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smashtoppy

Junior Member
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Posts: 19
Reply with quote  #31 
Hi guys,

Thanks for the reply's.

I am not electronically minded but may venture to do a battery replacement thing (saw something about this regarding a 7 series toppy earlier today). As far as the soldering reflow fix, well I think that would be a venture too far for me. Checking voltages, while I may have a voltage meter my expert use of that is to see if 1.5 batteries are still viable, otherwise I do not have a clue as to how to use them in any capacity beyond that. May take this to someone I know who doe's know his stuff electronics wise.

So will try the battery change, is there anywhere you could point out that shows how to do that, mainly where that is located (I feel confident enough to dismantle the casing to get to the internals).

Also just to update, have had this running for a few hours & the scrambled msg thing remains. This would indicate to me then it may not be the BGA that is the issue. What is odd is the programmes are now only 3 half hours ahead (instead of the previous 8 hours), so I am missing something obvious I think about what is happening here.

I would like to get the Toppy going if not too much trouble, but am thinking of going the beyonez unit if this proves to be too much of a hassle. What are your opinions on the Beyonez units?

Purchased this unit in March 2013 & have been very happy with it until these problems. Picture is great on my TV.

Again guys, appreciate the help here. I think you have covered all the bases regarding what can be done
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IanL-S

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Reply with quote  #32 
It is a real pain when this happens. I have a large number of Toppys, 4 of which I are in constant use, and I have not seen the problem in a long time, possibly some years. From the comments, it looks like you have studied the discussion of this issue on the oztoppy wiki

Is this a case of 'phantom' issue or is there a substantive problem - by this I mean are recordings OK, or do they have the same issue. Frequently it is only a live TV issue, painful but may indicate that the problem is not as serious as it could be.

I do not recall any instance where the problem was definitively traced back to a hardware problem with the Toppy. When dealing with Toppys sometimes unexpected actions fix problems. It occurs to me that there could be a problem with the HDD that is producing the problem. I would take the HDD out and do a disk check using the HD manufactures utility. In some cases I have found issues have been solved by deleting the small first partition on the HDD. This partition will be recreated when the disk is placed back in the Toppy. (The only downside is that you will lose access to the largely, if not completely, defunct Portal. If you accidently try to access the Portal the Toppy will freeze and you have to turn the power off.) If you there is nothing on the HDD that is important, you could also delete the data partition (first copy to your PC/MAC via ftp the Settings directory so that it can be copied back once the drive is back in the Toppy). It is possible to copy the files directly from the Toppy HDD while it is attached to the PC, various options are discussed on the oztoppy wiki (the relevant discussion is at the bottom of the page.

This could be important! One thing just occurred to me. I use the TimeShiftSaver TAP, and it could be that the problem is due to time-shift losing the plot, which is avoided by using the TAP. This could be why I have not seen the problem.

Ian
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smashtoppy

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Reply with quote  #33 
Hi Ian,

Thanks  very much for the reply.

Yes I have seen the topic regarding this msg where you indicated. Currently thinking along your lines that it may not be a hardware issue but will definitely do the battery change thing once I find instructions on where to locate (front panel compartment - have had the top of this morning & think I may need to remove 2 screws to get into that area but will look for instruction first before attempt). The reasoning I think it may not be hardware is that when the unit successfully accepts the latest firmware update & I get the channels back everything (apart from the time) is hunky dory. When I did a FW reinstall again (because when in standby or switched off it always reverts back to scrambled msg mode on turn on) & had all channels back I went through every channel to check if ok & when I came to the last 3 or so the scrambled msg thing came up again so back to square one. The fact that a FW install successfully restores the channels appears to indicate to me more of a software type issue, but am not that electronically minded.

Thanks for the input regarding the TAPs for channel timing, but it is odd that I have never needed this before to work successfully, thus another reason to try the battery change. Also the tip regarding the hard drive, will investigate this further as a possible solution if can overcome the urge of my user name :-).
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Fred

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Reply with quote  #34 
There used to be a guide on the net somewhere as regards battery replacement,may have been the original Toppy Forum.Its reasonably straight fwd.Take the cover off,5 screws,and you will see the front cover,3 screws one in the middle,and black clips.Unclip the front panel and take off the wiring harness where it plugs into the MB and this will give you enough room to access battery that sits behind the display.
If its the first time you've done this its probably best to take a photo of where the clips go and where the harness plugs into the MB before you start.Battery is 3032.  
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smashtoppy

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Reply with quote  #35 
Hi Fred,

Big thanks for the information & suggestions. Will have to get back to this latter today as am away for the rest of the day.
Will keep the post updated regarding any progress I make as appreciate all the input from you guys & this could very well help someone else in the future.
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smashtoppy

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Reply with quote  #36 
Just an update. Changed the battery & unfortunately it made no difference (checked old battery this morning & it was reading 3.115 volts so was probably fine. When 1st attempting to search the channels after the battery install I simply reset to factory settings (as already had done this previous so assume they would maintain settings) & just simply tried searching the channels. Not successful. I tried a number of abundant caution firmware updates after this because whenever it came to the channel search aspect, it would not find them. 1st attempt at that for the FW abundant caution .. resulted in it indicating duplicate channels detected etc but "0" results TV & radio search, but subsequent abundant... resets this would not happen (duplicate channels). Tried various combinations of these to incorporate the "Antenna Supply 5V" setting & without, no success. I then tried a reset of the time back to what it 1st indicated at the 1st FW abundant ... & then tried the channel Search Mode on manual (various Level & Quality results) & then accidentally hit the 3rd forgotten choice of "Advanced", this opened up the "PID" area, which I went to & somehow all of a sudden the channels started populating in the "Start Search" area format. Hallelujah I thought, finally a result & I can now move out of the Menu area instead of being trapped in there. Unfortunately the ABC & 10 channels were not showing. So redid the search again & now all channels were back BUT now back to the service not running or scrambled msg, so back to square one, trapped in the Menu area. It is all getting a bit blurry now, think I tried FW abundant ... process again but decided one last thing. I have reinstalled the 1st FW for 2013 in the hope of resolving this. No go. That is the current state at the moment.

What I have noticed is that when I do a FW reinstall & go to the Searching area it indicates Level at 94% & Quality at 99% (static), so perform the search (with obviously negative search results) but when back in the "Searching" area where these levels are displayed (active as they fluctuate) they now show at below the recommended 50% to 90% (1 is around 67% I think, so not quite below the threshold) of I assume for the last channel I had viewed. Also if I have been able to get back out of the Menu area to view the channels, when I select a channel the brief display (OSD?) at the bottom of the screen of channel info. always show a high level & quality bars (blue and green). Are these accurate indications of the levels?
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AQUAR

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Reply with quote  #37 

@ smashtoppy

I have a lot of respect for the very helpful Toppy forum members, and of course also their opinions.

The symptoms you describe might be due to some latent firmware issue (bug or corruption) as suggested by these members.
However IMHO the characteristics of the issue is more likely due to an intermittent hardware fault.

Your signal strength is fine and stable, so the intermittent occurrence of the scrambled message is telling you that there is a processing failure.

In simple terms the processing chain demodulates the signal from the antenna and then decodes the tracks in the resulting transport stream "demodulated signal".  That in turn is played on the fly by the in build media player or recorded by multiplexing these track with pertinent meta data in another "special" file structure (a .rec file).

Software is unlikely to begin to work because the Toppy warms up, but hardware can do just that.

The BGA chip does the processing on toppies and this type of chip is known to become intermittent with use.
IMHO this is the more likely cause for this failing Toppy, but it might also be other hardware issues (eg onboard memory that holds the firmware or power supply issues etc).

Since you are not electronically minded there isn't much you can do at the hardware level.
Really only leaves you with the software angle or get it to your friend that can check to see if a new mother board will get it back up and running (cheaper then a beyondwiz!).

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smashtoppy

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Reply with quote  #38 
Hi Aquar,

Thanks for the explanation & thoughts. Regarding the intermittent nature of the scrambled msg, this is actually the normal operation. Perhaps I had not explained that very well. When I had successfully received channels for 1 day, that was my best result (1st time I had installed updated FW). That took some shagging around to get to that point, but after that if I ever switched the toppy of it would revert to the scrambled msg. And now it is essentially all but impossible, regardless of what I do, to get the channels working regardless of FW reset/install or setting changes, the toppy ain't having it (Searching comes up with "0" TV & radio channels everytime now, which does not make alot of sense as it takes quite some time for it to perform the search, as if it register the channels but in the end a software process registers no channels found - pure speculation on my part but if it does not find channels why take so long to do so). Regarding the signal strength, why does that change after a search is performed in that same area, that puzzles me.

Just to answer a query asked previously by Ian, I am able to access & play back my recorded programs no problems at all. I have started to copy some of these onto a external 1 TB hard drive (you need to wait quite some time for it to be recognized by toppy) but at 4mb per second recording, that is a slow process. I do not have a Network arrangement here, just the basics of the unit & a TV. This is in preparation for a hard drive removal & analysis to see if an issue there (suggested by Ian). My concern is this appears risky for some reason (power supply very close so want to avoid any touching in area because of stored electricity in capacitors ??)
 
Regarding cost of having another mother board installed, I am reluctant to go through my friend to do so, even with payment. I see it costing a minimum of $100 going that route (admittedly just guessing as I do not know the cost of another board) which has no guarantee of success, so would rather put that towards a Beyondwiz unit.
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smashtoppy

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Reply with quote  #39 
Actually have just had a thought of something that may be relevant to all this. For some time now (couple of years maybe) when I switch on the toppy it will cause my TV picture (in TV mode, not in the input mode for viewing the toppy) to pause or pixilate the image momentarily. My recollection may be wrong but I do not recall this happening when I had this unit brand new. Power Supply issue?
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IanL-S

Moderator
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Posts: 605
Reply with quote  #40 
The fading of the TV may indicate a problem with the power point or a failing circuit breaker for the circuite on which it is located.

As the recordings are OK, there is apparently no problem with signal strength or quality. So, it looks like there is a problem with the on-the-fly processing of the signal for live TV. What happens if you press the pause button while watching live TV, wait for a short time then press play?

Another thing occurs to me, what resolution do you have the output set to - I have always used 1080i. I have a dim recollection that problems were reported for those who use "auto".

Not sure how the hardware works on Toppys, I do know that the Broadcom SoC has two on-board tuners (some broadcom SoC do not have on-board tuners but support multiple external tuners).

Ian
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smashtoppy

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Posts: 19
Reply with quote  #41 
Hi Ian,

Good point about if the recordings are playing back with no issue (& that includes the most recent one) that reception is not a problem. The same regarding your observation of some type of on the fly processing issue of the signal is happening here .

Regarding AV output, like you I have that set on 1080i (interlaced?).

Regarding what happens when pausing on live tv then resuming, am unable to get live TV on the toppy because of the scrambled msg issue :-). If you mean't doing this while watching live TV per the TV itself (not in the input area for watching the Toppy itself) while operation the toppy, tried that & nothing happened to the image or sound. When I turn on the toppy when viewing the TV itself (not in the Toppy input mode area of the TV) I get slight pixilation somewhere in the image on screen, which can vary regarding how much of the screen/image is affected, but is always momentary (1 to 2 seconds). And to be clear, I seem to get less of a pausing of the image these days when doing this which just seems to add to the mystery.
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jetspeed

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Posts: 8
Reply with quote  #42 
I've been living with this issue for a while now. Previously, it would take 15 minutes to "warm up". Now in the chilly winter, it can take over 2 hours, or not at all (depending on the ambient temp.). I'm sure back in summer it will take less time.

I agree with AQUAR that it's a hardware fault, needing a reflow of the solder. I haven't bothered as most programs are now available for streaming. I seldom need to record using both tuners, so I always have the Toppy "set" on the good tuner in case I need to record.

Hope this helps you avoid a wild goose chase (unless it's something you enjoy! [crazy])
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AQUAR

Member
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Posts: 75
Reply with quote  #43 
Yes, this toppy uses the Broadcom BCM7335 SOC (system on a chip) it does the demodulation, decoding as well as management by firmware.
The Broadcom BCM7335 SOC is a BGA chip and has a heat sink glued to it (cannot be removed from the chip - I tried!). 

Trying to resolve the issue with firmware re-flashing is always worth trying but alas not likely to fix this one.

The beyondwiz PVR is well respected and fully serviceable, guess this then becomes a case of "big $" vs "risk + less $).

I would ask fixmydata about the cost of a new mobo (if he still has them!).
Installation is just a few screws and a few plugs (about as difficult as replacing the battery).

   

 
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smashtoppy

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Posts: 19
Reply with quote  #44 
Hi guys,

jetspeed - you indicate you can record from a good tuner. You have me confused regarding recording from the good tuner. How is that possible if you have the scrambled msg?

AQUAR - if the motherboard is relatively cheap & easily replaceable as indicated (I can do it myself) then I think that will be worth pursing, so thanks for the information.
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IanL-S

Moderator
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Posts: 605
Reply with quote  #45 
My recollection is that forum member fixmydata has a supply of main boards. I would talk to him about the problem, or alternatively warkus (Mark) at Decisive Computer Solutions.

Ian
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