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Thread: HOWTO: Upgrade the Hard Drive in an HR20

  1. #1
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    HOWTO: Upgrade the Hard Drive in an HR20

    This is the place where you will find instructions on extracting video from your HD-20 DirecTV DVR.

    Special thanks to PlainBill, RonnyThunder, Stevel and Vurbano for helping create this FAQ.

    Version 1.2

    ----------------------------------------------------------------

    The fact that the Hard Drive contains no critical OS files means that upgrading, by replacing or adding drives in the HR20, is relatively simple.

    The following recommendations come thanks to PlainBill:

    Easy way:

    1) Obtain an eSATA drive
    2) Unplug power to the HR20
    3) Hook up the external drive
    4) Power on the external drive
    5) Power on the HR20.

    Hard way:

    1) Obtain an internal SATA drive
    2) Unplug power to the HR20
    3) Open the case
    4) Remove the existing drive
    [Specifically for the HR21-700]
    4.1) Find the ribbon cable that connects the front panel to the mainboard. On the mainboad end, there is a plastic pull-tab on the connector. Gently pull on it to disconnect the cable.
    4.2) Disconnect the SATA power and data cables from the old drive.
    4.3) Unlatch the tabs holding the front panel onto the chassis and remove the front panel.
    4.4) There is an L-shaped metal plate attached to one edge of the hard drive and the mainboard. Using a #2 Philips screwdriver, remove the screw attaching the plate to the mainboard. Leave the screws attached to the drive for now.
    4.5) From the front of the unit, remove the two Philips screws securing the drive to the front of the chassis.
    4.6) Lift out the old hard drive. Remove the remaining screws on the L-shaped plate
    5) Install the new drive
    5.1) Reverse the steps in 4.6 to 4.1, remembering to plug in the front panel ribbon cable before continuing.
    6) Close the case
    7) Plug power back in

    For information on how to preserve recording, please read the following post by vurbano...
    Last edited by TimeHorse; 12-02-2007 at 04:45 PM. Reason: Added hints for changing internal drive thanks to Stevel

  2. #2
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    Quote Originally Posted by TimeHorse View Post
    There is currently no way of replacing the Hard Drive in the HR20 unit without loosing your current recordings.
    Untrue.

    Someone at DBStalk gave instructs on how to replace the hard drive and restore all recordings and "season passes". basically doing a disk copy under linux and then expanding the partition. He upgraded to a larger disk.

    http://www.dbstalk.com/showthread.ph...ace+hard+drive

    Quote Originally Posted by marty45714 View Post
    I received Earl's permission to post this, but with the following prerequisites:

    Please take the poll above to show that you are aware of the risks of opening your DVR. Please DO NOT DISCUSS extracting programs from the DVR in this forum. This will NOT be tolerated by the moderators! Okay, here we go!!!

    FYI- I have successfully performed this upgrade on 2 HR20's, so this is NOT theory or speculation. It actually works, and I maintained all settings and content from before, plus gained extra space.

    First, why did I want to do this?

    1) I don't want an external hard drive box on top of or beside my HR-20 making more noise and using more power.

    2) I want to retain all of my settings, recording lists, and current recorded shows.

    3) The same reason a dogs licks... Well you get the idea, I wanted to do it as a challenge.

    Second, What do I need to do this?

    1) A T10 Torx screwdriver.

    2) A Phillips screwdriver.

    3) A computer with SATA interface.

    4) Proper software for the computer. You could possibly do this completely with Linux. I didn't. I used Ghost, MBR Tool and Tiny Hexer.

    5) A SATA internal hard drive. I used a 1TB Hitachi Deskstar.

    6) A pair of snips.

    7) Possibly a pair of pliers depending on your unit.

    Lastly, let's get to it!

    1) Take out the 5 T10 Torx screws from the back of the unit.

    2) Note that you are breaking a seal that violates the warranty when you remove the cover.

    3) Slide the cover towards the back of the unit and it will come unlatched, then you can remove it.

    4) Remove the SATA connector, Power connector and Fan Power connector from the internal hard drive.

    5) Find the 2 plastic fasteners that attach the drive mount to the frame. Place your Torx screwdriver in the center of them and push the plastic pin downward. This will release them and they can be removed.

    6) Use a phillips screwdriver to remove the ground wire. You can't remove the Torx side unless you have some type of tamper-proof driver, as far as I can tell.

    7) Now is the hardest part. I have done this on 2 different HR20's and they were both different. You have to remove the 2 screws holding the drive mount to the front of the unit. On one of mine, their were nuts holding them, so I just removed the nuts with a pair of pliers. That was fairly easy and I didn't have to remove the front panel. On my other unit, they were screwed in from the front, so you have to remove the front panel and unscrew them with your Torx screwdriver. It takes some patience and coodination to remove the front panel. Good luck!

    8) You have to snip the tie wrap on the fan power connector in order to remove the hard drive.

    9) Remove the hard drive mount (and hard drive) from the unit.

    10) You need to install the new drive into the HR20 temporarily and power it up. Let the HR20 format the drive and then shut it back down. This is important because you have to write down the partition information from the new drive.

    11) Now is the fun part. Hook your new drive and current internal drive up to a computer with a SATA interface.

    12) Next, you have to get the raw parameters from your new disk's MBR. I used a utility called MBR tool, which is free and is bootable media. I used the Edit Partition option in MBR Tool, and wrote down all of the Hex numbers that make up each of the 3 partitions. If someone could post a similar process in Linux, it would be most appreciated. It would be nice to be able to do this whole process in Linux from beginning to end.

    13) Next I rebooted the computer and started a bootble media version of Norton Ghost, using the command line "ghost -ia" which tells Ghost to start in a "copy disk sector by sector mode."

    14) Go through the Ghost wizard and start the copying process. It took me about 2 hours and 10 minutes to copy the entire 250GB drive.

    15) You can also do this in Linux with 'dd', but I found it took much longer. I just used the command 'dd if=/dev/sda of=/dev/sdb' but maybe someone knows some other command line switches that can make this faster. It took SEVERAL HOURS!

    16) When you have finished copying the disk, you can remove the 250GB original. You are done with it. Remove it from the mount if you haven't already. It is just mounted with some Phillips screws.

    17) Next, you have to edit the Raw MBR table on the new disk with a Hex disk editor, in order to tell the HR20 that the disk is bigger. This is where you use the information you gathered earlier. You are going to overwrite the hex data for the 3rd partition in the MBR. This partition is where the HR20 stores recordings. Again, if someone could post a similar process in Linux, it would be helpful. I know there is a package called 'lde', Linux Disk Editor, which should work. However, most people will probably boot up on something like a Fedora Core rescue disk, which I doubt has this package installed.

    18) I hooked my Windows drive back up to my PC, booted to Windows, and used a utility called Tiny Hexer to do this. It is a free software that you can use to edit the MBR.

    19) When you open the disk with Tiny Hexer and start browsing Sector Zero, which is where your raw MBR is stored on the disk, you'll notice towards the end of the sector, that you'll start seeing the data that you wrote down for the three partitions. If you follow, you'll see the first partition data, followed directly by the second partition data, followed directly by the third partition data. No need to edit the first or second partition data. Mine mine was not exactly the same, I think it differed by a hex value or two but I left it alone. Only change the partition 3 data.

    20) When you get to the third partition data, recreate it EXACTLY as you copied it from MBR Tool earlier.

    21) Don't forget to write the data back to disk.

    22) Now you can mount the new drive and put everything back in the HR20 and fire it up. If everything works okay, you'll have your original settings, recordings, record lists, etc. AND you'll have a heck of a lot more free space showing. Good luck!!!

    VERY IMPORTANT NOTE: All of this was done on HR20-700's. I don't know how different the process will be using an HR20-100. I also don't know if the whole disk process is any different with an HR20-100. If anyone upgrades an HR20-100, PLEASE POST THE RESULTS!

    If you see errors, problems, issues, etc. with this process, please message me and I will edit and make changes. I am also interested in hearing any alternate ways of doing this, or any ways that are easier or will save time.
    Last edited by vurbano; 10-15-2007 at 03:28 PM.

  3. #3
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    Thanks for the updated information.

    PlainBill
    There's a difference between needing help, and just being plain ole' lazy.

    "You cannot teach a man anything. You can only help him find it for himself." Galileo Galilei (1564-1642)

    HR20-700 with 2 TB, HR22-100, HR22-100, HR22-100, HR23-100 all running 0x5cd and networked.

  4. #4
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    Thank for the info Vurbano. I've updated the FAQ to refer to your instructions. If you don't mind maintaining them, I'll let you be the master of that. If you want me to maintain them, I will merge them with the main instructions, above. Anyway, thanks again!

  5. #5
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    If one should install an external esata drive, is it married to the hr20 forever, or
    could it be unplugged and have the hr20 work normally?
    asicguyca

    hr10-250 - (unhacked as yet)
    HDVR2 - 120GB (hacked w/ sleeper's scripts v 1.02)
    pc - p4, 3.0GHz, 1GB, winXP Pro w/SP2 + others
    Sony DRU-500A, Toshiba SD-R5372, Emprex

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by asicguyca View Post
    If one should install an external esata drive, is it married to the hr20 forever, or
    could it be unplugged and have the hr20 work normally?
    this is covered at dbstalk also, but in short: the external drive essentially "replaces" the internal drive. when you connect the esata, it disables the internal drive and you start over with a new blank drive (the external). this means you have to re-enter your season links and other settings. however, if you power off the machine, disconnect the esata and reboot, you go back to using the internal drive with no issues.

    some find this a flaw, some find it a feature.

    ronny

  7. #7
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    If you have an HR21-700, removing the hard drive has the following steps once you have the cover off.

    1. Find the ribbon cable that connects the front panel to the mainboard. On the mainboad end, there is a plastic pull-tab on the connector. Gently pull on it to disconnect the cable.

    2. Disconnect the SATA power and data cables from the old drive.

    3. Unlatch the tabs holding the front panel onto the chassis and remove the front panel.

    4. There is an L-shaped metal plate attached to one edge of the hard drive and the mainboard. Using a #2 Philips screwdriver, remove the screw attaching the plate to the mainboard. Leave the screws attached to the drive for now.

    5. From the front of the unit, remove the two Philips screws securing the drive to the front of the chassis.

    6. Lift out the old hard drive. Remove the remaining screws on the L-shaped plate

    Reverse process to install new drive. Don't forget to reinsert the front panel ribbon cable.
    Steve

  8. #8
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    35 question

    ..found answer elsewhere.
    Last edited by scgiants; 11-20-2007 at 12:32 AM. Reason: found answer

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by vurbano View Post
    Untrue.

    Someone at DBStalk gave instructs on how to replace the hard drive and restore all recordings and "season passes". basically doing a disk copy under linux and then expanding the partition. He upgraded to a larger disk.

    http://www.dbstalk.com/showthread.ph...ace+hard+drive
    The method described in that first post has been shown to cause lockups when the recordings reach the capacity of the original drive. Using a different method I was able to surpass the point at which the lockups were occuring. I let the hr20 format an eSATA drive, and then with both drives in a linux PC I did something like this:
    mount -t xfs -o rtdev=/dev/sdb3 /dev/sdb2 /mnt1
    mount -t xfs -o rtdev=/dev/sdc3 /dev/sdc2 /mnt2
    xfsdump -J - /mnt1 | xfsrestore -J - /mnt2
    I haven't been running on this solution for very long but it seems to be working.

  10. #10
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    Hard drive suggestions

    First and foremost, THANK YOU ALL for being so detailed, especially for e-nit-wits like me.
    Can we use any quality hard drive? I've read to use Seagate DB 35 series as they are made for DVRs and I saw someone used a Hitachi. Will any TB hard drive work dependably? I lean towards Seagate with it's warranty so will any Seagate series work fine?

    Thanks again all for really going out of your way to help out.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by JohnnyGP View Post
    First and foremost, THANK YOU ALL for being so detailed, especially for e-nit-wits like me.
    Can we use any quality hard drive? I've read to use Seagate DB 35 series as they are made for DVRs and I saw someone used a Hitachi. Will any TB hard drive work dependably? I lean towards Seagate with it's warranty so will any Seagate series work fine?

    Thanks again all for really going out of your way to help out.
    I like Seagates; others swear by Western Digital. Many swear at Maxtor. Hitichi bought IBM's hard drive division. IBM Deskstar drives were notorious for not working with TiVos.

    PlainBill
    There's a difference between needing help, and just being plain ole' lazy.

    "You cannot teach a man anything. You can only help him find it for himself." Galileo Galilei (1564-1642)

    HR20-700 with 2 TB, HR22-100, HR22-100, HR22-100, HR23-100 all running 0x5cd and networked.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by ronnythunder View Post
    this is covered at dbstalk also, but in short: the external drive essentially "replaces" the internal drive. when you connect the esata, it disables the internal drive and you start over with a new blank drive (the external). this means you have to re-enter your season links and other settings. however, if you power off the machine, disconnect the esata and reboot, you go back to using the internal drive with no issues.

    some find this a flaw, some find it a feature.

    ronny
    Has anyone tried to move recordings that they had on an external drive to another HR20 by unplugging from HR20-A and plugging into HR20-B and watch the recordings ? Just thinking ahead if we can't move recordings via ethernet, etc.

  13. #13
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    I thought I'd ask here. Once the original DRV HDD has been replaced, has anyone found a way to use this drive in a non-DVR system such as a Windows PC. Mine is just a paper weight right now. It seems the drive needs a spinup command that only the DVR can send. I contacted WD about a firmware and the said "forget it".

    Quote Originally Posted by TimeHorse View Post
    Hard way:

    1) Obtain an internal SATA drive
    2) Unplug power to the HR20
    3) Open the case
    4) Remove the existing drive
    [Specifically for the HR21-700]
    4.1) Find the ribbon cable that connects the front panel to the mainboard. On the mainboad end, there is a plastic pull-tab on the connector. Gently pull on it to disconnect the cable.
    4.2) Disconnect the SATA power and data cables from the old drive.
    4.3) Unlatch the tabs holding the front panel onto the chassis and remove the front panel.
    4.4) There is an L-shaped metal plate attached to one edge of the hard drive and the mainboard. Using a #2 Philips screwdriver, remove the screw attaching the plate to the mainboard. Leave the screws attached to the drive for now.
    4.5) From the front of the unit, remove the two Philips screws securing the drive to the front of the chassis.
    4.6) Lift out the old hard drive. Remove the remaining screws on the L-shaped plate
    5) Install the new drive
    5.1) Reverse the steps in 4.6 to 4.1, remembering to plug in the front panel ribbon cable before continuing.
    6) Close the case
    7) Plug power back in

    For information on how to preserve recording, please read the following post by vurbano...

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by CopyCat View Post
    Has anyone tried to move recordings that they had on an external drive to another HR20 by unplugging from HR20-A and plugging into HR20-B and watch the recordings ? Just thinking ahead if we can't move recordings via ethernet, etc.
    quite a few posts at dbstalk say that this doesn't work. the shows are encrypted and/or otherwise keyed to the box they were created on. pretty obvious why, imho.

    ronny

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by bigcat400 View Post
    I thought I'd ask here. Once the original DRV HDD has been replaced, has anyone found a way to use this drive in a non-DVR system such as a Windows PC. Mine is just a paper weight right now. It seems the drive needs a spinup command that only the DVR can send. I contacted WD about a firmware and the said "forget it".
    That doesn't make any sense. It is possible to copy the original HR20 drive to a new drive using a PC running Linux. This requires the drive spinning up.

    Remember, Windows will not recognize the partitions on the HR20's drive, but WILL recognize it as having a valid MBR. As a result, Windows fdisk will not modify the drive.

    You can test this by downloading the WD diagnostics for the drive; odds are the diagnostics will be able to access it without any problems. When Winblows refuses to access a drive I use a very old copy of Norton's Disk Edit to zero out the first sector of the drive. Now Microflop's fdisk recognizes it as a blank drive.

    PlainBill
    There's a difference between needing help, and just being plain ole' lazy.

    "You cannot teach a man anything. You can only help him find it for himself." Galileo Galilei (1564-1642)

    HR20-700 with 2 TB, HR22-100, HR22-100, HR22-100, HR23-100 all running 0x5cd and networked.

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