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8300HD and External SATA - It Works!!

post #1 of 8998
Thread Starter 
UPDATED INFO

Xnappo's SATA Databases. Tracks compatibility issues between SA8300HD and various SATA drives/enclosures: Interactive Program Guide Images. Useful for determing which software is being used: Installation Instructions

ORIGINAL POST
At least in Shrewsbury, MA. Our town owns and operates its own cable company, so they do their own thing, but we're running SARA version 1.85.17.3.

So, I ordered the following items:

External enclosure (black plastic)-
http://www.addonics.com/products/ext.../aeehdsa35.asp

SATA I to eSATA External Cable-
*** LINK NOW DEAD

And a 120GB Maxtor Ultra Series SATA drive.

I plugged the unit in as described in the 8300HD manuals found online, and the 8300HD recognized the external drive and asked me if I wanted to format it. Once this was done (it did this very quickly) the remaining disk space on my existing 8300HD increased accordingly.

Now, I had to "fill up" my fairly new 8300HD's internal drive enough to equalize the remaining disk space on each drive. Once this was done, the 8300HD recorded my next recording to the external drive (the 8300HD always records to the drive with the most remaining space, and ping pongs back and forth).

So, if anyone has any questions, let me know.
-D
post #2 of 8998
Interesting.

What was your total cost (by item)?
post #3 of 8998
Thread Starter 
Enclosure - $35 plus shipping
Cable - $12.50 plus shipping
Drive - had this already, but about $100 retail.

So, about $150 for 120GB - about 15 more hours of HD.

-D
post #4 of 8998
I didn't see a price for the cable, but it looks like the enclosure was about $35 and the drive around $110. So, for less than $200 it looks like you got about 15 hrs of added HD recording capacity. It looks like the 250GB drive would add another $100 to the total cost, assuming it would also work. Am I close?
post #5 of 8998
Thread Starter 
Yes, see my post above.
post #6 of 8998
Wow! I'm amazed. Maxtor's prepackaged drive for this purpose implied that the provider would have to hit the SA8300HD with a command to enable the function. I assumed that this was to let them force you to lease them from them. Either yours came "pre-enabled" or Maxtor was wrong. Cool.
post #7 of 8998
Just as planned.
post #8 of 8998
Quote:


Originally posted by DMILANI
Yes, see my post above.

I was composing and checking your links, etc., while you were posting. Guess I shoud have refreshed before posting. LOL
post #9 of 8998
Thread Starter 
Bump!
post #10 of 8998
Thanks dmilani for posting your success, and for pointing out an additional source for parts.

Anybody here tried this on the 8300HD with Passport?

We're getting unconfirmed reports that this functionality is not yet enabled in Passport.
post #11 of 8998
Do you think 120Gb is the max, or we can try bigger?
post #12 of 8998
Quote:
Originally posted by templeofdoom
Thanks dmilani for posting your success

I'll second this. Very cool post!

Like michaeltscott mentioned above ... I was a little worried about "something" preventing you from using any ole drive ... forcing you to only rent a drive from your cable company ...

Good to see I was wrong.

Thanks again for trying this out and posting your results ...
post #13 of 8998
Thread Starter 
sgr, I used a 120GB because that is what I had.

Supposedly, the dedicated one that Maxtor will sell will be available in a 300GB version.

Also, Silicon Image demonstrated with Scientific Atlanta (at CES) a RAID system that will allow expansion of the 8300HD up to several Terabytes.

-D
post #14 of 8998
Anyone try this on cablevision 8300hd?
post #15 of 8998
Quote:
Originally posted by LJG
Anyone try this on cablevision 8300hd?

I'd note:
1) SARA v. Passport - OP is on SARA ... templeofdoom notes uncertainty on Passport
2) Firmware version - Seems like the later the firmware ... the better the possibility. OP says he's on 1.85.17.3. Will my 1.83.4.a8 software work? Hmmm ... maybe not ...
post #16 of 8998
>>Also, Silicon Image demonstrated with Scientific Atlanta (at CES) a RAID system that will allow expansion of the 8300HD up to several Terabytes.<<

Great i know that Lacie make external SATA In a raid array for a terabytes
post #17 of 8998
Quote:
Originally posted by dt_dc
2) Firmware version - Seems like the later the firmware ... the better the possibility. OP says he's on 1.85.17.3. Will my 1.83.4.a8 software work? Hmmm ... maybe not ...

Is that a 8000HD firmware version because my SA8300HD (Cox Fairfax, VA)has firmware version of 1.85.14.3 (or somewhere close to that number,) last time I checked.

When I get time, I may order some parts and see if it will work for me. I'd get at least a 300GB SATA HDD.
post #18 of 8998
Quote:
Originally posted by Foxbat121
Is that a 8000HD firmware version because my SA8300HD (Cox Fairfax, VA)has firmware version of 1.85.14.3 (or somewhere close to that number,) last time I checked.

Just trying to make a point ... ie, people experimenting should note firmware version along with success / failure.
post #19 of 8998
Quote:
Originally posted by Foxbat121
Is that a 8000HD firmware version because my SA8300HD (Cox Fairfax, VA)has firmware version of 1.85.14.3 (or somewhere close to that number,) last time I checked.

My contact at TW here in town told me that the 8000 and 8300 units use the same software. The 8300s they're testing now have Passport v1.8.xxx while their current 8000s have v1.5.xxx. He said the 8000 units will be upgraded to the same 1.8.xxx soon (probably when they release the 8300s to the public).
post #20 of 8998
Quote:


Originally posted by hall
My contact at TW here in town told me that the 8000 and 8300 units use the same software. The 8300s they're testing now have Passport v1.8.xxx while their current 8000s have v1.5.xxx. He said the 8000 units will be upgraded to the same 1.8.xxx soon (probably when they release the 8300s to the public).

That is the magic of passport: run same software across different boxes, even boxes from different brands. SARA software is different. It only runs on SA boxes and different boxes usually have totally different software.
post #21 of 8998
I had a question about how programs are stored (internal or external dive) ... but it's answered here:
http://www.scientificatlanta.com/Exp...ed/4003986.pdf

FYI:
Quote:


How the SATA drive works with the 8300HD
Recordings are balanced between the internal hard drive on the 8300HD and the external SATA drive as follows:
* A recording is not split between an internal and external hard drive.
* The 8300HD automatically stores complete program using the following space available logic:
- If the external SATA drive has more space available, the SATA drive stores the next recording.
- If the internal hard drive on the 8300HD has more space available, the internal hard drive stores the next recording.
post #22 of 8998
Are these recordings keyed to the serial number of the player? ie. could I put recordings on the external drive and then plug that drive into a different 8300HD box? Even if not it might be a neat way to archive stuff.

Still pretty impractical because its difficult to get your recording to be where you want it to be. I guess you would have to record the same show using both tuners to make sure it goes on both drives, then erase one.
post #23 of 8998
Quote:


Originally posted by kromkamp
Are these recordings keyed to the serial number of the player? ie. could I put recordings on the external drive and then plug that drive into a different 8300HD box?

According to the following two links, no you can't swap a drive. Err, rather you CAN swap a drive but you can't access recordings. You get a message to the effect of "this drive has been formatted for another DVR, do you want to format for this DVR (recordings will be erased)" message:
http://www.scientificatlanta.com/Exp...ed/4003870.pdf
http://www.scientificatlanta.com/Exp...ed/4003986.pdf

According to the following, SciAtl is using 3DES with STB-specific keys to encrypt any recorded content so ... no, you're not going to be able to swap drives between DVRs (unless SciAtl sets up something to let DVRs share keys ...):
http://gullfoss2.fcc.gov/prod/ecfs/r...ent=6516283858
post #24 of 8998
I wouldnt be so interested in swapping with other people, but if I had a set of recordings archived on hard drives and the DVR went poof (as these pieces of junk are apt to do) you basically lose all those recordings.
post #25 of 8998
Thread Starter 
Kromkamp, you could simply fill up the internal drive (with arbitrary recordings) with the external drive disconnected, and then connect up the external SATA. From that point on, all future recordings would be placed on the external drive.

I was thinking about getting this optional cradle for the drive enclosure that I purchased and listed above:

http://www.addonics.com/products/com.../aechdsa35.asp

By purchasing additional enclosures ($9 each), you could create a library of archived content spread across several drives that you could simply remove and replace in the cradle, power cycle the STB, and you should be good to go.

Of course, the point you make above is very valid - if the STB dies or has issues, and you need to get a replacement from the cable company, the replacement STB would have a different KEY and would not recognize the recordings, making your collection useless.

-D
post #26 of 8998
I'm trying to find out if the external SATA feature is enabled in Austin, but no joy yet. However, Fry's is advertising a Seagate 300GB SATA drive for $169+tax after rebate:

http://newspaperads.mercurynews.com/...664&ad=1536769

Only good today and tomorrow (3/9-3/10). It's tempting... I guess I could always use it on my 'puter if it doesn't work yet.
post #27 of 8998
Quote:


Originally posted by InvaderZim
However, Fry's is advertising a Seagate 300GB SATA drive for $169+tax after rebate:

http://newspaperads.mercurynews.com/...664&ad=1536769

Good find.

SciAtl drive recommendations can be found here:
http://www.scientificatlanta.com/Exp...ed/4003986.pdf

Basically ... 133 MB/sec; 7200 RPM (5400 RPM w/o Multi-room).

Which the above advertised drive certainly meets ...
post #28 of 8998
I wonder if the 8300HD would work with only the external SATA and without the internal hard drive. That way, you wouldn't need to fill up the internal drive with buffer recordings just so you could be sure that new recordings went to the external drive. You could do the drive tray technique mentioned and swap out the hard drives for recording and archiving. You could even use the original internal drive in one of the trays.

I guess it depends on where the main GUI/OS lives on the system (I assume some flash memory) and whether or not it will detect and format a SATA drive as the main HD.

Of course, opening up the case and removing the hard drive could get you in all sorts of trouble with your cable company...
post #29 of 8998
Quote:


Originally posted by DMILANI
SATA I to SATA II External Cable-
http://www.cruzsystems.com/COMAX-PDF/221303D.pdf

Question to those who keep more to date on drives / terminology than I ...

Are "External SATA", "eSATA" and "SATA II" all the same? Ie, would one of those eSATA enclosures eliminate the need for a SATA I <-> SATA II cable ... or ... am I way out in left field ...
post #30 of 8998
Thread Starter 
No, you must get the cable I listed above, and as far as I could tell, this was the only source in USA.

All current drives have SATA I on back, and the 8300HD has a SATA II. SATA II spec. was just finalized, so most products don't support this connector yet.
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