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Reboots needed every couple of days

Discussion in 'DIRECTV HD DVR/Receiver Discussion' started by MurrayW, May 20, 2010.

  1. MurrayW

    MurrayW Legend

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    Apr 13, 2006
    I just got an HR24 this weekend, so I can't comment on that one yet, but for my other 4 DVR's (3 HR20-700's and 1 HR21-100) I need to reboot them about twice a week in order to get them to become responsive to remote control commands again.

    What tends to happen on the 3rd to 4th day since a reboot is that issuing several commands within a short period of time, the DVR will stop responding to subsequent commands and then 3 to 15 seconds later will catch up on these missed commands. When using the 30 second skip to go through commercials, it will take the first 2 or 3 skips then if I press the skip button 2 or more times more while it is non-responsive, it skips to the end of the program. What I end up having to do to avoid skipping to the end of the show is to pause between each 30 second skip until the video starts playing again before issuing the next command. The video and audio will freeze for a few seconds also while it is in this non-responsive state. After a reboot, everything works fine for a while and gradually degrades over the next several days.

    All of my DVR's are in an equipment closet that is cooled by a portable air conditioner. The temperature in the closet stays around 80 degrees F. All DVR's have external drives connected via the eSata port and I am controlling them via RS-232 with a USB-ethernet adapter. The same problems exist using IR also.

    My DVR's run in the 125 - 127 F range, which from searching through this forum, seems to be a typical temperature. The temperature doesn't change from just after a reboot to day 3 or 4 when the problems get intolerable.

    These problems seemed to start getting worse about the time that the MRV beta came out. I did try opting out of MRV but that did not seem to make any difference. One of my driving cases to get the DECA MRV system was to see if this improved anything, but it didn't. This problem is the same when playing a show from either the local DVR or a remote DVR.
    Any ideas?

    thanks,
    Murray
     
  2. Retro

    Retro AllStar

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    Nov 27, 2007
    I have had the same problem with the one HR20 i have.. It's probably age catching up with new software and such... It doesn't happen on my HR22.. I'm just going to upgrade to HR24 soon as my HR20 is starting to make more noise from the hard drive anyway..
     
  3. PokerJoker

    PokerJoker Godfather

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    Las Vegas
    Could be worse. Could be like Dish Network. They get around such issues by simply forcing a reboot every night. And after the box reboots, it does not go back to whatever you were tuned to before the reboot. :mad:
     
  4. hilmar2k

    hilmar2k Hall Of Fame

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    Funny you say that, I have the opposite experience. I find my HR20-700 to be more responsive than my HR22.
     
  5. MurrayW

    MurrayW Legend

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    Apr 13, 2006
    Any ideas on what I could/should do other than rebooting every few days?
     
  6. Hutchinshouse

    Hutchinshouse Hall Of Fame

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    Sep 27, 2006
    You stated “The same problems exist using IR ”. When using IR do you still have your RS-232 with a USB-Ethernet adapter connected to your DVRs?

    Try to duplicate the issue following these steps:

    1. Remove all of the RS-232 & USB-Ethernet adapter hardware
    2. Reboot all DVRs.
    3. Use DIRECTV’s IR remote (exclusively)
    4. See if problem persists.


    Help me understand how you’re controlling the DVR via RS-232 with a USB-Ethernet adapter. Sounds cool.
     
  7. jdh8668

    jdh8668 Legend

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    Nov 7, 2007
    My HR20 will be sluggish like that every once in a while....then the next day it will be fine & dandy. Might happen once a month. I figure it's PMSing.
     
  8. Richierich

    Richierich Hall Of Fame

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    The CPU is Overworked and needs to be Faster with More RAM which the HR24-500 has so it solves those problems.

    If the DVR is busy Indexing Guide Data, for instance, you can get unresponsiveness while it is busy but when it catches up it then executes the next task in the queue and therefore catches up.

    To solve the problems get an HR24-500 as it is extremely Fast!!!

    They should have done this 3 years ago.
     
  9. MurrayW

    MurrayW Legend

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    Apr 13, 2006
    Yes, when using IR I still have the RS-232 USB Ethernet adapter connected to my DVR's. Unfortunately, I am not able to go several days without using the RS-232 as that is my main control for these boxes from my living room. I don't have IR capability there, but do in other rooms using a matrix switch. Maybe I will try it with one box.

    I am using Cinemar's Mainlobby automation software. http://www.cinemarsolutions.com/

    I control the DirecTV boxes using both a touchscreen and the standard DirecTV remote via a USB-UIRT connected to the computer running MainLobby which sends the RS-232 signal to the DirecTV box. I can go into in more detail later if anyone wants more detail.
     
  10. Hutchinshouse

    Hutchinshouse Hall Of Fame

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    Sep 27, 2006
    Sweet software. Good luck with the troubleshooting.
     
  11. satguy22

    satguy22 Legend

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    Oct 1, 2006
    Both of mine are the same way, nothing will work. They keep getting worse it is maybe a way to get dtv to up your committment, another two years of trying to get it to work. But when mine is up I getting out!
     
  12. Richierich

    Richierich Hall Of Fame

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    What is your Available Recording Capacity?

    If it is less than 10% than that could be part of the problem.:)
     
  13. MurrayW

    MurrayW Legend

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    Apr 13, 2006
    The DVR that I have the most problem with has the greatest available capacity (70 - 80%). Maybe I have too much available capacity? :D The lowest I have on any of them is around 30%.
     
  14. Richierich

    Richierich Hall Of Fame

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    Then it is probably just an aging DVR similar to PCs.

    Have you experienced any "Blank Recordings"?
     
  15. TomCat

    TomCat Broadcast Engineer

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    I think you are on to something in that the CPU is overloaded, but the system is built to handle a normal load so this should not be happening. When things work the way they are supposed to, there is not a long delay responding to the remote.

    The problem is that something is abnormally hammering the CPU, not that the CPU is too slow. There is no reason this would not also be a problem with a HR24, even with a faster CPU. Since it is twice as fast, a HR24 with the same problem might respond after a 30 second delay rather than a 1 minute delay, but the problem would still be there.

    I had a different problem that needed rebooting every 3 or 4 days, which was that I would get video stutter, which increased over time and was worse when recordings were happening. It was easy to see it by watching the screen saver; if it stuttered, video would probably also stutter. A reboot fixed both issues, for a while.

    That DVR started to go downhill, and started rebooting on its own, finally going into reboot loops for hours at a time. When I opened it up, the main caps in the PS were bulging, which is a dead giveaway that the power was dirty and had AC ripple in it, possibly enough to interfere with bus transfers and other CPU tasks, which would explain stuttering, rebooting in a loop, and even sluggish response (although I never experienced sluggishness, and HR20-700's are typically not sluggish compared to other HRs).

    I never suspected the eSATA drive during all of this, and proved that was not the case when later connecting that drive to the DVR that was the eventual replacement, where it began working just fine.

    Those who have had HR's for more than a couple years will remember that rain fades alone could make the box sluggish long after the rain fade was over, and also needed a reboot, so there could be a variety of things that cause the CPU to retry failed tasks to the point of noticeable sluggishness.

    I suspect a systemic issue with the software that probably could be fixed (actually worked around) by time outs. IOW, if a task is failing again and again to the point where the CPU gets hammered, run a counter on retries and abort after a certain number of them. They say repeating the same thing expecting different results is a form of insanity, and software should be written with that in mind. At some point retrying a task that just is not going to succeed can end up torpedoing performance, and I suspect that is at the root of sluggishness on certain models of the HR's.
     
  16. TomCat

    TomCat Broadcast Engineer

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    Aug 31, 2002
    I do not believe that capacity is an issue. Before I got my first eSATA I regularly ran the DVR completely full without is causing problems of any kind. Linux-based DVRs do not have fragmentation issues so there is no danger in filling the drive such as there is on a Windows PC.
     
  17. Richierich

    Richierich Hall Of Fame

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    I do believe that alot of problems reported with sluggishness are caused by aging DVRs where the Power Supply unit is bulging and getting old and worn by Heat and Aging associated with the wear from heat and eventually gives out less and less amperage needed to successfully power the CPU and it's functions along with the hard drive.

    Alot of problems could probably be solved just be replacing the bad or marginal power supply which is a cheap component probably costing less than $2 but how many people would know how to replace a bad or marginal or failing power supply.

    My HR24s are Incredibly Fast because of the Faster CPU and More RAM but also they have a brand New Power Supply unit supplying adequate power to the CPU and the hard drive.

    I also have an APC Battery Backup, Line Conditioner, Automatic Voltage Regulator which probably helps me avoid having alot of issues that many experience as Bad or Dirty Power is never Good for any electronic equipment.

    Also, I had to Enable DOD from the directv.com website which I have not used for along time in order to download something and for at least 24 hours my HR23-700 was Very Sluggish until this morning and now it is Very Fast again almost as fast as my HR24-500. I believe this is because it was performing alot of work associated with the DOD and perhaps other tasks that were tying up the CPU so the Guide Function was Painfully Slow, almost unusable and now it has been restored to normal performance.
     
  18. Richierich

    Richierich Hall Of Fame

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    Well, both of my HR23s are running faster again so I guess that the Guide Process has finished for the DOD Process that I started when I Enabled DOD.
     
  19. hdtvfan0001

    hdtvfan0001 Well-Known Member

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    Highly unlikely...and there's no real evidence anyplace to support it.

    The theory about aging HD DVRs has some credibility, as the HR20 series is about at the 4 year timeframe, and electronics years tend to be like dog years. If you look at the components of the HR20, for example, they were actually well-constructed decent units at that time...that said, expected heat and wear and tear, not to mention the longevity of power supplies in computerized devices, often diminish in performance over time.

    Power supply issues tend to "domino" into others, based on insufficient power supporting other components, including hard drives, video cards, and the like.

    In terms of CPU overload...the firmware used today, even on the HR20 series, can perform almost as well as the more recent units in many ways.

    A good example (and some evidence) - just look at the front page of DBSTalk, and see the DBSTalk Show video, containing a direct performance comparison between the HR20-700 to HR24-500. For a 4-year-old device...it holds up better than most would likely have imagined.

    Going back to the OP - based on the reported symptoms...it would seem there are several other things that could cause that experience - a few of which aren't even tied to the DVR itself. reboots can be caused by numerous things, as time as told us.

    A bad LNB....maybe
    Bad connections or multiswitch...maybe
    A power or power supply issue...maybe

    But CPU overload - extremely unlikely.

    I'd first be checking out all the basics - the Dish and its connections, signal levels, cables and connections, etc.

    Then run a DVR system test.

    Then have a technician come out to check out the unit itself.
     

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