My Humax Forum » Freeview SD » PVR 9150T, 9200T, 9300T

PVR9300T -Fixing Hard drive

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    davidshearer

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    Here's a good way to sort out upgrade and save yourself a load of repair money

    The email here is an end to end solution for fixing HDD problems

    To: Administrator <admin edit: email address removed>
    Subject: RE:: [Humax Ref :HX55316] just displaying 9300T on the front display - no picture

    Dear David

    This would then need to be processed as an out of warranty exchange which would come at a cost of £90 for a 320GB model or £100 for a 500GB model.

    You can try and download the latest software again to your system via the humax beta website http://beta.humaxonline.co.uk/freeview-sd and see if this resolves your issue.

    Best Regards,

    Humax Customer Support

    Response

    I thought you might be interested in my successful solution to this problem – as you were probably aware I do have some expertise in this area so your help in pointing me at your Humax Beta site and at your recovery tools was a really helpful contribution although the site itself does need a bit of work to bring it into the space of being consumer friendly.

    What I did was
    Use the tool and the serial cable to re-flash the firmware on the 9300T – actually this was not relevant as the issue I had was 100% due to a screwed boot disc sector on a pretty standard WD 320G 3.5 inch SATA Hard Drive – I discovered somewhat later after the Humax was working properly that there is a format utility included – although the forums suggest that this does not work well.
    Getting no result from re-flashing as I wouldn't have done any case I removed the screwed HDD connected it to my laptop via a SATA USB interface – found that it was detected correctly, and proceeded to run the relevant disk checking and repair utilities from a Windows Partition on my MacBook Pro this link was helpful
    Seeing all tested out but unable to find a master boot record to repair – I just Fdisked and formatted the disc from the HUMAX to the Etc3 linux format this link is helpful http://www.cyberciti.biz/faq/redhat-centos-linux-ext3-filesystem-format-
    With the disc formatted and reinstalled in the Humax box I turned it on – entered the default password 0000 from the remote control and everything worked fine once again – Result!

    You have a brilliantly designed unit – first class software – great user interface and a really robust resilient self healing set up – next time it goes wrong I'll probably replace the 320G drive with a 500G drive – and it will all work very simply – th strategic problem you need to address is your dependence on the quality of HDDs and their tendency to get scrambled when big files are written and erased and re-written consistently over a couple of years….

    So a better internal format utility and some built in maintenance routines would go a long way towards getting maximum value out of HDDs

    I'm not sure how you would package this solution for the general public but its a whole lot cheaper than a£90.00 exchange unit – but it is something any competent PC technician can do really easily do

    I'll not publish any of this on the forums because I'd welcome your thoughts before I consider doing this

    Please get back to me on this

    Regards

    David Shearer

    Wed 19 Jun 2013 16:09:39 #1 |
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    Martin Liddle

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    At a guess the real problem here was the file holding the EPG cache becoming corrupt. This can be fixed using an option recently introduced into humaxrw with no need to format.

    Wed 19 Jun 2013 17:43:07 #2 |
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    davidshearer

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    Hi Martin.

    If this utility can be run from a box where the loader application file won't load the this may be the case

    Certainly humax technical support had no knowledge of this utility when I spoke with them and as the email trail in my post shows....and I'm not sure how you would run it direct from firmware when the box won't boot properly........ dead apart from model number display was the issue I faced and resolved as described.

    It just seemed to be a major shame that this very good PVR should be rendered totally dysfunctional by a relatively simple and not uncommon HDD failure and then for the solution from tech support being return your box for an exchange unit either paid or free......

    Hard drives are hard drives..... and they break or become corrupted - so they need maintenance and checking if the full benefit of their capacity and resilience is to be realised

    Something that tech support don't know aout has little value for the owners of this unit when it fails
    and if the solution can't be found on the websites or forums then it also has no proper utility

    Doesn't addressing disk maintenance from the firmware make more sense? ..... and if it was the solution and available wouldn't the re-flashing of the firmware have resolved the loading issue

    Sorry I find your answer very confusing and well off the point

    David

    Wed 19 Jun 2013 18:07:33 #3 |
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    Martin Liddle

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    davidshearer - 2 minutes ago  » 
    If this utility can be run from a box where the loader application file won't load the this may be the case

    No you have to connect the drive direct to a PC.

    Something that tech support don't know aout has little value for the owners of this unit when it fails

    Isn't that the point of Forums like this?

    if it was the solution wouldn't the re-flashing of the firmware have resolved the loading issue

    Reflashing the firmware will have no affect on the contents of the disk. My hypothesis is that the contents of the file that hold the cached EPG data have become corrupt such that when they are read back they cause the PVR to hang. It is not a particularly common problem and the solution was only discovered relatively recently. The solution is to delete the file which the Humax will recreate when it next boots. My suggestion is just a simpler and non destructive way of fixing the problem than your brute force format the drive approach.

    Did you ask here for advice?

    Wed 19 Jun 2013 18:17:15 #4 |
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    davidshearer

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    Hi Martin - Actually - I was seeking to help others who have had problems with disk corruption or failure from having to fork out £90.00 for an exchange unit. It was genuinely designed to help
    That is also what the title said - maybe you missed this too

    "if your PVR isnt working check out the Hard drive" - is the simple message - how you do it is up to you...the important thing is to cut the fear out of this process - 500GB HDDs are a lot cheaper than £90.00 and anything with the etc3 format will be recognised by the device." QED

    My post also specifically states that re-flashing the firmware was irrelevant to the process - its just where technical support pointed me to - and then I worked out what was on the disk and decided that the best way to see if it was going to be serviceable was whether it could be formatted.

    I will concede that my solution is destructive of data but would argue that a PVR is inherently more about time-shift than it is about long term storage of masses of media. There are other methods significantly more appropriate for this task - including netflix! and iTunes

    My personal use is to enable me to skip through the endless commercials in much broadcast TV Drama and get the time back into my life

    Regards

    David

    Wed 19 Jun 2013 19:31:18 #5 |
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    Martin Liddle

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    davidshearer - 4 hours ago  » 
    I was seeking to help others who have had problems with disk corruption or failure from having to fork out £90.00 for an exchange unit. It was genuinely designed to help

    What on earth are you talking about? Nobody is disputing that you were trying to help. I was simply pointing out that in the specific case you are discussing there is a simpler and less destructive route to make the box functional again. Guess what, I am also trying to help.

    Thu 20 Jun 2013 0:23:33 #6 |
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    xyz321

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    The 9300T uses a proprietary disk format, it is not the same as ext3 (or etc3 as you seemed to have renamed it). The boot sector will not be recognised by Windows because the Humax processor is big endian and all data written to the disk is in this format.

    It is not a good idea to suggest that fitting an ext3 formatted disk to the unit will work (people will lose any data on that disk). The 9300T will recognise the disk and reformat it to its own format (which is what will have happened in your case).

    Thu 20 Jun 2013 8:20:29 #7 |
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    davidshearer

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    Thanks xyz321 - that is the last piece of the jigsaw! Appreciate clarification!

    Where I am differing from all other contributors here is that I see a HDD in a PVR as "temporary storage "- a week a month maybe......Nothing life or business critical is or should be stored there - its for entertainment stuff - you cannot access the data from outside the machine environment or play the material...... Maybe a lot to do with copyright rather than technical issues

    So because for me this data has no long term or external value my belief is that it is better to return a potentially broken HDD to its raw factory shipped state so that generic utilities can be run to test and assess it. It isn't a standard disc format and there are no published utilities for examining and dealing with Bad Sectors and other low level stuff that may cause it to fail. Full formatting is never a bad thing - its a bit like spring cleaning!

    Adding the proprietary format is something that the Humax does by request on boot with new drive
    this proprietary format takes the HDD out of any real use for anything outside the PVR until it is reformatted to ext3 or other non proprietary format.........

    Does that now make sense?

    Thu 20 Jun 2013 9:49:21 #8 |
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    davidshearer

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    By the way - will the proprietary format format a HDD larger than 500GB?

    Regards

    David

    Thu 20 Jun 2013 9:52:57 #9 |
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    Martin Liddle

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    davidshearer - 7 minutes ago  » 
    By the way - will the proprietary format format a HDD larger than 500GB?

    Yes but there is a limit to the total number of files that makes it of limited use but I am aware of several people who have fitted 750MB drives.

    Thu 20 Jun 2013 10:02:37 #10 |

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