Hughes Blog
Thoughts on Software Development, Project Management, Parenting, and Running.
Friday, October 06, 2006
The Tivo is Back in Business
Almost exactly a year ago we lost the Tivo. Fran has been after me to get the damn thing fixed for a long time. This week was fall break for the kids. They had the whole week off from school. I figured I'd take time off from work and we would spend it together doing family stuff. Fran figured I'd take time off from work and fix the stupid Tivo.

Guess who that battle?

Not me.


This Tivo is a Sony SVR-3000. It originally came with an 80 gig drive. Then at some point I added in a second 160 gig drive. After some testing I determined that the original 80 gig drive had bit the big one. Tuesday I swung by Fry's where I found they were selling Maxtor 200 gig drives for $59! Score!

Then I spent another $20 on InstantCake, which is a software package that allows one to rebuild the Tivo software on a new set of drives. InstantCake requires that you take a PC and wire it up to the tivo drives and then boot that sucker from the Cake CD. From there Cake takes over and bakes the Tivo software on your drives. Then you stick those drives back in the Tivo and all is supposed to be good.

So a couple of problems. First - Cake comes as an ISO image. My CD burner is on our server which is not hooked up to a monitor. And the really dumb Roxio Media Creator refused to run through W2K terminal server at 256 colors. Arrrgghh....

To solve that problem I downloaded a nifty utility called BurnAtOnce. Burnatonce worked like a charm on terminal server and I had my bootable InstantCake CD.

Second problem was cracking open a PC to set up the TIVO drives. Up in the attic I found an old AMD K2/500 that the kids had used for a while. It actually seemed to start up OK but it had some problems recognizing the Tivo Drives. After screwing around with it for a while I realized that I had disabled the secondary IDE channel in the BIOS and once I reset BIOS it worked like a champ. Cake wanted the CD drive setup on the primary IDE channel as the Slave. So I pulled the CD drive to check the settings and noticed that something seemed to be loose or broken in the drive. But the drive worked OK so I just continued the experiment.

InstantCake booted with no problems. It did not ask too many questions and in very short order it declared the drives ready to go! Sweet!

I mounted the drive back in the SVR-3000, zipped that sucker up and then tried to remember which cables needed to be hooked up to the dish, to the audio system, and of course to the freaking TV. That actually took a while to sort out.

Once hooked up, the TIVO rebooted itself several times. It downloaded the program guide at least three times! But finally it got all the information to make itself happy (which is more than I can say for my wife).

Oh and with the new drives it reports that it has 446 hours of capacity - Yeah man!

After getting the Tivo working I turned my attention to that CD drive. I cracked that sucker open and found a penny had been rolling around in drive chassis. :-) Like I said, the kids had been using that PC for quite a while!


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All views expressed in this post and on this blog are my own. None of my comments should be construed to represent the views of others including and not limited to: BMC Software Inc., Corel Corporation, Dun and Bradstreet and AC Nielsen. Copyright Chris Hughes 2004-2012