Archive for the ‘Troubleshooting Help’ Category

Troubleshooting TiVo Noise: What’s the Source?

Posted on December 16th, 2012, by Michael

Now that some TiVo DVRs can be as old as 13, we get a lot of questions about how to quiet the actual unit. The older units get, the louder they get, physically.

In a TiVo, there are basically two sources of on-going noise. There is also a third potential source of noise, but if you have that, your TiVo probably isn’t functioning. I’ll cover that at the end.

The two potential sources of noise inside a TiVo are the two moving parts: the fan and the hard drive. Both parts create friction and heat and wear out over time in ways that increase their noise. And both parts are replaceable, but the fan is much easier and less expensive to replace.

For most TiVos, there’s a pretty easy way to tell if the fan is the source of the noise or not. Just stick a toothpick in the fan grates, and see if the noise stops.

Fan grates on the back of popular model TiVos

Fan grates on the back of popular model TiVos

Be sure not to leave the toothpick in there – you don’t want to stop the air circulation inside your TiVo for too long. On some models, especially early DIRECTV TiVos, the fan is in the center of the unit, so you can’t reach it with a toothpick. You’ll have to open the unit and unplug the fan on those models.

If you’ve determined that the fan is the source of the noise, you can order a replacement fan for most TiVo models from our TiVo fan page.

On the other hand, if the noise continues once you’ve disabled your fan temporarily, then you very, very likely have a loud hard drive, and a loud hard drive is a problem for two reasons: the noise, and the increased friction that it’s experiencing, meaning it’ll likely fail before too long. Granted, we do see some drives come in to our office that sound like jet engines but perform fine, but usually noise = imminent failure.

We have replacement TiVo hard drive kits for every model of TiVo.

Then, the third potential source of noise from a TiVo is a ticking noise. This one is pretty rare, and if you hear it, most likely your TiVo isn’t booting at all. This is a failed power supply. My guess is, you’ve already figured that out or sent us the unit since this problem is much more urgent, but in case you haven’t, we have a complete line of replacement TiVo power supplies.

DirecTV TiVos are Rebooting, Everywhere . . .

Posted on November 15th, 2012, by Michael

Since this past weekend, we’ve been getting flooded with emails and phone calls about DirecTV TiVos rebooting. Reports include basically all units except for the new THR22 HD TiVo. So this DOES include the older HR 10-250 HD TiVo, and all SD TiVos for DirecTV.

While we don’t know the cause of the situation, considering that it clearly affects Series1 and Series2 models all over the country, the source of the problem must be the satellite signal. Many affected units are not plugged into phone lines. And we’ve had no similar wave of reports about either non-DirecTV units, or about DirecTV DVRs that don’t run TiVo.

We do have some queries in to various contacts. But we have no information as of yet.

There’s a thread over on TiVoCommunity that covers the issue. It’s mostly just a list of people saying “yeah, me too” at this point, but if you have this problem, it’s worth keeping an eye on the thread.

We’ll be sure to update everyone if we learn more. Hopefully, the problem will disappear just as mysteriously as it arose.

TiVo DVRs Experiencing “Failed While Negotiating” Errors (N17 / N18)

Posted on January 26th, 2011, by Jeff

Today we have had a significant number of TiVo customers report problem with their Series 2 and Series3 TiVos. Specifically, some TiVo DVRs are getting the error N17 ( Failed While Negotiating) or N18  (Failed While Configuring) or, in some cases, simply “Negotiation Error” on some of the earlier TiVo models. This occurs both with TiVo’s connecting via phone and that are networked (whether wired or wirelessly).

According to TiVo, they are aware of the problem and are working on a resolution. Evidently, the problem does not impact all TiVo users, but we have been unable to discern why some are getting the error and others are not.

Our best suggestion at this point is to just wait it out. Hopefully the problem will be resolved within a day or so. Typically, TiVo is quick to resolve problems once they are aware of them. This one seems to be impacting quite a few customers, so we hope to see the problem fixed quickly.

TiVo Modem Troubleshooting Help

Posted on January 25th, 2011, by Michael

We’ve got a lot of tips on how to work with modem problems on our general TiVo repair page. But here’s some help specific to the failed, service not answering, and failed, could not connect, error messages with TiVo DVRs, both in initial setups, and in configurations down the road.

OK – here’s what you should try:

The first phone call is to TiVo’s toll-free number, to download a list of local access numbers. Sometimes, for some reason, this number doesn’t function properly, or, in some cases, it’s not reachable from certain phone systems.

Also, on up-and-running TiVo DVRs, there are times that phone line conditions change and keep modems from properly dialing-in.

To get around these problems, you can build in a local number that will access the same network. First, use this page to find your local access number:

TiVo POP finder

Enter your local area code and you should get a list of local numbers that won’t incur long-distance charges. From that list, choose the nearest city. You’ll use that number.

Then, on your TiVo, edit the “dialing prefix” area in the following way, where “num” is the number you just got from the web page above.

,#096,,num,

To enter a comma on this screen, use the Pause key, and to input the pound (#) symbol, use the Enter key on the remote. The “#096” portion tells the modem to use a slower connection speed, which is better for noisy or low-volume lines. The commas are basically 2-second pauses that are necessary to separate out commands.

So, for a 310 phone number, where you need to dial a 1 plus the area code before each call, you’d get:

,#096,,13103881905,

which is entered with this key sequence, once in the right field: pause – enter – 0 – 9 – 6 – pause – pause – 1 – 3 – 1 – 0 – 3 – 8 – 8 – 1 – 9 – 0 – 5 – pause

Once you accept and test these settings, the TiVo will try to add its internal phone number on to the end of this sequence, but it really won’t matter since the other phone number in there ahead of it should already be connecting.

If you still have problems, please check the exact syntax of that string above. Each comma and the # are essential!

“Call Interrupted” Problems Seem to NOT be Resolved . . .

Posted on December 13th, 2010, by Michael

We previously wrote about TiVo DVRs having problems dialing in – specifically getting “call interrupted” errors.

Then we wrote to say that TiVo had alerted us that they had fixed the problem.

Well, unfortunately, I’m back to say, that doesn’t seem to be the case, at least for all users. Plenty of our customers are still seeing these dial-in problems. So if you are also, you’re not alone.

TiVo is on the case, but feel free to email us more info on your situation if you’d like, and if you include your 15 digit TiVo Service Number (TSN), we’ll pass it on to TiVo while this problem persists.