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Thread: Tivo Troubleshooting Tips/ Hardware how-to

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Feb 2002

    Tivo Troubleshooting Tips/ Hardware how-to

    Tivo Troubleshooting TIPS
    by Cali & Greek.

    The purpose of this is to provide some tips towards troubleshooting the most common tivo problems. It will focus more on the DirecTivos, with more emphasis on Series1. Series 2 schematics are not publicly available as yet. Most theory fromseries1 can be transferred to series 2 with some minor changes.

    You may be working with 120V here. It is your responsibility to protect yourself from your own stupidity. Dealdatabase, Cali OR Greek cannot and will not be held responsible if you wreak havoc or cause damage, or inflict damage on yourself or anyone else or you burn your house down. We WILL NOT be held responsible for any negative outcome.

    Proceed ONLY if you are comfortable working with 120V and have protection.

    Quote Originally Posted by GREEK
    Before you begin any repair attempt, please ground yourself out, and leave the tivo sit for a while. A bad supply WILL hold charge after being unplugged, and a good one can still give you a good zap. As said, Greek, Cali, and DealDataBase take no responsibility for your actions. You are working with 120v if plugged in, use extreme CAUTION...........

    Before doing anything, PLEASE do the obvious. You MUST reseat ALL connections, especially the parlex ribbon as stated above. MANY problems arise from this, and a stupid IDE cable gone bad or bad IDE pin on the drive or board connector may have you fishing and doing damage for hours/days to come. I STRONGLY recommend having a second unit to reference, at the least a KNOWN good drive. Drive failures can literally cause havoc, and have symptoms that mimic MANY hardware failures.

    I am not a fan of dual drives, but more so DONT use the stock drive to test with. It is CRITICAL to have a backup, images are HARD to find, and it will be priceless someday soon, your drives WILL FAIL sooner or later, its just the price we pay for tivo bliss..........

    First and foremost you need the schematic available here:

    It is posted a few posts down in that thread.( Courtesy of 1dave1)
    The schematic is for DSR6000/GXCEBOTs/T-60.They are all identical. Dont let anyone tell you otherwise.

    A multi-meter is recommended. Available at radio shack. You NEED at least a Voltmeter/Ohmmeter

    In order not to reinvent the wheel, links will be provided to threads dealing with specific issues. Comments will be added as necesssary.

    It is highly recommended to have a KNOWN good drive with a CLEAN EXTREME IMAGE TO PROCEED!

    Also for any and all tivo problems (esp series 1 direc tivos), unplug the white parallax(ribbon) cable that is between the power supply and motherboard. Wipe the contact points with a cotton swap and alcohol. Plug it back in and try again. If the contacts seem worn on the cable, you can add a piece of scotch tape to the bottom side of it(on the black portion). About 1/4" should work. This will allow the cable to push up against the contact points on the board and power supply.

    If that didnt fix your issue, proceed below to the appropriate section.

    Broken down by sections:

    1.Hangs/Stuck at Welcome Powering up
    	a. Prom issues
    	b. Power Supply
    	c. RTC/OSC issues ( Advanced- Requires expensive equipment)
    2.Hangs/Stuck on updating Database
    3.Hangs/stuck on "Almost There" screen
    4.My tivo reboots intermittently.
    	a. My Tivo reboots while booting.
    	b. My tivo reboots while acquiring guide.	
    	c. My tivo reboots after x hours
    5.My tivo has cooling problems
    	a. My tivo constantly overheats.
    	b. My tivo fan doesnt work
    	c. My tivo *thinks* it overheats but it really doesnt.
    6. MY tivo has video output problems
    	a. Fuzzy Screen
    	b. No color on screen
    	c. No Video out at all
    7.Tuner Section
    	a.I cannot get ANY signal on ANY transponder
    	b.I cannot get signal on EVEN Transponder
    	c.I cannot get signal on ODD Transponders
    	d.I only get signal on some transponders.
    	e.MY signal level oscillates up and down. (very rare)
    Last edited by cali; 02-09-2004 at 09:06 AM.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2003
    Credit goes to Cali for this section and info...................

    1.Hangs/Stuck at Welcome Powering up
    a. Prom issues
    b. Power Supply
    c. RTC/OSC issues ( Advanced- Requires expensive equipment)
    If you tivo hangs at welcome powering up, you can try the following:
    -If your prom is has not been flashed by an Extreme25'd 
     hard drive, you cannot put a previously booted up
     xtreme drive in the unit. It will hang. Reload a clean
     image and re-try.
    -Another thing you can try is discharging the 
    motherboard. Unplug the tivo from the wall. remove 
    the "CMOS" battery. Short out the contact in the 
    battery holder. Let the unit sit for a few hours. ( Not 
    a very common fix)
    - There is always the possibly of a dead/corrupted prom 
    in which case you're prob SOL. Prom will need to be 
    removed, and reinstall a new one. You may need to 
    load it with base code before installation. ( this I am 
    not sure about. Ask the code guys)
    -Very often the power supply will emit a clicking sound, and your unit will
    not boot at all. This DOES NOT necessarily mean the PS is bad. The PS
    (power supply) is a switching type and requires a load to turn on. If it is 
    overloaded (shorts/defective motherboard/defective PS) it will cycle off and 
    -This is a very common problem causing hanging at the main screen. Use the 
    schematic to measure the Voltage on the motherboard. A preferred location 
    is the connector that the ribbon cable plugs into, AND or the caps around 
    there. Be very careful if you decide to use the connector for your 
    measurements. Make sure you dont shake, and that you have fine tip 
    probes, else you can create a boat anchor :)
    -Test the hard drive connector for 5V & 12V. Sometimes the PS output will 
    be a little bit on the low side. Unplug the tivo from the wall and look VERY 
    closely at the board. You will see a yellow pot (adjustable resistor). 
    Turning it clockwise will increase the voltage. Plug the unit back in and 
    use a plastic screwdriver to adjust the voltage level to what you want. 
    Usually no more than 1/2 turn is needed to bring the PS into operating 
    range. About 5.2V is ideal. I have ran as high as 5.35 with no ill effects. 
    (IF and ONLY IF,you know what you are doing you can use a metal 
    -If any of the voltages are missing or abnormally low ( especially 3v,5V
    or 12V) you will need to find the cause.
    -I have seen a couple of units with very severe clock issues. You need an
    oscilloscope to check these. Usually you can start tracing around the
    CMOS battery area. If you have gotten this far, you probably have a good 
    idea what you are doing. So I'll shut up here.
    Last edited by GREEK; 02-14-2004 at 05:25 PM.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Feb 2002
    2.Hangs/Stuck on updating Database

    -This is my favorite. I found this fix while troubleshooting my 2nd tivo. I could not figure out what was causing the hang,

    but I had bash. Someone suggested I do a "ps aux" command at the bash prompt. That command will list the processes that are

    running. Usually you will see ATIxx/modemtest in the list. If you examine the modemtest file, you will see the tivo issuing a reset to the

    modem and waiting for acknowledgement. No answer(ATI) results in system hang. Simply "kill xxx" where xxx is the PID of

    modemtest. Also go to the /tvbin directoty and rm modemtest.

    -So to surmize,from bash type :
    			ps aux
    			kill xxx ( xxx is PID for modemtest)
    			cd /tvbin
    			rm modemtest
    - Another other option is to load ver 3.1 SW. Version 3.1 does not run the modemtest..

    - The last option is to fix the problem. I never have. I found it cheaper to remove the file and install a turbonet if

    you really need to talk to the outside world.

    -This hang could ocasionally be caused by a defective hard drive.

    -Tuner(s) is another possibility. Tuners will be covered in great detail in section
    7 by Greek
    Last edited by cali; 02-06-2004 at 07:22 AM.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2003
    3. Almost There

    Almost there can be caused by different things, the major cause is a bad component that is attached directly to the IC2 bus. A software problem can also cause this, and so can a bad HD. For this instance, we will assume that you have completed the basic steps of removing modemtest, and the thread basics up top, thats your first steps.

    The main components attached to the IC2 bus are as follows.
    U13 modem controller. U37/U38 the LNBP15SP voltage regulators. U7/U8 tuner 1+2. All the large chips on the mainboard, the 2 STi5505 chips, the tivo branded chip, the powerpc processor, and the mpeg2 decoder chip. Anyone of these can hold the tivo at almost there, and the reference to the updating database section is the first thing you should do if your using 2.5 or 2.5.2 software versions. <rm modemtest>

    Most often stuck at almost there is caused by a bad tuner, or bad modem. The other common hits are a bad lnbp chip, and a bad modem controller. We rarely see just a bad lnbp chip or tuner, when one goes the other attached to it usually does too. You can read your log files for hints, as cali once said "if i can get bash I can fix it". This theory is that if you can get in thru bash, and almost there will still enable bash access, you can at the least, figure out whats going on internally software/hardware wise.

    The best way to figure out a hardware hit is to reference the schematics, and then reference the voltages that pertain to that component. Although this is very tedious, it is very effective if you dont have experience to know offhand what the likely culprit is. Another good way is to remove the obvious parts after identifying the likely culprit, this will then free the bus up and allow the tivo to boot. I stress one part at a time, otherwise you wont know offhand which it was, you can then backtrack and install replacement parts. There is more to almost there, you can reference the particular hardware problem/part for more complete details elsewhere in this how-to.
    Last edited by GREEK; 02-05-2004 at 10:30 PM.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Feb 2002
    This section is for you greek. #4?
    Last edited by cali; 02-15-2004 at 07:28 PM.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jul 2003
    Last edited by AVD; 02-06-2004 at 12:05 AM.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Mar 2003
    Sticking me with #4 huh I got #7 done, so you do 5 and I'll do 6 too

    PLEASE.........dont post in this section....its a work in progress. Start a new thread and Cali and I will make adjustments per suggestion, we DONT have mod privs in here, so its very hard to move things around and delete posts, the mods have enough to do anymore without this project. As you guys can see, were editing as we go, there is SO MUCH to cover, were NOT gonna get it the first time around. One of the mods or Vadim will go in and clean this up when finished. Were just on the rough draft to try and help keep the obvious posts down, its hard enough to just login in here anymore until the new server gets up..............
    Last edited by GREEK; 02-17-2004 at 10:46 PM.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Feb 2002
    Place holder .

    Ill do 5 this week. #4 is cake mon

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Oct 2005

    You missed one we need. STUCK in a MENU of tivo

    I posted a question that my series 1 is stuck in the CHANGE from ANTENNA to video menu.. it is trying to dial out, but cant connect?
    i tried the 00000 zip, and 000 area code which since it cant connect it
    cant dial a tone. i need to remove the modemfile so it will complain it cant
    file modem and jump out of the menu. Or, i need a command to reset the tivo and clear the last jump point, which is to the dial out change menu!!
    thanks if any help.

    joeastro. MARS IS BIG.. last chance to see Mars

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Dec 2006

    Tivo Schematics link to files that don't open

    I followed the link to the tivo schematic (5 parts). They are .bmp files that they said to rename to .rar files. I don't have any software that can open these. Does someone have a pdf version or software that will open these files?

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Feb 2002
    Get a copy of winrar. The schematics you found are for a series 1 DTivo and not the series 2 you keep asking about.
    Please don't PM me or any other members looking for personal assistance. You'll do better by posting (after you've exhausted the search feature, of course) and taking advantage of the collective expertise of the membership instead of a single individual that may or may not be able to help you. Thank you and enjoy your stay at DDB!

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Dec 2005

    ^ freeware that opens rars, zips, tar, tgz, bz2, 7z, etc.

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Nov 2007

    4.A. Reboots while booting (boot loop)

    I have not seen this item addressed here with an absolute fix yet, so here is what a noob did on a Series 1 DTivo:

    Report back if this helps you.

    k c dias

  14. #14
    humcifmad Guest
    I accept with information:If its backfire thru the carb its usually on the intake side, valves, pushrod,tight or lose valve adjust. Pull the valve covers and look better than a guess.

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Jul 2007

    S1 SA schematics

    So, has anyone ever laid hands (or eyes) on schematics for non-satellite Series Ones, or any part thereof, like say the power supply or the modem?

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