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Oct 30 2008

Review: Expressvu External Hard Drive 9242 HD PVR (Part 3)

In part 2, I described most of the troubles I had so far with the Expressvu External Hard Drive 9242 HD PVR. Since my EHD(LaCie 750GB) was full of recordings(test only), I was not able to access the EHD. It would always reboot when I wanted to access the EHD.

BellTV has released v183 of the firmware since yesterday.

In my case, I had to:

  • connect my EHD to my computer
  • remove the 3 partitions(1.01GB, 500.01GB, 197.62GB)
  • make a quick reformat
  • then reconnect the drive to the 9242 HD PVR
  • let it reformat again by the 9242 HD PVR

If you are lucky, you will only have the make the last 2 steps.

So far, I only archived 4 recordings for a total of 5 hours. I did not have any problem. Even the playback worked from the EHD when I was fast forwarding at 300x. In the previous version, I had the "drive disconnected" bug.

Since I don't completely trust the new v183, I'm only archiving already seen HD shows/movies until it's full again. I suggest you do the same. But If your drive is smaller, full and you don't have problems, please leave a comment for the others.

But l hope it work and does not give me problems when it's full too. ;)

F.A.Q.:

You can't just connect the drive to a Windows PC and copy the movies from the EHD. Hollywood would not allow that in the first place. If you do connect the drive to you PC and later connect it to the 9242 HD PVR, you will be force to reformat the EHD.

I did not test using the EHD and connect it to another 9242 HD PVR without losing anything with the new version.

If you want to transfer movies to your PC, it won't be in HD. You could record the movie using a standalone DVD recorder and then copy the movie to your PC. That's the easiest way.

I don't know of any software that will read directly from the EHD to copy the HD movie to the PC.

P.S. It's BellTV now.

Edit 2008-11-08: After filling the 750GB, I still have the same rebooting problem when accessing the EHD. I had more than 100 hours in HD recorded.  v183 is more stable but still bugging when full.

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  1. Mini-Review: Expressvu External Hard Drive 9242 HD PVR wrote:

    [...] Review: Expressvu External Hard Drive 9242 HD PVR (Part 3) [...]

    November 8th, 2008 at 1:53 pm
  1. Allan Holman said:

    Steve,

    In regards to the segment that refers to the PC copying. You actually can copy programs quite easily with a PC. The trick is to use LINUX as opposed to windows. I had two hard drives, one full, one near empty. The full one would keep resetting my reciever. It took me awhile because I’m not a computer geek by any means, but I was able to copy some shows from the full hard drive to the empty one. By doing that I gained access to my shows once again. I believe I copied about five shows to the empty one, and both worked again. You can’t view the programs on your computer or burn them to DVD (at least I don’t know how) but it did allow me to salvage the shows on my hard drive for my own personal use. I used UBUNTU, and everything has seemed to work just fine since.

    November 9th, 2008 at 10:56 am
  2. Steve McGrath said:

    Allan,

    I knew of this method but choose not to mentioned it since it was with Linux and the vast majority use Windows. Plus, the main solution most searchers are looking for is a way to play the recording.

    Your solution is a nice method if someone have a recording they did not want to loose. And since you confirmed that it solved the rebooting bug, it’s another way to live with the full EHD bug for now. New slogan: “Don’t fill the EHD”.

    If I understand, you just copied to the 2nd EHD and deleted from the first EHD to gain access to ALL recordings again on both EHD?

    November 9th, 2008 at 11:09 am
  3. greg said:

    I have a 1TB MyBook hooked up and I have the same issue when full. I have hooked it up to my PC and deleted the smallest partition. I lost some movies but the other 2 partitions remained and the movies are OK. Not the best option but you get to keep some of your archive and loose some disk space.

    Filling the hard drive is one issue, the other on the old version of software was the pausing and sometimes rebooting of the PVR.

    Thanks this has helped, but reporting issues is not easy with BellTV. Level 1 doesn”t help. Is there an easier option you have found to report issues?

    November 28th, 2008 at 12:52 pm
  4. Steve McGrath said:

    It’s a nice trick if someone want to get access to some recording. In my case, it was only a very big test.

    I would expect more than 110-120 hours when full(750GB). I may try to filled it with 90 hours of HD until it’s fixed to be on the safe side.

    You could try to speak to a Level 2 to report the problem. By now, it should be a known issue but people should report it all the same. If they get many more reports, they might be forced to make it a priority. It would be a nice Christmas gift to get a new firmware ;)

    November 28th, 2008 at 1:40 pm
  5. K Libby said:

    I don’t have LINUX but I do have a full 1TB MyBook of recordings from my 9242. Now I have the “full” drive rebooting problem as the 9242 keeps rebooting when trying to access the external harddrive. Any suggestions on how to recover? I’d hate to lose the 70 movies it contains.

    January 18th, 2009 at 5:52 pm
  6. Steve McGrath said:

    K Libby: You played with fire using 1TB.

    You should do like Greg did and deleted the smallest partition. You will loose a lot but the drive will be accessible again.

    You should do this below at your own risk.

    In Vista:
    – I have the Computer icon on my desktop
    – Right-click Manage
    Computer Management will appear
    – Storage – Disk Management
    Find a disk with 698.64GB(LaCie 750GB) and 3 primary partition(1.01GB, 500.01GB, 197.62GB) or something like that
    Right-Click the 1.01GB partition(smallest)
    Delete Volume
    Turn off the EHD

    I then connected back the EHD. It was detected by the 9242 and ask if I would like to view/manage it(something like that but not format). I was able to play(skip 30 sec by me) one of the movie from my EHD.

    What did I loose? A lot. I had only 190hours left of recordings on my EHD thus lost 80+hours. It’s my test EHD so it’s not a big deal. The EHD show that I only have 13 hours free. So, deleting the partition is a gamble since you don’t know what movies will be saved.

    Since I deleted the small partition, I would not do anything(delete, archive) more until they fix that bug. I redid the above step to see if the small partition was recreated. It was not.

    But you should call them about this issue first anyway and even ask for a level 2 tech(Mon-Friday). If more people call, then it might make them move more rapidly on that.

    If they fix it(next software update), I would then restore each movie to the 9242 and archive back on another EHD. That’s if you really want to keep some movies.

    January 18th, 2009 at 6:39 pm
  7. Steven said:

    I too had this problem with a little 80 gig drive that I had. With the suggestion above with accessing the drive with Linux, then purchasing a new 300 gig drive formatting it with the bell receiver then hooking it up to the computer I was able to transfer the files from the old drive to the new. After that was done I was able to access all the shows that I recorded. Thanks all for the suggestions :)

    January 23rd, 2009 at 10:43 pm
  8. Steve McGrath said:

    First, sorry to reply late. I’m working on a special new software project that take most of my time this days.

    Steven, did you fill up the drive since then? If yes, did you have the same problem with the new 300Gig? I think that if you leave some free hours you should be okay but some reported problems before it was even half filled.

    February 1st, 2009 at 10:24 am
  9. Mike said:

    Hard Drive freeze/full/9241/9242 EHD problem
    I experienced the EHD freeze problem and went through the angst of what happened? Bad drive etc. The problem, of course was that the drive was full. Thank Bell for not informing anyone of the potential problem we ALL will experience! All things considered, Bell’s response to this is a disgrace. After much digging I found the solution at Digital Home Web Site (http://www.digitalhome.ca/) in their discussion forums. I pasted it all together and dumped it into a word doc. Its pretty well laid out if you follow the thread. I’ll paste it here and hope that there is enough room. If someone wants the Word doc, let me know. Good luck.
    Discussion Forum
    BellTV 9242: Firmware V183 Discussion (EHD fixes)
    http://www.digitalhome.ca/forum/showthread.php?t=94704&page=13

    192

    Thanks for this informative post GIANT. I tried to replicate within windows. First, I tried Ext2 IFS for Windows “It provides Windows NT4.0/2000/XP/2003/Vista/2008 with full access to Linux Ext2 volumes (read access and write access).” http://www.fs-driver.org/index.html This driver would not mount the 3 drives. I ran the mountdiag.exe utility found in the Trouble Shooting section and it returned a message like – your journal is screwed, probably from a system crash, and you need to run the e2fsck tool. (Linux does it automatically.) The Ext2 file system driver of the Ext2 IFS software will refuse mounting an Ext3 file system which contains data in its journal. – I think this is why it didn’t work for me.

    I then found – Ext2Fsd: an open source Linux ext2/ext3 file system driver for Windows systems (NT/2K/XP/VISTA, X86/AMD64). http://sourceforge.net/projects/ext2fsd/ I was able to mount the 3 drives and delete a few folders from the biggest drive. The 2 big drives were ~ 437Gb and 500Gb. I reduced the 500Gb partition to about 470Gb by deleting several folders. I could read the ‘cat’ file to determine what program was to be deleted using notepad.

    I hooked the drive back up to the receiver and it crashed the PVR upon trying to access it. I think the ‘journals’ are corrupt from a bad shutdown. As I don’t have a Linux machine, it would be great to find a way to rectify this within windows. Any ideas?

    Mike

    193

    Zippy, download the Ubuntu Linux Live CD and just boot your PC with it. After it comes up, plug in your drive and have a look around. The Ubuntu live CD will not change a thing on your PC. When you are done, just shutdown your PC and take the CD out. Much easier than trying to install a bunch of drivers on your Windows machine.

    194

    Thanks! I was on the Ubuntu site and didn’t see a Linux boot disk. If my PC boots into a true Linux environment, that sounds like it would get me well on my way to a fix! I’ll post my results.

    195 EHD Full -PVR reboot Problem
    ________________________________________
    I too was plagued with this problem early this week. Afraid I would loose lots of great concerts and the IMAX specials, I have to thank ‘the giant’ for saving my contents. Just refer to his post #96 on this thread, print out the page and follow the instructions exactly. I did find the Ubuntu Desktop on their site after a little digging. You have to burn the bootable disk, and it works as they claim. NO changes to your system, except to change your bios boot device order (CD first), then change it back when all done. Ubuntu even reminds you to remove the CD when you shut it down.
    One thing that didn’t work for me was viewing the ‘cat’ file with the text editor. I did at least 20 Gigs of blind deletes using the ‘terminal’ program, and tried the drive to only find the same reboot problems. Out of desperation, I hooked the EHD back up to Ubuntu, and discovered that the Open Office word processor could read the ‘cat’ files. I painstakingly went through every ‘cat’ file in every folder and found numerous ones with gibberish in them (no real info)! I deleted all these folders. I should have stopped there, but I deleted a few other identified programs that I didn’t want. In all I deleted about 40 Gigs of stuff. **EHD works now, and everything I didn’t delete is still there and works as before**. Even after deleting close to 40 Gigs of stuff, I still had only 3 hours of HD space left! HD consumes vast quantities of space!
    So, I don’t really know what the real solution was. The folders with the gibberish ‘cat’ files, or the deleting of more content. I’m just happy that it works! I cannot believe that BellTV will NOT address these issues! This should NEVER happen!
    Note: In the PVR screen, the EHD is now called USB Storage for some reason, but that might revert back after a PVR reboot.
    Thanks again for everyone’s input on this Forum!

    Frank

    96 THE SOLUTION

    Hi jb1,

    I had the same problem your experiencing, my external drive was full and when I tried to access it the 9242 would hang and reboot. I am pleased to report I have been able to fix the problem. I warn you that the solution is not pretty but it works and does not require you to format the external HD and lose all your recordings.

    The receiver formats the external HD using a Linux ext3 file system. The drive can be mounted by any recent Linux distribution – Ubuntu 8.10 Desktop (http://www.ubuntu.com/GetUbuntu/download ) is what I used. Once the drive is mounted in Linux it shows up as three separate partitions: disk – one small 1GB partition (seems to be a swap and/or control partition), disk-1 and disk-2 two larger partitions where the video files are stored. Inside the disk-1 and disk-2 mounts you will find a folder called DishArc. This is the folder where the video archive folders can be found. On my drive they were named both alphanumerically and just numerically. Inside each video archive folder you will find four files bm, cat, tsp, wtt. If you open the cat file with a text editor you can see the name of the video recording this file holds along with the description that shows up in the PVR info window. If your not concerned about what video your are deleting you can just inspect each folder to see how large it is and choose one for deletion. I choose a large archive of about 7GB to delete and I also chose to delete the archive from the partition that was most full.

    Up to this point everything I have described was done using the Ubuntu Desktop GUI. To make the deletions, however, I used the terminal. In terminal change directories down (cd ..) until you are in the user directory and change to the directory called media (cd media). Then call a list (ls). Then change directory to disk-1 or disk-2 (cd disk-1) – choose the directory where the folder you want to delete is. Then (cd DishArc) – remember Linux is case sensitive. Then list screen (ls). Now you will see the list of folders. Now to delete the folder you want to remove do the following: sudo rm xxxxxxxx/* (enter password when prompted) and when this has finished do this: sudo rmdir xxxxxxxx – remember that xxxxxxxx is to be replaced with the name of the directory to be removed.

    Presto the video archive has been deleted. Try deleting just one directory and reconnecting to the 9242. If all is well it will be able to connect – if not remove another one and be sure to delete them from the partition that is most full.

    Now if you have a way to mount Linux partitions from within your own operating system (Windows, Mac) then this could all be much easier. I choose to use Linux for this and it worked well – your mileage may vary with Linux or any other OS – I make no warranties. The one question that remains, however, is how the software for the 9242 could be written to allow a drive to fill up in the first place. A simple script could keep this from happening by stopping the archiving process and telling the user the drive is full.

    Cheers,

    thegiant

    197

    Also, if you don’t want to lose any recordings, you can copy the directories to another drive that was previously formatted on the same 9242. Test the destination drive to make sure your shows work and then proceed to delete them from your full drive. Just copy the whole (numbered name ) directories to the other drive

    Jb1

    Call Bell, complain and demand compensation!! (Free TV)

    January 20th, 2010 at 8:43 am

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