Upgrading Pace Twin Disc

Discussion in 'Digital TV & Video Players & Recorders' started by iwatkins, Apr 1, 2003.

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  1. iwatkins

    iwatkins
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    Right, it works :smashin:

    OK, he is how:

    :lesson: Please follow standard anti-static practices.

    1. Order/Beg/Borrow a larger capacity 2.5inch drive. I ordered the same drive (Fujitsu) but 60Gb rather than 20Gb from Dabs.com but of course anywhere you like. At Dabs I ordered the 60Gb Fujitsu drive, model number MHS2060AT. Dabs QuickLinx is 2CL5WS.

    2. It arrived so powered off the unit, decabled it and removed the cover. This entails three screws on the back upper edge and two screws on both side panels (seven in all). To remove you need to slide the lid backwards slightly and then pull the back edge upwards to remove as the front top edge sits under the front panel (I hope that makes sense).

    3. Remove the four screws holding the drive mounting to the unit and disconnect the drive cable from the main board. You may need to pull off the silicone sealant holding the cable on.

    4. Remove the four screws holding the drive to the mounting and remove the drive.

    5. Remove cable from drive, again you may need to remove silicone sealant.

    6. Reassemble in reverse order and then recable.

    7. Power the unit back up.

    8. Drive will reinitalise.

    8. Sit back and think how many episodes of Coronation Street you can record for the missus without having to keep swapping tapes :rolleyes:

    Pictures below, apologies for poor screenshots:

    a) PaceTwin opened up with new disc alongside

    [​IMG]

    b) Disc Settings screenshot before upgrade

    [​IMG]

    c) Disc initalising after upgrade

    [​IMG]

    d) Disc Settings screenshot after upgrade

    [​IMG]


    It all appears to work fine. I've added over 45 "clips" to the library so there doesn't appear to be a low limit on the number of recordings you can have.

    I've now got the unit recording non-stop now to see if anything strange happens once the disc has over 10 hours of recording. Obviously this will take the rest of the day so will report back later.

    Even so, I think that upgrade has worked fine. I'll do a little more testing before I'm 100% happy everything is OK though.

    Cheers

    Ian
     
  2. rob@rar.org.uk

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    Ian, a great service to the FreeView community. Thanks very much. Got my Twin View on order, and I now know I can upgrade this disc if the 20GB is too small.

    Regards

    Rob
     
  3. gmt steve

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    I second that Rob, thanks Ian.
     
  4. cybersoga

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    Nice - good to know I can add a bigger drive! I think i'll see how I get on with the built in one before trying to change it.
     
  5. bewty

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    I third that thanks Ian
     
  6. dnrc

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    Quick question, have you put a disk with programmes on it onto a PC to see about things like formatting of the disk and whether you can get the recordings off it in a useable format for PC DVD burning later?
     
  7. iwatkins

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    dnrc
    I put the disc I removed into my laptop to see what was on it. I used FDISK from a boot floppy to see what the disc looked like. It showed three partitions, all labelled as Non-DOS. One main partition and then two smaller ones.

    That is as far as I got because I have no way of "looking" at the actual partitions without connectiong it to a machine where I can use tools. I.e. I would need a 2.5 to 3.5 adaptor, which I don't have.

    If you know of a tool that can look at hard disk partitions, from DOS and can boot from a floppy I could look further ?

    Even so, I doubt you could do anything useful with it as it is stored on the drive as the direct broadcast stream. So you would still need to decode it first I would have thought. Not to sure on these things....

    Cheers

    Ian
     
  8. halifax

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    Excellent work. It looks as though DABS might have a run on 60Gbyte disks !

    What are your thoughts on my previous comments about the disk spec - particularilly the slightly slower disk access speed ? (See below) Any problem - if there were to be one - would be breaking or freezing when the play and record sessions are at opposite ends of the disk read write cycle. As it is not possible to see what sectors are bieng addressed on the disk, the only way to test this would be to near fill the disk and then to try viewing a short extract of each recording whilst the disk is recording another item, and to also see if the last test recording played back later smoothly. (You can probably tell I used to test things for a living !)




    Extract from previous posting ....
    ========================
    I had a quick look at the spec sheet for the Fujitsu hard drive mentioned below and see that the only difference between it and the larger ones in the range is the data transfer rate between the disk surface and it's controller. As only the PACE designers will know if they are bumping up against this transfer rate in their design, a key test will be see wether in simultaneous play and record, both sets of pictures are played and recorded without jumps and freezes consistently.

    The worst xfer rates are ;-
    20 Gbyte disk = 21.6 MBps
    40 Gbyte disk =18.1 Mbps
    60 Gbyte disk =19.4 Mbps.

    Disk Directory ?
    ===========
    Another thing to watch out for will be the number of items that the system can store in it's directory. As the basic kit stores 10 hours it would be logical that it should be able to cope with 20 items ( i.e 20 half hour programmes - a realistic worst case, but if the disk size goes up this item might hit a limit.

    :smashin:
     
  9. iwatkins

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    halifax

    As I said in a previous posting, I have tried the Pace with an old IBM TravelStar which from the specs I can find suggests it has a transfer rate of 16.1 Mbps. That worked fine even while playing back a recording while still recording. So, I guess it isn't that critical.

    As regards to the directory, I said above that I had added over 45 entries in the listing and that wasn't a problem. I'm guessing that this probably does have an upper limit, but further than most will worry about.

    Cheers

    Ian
     
  10. sanderton

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    Interesting that it is so precise about the timings available, considering it records the bitstream and is therefore at the mercy of the transmitted bitrate.

    That'll be a hostage to fortune when someone tots up the length of their recordings and finds its under 10 hrs.
     
  11. halifax

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    Ian, thanks for the feedback.

    In reply to the other point about reading the disk, I expect the three partitions to be one for the record live facility - as it's size needs to be set up at initialisation, one will be the main record area, and the third will be a proprietary or Linux based directory.

    I have seen tools (cables and software ) ,advertised on the internet that allow disks to be read, deleted data recovered, and errors repaired, but the price is the top side of £500. If someone really wants to manipulate programs on a PC it would be cheaper to buy a simple DTT reciever, and to feed it into the PC as analogue video via a WIN TV card. Not very elegant but I expect DTT PC cards are not far off.
     
  12. SASMAN

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    thanks. will be doing the same when i receive mine. once again good work
     
  13. rob@rar.org.uk

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    I have a Hauppage Nova-T PCI card in my PC which records the MPEG stream to hard disc. Is this what you mean?

    Regards

    Rob
     
  14. jaimemitch

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    Looking at the inside of the box couldn't a normal 3 1/2" drive be fitted with a little modification and a 2 1/2 to 3 1/2 drive convertor? This could then possibly allow 250gb of space and nearly 150 hours of recording.

    Just a thought.

    Jaime
     
  15. iwatkins

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    Jaime
    Yes, it probably is possible but you have to worry about voltages to a 3.5" drive and if you use the built in power supply whether it is man enough for the job.

    All that stuff is slightly beyond my knowledge so I can't really say with authority how to go about it. Someone will have to sit down with a multimeter and go over the system to see what it can do.

    You could of course hook the data lines of a 3.5 drive up to the Twin but use an external power supply for the drive.

    Then of course you will have to deal with the noise and heat issues... :)

    halifax
    Rob is right, if you want digital TV on your PC for burning to DVD etc. then it has to be easier to use a PC card that can receive, decode and store programs. Hauppauge Nova-t is one and the Nebula Electronics DigiTV Card is another (I have the later after returning the former).

    Cheers

    Ian
     
  16. jbg23

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    How hot does the box get?
    AS I note that it doesnt have a fan.
    Does it have a internal temp reading?
     
  17. gmt steve

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    It doesn't get very hot at all, just warm. My Twin has only 25mm clearance above the lid and it's fine.
     
  18. sdc395

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    I was a little disappointed to read (in the user guide) that the Twin doesn't support the simultaneous recording of two channels.

    As a consequence, I was wondering what happens if you are currently pausing live TV when another recording is scheduled to begin. Does it just discard the live-pause recording and start the scheduled one?
     
  19. halifax

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    There may not be a limit on the number of recordings to disk, but when I set up the list of repeat record events for all the programes that I watch across the week, the box refused to accept the 21st. Perhaps this is stored in ROM on the machine and 20 events is the max ? :confused:
     
  20. iwatkins

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    Manual suggest there is an limit of 20 events on the timer list. However, there doesn't seem to be a low limit on the number of recordings.

    Cheers

    Ian
     
  21. halifax

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    I didn't expect that level of detail in such a thin manual.


    I have asked this before, but no one replied; is anyone getting a digital buzz on the SCART and Phono audio ? It is there in the background all the time but drowned out by the audio most of the time. It is definately coming from within the box as it stops when the audio mute is turned on. Am I the only lucky one to have this ?
     
  22. terryb

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    No I don't get any buzz on the sound and I am impressed with iwatkins handy work so soon after getting the box. I will be watching this space so if any of you try to fit a bigger disk in please post it up, else I will go for the 60GB disk.
     
  23. riko

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    iwatkins, what page in the manual suggests that the twin can only have 20 timer events. Ive looked but i cant find any thing.

    Thanks
     
  24. iwatkins

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    Erm, er, yeah, I can't find that in the manual anywhere either so apologies for that. :suicide:

    I did defo read it somewhere though, I'll have to take a look at the magazine reviews again, maybe I saw it there.

    Cheers

    Ian
     
  25. dnrc

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    Some of this will be off topic for which I apologise, but my last point may be of interest to a few of you.

    Yes, the box is probably linux based, so would have to be plugged into a running linux box to even be able to see if anything useable is on there.

    But the reason I ask is i am after a specific set of features from a product of this type.

    A hard drive recorder with DV (Firewire) output. Basically because you get all the functionality of a VCR, but with the added bonus of being able to get the video onto a PC using the highest quality so it can be burnt with a DVD Writer.

    The analog video capture is what I currently do, but it's more hassle than using a VCR type device and set top recorders have much better recording quality. DTT PC cards are on the market already, but again will not allow recording at the quality of a set top box. A PC card with top quality hardware encoding will cost more than 3 of the Pace boxes, so I will have to continue waiting.

    OK, so for your harddrives, if you want to use a 3.5" hard drive, you could overcome the power problems by getting hold of an external hard drive caddy (which will give you power and cooling for the drive) and using a coverter cable to connect the two up.

    You could then save money over Laptop drives and if the box allows you could quite easily add 120 GB.
     
  26. Dezza

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    Good point on the 3.5" drive, althogh i suspect most people would want it all to be self contained. If sticking to a 2.5" drive I take it any make of drive could be used?
     
  27. terryb

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    Yes, well if any of you want to make a project out of getting the firewire output from the Pace box please feel free and then tell me how you did it. Apparently, Pace have demostrated it with the Sky+ box using a firewire card installed in an expansion slot so I read on the Sky+ hackers pages.

    On the subject of big drives anybody thinking of putting in a bigger drive than the Fujitsu 60GB - is it possible. I am sure you have all seen:

    http://www.hummer.co.uk/drives-tested.htm - a list of drives tested on the Sky+ box. These seem to be the 3.5" I think - the Maxtor 120GB was much bigger that the Fujitsu.

    However, a look at the Fujitsu site press release comes up with this http://pr.fujitsu.com/en/news/2003/03/10.html - Fujitsu Introduces New 2.5" Mobile Hard Disk Drives With Up To 80GB in Storage. 80GB being the operative bit, dated March 10, 2003. The MHS 60GB was announced July 17th, 2002, question is when is the MHT series shipping ????. BTW the 40GB MHS was announced Oct 30, 2001.

    Would any one like to check the spec on the MHS against the MHT ?. I am thinking it might be worth holding back and upgrade to the 80GB MHT when it becomes available. [I know wait another 10 months for the 100GB to be announced].

    Technical spec on MHT2080AT - http://www.fel.fujitsu.com/home/product.asp?L=en&PID=347&INFO=fsp

    There is a PDF file http://www.fel.fujitsu.com/support/disk/manuals/hdd_quickview_march2003.pdf which compares the drives. To me to me the MHT series consumes the same power as the MHS series, the other parameters are much the same, except packing of data on the disk etc.

    All one needs is it to be in the shops - which it is not as yet.
     
  28. terryb

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    An update on this one.

    I had an email today from Fujitsu UK which says that the MHT2080AT [80 GB drive, 2.5" drive] will be available from around July time rather than May. Simply Computers has the 60 GB drive in stock MHS2060AT for circa £139 inc VAT and delivery so I don't know. :rolleyes:
     
  29. iwatkins

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    No, no problems here.

    I was reserving judgement until I managed to get over 10 hours of "stuff" recorded just in case there was an issue there.

    However, I've got 23 hours of programmes recorded now I have no problem playing them back, nor playing them back while it is recording.

    Noise is still nil (apart from spin up and spin down) and heat in the system is unchanged as far as I can tell.

    Cheers

    Ian
     
  30. terryb

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    Good to hear:)

    Given that the specification of the Fujitsu drives whether they are 20, 40, 60 or even 80 with the new range are the same, then Pace would have been operating them outside of their tolerance limits which would have been hard to believe. So the real issue is whether there is some software limitation that kicks in with big drives. One would suspect that Pace would have sized their software to work with big drives for future upgrade rather than to hardcode small drives into their software. Also people with Sky+ boxes have stuck 120 GB drives in, so one would suspect that much of the software is shared between the two systems. I hope so since I have my eye on the 80GB drive.

    Lets us know when you got 60GB of information recorded:clap:
     

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