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How does adding an HDD to the back of an HD PVR via eSATA cable work?

ArianK
I plan to stick around

I've never done this before, so I just want to get the right kind of background information before I attempt such a thing. Let me set the scene a little more specifically...

 

Say one has two PVR boxes. One NextBox 2.0 and one NextBox 3.0. Both are full-fledged PVRs.

 

Now, say the NextBox 2.0 just stops working. And the owner decides to take the HDD of the 2.0 and plug it into the back of the 3.0 via an eSATA cable so they can access the recordings that were on there, would the recordings show up alongside the recordings on the 3.0? Would they replace the 3.0 recordings until the cable became unplugged?

 

There just isn't too much information around about this specific practice, so any help would be appreciated.

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Re: How does adding an HDD to the back of an HD PVR via eSATA cable work?

57
Resident Expert
Resident Expert

Here are my comments:

 

1. You cannot move an eHDD from one PVR to another and watch programming from the previous PVR. The eHDD is "tied" to the particular PVR.

2. You could erase the eHDD and install it on the other PVR, but obviously your recordings would be lost.

3. There is no direct way to tell which recordings are on the eHDD.  The recordings on the Rogers PVRs go the the HDD with the most space on it - percentage wise. So, when you add a new eHDD, all of the recordings will go to that eHDD until it is as full, percentage wise, as the iHDD.  Obviously if you unplug the eHDD and try to access a recording on it, you cannot view it, so that way you can tell which recordings are on the eHDD.

4. The only time that may not be true is if you're doing two recordings at the same time. One recording may go to the eHDD and one to the iHDD.

5. Here's an old thread on the topic of eHDDs over on Digital Home.

 

https://www.digitalhome.ca/threads/rogers-8642-9865-hd-pvr-external-sata-drive-discussion-see-post-1...

 

6. Rogers customers are being migrated to IgniteTV, so you should not fill up any PVRs, rather you should be watching your recordings in anticipation of a move to IgniteTV, or a HDD failure.  The NB2/3s are pretty old and can fail at any time, losing all your recordings.  A PVR is, after all, a timeshifting device and not an archiving device.  FYI, IgniteTV recordings are kept a maximum of one year and then automatically erased without warning.

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Re: How does adding an HDD to the back of an HD PVR via eSATA cable work?

57
Resident Expert
Resident Expert

Here are my comments:

 

1. You cannot move an eHDD from one PVR to another and watch programming from the previous PVR. The eHDD is "tied" to the particular PVR.

2. You could erase the eHDD and install it on the other PVR, but obviously your recordings would be lost.

3. There is no direct way to tell which recordings are on the eHDD.  The recordings on the Rogers PVRs go the the HDD with the most space on it - percentage wise. So, when you add a new eHDD, all of the recordings will go to that eHDD until it is as full, percentage wise, as the iHDD.  Obviously if you unplug the eHDD and try to access a recording on it, you cannot view it, so that way you can tell which recordings are on the eHDD.

4. The only time that may not be true is if you're doing two recordings at the same time. One recording may go to the eHDD and one to the iHDD.

5. Here's an old thread on the topic of eHDDs over on Digital Home.

 

https://www.digitalhome.ca/threads/rogers-8642-9865-hd-pvr-external-sata-drive-discussion-see-post-1...

 

6. Rogers customers are being migrated to IgniteTV, so you should not fill up any PVRs, rather you should be watching your recordings in anticipation of a move to IgniteTV, or a HDD failure.  The NB2/3s are pretty old and can fail at any time, losing all your recordings.  A PVR is, after all, a timeshifting device and not an archiving device.  FYI, IgniteTV recordings are kept a maximum of one year and then automatically erased without warning.

Re: How does adding an HDD to the back of an HD PVR via eSATA cable work?

ArianK
I plan to stick around

Thanks for the intel, @57. But what do you suggest I do for say, an immediate solution?

 

Is there any aspect of the box failing in which I could attempt to fix in order to get things running back to normal, if even for a patchwork fix?

 

And for full disclosure, the box having the issue is actually a Scientific Atlanta 8300 HD. I simply brought up the NextBox 2.0 for the sake of hyperbole.

 

When I try to access the recordings on my 8300, I am treated to one of two screens.

 

Video Recorder Not ReadyVideo Recorder Not ReadyDisk TroubleDisk Trouble

 

That's why I was considering trying to use the hard drive ancillary and plugging it into my actual NextBox 3.0. The hard drive isn't clicking or anything and it's not reporting any functionality issues on the diagnostic screen, so I thought it'd be worth a try.

Re: How does adding an HDD to the back of an HD PVR via eSATA cable work?

57
Resident Expert
Resident Expert

There are several things that could be wrong with the SA8300HD.

 

1. iHDD failure

2. Box failure

3. Connection issue - say between the box electronics and the iHDD.

 

4. There is no way to "move" the existing recordings from the iHDD to an eHDD or to another PVR.

5. No way to do anything useful with the recordings, but I assume you're still able to watch your channels using the SA8300HD as a set top box, not a PVR.

6. If the iHDD has failed (partially) and unreadable by the PVR, it may be possible to "clone" this drive using a computer to recover some of the recordings, but you need to purchase another similar drive, which is unlikely these days with the SA8300HDs being almost 20 years old and you would need to take the SA8300HD apart.

7. If you take the SA8300HD apart you could check to see if the connection between the iHDD and the box electronics is the problem by unplugging/replugging the HDD "cable".

8. With the SA8300HD being close to 20 years old, I think you should count your blessings that it has lasted this long.  A lot of programming is now available on the web so you may be able to watch your "missing" programming there.

9. Cloning an iHDD on an SA8300HD link below:

https://www.digitalhome.ca/threads/sa8000-8300hd-internal-hard-disk-upgrade-works-cloning-too-see-po...

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