Hitachi HDR165 start up failure

NormanS

Standard Member
Have had the HDR165 for a few months and it has been working well - once you get used to the slow start up. Decided to do a channel scan and since the results looked incomplete I repeated the process. At the end the box re-initialised itself and went through the usual load process but stuck with no picture and just a "0" showing on the box display. Left it for about 10 minutes but it would not respond to either the remote or the power button on the box.
Unplugged the power, left for 5 minutes, re connected. Box went through the "0000" and "LOAD" sequence and message about disk initialisation, then flashed up "0537" on the box and died. Then started up again on its own and went through the same sequence, this time the display showed "9424". On the third attempt, on its own, it stopped with just "0" showing and again unable to turn it off from the remote or the power button on the box.
Have tried with and without the scart connected but the result is the same.
Is this box a "dead parrot" - or is there some way to recover it? Any suggestions would be welcome.
 

Futaura

Active Member
Hmmm... I got that deja vu feeling - I eventually found this. The Technika T835 box mentioned is actually exactly the same internally as your Hitachi HDR165 - both manufactured by Vestel. The failure looks exactly the same.

Do you happen to remember the software version number that the box is running? And which transmitter area are you in? This is the only the second time (in as many weeks) that I've heard these symptoms, and have not experienced them myself on my T835 box. It could just be a coincidence, but the fact that rescanning has been mentioned in both cases makes me slightly suspicious.

You've left it unplugged for 5 minutes, so that has saved me one suggestion - I guess by now you've tried leaving it unplugged overnight too. I'd try disconnecting the HDD data and power cables (with the box disconnected from the mains, obviously) to see if the box will boot up without the HDD. My initial suspicion being that perhaps the HDD is faulty. If the same problem happens with the HDD disconnected, then the next thing I'd try to rule out is the external PSU unit - maybe you have another of these used elsewhere which you could try (the PSU needs to have 12VDC/2A output).
 

NormanS

Standard Member
Thank you Futaura for the swift response. No I am sorry I do not know the software version number. We are in the Wenvoe transmission area but the signal for this receiver is being picked up from the Carhampton repeater.
Please excuse my ignorance but I only have power, scart and RF connections to this box - how can I disconnect the HDD? (We 'Senior Citizens' do try and keep up with the technology, but sometimes things go over our heads!)
Will look for alternate power supply, but I am puzzled as to how this could have an affect.
 

Futaura

Active Member
Previous models had internal PSUs which were/are the most common failing parts and usually there are various strange symptoms that crop up before the PSU fails completely. Just part of a process of elimintation really.

If your Hitachi HDR165 is still in warranty and has a warranty seal on it, it may be better to return it. Otherwise, disconnecting the HDD involves unscrewing the cover on the box and disconnecting the HDD power and data cables inside (with PSU detached, obviously).

Since I've only heard of these symptoms once before, I'm only guessing that the HDD or PSU could be the problem, as these are the two parts that are easiest to swap out and were the parts that most commonly failed on earlier models. It may well be that neither of them are at fault. Instead something may have gone badly wrong during the rescan, which would be most unusual, but since you are the second person to have had this happen after rescanning, it does make me wonder. The other person is in the Bristol area, according to their profile, which again makes me wonder if this is not a coincidence, and something transmitter related could have triggered a nasty bug in the box's software (partly why I asked which version it was running).

It may just need a factory reset, but unfortunately there is probably no way to do that, as it would normally be done via the on-screen menus which you of course can't get to if the box won't start up :(.

Apologies for my rambling, since I guess it doesn't really provide you with a solution.
 

NormanS

Standard Member
Still having no success in getting the box out of its loop. Sometimes it cycles through 3 start ups and the numbers that it flashes up are somewhat random, but it stops with just "0" displayed. Does not respond to Power Off from remote or box. The only,to me, odd event is that I get a feedback hum through the speakers when handling the the 12v power plug (which I have to remove to turn it off). Have tried all the combinations of button pressing and switching off that I can think of with no luck.
Have been unable to locate an alternate PSU among the collection we have around the house. The closest I can get is 12v 1500ma - would it be worth trying this?
It was purchased from Argos last November and I note that they no longer carry this model but do have the 255. I do not know whether they will be happy to do a swap with a top up of the price.
 

Futaura

Active Member
Ok. First things first, since your unit is still under warranty, I'll put my sensible hat on... Firstly, I'd advise telephoning Hitachi (the support number is in/on the manual, IIRC), and explain the problem to them. Hopefully you'll get through to somebody who knows what they are talking about, and if it is a known problem, they may be able to advise (might be a "secret" trick to kick it back into action if it is not a hardware failure). Alternatively, they may offer to collect and repair it under warranty, or may instead suggest returning it to Argos. If they were to repair it, there is a chance the contents of recording library will be left intact (if the HDD is not faulty), if that is a consideration for you. Otherwise, the other thing to consider is how much you paid for the HDR165 - if you happened to buy it when it was £99, it would be a no-brainer to return it to Argos and swap it for the same priced HDR255 rather then get it repaired (if you bought the HDR165 for less, I'm sure Argos will allow you to pay the extra, as you say). Argos do sell 320Gb and 500Gb models too, but these are obviously more expensive.

Ok, with all that said, I'll take that hat off again :D. I notice that in the manual it shows a panel on the box that the power input needs to be 12V DC 1.5A, which exactly matches the one you've found (do make sure it is DC output and not AC though!), so if it has the same size connector, if it were me I'd give it a quick try to see if it makes any difference whatsoever. If it doesn't help, I'd go back to the orignal PSU and try disconnecting the HDD internally, but only if the removal of the screws on the box doesn't mean breaking any warranty seals. Obviously, if the HDD does need replacing, it's kinda academic anyway, as it makes more sense to swap the entire unit out at Argos (a brand new HDD will cost around £30 anyway).

The feedback hum does sound slightly worrying, and could point at a faulty PSU, but equally it might be nothing to worry about. It doesn't happen on my setup.

In the meantime, I'm going to get in touch with my contact at Vestel to see if they can offer any help/ideas on this. I can't promise I'll get a useful answer though, but it is worth a try.
 

avhpmassive

Active Member
If you do try the PSU you've found, be sure to check the polarity before plugging it in. These days, it seems to mostly be centre positive, i.e. the hole through the centre of the pin will be the + connection, with the outer part of the plug making the - connection. This is usually indicated either on the label of the black power brick that goes into your wall socket, or on the unit itself where the PSU plugs into. If it's a generic PSU, there may also be a connection in the wire that allows the polarity to be reversed. Make sure this is correctly connected and not reversed. Like I said, these are almost always centre positive nowadays, but I have seen odd wacky exceptions, even quite recently.

So always worth a check.
 

Futaura

Active Member
Yes, good point about the polarity. I also meant to say to try turning the PVR on with both the scart and aerial cables disconnected, if you haven't already tried. I'm thinking more about the aerial cable really, which might possibly allow the box to boot up if there is no signal, and in which case it'll complain about that, allowing the menus to be accessed and the box to therefore be reset.
 

Futaura

Active Member
Ok, so I've been asked by the manufacturer a number of questions, some of which you've already answered previously, but here are the ones which I don't have answers for:

1. Could you let me know the serial number that is on the box? (feel free to send this via PM if you don't want to post it publically)
2. Is there anything specific/different that you did to cause the failure, or was it a simple auto scan?
3. Did you turn the power off/on before the failure?

If you can answer these the best you can, I'll pass the information on.
 

NormanS

Standard Member
Thank you for the help and suggestions.
Yes I checked the polarity of the PSU output and tried it but got the same result - except the box went straight to the "0" display on the first attempt.
I tried the start up without aeriel and scart - same result.
Tried to phone Hitachi but being the weekend no one to answer any query so I sent an email.
Futaura the answers to your questions
1) V0030019418
2) No there was nothing different. I did one scan and thought the results looked incomplete so I did a second scan.
3) The only time I turned the power off (pulled the plug out) was at the end when the box 'hung' and would not respond to the remote or power off button.
 

Futaura

Active Member
Thanks for those details - I've passed them on. Obviously, the PSU is ok. I've never heard of a major failure like this on any of the previous Vestel PVRs, so that's why I'm struggling to explain what the problem could be. Although I think the only explanation now is that either the HDD is faulty / gotten corrupted and/or it really was the channel scan that triggered the problem which would be a software issue :(. I'll keep you posted with any news on this issue.
 

Futaura

Active Member
I also fear this is the case unfortunately.
Yes, all but confirmed unfortunately. It will have to be repaired or replaced :(. NormanS, in addition to the contacting Hitachi and returning to Argos options, I have a third option for you which you may wish to consider. If you're interested, please let me know your e-mail address by sending a private message to me here or e-mail me at the address shown at the top of my website. I'll then discuss the details with you.
 

NormanS

Standard Member
Thanks for all the input. Have heard from Hitachi and the message is to return to place of purchase. So I will follow the "sensible hat" advice and do just that. However before doing so I will contact you.
 

avhpmassive

Active Member
Thanks for all the input. Have heard from Hitachi and the message is to return to place of purchase. So I will follow the "sensible hat" advice and do just that. However before doing so I will contact you.

If they've said to do that, then that actually sounds pretty good. I'd just do that, be nice to the retailer and politely request that if Hitachi themselves do offer you a replacement, that they at least try and retrieve your saved programmes on the failed disk, if it is indeed a crashed hard disk. You may not have any though, in which case that point is moot and you can take another from the retailer. If you do, no harm in asking.

I think you'll be ok here though, you should get a new replacement machine if that is what you want.
 

NormanS

Standard Member
Returned the unit to Argos today. They checked their policy and exchanged it without a fuss. Had to pay the extra for the HDR255 since they no longer stock the 165. Is up and running and has picked up channels from the Wenvoe transmitter as well as the Carhampton repeater. However I don't know how many of the channels will be watchable due to lack of signal strength. It is pretty impressive - the Carhampton repeater is about 500 m away, the Wenvoe transmitter is about 20 miles away across the Bristol Channel in the opposite direction being picked up by a vertical aerial !!!

Thank you both for your assistance.
 

Futaura

Active Member
Good to hear you have reached a positive resolution. Let's hope you are not affected by this problem again. BTW, do you remember if when you retuned your HDR165, it said it was going to reboot to save the changes after scanning? I just ask as this may give some clue as to which software version you had, as the latest versions have this behaviour, whereas older versions did not reboot.
 

geesmoth

Standard Member
I have a Luxor DVR840 which has a Vestel T835 PCB.
My problem is identical to the problem NormanS has, It continuosly reboots itself.
The start of this was the same as NormanS. I did an Auto Retune, at the end of this, after successfully finding all the channels the machine said it needed to reboot to store the channels. At this point is where the rebooting sequence started.
I have tried it with the HDD removed and with a different power supply, all to no avail.
I have connected the DVR to my PC via the RS232 interface using Hyperterminal.
This is the resulting output:

cabot bootloader
version: gordian-t845-t835-br-2009-10-09-16-16-34
CBB0
b 0x34

Testtool STTST-REL_3.2.4 running

Testtool>
WD

At this point it reboots and does the same thing again.
It seems to me as if this may be an inherent fault with this board, so has any one got any more thoughts on this?
 

geesmoth

Standard Member
I have a Luxor DVR840 which has a Vestel T835 PCB.
My problem is identical to the problem NormanS has, It continuosly reboots itself.
The start of this was the same as NormanS. I did an Auto Retune, at the end of this, after successfully finding all the channels the machine said it needed to reboot to store the channels. At this point is where the rebooting sequence started.
I have tried it with the HDD removed and with a different power supply, all to no avail.
I have connected the DVR to my PC via the RS232 interface using Hyperterminal.
This is the resulting output:

cabot bootloader
version: gordian-t845-t835-br-2009-10-09-16-16-34
CBB0
b 0x34

Testtool STTST-REL_3.2.4 running

Testtool>
WD

At this point it reboots and does the same thing again.
It seems to me as if this may be an inherent fault with this board, so has any one got any more thoughts on this?
 

Futaura

Active Member
Thanks for the detailed information. I'm not sure about inherent fault, because these boxes have been out for 18 months or so, and this problem has only just started to be reported on forums which suggests it is something new that is triggering it. It is more likely to be a software glitch, IMHO - with 3 confirmed cases so far, clearly it is the retune process that is causing the problem. I perhaps have one of the oldest T835 boxes around and it has had more retunes performed on it compared to normal use, and I haven't been hit by this problem yet - I'm also in a pre-DSO area still though which might be a factor. Can you perhaps answer the following for me:

1. When did you purchase your T835?
2. Could you let me know the serial number that is on the box? (feel free to send this via PM if you don't want to post it publically)
3. Do you remember which software version the box was running? (althogh I think the serial debug confirms you have the latest v3.4 software)
4. Which transmitter(s) does your box receive a signal from?

I think ultimately it will need to be returned/replaced, unfortunately. AFAIK, there is no magic fix. If you bought it from Asda and it is under a year old, I'm sure you could return it there. However, as I mentioned to NormanS, there is another option I can discuss with you via e-mail, which will be especially useful if your guarantee has run out and/or you bought it "refurbished" (i.e. not from Asda).
 

geesmoth

Standard Member
Many thanks for the reply.
I bought this PVR brand new in June 2010 from Asda. Unfortunately for me, I've looked

high and low for the reciept and can't find it anywhere. As it's only 10 months old, I

rang Asda to ask if they would replace it, but was told as I didn't have the reciept,

they could not give me a replacement.

There is a label on the underside of the machine which says:
Sap Nr : 10065321
Sw Ver : 0_10
10/09

When the Auto Scan completes, it does come up with the message "Needs to reboot", so does

this suggest that it's the V3.4 software?

This looks to me to be,Serial number, Software version and the date of manufacture.
I think the software version on the machine was 3.4, but this is only from memory and may

be wrong. I do remember it said January 2011.

The transmitters I pick up from are Mendips for channels: 54, 56, 58, 61, 62, 67, and

Blaenavon, which is a relay from Wenvoe for Welsh channels: 53, 57 and 60.
I did notice that NormanS does say that he's in the Wenvoe area. Maybe a clue?

I had read somewhere on the internet that Vestel had stopped using an RS232 socket and

had incorporated the RS232 interface into the SCART socket on pins 10 and 12, so it was

just a case of experimenting and getting the D+ and D- the right way round.

As I can't return it to Asda, I would certainly be interested in your "other option" as a

possible fix.
How do I give you my email address without showing it on this page?
 

Futaura

Active Member
Nice detective work on the RS232 port :). The 0x34 in the serial output more or less confirms it was v3.4, IIRC - the label indicates that your box shipped with v0.10, but obviously it has since picked up the v3.4 OAD. Certainly, the need to reboot after rescan was new sometime around v3.x or maybe v2.x.

As you say, it is perhaps not a coincidence that you are both in the same area - AFAIK, the other report I have seen about this problem was from the same area too.

I would normally send a PM, but I don't think this is open to new members. So, instead, you can find my e-mail address at the top of my website, so just e-mail me there and I'll mail you back with the details.
 

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