Here's a document with step-by-step instructions + screenshots about performing the 1 TB hard drive upgrade for any Motorola DCT or DCH cable box DVR
(Note: If you have a Motorola DCX cable box, the instructions are way easier and are briefly discussed a few paragraphs below this, where it says "**Note: If you have a DCX cable box" )
A .pdf version of this guide can be downloaded from:
Special note about sendspace.com: Like all free file hosting websites, sendspace has misleading ads that invariably include a "download" link. There tend to be 3 or 4 of these fake download link ads surrounding the real download link. The one that you want to click on will have a blue background and will be labeled "Click here to start download from sendspace". It tends to be smack in the middle of the web page. If you click any of the other download links, you'll be downloading something that you likely aren't interested in, such as an ad-driven download manager, etc.
***Note to Cox cable customers: It used to be that Cox cable used older firmware/software that was not able to record more than 160 GB to the hard drive (even if you follow these directions and properly install a 1 TB hard drive.) We now have a confirmed report of a Cox customer following these directions and successfully upgrading to a 1 TB hard drive (reported in Oct 2012. The DVR model was a Motorola DCH3416)...feel free to give this a try. However if you are in a Cox Cable area that is still using older firmware/software, it is possible that you will only be able to record 160 GB of material. But I feel that there is a strong chance that Cox has rolled out an update to all of their subscribers and that you will be able to fully use the 1 TB of recording space. Special thanks to Flash2 for reporting the successful upgrade!
**Note: If you have a DCX cable box there's no reason to do any of this. It has been reported that the DCX cable boxes are able to format the blank hard drive. I suspect that the maximum drive size is 1 TB, but I don't know for sure. My guess is that the DCX box would choke on any hard drive larger than 1 TB and would refuse to format it whatsoever. So, for example, if you had a 1.5 TB hard drive that you would like to format to 1.0 TB size for your DCX cable box to use, you would still need to follow these directions. But for anybody using a 1.0 TB (or smaller) hard drive, simply open your DCX cable box and swap the drive. Again: it is speculation on my part that the DCX cable boxes are unable to format drives larger than 1.0 TB, so you'll want to try that first because it'll save you a lot of time if it does work (and you're no worse off if it doesn't work). I'd appreciate feedback from DCX users who attempt this...let me know what size hard drive can be auto-formatted by the DCX.
*****WARNING: This will only work for cable boxes with HDMI. If you have a really old cable box that has DVI, this is NOT going to work*****
*****To be clear: if your cable box has HDMI, this IS going to work. Only extremely old Motorola cable boxes without HDMI won't work*****
Upgrading a Motorola cable box to a 1 TB hard drive
Requirements: 1 TB hard drive*, a USB thumb drive (of any size), a blank CD-R or CD-RW disc, and a PC with at least 312 MB of memory, a CD-RW (or DVD±RW) drive, an available SATA connection, and at least one available USB port.
*Technically you could use a larger hard drive such as a 1.5 or 2 TB hard drive, but you will still only end up with 1 TB of recording space (because the GPFS partitions being restored from the image are sized for 1 TB).
****IMPORTANT**** If your hard drive is capable of SATA 6 Gb/s, you need to switch it to 3 Gb/s mode! Your cable box DVR will not recognize it when running in 6 Gb/s mode. Switching it from 6 to 3 Gb/s usually involves changing jumper settings on the hard drive...you may need to visit your hard drive manufacturer's website for directions.
Time Required: This will probably only take about half an hour - 45 minutes of hands-on time, but the hard drive imaging process will take at least a couple of hours to complete. All said and done, you're looking at somewhere between 3 and 8 hours total, depending on the speed of your PC and your 1 TB hard drive. The actual time required to open the cable box and remove the original hard drive is only about 15 minutes or less. The time required to burn the bootable CD and use it to boot your PC into Linux and begin the image restore is only about 15 – 20 minutes max. The rest of the time is spent waiting for the image to finish restoring to your 1 TB hard drive. During the wait, your PC will still be very usable for other activities such as surfing the net; the Parted Magic Linux LiveCD is a very slick deal complete with Firefox and all sorts of cool stuff.
Part A – Prepare
1. Purchase replacement cable box security tabs (also known as "Anti-Tamper Tabs") from http://hdtvsales.ca/product.php?productid=16551 or at: http://www.newelectronx.com/proddetail.php?prod=SPLUG
Check both websites because I've seen the prices change a lot...it used to be that newelectronix.com would only sell you a minimum of 5 of the security tabs, but that appears to have changed.
*Also consider the shipping charge before making your final decision!
2. Purchase the special security screwdriver bit online. It is sometimes called a Gamebit and can be purchased from Amazon:
or from newelectronx.com:
http://www.newelectronx.com/proddetail.php?prod=BITMOTO Note: Be sure to choose the 4.5mm size!
NEW: http://hdtvsales.ca/product.php?productid=16554 is now selling a combo that includes both the 4.5mm security screwdriver bit and the security tab (Also known as an "Anti-Tamper Tab")
3. Review directions for opening a Motorola cable box http://www.instructables.com/id/Mod-...igger-harddriv
4. Download the “MotoSTB_1TB.bz2” Motorola DVR 1 TB hard drive image file from http://www.sendspace.com/file/w24nfo
5. Copy the "MotoSTB_1TB.bz2" image file to your USB thumb drive.
6. Download the Parted Magic 6.0 Linux LiveCD .iso from <URL no longer exists>
***Note: version 6.0 of Parted Magic is no longer available. You will need to download a newer version. SourceForge no longer hosts the download for free, but you should be able to find a free download of the latest Parted Magic from Major Geeks. The download is an .iso file that is about 350 MB in size:
Click the link that says "Download@MajorGeeks" ...if you're having trouble finding it, just use CTRL+F and search for Download@MajorGeeks
The screenshots used in this guide are from version 6.0 of Parted Magic, so things will be a little bit different but it's mostly the same.
Special thanks to cmulder for pointing out that the Parted Magic SourceForge page no longer hosts a free download and that the version was updated!
7. Burn the Parted Magic Linux LiveCD .iso file. (Windows users can use the freeware ImgBurn which can be downloaded from http://www.majorgeeks.com/ImgBurn_d4870.html
Part B – Connect the 1 TB hard drive to your PC
1. Shut down your PC and connect your 1 TB hard drive (be sure to connect it via SATA...do NOT use USB or it will take a shitload longer).
Part C – Image the 1 TB hard drive
1. Boot your PC using the Parted Magic 6.0 LiveCD. You’ll see the following menu, where you should choose “1. Default settings (Runs from RAM)” (Note: it’s probably best not to connect your USB thumb drive until after Parted Magic has started booting up.)
2. While your computer boots up, plug in your USB thumb drive.
It will take a couple of minutes while the OS files are copied to memory.
After the OS files have finished copying to memory, Parted Magic finishes booting.
The Parted Magic GUI interface is very easy to work with and is very much like Windows. Next we need to determine what name has been assigned to the 1 TB hard drive.
3. Go to Start Menu > System Tools > Erase Disk. This tool will display the name that was assigned to the 1 TB hard drive.
4. Choose the default option, External (dd disk) and click Continue…
5. The External Block Wipe dialog appears and displays the names of all detected drives. Make note of the name assigned to your 1 TB hard drive. In the example below, the name of the 1 TB WD10EARS hard drive is sda. At this point you can click Cancel to exit the utility.
6. Now you need to mount your USB thumb drive. On the desktop, double-click on Mount Devices.
7. In the Mount-gtk window, locate your USB thumb drive and click Mount.
8. Make note of the path where your USB thumb drive has been mounted to. In the example below, the path is /media/sdb1 (this will be needed later).
9. Now that you know what the names are for both your 1 TB hard drive and your USB thumb drive, you’re ready to issue the image restore command. Click on Start Menu > Accessories > LXTerminal. This will bring up a command prompt where you can issue the image restore command.
10. Issue the following command, substituting the names assigned to your USB thumb drive and 1 TB hard drive:
bzip2 –d –c –f /media/sdb1/MotoSTB_1TB.bz2 | dc3dd of=/dev/sda
(note: this guide used to recommend using the following command: "bzip2 –d –c –f /media/sdb1/MotoSTB_1TB.bz2 | dc3dd of=/dev/sda progress=on progresscount=500" but it has been reported that the newer versions of Parted Magic no longer support the progress=on or progresscount=500 parameters.)
Edited by TNO821 - 11/28/13 at 12:14am
(That’s a pipe symbol that seperates the bzip2 command from the dc3dd command.)
11. When the image restoration completes, it will show you how many seconds it took. If you divide the number by 60 and then by 60 again, you’ll have the total number of hours. This example took just over 4 hours to complete (This computer is old and a bit slow).
12. The only thing left to do is shut down your PC, remove the 1 TB hard drive, and put it in your cable box!