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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Has anyone fixed a persistent stuttering problem? Has anyone tried the zeroout and reload operating sytem for a stuttering problem?
 

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Mikeyboy,


I'm in the process of doing the low level format now. I'm unsure of how to do this exactly so I removed the hard drive and sent it along to someone to do it for me. I hope to have it back this weekend. I also decided to add a fan while I have it open. Hopefully this will cure it. I'll post back here once I know for sure.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Quote:
Originally posted by leeler
Mikeyboy,


I'm in the process of doing the low level format now. I'm unsure of how to do this exactly so I removed the hard drive and sent it along to someone to do it for me. I hope to have it back this weekend. I also decided to add a fan while I have it open. Hopefully this will cure it. I'll post back here once I know for sure.


Thanks for the info. The stutter problem is suspected to be hard disk related be it format; bad sectors, corrupt files, overheating damage or other type of damage that affect performance. The one other thing I would suggest you do is a thorough test of the hard drive with the disk manufacturers software. The latest version "Powermax" software is for use on Quantum and Maxtor hard drives. The thorough test can take hours to perform but you will be given a pass or fail message upon completion. Obviously if the disk fails this test then that was the likely cause of the stuttering. Powermax is available from Maxtors web site under hard disk downloads. If after all this the stuttering returns the last unknown is the integrity of your disk image. Hopefully it doesn't go that far.
 

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I was also experiencing the stuttering problem. I just did a low level (Maxtor utility) format and system restore which basically cleared up the problem, except for occasional blips. I still find recorded blips if I've been watching a pre-recorded program (jumping and skipping) while recording a new program. It appears this is a limitation of the hardware/drive package.


I believe you can remain relatively stutter-free if you keep your unit fairly cool -- add a fan if possible. However, with write verification off (the default drive mode) and the harsh environment in the box (even with a fan), I'd guess we're going to have to format and restore the disk image periodically -- maybe even every 6 months. Like doing a tune-up on an expensive car...
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
drmckenzie, Thanks for the info. Your stuttering problem is greatly improved but not perfect after the zero out/low level format. The disk image you put back on the disk was it mirrored when the unit was acting up (possibly corrupt) or from another source that was known good? At this stage I don't know if there is such a thing as a corrupt operating system from a unit that boots up. I'm just gathering data. Thanks
 

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Mikeyboy,

I had already upgraded the drive to a 100GB Maxtor. Although I still have the original drive as a backup, I chose to mirror the 100GB unit before the low-level format, then copied the mirror back. So if there was a problem with the software areas they would have showed up again. I've basically had no problems since.

The remaining minor skips I mentioned come from doing other things on the unit (watching other shows/jumping/surfing the channel guide) while recording. There are probably no way around these, other than a faster CPU, etc..; it's just part of the beast.

Maybe someone else (who knows more than I do) could comment, but I would be surprised if a unit would work at all if the system area was corrupted and I'd be VERY surprised if skipping was a result.

Hmm, wasn't there a post here somewhere that said the system area is already duplicated on the disk? If so, the system would check to see if it was booting off a good image, otherwise it would use the other one. I'll search around a bit to see if my memory of that post was a hallucination....
 

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Just remembered where I saw the part about the system files being duplicated: http://rtvpatch.sourceforge.net/omfs.html


This is a discussion of the Replay file system. It says:

There are four basic non-file data block structures in the file system. With the exception of the Signature Block, all system blocks are written redundantly, with the second copy occupying the cluster immediately following the first. In all cases, the redundant copy will exactly mirror the first copy.


There are various CRC and checksum fields which would help the system detect problems. If I am reading this right, this architecture would make it unlikely that the system disk area would die unless the drive is going to hell in a hand-basket!
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
drmckenzie, Thanks again for the input. What I find interesting and rather important is that you are now running a different hard drive with your original image and the stutter is gone. Perhaps it is that simple, if the replay boots the operating system is good. The next step in this stutter free quest is to do a few Powerquest "thorough test" and "low level format"(zero out) on the showstopper units that exhibit the persistent stuttering. Can the original Quantum drives be resurrected to produce a stutter free performance. There are a few people preparing to rework their drives, so we'll know more soon.
 

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Mikeyboy,


Just to clarify: My 100GB upgrade began to stutter; I copied the software image from the 100GB drive to another disk; low-level formated the 100GB (Maxtor utilities); then copied the software image back to the 100GB. So I am running the same drive, which has had bad sectors fixed and marked (hopefully) by the utilities, but with the old software image. So far it's been pretty good.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Quote:
Originally posted by drmckenzie
Mikeyboy,


Just to clarify: My 100GB upgrade began to stutter; I copied the software image from the 100GB drive to another disk; low-level formated the 100GB (Maxtor utilities); then copied the software image back to the 100GB. So I am running the same drive, which has had bad sectors fixed and marked (hopefully) by the utilities, but with the old software image. So far it's been pretty good.
Thank you. I've got a feeling you don't have a cooling fan installed.
 

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Just an update, I found out that my supposedly brand new SS 60 hr had a refurbished hard drive in it. :mad:


That is likely the cause of the stutter. It failed diagnostics so I'm sending the unit back to Maxtor and getting it replaced (for free, I hope).


Hopefully, that new drive coupled with a fan ought to get rid of the problem. The problem is waiting the several weeks for a replacement drive to come. :(


Anyway, what is the ideal way to hook up a fan in a SS with a single drive? the underside of the top of the case so it'll draw through the unit? Are there power supply issues?
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
So far there are no complaints on power supply capacity. I ran a dual hard drive with a fan with no trouble. If the power supply was minimally powered motherboard and hard drive circuit failure would be common on the hacked units. I'm using a computer power supply fan blowing air in (powered by the showstopper).


I like the panflow fan idea that has been mentioned numerous times at the post.


Currently I'm experimenting with a single drive 80 gig maxtor with a http://shop.store.yahoo.com/cybercoo...escsihar1.html cyber cooler 350 fan. I'm also still using the power supply fan blowing in. Both fans are being run at 7 volts to quiet them and I'm pleased to say at 70 deg room temp the drive is warm not hot after a 3 hour high quality recording was done. The noise is minimal. I think the whine of the Maxtor is equal to or louder than the fans.
 

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Is there any significant difference between having a fan blow air into the unit vs. having it blow air out of the unit? I currently have mine pointed so it blows air out of the unit, and I only chose that way because I read a post somewhere that said this was preferable. Will there be any noticeable difference (noise or temperature)? Should I switch it to blow air in? I am a little worried that my unit may be getting too hot, as I mine has been upgraded to a 2-drive unit, and one drive is a 7200rpm. However, the case barely feels warm to the touch.



edit: Also, are the stuttering problems you describe occurring constantly, or very randomly? I have only seen two instances of stuttering on my upgraded unit thus far, and they were both on the same show, just a minute or two apart. I tend to think it was not a drive problem, but a problem with recording during playback, with quickskips or rew/ff, as discussed above. Should I be worried about the integrity of my drive, or would I be seeing much more stuttering if there was something to worry about?


Thanks to all of you for your help.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Quote:
Originally posted by mchurchm
Is there any significant difference between having a fan blow air into the unit vs. having it blow air out of the unit? I currently have mine pointed so it blows air out of the unit, and I only chose that way because I read a post somewhere that said this was preferable. Will there be any noticeable difference (noise or temperature)? Should I switch it to blow air in?
I expect either way is ok and will help cool. A fan set up at the existing vent is not ideal because a crossflow is not established. Nor does it target the hard drive directly but it will lower hard drive temperature. The fan will move more air than the convection method.
 

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I'm using a fan to exhaust the air out of the vent area on top, as the airflow system was originally designed -- like supercharging the convection airflow. It's also important to cover the top vents (I used tape on the inside) around the fan, so that air is pulled up only from the side and bottom vents. This provides cross-ventilation as air is sucked from the bottom and sides, across components and out the top. Here's the mounting scheme:

1) Turn the metal cover over and place the fan over the vents (on the side near the drive and power supply) so that air will be pushed out.

2) Attach tightly (through the screw holes) with cable ties over one of the cover vent struts until snug.

3) Cover all remaining open vents (top vents only) with tape.

4) The cover now won't go on by sliding from the back because of the fan, so bend one side of the cover out a little. Hook the unbent side of the cover over the top of the unit, then pull the other side out until it snaps into place. Push the

bent side in and attach screws -- no harm done.

Air is now drawn up through the remaining vents on the sides and bottom and exhausted through the top. It goes without saying (I hope!) that you should remove the Easybake enclosure top to let your drive breathe.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
drmckenzie, I like your fan setup especially how you have the fan next to the left side where the hottest items are.


Have you ever recorded a long file and checked how hot the hard drive is?
 

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I often record for several hours continuously, but my ultra-sophisticated temperature monitoring system consists of holding my hand against the top of the case! Not too scientific, but it is definitely cooler than before the fan was installed; it seldom gets more than mildly warm directly over the power supply and drive. The rest of the case (over the circuit board) is cool to the touch, whereas before it would also get warm.


I'm think of adding one of those temperature controllers which has been mentioned recently in a couple of threads. If the sensor is placed near the drive (but away from the power supply), then the fan operation should reflect the temperature of the drive. However, since I've blocked off 60% of the top vents with tape, that may cause the power supply to overheat when the fan isn't blowing. This will require some thought...
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
I was hoping to learn if the replay/showstoppers with the persistent stutter problems (the ones that 777 zones wouldn't fix) could be fixed by Powermax "thorough testing"," low level formatting" and mirroring the disk image back . Moosemans showstopper would have been an excellent test bed unfortunately I haven't heard from him again. We were at the stage of mirroring a known good image to his original drive and if that didn't fix it then try another hard drive. His showstopper still stuttered even after passing the Powermax "thorough test" and having been "low level formatted". I've given up on him providing any more data.

http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showt...threadid=35991


On the second page of this link is a post from Zues saying he had the stutter problem from day 1 and when he upgraded to a Maxtor drive the problem went away.
 

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Unfortunately I haven't gone online in a couple of days so I missed the opportunity of getting a good image. Hope to try again and provide the input. Although after reading other posts perhaps the heat issues, questionable harddrives are a factor. If the fix is to upgrade the harddrive then perhaps Replay should look at this when REFURBING a unit.
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
Mooseman informed me nothing has fixed his showstoppers stutter problem which starts after the unit has been paused. He did the Powermax "thorough test", low level formatted and even mirrored a known good image to the original drive. He plans on replacing the hard drive. Hopefully he'll let us know the result.
 
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