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ddonohue
03-02-2011, 03:10 PM
Well, this is another fine mess I've gotten myself into.

I have a TiVo HD with Lifetime that works in all respects, except I had to replace the cablecard and ended up with two horribly bent pins in slot 1. I blame the tech, but that's a moot point now.

So I carefully disassembled it, practically to the molecular level, to get good clear access to the pins. I was able to straighten one but the second was too far gone and it snapped, despite my extreme caution.

So now I'm stuck with a box that functions fine except for the cablecard, so no digital channels, no HD, no pay, just crappy analog.

I don't consider this an end-of-life situation, so I'm trying to figure out the best way to fix this. I can still get the recordings off of it, so if it wasn't for the lifetime, I'd just replace it.

I might be able to find the PCMCIA slot hardware and replace it, but that's a whole lot of meticulous soldering I'd like to avoid. I haven't figured out yet if just the bad pin can be replaced, I'm still looking at that.

If I could figure a way to get slot 1 working at the expense of slot 2, I'm okay with that.

Failing these, I'm not adverse to picking up another HD and swapping TSNs, although I'm not sure exactly how that is accomplished on the HD (doesn't seem to be a chip like in the old days). But still some soldering.

Any comments or suggestions? Ideas about fixing the pin itself, or solutions I'm missing? Anyone know of a service (Weaknees?) that will do the repair at a price that makes sense? Thanks in advance!

StanSimmons
03-03-2011, 01:44 AM
Check your homeowners insurance, you may be able to file a claim and purchase another TiVo HD/Premier plus lifetime to replace the damaged unit.

I would also write a certified, return receipt letter to the presidents office of your cable company. Explain what happened, and that you would like them to pay for a replacement unit, including the Lifetime subscription. Make the letter short, to the point, professional and non-abusive. You should be able to get the proper contact info from http://consumerist.com/ .

If you are successful, you can use your original for OTA recording and MRV from the new unit.

unitron
03-04-2011, 04:47 PM
Check your homeowners insurance, you may be able to file a claim and purchase another TiVo HD/Premier plus lifetime to replace the damaged unit.

I would also write a certified, return receipt letter to the presidents office of your cable company. Explain what happened, and that you would like them to pay for a replacement unit, including the Lifetime subscription. Make the letter short, to the point, professional and non-abusive. You should be able to get the proper contact info from http://consumerist.com/ .

If you are successful, you can use your original for OTA recording and MRV from the new unit.

If he's successful in getting either the cable company or the insurance company to pay off, that damaged TiVo will no longer be his property.

StanSimmons
03-04-2011, 07:40 PM
If he's successful in getting either the cable company or the insurance company to pay off, that damaged TiVo will no longer be his property.

I've had stereo equipment blown by a power problem covered by a combo of renters insurance and local power co-op. Neither group wanted the equipment and both told me to dispose of it as I wished. I suspect that the TiVoHD would be handled in much the same way.

ddonohue
03-04-2011, 11:38 PM
Thanks for the help. I guess I should have mentioned that I AM approaching the cable company about it, but haven't gotten a commitment from them yet. I guess with a user-installable item like a cablecard, they won't be too quick to take the blame without really solid proof. They asked for the replacement amount, which is why I asked about my options here in the forum. I imagine if I came back with something reasonable, for repair, they'd be more willing than paying whole hog for a Premiere with lifetime or something. TiVo's answer was $348 (replacement HD plus PLS xfer fee).

I hadn't thought of homeowners, though.

Anyway, beyond the issue of who's going to pay and what they're paying for, I'm still really curious about the range of options. Slot repair seems like a PIA, with all those pins to solder. Has anyone been able to transfer the TSN on an HD? Easier job? And can anyone recommend a repair service that can handle the slot repair? Just curious about your opinions.

unitron
03-04-2011, 11:46 PM
Thanks for the help. I guess I should have mentioned that I AM approaching the cable company about it, but haven't gotten a commitment from them yet. I guess with a user-installable item like a cablecard, they won't be too quick to take the blame without really solid proof. They asked for the replacement amount, which is why I asked about my options here in the forum. I imagine if I came back with something reasonable, for repair, they'd be more willing than paying whole hog for a Premiere with lifetime or something. TiVo's answer was $348 (replacement HD plus PLS xfer fee).

I hadn't thought of homeowners, though.

Anyway, beyond the issue of who's going to pay and what they're paying for, I'm still really curious about the range of options. Slot repair seems like a PIA, with all those pins to solder. Has anyone been able to transfer the TSN on an HD? Easier job? And can anyone recommend a repair service that can handle the slot repair? Just curious about your opinions.

Aren't those pins held together in some sort of header so that, once the pins are unsoldered from the motherboard they can all be removed as a single unit and a replacement inserted all at once instead of one pin at a time?

Omikron
03-06-2011, 01:05 PM
I'm currently traveling abroad, so pardon the brevity:

- The TiVo HD appears to store the TSN on-die and cannot be "transplanted" like the Series3 HD.
- TiVo generally allows you to move a Lifetime sub between TSN's of a same model through the online change process. Just buy a new one and move the TSN online.
- If the online option has been blocked, you can try calling TiVo and explaining the situation. They will likely take pity and allow you to transfer the sub to another TiVo HD box (same model).
- If all else fails your best bet is to get a donor TiVo HD board and transplant the slot.

unitron
03-06-2011, 01:17 PM
I'm currently traveling abroad, so pardon the brevity:

- The TiVo HD appears to store the TSN on-die and cannot be "transplanted" like the Series3 HD....

Where (or should I say how) is the TSN stored on an S3 HD (and is there any such thing as a non-HD S3)?

Omikron
03-07-2011, 05:31 AM
The TSN on Series3 HD device is stored on a separate crypto chip which in theory could be transplanted between boards. Realistically, since TiVo allows one to move a sub between units of the same model with relative ease this procedure is somewhat pointless.

ddonohue
03-09-2011, 10:08 AM
Aren't those pins held together in some sort of header so that, once the pins are unsoldered from the motherboard they can all be removed as a single unit and a replacement inserted all at once instead of one pin at a time?

Yes, they are. In my opinion that makes the situation worse because instead of just replacing a pin or two, we're talking about removing and resoldering about 70 pins. And they're quite small, at least to my untrained eye!

ddonohue
03-09-2011, 11:58 AM
Thanks for the info. I'd like to address these in order:


- The TiVo HD appears to store the TSN on-die and cannot be "transplanted" like the Series3 HD.

I was afraid of that, although I am almost certain that in my zillion searches on this topic I came across a post by someone who did it successfully. Might have been an S3 though. Of course, now I can't find it to save my life and I'd like to see more than one case anyway. I was just questioning whether one soldering job would be easier than the other (slot vs. chip).


- TiVo generally allows you to move a Lifetime sub between TSN's of a same model through the online change process. Just buy a new one and move the TSN online.

Unless I'm missing something, I'm pretty sure the online option has disappeared.


- If the online option has been blocked, you can try calling TiVo and explaining the situation. They will likely take pity and allow you to transfer the sub to another TiVo HD box (same model).

This, of course, was my first course of action, and there was no love at all from TiVo. They will replace (not repair) my HD for $149, and since it will essentially be new (or a refurb), I'm on my own to preserve or transfer recordings, etc. They WILL allow an advance exchange, so I could hook them both up and do an MRV transfer. Tedious, but doable.

BUT - they will also sock me with a $199 PLS transfer fee. Non-negotiable. And trust me, I looked for every loophole I could think of. And it's not new service, the old box would be deactivated.

So basically, for $348 plus shipping, I end up with exactly what I have now, plus an inactive and sort of broken HD box. I didn't look into picking up a used HD and doing the transfer, but a used HD is still $60 or more.

Ironically, I AM eligible for the Premiere upgrade for $199 for the box and $199 for NEW PLS (not a transfer). That would leave me with a Premiere for only $50 more AND a still-active and sort of broken HD box. It's still okay for analog and MRV. If I'm going to go the TiVo route, wouldn't that make much more sense?

But both of these seem outrageously expensive to get around a broken part that's the size of an eyelash.


- If all else fails your best bet is to get a donor TiVo HD board and transplant the slot.

Yes, or even the exact part (PCMCIA connector made by Amp). Not averse to that, just asking if anyone has done it, is the chip swap possible or easier, and is there a service out there capable of such a job? Soldering is not exactly my forte, at least not at such a small scale.


The TSN on Series3 HD device is stored on a separate crypto chip which in theory could be transplanted between boards. Realistically, since TiVo allows one to move a sub between units of the same model with relative ease this procedure is somewhat pointless.

Given the above, I'd say TiVo does NOT allow one to move a sub between units of the same model with relative ease, so the procedure might have value after all.

ScanMan
03-09-2011, 02:24 PM
Here (http://dealdatabase.com/forum/showthread.php?t=58935) is the thread where Omikron discussed no Atmel crypto chip on the Tivo HD. Here (http://dealdatabase.com/forum/showthread.php?t=53774) is another thread with someone who transplanted the chip in a Series 2.5 machine. It looks like it depends which Series 3 model you have. The first gen "Series 3" appears to have the atmel chip while the 2nd gen "Tivo HD" appears not.

ddonohue
03-09-2011, 05:11 PM
Here (http://dealdatabase.com/forum/showthread.php?t=53774) is another thread with someone who transplanted the chip in a Series 2.5 machine. It looks like it depends which Series 3 model you have. The first gen "Series 3" appears to have the atmel chip while the 2nd gen "Tivo HD" appears not.

Yes! That's the one I was thinking of. I just could NOT think of the right search terms to get back to that post.

Alas, my memory was faulty. It seems that it doesn't apply to the HD after all. So I guess the answer to my original question is no, no one has ever swapped a chip to move the TSN on an HD. Shoot.

And one of the replies confirms my experience - flat rate repair fee and no option to transfer service if it's lifetime (except with the $199 xfer fee)

unitron
03-09-2011, 07:18 PM
Yes! That's the one I was thinking of. I just could NOT think of the right search terms to get back to that post.

Alas, my memory was faulty. It seems that it doesn't apply to the HD after all. So I guess the answer to my original question is no, no one has ever swapped a chip to move the TSN on an HD. Shoot.

And one of the replies confirms my experience - flat rate repair fee and no option to transfer service if it's lifetime (except with the $199 xfer fee)

If that's a standard PCMCIA card slot, probably better to get a new one from mouser or digikey or mcm or jameco and find a local electronics repair shop that knows what what a hot air re-work station is than risk screwing up the crypto chip.

unitron
05-11-2011, 12:57 AM
Here (http://dealdatabase.com/forum/showthread.php?t=58935) is the thread where Omikron discussed no Atmel crypto chip on the Tivo HD. Here (http://dealdatabase.com/forum/showthread.php?t=53774) is another thread with someone who transplanted the chip in a Series 2.5 machine. It looks like it depends which Series 3 model you have. The first gen "Series 3" appears to have the atmel chip while the 2nd gen "Tivo HD" appears not.

The original "thermometer front" S3, with the stacked cable card slots in the back, does have an Atmel crypto chip that can be unsoldered from the motherboard. I suspect, but cannot guarantee, that said chip can be soldered onto another board of the same model and make that second board think that it's the first board. (I just did that, successfully, with an S2 DT)