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smashtoppy

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Reply with quote  #46 
Thanks for the information Ian, will contact to get a indication of availability and price.
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jetspeed

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Reply with quote  #47 
Quote:
Originally Posted by smashtoppy

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?


The Toppy has two tuners.

If you have booted up and it's scrambled, you can switch to the other tuner by:

  1. Hit the record button - this will start recording on the bad tuner (but nothing will actually be recorded)
  2. Switch to another channel to force it to change tuners - e.g. if currently recording on 7, switch to 9

If a normal picture appears, then you are now on the working tuner and you can cancel the recording (on the other tuner).

If no picture, then both of your tuners are affected.

To keep the Toppy on the good tuner, do not have any overlapping timers (as this will force a switch of tuners).

If you must record using both tuners and you know the warm up time, you can set a P timer to turn on the Toppy for that duration.

Hope that makes sense!

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smashtoppy

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Reply with quote  #48 
Hi jetspeed , nice bit of lateral thinking and thanks for the explanation. The unfortunate part for me is turning on the toppy simply takes me back into menu (current state of where the toppy is) where it is stuck because it cannot register channels ("O" TV & Radio channels searched) & therefore get out of this mode.

If I do manage somehow to get out this will be a good test to see if one of the tuners has an issue.

Cheers
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jetspeed

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Reply with quote  #49 
Quote:
Originally Posted by smashtoppy
Hi jetspeed , nice bit of lateral thinking and thanks for the explanation. The unfortunate part for me is turning on the toppy simply takes me back into menu (current state of where the toppy is) where it is stuck because it cannot register channels ("O" TV & Radio channels searched) & therefore get out of this mode.

If I do manage somehow to get out this will be a good test to see if one of the tuners has an issue.

Cheers


I would leave the Toppy on overnight. That might give it sufficient time to "warm up" the tuner. You can then retry the channel search.
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smashtoppy

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Reply with quote  #50 
Good suggestion, will do.

This will also indicate as some of you guys have suggested (if successful in retrieving channels) that it is a hardware related issue.
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smashtoppy

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Reply with quote  #51 
Just to let everyone know what the final decision/outcome for this was, I ended up getting the main board replaced with a new one & the power supply was attended to as well (Mark - Decisive Computer Solutions) so everything is up and running again.

My final thought on these units (including the Beyondwiz units from what I can gather) are they are not particularly durable components. Purchased this in 2013 for I think $400/$500 & started having problems with it at around 5 years. Not sure if it is simply a design flaw (heat issues with the offending BGA chip or power supplies) or poor manufacturing, but not particularly good value for money in my book.

Any ideas on an alternative that does not require internet access to operate?
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AQUAR

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Reply with quote  #52 
PVR's and TV's are typically designed around one or more SOCs (System On A Chip) to make them cost effective.

These SOCs are often BGA chips, again a cost effective way to get lots of connections out of them.
Sometimes the solder connections on these BGA chips fail due to heat cycling.
By no means is that a design flaw but just failure with use and luck of the draw.
My homecast PVR has been going for a lot longer than 5 years.

I did a solder reflow on my 2460 BGA chip a few months ago, and so far it has behaved perfectly.
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IanL-S

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Reply with quote  #53 
I have a 2400 that I got in late 2009 and a 7100+ I got in mid 2010 and they are still working perfectly. Only issues I have had have been with connections to HDD and HDD - but HDDs only have a relatively short life. I think they are both on their second 2TB HDD. I only use AV rated HDD in these units which may explain their longevity.

There are some Toppys that are notorious for problems; the 2470 and some early 7160 which had severe heat issues - they redesigned the layout and they were solved.
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smashtoppy

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Reply with quote  #54 
Hi AQUAR & IaNL-S,

From what I can gather it is more luck than anything if you get long term running of the PVR (at least 10 years) without hardware related issues. Speaking to Mark a significant portion of his work is related to PVR's & their well known hardware issues that have been noted in these forums. My use was to record on average 2-3 programs a week & replay, nothing else. It would be interesting if statistics were available of all the units sold 5 years previous +, how many are still running. Admittedly pure speculation on my part, but I think you would find the majority would have long since been sent of to the rubbish tip because of hardware failures or required repair. Though not unique to PVR's, in essence the design decisions taken were not those for longevity. I do not think anyone could claim the Toppy or Beyondwiz units are a cheap product to purchase.

And not getting into a bun fight here AQUAR, but I would rather pay more for a unit to have something that runs long term, so the decision to use this particular SOC is a design flaw for me if it can not reliably do so.

I am actually seriously considering getting another new motherboard because going by my experience will have issues in around 5 year's time again. Making the assumption that FTA tv will still be there as currently delivered.

And to everyone who helped out here with information and suggestions, a big thank you. Everyone here is doing a great service for those wishing to persevere in extending the life of their Topfield.
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AQUAR

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Reply with quote  #55 

@ smashtoppy

We just have different opinions on what are reasonable product design targets.

There is "the law of diminishing returns" that only a few will give a blind eye too (maybe you are one of them?). 
Would you pay $3,000 plus for a long life PVR that will be obsoleted way before its hardware dies, or, $600 for a reasonable life PVR that you can enjoy and replace without hart palpations? 

Another thought - lots of toppies end up as landfill because of some minor issue that, coupled to the inability to process AVC, becomes an excuse to upgrade. 

I put the blow torch on mine to repair it, and did so without feeling guilty because the pvr didn't cost me thousands of dollars.  

However on the other side of the coin, it is true that when a liked piece of equipment bites the dust we generally don't like it. Hence the advice to try and fix it as per this thread (nothing to loose but everything to gain!).  


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smashtoppy

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Reply with quote  #56 
@ AQUAR

Would it cost $3000+ dollars to produce a reliable PVR as indicated in my post (at least 10 years life without hardware issues)? I have never brought a product to market & do not know your background but that does appear to be a rather inflated sum. Not saying you could not bring one in at that price, just that at the time of purchase you are estimating a product that is either 7x or 5x the price of the original or available.

I am very aware of the law of diminishing return's, your reference to this seems rather patronizing AQUAR, deliberately so wouldn't you say.

What obsolescence are you referring too regarding hardware & function?

So $600 & maybe 5 years life = OK for you. We certainly differ in our opinions there.



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davidmorr

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Reply with quote  #57 
Quote:
Originally Posted by smashtoppy
What obsolescence are you referring too regarding hardware & function?
Well, for one, what about then they change to broadcasting MPEG 6 and abandon MPEG 2 and 4?

How about the manufacturer goes broke and closes down the web portal the device relies on? (And they may well go broke if they make things that last 10 years. What will they sell for the next 9 years?)

Even getting components that will last reliable for 10 years might be difficult. It is hard enough getting a disk to last for five years.

And then there is the capacity question. As time goes by, people tend to need more storage space. Do you want to be stuck with a device with 500GB storage for the next 10 years?

Especially in technology, things change rapidly.
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DeltaMikeCharlie

Mostly Harmless
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Posts: 258
Reply with quote  #58 
FireBird has written a TAP that tries to force recordings onto tuner 2.

https://forum.tms-taps.net/viewtopic.php?f=118&t=52389&sid=afe1d075de865b318d26961281d2e639

I found that when my 2460 could not retune properly, I could manually load the tuning from another PVR and manually force a recording on tuner 2.

It's interesting to note that in FireBird's post that this problem is common to multiple broadcast types (terrestrial, cable, satellite).
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AQUAR

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Reply with quote  #59 
@ smashtoppy

I still don't want a bun fight about looking at your opinion from a different perspective.

As an example related to product cost:
When you bought your toppy back in 2013, a more reliable alternative to using failure prone HDD would have been a SATA SSD.
That alone would have set you back mega bucks.
Fast forward to 2018 and you can have that cake and eat some of it.

People spend $1000 on the latest smart phone and then junk it when the battery fails to charge in just a few short years (or when the next model comes out). I mention that to point out that the buyer has a large opinion range of what is reasonable and acceptable wrt value for money.

I understand your point of view and I too would appreciate better value.
 
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smashtoppy

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Posts: 19
Reply with quote  #60 
@ AQUAR

I understand where you are coming from, I think :-)

Regarding the SSD drive, my repairer recommended against using them because (cannot recall accurately so this is on me) they were not designed for a lot of rewrite ability & so that functioning is not as reliable as a good hardrive - & he was suggesting surveillance designated hardrives because they were designed to function more efficiently (less heat and vibration generated) so therefore less contribution to heat issues in the connecting wires which is an issue with PVR's.

I still have an old series mobile phone, but then again I am somewhat techno phobic so only require minimal functions from products I use. My only real complaint of the phone is camera images in less than bright light are not the best, but otherwise produce terrific images. I can replace the battery myself & SD card enabled, which I use for uncompressed WAV files for music (unfortunately the recordings from specialized software used for transfer from CD's did not produce good sound quality on a number of albums for some reason - spent something like around 30 - 50 hours producing those recording so big disappointment). Anyway, enough of the off tangent stuff.
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