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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
After weeks (months) of procrastination, I finally copied off or viewed all my recorded programs and did a complete reformat. Who was it that said doing a reforrmat improves reliability? The statement certainly doesn't square with my experience.

After I re-established my favorite channel lists, I decided to set up the most important SLs. So, I started a title search. But, I never got there. The R15 became insensitive to the remote, other than sarcastically blinking the blue light as if to taunt me. Likewise, the unit was insensitive to front panel buttons.

So, I did my first RBR after the reformat. I estimate that I got about 10 minutes of system use before the first crash. Of course, that wasn't exactly high-quality use. The screen was obscured by the nag box pertaining to Sat 2. I have only 1 feed and the current version of the R15 software must think that maybe a second feed will suddenly materialize. At least, it persists in checking whereas earlier versions would give up after only a few minutes. Ah, progress!

So, either my unit has a hardware defect or DTV still has not collected and applied even a very basic set of functional tests. My guess is that it's either the latter or both the former and the latter. What's current experience across the user base represented here? Should I report the problem to DTV and demand a new unit (my third or fourth, I forget how many units I've had)? Or, is this still pretty much typical behavior for the R15?

A few here may recall my prediction months ago, based on software engineering principles, that subtantial improvement in the quality of the R15 software was unlikely. That's the sort of prediction that I continue to hope will turn out to have been wrong. But, it's also the sort of prediction that tends to be pretty accurate. And, so far, my personal experience seems to bear it out.
 

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My general advice is...
1. Do a reformat
2. Do NOT use search or autorecord functions, which seem to be at the root of many or most problems.

Now I agree that means you can't use intended and designed functions of the unit, but it does seem to really help stability.

Carl
 

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There are probably still bugs floating around for single SAT configurations. The first few months I had mine I only had 1 SAT connected and ran into many more problems then compared to after I ran another line for the 2nd SAT. Honestly I don't think there's any testing of configs such as that and doubt there ever was.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
BigPotty said:
Did you also do a "Reset Everything"? Is your fan running? Is the hard drive making odd noises?
How does a "Reset Everything" differ from the reformat function, which is initiated by clicking on "Reset Everything?" I think we're refering to the same function.

The fan runs, the unit has good ventilation clearance, and it seems to run at a reasonable temperature. I don't suspect noisy or otherwise bad power since I have lots of computing gear that shows no signs of trouble (apart from some MS Windows PCs, but that's another matter).

The hard drive recalibrates too often for my taste. But, I think that it's operating within spec. I'm just a bit pickier about my computing gear than most consumers or manufacturers of consumer gear.

If there's a hardware problem, it came with the unit. OTOH, I suspect that's exactly the case since the unit replaced a purchased unit and arrived showing obvious signs of having been used and returned by another unhappy customer.

At the time DTV insisted on sending a replacement, I was dealing with what were obviously software, not hardware, problems. I should have refused the replacement but, at the time, didn't have knowledge of the sort that comes from having read a few hundred user reports on this forum. Essentially, I made the mistake of trusting DTV over my own technical judgment. Having been a happy customer for several years, I was inclined to give them the benefit of even very small doubt. How things have changed!
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
PlanetBill said:
maybe don't search until the unit has been up for a day or so. could in-complete guide data cause a problem?
I suspect that the fault is triggered by invoking the search function in the context of nearly complete absence of guide data. It might arise only in the context of a single satellite feed. However, I don't suspect that's the case.

It's rather cumbersome to re-establlish SLs without using the Search function. Of course, at the time I invoked the function, there wasn't enough data to enable many SLs to be re-established. Either way, advice to avoid the search function doesn't seem particularly practical in the immediate aftermath of a complete reset. However, I agree that the function is unstable and that regular use of it can contribute to instability of the unit.

My purpose in reformatting wasn't so much to achieve more reliable operation as to determine how many problems had accumulated over 8 months of operation versus how many would show up immediately after a reformat. I've come to the conclusion that more of the problems are immediately reproducible than I'd thought and hoped. So far, the full reset has provided less rather than more reliability.

I'm even more specifically interested in the effect of the reformat on an intermittent audio glitch than I'm confident is related to a hardware problem that caused some other customer to return the unit I later received. When I first obtained the unit, I complained about the glitch but DTV refused to replace the unit until a full reset was tried and a service tech sent on-site. Given the nature of the problem, that's a lot of baloney. But, I didn't have or take the time to fight about it. Months later, I've now satisfied one of DTV's two conditions. I'll eventually agree to a tech coming on site, at which point I'll demand a replacement unit, which should have been provided last April, and waiver of the cost of the service call.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
carl6 said:
My general advice is...
1. Do a reformat
2. Do NOT use search or autorecord functions, which seem to be at the root of many or most problems.

Now I agree that means you can't use intended and designed functions of the unit, but it does seem to really help stability.

Carl
So far, I'm inclined to think that a weekly RBR is a better strategy. The reset doesn't appear to have done anything good for me. Obviously, a customer with a damaged filesystem would be in a different situation. I'm not sure what other benefits, if any, a reformat offers.

Perhaps we'd agree on a strategy such as this:

1. Do a reformat at the onset of serious problems.
2. Do another reformat at the new onset of serious problems and following automatic or manual installation of any software release.
3. Do a RBR weekly, timed to enable re-population of guide data in advance of periods of high usage, such as the weekend.
4. Minimize use of search, autorecord, and prioritizer functions.
5. Limit the number of defined SLs.

Of course, if the goal is reliability--defined as the absolute or relative absence of failure--an even better strategy is:

1. Don't use the unit at all.
2. See rule #1.
3. There is no rule #3.

That should pretty much guarantee an almost total absence of failure. I'm tempted to apply for a patent.... :p
 

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If you did the "reset everything" through the menus, it is slightly different than an actual reformatting of the hard drive.

That (reformatting) involves resetting the receiver as normal, and after "Almost there, just a few more minutes please," goes off of the screen, you hold the down arrow and the record button on the front panel of the receiver. I was told it was 10 seconds you are supposed to hold them, but basically, hold them down together till that orange light comes on under your finger.

THAT is a reformat, and is more likely to fix the problems that you are having.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Thanks! I'd forgotten about that. That mistake may invalidate a lot of my conclusions....
 

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I honestly don't know what the difference is between a reset everything, and a reformat. Both will wipe out anything you have recorded. Both will clear out all series links and customer settings and put you back to factory defaults. The reset everything takes you all the way through guided setup, while the reformat does not.

I've done both. I know the "reformat" does not take long enough to actually format a drive. At most it would wipe and recreate the allocation table, etc., whereas the reset everything might just erase existing entries. Just speculating at this point on what differences might really exist.

Carl
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Carl, FWIW, my speculation lines up with yours. I think the reformat merely builds a new filesystem , overlaying the contents of the existing system. It doesn't seem to perform any sort of disc integrity test. I guess that, having done both operations in the space of about 24 hours, I'm now jinx proof. Or jinxed. Or not. I dunno.

Cheers,
 

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carl6 said:
I honestly don't know what the difference is between a reset everything, and a reformat. Both will wipe out anything you have recorded. Both will clear out all series links and customer settings and put you back to factory defaults. The reset everything takes you all the way through guided setup, while the reformat does not.

I've done both. I know the "reformat" does not take long enough to actually format a drive. At most it would wipe and recreate the allocation table, etc., whereas the reset everything might just erase existing entries. Just speculating at this point on what differences might really exist.

Carl
The only difference I can point to is that the DA/REC method will reformat the drive even if your drive is corrupt. ie, won't even boot into the OS so you can do a Reset Everything. Given that, I'm guessing the DA/REC method is more of a hardware level reformat versus Reset Everything requires the OS to be running. Not sure if that makes sense but that's my take. DA/REC is better than Reset Everything. But I have nothing to back that up.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
WP, your explanation is consistent with my observations. I think of the DA/REC as a firmware-based reset and the Reset Everything as a software-based reset that are functionally similar. But, I don't have the data necessary to validate my model.
 
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