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Upgrading TiVo Series2 DT 649080 - Nothing to See Here

Sep. 14th, 2006

09:13 am - Upgrading TiVo Series2 DT 649080

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I just got a shiny new TiVo Series2 Dual-Tuner TiVo a few days ago (yay! -- yes, I know about the Series3 is out, but it's $800 and I don't have HD, so I really don't care; the S2 DT will do me for a good while :) ... plus one Seagate ST3500630A 500Gb PATA drive! Yep, immediate upgrade from 80Gb to 500Gb!

This was where life started to get pretty interesting (oh god, oh god, we're all gonna die?). It turns out all of the utilities for upgrading of TiVo disks are excitingly broken in subtle and irritating ways. You're fine if the target disk is less than 274Gb, but if it's more, then you run into problems.

Firstly, you MUST give mfsrestore the -r 4 argument, or it just won't work in general for very large drives.

Secondly, mfstools (mfsrestore, specifically) does not correctly create swap space larger than 127Mb! Argh! So, if you give it -s 127 it will work, but if you give it, e.g. -s 512, it will not. Now... it sounds like if you ever have problems that cause a GSoD, it may be unable to recover if you don't have at least 1Mb of swap for every 2Gb of disk size. I figure why the heck go for 250Mb of swap when 512Mb is vanishingly tiny on a 500Gb disk! 0.1%, for crying out loud. So, anyway, the thing is, it doesn't work. It thinks it's worked, and it has in fact correctly created the partition, but it has not in fact correctly initialised the swap partition.

Enter tpip.

tpip is a utility for various things including *fanfare* initialising the swap partitions on TiVo disks. Alas, if you run tpip --mkswap /dev/hdb, it will get it wrong! TiVos use strange byte-swapped disks, and apparently tpip gets the byte-swapping wrong. Oh, did I mention Series1 uses a different byte swapping (no byte swapping?) than Series2? So, the solution is that you run tpip -s -1 ... telling it your nice Series2 disk should have swap initialised as for a Series1! Urr... yes, really, you read that right.

Anyhow, without further ado, here is how I found all this out: The thread on tivocommunity.com where I professed being at my wits' end and received help that sent me down the right path to getting it all working!

So, well, now I have a Series2 Dual-Tuner with 560hrs (according to itself -- or 583hrs according to mfsrestore) of recording space! That is, of course, at basic quality. I use high quality, so I'll just have to get by with ~280hrs of stuff. Woe is me! ;)

Current Location: 806
Current Mood: accomplishedaccomplished
Current Music: TiVo start-up music

Comments:

[User Picture]
From:lexigeek
Date:September 14th, 2006 05:00 pm (UTC)
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Wow, I consider myself a techier-than-average layman, but I didn't understand a WORD of that!

Actually, no, I take that back ... I understood "TiVo" and "immediate upgrade from 80Gb to 500Gb" :) Must have you come over some time and work your mojo on our TiVo boxes!
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[User Picture]
From:mavjop
Date:September 14th, 2006 06:00 pm (UTC)
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Heh, I'd be happy to help out if you want to upgrade a TiVo -- ideally not before ... late November, though, if you want me to actually come over and help. =) I can provide e-mail/phone help whenever.
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From:waywardbound
Date:September 15th, 2006 12:56 am (UTC)
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My landlord gave us his TiVo, but we're still working on the "getting satellite hooked up and figuring out how the bloody thing works" stage. Once we decipher the cryptic menus of bleeps and blips, and start needing more space, I'll remember who to come talk to. :)
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[User Picture]
From:mavjop
Date:September 15th, 2006 12:57 am (UTC)
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Okily dokily. :)
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From:maeglin73
Date:September 14th, 2006 05:43 pm (UTC)
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Thanks for the heads-up on the Series3. I've been thinking about that, but was wondering when it was going to be released (didn't TiVo have a mailing list for that? I signed up, but didn't receive anything).

First thing, though, is to see if I can squeeze a Cablecard out of Comcast...
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[User Picture]
From:mavjop
Date:September 14th, 2006 06:03 pm (UTC)
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Heh. It was released on Tuesday, IIRC. It seems like a long time ago. =)

Oh, also, no discount from the $800 price tag with any service plans. You just pay up-front for the box and pay the "I own my equipment fully" price of $12.95/mo.

I figure once they're done squeezing the money out of all the $$$ out of the people who just HAVE to be early adopters, they'll slash the price or offer big rebates/discounts and it'll become just ... expensive, not crazy.
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From:maeglin73
Date:September 14th, 2006 06:08 pm (UTC)
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...which makes my plan to wait until early next year to buy it likely a good one? :-)

I've already made one large purchase this year (the laptop), though half of that one I can write off as business expense. Since it's close to the end of the year anyway, the TiVo can wait a little longer.
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From:mavjop
Date:September 14th, 2006 06:16 pm (UTC)
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I suspect so, yes. :)
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From:wizzu
Date:September 14th, 2006 09:32 pm (UTC)
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You get all the fun toys over there...

I suppose I'll get a recording digital-TV box sometime though. I suppose I should mention that sometime next year it'll be all-digital broadcasts in Finland, they'll end the analog broadcasts as we're already in a transition period (except for the satellite stuff, I suppose).
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From:mavjop
Date:September 15th, 2006 12:03 am (UTC)
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I'm glad we're not all-digital here. Digital's fine and all, but analogue cable lets one tune to it with any tuner, without needing decoder stuff. We have only analogue cable, by choice, because this way no stupid cable box and annoying control-of-cable-box-by-TiVo idiocy.

Hopefully by the time it becomes hard to be analogue-only, the TiVo Series3 will have come down to a sane price. :) It has CableCard slots, so that you don't need a separate stupid cable box. :)
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