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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I am pretty sure that this problem has come up in another thread, but as usual the forum search engine is inoperative and I wanted to get this question in to let it percolate while I'm away from my browser for the afternoon:


System configuration:
  • Compaq Presario 7000T 1 GHz Pentium III, 256 MB memory
  • Maxtor 7200 RPM 60 GB HDD, defragmented daily
  • Promise UltraDMA ATA/100 PCI controller card for HDD
  • Radeon All-In-Wonder 32 MB DDR AGP video card
  • SoundBlaster Live! 5.1 Platinum Sound card
  • accessDTV using PC speaker (therefore, SB) for audio output
  • Windows Me with DirectX 8.0a
  • accessDTV with all latest i-Tech drivers and patch files (as of 5/7/01) installed


I can almost always cause a complete lockup of the computer (unresponsive mouse and keyboard) by clicking the fast forward key once on the accessDTV "remote control" while watching an accessDTV recording. I emphasize "once" because I do remember other posts where someone was told that clicking the FF key too quickly would cause the lockup. Not in my case; the first click does the trick.


This leaves me having to watch all of the commercials when viewing a recording, and makes it impossible to stop a recording partway and start it up again later where I left off. Boo.


I posted this question to i-Tech technical support on Sunday and still have not received even an acknowledgement that they received the e-mail, so I'm posting this here to hopefully turn up the heat a bit.


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Scott Gammans
The Scooterplex Cinema 1
 

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That's strange, I make heavy use of the ff/rw buttons without problems, in fact I often use skip 30/60/500 second commands too.


Somebody will probably mention your Promise IDE controller as a possible culprit, as I think there has been some speculation in the past that some of the IDE ATA-100 controllers can cause problems. I suppose that's possible, but I use the HighPoint RAID controller on my Abit motherboard without problems. You might want to make sure you're using the latest driver for it.


The only other significant thing I see about your setup is the fact that you're use PC sound instead of AC-3. Just for grins, try changing the audio mode to AC-3 and see if the problem persists. It may not be an acceptable solution for your setup, but could at least help narrow the problem down.


Jeff
 

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The only other way I can lock up AccessDTV with just a single >> press is if the show is already within the last 30, or 60 seconds, and the press would put it past the end of the show. That one is known and is supposed to be fixed in the update coming soon.
 

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Quote:
Originally posted by JKohn:
That's strange, I make heavy use of the ff/rw buttons without problems, in fact I often use skip 30/60/500 second commands too.


Somebody will probably mention your Promise IDE controller as a possible culprit, as I think there has been some speculation in the past that some of the IDE ATA-100 controllers can cause problems. I suppose that's possible, but I use the HighPoint RAID controller on my Abit motherboard without problems. You might want to make sure you're using the latest driver for it.


The only other significant thing I see about your setup is the fact that you're use PC sound instead of AC-3. Just for grins, try changing the audio mode to AC-3 and see if the problem persists. It may not be an acceptable solution for your setup, but could at least help narrow the problem down.


Jeff
I am using the Promise controller also and I am experiencing no problems at all.


Scott: are you receiving any error messages?


Vince
 

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Scott,

Just to toss my 2 cents in here.

I have never had accessDTV lock up with the fastforword single click either.

I use that mode quite a bit since I have programmed my remote keyboard to send that single click with Girder but I never could figure out how to make it do a right click/30 second fast forward.


Regarding the comment about the Promise card, I have the Promise ATA100 card with 2 of those same exact Maxtor 60GB drives connected to it as a single volume under Windows 2000. This looks like one big 120GB disk and is dedicated to recording. Works like a champ.


I know this does not help but at least this is another data point from an accessDTV user.


BTW,What May 7 driver are you referring to? Their website does not have any new drivers listed beyond May 1.



Joe


[This message has been edited by Joe Q (edited 05-08-2001).]
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
OK, so here's the deal:
  • I switched the output of the accessDTV card to "AC3 Home Theater System". I don't have a coaxial cable hooked between the accessDTV card and my Sony STR-DE915; the Sony's AC-3 input appears to be burned out (that's why I'm using the SoundBlaster Live's optical output)... hopefully this won't invalidate the test. Anyway, switching the output had no effect; I could press the FF button one or two times at most before the lockup occurred.
  • I unplugged the HDD from the Promise card and hooked it directly into the primary channel on the motherboard. This worked a little better; I was able to click the FF button three or four times before the freezeup occurred. I tested this four times: the first and second time with the accessDTV sound output set to "AC3 Home Theater System", and the third and fourth times with sound output set to "PC Speakers". The first and third times I clicked the FF button fairly quickly (I clicked the button as soon as the video finished jumping ahead); the second and fourth times I clicked the FF button very slowly (I waited a few seconds after jumping before clicking again). In all four tests, with both ways of clicking and both kinds of sound output, I was only able to get three or four clicks before lockup. Still, the fact that it took more clicks for the lockup to occur suggests to me that the Promise UltraDMA ATA/100 card has something to do with the problem.
  • Whenever the lockups occur while using the "PC Speakers" output (remember, I have no way to listen to accessDTV's AC-3 output), I hear a split-second of the recording's audio repeating over and over again at what appear to be one-second intervals. The sound is very similar to what an you would hear when listening to an old phonograph record that's skipping. This suggests to me that the problem could be audio-related, but remember that I reported no difference in clicks-to-lockup between "AC3" and "PC Speakers" output.
  • As I said above, I'm running Windows Me with the latest DirectX 8.0a drivers installed, as well as all of the DLLs and patch files posted on accessDTV's website as of this writing.
  • I am able to get the right-click on the FF button to work, at least until the freezeup occurs.


I'm more than a little bit annoyed that i-Tech still hasn't bothered to acknowledge my e-mail. Maybe I'd be less annoyed if this updated software that I keep hearing about would get posted on their website, but a little note to at least say "Hey, we heard you; we will respond by such-and-such a date" would be nice.


I do appreciate everyone's suggestions--keep 'em coming! Meanwhile, I have plugged the HDD back into the Promise controller; it's the only way that I can watch DVD's without stuttering.


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Scott Gammans
The Scooterplex Cinema 1


[This message has been edited by Scott Gammans (edited 05-08-2001).]
 

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Scott,


Have you checked to see if there are new device drivers for the Promise controller available for download from the Promise website?


Also, you might want to try moving the accessDTV to a different slot, in case there's some type of resource conflict.


I can't really think of anything else that could be causing the problem.


Jeff

 

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Quote:
I use that mode quite a bit since I have programmed my remote keyboard to send that single click with Girder but I never could figure out how to make it do a right click/30 second fast forward.
Joe,


I've written a Girder group to take pretty much complete control of the accessDTV application. You might want to check it out. See this thread


Jeff
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Jeff:


Thanks for the suggestion, but I already had checked the Promise website after discovering that the clicks-to-death count increased when the Promise card was removed. No sech luck... I have the latest drivers and BIOS.


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Scott Gammans
The Scooterplex Cinema 1
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Cliff,


I may have been a bit hasty in my e-mail reply to you. The beta software you sent me has alleviated the problem somewhat, but I still get lockups now and then when clicking FF (they're just not as frequent). Still, it's an improvement... hopefully a future release will be even more stable. Thanks.


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Scott Gammans
The Scooterplex Cinema 1


[This message has been edited by Scott Gammans (edited 05-09-2001).]
 

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Quote:
Originally posted by JKohn:
Joe,


I've written a Girder group to take pretty much complete control of the accessDTV application. You might want to check it out. See this thread


Jeff
Jeff,

That is great.

Thanks for all the hard work. I missed seeing the original thread of yours because I did not have accessDTV at the time.

I see you have all the bases covered in the .gxr file.


Now I need to figure out which keyboard key does what (beyond the obvious). EG. I tried the Right Arrow and it skipped ahead but not sure which one does 30/60 seconds.


Also, I have the Logitech Itouch multimedia keyboard and I have my own girder file which programs its special forward/reverse key.

I need to plow through your girder file and change some assigments.


Thanks again.


Joe

 

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Quote:
Originally posted by Joe Q:
Now I need to figure out which keyboard key does what (beyond the obvious). EG. I tried the Right Arrow and it skipped ahead but not sure which one does 30/60 seconds.


Also, I have the Logitech Itouch multimedia keyboard and I have my own girder file which programs its special forward/reverse key.

I need to plow through your girder file and change some assigments.
Joe,


You'll probably need to change the Event IRCodes for all the commands, because my GIR file is set up to receive RC5 IR Codes from an Pronto using IRMan, not a keyboard. But it should be hard to clear the event strings and assign your own hotkeys to the various functions, although you might have a hard time coming up with shortcut keys for everything, since there are something like 75 commands in that group. One way to accomplish this would be to have commands to enable/disable the hotkeys for the girder group, that way you could use more intuitive hotkeys like letters and numbers, that are only active when you want to use them to control accessDTV.


Jeff

 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Regarding the lockup problem:


It would be very helpful if accessDTV had either a bookmarking capability or a way to jump directly to a specified time marker in a recording. The beta software allows me to click the FF button at most three or four times before the system hangs, which even with using the 5 minute skip allows me to advance only about 15-20 minutes into a recording.


For example, last night I was watching my recording of The Practice when at the end of the third act (about 45:00) I foolishly tried using the FF button to skip 60 seconds ahead through a commercial. KABOOM! Freezeup. Repeated attempts to five-minute skip back to the 45 minute mark resulted in lockup after lockup, until I finally gave up in frustration. Tonight when I get home from work I'm going to have to just start the recording and go do something else for 45 minutes until the fourth act finally comes up.


(Of course, it would be even more helpful if the @#$%! fast-foward button would work reliably enough that I wouldn't be afraid to use it! http://www.avsforum.com/ubb/frown.gif )


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Scott Gammans
The Scooterplex Cinema 1
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Update:


It appears that my accessDTV's drivers are sharing IRQs with a lot of devices on my HTPC. It is my understanding that fast-forwarding is a very IRQ-intensive activity in accessDTV. Could these shared IRQs be the source of the problem, and if so what can I do to alleviate the problem?

IRQ #3:
  • All-in-Wonder Radeon
  • Saa7146 WDM Video Capture

IRQ #5:
  • Promise Ultra100 IDE Controller
  • Janus WDM Video Capture
  • HSP56 WDM Device (WDM Modem Enumerator)


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Scott Gammans
The Scooterplex Cinema 1
 

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Steve,


Shared IRQ's shouldn't be any problem at all, unless one of the devices doing the sharing doesn't play nice or has a buggy driver. IRQ-sharing is a part of the PCI spec, so there's no reason to think you need to get all of your PCI devices their own IRQ's.

On the other hand, I notice that your accessDTV is actually sharing an IRQ with the IDE controller. I know somebody has already posted on this thread that they have the accessDTV working with the same controller, but I also know that in the past people have claimed that these controllers have been the cause of problems. Maybe whether or not the card causes problems depends on what it's sharing an IRQ with.


Since you've exausted other options, you might want to try moving the accessDTV to another PCI slot. Even though it will still probably be sharing IRQ's, maybe it will end up sharing with something other than the IDE controller. It shouldn't make a difference, but at this point it sure can't hurt to try.


Jeff
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Jeff,


After three system freezes (lockups after the teaser and the first and second acts) while attempting to watch my recording of tonight's episode of The West Wing, I've given up for the night and am going to bed. I'll try what you are suggesting tomorrow.


Scott (but you can call me "Steve" http://www.avsforum.com/ubb/smile.gif ) Gammans
The Scooterplex Cinema 1
 

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Quote:
Scott (but you can call me "Steve" ) Gammans
Oops, sorry about that Scott; don't know where I got Steve from. As often as people misread my username and call me John, you'd think I'd be more careful about getting other people's names right. http://www.avsforum.com/ubb/smile.gif


Anyway, let us know if you make any progress.


Jeff
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
OK, I spent three hours last night moving the accessDTV card around to all of the available PCI slots in my Compaq Presario 7000T. Unfortunately, I have five PCI slots on my computer and five PCI devices (sound card, modem card, network card, accessDTV card, IDE ATA/100 controller card), so there were a LOT of positional combinations to test (5 x 4 x 3 x 2 x 1 = 120 possible combinations of five cards in five slots). I gave up after fifteen tries. In no combination that I tested was I able to get the accessDTV drivers on their own IRQs, and in all fifteen cases the player persisted in exhibiting its lockup behavior.


Kei Clark at Digital Connection asked me over here to list everything under "System devices" in Device Manager that has to do with VIA and Intel chipsets. Here is everything I found:
  • DEC 21152 PCI to PCI bridge (I know this isn't VIA or Intel but it is a chipset from DEC, which Compaq bought a few years ago, so I thought it might be important.)
  • VIA CPU to AGP controller
  • VIA Tech VT82C686 PCA to ISA bridge
  • VIA Tech VT82C686 Power Management Controller
  • VIA Tech VT82C69x CPU to PCI bridge


I hope this helps in the diagnosis...


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Scott Gammans
The Scooterplex Cinema 1


[This message has been edited by Scott Gammans (edited 05-11-2001).]
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
Major update!


To a fairly high degree of certainty I have been able to pinpoint the cause of my woes.


I transferred the accessDTV card to my old Gateway GP6-450, and the recorder/player is working perfectly now. I can fast forward, reverse, pause and skip around to my heart's content as fast and as often as I want with nary a lockup.


By process of elimination I can deduce what was not causing the lockups: In addition to the accessDTV card, my Gateway now has the Radeon AIW and SoundBlaster Live! Platinum 5.1 cards that were on the Compaq, so those devices couldn't have been the source of the problem. Both PCs have the same network and modem cards, so those couldn't be the culprits either.


The only differences between the two PCs:
  • Pentium III 1 GHz on the Compaq, Pentium II 450 MHz on the Gateway
  • Maxtor 7,200 RPM 60 GB HDD with Promise ATA/1000 UltraDMA IDE controller on the Compaq, 5,400 RPM IBM 18 GB HDD (direct connection to mobo) on the Gateway
  • Windows Me on the Compaq, Windows 2000 Pro on the Gateway
  • VIA VT82C686 chipset on the Compaq, Intel 82443BX chipset on the Gateway


If anything, transferring the accessDTV card to a computer with a slower processor and HDD should have made things worse, not better, so we can eliminate the CPU and HDD as suspects. And although the Promise ATA/100 IDE controller is still on the Compaq (not compatible with my Gateway), interested readers will recall that removing that card on the Compaq had no effect, so the Promise card almost certainly wasn't the culprit. Several people in the forum have been using Windows Me sucessfully, and I had gone to the extraordinary lengths of completely reinstalling the O/S to see if I had a clogged installation... no dice. So I can probably eliminate the O/S as the source of evil.


Which leaves me with the chipset. I was warned by xcel, I was cautioned by Kei and Cliff at Digital Connection, and durned if it wasn't true; the VIA Technologies chipset is the root of all evil--at least when it comes to achieving maximum HTPC performance. Even with VIA's latest drivers I could not get the @$%#! Compaq to work with accessDTV, but from the moment I put the accessDTV card in my 3-1/2 year old Intel-chipped Compaq I have not had one single problem with the recorder or player. (I have an issue with getting at the files I recorded on the Compaq, but I'm going to start up another thread for that.)


So learn from my pain, boys and girls: If you want to pull your hair out and swear at the gods for the unfairness of it all, put your accessDTV card on a VIA-chipped motherboard. If you want to live happily ever after, I have only one thing to say: INTEL!


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Scott Gammans
The Scooterplex Cinema 1


[This message has been edited by Scott Gammans (edited 05-13-2001).]
 
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