A place to keep my thoughts on programming

July 24, 2006 geek ,

It’s getting harder to upgrade that TiVo

When we got a Humax Series 2 TiVo (to replace our faithful Series 1) it almost immediately started making clicking noises that usually signify the imminent death of disk. We figured, if we sent it in, they’d just see it working and send it back. So we started the TiVo deathwatch. 2 years later it still hadn’t died, but now, about once a week, the clicking is followed by the machine rebooting. The warranty expired a while back, so time to replace the the disk.

Being a Series 2, I decided to use a disk larger than 137GB. Quick trip to Fry’s and I had a shiny 200GB disk. Now, it’s been a while since I put the 120GB in the trusty Series 1 (which is still running strong and better than the Series 2), so my other PCs have gone through some changes. Turns out that all my new machines use SATA and have only one ATA port. And the DVD is hooked to that port, which leaves only one more available connection.

Right, you need at least 3 — CD, source HD, target HD. Ok, no problem, I have an old box that’s the home file server. That one not only has two ATA, but it also has a PCI card with another 2 ATAs (for large disk support). A couple of minutes later, I booted into the weaknees CD and all seemed fine. The boot messages showed all disks properly set up. But apparently the setup that weaknees used did not have any devices above /dev/hdd. So my disks hooked to /dev/hdf and /dev/hdh were not accessible. And i couldn’t use the /dev/hd(a)-(d) because my disk was 200GB and was not recognized as such with the onboard ports.

Fortunately, the server itself runs Fedora, so i copied the mfs tools from the CD onto the HD and booted into Fedora with the tivo disks attached. Everything worked out fine and now i’ve got a potential 219 hours on tap!

But I guess the lesson is that ATA is going away, so what I used to take for granted is no longer there when the tivo tweaking calls.

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