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HR20: Hard Drive Upgrade

Discussion in 'DIRECTV HD DVR/Receiver Discussion' started by Gotchaa, Aug 26, 2006.

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  1. Aug 26, 2006 #1 of 213
    Gotchaa

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    I don't recommend anyone do this unless they own their HR20 and understand that you are on your own as far as D* is concerned so don't call them if you have issues or break your box, you are pretty much toast.

    This was intended as a proof of concept for an upgraded hard drive, not intended to be a guide or procedure to do so.

    I figured since the SATA port is disabled for the external port, and I had a HR20 that hadn't been activated yet I'd see if I could upgrade the HD.

    I opened up the box, unplugged the SATA cable from the internal HD controller and active onboard controller, and plugged in the external SATA cable to controller 1.

    I then plugged in my external SATA HD, which I had hoped would just work out of the box, with the external port, powered up and waited. Soon enough, it booted up, I went through the setup menu, activated the device and all is well:

    External 300GB SATA HD running off controller 1, internal HD disconnected.

    I have HD programs recording for the next 24 hours on
    both tuners now to the external SATA HD.

    I also have an internal 500GB HD SATA drive on hand which I plan to likely take back and replace with a 750GB SATA drive, as it seems that in all likelihood it should work.

    What I don't know:

    -If I can take the external SATA drive and plug it into my other HR20, reverse the controller cable, reboot and see the recorded program I have on the drive. (This would allow Sneaker Net for MRV until it becomes available)

    -If it requires an unactivated or formated HD to work the first time

    -What will happen if I plug the external sata cable back to controller 2 and reboot.

    -What will happen if I plug both internal and external sata cables back into the controllers and attach both external and internal drives and reboot.

    -If I can use all the space on the HD (300, 500, or 750GB SATA)

    -What happens when I reboot the HR20 without the HD attached or powered on

    -What happens when I plug the orginal HD back in and reboot.

    Interestingly enough, I have not received even the initial software update, I am guessing because I am actively recording on both streams.

    I also noticed the sound effects option was not grayed out, so I was able to tab to it, these are the settings for screen navigation volume level. Needless to say, there is no menu sound even though it's accessible, likely why it was grayed out with the initial update.


    I am going to wait till I get some more recorded material on these devices and test some of these scenarios out.


    Now if D* had just released the box with the external sata port enabled I wouldn't be tinkering. In all likelihood D* is going to enable the external port for expanded space, so my efforts are just to find out if it can be done.

    All this is pretty interesting to me and likely explains why the box is so quick, it appears recorded programming is all that's stored on the HD, which is good and bad if this turns out to be true.
     

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  2. Aug 26, 2006 #2 of 213
    dvrblogger

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    very ub=nlikely you can move drives between boxes as unlike DISH and otehrs NDS /DIRECTV encrypt all content on the drive. It'll be interesting to see if you have any luck ? Where you able to read the drive in a PC ?
     
  3. Aug 26, 2006 #3 of 213
    Wally_Gator

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    Reading the drive in a PC might be hard unless you have linux variant on the PC.
    I could be wrong but don't most of these systems use a Linux kernal for speed.
    As far as reading th content. It has been said the the Sat stream is sent directly to the drive and not decrypted. You would need the Decryption hardware in the receiver to decode the content.
     
  4. Aug 26, 2006 #4 of 213
    geoliquid

    geoliquid Mentor

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    That makes sense. The stream would have to be encrypted. How else can they let you record a pay per view movie but only charge you if you watch. I would think they would be required to protect that data. Very cool!
     
  5. Aug 26, 2006 #5 of 213
    Gotchaa

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    Just to clarify, I am not trying to read the recorded data off the external HD, rather I was referring to moving the external HD from one HR20 to another HR20. That's all.

    I won't be discussing anything related to hacking the recorded data streams.
     
  6. Aug 26, 2006 #6 of 213
    Wolffpack

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  7. Aug 27, 2006 #7 of 213
    NurseDave

    NurseDave AllStar

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    Oh man, thinking about adding another HD to it just makes me all droolly. :stickman:
     
  8. Aug 27, 2006 #8 of 213
    Gotchaa

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    I am curious now, there was nothing on the external HD, so the device must have initialized it and created the HD partition.

    If this is accurate, then my guess would be that some information about the drive must be stored on the device. It's possible after initalization, upgrading to another HD from scratch without resetting memory may not work, a lot of assumptions being made here. Installing a larger drive may not work without doing a dd, and from what it sounds like doing a dd from a smaller drive to a larger one requires repartitioning to get the larger space.

    I will have to wait till tomorrow to do some more testing, at which point I can attempt connecting the drive to a linux system if I can get drivers for sata pci card to work.

    I wonder if there is a jumper setting to erase the onboard device's memory.
     
  9. Aug 27, 2006 #9 of 213
    Gotchaa

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    I went back and read the thread Wolfpack linked to, and Jim Barton's TiVo-lution article, very good read. http://acmqueue.com/modules.php?name=Content&pa=showpage&pid=381.

    From the sounds of it, it make sense why the 300GB external SATA Seagate worked, it's exactly the same size.

    I am just going to stop recording now and throw in the 500GB drive and see what happens.

    It appears that the HD size is limited in ROM, so it won't matter if it boots up fine. But let's see what happens, perhaps it's not restricted to 300GB. How many hours of Mpeg2 HD should I be able to store about 60 hours?
     
  10. Aug 27, 2006 #10 of 213
    Gotchaa

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    I went ahead and removed the external HD, replaced the sata internal and external cables, and removed the internal Seagate drive. I was able to put in a virgin Maxtor 500GB drive jumpered to 150gb transfer rate, reboot and it came back up no problems, formatted and ready to go for recording.

    I was immeditately prompted for a software download, which I cancelled. After thinking about it, I am going to let the software update download, as it would eventually happen anyhow, and this would be a better test of how it would be running after testing. Who knows maybe they've locked or unlocked storage capcity (doubt it).

    The plan is to record two HD Mpeg2 channels all flagged to KEEP until I delete for the next 30 hours, so my Monday morning, I should know how much recording time I have.
     
  11. Aug 27, 2006 #11 of 213
    Wally_Gator

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    Now the question is, what is the partition size on that 500gb hd?
    Does it partition to 300GB or to a max size? Big question..
    One would wonder what type of filesystem is on that HD?

    While you may be able to put a larger drive in the system, if it is set to only partition to 300gb, you would never use the additional space... If it used a filesystem compatable with Windows, you could use Partiton Magic to expand the Partition..
    Just thoughts...
     
  12. Aug 27, 2006 #12 of 213
    Wolffpack

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    The partition size doesn't necessarily mean more recording space (at least on the R15).

    The R15 comes with a 160GB drive with a 160GB FAT32(ish) partition. If I place a 250GB drive in my R15 and perform a format I get a 250GB FAT32(ish) partition. But even with that the R15 stops recording at 100 Hrs. No increase.
     
  13. Aug 27, 2006 #13 of 213
    Gotchaa

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    So far I've got 16hrs of Mpeg2 HD, and 82% diskspace free..
     
  14. Aug 27, 2006 #14 of 213
    P Smith

    P Smith Mr. FixAnything

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    Gothchaa, will be faster to fillout using MPEG-4 channels.
     
  15. Aug 27, 2006 #15 of 213
    Earl Bonovich

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    Actually it will take longer if you are recording MPEG-4 channels..
    As it is a tigher compression: MPEG-4-HD is smaller them MPEG-2 HD
     
  16. Aug 27, 2006 #16 of 213
    P Smith

    P Smith Mr. FixAnything

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    Well, then record two HD channels :); ah - will be interesting to see difference in size for MPEG-2 and MPEG-4.
     
  17. Aug 27, 2006 #17 of 213
    Wolffpack

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    I'd stay with the MPEG2 HD recordings. Easier to add up the hours and see how that corresponds to the size available. On the HR10 one hour of MPEG2 HD takes up about 6.1 GB of HD space. This is based on Extreme Engineering and Sunrise Earth. If you start mixing SD/HD MPEG2 and HD MPEG4 it's going to be impossible to tell exactly how much storage you have.

    Based your figures above, 16hrs of MPEG2 HD would be close to 100GB. How large of a drive did you put in? 500GB?

    Does anyone know the actual rating of HD MPEG2 and HD MPEG4 hours on the HR20? Also, how much of the drive is reserved for VOD?
     
  18. Aug 27, 2006 #18 of 213
    Gotchaa

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    500GB is the size, Maxtor Drive, which is louder than the Seagate. Does Maxtor still have the amset quiet flag?

    I am recording two HD Mpeg 2 channels, HDNet (which may have more bandwidth allocated per stream), and Showtime-HD. I started at about 2:30AM this morning, which means around 8 or 9 AM Monday morning, I should be completly full with about 60 or so hours of recordings. I've tagged all programs to keep until I delete.

    6.1 GB per hour would mean about 50hrs recording time for a 300GB drive, and 80 hours for a 500GB time. I've seen reported that you get about 50hrs with HR20 with Mpeg4 out of the box. If your estimates are correct then I would need to schedule an addtional 20 hours, which would take me out to 7PM Monday evening.

    I had been using an estimate of about 8GB per hour for Mpeg2
     
  19. Aug 27, 2006 #19 of 213
    Earl Bonovich

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    According to previous reports:

    30hrs MPEG-2
    50hrs MPEG-4
     
  20. Aug 27, 2006 #20 of 213
    Wolffpack

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    So if a 300GB drive is expected to record 30hrs of MPEG2 one could expect 50hrs of MPEG2 on a properly formatted 500GB drive. So 16 hrs out of 50 would be 32% utilization yet his test is showing 18% utilization.

    Gotchaa, are you recording individual shows or blocks of time? Also, have you reviewed MYVOD to make sure you're getting complete recordings?
     
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