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Thread: TiVo HD PSU Repair Service

  1. #1
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    TiVo HD PSU Repair Service

    Due to the high number of TiVo HD's that I've seen recently with blown capacitors.

    Open up your TiVo and look at the power supply. Do you see any caps that look like these?







    If you see any capacitors that are bulging or leaking, you've got blown caps, and they need to be replaced.

    A power supply with distended and failed capacitors can result in the following symptoms:

    • Unit powers on but displays no video.
    • Unit randomly powers off and on during use.
    • Unit fails to complete boot.
    • Unit randomly freezes.
    • Unit freezes during heavy drive activity.
    • Unit fails to restart following a lockup and subsequent reboot.


    You can read more about this issue that has been called the "Capacitor Plague" on Wikipedia.

    The cost for this service is $50, and includes replacement of all distended and failing capacitors, including return shipping service.

    Prior to requesting service, please observe the following notes:


    • This service applies for the Series3 HD (Gen05), TiVo HD (Gen06), and TiVo Premiere (Gen07) ONLY.
    • This repair service is for the PSU ONLY and will not resolve other pre-existing issues with the TiVo, up to and including failed hard disks.
    • The PSU should be shipped BY ITSELF without the TiVo in a secure and well-padded box.
    • The PSU will return via UPS Ground or USPS Priority Mail with Delivery Confirmation.
    • Owner of the PSU assumes all shipping liability in both directions.
    • Pack the PSU well, but please don't use a huge box. If the size of the box increases my shipping cost significantly, I will invoice you for the difference.
    • I will send the shipping address via email once I receive notice of payment.



    To request service, click here: [CLICKY]
    Last edited by Omikron; 07-01-2012 at 11:34 PM.
    .-=Omikron=-.

    TiVo Series4 Premiere Development HERE

    Do you have a PROM related question? Check HERE and HERE before sending me a PM. Any questions that have already been answered will be deleted if sent via PM.

  2. #2
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    This is what bad caps looked like in my TiVo HD power supply.

    Attached Images Attached Images
    Last edited by StanSimmons; 02-09-2011 at 01:43 PM.

  3. #3
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    Is it possible to get the info on size and voltage of the caps that need replacement? Some of us have the ability to to the work ourselves, I just hate to open the box to get the info then order parts and open it again. I can see from one of the pictures that at least two are 3300 uF, but can't see the voltage.
    Thanks
    Burt

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by burtgree View Post
    Is it possible to get the info on size and voltage of the caps that need replacement? Some of us have the ability to to the work ourselves, I just hate to open the box to get the info then order parts and open it again. I can see from one of the pictures that at least two are 3300 uF, but can't see the voltage.
    Thanks
    Burt
    The photos in the post are stock photos that I provided as examples of what to look for. Unfortunately I lost all of the photos I took of actual TiVo HD units when I lost my phone during a recent trip.

    You'll have to open up the unit anyway because TiVo has several revisions of PSU's used in these units, and some of them use different configurations. Additionally, you'll need to evaluate which capacitors, if any, have actually failed and will require replacement.
    .-=Omikron=-.

    TiVo Series4 Premiere Development HERE

    Do you have a PROM related question? Check HERE and HERE before sending me a PM. Any questions that have already been answered will be deleted if sent via PM.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by Omikron View Post
    The photos in the post are stock photos that I provided as examples of what to look for. Unfortunately I lost all of the photos I took of actual TiVo HD units when I lost my phone during a recent trip.

    You'll have to open up the unit anyway because TiVo has several revisions of PSU's used in these units, and some of them use different configurations. Additionally, you'll need to evaluate which capacitors, if any, have actually failed and will require replacement.
    Thanks anyway.

    This has become a very common problem with all things lately.

    I have had to replace caps on two flat screen tv's, and 1 montors.

    Later
    Burt

  6. #6
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    Since a couple people have asked me, this service will also be resuming if anyone has an affected unit. :-)
    .-=Omikron=-.

    TiVo Series4 Premiere Development HERE

    Do you have a PROM related question? Check HERE and HERE before sending me a PM. Any questions that have already been answered will be deleted if sent via PM.

  7. #7
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    A few people have asked again via PM, so I I'll go ahead and confirm that this service is still active. I have full Panasonic capacitor replacement kits in stock for Series3 HD (OLED Model), TiVo HD, and Series4 units.
    .-=Omikron=-.

    TiVo Series4 Premiere Development HERE

    Do you have a PROM related question? Check HERE and HERE before sending me a PM. Any questions that have already been answered will be deleted if sent via PM.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Omikron View Post
    A few people have asked again via PM, so I I'll go ahead and confirm that this service is still active. I have full Panasonic capacitor replacement kits in stock for Series3 HD (OLED Model), TiVo HD, and Series4 units.
    What if the problem with the power supply is something other than, or in addition to, bad caps?

    Someone who can be sure about that one way or the other before they send you the power supply is likely to do the repair themselves, so I'd think you're more likely to get customers who only know that there's "something" wrong with the power supply.
    Too busy TiVo wrangling to watch television anymore.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by unitron View Post
    Someone who can be sure about that one way or the other before they send you the power supply is likely to do the repair themselves, so I'd think you're more likely to get customers who only know that there's "something" wrong with the power supply.
    A valid point, but then again I've never catered to hardware hacking experts. Just the casual hobbyist that wants to make sure things are done right. :-)

    That said, I have noticed that:

    1. PSU issues are almost always related to bad capacitors. In fact, short of a massive power spike, there's not a whole lot else that can fail on an average power supply.

    2. The caps on a modern PSU are notoriously difficult to replace with some equipment. The traces are so wide and the grounding planes so large that it sinks away almost all of the heat that you dump into it. Coupled with the high temperatures required to work with lead-free solder, it can create some serious headache for anyone who doesn't have a soldering iron that's up to the task.

    3. Time is of the essence. If you're going to replace a few failed caps on the PSU, why not replace them all? After all, they're all from the same low quality batch. It'll take most (not all) people about 45 minutes to locate all of the correct parts on Mouser or Digikey. Including shipping, some high quality Panasonic FR caps will run you about $15-17 including shipping. If they're all in stock, you've got to order them, wait for them to arrive, then do the work, which for many will take another 30 to 45 minutes, assuming you've got a nice beefy soldering iron. Subtract the return shipping cost included in the price, and I'm really only charging about $20-$25 for my time. To be frank, I think that's a pretty good bargain for the people who don't want to spend the time doing it themselves. :-)

    It's obviously a service of convenience. It's not particularly hard to replace capacitors, and I would wager I could probably do the same work (albeit with more time) using an iron nail, some pliers, and a lighter, although I don't recommend it. :-)

    I encourage anyone who owns a TiVo to open it up periodically to clean out dust and check for distended or leaking caps. If you want to take the quick way out, you could just replace the obviously bad ones and leave the rest be, although caps often can be considered bad well before they start bulging. It's a great beginner project IMHO because it's pretty hard to mess it up. Worst case, you buy a new PSU. :-)
    .-=Omikron=-.

    TiVo Series4 Premiere Development HERE

    Do you have a PROM related question? Check HERE and HERE before sending me a PM. Any questions that have already been answered will be deleted if sent via PM.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Omikron View Post
    A valid point, but then again I've never catered to hardware hacking experts. Just the casual hobbyist that wants to make sure things are done right. :-)

    That said, I have noticed that:

    1. PSU issues are almost always related to bad capacitors. In fact, short of a massive power spike, there's not a whole lot else that can fail on an average power supply.

    2. The caps on a modern PSU are notoriously difficult to replace with some equipment. The traces are so wide and the grounding planes so large that it sinks away almost all of the heat that you dump into it. Coupled with the high temperatures required to work with lead-free solder, it can create some serious headache for anyone who doesn't have a soldering iron that's up to the task.

    3. Time is of the essence. If you're going to replace a few failed caps on the PSU, why not replace them all? After all, they're all from the same low quality batch. It'll take most (not all) people about 45 minutes to locate all of the correct parts on Mouser or Digikey. Including shipping, some high quality Panasonic FR caps will run you about $15-17 including shipping. If they're all in stock, you've got to order them, wait for them to arrive, then do the work, which for many will take another 30 to 45 minutes, assuming you've got a nice beefy soldering iron. Subtract the return shipping cost included in the price, and I'm really only charging about $20-$25 for my time. To be frank, I think that's a pretty good bargain for the people who don't want to spend the time doing it themselves. :-)

    It's obviously a service of convenience. It's not particularly hard to replace capacitors, and I would wager I could probably do the same work (albeit with more time) using an iron nail, some pliers, and a lighter, although I don't recommend it. :-)

    I encourage anyone who owns a TiVo to open it up periodically to clean out dust and check for distended or leaking caps. If you want to take the quick way out, you could just replace the obviously bad ones and leave the rest be, although caps often can be considered bad well before they start bulging. It's a great beginner project IMHO because it's pretty hard to mess it up. Worst case, you buy a new PSU. :-)
    I ask because of a TCF poster

    http://www.tivocommunity.com/tivo-vb...68#post9159368

    who got a replacement supply from Weaknees that apparently only lasted about 7 months.

    It would seem that if they (Weaknees) are refurbishing and selling those, they'd just go ahead and replace all of the usual suspects on the 12V and 5V output rails (that's what, 4 caps at most?), so it seems, at least in her case, that something else can go bad, and was wondering whether to refer her to you as someone who could handle whatever is wrong with it, or advise her to look for a good local shop.
    Too busy TiVo wrangling to watch television anymore.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by unitron View Post
    I ask because of a TCF poster

    http://www.tivocommunity.com/tivo-vb...68#post9159368

    who got a replacement supply from Weaknees that apparently only lasted about 7 months.

    It would seem that if they (Weaknees) are refurbishing and selling those, they'd just go ahead and replace all of the usual suspects on the 12V and 5V output rails (that's what, 4 caps at most?), so it seems, at least in her case, that something else can go bad, and was wondering whether to refer her to you as someone who could handle whatever is wrong with it, or advise her to look for a good local shop.
    Okay, that puts some context in there for me.

    Without looking at the PSU, I can only make a few educated guesses as to it's origin:

    1. The PSU was "new but old stock", meaning it was a pull from new TiVo.
    2. The PSU was used but pulled from a known-good TiVo.
    3. The PSU was at some point refurbished by WeaKnees or someone else.

    If it was 1 or 2, then it the age of the caps doesn't really change, and it's possible that the electrolytic in the caps failed due to poor mix and aging. If it was 3, then even with really cheap caps (unlikely since good caps aren't that much more expensive) one should get more than 6 months of use out of it. That said, IF the PSU had good capacitors to begin with and IF they're bad again, it's quite possible that environmental issues are causing premature failure. PSU's tend to get more stressed when fed dirty power or subjected to excessive heat.

    That is, of course, if the issue is related to the caps. There is always the chance that it was something else, and if that's the case, it sounds like she just had bad luck.

    FWIW I will take a look at her PSU (or anyone else's for that matter) and evaluate it free of charge. I am myself curious what failed on her's, and if I see it in person I can at least know what kind of PSU she received, and if it seems refurbished or not.
    .-=Omikron=-.

    TiVo Series4 Premiere Development HERE

    Do you have a PROM related question? Check HERE and HERE before sending me a PM. Any questions that have already been answered will be deleted if sent via PM.

  12. #12
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    If you (or anyone else) find a failed PSU that is not caps, I would love to know what the secondary failure points are. All the ones I've ever autopsied have been bad caps, or broken traces on the board (usually near where the cord plugs in, there's not enough strain relief there, and sometimes the cords are a tight fit).

    I've got two series 2 units with PSUs that emit a high pitched whine. It's loud enough to hear even with the cover on, and it's worse before the unit has warmed up. Is this attributable to caps going bad? The caps on these particular PSU's show no visible signs of distress (yes, I know they can, and do fail without visible symptoms).
    They say beer will make me dumb. It are go good with pizza!-----------
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  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by crashHD View Post
    If you (or anyone else) find a failed PSU that is not caps, I would love to know what the secondary failure points are. All the ones I've ever autopsied have been bad caps, or broken traces on the board (usually near where the cord plugs in, there's not enough strain relief there, and sometimes the cords are a tight fit).

    I've got two series 2 units with PSUs that emit a high pitched whine. It's loud enough to hear even with the cover on, and it's worse before the unit has warmed up. Is this attributable to caps going bad? The caps on these particular PSU's show no visible signs of distress (yes, I know they can, and do fail without visible symptoms).
    The only time I've had a TiVo PSU whine, it ended up getting resolved after cap replacement. Obviously that's not a guarantee. In the interest of SCIENCE, I'd like to know more about this symptom.

    If you like, I'm willing to experiment one of the PSU's that's whining and replace all the caps to see what happens. If it doesn't work, you'll only be responsible for shipping, and the caps will be on me. :-P
    .-=Omikron=-.

    TiVo Series4 Premiere Development HERE

    Do you have a PROM related question? Check HERE and HERE before sending me a PM. Any questions that have already been answered will be deleted if sent via PM.

  14. #14
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    If whine isn't the fan or the hard drive, but the power supply itself, I'm thinking it's either magnetostriction, like the horizontal transformers on old CRT televisions used to do at just under 16kHz, or maybe the ripple the caps are supposed to filter is somehow causing the "electrostatic" equivalent of magnetostriction and making something vibrate like an electrostatic speaker panel or a piezo-electric buzzer or tweeter.
    Too busy TiVo wrangling to watch television anymore.

  15. #15
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    I'm still regularly seeing failed PSU's on TiVo HD's and Series3's. I'd say almost half of all the TiVo's I see today have either bulging or leaking capacitors. This problem is going to get worse as these platforms age and more PSU's begin to fail. I'm curious if TiVo is using this as an opportunity to push people harder towards the Premiere platform when their PSU fails...
    .-=Omikron=-.

    TiVo Series4 Premiere Development HERE

    Do you have a PROM related question? Check HERE and HERE before sending me a PM. Any questions that have already been answered will be deleted if sent via PM.

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