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SKaVeN

Junior Member
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Posts: 28
Reply with quote  #1 

Hello, 

I've had my unit for years and it has suddenly developed an HDD problem.

The first time it happened was when I was watching a "rewinded" stream of live TV (i.e. Channel ONE) and it froze.  I restarted the unit and it said it started checking the HDD and then came up with the "verify error" and said the HDD need to be reformatted and that I would lose all my data.

This has happened quite a few times lately.  Once the "lost" data, suddenly all reappeared again (i.e. video files and scheduled recordings).

Sometimes, when I restart it, I don't get the error, at all, but it does not find the HDD.  Usually, when that happens, when I pull up the EPG it gets stuck on and I have to restart it again.

I know the obvious answer is that the HDD has become corrupted, but I read on another forum that it can be caused by having too many scheduled recordings and to delete some unnecessary ones, which I have done.

I have also not put any of my videos back on the HDD, in case it was one of them that was causing the issue.

Any other suggestions?

Last firmware update : 29/1/16

 

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DeltaMikeCharlie

Mostly Harmless
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Posts: 249
Reply with quote  #2 
Do you have technical skills, or do you have someone who do it for you?

Swapping the HDD is fairly simple once you know what you need and how to do it.  If you have the right skills, you can also copy your existing recordings, etc.
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SKaVeN

Junior Member
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Posts: 28
Reply with quote  #3 
Thank you for replying.   Yeah, I wouldn't even know where to start with such an undertaking.

It was a couple of days ago when I did what I described in my last post and, so far, it seemed to be working normally.  It even let me rewind, and watch Channel ONE, this time.  The, occasional, black flicker I had has reduced, plus, I've always had an issue with leaving a USB stick connected, where it keeps intermittently disconnecting and reconnecting. which seems to have gone away, too.

I know it'll probably crap itself, again, but, for now, I have my fingers crossed.

I shall keep you posted...  [wink]
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IanL-S

Moderator
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Posts: 605
Reply with quote  #4 
All may not be lost. There is a bug in the Toppy firmware that results in formatting not in fact happening if there are TAPs running. This does not apply of the reformat message comes up when booting the Toppy.

There is a guide to replacing the internal HDD on the oztoppy wiki (I have not updated it for quite a while but that should not matter).

The HDD itself may be OK it may be that either the SATA cable from the main board to the HDD is failing, or the Molex-to-SATA power cable from the main board to the HDD is failing. The molex end of the Molex-to-SATA power cable has non-standard wiring but you can get them for a few dollars from Decisive Computer Solutions - warkus (Mark) is very helpful in all things Toppy hardware.

Sometimes the first partition on the HDD has problems, and unfortunately it cannot be reformatted by the Toppy itself. You have to take the HDD out and delete the partition on PC/MAC - it is automatically recreated when the Toppy boots.

Ian
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SKaVeN

Junior Member
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Posts: 28
Reply with quote  #5 

Thank you.

I haven't installed any TAPS, just the firmware updates.

So far, it's still running well, so I still have my fingers crossed that what I said I did, in my first post, sorted it out.

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AQUAR

Member
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Posts: 75
Reply with quote  #6 
If the Toppy wants to reformat, it might be due to it getting stuck on reading a HDD bad sector (it does many reading retries before giving up).
Sometimes it gets the info and then the toppy continues doing its thing, else you know what.

There is a TAP that lets you view the HDD smart statistics (not used it myself!).

The SMART table will often show you if the HDD is failing - look for:
The number of "bad sectors pending reallocation" - should ideally be zero but else it should be a small number (eg under 20).
The number against "reallocated sectors" - again should ideally be zero but if it is not then bad sectors have been found, been mapped out and replaced by good sectors from its reserve.

By deleting recorded material you may just be avoiding these bad sectors temporarily.
But it can also lead to the HDD self monitoring to reallocate such bad sectors (really need to look at SMART and see if its still viable)....
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SKaVeN

Junior Member
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Posts: 28
Reply with quote  #7 

Hi,

I don't want to do or install anything, for the time being, as I'm just running it to see how it goes.

I will keep that in mind, though.  Do you recall what that TAP is called and a possible link where I may download it?

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DeltaMikeCharlie

Mostly Harmless
Registered:
Posts: 249
Reply with quote  #8 
http://firebird.tms-taps.net/HDDInfoTAP.zip
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SKaVeN

Junior Member
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Posts: 28
Reply with quote  #9 
I have ran the TAP.  I don't understand a lot of it but I'm sure it makes more sense to you people.  😃 P8250005.jpg
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AQUAR

Member
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Posts: 75
Reply with quote  #10 
Current Pending Sector =  bad sectors pending reallocation = 2

So the SMART table shows you have 2 known bad sectors that have data in them (probably a recording).
When these sectors are being read the data in them has been unrecoverable so far.
If the data in these bad sectors is recovered then these sectors will be reallocated (ie no longer pending) and the "reallocated sector count will go up.
The SMART table also shows that 0 sectors have been reallocated.

This Toppy thus has a HDD problem that may explain the issues experienced.
It also isn't showing any serious issues unless the RAW values of these 2 SMART parameters start to increase.


If this was my Toppy, I would save the stuff I wanted to keep to another HDD, and then reformat the HDD (not a quick format!).
This will force the bad sectors to be reallocated and so they will never be written too again.
If these bad sectors are just due to aging of the HDD, it is perfectly normal behaviour and the HDD may stay stable like this for a long time.

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SKaVeN

Junior Member
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Posts: 28
Reply with quote  #11 

Okay, I think I understand most of what you're saying, but I am still a little confused by some of it.  I'll step through it, as best I can.

There were no recordings on the unit when I ran the TAP.  However, there were some scheduled, future recordings, so could they be taking up that little bit of memory?

Is 0 sectors reallocated a good or bad thing?

What do you mean by "not a quick format?"  Are there different ways of doing it?  The two ways I've done are by going: 
1)  Settings  -->  System Recovery  -->  Format Hard Disk, and
2)  When I was forced to do it, after reboot, when I kept getting the "Verify Error" pop-up that I mentioned in my first post.

In either case, it wiped the HDD of all data, so it was empty during the reformatting process, anyway.

When you say that it seems to be normal, and stable, does that mean that the problem I was having may have... sorted itself out? 

As I said, I deleted all the video files on the HDD, and it has seemed to function normally, since.  They were MP4 and AVI files I got off the internet, which is why I suggested that perhaps one of these files was the cause of the problem, rather than a fault with the unit, itself...

I also cut down the amount of scheduled future recordings I had set up which was a sugestion that came up in a Google search.


By the way, should I be concerned about some of these enormous numbers in the THRE (Threat?) column?

 

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IanL-S

Moderator
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Posts: 605
Reply with quote  #12 
An alternative to doing a full format on a PC would be to run the extended version of the manufacturer's disk utility which will mark bad sectors as bad and if possible recover any content to a god sector. 

Ian
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Col_W

Avatar / Picture

Junior Member
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Posts: 24
Reply with quote  #13 
"By the way, should I be concerned about some of these enormous numbers in the THRE (Threat?) column?"

"Thre" stands for threshold. The only number below the threshold is the air flow temp, so the drive is running hot. Make sure there is
plenty of ventilation around the unit.

Col.

__________________
TAPS: IRReview1.2, IRRename, jdaBackToList V1.3, EPGPurge, Automove
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SKaVeN

Junior Member
Registered:
Posts: 28
Reply with quote  #14 

Ian, I'm afraid I have no idea what you mean.  Mainly, why I'd be using a PC or what "extended version of the manufacturer's disk utility " is....  [confused]

 

Col, well, that is good news!  [biggrin]

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AQUAR

Member
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Posts: 75
Reply with quote  #15 
As Col_W mentioned, the only other SMART item of note is that the temperature of the HDD has had instances where it is slightly higher than it should be.
The Toppy has a naturally ventilated enclosure (no fan!) - so make sure its not sitting on other hot boxes or in a fully enclosed cabinet (ie must have ventilation holes).

Zero sectors reallocated is good because it tells you that there have not been any bad sectors reallocated.
Put another way, all spare sectors are still available to replace those that are bad.

The easiest way to restore the HDD, is to take it out of the toppy and put it into a PC to do a full format (using the windows HDD formatting program).
As IanL-S mentioned, instead of using the windows HDD formatting program you could use a utility from the HDD manufacturer to "check and recover" (this operates at a deeper level!). This restoration is done to force the HDD to swap the 2 bad sectors with 2 new good sectors and with the manufacturers utility to find other weak sectors that are about to fail.

On my PC I have several HDD's with bad sectors that are pending reallocation, they never get reallocated because the "system" continues to think that these bad sectors have valuable data in it.  A full format will set these bad sectors as not having valuable data in them so that they can be reallocated. Microsoft windows has a program called CHKDSK that scans for bad sectors and so can tell you if there are other bad sectors that the SMART is unaware off (if there are lots then copy what you want to keep and then throw the toppy HDD away).

There is also a PC program (TopfHDRW) that will let you read/write to the Toppy HDD once it is connected to a PC - good to copy any recordings from the Toppy HDD to your PC HDD.


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