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eSATA RAID Freezing Problems

Discussion in 'DIRECTV HD DVR/Receiver Discussion' started by Graham Best, Nov 15, 2007.

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  1. Graham Best

    Graham Best New Member

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    Nov 13, 2007
    I'm having a problem where simply plugging in an eSATA RAID is causing the screen to freeze. My HR20-100S works for awhile (maybe around 15 minutes or so), and then the picture is frozen. Changing the channel only shows a black screen. The menu system sometimes continues to work in this situation, and the only way to resolve the problem is to reboot.

    My set up is using a Sil 4726 RAID based on ItsMeJTO's setup. The only difference is that I'm using Western Digital hard drives instead of Seagate. A pictorial summary of my setup is in the enclosed PDF file. This is what I've tried so far:

    • I set up the RAID in a RAID 0 (Fast) configuration with my PC and Sil 4726 Manager v4.0.0.9.
    • I've shut down the HR20-100S, connected the eSATA cable to the RAID and the DVR, and powered on both at the same time. (If there is any other way of setting this up, I could not find it on this message board.)
    • I’ve made multiple calls to DirecTV customer service. They couldn't figure out what was wrong, so they sent a technician.
    • The technician came out, couldn't figure out the problem either, so he replaced the HR20-100S with a new one. The current HR20-100S exhibits the same problem as the last one.
    • I've reformatted the RAID so there's no programs or settings on the drive. I also performed a complete reset of the HR20. I left the HR20 on channel 201 (the SD Welcom to DirecTV program loop). There was no programs scheduled to record and nothing was recording. The HR20 still crashed.
    • The RAID itself seems to be fine. I am able to configure the RAID with the Sil 4726 Manager with no problems. I have also been able to reinstall the 1.2061 firmware with no problems.

    Is there some sort of secret that I missed on setting this up? I've been fighting this problem for the last two months, and I don't feel I'm any closer to fixing it. My wife just wants to watch television, but she's now missed all of her shows and threatening to cancel DirecTV...

    Any help you could give me would be appreciated. I apologize if this has been discussed already...

    Thanks.
    Graham Best
     
  2. Podkayne

    Podkayne Legend

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    Nov 1, 2007
    This is an impressive system. Perusal of the threads dealing with esata on the technical issues forum may give some help. Multi-terabyte arrays have been unsuccessful for those larger than 2TB...at least none are documented. A successful implementation of the Sil4726 controller has escaped my notice, but may nevertheless have occurred for a 2TB array or less.

    This startup procedure may be usefull, found on another thread:

    1) Connected hard drive to DVR with eSATA cable, then wait about 2-3 min.
    2) Power on hard drive.
    3) Wait 2-3 min.
    4) Plugged in DVR, BUT DO NOT MANUALLY TURN ON THE DVR. DVR will boot up on its own in less than 3 min.
    5) As the DVR automatically powers on, the REC button should light up red for a short amount of time (10 sec - 1 min. or more). If it does, it means that the DVR recognizes the factory built external hard drive and you will be good to go after the DVR has gone through its normal start up process. If not, go back to step 1 and allow an additional minute or two between steps.

    Hopefully, this process will work for any factory built external hard drive (remember YRMV).


    I have just purchased a Kingwin JT-35E-BK R enclosure and WD10EACS 1TB hard drive from newegg for my first try at esata.

    Good luck.
     
  3. Podkayne

    Podkayne Legend

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    Nov 1, 2007
  4. P Smith

    P Smith Mr. FixAnything

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    Using PC I would do scrub tests on each HDD and whole RAID-0 first before connect to HR20.
     
  5. Graham Best

    Graham Best New Member

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    Nov 13, 2007
    Thank you for the boot up information. I will try this.

    ItsMeJTO's set up is a Sil4726, and some how he got it to work. I'd post the link to his thread, but the site won't let me post URL's yet... It's thread number 74560. I will look at the other thread of RAID successes that you sent me.
     
  6. gcisko

    gcisko I am Iron Man!

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    Sep 27, 2006
    RAID 0 is the least fault tolerant of all the RAID levels. How do you know that one of your drives is not making problems? How many disks do you have in the array? If you have at least 3 go for RAID 5 (reduction in over all disk capacity) but more secure.
     
  7. P Smith

    P Smith Mr. FixAnything

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    He (OP) posted his config - try to open PDF first ;).
     
  8. Podkayne

    Podkayne Legend

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    Nov 1, 2007
    He's got 5 x 750GB Western Digital SATA's. If he gets it online and seeing the whole 3.75TB array then it will be a first. I hope it works...
     
  9. gcisko

    gcisko I am Iron Man!

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    In that case I would choose RAID 5... That way you are not in trouble until you loose 2 drives.
     
  10. gcisko

    gcisko I am Iron Man!

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    Didn't even see it!!!
     
  11. 1948GG

    1948GG Icon

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    Aug 4, 2007
    Along with the Sil4726, which as noted has has a 'checkered' history despite one person apparently haven gotten it to work, the other 'barrier' is the >2TB space.

    This has been brought up in several threads, and I have yet to find a person with an *operating* array larger than that. Earl has commented that he thought there should be no problem, but has never actually come back to the threads and confirmed that sizes larger than the 2TB actually work.

    What I would do is first, reduce the number of drives down to something smaller than 2TB, and see how it works (or doesn't). Then, add the drive to bring the array just past the 2TB mark and re-try. Proceed further IF it still works.

    I'll bet it may not; but who knows at this stage. But, I punted recently and went with a 2TB unit and will use that until things 'settle down' a bit with this eSATA stuff (MRV is another thing, no use putting a huge system just on one DVR).
     
  12. Graham Best

    Graham Best New Member

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    Nov 13, 2007
    I left my HR20 off while I was at work, came home, waited 20 minutes between steps, and no red light. I didn't know about the 2GB barrier before I put this together; I wish I did. C**p, that was an expensive mistake... :nono2:

    Thanks for your help though. I'm not sure what my next move is...
     
  13. jzoomer

    jzoomer Legend

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    Sep 21, 2006
    I have a Sil4726 cooldrive box operating in stripe mode using two 1-terabyte drives from WD (green drives). No problems in over a week of operation. You do need a PC to set up the box initially.
     
  14. Graham Best

    Graham Best New Member

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    Nov 13, 2007
    Okay, I think I'm going to try this next and see what happens.
     
  15. gcisko

    gcisko I am Iron Man!

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    Why not reconfigure it as raid 5 ~2TB with some active spares and check that out? At this point it seems worth the try... No?
     
  16. Graham Best

    Graham Best New Member

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    Nov 13, 2007
    True... I'm just frustrated. I'm trying the 2 drive (1.5T) approach first to see if I can get anything out of the Sil4726, then work on RAID 5.
     
  17. mickaloha

    mickaloha New Member

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    Oct 19, 2007
    Currently there are no standalone arrays that can manage Raid 5. All the arrays I have looked at that can do Raid 5 only can do it to windows. If you know of one that can, please let me know because I am in the market for it also.

    My hope is for the directv tuner card announced back in CES 2006 for Vista. I await announcement about it at CES 2008. Hopefully they will say it will be available in mid 2008 along with an update to Vista media center so I can build my own HTPC and it will have Raid 5(survives a disk failure) or possibly even Raid 6 (survives double disk failure).
     
  18. gcisko

    gcisko I am Iron Man!

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    Sorry I am a windows person by trade...
     
  19. 1948GG

    1948GG Icon

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    Aug 4, 2007
    The 2TB Barrier has apparently been semi-confirmed by some Linux folks, see the thread 'esata larger than 2TB' in this forum.
     
  20. d0ug

    d0ug Legend

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    Mar 22, 2006
    Any external enclosure with standlone RAID5 will probably be very expensive. RAID5 needs a somewhat powerfull processor to calculate the parity in realtime without causing a bottleneck in the dataflow, whereas the simple mirroring/striping boxes probably only have a classic pentium class processor in them. Not much processing power is needed for mirroring/striping.

    Also because of the market that a RAID5 capable box would be aimed at, there will automatically be a price premium added to it. So expect to pay big $$$ for it.

    I personally just picked up a 1TB hitachi drive and a no frills external eSATA enclosure. I dont feel the need to RAID my DVR, the recordings aren't that critical to me.

    I personally wish our boxes were not on the lease program. I would love to just crack my HR20 open and put my 1TB hd inside the box, and not deal with any external drives.

    Because of this lease program not allowing us to open our boxes, in the future it would be nice to see directv put the DVRs HD in a removeable drive bay that comes out the side or back of the box. That way you can just slide out the bay, change the drive out, and slide it back in. No having to crack the box open and void any waranties.
     
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