 1 TB DVR hard drive. I should have something ready to post by tomorrow (Sunday) afternoon.
post #132 of 438
************************************************************ ************************************************************ ***************
*****DISCLAIMER: The following post is outdated and the steps should not be performed. If you are looking to upgrade your DVR hard drive to 1 TB, see this post! *****
************************************************************ ************************************************************ ***************



Okay, here's the first easily consumable image file. This will be most easily performed on Windows systems. The image file is compressed using WinRAR 4.0. It is an Active@ Disk Image that is just over 7.6 GB in size, once uncompressed.

I am providing two copies of the image file; one is the 711 KB .rar file and the other is a 807 KB self-extracting .exe file.

It is easiest to download and use the 807 KB .exe file, because then you don't have to worry about installing WinRAR 4.0 or other similar decompression software. I am providing the .rar file for those who don't trust me or are generally paranoid that a virus could be in the .exe file (there are no viruses or any malware in the .exe file, I assure you).

You will need to use Active@ Disk Image to restore the 7.6 GB image to your 1 TB hard drive. You can download a free trial from here. Through my testing I've found Active@ Disk Image to be far better than the other disk imaging software. Its combination of ease-of-use and Raw Imaging capabilities far exceeds anything else I've tried. The free imaging software that I've tried on Windows has been unable to deal with Raw Imaging, something that is required in this situation due to Motorola's use of a customized IBM GPFS file system. There are freely available Linux imaging utilities available, but they leave a lot to be desired in the ease-of-use department (many require knowledge of the Linux command-line). I will be providing other images, including ones that can be used with free Linux imaging utilities, but those'll come a bit later.

So here are the steps:

1. Acquire a 1 TB hard drive. I recommend either the WD10EARS, the WD10EADS, or the WD10EVDS, but pretty much any 1 TB should get the job done (though you will not enjoy it if your 1 TB drive is really noisy). I'm currently using the WD10EVDS and it is amazingly quiet and is designed for use in video set top boxes.

2. Download and install Active@ Disk Image from http://www.disk-image.net/download.htm. The image was created using Active@ Disk Image 4.2.4, so you'll want to use that version or newer.

3. Download the compressed image of the 1 TB Motorola DVR hard drive from here.
(If you're not comfortable downloading it as a self-extracting .exe file, you can download the .rar file from here)

4. Extract the image file to your computer. You'll need about 8 GB of free space on the drive that you uncompress the image file to. The image consists of four files that extract to a folder named Moto1TB (Moto1TB.dim, Moto1TB.dim.001, Moto1TB.log. and Moto1TB.xml).

5. Connect your 1 TB hard drive to your computer using either SATA or eSATA (I would avoid using USB because it will be a lot slower than SATA or eSATA...imaging using USB could take many many hours).

6. Launch Active@ Disk Image and have it restore the image to your 1 TB hard drive.

7. Remove the power plug from the back of your Motorola cable box, open the cable box and replace the 160 GB (or 120 GB) hard drive with your 1 TB hard drive.

8. Plug the power cable back into your cable box and enjoy having a ton of free space!
post #133 of 438
Quote:
Originally Posted by TNO821 View Post

That's a good point. I'll set it up to just record non-stop until it exceeds the capacity of the 160 GB partition.

Thus far my imaging tests have shown that the freely available tools leave a lot to be desired in terms of Raw Imaging. XXCLONE and Macrium Reflect do not support Raw Imaging (sector-by-sector copying) at all, and ODIN ends up crapping out with an error message just 16 minutes in (it also displays an error upon launching the app, but it lets you click past it...it seems clear that it is very unhappy about not seeing any type of partition that it can understand). I've also just tried the free Easeus Todo Backup Home, and it does not allow for backing up or restoring unrecognized partition types either.

Of course, the Linux dd command can be used, but that's going to be beyond many people's comfort level.

Have you been able to get any tool to recognize the format of the drive?
I assume it is some undocumented filesystem, but probably based on ext3/xfs (encrypted) and modified such that no tools would recognize the filesystem.

Have you tried something like R-Studio?
post #134 of 438
Quote:
Originally Posted by qz3fwd View Post

I assume it is some undocumented filesystem, but probably based on ext3/xfs (encrypted) and modified such that no tools would recognize the filesystem.

It is not undocumented, but there is not a lot of info out there. The file system is IBM's GPFS (General Parallel File System). It is most commonly used in supercomputing/clustering. It appears to have been designed from the ground up by IBM, and is not at all related to any Linux file system. It can be used on AIX, Linux, and Windows Server. Wikipedia info on IBM GPFS can be found here.

It's strengths include the ability to store large amounts of data across numerous physical drives and the ability to concurrently read from while also writing to the same file. It is well suited for high definition file streaming and recording. Now, I think it is clear that this file system is overkill for the needs of any cable TV set top box DVR, and I suspect that its esoteric nature makes it very attractive in terms of pleasing Hollywood. I have not found even one utility that is able to read IBM GPFS! That has got to make the studios happy. I assume it is a fairly big selling point and the leading reason that Motorola decided to use it.

Also: it is my understanding that Motorola has somewhat modified the IBM GPFS partition. Somebody who claims insider knowledge has stated that they use a non-standard GUID, instead of using the official IBM GPFS partition GUID which is {37AFFC90-EF7D-4E96-91C3-2D7AE055B174}. (the GUID is an identifier that would be seen at the beginning of the partition...it tells the OS what the filesystem is. A list of GUIDs for all the different file systems can be found here.

While I haven't bothered trying, I suspect that it may not be too difficult to determine what Motorola altered the GUID to. You could take two different DVR hard drives and examine the beginning of the drive with a hex editor. Although, that area includes a CRC...changing the GUID to the normal IBM GPFS GUID may cause an error if the cable box firmware is programmed to check the CRC.

Quote:
Originally Posted by qz3fwd View Post

Have you been able to get any tool to recognize the format of the drive?

No, I haven't.

I have been unable to find a IBM GPFS driver for either Linux or Windows (I found some stuff for Windows Server 2003, but they were merely updates which require a pre-existing licensed full install in order to work...I've considered trying to hack it, but haven't found the time and, frankly it is very likely that there are required binaries/registry that are not present in the updates and would only be obtainable by having the full licensed driver install).

Quote:
Originally Posted by qz3fwd View Post

Have you tried something like R-Studio?

I have not tried, nor have I heard of, R-Studio.
post #135 of 438
Quote:
Originally Posted by DCTneo View Post

Drive info still says 160G (incorrect) but also correctly references the model of the new hard drive (WD10EARS). The real good stuff however lists as follows:

DVR / Hard Drive Status
Record Capacity Remaining
978491277312 B

The 1TB drive seems to be fully recognized!

I'm not getting that result...My DCH3416 is correctly showing 1000 GB rather than the 160 GB that you apparently are seeing.

Here's what I see from the Diagnostics Menu (which can be accessed by putting the cable box into Standby and then immediately pressing the "OK/Select" button on the remote):



When I select d13, I see:


Scrolling down reveals that the DCH3416 recognizes all 1000 GB:


Scrolling down again reveals that there is no second hard drive (this would be the eSATA external drive, which no cable company in the U.S.A. allows on any Motorola DCT or DCH cable box):


I'm continuing to record as much HD stuff (on both tuners at the same time) in order to fill up the 1 TB of space as quickly as possible. It's slow going, but I've finally got it up to 8% full.

At this point I have no doubt that it is working just fine, but as soon as it has more HD material on it than could possibly fit on a 160 GB partition, I'll be sure to post an update.

***************Update #1***************
I am now at 9% capacity with 841 minutes of HD material on my DVR (mostly from premium channels, which tend to get more bit rate than others). That's more than 14 hours of HD material and I haven't even hit 10%. This suggests that it might hold somewhere around 150 hours of HD, but that all depends on the bitrate of the material.
post #136 of 438
Okay, I'm now at 26% full on my DVR, well beyond the capacity of a 160 GB partition.

The diagnostics screen shows:
Record Capacity Remaining
IDE0 732266758144 B

System 379904 B
GPFS 5744640 B
DVR Content 249233240064 B
DVR Index 174106624 B


To recap, here's how you can get to the Diagnostics screen:
1. using the remote, press the Power button to put the cable box into standby.

2. And then, within one second or so, you must press the "OK/Select" button on the remote.

If this is timed properly you will see the following white screen appear on your TV:


Pressing the down button until you reach d13 and then pressing the OK/Select button reveals:


Pressing the down button reveals the amount of disk space being used by the the DVR index and, most importantly, the DVR recordings. If you do the math, you can see that there is well over 200 GB of recordings on it:


Pressing the down button again shows that there is no second hard drive attached (this would be the eSATA external drive, which Comcast does not allow for any Motorola DCT or DCH cable box):


To exit the menu, you can press the left button to get back to the main menu (the first screenshot) and then press down and select the Exit option.
post #137 of 438
************************************************************ ************************************************************ ***************
*****DISCLAIMER: The following post is outdated and the steps should not be performed. If you are looking to upgrade your DVR hard drive to 1 TB, see this post! *****
************************************************************ ************************************************************ ***************




Okay y'all, here's a 682 KB image created using a combination of Linux dd and bzip2: Moto_1TB.img.bz2

You'll need to use Linux to restore this image. If you are a Windows user, it will be easier to deal with the image that I uploaded here yesterday.

Use the following command (or similar) to restore the image to your 1 TB hard drive:
bzip2 -d -c -f -vv /sdb1/Moto_1TB.img.bz2 | dd of=/dev/sda

(of course, the sdb1 and sda drive/partition names could be quite different in your case. Use the fdisk -l command to determine which drive is your blank 1 TB drive and which one contains the 682 KB compressed image file).

A small explanation of the command line options: bzip2 is the excellent compression utility that allows the 1 TB image to be compressed all the way down to 682 KB (thanks to dan74's great idea of zero-filling the hard drive first). The "-d" command option forces bzip2 to decompress, the "-c" command option forces standard output, the "-f" command option forces bzip2 to overwrite (this shouldn't matter in this case), and the "-vv" command option forces bzip2 to be very verbose (it'll display an on-screen message every second or so, which can help prove to you that it hasn't vapor-locked your PC)

I'll try to post a screenshot tutorial later today that gives more of a step-by-step.
**********update********
I'm still going to post screenshots, but those'll have to wait. I'm looking into other, easier ways to restore the image.
**********update********

One of the cool things about doing this on Linux is that, unlike with the Windows imaging utilities, dd (when used in combination with the bz2cat capability of bzip2) can read the image from the compressed file; there's no need to unzip it first. In the Windows Active@ Disk Image, you first must unzip the 711 KB .rar file which eats up about 8 GB of hard drive space! I think it's very cool that this can be avoided on Linux. (This isn't to say that Windows imaging utilities could not be made to do the same, just that I haven't found any that can...Windows utils tend to focus a lot more on the User Interface and far less on command-line support than Linux utils).

Regardless of whether you are primarily a Windows user or Linux user, you can use either the Windows or Linux images that I've posted; just download one of the many LiveCD's (I like the Trinity Rescue Kit, but if you are aware of a much better Linux LiveCD, please chime in) or, for Windows, download the trial version of the bootable Active@ Disk Image LiveCD from here.

Huge props to DCTneo for being The One who provided us with the image of the externally-formatted 1 TB hard drive!!
post #138 of 438
Think I could try this on a 1.5TB Seagate hard drive? I'm aware that 0.5TB of the capacity wouldn't be used and I'm fine with that. Just trying to see how much of a struggle I should go through to find an actual 1.0TB HDD. I do have one, a Western Digital Caviar Black, but would rather leave it installed in its present system than clone it over to the 1.5TB to liberate the 1.0TB.
post #139 of 438
Quote:
Originally Posted by chs4000 View Post
Thank I could try this on a 1.5TB Seagate hard drive? I'm aware that 0.5TB of the capacity wouldn't be used and I'm fine with that. Just trying to see how much of a struggle I should go through to find an actual 1.0TB HDD. I do have one, a Western Digital Caviar Black, but would rather leave it installed in its present system than clone it over to the 1.5TB to liberate the 1.0TB.
My guess is yes. I would be surprised if it didn't work.

I've read that the Motorola cable boxes can not deal with hard drives larger than 1.0 TB, but I assume that means that it is unable to format drives larger than 1 TB. I see no reason why a 1.5 TB or even 2.0 TB hard drive couldn't be set up with a 1.0 TB GPFS partition (I would expect problems with the newer 3.0 TB drives, though).

But this is all speculation. I suppose that it is possible that the Motorola firmware freaks out during boot-up if the drive is larger than 1 TB. I really can't test this, as the only larger-than-1-TB hard drives that I have are all sealed in USB enclosures (and being used).
post #140 of 438
Quote:
Originally Posted by TNO821 View Post
My guess is yes. I would be surprised if it didn't work.
Makes sense to me, too, that it should work. I'll attempt to find out in a timely manner and report back my results. Could be a day or two.

Thank you for your time. :-)
post #141 of 438
Quote:
Originally Posted by chs4000 View Post

Makes sense to me, too, that it should work. I'll attempt to find out in a timely manner and report back my results. Could be a day or two.

Thank you for your time. :-)

Awesome! It'll be interesting to see if this works.
post #142 of 438
1.5TB hard drive formatted successfully using the 1TB image. Putting it in later today. The only thing unusual I should need is a 4.5mm inverted torx screwdriver, right?
post #143 of 438
Quote:
Originally Posted by chs4000 View Post

1.5TB hard drive formatted successfully using the 1TB image. Putting it in later today. The only thing unusual I should need is a 4.5mm inverted torx screwdriver, right?

That's right. And, if you're good with needle-nose pliers, you won't even need the 4.5mm inverted torx screwdriver. (DCTneo ended up using pliers, as the 4.5mm tool he purchases was of low quality and was slipping). I've also been told that most auto part stores carry the tool (but I've never checked). The tool sometimes goes by the name 4.5mm Gamebit screwdriver or 4.5mm Nintendo screwdriver. You can buy the tool here and also on eBay (though some are very cheap and wear out almost immediately, you may want to stick to that first website that has a good rep for QC). Be sure to select the 4.5mm size when ordering!

In addition to the odd screws, there is a plastic security clip that you will have to cut in order to pull off the lid. This is how the cable company can figure out that you've opened the box. Here's some useful links:

A really good guide to opening a Motorola DCT or DCH 6412\\6416\\3412\\3416 cable box can be found here.

*ignore some of the comments to the article. This was written quite a while ago, when the only known hard drive upgrade was switching out a 80 GB or 120 GB drive in favor of a 160 GB drive. The real good stuff are the tips about getting past the special security screws. They recommend using a Dremel (rotary tool) with a grinding bit to cut a straight line across the security screws and then use a regular flathead screwdriver to remove them*

****Important**** If you rent your cable box, you will eventually need to replace those security screws (so that your cable company doesn't know that you were inside of the cable box), but you can easily order them from here. If your cable company discovers that you've opened the box, you may be charged a hefty fee.

*I think it would be a better idea to try and find a 4.5mm inverted torx socket first and properly remove the original screws...maybe print a picture of the screws or use your smart phone or digital camera to take a picture and ask around at auto-part stores.

My recommendation on the screws is to carefully remove the originals and put them in a plastic zip lock (I actually didn't bother with a zip lock bag, I just used clear packing tape and made a makeshift pouch and then stuck it to the side of my cable box lid as seen here:

I'm just using regular PC screws in place of the security screws now...I'll swap those out with the security screws before bringing the cable box back to the cable company.

Before eventually returning your cable box to your cable company, you will also need to replace the plastic anti-tamper tab that you must break in order to open the cable box. These can be purchased here from the same website that sells the screws and 4.5mm inverted torx socket.
*unfortunately they only sell a minimum of 5...at $5 each, so it's $25 + shipping

If anybody knows of other places to purchase these items, please share.
post #144 of 438
Thank you for all your help!

Hard drive installed, had to leave my home within a couple minutes of turning it on, though. I was able to turn on the DVR and watch Cable TV, but the DVR is in a state of flux while it gets all the programming, updates its time, etc. I wasn't able to arrange any recording before I left. When I return this evening, however, it should have had plenty of time to get situated. At that point, how should I go about verifying that I have 1TB of recording space instead of 160GB? I will of course try the obvious route of filling it up with abandon.
post #145 of 438
Quote:
Originally Posted by chs4000 View Post
Thank you for all your help!
You're welcome. Thanks for helping to prove (or disprove) that a 1.5 TB drive can be successfully loaded with the 1.0 TB image!

Quote:
Originally Posted by chs4000 View Post
Hard drive installed, had to leave my home within a couple minutes of turning it on, though. I was able to turn on the DVR and watch Cable TV, but the DVR is in a state of flux while it gets all the programming, updates its time, etc.
Yes, that can take anywhere from a few minutes up to a few hours before it's really ready to let you create and playback DVR recordings. It seems that Motorola designed it so that all of the Guide data is stored only in memory...it doesn't cache it on the hard drive. The drawback is that any sort of power outage causes it to lose that info and it takes quite a while to pull the information from the cable signal. I wish that they'd change it to periodically cache the guide data on the hard drive so that brown-outs aren't so disruptive (a lot of people put their cable box on an Uninterruptible Power Supply in order to prevent this problem). I've found that it sometimes takes several days for my cable box to build up its entire 2-weeks worth of guide data!

Quote:
Originally Posted by chs4000 View Post
I wasn't able to arrange any recording before I left. When I return this evening, however, it should have had plenty of time to get situated. At that point, how should I go about verifying that I have 1TB of recording space instead of 160GB? I will of course try the obvious route of filling it up with abandon.
The best way to know if it is really using the new larger GPFS partition is to check the Diagnostics menu.

Here are the steps for getting into the Diagnostics menu. Start out with your cable box powered on, as seen here:

My cable box is a Motorola DCH3416. If you have a different model your front display may look a bit different. Here in this picture I have it tuned to one of the HBO HD channels. That big white unreadable blob in the upper-right says "1080i".

1. The first step is to use the remote control to power off the cable box (or you could use the power button on the front of the cable box). The display on the front of your cable box should now show that it is in Standby mode, as seen here:

That big white blob in the lower-left of the display would say "Standby" if I had a decent digital camera.


2. within one second of putting the cable box into Standby mode, you must press the "OK/Select" button on the remote control (or on the front of the cable box).

If done properly, the front display on your cable box will display "d01", as seen here:

The white blob in the lower-left of the display still says "Standby"


Within about five seconds, your TV will display a white Diagnostics menu. Here's what it looks like:



3. Now you need to use the remote control arrow keys and select option d13 to see the hard drive status (you can also use the Channel up and down buttons on the front of your cable box).

Once you've selected d13, you'll see the total number of bytes of available recording space, as seen here:


So I currently have 498,996,346,880 bytes remaining on my 1 TB hard drive.
According to math, that is 487,301,120 KB (there are 1024 Bytes in a KiloByte). Dividing it by 1024 again reveals that we have 475,880 MB. And dividing it by 1024 one last time reveals that I have 464.725 GB of free space remaining on my DVR hard drive.

*You could just divide that first number by 1073741824 and arrive at the number of GB, but I find it a lot easier to just divide it by 1024 three times in a row.

pressing the down arrow reveals more specific information about the 1 TB hard drive, where you will see proof-positive that it either is or is not using the full 1.0 TB partition size:

Here you can see that the total size is 1000 GB. It also reveals that my DVR is currently using 482,503,651,328 Bytes. That works out to 449.37 GB worth of DVR recordings.

These numbers and pictures happen to coincide with my DVR reaching 50% capacity, as seen here:

Hooker's a good cop! You best be beamin' him up, Scotty!
post #146 of 438
TNO821, Do you think it would be possible to run a sata to
Esata cable from the cable box to an AC powered external
hard drive enclosure so that we could easily change discs when
the capacity runs low
post #147 of 438
Quote:
Originally Posted by 1992lee View Post
TNO821, Do you think it would be possible to run a sata to
Esata cable from the cable box to an AC powered external
hard drive enclosure so that we could easily change discs when
the capacity runs low
Yes, I see no reason why not.

I have read that the Motorola cable boxes do not allow for hot-swapping the hard drive, so it'd probably reset the cable box, which would lose your guide data (which would suck). But it's typically ready to begin recording in about 10-15 minutes after power-cycling.

Also: I'm not sure I believe that hot-swapping the drive would cause it to totally freak out...there's at least a small chance that it could recover without shitting its pants.

At some point, in the next week or so, I intend to play with that.
post #148 of 438
Quote:
Originally Posted by TNO821 View Post
Yes, I see no reason why not.

I have read that the Motorola cable boxes do not allow for hot-swapping the hard drive, so it'd probably reset the cable box, which would lose your guide data (which would suck). But it's typically ready to begin recording in about 10-15 minutes after power-cycling.

Also: I'm not sure I believe that hot-swapping the drive would cause it to totally freak out...there's at least a small chance that it could recover without shitting its pants.

At some point, in the next week or so, I intend to play with that.
I am looking forward to hearing the results. Thanks again for everything!!
post #149 of 438
After swapping in the 1TB formatted drive, it indeed shows up as a 1TB drive in the diagnostics screen, it calls it "1000GB", but shows remaining recording capacity of about 40GB, 75% full (~120GB), after recording with both tuners (HD content) all evening & overnight. It's acting as if it's a 160GB drive in that respect. I don't know what to do next, perhaps just keep filling it up and see what happens at 100%. It'll probably just start deleting older recordings to keep it at 160GB, even though it shows in the diagnostics screen that it is aware it has a 1000GB formatted drive to work. Think I did something wrong?
post #150 of 438
I have noticed a positive change in performance with the new hard drive. It's an older 7200rpm Seagate 1.5TB drive (the first 1.5TB ever & notoriously unreliable, btw). Since it's only formatted to 1TB, it's essentially short-stroked. So basically we have a relatively high performance drive boosted even further by short-stroking (only using the outer 2/3 of the platters, which is the fastest area). I notice that forwarding is smoother now, and the 30 second skip feature is more seamless. Just thought I'd share.
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