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Pace CableCARD HD Boxes (TDC779X, TDC778X and DC757X) - Page 5

post #121 of 1067
Quote:
Originally Posted by toadtaste View Post

As far as where to get them, i would try the internet. Newegg etc. I once tried to buy an SATA drive from an electronics store and was very frustrated with the lack of selection.

even online (including Newegg) i am not finding any eSATA only drives. all are eSATA/USB Combo. Lindend says i need to stay away from the combo's?
post #122 of 1067
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by ttumlin View Post

even online (including Newegg) i am not finding any eSATA only drives. all are eSATA/USB Combo. Lindend says i need to stay away from the combo's?

Please don't take this as a recommendation of the drive you should purchase, but this drive is eSATA only.

It has been proven to work reliably with TiVO and SA DVRs. I'm sure if you searched AVS, you'd find people that had tried it.
post #123 of 1067
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by fullwave2 View Post

If you make a product advertised to be eSATA compatible it should be as such. Then to blame it on the drive as being the problem. Looks like I may be out a couple hundred bucks because Pace may not have fully done their homework.

I understand and share your frustration at combo eSATA/USB situation. However, lets review the facts here:

1. If you have such a drive working, there's really no need to run out and purchase another.

2. When I made my original statement about compatibility, I said any eSATA drive that didn't have SSC enabled would work (and I still stand by that statement).

3. At the time of the statement in question (#2), we had not seen any drive that exhibited compatibility issues.

4. Some (and I emphasize some and not all) of the combo drives in question produce CRC errors when connecting via eSATA (USB to a PC is ok though).

5. If the CRC errors are bad enough, it will become problematic (hence the warning).

6. These problematic drives surfaced long after the statement in #2.

7. Given the fact that some combo drives have bugs in the firmware and others may not (it just depends on the chip and firmware on the chip), we could say that we work with revision X.Y.Z of manufacturer A, but its impossible to test all of these combinations. The hard reality of this situation is there are some drives out there with bugs (and its not just a particular drive manufacturer).

8. There really is no easy way for us to work around a significant # of CRC errors produced by the drive. The drive is producing the CRC error, not our firmware.

9. I don't think this is a permanent situation/restriction. I strongly suspect that firmware updates will be available at some point in the future.

You can hook up and combo drive and it may work, but caveat emptor is all I'm saying.
post #124 of 1067
Here's a report on one combo external drive. I bought a NexStar 3 external 3.5-inch enclosure that has eSATA and USB 2.0 interfaces, and put a 750 GByte Barracuda drive in it. The enclosure is all-aluminum, and though it gets a bit warm to the touch, does not seem to be too hot when it is running.

I powered off the TDC779X, plugged in the eSATA cable, powered everything on and the drive did appear to be recognized and formatted. A quick check on the configuration pages confirmed this; the space is as expected (655 GBytes formatted) and shows up as the second drive.

All would appear to be good. There is one apparent problem, however: the drive, even though empty and not being accessed, continues to make apparent head-movement noises -- click-click, click-click, at semi-random intervals a second or so apart on average. It's not noticeable when the TV is on and we are watching content, but quite noticeable when the TV is muted. It can't be good, and is pretty distracting, actually.

Is there anything we can do to diagnose this further, or suppress it? One minor hint is that when I put the PAce box into diagnostics mode with power - select, or access the user settings with power - mute, the external drive clicking stops for the duration while I am in either of these menus. It comes back right away after I exit back to normal operations.
post #125 of 1067
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by ScienceMan View Post

All would appear to be good. There is one apparent problem, however: the drive, even though empty and not being accessed, continues to make apparent head-movement noises -- click-click, click-click, at semi-random intervals a second or so apart on average.

Does the drive spin down after roughly two minutes in standby?
post #126 of 1067
Quote:
Originally Posted by lindend View Post

Does the drive spin down after roughly two minutes in standby?

The clicking stops immediately upon turning the Pace box off (i.e., putting it in standby, not removing AC power), but seems to return after a couple of minutes. The drive does not appear to spin down.

With the power on, it does not seem to matter if I use the power - menu user option to select the hard disk spin down setting to "no" insted of the default "yes." In standby (i.e., power off) with this setting, the clicking does not seem to return.
post #127 of 1067
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by ScienceMan View Post

The clicking stops immediately upon turning the Pace box off (i.e., putting it in standby, not removing AC power), but seems to return after a couple of minutes. The drive does not appear to spin down.

Can you please go into diagnostics (page 23) and report the values for fragmented/max files?
post #128 of 1067
There are not files on it at all yet! My internal drive was only 40% full when I installed the eSATA one. The external drive formatted fine, apparently, and shows up, but has no content on it yet.

Does the Pace box do any disk access during on-but-idle conditions? If I listen closely, I think I can hear a similar but much fainter noise coming from the internal drive when it is on, even when no recording or playback is being done. Perhaps the TV guide is loading new content? But nothing seems go be going to the new external drive yet, as far as I can tell.

I am away from the box right now, but will go through the diagnostics pages again this evening when home. Thanks very much for the reply.
post #129 of 1067
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by ScienceMan View Post

Does the Pace box do any disk access during on-but-idle conditions?

TV Guide is always recording at least two streams (these are called circular or live off disk (LOD) recordings). When you go into standby or diagnostics, the recordings stop. There are some periodic tasks that do some minor I/O but nothing to the extent that you're describing.

After two minutes in standby, some housekeeping is done. When the housekeeping is complete, the drive should spin down.

These circular recordings will not show up in the diagnostics page I mentioned above since they're temporary in nature.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ScienceMan View Post

But nothing seems go be going to the new external drive yet, as far as I can tell.

By default, the system will record the two circular recordings to the eSATA drive (assuming its larger than your internal drive).

Quote:
Originally Posted by ScienceMan View Post

I think I can hear a similar but much fainter noise coming from the internal drive

Just a general note. The internal drive has special firmware on it for consumer (as opposed to PC) applications. As a result, it will be quieter and perform better (from a multimedia standpoint) than a stock SATA drive that you buy off the shelf.
post #130 of 1067
Reading around, I think what I am hearing is normal amplification of the drive head movement sounds by reason of the firm physical contact between the all-aluminum enclosure and the drive. The tradeoff is between cooling and noise. Having no fan, the enclosure keeps the drive cool (I hope cool enough) by using the case to radiate heat. This, according to what I have read, causes the case also to become a sound amplifier for internal head movement.

It would be interesting to hear people's opinions about the best tradeoff between enclosures from the point of view of fan noise versus this internal head movement noise amplification. Web reading I have read so far indicates that this noise can be a "feature."

You could minimize it in Pace by designing the firmware to use the internal drive for this "circular recording" and other routine operations, in preference where possible to the external device, keeping the external one for bulk recordings.
post #131 of 1067
I confirmed that the noise is associated with head movement. It would be useful to have perhaps another thread (eSATA enclosures - noise and heat issues) on this forum, perhaps, for people to report their experiences. I noticed this evening when a series recording kicked in that the recording was going to the external drive, and the noises associated were more or less identical to the others I had noticed when it was empty, although more regular and persistent. I put the enclosure onto some felt-pad furniture feet, which quieted it down a bit (perhaps by half).

Still think you should write "routine" stuff, like the TV guide updates or this "circular" recording you mentioned, to the internal drive to minimize this problem for users. Thanks for the replies, though.
post #132 of 1067
[quote=lindend;11540612]This thread is for discussion of the TDC779X (aka Tahoe Analog), TDC778X (aka Tahoe All Digital) and DC757X (aka Miami).]

I just installed a pace 779x from Service Electric and would like to add an external hard drive. I have looked over the thread here and am still concerned about doing it. I cannot afford to purchase the drive if it will not work. I don't have any other place to use it currently if it doesn't work here.
Are you familiar with service Electric in Pottstown penna? Do they disable the sata port. I am hesitant to ask them technical questions. they are not well versed in these things. I know you mentioned the Tivo addon. are there any others you could point me to?
Dale
post #133 of 1067
Quote:
Originally Posted by ttumlin View Post

even online (including Newegg) i am not finding any eSATA only drives. all are eSATA/USB Combo. Lindend says i need to stay away from the combo's?


I am about ready to give up. I bought a WD SATA drive and eSATA enclosure and tried it with my Pace box. No luck. It doesn't have the behavior of the other USB/eSATA combo where the box takes hours to come up after reset. In fact the box comes up quickly (within a couple minutes). It just doesn't find the new drive at all even after trying several resets.
post #134 of 1067
Thread Starter 
Dale,

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dlutz View Post

Do they disable the sata port.

AFAIK, no MSO besides Comcast disable the SATA port so you should be safe there.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dlutz View Post

I know you mentioned the Tivo addon. are there any others you could point me to? Dale

Here's a similar Seagate eSATA drive.

Note: This is not an endorsement of this particular model. Just a web link to a potential solution.
post #135 of 1067
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by ttumlin View Post

I am about ready to give up.

Have you tried a different 779? It could be that there are some loose cables in the box.
post #136 of 1067
[quote=lindend;12487756]Dale,

Here's a similar Seagate eSATA drive.]

Thanks for the quick reply and information
The web sites that have that seagate indicate that it is no longer available.

My concern with the Tivo is that it might be specific to tivo boxes. is that not an issue?
Dale
post #137 of 1067
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dlutz View Post

My concern with the Tivo is that it might be specific to tivo boxes. is that not an issue?

Its not TiVO specific. I've seen it functioning on a TDC778X (again, this is not an endorsement of any particular drive).
post #138 of 1067
Quote:
Originally Posted by lindend View Post

Its not TiVO specific. I've seen it functioning on a TDC778X (again, this is not an endorsement of any particular drive).

thanks again for the quick responses.
One last request.
can these drives be used for archiving? in other words could I have 2 drives to save programs, disconnect one and attach the other then later swap them again, or is data lost when they are disconnected. are they reformatted whenever attached?
post #139 of 1067
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dlutz View Post

in other words could I have 2 drives to save programs, disconnect one and attach the other then later swap them again, or is data lost when they are disconnected. are they reformatted whenever attached?

Data is not lost and you could reconnect the drives. However, TV Guide will likely lose the guide/program information associated with the content so you'll likely see "Manual Recording" as the program title rather than the actual title if you disconnect/reconnect the drive.

And remember, to swap drives, you'll need to turn the set top off and then remove the drive. Don't hot plug the eSATA drive while its in use.

Finally, if you move the drive between set tops, you won't be able to play content recorded on one set top on the other STB, but it will be preserved if and when you reconnect it to the original box.
post #140 of 1067
Quote:
Originally Posted by lindend View Post

Have you tried a different 779? It could be that there are some loose cables in the box.

No I haven't to this point because it is a real pain to get another box from MediaCom plus my wife and daughter don't like the ideal of losing the stuff they have recorded on the box we have. Guess I may have to try it though.
post #141 of 1067
Quote:
Originally Posted by lindend View Post

Have you tried a different 779? It could be that there are some loose cables in the box.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ttumlin View Post

No I haven't to this point because it is a real pain to get another box from MediaCom plus my wife and daughter don't like the ideal of losing the stuff they have recorded on the box we have. Guess I may have to try it though.

Ok, I tried one more time to reset the box before I attempted to take it back and swap it. It looked like it found the external drive this time but doesn't appear to be working still - I don't think? When it first powered up it ask if I wanted to format the external drive. I clicked yes. After it booted up it still said 98% full. I go to HDD status screen and it says 1/2 under drive number. Under interface status/ SATA status it says valid for both internal and external drive. Under DVR status it shows a media drive 0 (the internal) that is 153GB with 15GB remaining. It also shows the external drive as drive 1 that is 493GB with all 493GB remaining. I have even tried recording something new and it is still putting it on the internal drive (I think it may be deleting something to fit it but not sure - but it is definately still adding to internal drive) and the external one still says 100% left. Any idea what is going on now?
post #142 of 1067
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by ttumlin View Post

After it booted up it still said 98% full. I go to HDD status screen and it says 1/2 under drive number.

Excellent, this means your drive was recognized.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ttumlin View Post

I have even tried recording something new and it is still putting it on the internal drive (I think it may be deleting something to fit it but not sure - but it is definately still adding to internal drive)

How are you determining that its going on the internal drive? The easiest way to know for sure would be to go to the HDD status page and switch to the second drive (by pressing the select key on the remote) and see how many recordings are on the drive.
post #143 of 1067
Quote:
Originally Posted by lindend View Post

How are you determining that its going on the internal drive? The easiest way to know for sure would be to go to the HDD status page and switch to the second drive (by pressing the select key on the remote) and see how many recordings are on the drive.

I have done that and even though it shows the correct external drive model and serial number it is not recording anything on it. I recorded a bunch of HD content yesterday to see what it would do when the internal drive was full. It started deleting stuff on the internal drive to make room for it and never put anything on the external drive. It still shows the external drive as valid (with model number and all) but zero content recorded on it. Any idea what is going on now?
post #144 of 1067
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by ttumlin View Post

Any idea what is going on now?

No, never seen this behavior before. Can you reboot once more and see if makes any difference where the recording is performed?
post #145 of 1067
Quote:
Originally Posted by lindend View Post

No, never seen this behavior before. Can you reboot once more and see if makes any difference where the recording is performed?

i have already rebooted and retried recording twice with no luck of anything going on the external drive. alwasy recognized but never recorded on.
post #146 of 1067
Quote:
Originally Posted by lindend View Post

Its not TiVO specific. I've seen it functioning on a TDC778X (again, this is not an endorsement of any particular drive).

Thanks again for the quick responses.
I did find and buy a tivo hdd over the weekend and installed it Saturday. I couldn't get it to recognize the drive until I moved it farther away from the receiver. ( I didn't notice the statement in the manual about not setting it near anything magnetic until I had tried twice to attach it.)
Now it seems to be working fine. I had a hard time getting to the diagnostic page. I would press power and select and the thing would just power off or on depending what state it started in. I did get it enough to see that I now have 1/2 drives.
Is there any way to see what is being recorded where, and how much of each drive is used/left?
post #147 of 1067
Ok, I just read post 142 and saw this : "How are you determining that its going on the internal drive? The easiest way to know for sure would be to go to the HDD status page and switch to the second drive (by pressing the select key on the remote) and see how many recordings are on the drive."
so I guess I will try that tonight. Unless this is not for the 779x.

I may need to know how to get to the Hdd status page.
post #148 of 1067
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dlutz View Post

so I guess I will try that tonight. Unless this is not for the 779x. I may need to know how to get to the Hdd status page.

This applies to all Pace Cable products. It page 23 (HDD Status) right under the DVR status page.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Dlutz View Post

I had a hard time getting to the diagnostic page.

As far as getting into diagnostics. You need to hit the select key within a second or so of the power key. Don't do them simultaneously.
post #149 of 1067
Quote:
Originally Posted by lindend View Post

No, never seen this behavior before. Can you reboot once more and see if makes any difference where the recording is performed?

I rebooted many times last night and tried to figure out what was going on. It didn't always find the external drive but usually did. But never could I get the box to record anything on the new drive. The external drive was always 100% available even though the internal drive would start deleting things to make room for recordings. BTW, the HDD status page on my box does not show how much is on the drive - only the total size, model, etc info about the drive. I have to go the the DVR status page to see how much is available on the drives. Also, there seems to be a real flaw in the software that displays the % full on the regular user screen when you list recordings. When the box found the external drive it showed 85% full, when the box did not find the external drive it showed the correct 37% full. The DVR status page showed right around the 37% full in both cases. Anyway, I am going to return the external drive I bought today as today is the last day I can return it and get all but a 15% restocking fee back. I hate to lose the 15% but don't have any other use for it. My wife and daughter will just have to get by the the 160GB drive that is in the box. I can't understand why the cable companies and STB vendors don't provide boxes with larger drives in them. They are not that much more expensive and many customers (like myself) would be glad to pay more just to get them.

lindend - you have been very helpful and i am very appreciative of your time to try and help me get this going. But with all due respect, the only conclusion I can come to is that the software in my Pace box is just "squirrley". Why else would it find the drive including model and serial number but not record anything to it? And why is the % full on the normal user screen so often "wrong". My wife and daughter have also complained since we got the service from MediaCom (with both the Motorola and Pace boxes we've had) that the dvr functionallity is very erratic. As far as recording what they want and losing things at random, etc. I am beginning to belive them now. But I also think they were a bit spoiled to the dvr service we had from Dish (don't remember the box vendor) before we switched to cable. Maybe that was mostly due to the service provider but the dvr functionality and useability we had then was head and sholders above what we get from MediaCom. Sorry to vent and thanks again for the help.
post #150 of 1067
ttumlin, just as an additional data point -- I have not had that symptom. The external drive was recognized immediately, and became the default destination apparently as soon as the next program was recorded. Are you sure your series recording settings did not specify deletion after a certain number of episodes?

My provider is not Mediacom, though.
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