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Guest Message by DevFuse

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Failing Caps on H20/HR20 IRDs


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19 replies to this topic

#1 OFFLINE   SomeRandomIdiot

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Posted 20 March 2013 - 01:16 AM

I have now seen the inside of about 10 HR20/H20s in various locations. I have yet to find one that the caps are not failing, as can be easily seen by the caps bloating at the ends.

Had assumed the H20 really was not MRV ready and that is why they were not sending recovery kits (of course the H20 heat issue has been known for years - and high heat causes the caps to go bad faster), but now they seem to not send out recovery kits for HR20s unless you get a CSR who isn't paying attention.

To me, it pretty clear they have found the caps failing is widespread and that is why they are now being junked - not that they are so "old" technology wise. Simply put, a refurbed HR20 would work fine for a current SD Customer as they attempt to move the laggards to MPEG4. But that clearly cannot work if the internal boards/caps are failing on these units.

As thus this thread was correct in its speculation:

http://www.dbstalk.c...ad.php?t=180295

http://www.badcaps.n...ead.php?t=10795

Edited by SomeRandomIdiot, 20 March 2013 - 01:29 AM.


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#2 OFFLINE   RBTO

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Posted 20 March 2013 - 08:56 AM

It's really a shame that this is happening since those units weren't that bad in terms of performance.

It must have been a batch of capacitors or started at some point in the HR20/H20 manufacturing history because I have both the HR20 and H20 which show no signs of bulging caps, and mine are over 15 years old. In any case, it's an easy job to replace the capacitors, and I'm surprised that it wouldn't be cost effective for DTV but I assume they reason the units are old and should be scrapped anyway.

I prize the instant start and response of my H20, and the OTA features of both it and the HR20. Except for one hard drive failure in the HR20, they have been pretty much trouble free (aside from DTVs bungling software updates).

It's just another story of "you get what you pay for" and in the case of manufactures who want to cut costs using untrustworthy components, it just comes back to bite someone (the user in this case).

#3 OFFLINE   RunnerFL

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Posted 20 March 2013 - 09:00 AM

The H20's and HR20's have been considered at the "End of line" for quite some time now. It has nothing to do with capacitors either. It's because they don't support 3D and other features.
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#4 OFFLINE   Stuart Sweet

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Posted 20 March 2013 - 09:22 AM

And you know, given that a lot of these devices sit in dusty entertainment centers without enough ventilation, and how hot these boxes ran, 6 years of life isn't so bad.
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#5 OFFLINE   harsh

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Posted 20 March 2013 - 09:31 AM

Given DIRECTV's penchant for offering multiple year old refurbished models to new customers, it is a good thing they're getting the old power-hungry equipment out of circulation in favor of generally faster and more power efficient offerings.

Surely DIRECTV would like to be able to claim that all of their HD equipment is WHDS and 3D ready but the H20 isn't WHDS capable and the HR20 doesn't do 3D so they need to go as RunnerFL notes.

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#6 OFFLINE   harsh

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Posted 20 March 2013 - 09:59 AM

It must have been a batch of capacitors or started at some point in the HR20/H20 manufacturing history because I have both the HR20 and H20 which show no signs of bulging caps, and mine are over 15 years old.

The H20 was introduced less than eight years ago and the HR20 in December 2005.

That your capacitors aren't bulging probably has more to do with not having the receivers wedged into a home entertainment oven as The Shadow remarked.

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#7 OFFLINE   Stuart Sweet

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Posted 20 March 2013 - 10:15 AM

Sorry, bassety one, The HR20 wasn't available until the fall of 2006.
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#8 OFFLINE   CCarncross

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Posted 20 March 2013 - 10:19 AM

It was about around the production time for the H20/HR20 series that there was a large large rash of bad caps used in lots of designs around the world. Dell went through a big problem on several models of pcs around that time as well with bad caps. I have 2 pcs from around that era that both had failed/failing caps. The retirement reasons given by the last few posters should be considered much more credible than the suspicions of the 1st few posters.

#9 OFFLINE   slice1900

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Posted 20 March 2013 - 10:43 AM

I have 12 H20-100s and 2 H20-600s fully operational, and have had I believe 3 H20-100s die over the years, but none recently. One quit receiving OTA, one decided it no longer liked the 99 and 103 satellites (all 0s, 101 was fine) and one that quit receiving HDMI but worked on component, then it would only turn on if you hit the red button 3-4 times and we decided to give up on it. All three failures are the type you'd expect from a bad cap, but I never cared enough to open them and look. I may have had one or two H20-600s fail before they did the recall, I can't remember, but that was likely the power supply issue. I had six of them replaced with other H20s, which I specifically requested for their OTA capability. All of those six refurbs are still going strong.

Given most of them are on about 100 hours a week and are now about 6-7 years old, I don't feel that they are unusually prone to failure. In that time I've owned three Tivos at home (for cable, I have way too many trees to even consider satellite) and two have died, I feel that's a more unacceptable failure rate albeit with a much smaller sample size.

I wouldn't be shocked if I opened my operational H20s and found bulging caps. Bad caps were a real problem for the whole CE industry, and made it into almost everything. I have a feeling that when the problem was identified that all the caps held in inventory made it into other products eventually, the margins the Chinese manufacturers get are so small they can't afford to toss out "working" inventory so it was probably sold on to smaller fly by night operations operating on even thinner margins. Smaller manufacturers don't have to worry about future lawsuits or lost business because they can close down and spring up again under a different name at a different location overnight.

#10 OFFLINE   JeffBowser

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Posted 20 March 2013 - 12:38 PM

It'll be a sad day my remaining H20 dies. It's my favorite receiver, never hiccups or thinks painfully over a remote command, although once a fortnight it wants a hard reset.
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#11 OFFLINE   harsh

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Posted 21 March 2013 - 08:39 AM

Sorry, bassety one, The HR20 wasn't available until the fall of 2006.

I was looking at the official press release for the DIRECTV Plus DVR as opposed to the DIRECTV Plus HD DVR that was announced at the 2006 CES for delivery in "mid 2006". The verbal model naming conventions are a tricky beast.

http://investor.dire...eleaseID=286570

The HR20 was announced at the 2006 CES for delivery in "mid 2006".

http://investor.dire...eleaseID=286405

This has always been one of my favorite DIRECTV press releases as a shining example of over-promising.

In any event, the H20 and HR20 have not been around for 15 years.

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#12 OFFLINE   RBTO

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Posted 21 March 2013 - 09:54 AM

The H20 was introduced less than eight years ago and the HR20 in December 2005.

That your capacitors aren't bulging probably has more to do with not having the receivers wedged into a home entertainment oven as The Shadow remarked.


Sorry about that misstatement. I checked my receipts and both the H20 & HR20 were purchased 7 years ago. It seemed a lot longer ago than that. Still, both have been good units for me.

Directv 3D- Ho hummmmmm. I do use both as set-top and not in entertainment centers so they do run cooler - and I fashioned a forced air manifold for my H20 since that unit had serious cooling problems. It runs cooler than the HR20 now.

Typically, (external) heat doesn't contribute that much to capacitor failure. It's usually due to internal heating (large ripple currents or leakage currents) which make them dry out and bulge. It's probably just bad capacitors (or something else in the power supply that led to their demise) in those units the original OP mentioned.

#13 OFFLINE   CCarncross

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Posted 21 March 2013 - 11:10 AM

I believe the HR20's were 1st released in Aug 2006, so they will officially be 7 in August. The H20's I believe were released in Jan of 2006, I had an original H20-600(the ones that could fry eggs).

#14 OFFLINE   levibluewa

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Posted 21 March 2013 - 11:47 AM

In defense of those receivers OTA didn't cost $50 :)

#15 OFFLINE   CCarncross

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Posted 21 March 2013 - 12:54 PM

In defense of those receivers OTA didn't cost $50 :)


And they leased the HR20 for most people for $299 back in the day....today they charge usually $199 or less for an HR2x model and expect you to shell out the $50 if you are one of the diminishing few that still use OTA. So its still cheaper than it used to be. I still have one HR20, but I have 2 HR22's with AM-21's that I bought as I am one that still uses OTA.

#16 OFFLINE   harsh

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Posted 22 March 2013 - 04:11 AM

Typically, (external) heat doesn't contribute that much to capacitor failure.

External heat ALWAYS contributes to internal heat.

While ambient heat may not directly kill electrolytics, it does have an negative impact on the performance of power circuits that the capacitors are riding on. While the heat isn't boiling the fluid out from the outside, it is, as you point out, indirectly boiling it out from the inside.

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#17 OFFLINE   RBTO

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Posted 22 March 2013 - 11:57 AM

External heat ALWAYS contributes to internal heat.

While ambient heat may not directly kill electrolytics, it does have an negative impact on the performance of power circuits that the capacitors are riding on. While the heat isn't boiling the fluid out from the outside, it is, as you point out, indirectly boiling it out from the inside.


You're right in saying heat has a negative impact on electronics. I was referring specifically to the capacitors. Electrolytic capacitors are rated for operation at elevated temperatures which are found in most electronics. They're a passive device and normally dissipate very little heat of their own so even if their environment is elevated, it has much less effect on a capacitor than it does on semiconductors, or even heat producing resistors (these need to dissipate heat). External heat can contribute to drying electrolytics out long-term, but unless there are high ripple currents or leakage currents (which can heat a capacitor internally to significantly higher temperatures, a typical electrolytic capacitor is not going to swell up and fail in under 10 years. Ripple current can be due to failure in the "power circuits" you referred to, but leakage current is due to the capacitor itself, either age or bad construction (or application of voltage beyond the capacitor's rating).

#18 OFFLINE   SomeRandomIdiot

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Posted 22 March 2013 - 08:48 PM

II wouldn't be shocked if I opened my operational H20s and found bulging caps. Bad caps were a real problem for the whole CE industry, and made it into almost everything.



Agreed.

Did not mean to infer this was a problem unique to DirecTV. Though I have no evidence of it, I would not be surprised if the Dish ViP211 units from that time frame also have the bad caps.

Google can find a multitude of websites detailing this issue with caps.

#19 OFFLINE   slice1900

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Posted 23 March 2013 - 01:15 AM

There's a pretty simple explanation for why they might not be sending "recovery kits" for H20s - I'm assuming this is some term for wanting the old receiver back when it gets replaced? If they have enough H21 - H25s sent back for refurbishment, the H20s may be unnecessary. If there are eventually enough H22-H25s coming back they won't want H21s either, and so on. Both the H20 and H21 are over five years old. It may have nothing to do with caps or MRV and more to do with the failure rate of newer receivers being high enough that they can afford to let the broken H20s be junked.

#20 OFFLINE   paulh

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Posted 25 March 2013 - 02:41 PM

There's a pretty simple explanation for why they might not be sending "recovery kits" for H20s - I'm assuming this is some term for wanting the old receiver back when it gets replaced? If they have enough H21 - H25s sent back for refurbishment, the H20s may be unnecessary. If there are eventually enough H22-H25s coming back they won't want H21s either, and so on. Both the H20 and H21 are over five years old. It may have nothing to do with caps or MRV and more to do with the failure rate of newer receivers being high enough that they can afford to let the broken H20s be junked.


5 years..
That probably means D* has fully depreciated them and they are worth nothing on the books?




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