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Multiple external drives possible?


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46 replies to this topic

#21 OFFLINE   DEC

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Posted 30 December 2012 - 12:47 AM

Good point ... I'll check that out.

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#22 OFFLINE   Hardin Thicke

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Posted 02 January 2013 - 08:01 AM

Follow-up:
Thanks again for the advice. I picked up a 2TB Seagate Backup Plus drive. I plugged it into the DVR, and it immediately requested to format. Afterwards, I moved a number of programs over the the new drive, then began the tedious process of moving "files" off the old drive and onto the DVR, then plugging in the new drive and transferring them over there. It is a time consuming process although you can still view the television while it's being done. I'm still in the process of transferring, and have been setting it up to work while I sleep. 32G of programs seem to take a couple of hours to transfer. Although I shut the DVR off when plugging and unplugging the drive, I find it a bit disconcerting to just yank the USB connector out of the DVR. I hope this is the accepted procedure.

Edited by Hardin Thicke, 02 January 2013 - 09:54 AM.


#23 OFFLINE   boba

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Posted 02 January 2013 - 09:12 AM

I'm running out of space on my external drive. Can I use a second drive, and just swap them when I want to? Ideally, I'd like to move the 500GB's worth of saved movies over to a 1 or 2 TB drive, but I don't know it that's possible. Any advice?

Is there a reason you are transferring the 500 GB's information to another drive? To view what is on that drive all you have to do is plug it in. You can record new programming on the 2TB just by connecting it to the receiver.

#24 OFFLINE   Hardin Thicke

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Posted 02 January 2013 - 09:51 AM

Yes, I thought about doing that. But I think I'd rather have all of my "movies" on one drive and not have to wonder where a particular one was located. It took a number of years to fill 500GB, so I'm guessing that 2TB will last me years. It also makes it easier for my technically challanged wife, who only recently discovered the "Media" folder on the DVR recordings area.

#25 OFFLINE   DEC

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Posted 02 January 2013 - 11:27 AM

Well, it's a bit of a convoluted story, but I ended up running into a bunch of initially scary problems with both of my EHD's and even with the internal HD in my 922 in the process. I am now fully convinced that powered USB hubs are either required or at least recommended for simultaneously running two 2 TB EHD's off of the single USB port on the rear of my 922. Here's a summary of what happened on December 30th & 31st ...

As previously mentioned, I have a ViP 922 Duo DVR. In conjunction with that, I have been using a Western Digital WD Elements 2 TB external hard drive directly connected to the single USB port on the back of the 922 for a little over a year with no problems, and since the EHD is 96% full with 488 recordings, I recently purchased another identical Western Digital WD Elements 2 TB EHD unit.

Ideally, I wanted to simultaneously hook up both of these EHD's to my 922 by way of a USB hub, but I wasn't sure that the 922 could handle this arrangement and then I came across this thread. I was encouraged by what Stewart Vernon posted on December 18th in that a 922 was able to simultaneously handle up to 4 EHD's with a powered USB hub. Beyond that, I was also hoping that since my 922 originally named the original EHD "External Device 1", that after I connected the second EHD, that my 922 would be able to name it "External Device 2" (which P Smith responded would be the case). In this way, I would be able to more easily keep track of where recorded movies were physically located (i.e., either on the internal HD or on External Device 1 or External Device 2).

Also, I didn't have a spare powered USB 2.0 hub, so I decided to use a non-powered USB 2.0 hub I had (especially after P Smith posted that I wouldn't need a powered hub for this). I disconnected my original EHD from the 922, connected the non-powered hub to the rear USB port and reconnected the first EHD into the hub. I got the normal USB storage device disconnected and connected screen prompts, and I clicked OK to both. I then connected the new EHD to the hub and got screen message 867 alerting me that the new EHD needed to be formatted to work with the Dish system. I clicked OK and then got screen message 869, "USB storage device is formatting, please wait", along with the status bar of small green boxes. This process went on for about an hour and a half, with the status bar green lights sequentially blinking, and then without warning, the picture behind the screen message box (from a channel we had been previously looking at) froze, the sequentially blinking status bar green lights froze in one position, and less than one minute later, the 922 shut down all by itself and went into an automatic restart mode.

Needless to say, the formatting process for the new EHD was interrupted and basically trashed at that point. Once the 922 restarted, I couldn't get it to recognize the new, partially formatted EHD (which didn't completely surprise me). It did however see the original EHD and I could see the titles of the recorded movies on it through the DVR menu. We had some programs we wanted to watch that evening, so I decided to resume the effort on the 31st.

After disconnecting the partially formatted EHD and reconnecting to the hub the next day, the 922 still couldn't detect it. I disconnected it again (and left it disconnected), and then went to the DVR menu listing of recorded movies on the original EHD. While I could see the listed movies, when I selected one and selected "start over", I only ended up with a black screen and no movie. After backing back out of this, I tried a couple more recorded movies on the original EHD and got the same black screen. I then disconnected the EHD & hub and restarted the EHD. I then did a full restart on the 922 (by unplugging it and waiting 30+ seconds). I then connected the original EHD directly into the rear USB port on the 922 (without the hub), and after calling up the DVR menu list of movies on the EHD, I got the same black screen after selecting a movie and starting it. I tried a couple more times without success and then repeated the separate restart of the EHD and 922.

Nothing changed after this, and on a whim, I then tried playing a recorded movie from the DVR menu list of movies on the internal hard drive of the 922. Unfortunately, I also got the black screen thing after trying to start 3 different movies, only this time, after a few seconds, the playback for movies (each supposedly 1-1/2 to 2+ hours long), was totally over and I got the typical screen message for deleting, going to media, or live TV. This whole situation worried me enough that I decided to get into a chat session with Dish customer service.

After going through the whole story, the first level CSR pretty much gave up and transferred me to the next level (although she did have me restart my 922 again just before she gave up and transferred me). While I had already restarted my 922 twice before, for some unknown reason, this last restart seemed to help quite a bit, as I was finally able to successfully start and briefly play a recorded movie from the internal hard drive. At that point, the 2nd level tech support person had me disconnect the original EHD, and then directly connect the partially reformatted EHD, and I got screen message 865, which like 867, said that the new EHD needed to be formatted to work with the Dish system. That was good news, and we ended the chat session since the 2nd level tech support person understandably wasn't going to hang around for the lengthy reformatting process for a 2 TB EHD.

However, before proceeding with the reformatting, I decided to hold off, as I was still concerned & puzzled about all of the undesirable stuff that had occurred the first time around. I then did quite a bit of online research & reading about powered and non-powered USB hubs as a function of EHD's, and the common thread that emerged from my perspective was that when simultaneously running more than one large capacity (≥ 1 TB) EHD, that even some so-called powered USB hubs don't end up cutting the mustard all that well (with some reported weird or catastrophic results with the EHD's, any recorded material on them, or even potentially with other peripherals, or the main unit, typically a computer or in my case, a DVR). Now I realize that you can't believe everything you see or read on the Internet and that problems & complaints often get more exposure than people having no problems with the same equipment or processes, but for me, I had read enough.

I decided to order a powered USB 2.0 hub. However, I then began reading a lot of reviews on powered hubs, and I couldn't believe the number of user complaints people had with even "big name" brands (Belkin, etc.), with reliability, durability, or out-of-the-box operational issues. For some of the more technical reviews, it also appeared that many of the hub manufacturer claims for how much voltage & current was actually being provided to the hub ports (or the methods of doing same), often varied wildly as compared to the stated claims & specifications, almost exclusively in the lesser direction.

So, I have finally decided to go with a Plugable Technologies 4-Port USB 3.0/2.0 Hub with 4A power adapter. It has relatively positive reviews and since it can deal with the typically higher power requirements of USB 3.0 (and is back-compatible with USB 2.0 & 1.1), I figured it would provide more than adequate power and performance to deal with my two 2 TB EHD's being simultaneously connected to my 922. Some might say this is an overkill approach, but for $30, I figured what the heck at this point.

Anyway, I will order the new hub shortly and will repeat the process I started on December 30th once I get my hands on it and will report back here as to the results.

Don

#26 OFFLINE   JeffN9

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Posted 02 January 2013 - 12:32 PM

I have been following all of the EHD threads since I got my 922 almost two years ago. The general consensus has been that yes you should have a powered hub if you have more than one EHD. If you are only using two you can plug one into the back usb and one into the front but then you will have a usb cable sticking out of the front door. The my 922 drop down will still show ext. device 1 and ext. device 2 in either case.

What I have read in the past is that you should only have the new EHD plugged in when formatting. You should only connect the old drive after the new one has finished formatting. One person reported losing all recordings on the old EHD when formatting the new one. This could be the reason you had the problems at first with the old drive, be careful.

The issue I have had since day 1 is the 922 not seeing one or both EHD's sometimes after the nightly update. I have to re-boot to get them back but only one comes back sometimes. I have a 1tb WD and a 2tb WD. There has been a lot of discussion about disabling the drives sleep mode as a remedy for this issue but others seem to have no problems without doing that.

#27 OFFLINE   DEC

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Posted 02 January 2013 - 02:13 PM

I have been following all of the EHD threads since I got my 922 almost two years ago. The general consensus has been that yes you should have a powered hub if you have more than one EHD. If you are only using two you can plug one into the back usb and one into the front but then you will have a usb cable sticking out of the front door. The my 922 drop down will still show ext. device 1 and ext. device 2 in either case.

We got our original 922 in April 2011, which was replaced by Dish in July 2012 with a remanufactured 922.

Anyway, at one point, I did think about using the front USB port, but I didn't like the idea of the open door & a cord hanging out the front of my 922. Beyond that, I am glad to hear that the consensus has been that you need a powered USB hub when more than one EHD is hooked up, as that confirms my independent "research".

What I have read in the past is that you should only have the new EHD plugged in when formatting. You should only connect the old drive after the new one has finished formatting. One person reported losing all recordings on the old EHD when formatting the new one. This could be the reason you had the problems at first with the old drive, be careful.

I wish I had run across that info before starting my effort. I had thought a bit about both approaches, but I ended up deciding to have both EHD's plugged in, as I thought this might be the point where the 922 would tag the new one as external storage device 2 since external storage device 1 was already there (such that, if I did them separately, I thought the 922 might tag the new EHD as external storage device 1 since there was nothing else there to be detected). However, once I started the formatting process with both plugged in to my non-powered hub, I really started getting a bit freaked out as I started wondering if it might be possible for the 922 to mistakenly reformat the old EHD (while erasing 1.9+ TB of recorded movies that took a fair bit of effort to record, transfer and save), versus formatting the new empty EHD. After the problems I experienced (and despite the fact that it looks like my old EHD and its recorded contents eventually survived), I am not interesting in tempting fate a second time, even with an adequately powered USB hub. So, I will follow what you described in terms of only having the new EHD plugged into my 922 when I attempt to format it again.

The issue I have had since day 1 is the 922 not seeing one or both EHD's sometimes after the nightly update. I have to re-boot to get them back but only one comes back sometimes. I have a 1tb WD and a 2tb WD. There has been a lot of discussion about disabling the drives sleep mode as a remedy for this issue but others seem to have no problems without doing that.

Well, with my luck, I will probably have the same issue, which is too bad (although I am still going to give it a shot to see what happens). As mentioned in a previous post, Dish officially only supports one EHD plugged in at a time, and maybe there are a number of potentially good reasons for that. Both my first and second 922's have occasionally had issues with the nightly updates (usually in the form a non-updated channel guide with a lot of "no info available" entries), so I may well have the same EHD issues as you have described.

#28 OFFLINE   olds403

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Posted 02 January 2013 - 02:21 PM

I have 6 drives connected to my 722, using powered switches. There can only be one drive powered up at one time. Using the powered switch, when I disconnect one drive (and it powers down) I can then push the button for another drive (powering it up) and it connects with no issues. I am using Kensington switches, if there is more than one drive connected directly to the DVR and powered up it will cause an error. If you connect one to the front and one to the back ONLY ONE can be powered at any one time.

#29 OFFLINE   DEC

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Posted 02 January 2013 - 02:24 PM

I have 6 drives connected to my 722, using powered switches. There can only be one drive powered up at one time. Using the powered switch, when I disconnect one drive (and it powers down) I can then push the button for another drive (powering it up) and it connects with no issues. I am using Kensington switches, if there is more than one drive connected directly to the DVR and powered up it will cause an error. If you connect one to the front and one to the back ONLY ONE can be powered at any one time.

Do you know if this constrained approach is only limited to 722's or does it also apply to 922's as well?

#30 OFFLINE   JeffN9

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Posted 02 January 2013 - 03:27 PM

The 922 and Hopper are built to handle up to 4 EHD's at one time.

#31 OFFLINE   JeffN9

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Posted 02 January 2013 - 03:45 PM

I wish I had run across that info before starting my effort. I had thought a bit about both approaches, but I ended up deciding to have both EHD's plugged in, as I thought this might be the point where the 922 would tag the new one as external storage device 2 since external storage device 1 was already there (such that, if I did them separately, I thought the 922 might tag the new EHD as external storage device 1 since there was nothing else there to be detected). However, once I started the formatting process with both plugged in to my non-powered hub, I really started getting a bit freaked out as I started wondering if it might be possible for the 922 to mistakenly reformat the old EHD (while erasing 1.9+ TB of recorded movies that took a fair bit of effort to record, transfer and save), versus formatting the new empty EHD. After the problems I experienced (and despite the fact that it looks like my old EHD and its recorded contents eventually survived), I am not interesting in tempting fate a second time, even with an adequately powered USB hub. So, I will follow what you described in terms of only having the new EHD plugged into my 922 when I attempt to format it again.


Well, with my luck, I will probably have the same issue, which is too bad (although I am still going to give it a shot to see what happens). As mentioned in a previous post, Dish officially only supports one EHD plugged in at a time, and maybe there are a number of potentially good reasons for that. Both my first and second 922's have occasionally had issues with the nightly updates (usually in the form a non-updated channel guide with a lot of "no info available" entries), so I may well have the same EHD issues as you have described.


If you have the same problems I have had with the 922 not seeing the EHD's it won't matter which one is initially labeled device 1 and device 2. Mine constantly changes positions. The drive labeled 1 might be 2 tomorrow. The only way I can tell them apart without actually viewing the content is by looking at the size and available space.

Also I had this same problem when I only had one drive connected. Having two has not hurt or helped.

#32 OFFLINE   DEC

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Posted 02 January 2013 - 03:58 PM

If you have the same problems I have had with the 922 not seeing the EHD's it won't matter which one is initially labeled device 1 and device 2. Mine constantly changes positions. The drive labeled 1 might be 2 tomorrow. The only way I can tell them apart without actually viewing the content is by looking at the size and available space.

Also I had this same problem when I only had one drive connected. Having two has not hurt or helped.

Interesting about the numbering scheme. When I previously traded PM's with Stewart Vernon on this, he stated, "Basically, I don't know what it actually names the device during format... but I think the 'External Device X' labeling is just for the dropdown selection and is in the order that the drives are detected". This sounds pretty much the same as what you have experienced with the device 1 and device 2 "switching places" from time to time. It's too bad it works like this, as it would be nice (or better) IMO for device 1 to stay 1 and for 2 to stay as 2.

Despite my other problems, I haven't had any occurrences where the 922 didn't see my single EHD. But I'll see what happens when I get both of my EHD's finally hooked up together.

#33 OFFLINE   Stewart Vernon

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Posted 02 January 2013 - 04:15 PM

That does sound like a mess of problems. For full disclosure I should probably have said that while I do have more than one external drive, I don't have a spare USB hub and haven't had a need to try and leave more than one drive connected at the same time.

Also, I had acquired my drives at different times... and at a point before it was possible to use multiple drives anyway (got them when I had a 722 before moving to the 922) so each one was formatted when it was the only drive connected.

That seems like a major bug if you can't format one drive while another is connected.

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#34 OFFLINE   DoyleS

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Posted 02 January 2013 - 04:23 PM

I would get pretty scared having the system tell me it was formatting a drive if I had a known drive full of movies and a new drive connected at the same time. I would be afraid of having it format the wrong drive. I have a couple drives but formatted them separately and plug them in separately. So far no need to have all plugged in and running at the same time. I use the internal drive for that and always move the other stuff to an EHD for later use.
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#35 OFFLINE   DEC

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Posted 02 January 2013 - 05:08 PM

I would get pretty scared having the system tell me it was formatting a drive if I had a known drive full of movies and a new drive connected at the same time. I would be afraid of having it format the wrong drive. I have a couple drives but formatted them separately and plug them in separately. So far no need to have all plugged in and running at the same time. I use the internal drive for that and always move the other stuff to an EHD for later use.

Well, like I said, I did get freaked out a bit when the formatting started on my new (second) drive, as to whether something might screw up with having the first drive simultaneously plugged in. I ended up lucking out, but believe me, I won't do that again.

At this point, we have 145 HD movies on the internal HD, 488 HD movies on the original 2 TB EHD, and another 580 hard-copy Blu-Rays & DVD's in a media cabinet. With over 1200 movie titles to keep track of so far (and with more to go on the new second 2 TB EHD), I have an alphabetized multi-paged spreadsheet that lists where they all are so when we want to specifically watch something, we can look it up and fairly quickly go to the desired location and directly access it without too much bother. This is why I was hoping that I could hook up more than one EHD at the same time and be able to do this in real time and without plugging & unplugging devices, booting up not-in-use EHD's, responding to screen prompts and the like.

Edited by DEC, 02 January 2013 - 05:13 PM.


#36 OFFLINE   P Smith

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Posted 02 January 2013 - 05:20 PM

Connecting just one new HDD for formatting purpose would be easiest way to avoid the fear.

If you are [re]connected already formatted and 922 ask you to format, just say no and disconnect it for future troubleshooting.

Edited by P Smith, 02 January 2013 - 05:47 PM.


#37 OFFLINE   JeffN9

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Posted 02 January 2013 - 05:41 PM

Despite my other problems, I haven't had any occurrences where the 922 didn't see my single EHD. But I'll see what happens when I get both of my EHD's finally hooked up together.


If your 922 has never lost sight of the single EHD then you will probably be ok with two. I don't know which model 2tb WD you have but you might want to get the same model for the 2nd one. My 2tb WD is an Element and the 922 didn't see that on occasion when I had it plugged in by itself as an experiment.

FYI, the missing EHD problem followed to a 2nd 922. Because of the EHD issue Dish replaced my original 922 with a refurb but it didn't make any difference.

#38 OFFLINE   P Smith

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Posted 02 January 2013 - 05:48 PM

You should invest your time into disabling power saving feature(s) of the enclosure's controller and the HDD itself. To avoid disappearing your EHD.

#39 OFFLINE   DEC

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Posted 02 January 2013 - 05:58 PM

If your 922 has never lost sight of the single EHD then you will probably be ok with two. I don't know which model 2tb WD you have but you might want to get the same model for the 2nd one. My 2tb WD is an Element and the 922 didn't see that on occasion when I had it plugged in by itself as an experiment.

FYI, the missing EHD problem followed to a 2nd 922. Because of the EHD issue Dish replaced my original 922 with a refurb but it didn't make any difference.

As I mentioned in my painfully long post on the first page, I originally purchased a Western Digital WD Elements 2 TB EHD a little over a year ago. When this got full, I purchased an identical Western Digital WD Elements 2 TB EHD last month. I have both in my possession, and it was the formatting of the new EHD in conjunction with the old EHD being plugged in at the same time that I was mostly posting about.

And so far, neither my original 922 nor the reman 922 have had any problems seeing the original EHD.

#40 OFFLINE   JeffN9

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Posted 02 January 2013 - 06:15 PM

Sorry, I did read your original post but forgot that you listed the WD models you had.

Did you turn off the power save (sleep mode) on either drive?




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