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PVR-9300T Old Recordings -> Zero File Size

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    3guesses

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    I have been having this problem with a PVR-9300T for quite some time. Basically, there will come a time after some weeks/months that a lot of the oldest recordings on it get truncated to near zero file size (they are still listed, not deleted). When this happens, I use humaxrw 1.15 to retrieve all recordings, re-format the drive via the PVR-9300T's menu and then restore all the recordings again, but I'm getting a bit fed up with having to do this, especially as this happened the other day just a couple of weeks after I last re-formatted it.

    The unit has a 500GB hard drive in it, ~180 recordings, ~150GB space used and is on software version 1.00.26.

    Has anybody else come across this problem before, or have an idea what is causing it/how to sort it out?

    Tue 6 Feb 2018 15:43:57 #1 |
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    Martin Liddle

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    3guesses - 37 minutes ago  » 
    Has anybody else come across this problem before, or have an idea what is causing it/how to sort it out?

    The file system is getting corrupted. Best guess at the reason would be that the hard drive has used up its supply of spare sectors. I think your options are to try and revive the hard drive, buy a new hard drive or buy a new recorder. To try and coax a bit of life out of the hard drive you could remove it from the Humax and connect it to a PC and run the hard drive manufacturers diagnostics on it. If it was me, given the known problems with the 9300T, I would be considering a replacement ecorder and definitely not another 9300T.

    Tue 6 Feb 2018 16:26:49 #2 |
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    3guesses

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    Martin Liddle - 1 hour ago  » 
    The file system is getting corrupted. Best guess at the reason would be that the hard drive has used up its supply of spare sectors. I think your options are to try and revive the hard drive, buy a new hard drive or buy a new recorder. To try and coax a bit of life out of the hard drive you could remove it from the Humax and connect it to a PC and run the hard drive manufacturers diagnostics on it. If it was me, given the known problems with the 9300T, I would be considering a replacement ecorder and definitely not another 9300T.

    Thanks Martin. I'm pretty sure I ran diagnostics on the HDD before putting it in the PVR-9300T. I also have a PVR-9150T which suffers the same problem but much less frequently - it has a 320GB HDD, and I think it is the one that was originally in the PVR-9300T. I'd be surprised if this problem were due to running out of spare sectors given that the drive is way less than 50% full, but I'm guessing this is not a common problem of the machine/software version? I also suffer (standard?) file-system corruption problems on my PVR9200Ts from time to time, but nothing like this which surprises me as I would have thought this family of machines share a fairly common code base for their respective software.

    BTW what are these known problems with the PVR-9300T? Is there a list somewhere?

    Tue 6 Feb 2018 17:59:00 #3 |
  4. Luke

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    3guesses - 40 minutes ago  » I'd be surprised if this problem were due to running out of spare sectors given that the drive is way less than 50% full

    The spare disk capacity and the spare sectors are two very different things.

    When bad sectors develop on the hard disk they are automatically mapped out by the disk and replaced with spare sectors from a hidden pool.

    If you do as Martin suggest you will be able to see if this pool has been depleted as it will give you the percentage that is left.

    Tue 6 Feb 2018 18:47:58 #4 |
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    Martin Liddle

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    3guesses - 1 hour ago  » 
    I also have a PVR-9150T which suffers the same problem but much less frequently - it has a 320GB HDD, and I think it is the one that was originally in the PVR-9300T. I'd be surprised if this problem were due to running out of spare sectors given that the drive is way less than 50% full?

    No you misunderstand; the spare sectors are not part of the file system but only accessible by the hard drive controller which will map out potentially problematic sectors and replace them with sectors from the pool of spares. If you can connect the drive to a PC and post the SMART data here we will have a better idea of what is going on.

    I also suffer (standard?) file-system corruption problems on my PVR9200Ts from time to time, but nothing like this which surprises me as I would have thought this family of machines share a fairly common code base for their respective software.

    The file system is a bit flakey on the 9xxx series machines and a problem every couple of years is not unusual but a problem very soon after formatting usually points at a hard drive on its way out.

    BTW what are these known problems with the PVR-9300T?

    The two problems that come up frequently are the recording schedule getting lost when the box is in standby when the box is a few years old (I would guess NVRAM problem) and certain series of programs having play back problems eg skipping (I would guess a software bug in the firmware of the hardware that does the decoding).

    Tue 6 Feb 2018 19:29:24 #5 |
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    3guesses

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    Luke - 1 day ago  » 
    The spare disk capacity and the spare sectors are two very different things.
    When bad sectors develop on the hard disk they are automatically mapped out by the disk and replaced with spare sectors from a hidden pool.
    If you do as Martin suggest you will be able to see if this pool has been depleted as it will give you the percentage that is left.

    OK, thanks. I didn't realise Martin was referring to the bad sectors used to re-map bad sectors.

    Thu 8 Feb 2018 1:43:16 #6 |
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    3guesses

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    Martin Liddle - 1 day ago  » 
    No you misunderstand; the spare sectors are not part of the file system but only accessible by the hard drive controller which will map out potentially problematic sectors and replace them with sectors from the pool of spares. If you can connect the drive to a PC and post the SMART data here we will have a better idea of what is going on.

    OK, when I get a chance I'll run the diagnostics on the disk and see if it's in a bad way.

    The two problems that come up frequently are the recording schedule getting lost when the box is in standby when the box is a few years old (I would guess NVRAM problem) and certain series of programs having play back problems eg skipping (I would guess a software bug in the firmware of the hardware that does the decoding).

    I've never really suffered either problem. There have been times when playback has jumped ahead a bit, but I'm pretty sure this is when a problem occurs with the Freeview signal. From experience, I would say my 9200s handle such a situation better, but I suspect the underlying issue is a sudden dodgy signal. I don't know any Freeview box which handles that pearticularly well - sort out the signal and lots of problems go away

    Thu 8 Feb 2018 1:51:31 #7 |
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    3guesses

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    OK, so an update on this problem.

    Since last posting there has been no recurrence until Sunday morning when it happened again. The PVR had been set to record 3 programmes that morning, but at ~12:30pm I noticed it was still recording when the final programme had already ended at least an hour previously. The clock on the front was also showing 08:30. I took the PVR out of standby and pressed stop on the remote to stop the recording. The dialogue came up and I selected STOP, but the dialogue just remained there and the PVR then became unresponsive and continued recording. After ~10 minutes I unplugged it from the mains, gave it 10 seconds then plugged it back in again. About 80% of the earliest recordings had had their sizes set to 0, and all of the recording schedule was messed up - it looked like it had previously thought it was ~1 month in the future, and adjusted the recording schedule accordingly before the clock was corrected after being power-cycled. All rather bizarre as well as annoying.

    Then, after re-formatting the hard drive and sorting out the recordings, it performed all of its recordings correctly except for one on Monday evening. The recording was set for 2 hours, and it did record 2 hours, but the recordings list thought the recording was only 1 hour long, and when playing it back the time elapsed was running at half speed.

    So today I finally had a chance to run some tests on the hard drive. I used the Seagate SeaTools disk diagnostics to run the Short Drive Self Test and then the Long Generic test. Both passed without error. Crystal Disk shows no bad sectors, and I created an NTFS partition for the entire drive and ran h2testw which passed without error.

    All in all I'm none the wiser. I don't recall the bizarre clock behaviour previously so I'm unsure if that is pertinent, but I'm fairly confident that the hard drive is fine so the cause is something else.

    Any more thoughts?

    PS I'm very sure the jumping problem is signal-related - I get few jumps on Ch4 recordings, but quite a few on Ch4+1 recordings.

    EDIT Reading back the previous post, the common problem of the loss of the EPG/recording schedule is exactly what happened when the clock went haywire on Sunday morning.

    Thu 8 Mar 2018 22:14:53 #8 |
  9. Biggles

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    3guesses - 13 hours ago  » 
    .....
    PS I'm very sure the jumping problem is signal-related - I get few jumps on Ch4 recordings, but quite a few on Ch4+1 recordings.
    .....

    If your jumping problem is signal related then it is a different problem to the one most 9300 owners suffer. It was discovered many years ago by a forum member somewhere that if you switched audio tracks using the loudspeaker? button (second row second column under the slide) playback would run without jumping. Similarly playback will not jump if running at anything other than normal speed, either faster or slower.
    Another problem with the 9300 not mentioned by Martin above is a failure to record a consecutive recording on the same channel when the machine is in standby. This only happens under a certain set of circumstances.

    Fri 9 Mar 2018 11:42:59 #9 |
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    3guesses

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    OK, so a brief update. I contacted Humax and they suggested that I do a reset to defaults. I did this on both my 9150T and my 9300T and they had both been behaving well up until a few days ago when the 9150T started corrupting some of the more recent recordings, so I took it out of commission and did some work on it.

    After transferring all recordings to an external HDD I used Vivard (from Ultimate Boot CD) to perform a low-level format on the HDD, then I used HDD Regenerator which found (and fixed) 4 bad sectors. Afer this I ran HDAT2 (v6.0 beta) and performed the Read/Write/Read/Compare test on the drive (found 1 sector right near the end without an address marker - not entirely sure what that means - and fixed that), and finally I ran h2testw which reported no problems.

    So now I've put the HDD back in the PVR-9150T and reinstated all of the non-corrupt recordings. Hopefully fixing those 4 bad sectors will now solve the problem. It's a bit disappointing that the Seagate SeaTools diagnostics did not find any poblems with the HDD, but my recent experience has taught me to use a variety of tools when checking (and fixing) HDDs.

    I will do some similar tests on the HDD in the 9300T when I get a chance to see if it has any bad sectors not reported by SeaTools.

    Fri 1 Jun 2018 0:20:42 #10 |

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