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Thread: 120GB HD UPGRADE in UTV Part 1

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Nov 2002

    32 120GB HD UPGRADE in UTV Part 1

    This is a copy and paste from another forum. It was too long so I had to break it in three parts. I was hoping a moderator could make it a Sticky cause thats how I found it. I understand theres 2 types of Western Digital and Maxtor hard drives. One has 2MB cache and the other has 8MB cache. Hope this helps someone.


    I cannot take credit for this info, I'm just passing it along. i have edited it with updated info, some of my own tips & my how to reclaim the original hard drive. Enjoy

    Hard Drive Upgrade for RCA UltimateTV Receiver
    The following text outlines the steps necessary to upgrade an RCA Ultimate TV Receiver to a larger hard drive. To date, the hard drives that are known to work are any ide standard drive. Western Digital 100 gig and 120 gig hard drives. Testers of this process have noted that 5400 RPM drives will work, it is preferable to use a 7200 RPM drives due to the multi-tasking (multi-recording) capabilities of the unit utilizing dual tuners.

    NOTE: This upgrade assumes you are using a brand new, out of the box hard drive that has NOT been partitioned or formatted in any way. if you want to use an old drive be sure to remove all partition info first.

    Before beginning the upgrade, be sure you have copied any recordings on the current drive to VHS. Once the drive is removed all existing recordings will be gone! Instructions for recording to VHS are in the setup and operations guides provided
    with the unit.

    Be sure you are properly grounded when doing the upgrade. Standing on a wood floor, touching a large metal object (other than the unit), using a grounding strap,etc., are all options to ensuring that you do not transmit static electricity to
    the unit and causing damage.

    NOTE: This upgrade will void your warranty! Though this upgrade is relatively simple, this should be attempted by someone comfortable inside a
    computer,installing components.

    The upgrade will take 10-20 minutes depending on your level of expertise. This upgrade replaced the original drive -a Seagate 'U' Series 5 - 40 Gig drive with a Western Digital Caviar 120 Gig, 7200 RPM drive. Others who have completed this upgrade have found other size hard drives in their units and have also replaced the drive using Western Digital 100 gig drives. other brands from 40 gig & up also work.

    Step by Step Instructions

    1. Remove the access card. This is done by pressing on the access door on the front of the unit. The door will open. The card is in the left slot. Remove it and set it aside.

    2. To disassemble the PVR, shutdown the unit (power off) and disconnect ALL cables. Remove 2 screws at the top/back of the unit and lift the cover from the back, forward. There are two tabs under the front bottom of the case that keep
    the cover securely in place.

    3. After lifting the cover, there is a short ribbon cable that connects a small circuit board in the cover with the main system board in the bottom of the case. Make careful note of the orientation of this cable prior to disconnecting. You may want to mark one edge with a felt marker to remember which side connects towards the
    left. Disconnect this cable from the system board in the bottom of the case by gently rocking it out of its connector. Set the unit's cover aside. Complete the upgrade by standing in front of the unit. The hard drive will be closest to you, shielded by a silver, metal housing.

    4. The hard drive is connected by a power cable and a ribbon cable at the rear of the drive (left side when standing in front of the PVR) and 4 screws in blue rubberized housing. These 4 screws securely hold the hard drive in place within
    the metal housing. the metal housing can be removed by removing 3 screws that hold it to the bottom of the case. Using a slight but firm rocking motion, remove the power cable (cable closest to you at rear of hard drive) and use a needle nose pliers to remove the ribbon cable. pull the connector for the fan & you will be able to remove drive with the metal housing. you Remove the 4 screws, 2 on each side which are held in rubberized blue casings. Once these screws are removed, the hard drive can be slid out of the metal casing towards the left. Set the drive aside.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Nov 2002

    32 HD UPGRADE in UTV Part 2

    5. With the new hard drive in hand, set the jumper connector that is connected to pins between the ribbon and power connectors to standalone/master. on the western you will remove this jumper. Once this jumper is set, the hard drive will be configured for a standalone (single) or master drive configuration. This is required by the PVR unit. this must be done correctly for the make of drive you are using or it won't work. so check it twice!!

    6. With the power and ribbon connectors facing left, slide the hard drive into the metal housing. Press down on the power and ribbon cables while inserting the drive as they will be below the hard drive as you insert it. Note the screw holes
    on either side of the hard drive. They will need to be aligned with the blue rubber standoffs on either side of the drive. removing the metal sleves inside the blue rubbers & reinstalling one at a time may help.

    7. Screw in the 4 screws to stabilize the hard drive. DO NOT overtighten these screws.
    Reconnect the power and ribbon cable. put 3 screws in to hold drive housing to main board. reconnect fan.

    8. Take the cover of the unit and hook the front tabs underneath the bottom of the case. Reconnect the ribbon cable to the system board, again being careful to reconnect it in the same orientation as it was. The cover should fit snuggly to the
    bottom of the case. Reinsert the two screws at the back.

    9. Reconnect all cables and DO NOT reinsert the access card into the LEFT slot. Power on the unit.

    10. The first screen you will notice has a black background and suggests that it is connecting to WebTV (MSN) to check for updates. After it dials and makes the connection, the screen changes and the following is reported: "MSN: Update Needed. We have developed a free upgrade for your satellite receiver. To continue using UltimateTV, you must upgrade to the latest version. This should take less than 104 minutes." After I selected 'go ahead' (after pressing once using keyboard or remote, this will take a few seconds), the screen changed again and displayed the following: "Your satellite receiver is being updated automatically. This will take about 104 minutes and then you can use MSN TV again. It then begins counting parts being
    downloaded up to xxx with a graphical bar scrolling from left to right. This will take every bit of the 104 minutes suggested. you will now be getting the latest update & the full size of drive will be recognized.

    11. When the update is complete, the screen will quickly change and then the WebTV screen saver logo will flash across the screen. Tap any key on the remote or keyboard to get back to the last screen. The information seen will be: "MSN: Updating Complete. The update is complete. Chose 'connect now' if you want to connect to MSN TV. Press the power button to switch off your satellite receiver. prompt.
    Whether you press 'connect now' or not, the unit will be powered off. I recommend powering the unit off in order to recycle the system and allow the
    newly downloaded software to be activated. Power the unit back on. The system will now walk you through the initial system setup procedures to configure the type of satellite and number of LNB's installed.

    12. The system will need to download the Guide and update local channel information (if you subscribe to the local channel package). This could take
    several minutes or significantly more time. It is possible that the local channels will not show up for an hour or more after the guide has been updated with the 7 days of information the unit will hold. the 3.5 software is now available & you will now see 105 hours on a 120 gig drive.

    You are done! Enjoy the many additional hours of recording capacity!

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Nov 2002

    32 HD UPGRADE in UTV Part 3 Reclaiming 40GB HD

    How to Reclaim the 40 gig hdd after you do the upgrade.

    M$ is using, the little known, ide hdd password locking for the drive to keep everyone out. this is why you can't see the drive in any OS i know of. the utv box partitions & formats the drive & password protects it. if the password is correct it sees & uses the drive. if it is incorrect it won't run the drive. it will then use the master password to unlock the drive & reformat it. when it is done a new password is generated & the drive is again locked to only that utv unit.
    when you do the upgrade the new drive becomes the active drive & the utv will not accept the original drive.
    the reclaiming of the original 40 gig drive will not mess up the new 120 gig & it will work as before because it has the correct password & the utv will accept it.

    now for the good part:

    remove the new drive housing with the drive in it. remove the short ide cable from the mainboard, leaving it connected to the drive. & pull the power connector from the drive, pull fan wire.. use a regular long ide cable & a power y splitter or extension. connect these to the ide socket on the mainboard & power connector. BE SURE NOT TO REVERSE THE CABLE. you can now place the old drive outside the utv box on your bench & connect the power & ide cable to it. this is not required but it is is very helpful to have the drive outside the box.
    the cover must be connected by the ribbon cable to the main board. just connect the ribbon cable & carefully lower the cover onto the utv box & allow the power & ide cable to stick out.
    do not put your card, phone line or sat cable in.
    the only thing you need is the power cord.
    power on unit. the lights on the front of the unit will start to flash. wait a full 2 mins. (TIME IT, if you don't wait long enough it won't work) and then pull out ONLY the ide cable. leave the power connector on the drive in. let it run like this for 1 min per gig. 40 gig = 40 mins. it may take less but this is a good rule of thumb.
    when done pull power plug on utv unit. you now have an unpartitioned drive that your os will recognize.
    the reason this works is that the ide controller sends the format command to the drive & waits till it is finished to relock it. by pulling the cable the drive won't get the lock command but still has power to complete the format. this info is in simple terms & not 100% hi tech but it is accurate.
    now just place the upgraded drive back in the utv box. connect the ide, power & fan connectors. install the cover & all cables & watch tv.
    your original drive can now be partitioned and formatted & used in your computer.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jun 2002

    dial outside the us

    just a quick question, if you'r outside of the USA will the dial up for the software update work or doe's it get it from the satelite feed.
    i do what my little voice tells me

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