80 gig disk in Sky+

Discussion in 'Sky Digital TV Forum' started by mart.stokes, Nov 26, 2001.

  1. mart.stokes

    mart.stokes
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    Well, I have ordered myself a Maxtor 4K080H4 80 gig disk to put in my Sky+ box. According to the guys over at Digital Spy these Maxtor drives (including the 60 gig variant) work very well (at least 4 working, 0 not working!) with one downside; % free space is wrong, who cares? The bar chart and other percentages are still okay and it doesn't affect recording or deletion functions.

    Thanks to all of the guys at Digital Spy who have pioneered this work.

    After spending over a £100 on this I am getting nervous because if it doesn't work my wife will never speak to me again. It should arrive this week, I may or may not get chance to fit it this weekend. Fingers crossed.

    This upgrade should give nearly 50 hours of recording (yes, I know doubling the size should give only 40 hours but evidence suggests otherwise).

    And if Sky come around here asking awkward questions;

    YOU AIN'T SEEN ME, RIGHT?
     
  2. lmccauley

    lmccauley
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    I'm afraid that doubling the recording time just means that I'll have double the amount of unwatched programmes :( . What I need is a ruthless, intelligent system that decides - "look, he's never going to watch this, let's just delete it.". Oh, that'll be the wife ;) (only joking dear, in case you're reading this...)

    Cheers,
    Liam
     
  3. mart.stokes

    mart.stokes
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    Liam, I agree but.........

    After a fashion Sky+ does that already without being intelligent. That's one of the reasons I thought about upgrading (other than being a maverick). The wife records a lot of long sporting events that she doesn't always watch as soon as she can, so after Sky has finished deleting the viewed stuff it deletes the oldest unviewed stuff (SHE's never going to watch this, let's just delete it). The upgrade will give her a greater period of grace.

    I think Sky+ needs a 4th level other than keep, recorded and viewed. It needs a "keep for x days and if I haven't watched it by then consider it for deletion" type option. Another problem my wife hits with "recorded" status is that IF she watches a program live that she has asked to be recorded (e.g. she gets home earlier than she thought) then Sky+ does not recognise that fact so the program stays as recorded and is unlikely to be deleted.

    You know, since getting Sky+ I have used my VCR to copy holiday camcorder footage to, nothing else!
     
  4. lmccauley

    lmccauley
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    True, true.

    Another feature that would be nice is to be able to change "Viewed" back to "Unwatched" (or whatever it is). I often just have a quick check to see that the program is what I expect and set it to the start to watch later, or maybe only watch part of it. The only way around this is to set it to "Keep" and remember to un-keep it after it has been watched.

    It is a great little device though. Dashed downstairs on Friday night at 9pm after just remembering that both Friends and Have I Got News For You were on, to see my wife on the phone. Flick to BBC2 - click Record, Flick to Channel 4 - click live pause. It would have taken me a couple of minutes at least to sort out a tape and we would have been stuffed with the other channel.

    The current size is actually fairly OK for me ATM - although I haven't been away on holiday yet - it usually hovers at about 20% free.

    Let me know how you get on, though.

    Cheers,
    Liam
     
  5. mart.stokes

    mart.stokes
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    The upgrade is done and is working well! Time to get my Sky+ box out of the rack about 30 mins. Time to do the upgrade 30 mins (20 of which was the time taken to replace one screw in the disk holder!, it would have taken no longer than 10 otherwise). Time to get my Sky+ box back in my rack about 1 hour (it's easier to pull cables out than put them back in).

    I've tested it and apart from the percentage free space everytrhing works as before (the drive is slightly quieter than the Quantum Fireball I took out).

    Any problems and I will let you know.
     
  6. mart.stokes

    mart.stokes
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    I should add that I owe a lot to the following link;

    http://www.hummer.co.uk/disc-change.htm

    Oh, and my mate Phil Dawson who has reminded me that I forgot to thank him for his help in telling me how all the connectors fitted etc.

    It IS as easy as it looks. I have no real electronic experience. Remembering to remove power to the box was my biggest concern.
     
  7. graham.myers

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    thats an impressive web-link. I'm even tempted to buy!
     
  8. Stuart Wright

    Stuart Wright
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    Martin, what source do you use for your hardware.
    Best price from my local supplier for a 7200 60Mb IBM is £99 + VAT.
     
  9. mart.stokes

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    Spectre, this is the first bit of computer hardware I have bought so I can't claim to have a "supplier" as such. I used a local company in Telford who the company I work for uses. It was a bit of a strange deal because they are used to invoicing large companies, not somebody walking in off the street with a cheque book!

    I nearly got it from www.simply.co.uk . They were as cheap as my local supplier.

    I used the Maxtor disk because it was a proven upgrade, some people have failed with 7200 IBM drives because it takes too long for the drive to "spin up" so it is not ready by the time the Sky+ box looks for it. This isn't an issue if the box is reinitialised but it means you are screwed after a power cut if you are not there to initialise the box.
     
  10. mart.stokes

    mart.stokes
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    Goodness me, I had never thought how long it would take to test this modification. I now have the disk about half full and there is a shade under 23 hours on there. I'm NOT going to watch everything I have recorded to make certain the recordings are okay, just the stuff I would normally watch.

    So far not a single problem to report.

    On the old disk and on this one I get the odd "drop out", but nothing serious.
     
  11. mart.stokes

    mart.stokes
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    Mmh, in the dead of night I am starting to hear a very slight high-pitched whistle from the drive. I wonder if it is going to get as loud as the original Quantum Fireball?

    Only one solution if it does, I will have to buy a Seagate 80gb FDB drive (although I have no evidence this will work, but it should).

    Everything else is working fine after the upgrade.
     
  12. Guest

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    One point worth mentioning when upgrading the hard drives in these boxes is heat. I've seen posts and reviews stating that these gadgets give out plenty of heat in their original configuration.

    There looks to be sufficient space in the case to include a cooling fan running from the HD power supply, but you'll probably have to spend a bit more to get a quiet one.

    IBM hard drives seem to run hotter than most others, although I don't have any hard comparative data to back this up. There has also been some bad feedback in the computer press with regard to poor IBM MTBF rates.
     
  13. mart.stokes

    mart.stokes
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    Yes, despite the fact that the hard drive is held away from the main electronics it still gets very hot. Over last weekend I extended the IDE cable and power supply cable and ran the disk outside of the box for a couple of hours (cables going via the "upgrade" CAM module hole) and it did seem to be cooler. I then attached the old Quantum drive and I realised than I was just being paranoid about the noise from the Maxtor. The Quantum (despite them being owned by Maxtor now) was a lot noisier. If PC World had had an external hard drive caddy when I went in Saturday afternoon I would probably have left the disk running outside the Sky+ box.

    I looked at fans but, as pointed out, you end up with more noise than when you started!

    I'm waiting for somebody to get a Seagate Barracuda 80gb working with Sky+, they are meant to be very quiet (I'm just p***ing about for the sake of p***ing about now aren't I?).
     
  14. Chippy99

    Chippy99
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    Thats a very interesting point. One of the things to bear in mind is that the Maxtor 5400 speed drives run consistantly 4+ degrees cooler than the competition. (Tom Babpst tested a bunch of drives and found the Maxtor to run at 46 degrees, with others as hot as 67! Although this is not strictly fair since they all had different capacities. But still, the Maxtors are cool.)

    By way of a bonus, they are usually the quietest as well. Just thought I'd point this out.

    Chip.
     
  15. mart.stokes

    mart.stokes
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    Yes, it's a lot quieter than the Quantum drive but I believe the new quiet kid on the block is the Seagate Barracuda with FDB (fluid dynamic bearings, I think). The new quieter Sky+ boxes use FDB drives but I don't know anybody who has opened the box yet to find out the make and model.

    I am just starting to get too sad for words with this thread!

    I suppose I could try and fit a heat sink to the drive cage!!!:rolleyes:
     
  16. Guest

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    Part of the reason the 5400rpm drives are cooler is because they are running slower than the more expensive 7200rpm drives.
    (Forgive me for stating the bl**ding obvious here)

    Not knowing the rest of the Sky+ innards, I can only surmise that using a slower drive will lead to more drop-outs (unless the original drive is also 5400rpm). Similarly, we don't know whether the box runs the faster ATA100 data bus, as opposed to the older, slower ATA66.

    Can anyone who's upgraded have a look at the original drive and pass on the specs or model number? If the original IS a 5400rpm job then future upgraders could save a bob or two and be less concerned about their box bursting into flames!:D
     
  17. ian_guinan

    ian_guinan
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  18. mart.stokes

    mart.stokes
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    Don't think this is a large issue because the data transfer speeds are SOOOOOOOO much faster than is actually needed anyway. Even a DVD picture tends to top out at 10Mbps. My biggest concerns were seek times between areas of the disk caused by excessive head travel when double recording and playing at the same time (worst case scenario, recording from one channel while watching a program that has been the subject of "live pause").

    Mind you, I presume this is all cleverly buffered nowadays. Not like in my youth when you had to worry about such things as clumping your most used files together and placing your indexes on a different disk to your data. Those were the days; REAL COMPUTERS!!
     
  19. mart.stokes

    mart.stokes
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    For those of you who aren't following the excellent work being done by the guys at Digital Spy;

    It seems the new quiet drives in the new Sky+ boxes are Maxtors but NOT the same model line as I have fitted in my Sky+ box.

    I suggest anybody thinking of upgrading waits to see if the new quiet drives stay quiet (a month or two?) and then thinks about purchasing an 80gig version of one of those.
     
  20. Chris S

    Chris S
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    the drive fitted in my replacement sky+ box is Maxtor 540x and is completely silent!, unlike the old heap of what'sit that was originally fitted
     
  21. Jon Baker

    Jon Baker
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    The Maxtor drive range fitted (D540X-4k) has two versions for each model : a normal ball bearing and a quiet fluid bearing.

    The model in my quiet + box is MX4K040K2. The quiet drives don't seem to be available in the uk yet.

    Someone now has a 100Gb drive working.

    See digitalspy.co.uk, forum personal video recorders, topic hard disk and hacking sky+ for details.
     

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