HDR-Fox T2 locking up with custom firmware

phd

Member
Hi,
I recently had trouble with my HDR-Fox T2 Humax box, whereby it went in to continuous "deleting *" mode, whilst not actually deleting anything. I found on this website the solution was to downgrade the firmare, format the disk then upgrade the firmware again. Since the harddisk was about half full, I didn't want to lose all the recordings. I found the option to connect via FTP, which allowed me to copy the stuff off, but the directories were read-only so I could copy them back on. I tried phoning humax for help, asking for a root password for the FTP to allow access beyond the "My Videos" area, to allow me to remove the background deletion .dat file, explaining the problem I was having and that I'm a software engineer so I know about accessing and using the Linux O/S., but they were no help stating they don't give out that information, and said their fix was to downgrade/format/upgrade the firmware, they were supposed to send me the instructions, but they never did - useless!

Anyway, to make a long story even longer, I decided to install the custom firmware over the installed firmware (1.03.12), in order to give me telnet access to the box, thus allowing me to delete the background deleting .dat file, and restore the humax to be working again. Whilst logged in I performed a harddisk check, which showed many errors on the harddisk, for which I then decided to bit the bullet and format it - with the diskcheck options, which again continued to show many errors, resulting in me ordering a new harddisk for replacement.
In the mean time I've just been using it from empty, with a little bit of playing with the Web/If installed using the custom firmware, and reading about all the extra facilities available.

Now comes to the problem, since having the custom firmware installed, I have had the Humax box lock up on me a number of times, where it seems to be stuck on a particular channel, showing the picture and sound fine, but I cannot interact with it using the remote control at all, and cannot turn it off into standby mode. I can still access it via telnet and the Web I/F, but even installing the Web I/F remote control software, I could not control it.

It happened again last night, and when I went to the Web I/F to see what was happening it stated that there were currently two programmes playing, even though no programmes where playing, it was showing the live picture. On the schedule events list it stated that it was recording a programme, so when that finished I rebooted via telnet.
On return, it only recorded 1 minute of the half hour programme that was supposed to be recording, but full control had returned.

I believe the lock up has something to do with the fact that it throught two programmes were currently playing - one that was stopped earlier in the evening, and the other stated it was the programme that was supposed to be recording, which I had not selected to play at all.

One thing that I wondered was, quite often I don't press "Stop" to stop a programme playing, I often press "Back" or "Exit" to go straight to the Media page or the Live TV picture. This is something that I have done many times over the 2 years of owning the box, and it has never been a problem. The box itself normally runs for many months without problem, only ever locking up (requiring turn-off/turn-on) on a handful of occasions. Since the custom software has been installed this has happened 4 or 5 times in the past week, so I wondered if there is some problem/conflict going on - perhaps with regard to the business of thumbnail file generation in recent custom firmware updates (which I've been reading about).

I've tried to look at what was going on, in a telnet session, to see what processes were running, but I couldn't see anything obvious. I don't know what process controls the programme playback. I wondered if I just killed off the playback process that perhaps did not exit correctly when pressing "Back" or "Exit" instead of "Stop", that it would spring back into life, but it seems it doesn't quite work like that!
Of course it could be all down to harddisk problems, but it seems strange that the current status indicated two programmes being played at the same time, which may indicate a problem perhaps others have seen?

Anyway, sorry for the long post, I just wanted to get everything into context before describing the problem.

Any help or feedback would be appreciated.

Many thanks,

Phd.
 

Black Hole

May contain traces of nut
Anyway, to make a long story even longer, I decided to install the custom firmware over the installed firmware (1.03.12), in order to give me telnet access to the box, thus allowing me to delete the background deleting .dat file, and restore the humax to be working again. Whilst logged in I performed a harddisk check, which showed many errors on the harddisk, for which I then decided to bit the bullet and format it - with the diskcheck options, which again continued to show many errors, resulting in me ordering a new harddisk for replacement.
Why the heck not simply run the fix disk option from the Telnet menu (Maintenance Mode)? If you have been playing with the raw command line while the humaxtv process was still running it's anyone's guess what might have happened. Fix disk will also sort out the deleting problem, and preserves the disk contents (as far as anyone can).
 
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phd

Member
When I said I did a disk check, that was how I did it, in maintenance mode running fix disk, but that would run all day and still not finish, requiring y/n answers all the time to fix the LBA sector errors. I eventually gave up with that, and went through the process of reformatting manually - using similar method to those describe in the web-page about installing a 2Tb disk. All this was done in maintenance mode, so the humaxtv process was not running.
 
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af123

Administrator
Staff member
The disk is possibly still sick if you interrupted the fix-disk process. A reformat will probably not have fixed any broken sectors. What does the web interface->diagnostics->hard disk screen say? Any rows in amber or red?

The lock-ups you describe aren't ones I've seen reported before. Usually both audio and video freeze together, the box crashes or video freezes and audio continues. If the web interface says that two recordings are playing then that means that the Humax software has them open for read for some reason. Did you make any other changes along with installing the custom firmware such as enabling content sharing in the on-screen menus?

Almost everything 'stock' is done by the single humaxtv process so it isn't possible to kill off specific parts unfortunately.
 
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phd

Member
Hi,
Screen shots of the diagnostics for the hard disk are attached.
After stopping fix disk I reformatted the partitions using mkfs.ext3 as described on wiki/2TB_Disk_Installation_Blog but added the extra -c -c option to perform extra read/write tests, then reset the box to get a empty disk.
I checked the Content Share option, which was On, I switched it on when I was working out how to backup all the data, and test that I could restore it before fix-disk/formatting. I've switched it off now.
Apart from the custom firmware (3.00) all I added was the Web IF, then after the last lockup I installed the IR package to try the remote from the Web IF, but that didn't work, all I could do was reboot to restore operation.
Does the thumbnail generation of the custom firmware kick in automatically or it only used when selected from the +opt menu? I didn't know if it was conflicting with the default process for thumbnail file generation.
 

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af123

Administrator
Staff member
Turning on Content Share causes the Humax to index all recordings on the disk and can often reveal hidden problems in recordings which have not been accessed for a while. This may have been a factor.
If you installed the IR package during a lockup then it wouldn't do you any good as it requires a reboot to hook into the system.
That disk is very broken, I would replace it.
 
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phd

Member
Out of interest, is there a way to run fix-disk to automatically answer Y to any queries to fix/rewrite LBA errors?
The lockups were after emptying the disk so there was very little on there.
 

MartinLiddle

Super Moderator
Staff member
fix-disk isn't going to help if you have run it for hours and there is still a zero reallocated sector count and an enormous pending count. I agree with af123 that the disk needs replacing.
 

prpr

Well-Known Member
Out of interest, is there a way to run fix-disk to automatically answer Y to any queries to fix/rewrite LBA errors?
No there isn't. I can't think of a situation where you would answer 'No' to this really.
It's not a difficult thing to fix but it would need a new custom firmware version.
 
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phd

Member
Hi,
I was planning on replacing the harddisk on tomorrow, but yesterday the harddisk died altogether. Although it powered up (I could hear it), it did not mount, and any commands trying to access it (such as fix-disk) said "Device not found". On the Humax system menu the "Storage" option was grayed out.
So I had no option but to fit the new harddisk (2TB) last night. I was following the wiki page relating to fitting a 2TB disk, using gfdisk to create the partitions (in maintenance mode). I found that when it came saving and exiting gfdisk to write the partition table, it came up with a warning saying it could not write all the sectors (or something like that), listing a whole set of numbers, then prompting to Ignore or Cancel. Cancel just takes you back to the gfdisk prompt, so I tried Ignore a couple of times, which did then exit. checking the partition table with the -lu option did show that it had been written, so I rebooted to let the Humax software mount and sort out the default folders, which it seemed to do OK.
The only thing now is, if I list the partition table with gfdisk, I get a set of errors saying "unrecognised disk label" - see attached image. Is this anything to worry about, or is there something I've missed, and can it be fixed?

Also, just out of interest, if I connect an external harddisk via USB, will all the disk utilities, such as fix-disk and gfdisk and other diagnostic utilities work on the disk connected over USB or do these only work on directly connected SATA disks?
 

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HarveyB

Active Member
Are you on the latest level of Firmware (1.03.12) on the Hummy?
If so then the Hummy can format a 2TB disk from the standard Menu.
Would this not be the better option than trying to format it manually?
 

prpr

Well-Known Member
Are you on the latest level of Firmware (1.03.12) on the Hummy?
Clearly he is, if you'd bothered to look at the picture.
If so then the Hummy can format a 2TB disk from the standard Menu.
Would this not be the better option than trying to format it manually?
Quite so. I don't like the first partition starting on LBA 7. It should be a multiple of 8 really - and definitely so if the drive is one with 4K sectors.
The only thing now is, if I list the partition table with gfdisk, I get a set of errors saying "unrecognised disk label" - see attached image. Is this anything to worry about, or is there something I've missed, and can it be fixed?
No. You didn't put "/dev/sda" on the end of your command, so it goes through looking at things which are irrelevant.
Also, just out of interest, if I connect an external harddisk via USB, will all the disk utilities, such as fix-disk and gfdisk and other diagnostic utilities work on the disk connected over USB or do these only work on directly connected SATA disks?
Don't know how fix-disk copes, but everything else should work. You need to tell it the correct drive though!
 
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phd

Member
I did try using the exact sector numbers as specified by the wiki page to start with, when it came to the 3rd partition it complained that it could not allocate as specified, and set alternate sector number (as is shown), which put it on a cylinder boundary, also divisible by 8, so that seemed fine. I then rejigged the other partitions to get something similar, a cylinder boundary which is also divisible by 8. By default it offers 63 as the first sector, which I read that the is the first cylinder after the MBR. Since this is only the EPG partition I didn't think it would make much difference not being divisible by 8, I don't know if that's the case?
I did it manually, since the wiki page implies that there is extra reserved space set aside for root account (which is not necessary), and the number of inode allocations on the Video partition can be reduced using the extra option on mkfs.ext3.
If I let the Humax box do everything itself, is that likely to mess up all the partition sector boundaries, ie. ending up not being divisble by 8, or will it do a better job of working things out itself? Also will it be reserving extra space unnecessarily?
 

af123

Administrator
Staff member
If I let the Humax box do everything itself, is that likely to mess up all the partition sector boundaries, ie. ending up not being divisble by 8, or will it do a better job of working things out itself?
I've seen mixed results with some people ending up with unaligned partitions. The custom firmware 4kalign diagnostic will tell you if it is properly aligned.

Also will it be reserving extra space unnecessarily?
Since everything runs as root, no.
 
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phd

Member
Do you know what the warnings were all about when writing the partition table using gfdisk, listing a whole set of sectors it could not access, is that something I need to worry about?
 

prpr

Well-Known Member
I did try using the exact sector numbers as specified by the wiki page to start with, when it came to the 3rd partition it complained that it could not allocate as specified, and set alternate sector number (as is shown), which put it on a cylinder boundary, also divisible by 8, so that seemed fine. I then rejigged the other partitions to get something similar, a cylinder boundary which is also divisible by 8.
Nothing cares about cylinder boundaries these days and certainly not these Humax machines.
Since this is only the EPG partition I didn't think it would make much difference not being divisible by 8, I don't know if that's the case?
Probably it won't, but if you're starting from scratch it's better to get it right if possible.
Do you know what the warnings were all about when writing the partition table using gfdisk, listing a whole set of sectors it could not access, is that something I need to worry about?
Without knowing the commands you issued and seeing the output, it's rather tricky to offer an opinion.
 
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phd

Member
Inside of gfdisk, I just used 'n' command to create new partitions, then when I finished, the 'w' command to write the partition table and exit. It was at that point that the warnings appeared, prompting to ignore or cancel. I can probably get a screenshot of the actual warnings later, and I'll post them.
 
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phd

Member
Hi,
See attached file for the warnings out of gfdisk when writing the partition table.
I then deleted all the partitions and let the Humax format the empty disk.
The second attachment shows the partition table it decided to use.
How does this look? I was surprised that partition 1 started on sector 8?
 

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