Humax Foxsat HDR – Upgrade HDD to 2TB

Discussion in 'Digital TV & Video Players & Recorders' started by neiljt, Oct 6, 2010.

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  1. neiljt

    neiljt
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    A Condensed Guide to Hard Drive Configuration

    Introduction

    I upgraded my unit last night, from the 320GB it came with to a Samsung HD204UI 2TB.

    I've no idea how good my choice of drive will prove to have been in the long run, but a number of factors were considered. Firstly, ignoring all advice to favour drives specifically designed for AV use, I had previously (several years ago) upgraded a Sky digital box, replacing the default 40GB drive with a 160GB Samsung drive. That drive lasted me for at least 2 years until I canned Sky. And it got a fair hammering. Though I did disable the Sky instant replay feature, which is said to cane hard drives. I'm not sure if the Humax unit abuses drives in the same way. Other considerations in choosing the Samsung were: capacity, economy, price, sound levels. So I'm not necessarily recommending this particular model, it just works for me.

    However this is not intended to be a guide to upgrading the hardware. There seems to be a few of those around already. What I struggled to find was a straightforward guide to configuring a new drive such that it can simply be dropped in and run. You cannot just drop in a 2TB and let the unit format it. Well the unit will certainly have a go, but like I did, you will probably find yourself Googling for help once the front panel has displayed “Initializing Parti” for the first 15 mins or so.

    I'm comfortable in a Linux environment, but feel free to choose your tools. The main objective for me was to understand the configuration required rather than being too pedantic about how that should be achieved. So this is less a HOWTO, more a WHATTO. If you see what I mean.

    Before you start

    Please read the whole guide – including the notes – before starting, or deciding whether or not to start at all. You are assumed to be proficient in UNIX administration. If you're not confident in this area, you could be better off with a more user-friendly guide, as this is not intended as a primer. There will be no further health warning or disclaimers in this guide.

    Preparation

    Remove “old” drive from Humax device.
    Hang both the old drive and shiny new 2TB drive off a nearby linux server.
    Log in to the root account.

    Create partitions & file systems on new drive

    Use fdisk to view partition layout of old drive and take a look around
    Use fdisk to create 4 primary partitions on new drive as follows:

    Code:
    Device		  GB		Purpose
    /dev/sdc1	   4		Recording schedules [1]
    /dev/sdc2	   0.2		EPG [2]
    /dev/sdc3	1994		Video data [3]
    /dev/sdc4	   1.2		Music & photos [4]
    Create ext3 file systems on each of the 4 partitions on the new drive

    Migrate existing configuration & data

    Mount the devices on the old & new drives on /mnt/old1-4 & /mnt/new1-4
    Copy your old stuff across:

    Code:
    # cp -rp /mnt/old1/reserve.info /mnt/new1 [5]
    # cp -rp /mnt/old2/fsatepg /mnt/new2 [6]
    # cp –rp /mnt/old3/* /mnt/new3 [7]
    # cp –rp /mnt/old4/* /mnt/new4 [8]
    
    Deploy new drive

    Install new drive in Humax STB
    Check menu->system->HDD for space available [9]

    Notes

    [1] The size of the original is 2GB, and this was barely dented at 4% use. But it seems silly to be too mean if you've got so much to go at. 4GB should be enough even for an industrial couch potato.

    [2] I could be wrong, but just extending archive storage should not affect the size of the EPG. This can remain tiny.

    [3] This is the partition you need to make as big as you can.

    [4] This one is up to you, though I don't know why anyone would store photos or music on a STB. If you're with me on this, make it as small as possible. I understand that the unit likes this to be a minimum of 1GB. Now this could either be a real minimum value, or it could be (though this is just a theory) that the unit's interface will not let you configure it to be less. Someone please try setting a much lower value, and follow-up here with your findings!

    [5] It could be fact or anecdotal, but I'm sure I have read that copying reserve.info & fsatepg to the appropriate partitions on the new drive convinces the Humax unit that the disk has been prepared for use, and it will not format the drive on first boot after upgrade. It's also possible that you must do more than this – or less! It's definitely more or less true, as I followed the steps above and the unit didn't format the drive on startup.

    [6] See [5].

    [7] Migrating this data is optional, but if you don't do it, it's probably a good idea to create these 2 subdirectories in the partition: cd /mnt/new3; mkdir Video Movie. All ownerships and permissons should be created as required if you are logged in as root. You can confirm this by checking the setup on the old drive.

    [8] Nobody actually uses this, do they? Again, if you don't migrate data from the old drive you should probably create 2 default directories here to fool the unit into thinking all is as it should be (i.e. so it doesn't reformat the drive on first boot). These are the 2 you need: cd /mnt/new4; mkdir Music Photo

    [9] When I checked mine after first boot with the new drive, it reported 1.9GB (sic) free. I wasn't too concerned, as the same screen displayed free recording time as 245h (HD) or 980h (SD). So I guess that's a limitation in the firmware. I can live with it.
     
    Last edited: Oct 7, 2010
  2. flexiondotorg

    flexiondotorg
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    Thanks for posting such a useful guide. I am about to get a sat dish for the first time and wanted to upgrade the Foxsat-HDR hard disk before I got it connected. I'm also a long time Linux user, here are my additions to your post.

    My Foxsat-HDR has never been connected to a dish. I've just connected it via HDMI and used the menus to upgrade the firmware, completed the basic system configuration and reformatted/resized the original 320GB hard disk. Here are the partition sizes from the original 320GB disk.

    Code:
    /dev/sdc1   2.0GB   Recording Schedules
    /dev/sdc2   99M     EPG
    /dev/sdc3   291GB  Videos
    /dev/sdc4   1GB     Music and Photos
    This is the contents of the original 320GB disk when when it is pristine, you'll notice there is no EPG data.

    Code:
    .
    |-- /dev/sdc1
    |   |-- lost+found
    |   `-- reserve.info
    |-- /dev/sdc2
    |   `-- lost+found
    |-- /dev/sdc3
    |   |-- Movie
    |   `-- Video
    `-- /dev/sdc4
        |-- Music
        `-- Photo
    
    Running Ubuntu Lucid 10.04.1 LTS (32-bit) Desktop I used 'fdisk' to create 4
    primary partitions on the 2TB drive.

    Code:
    /dev/sdc1  2.0GB    Recording Schedules
    /dev/sdc2  256MB   EPG
    /dev/sdc3  1.9TB    Videos
    /dev/sdc4  800MB   Music and Photos
    I left the 'Recording Schedules' partition at 2.0GB, just as the original disk. I've increased the 'EPG' to 256MB. The 'Music and Photos' partition I've deliberately made smaller than 1GB to test the theory that smaller sizes will work and it is just the Foxsat-HDR UI that limited to creating a 1GB partition.

    I used 'mkfs.ext3' from the command line to ensure that all the available hard disk was allocated for use. By default ext3 will allocate reserved space for the super user user, typically 5% is reserved. I'm guessing this is not required for Foxsat-HDR so I disabled the reserved spaced using then '-m 0' option.

    I've also used 'tune2fs' to disable file system checking flags, again I'm guessing these will not be required by the Foxsat-HDR.

    Code:
    sudo mkfs.ext3  -L "Recording Sched" -m 0 /dev/sdc1
    sudo tune2fs -c 0 -i 0 /dev/sdc1
    
    sudo mkfs.ext3  -L "EPG" -m 0 /dev/sdc2
    sudo tune2fs -c 0 -i 0 /dev/sdc2
    
    sudo mkfs.ext3  -L "Videos" -m 0 /dev/sdc3
    sudo tune2fs -c 0 -i 0 /dev/sdc3
    
    sudo mkfs.ext3  -L "Music and Photos" -m 0 /dev/sdc4
    sudo tune2fs -c 0 -i 0 /dev/sdc4
    The new 2TB drive appears to work in the Foxsat-HDR, reporting 982 Hours SD and 245 Hours HD capacity. Once I get it connected I'll report back, but all looks fine so far. Only 'reserve.info' is required to convince the Foxsat-HDR that that hard disk is correctly prepared. The Foxsat-HDR GUI correctly reports the new size of the "Music and Photos" partition.

    If you want to reclaim the space allocated to the super user then the following should do the trick. It will need to be run on each partition in turn.

    Code:
    sudo tune2fs -m 0 /dev/sdc1
    sudo e2fsck /dev/sdc1
    Running 'df -h' before and after will show how much space you've claimed back :)
     
    Last edited: Nov 16, 2010
  3. itm

    itm
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    I've just followed these instructions, also using a Samsung Samsung HD204UI 2TB, but seem to have fallen at the last hurdle. All of my files copied across OK (including recordings) - I viewed them in Ubuntu and the disk content looked identical to the 4 partitions on the old drive.

    The Humax booted up OK, but shows 0% used and 0% free on the HDD. Nothing is listed under media.

    Does anyone have any ideas what to try next?
     
  4. allenb

    allenb
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    I'm no UNIX expert by any means, but could it be that the files on the new disk are owned by your username? To be on the safe side, I converted all mine back to root:root.

    You can do this with a series of terminal command like:

    sudo chown -R root:root partitionname

    Where partitionname is the name of each of the four partitions. If you don't know what they are, an ls in /media (in Ubuntu, not sure if this is the same for other distros) should tell you.
     
  5. DuncanEllis

    DuncanEllis
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    I've tried to follow this but everytime I insert the new disk back in the HDR it wants to format the drive. If I stick the original drive back in its fine.

    alk about frustrating, can anyone provide any further guidance? Thanks

     
  6. TonyA

    TonyA
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    I'm currently going through this process myself - installing a 2TB Western Digital AV-GP drive.

    I had exactly the same problem as you last night, and have removed the new drive and connected to an Ubuntu box and notice that the new drive had been partitioned with GUID - whereas the original drive is using MBR (Master Boot Record).

    I have just re-formatted the drive (using Disk Utility) making it MBR, and re-partitioned (using gparted). I have also created all partitions to "cylinder" rather than "MiB" boundaries.

    I now have 2.49MiB partition of unallocated space on the disk - which is exactly the same as the original disk.

    I have removed the Lost+Found directories on the new disk that were automatically created during the partitioning process - as these do not reside on the original disk either, and will get created by Linux if they are required, so they aren't really needed to begin with.

    I am currently re-copying my data across from the original disk to the new disk.

    I'll let you know how I get on!

    Edit: Well - not very well as t happens....

    I re-formatted the drive using MBR like the original, then partitioned, and copied the data over - placed the drive in the Humax, and booted.

    The Humax box just sat at the "BOOT" prompt and didn't move! So this particular disk is not playing ball with the Humax - also tried it as an External drive, and the Humax came back saying it wasn't in the correct format! But it is - it has all of the partitions available in EXT3 format!

    The main p***er for me was that when I put the original disk back into the Humax, it reformatted it, wiping all of my Schedule, and recorded media! Great!
     
    Last edited: May 12, 2011
  7. SteveMM

    SteveMM
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    I had the same experience - after setting everything up as described the Humax box immediately tried to format the drive again.

    In the end I decided to wait until the new year in case we ended up with no TV over the Christmas holiday. So I put back the original drive and guess what?! It insisted on formatting that one too! Fortunately I had backed up the recordings that I wanted to keep before I started.

    Did you ever manage to get the new large drive to work?
     
  8. Muhammad79

    Muhammad79
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    Hi Guys,

    I've just upgraded my Humax Foxsat HDR 500GB to a 2TB WD20EURX, and found the above posts invaluable. Just wanted to say thank you and to share my experience, so that it might help somebody else. I'm a complete linux newbie, and worked with Ubuntu on my laptop. Here's what I did/found – some of it is very basic, but was news to me!

    1) The 3.5 inch drives needs an external power source to connect to a laptop. I had a SATA to USB cable which works for 2.5 inch drives, but there's not enough power from the USB Y-cable that connects to 2 USB ports to run a 3.5 inch one. You can get 3.5 inch external hard drive enclosures from amazon (ensure it connects to external power – most of them do), and then you can use the old Humax drive as external storage in it afterwards. The problem with only having one enclosure/external power source though is that you can't transfer videos directly from the old hard drive to the new one (as both need external power) and will have to either transfer them onto your laptop first (if you have enough space) or on to a separate 2.5 inch external hard drive connected via USB and from there back to the new 3.5 inch hard when that's connected via the enclosure.

    2) Connect the old Humax drive and note the partitions names/sizes (via Terminal fdisk commands) and what files are in it. Mine was as follows:
    sdb1 was 2.2GB and had the reserve.info file on it
    sdb2 was 107MB and had the fsatepg folder in it
    sdb3 was 471GB and had a “Movie” folder (which was empty) and a “Video” folder (which had all the recordings)
    sdb4 was 27GB and had a “Music” and “Photo” folder
    Free space was 2.6MB

    I then transferred the reserve.info and fsatepg files onto desktop and recordings onto a 2.5 inch external drive that was connected separately to the laptop.

    3) I tried partitioning the new drive using Terminal and fdisk (and later using the command tool “parted”), but it kept wanting to start partioning partition 1 from sector 65535 or something and I was getting errors like "The device presents a logical sector size that is smaller than..." Googling told me it had to do with drive alignment or something, and I still wasn't much the wiser after wrecking my head for an hour trying to figure it out. I'm sure smarter people than me can explain it, but I resorted to installing gparted (via Terminal) for partitioning, and it was straight-forward on that. Ubuntu's default “Disks” app only lets you partition in ext4, so you need other means.

    4) On gparted, make sure the drive is formatted in MBR (msdos) first and the individual partitions in ext3. I read somewhere that MBR is suitable for a maximum drive size of 2TB, and I'm guessing that's why people have difficulty getting >2TB drives to work with Humax's. When partitioning the new drive, I kept roughly the same size for the first two partitions, and reduced the 4th partition (Music and Photo) down to 5GB. I left a few hundred MB as “free space” (purely just to be cautious and not tempt fate!), and the remaining roughly 1.9TB for partition 3. When creating the partitions, I selected Cylinder as the Alignment option (as opposed to MiB or None), as the old drive seems to be aligned this way. I then copied across reserve.info and fsatepg files/folders into the relevant partitions and then created blank Movie, Video, Music and Photo folders in partitions 3 and 4, and copied across my recordings into the Video folder. I wasn't logged into the root account (didn't get around to figuring out how to do so), so it wasn't straight forward to copy and paste files to/from the hard drives like you can on windows/mac (you'll get an error message saying you don't have permission), but via Terminal you can install nautilus and nautilus-admin which opens up an explorer window which lets you do it. I had a quick look at the files after pasting to ensure they were owned by “root” and not me, and by default they all seemed to be. Side note: If you select “show hidden files” on ubuntu, each partition has a lost+found folder. Have read online that this is a linux thing and not necessarily on the Humax drive itself, so there's no need to save or copy/paste it onto the new drive – or indeed to even go looking for hidden files.

    5) My Humax only works with Sata 2 drives (or so the internet tells me! I didn't risk it), and as the WD20EURX is a Sata 3, it was necessary to put a jumper in it connecting pins 5 and 6, which reduces it down to Sata 2 (WD explain it on their website: How to physically install, set jumper settings, and set up a Serial ATA, EIDE, or SSD drive in Windows | WD Support ). I chose this drive because people online reported good results from WD10EURX (the 1TB version of it).

    I put the new drive into my Humax and thank God it worked! It boots a bit slower than the last one (and you have to hit the power button twice after disconnecting and reconnecting the mains plug), but otherwise no problems with it so far. The percentage free space that it shows in the Media section is also accurate.
     
  9. Sam789

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    Thought I would share my experience, I had to replace a failing drive in a Foxsat PVR, I bought a new WD AV drive and rather than risk setting up then fitting & finding it wanted to reformat, fitted the drive in the Foxsat, got it to format it, then disconnected just the sata connector and plugged that into my usb to sata adaptor so could access on the PC. You need to power off the Foxsat before you do this and then switch back on (and take out of standby) to operate the drive as the Foxsat is providing power (take care you will have exposed conductors with lethal voltages, do not do this if anyone else is about who might put fingers any where near) I then transferred the files from the old drive to the new with the PC making sure I had the new drive folder I was dragging to open as root.

    Plugging the drive back into the Foxsat connector (with power off again) then booting back up all my old recordings were there and playable.

    Resizing Partitions: Having completed this I then realised I should have set the photo/music partition much smaller and not wanting to reformat and repeat the above decided to do this on my windows PC using my trusty old Mini Tool program (which I`ve always used before) but having connected the drive as above Mini Tool offered the resize option, but then refused to do it! So I tried in a free program from Easeus, that again said it would do it, took some time but came back with cryptic errors saying it couldn't (why does windows love to produce obscure error message that will be meaningless to most!) so I decided, never tried it before, but would see what GParted would do in Linux, should have gone there 1st, it said no problem, if there were any errors it would try and fix them, was very quick and easy to use so job done in no time. Plugged drive back into Foxsat which correctly reported the new partition sizes and all the recordings are still there!
     
  10. Monster900

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    You're right GParted is the best tool for any disk / partition manoeuvres.
    When I upgraded my Foxsat HDR HDD I used it to copy the partitions over to the new disk and resize the partitions.

    The advantage in doing this way is that I got to keep all the Custom Firmware settings as well as all the recordings.
     

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