Glitching while using custom firmware and external USB hard drive

mrmessy

New Member
Hi Folks. I have been attempting to use the various updates of the customised firmware for quite some time now. At first, everything seems to run smoothly. However, as soon as I switch on the external 2TB hard drive (which I use as a sort of recordings archive), and start playing one of the recordings saved upon it, the picture glitches every few seconds or so.

Furthermore, the glitching will continue when watching live TV channels and recordings of the internal HDD. Also, the glitching will get worse and more regular – up to about once every second – until things are unwatchable (live TV).

I am then forced to re-install the official firmware, whereupon everything is fine again – including playing recordings saved upon the USB HDD.

I tried using the ‘system flush’ install thing to re-set the whole system, and then re-installed the latest custom firmware. However, as soon as I watch a recording from the USB HDD, the glitching begins again.

This has happened with two different USB HDDs in the last few years (a 1TB one and the current 2TB one). Does anyone know what the problem is and how to fix it? I would really like to use the custom firmware AND my external HDD.

(sorry if this subject has been answered elsewhere, I searched but could not find a relevant thread).

Thanks
 

MontysEvilTwin

Well-Known Member
I have not had the same problem exactly, but I have in the past had an issue when playing files from a USB disk on a remote machine. The playback would break up and when I pressed stop it would exit to a seemingly empty folder. The USB drive needed to be disconnected and reconnected to work properly again. I have since applied the patch available on the firmware downloads page that installs the standard 1.03.12 kernel over the custom firmware. I find my USB drives behave much better now. If you have custom firmware 3.00 (or greater) with the standard 1.03.12 kernel, most things are fine, but WiFi won't work and the DLNA filter package can't be used. If you aren't using either of these I would try out the kernel patch to see if it helps.
 
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mrmessy

New Member
I have not had the same problem exactly, but I have in the past had an issue when playing files from a USB disk on a remote machine. The playback would break up and when I pressed stop it would exit to a seemingly empty folder. The USB drive needed to be disconnected and reconnected to work properly again. I have since applied the patch available on the firmware downloads page that installs the standard 1.03.12 kernel over the custom firmware. I find my USB drives behave much better now. If you have custom firmware 3.00 (or greater) with the standard 1.03.12 kernel, most things are fine, but WiFi won't work and the DLNA filter package can't be used. If you aren't using either of these I would try out the kernel patch to see if it helps.

Unfortunately I do use wifi quite regularly to watch things upstairs on a separate HD Fox T2 in the bedroom, so I suppose that idea is out.
 

MontysEvilTwin

Well-Known Member
Unfortunately I do use wifi quite regularly to watch things upstairs on a separate HD Fox T2 in the bedroom, so I suppose that idea is out.
The HD-FOX custom firmware does not use a custom kernel so your HD-FOX will work fine with WiFi. It is only the main machine, to which the USB drive is directly connected, that needs the patch and would then not be able to use a wireless dongle itself. If this machine is networked by the Ethernet port (cable, powerline adapters or wifi-ethernet bridge) your set up will work. There is no guarantee that the patch will fix your problem so I would test it anyway. If you reinstall the custom firmware afterwards, it will also reinstall the custom kernel.

af123 - after applying the standard 1.03.12 kernel patch to a custom firmware installation, what is required to make WiFi work again? Is it simply a matter of deleting the modified wireless driver and copying over the original?
 
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mrmessy

New Member
The HD-FOX custom firmware does not use a custom kernel so your HD-FOX will work fine with WiFi. It is only the main machine, to which the USB drive is directly connected, that needs the patch and would then not be able to use a wireless dongle itself. If this machine is networked by the Ethernet port (cable, powerline adapters or wifi-ethernet bridge) your set up will work. There is no guarantee that the patch will fix your problem so I would test it anyway. If you reinstall the custom firmware afterwards, it will also reinstall the custom kernel.

af123 - after applying the standard 1.03.12 kernel patch to a custom firmware installation, what is required to make WiFi work again? Is it simply a matter of deleting the modified wireless driver and copying over the original?

Unfortunately, I do use (and want to continue using) a wifi dongle with the HDR, so that would not be a solution for me in the long run. Perhaps, I'll just have to stick with the official firmware. It just seems odd that the same thing happens with several versions of the CF but the official firmware is absolutely fine - so the USB HDD is not the problem.
 

MontysEvilTwin

Well-Known Member
Unfortunately, I do use (and want to continue using) a wifi dongle with the HDR, so that would not be a solution for me in the long run. Perhaps, I'll just have to stick with the official firmware. It just seems odd that the same thing happens with several versions of the CF but the official firmware is absolutely fine - so the USB HDD is not the problem.
As I understand it (I am not an expert), the issue is with Humax. The kernel which runs the HDR-FOX is rather old now and in 1.03.xx versions of their software they have made changes to the kernel to enable the use of newer USB drives, for example; I have recent WD and Seagate models which have user-configurable power saving modes and spin down when idle for a period of time.
Unfortunately the kernel doesn't support IP tables (required to stop crash/ reboot issues with the HDR-FOX and NAS running Twonky 7 on the same network), so af123 has created custom kernels for the custom firmware that do have this support. I also have had problems with USB drives and, in my experience, they work better with standard 1.03.12 kernel installed. I imagine that any problems will depend on which make and model USB drive you have: not everyone is affected. How is this the fault of Humax? While they don't condone the use of custom firmware, as the kernel is open source they are required, under the terms of their licence, to publish the contents of the kernel. However, what they have published is either incomplete or out of date. If they had fully disclosed this, it would have been possible to compile a kernel with IP tables support, but otherwise identical to the standard 1.03.12 kernel. There must be some minor differences between the standard and custom kernels which are responsible for the observed behaviour.
 

Black Hole

May contain traces of nut
Unfortunately, I do use (and want to continue using) a wifi dongle with the HDR, so that would not be a solution for me in the long run. Perhaps, I'll just have to stick with the official firmware. It just seems odd that the same thing happens with several versions of the CF but the official firmware is absolutely fine - so the USB HDD is not the problem.
If that's the case then the CF can be over-loaded with the Humax kernel.
 

af123

Administrator
Staff member
mrmessy - I can certainly build you a custom firmware with the stock kernel and matching wifi driver if you want to try it.

It is one of the options I intend to produce for the next version but that isn't finished yet.
 
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mrmessy

New Member
mrmessy - I can certainly build you a custom firmware with the stock kernel and matching wifi driver if you want to try it.

It is one of the options I intend to produce for the next version but that isn't finished yet.

Thanks. I'd be glad to give it a try! I check to see if there are any CF updates every couple of months or so. If you do produce one, I will test it out and feedback on this thread.

Thanks for all the info folks.
 

af123

Administrator
Staff member
Thanks. I'd be glad to give it a try! I check to see if there are any CF updates every couple of months or so. If you do produce one, I will test it out and feedback on this thread.
mrmessy - I've sent you a private message with a download link.
 
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mrmessy

New Member
I managed to try out the experimental CF yesterday, with mixed results. Althought it is not as bad, the glitching is still there. More occasional, but still noticeable, with the occasional bigger glitch every minute or so (where it is as if a single frame from half a second earlier is suddenly displayed out of place - is the best way I can describe it).

Unfortunately, I could not test it out for long before having to put the official FW back on (didn't want to leave the wife and kids with the CF, in case it did start to get really bad). I will try to test it again over a couple of days, if I get chance... From what I did see, it seems to be a step in the right direction, at least.

Thanks for the help. Could it just be that I have a slightly 'incompatible' USB HDD? I think it's a WD, a 2TB model. Strange...
 
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