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Danny's Ramblings

TiVo HD upgrade

I used the rainy day today to upgrade our TiVo HD.  With the current tools available, this was a very easy thing to do.  I was somewhat surprised to be honest.  Our TiVo HD now has 237 hours of recording time in HD.  Not too shabby.  I took the time to read up on the new methods of upgrading my generation of TiVo.  So, both to share with others and to make sure I have a record of what I did, I'm going to write up my TiVo HD upgrade instructions here.

Here is my new drive.  It's a Western Digital 1.5TB EVDS.  I kind of wish I bought the 2TB model, but oh well.  I bought this drive because it uses a 512b cluster like the original drive in the TiVo HD.  I've read that WD EARS drives with 4k clusters work just fine if you remember to insert the jumper.  But, like I posted before, I didn't know this was the case.  Nor did I know that a TiVo HD could read file systems larger than 1.2TB...  but anyway.  These instructions are tailored for a Western Digital harddrive with 512b cluster sizes.

Things that need to be prepped before hand.

wdidle3.exe on a bootable CD.  In this case I used fdoem.iso.
JMFS tools bootable CD.  I used JMFS rev 104.
download a copy of HDDScan.  The version I used was HDDScan 3.3.
download a copy of WinMFS tools.  I used WinMFS beta9-3f.

Step 1.  Hookup the new drive to the computer you will use to perform the upgrade.  In my case, I hooked up my WD1.5EVDS drive via SATA.  Also, unplug all other harddrives from the system.

Step 2a.  Bootup the computer using the boot CD contain wdidle3.exe.  Hit enter when you get to this screen.

Step 2b.  Hurray!  You booted into the CD.

Step 2c.  There isn't much to this CD.  Pretty much a linux kernel and the wdidle3.exe file.

Step 2d.  There are not many switches with wdidle3.exe.

Step 2e.  Out of the box, my WD EVDS drive was setup from the factory with an 8 second idle timer.

Step 3a.  Set the idle timer to 300, or 5 minutes.  This needs to be done because the TiVo OS does not behave well when the HD stops spinning.  With an idle timer set at 8, TiVo HD's typically will reboot continuously on power up.  So, to essentially turn off or disable this behavior, you need to set the idle timer to its maximum setting of 300 seconds.  Disabling the timer will cause the drive to go into idle/spin down whenever drive activity ceases.  Pretty much the exact opposite behavior you're looking for.  The syntax for using this switch, is wdidle3 /s300.  If you put in a space between the switch and the value, you'll get the error above.

Step 3b.  Key in wdidle3 /s300 correctly, and you'll get this screen.  It should be near instant, and no waiting involved.  Once done, eject the CD and insert the JMFS tools CD and power off the machine.

Step 4a.  Tear apart your TiVo HD and get that old drive out of it.  First take off the black metal cover.  It is held in place by 5 or 6 screws that use T-10 torx heads.

Step 4b.  Our TiVo HD uses a single multi-stream cable card by Motorola.

Step 4c.  Here's the old drive.  It has served us well, but it's time for a change.  We were experiencing lost audio and screen pixelation when playing back recorded shows.  A sure sign that the drive was starting to show its age.

Step 4d.  The harddrive is held in place on a metal rack and bolted to it with rubber grommets in place.  Quite similar to how the TiVo series 2 was put together.

Step 4e.  There are four bolts holding the metal rack in place, on each corner of the rack.  These also use T-10 Torx heads.  Here's the top right bolt.

Step 4f.  Here's the bottom right bolt.

Step 4g.  Here's the bottom left bolt.  Notice that this one has a toothed lock washer.  It is the only one with a washer on it.

Step 4h.  Here's the top left bolt.

Step 5a.  Remove the old drive from the drive rack.  The drive is held in place with four T-15 torx head bolts.  Connect the old drive to your computer and boot it up.

Step 5b.  If things are going well, you should now see this screen with the JMFS tools loading it's linux kernel.

Step 6a.  Eventually you will get to this screen once the linux kernel is up and running.  Enter capital C and enter. 
NOTE:  If the Copy option is grayed out, like it was for me, enter capital R and hit enter to refresh the drive list.  The screen you see above, is what it looked like for me after I refreshed it.

Step 6b.  JMFS tools is smart enough to know which drive is your original TiVo drive if there is only one drive with a TiVo OS on it.  All I had to do was key in a capital Y and enter.

Step 6c.  JMFS tools was also smart enough to know which drive I wanted to copy to.  I keyed in a capital Y and enter.

Step 6d.  One last sanity check.  I keyed in Y and enter.

Step 6e.  And now the long wait.  JMFS tools is now doing a drive copy from the old drive to the new one.  Your mileage may vary.  In my case, I was copying from my original 160GB drive at around 37MB per second.  That comes to about 1 hour and 15 minutes for this to complete.  Since both of my drives were connected via SATA, this was the "fast" way of doing it.  USB2 connected drives I think would take an age...

Step 7a.  Once the drive copy is completed, you'll be asked if you want to expand the drive.  You should absolutely key in a capital Y for yes.  If you don't, your TiVo HD will see only 160GB of space on the new drive.

Step 7b.  And for sure it's a capital Y that you need to key in.  A lower case y will get you nowhere quick.

Step 7c.  One last sanity check.  Key in a capital Y and enter.

Step 7d.  Once you do that, this screen will flash by.

Step 7e.  The drive expansion is complete.  Expanding the drive shouldn't take very long at all.  From here I could have shutdown the system, but I selected R since I wanted to see what else I could do.

Step 7f.  I got kicked back to the main menu.  Notice that the Copy screen is now gray after a copy was performed.  If you didn't expand before, you could do it here.  Now, you should not use the Supersize option within JMFS tools.  Doing so will cause the drive to be unable to be used in a TiVo HD.  Instead you need to use WinMFS tools to do the supersize.  Some interesting things to note, is that if the source drive is already supersized, JMFS tools will carry the feature over just fine for a TiVo HD.

Step 7g.  As for me, I keyed in S and shutdown.

Step 8.  Put your computer back together and bootup into windows.

Step 9.  Run HDDScan and check the AAM settings for your harddrive.  AAM stands for Automatic Acoustic Management.  You know how harddrives make a lot of noise when they are reading or writing?  You can change how much noise they make if you're willing to sacrifice performance.  For a TiVo HD, you don't need that much performance.  It turns out a WD EVDS harddrive comes with the AAM setting set to the maximum value of 128.  Meaning, it's going to try to be as quiet as possible.  I failed to get the screenshots of that...  Ah well.

Step 10.  Run winmfs.exe.  I'm running Windows 7 Ultimate 64 bit on my computer.  I had to make sure to run it as administrator, or the drives would not appear properly.

Step 11a.  Once it's up you should get this screen.  Click on File and Select Drive.

Step 11b.  The drive should appear just like above.  Click on Select.

Step 11c.  Once selected, click on Tools and then MfsSupersize and then On.

Step 11d.  The result should be instant.  This popup window will appear.  Power down your computer.

Step 12.  Put your TiVo HD back together.  Again the harddrive is bolted to the drive rack using a T-15, and everything else is a T-10.  One silly mistake I made, was forgetting to connect the SATA power/data cable to the new harddrive.  Silly mistakes can be supremely frustrating.

Step 13.  Put your original TiVo HD harddrive in a safe place!  In my case, I am storing the TiVo HD's original harddrive in the same box the new drive was shipped in, along with the two boot CDs used and a third CD will all of the ISO, windows binaries used, and this blog post.

Step 14a.  Reconnect your TiVo HD to your TV setup/rig.

Step 14b.  Wait a good five minutes or so and boom, you'll get the TiVo bootup video!  Huzzah!

Step 14c.  Go to TiVo system information to confirm you've got all the space you paid for.