HDR-Fox T2 upgrade - expert advice would be appreciated

#1
I have an HDR Fox T2 that is currently refusing to display HD channels. The symptoms are:
When the device is first switched on, HD channels will play for a minute or two, then they start to jitter, then cut out completely. If I switch between HD channels during this time, the level of jitter is not affected. e.g if BBC1 is jitter-free, C4HD will be too. If I watch C4HD for a little while until it starts to jitter, I can switch back to BBC1 and it suffers the same level of jitter that C4HD was. It's as if the level of interference is not related to channel, only to time.
The pass through from this device, when connected to another decoder, will display HD channels even while the HDR Fox refuses to do so.
The SD channels are unaffected.

I'm in the Mendip transmitter area, there are warnings for possible weak signals at the moment, but as I put above, other decoders on the same aerial can decode HD.

Humax have advised that the HDR Fox is likely failing due to its age. That it might simply not be able to decode HD signals any more for some reason the hardware/firmware is not up to the job.

It also seems to me that the hardware might be failing due to heat, again due to a fault.

Humax have advise that I replace the HDR Fox with a 5000T. I have begun backing up the old recordings and decrypting the HD videos using HFODU2. (BTW - thanks to whoever wrote this, it works brilliantly.)

Before I invest (expend) in a new 5000T, I wanted to get comments and advice from the regulars here.
e.g. Does it sound plausible that the 5000T would fix the problem?
Is there an alternative solution such as fixing the HDR Fox?
Will I be able to copy recordings from the 5000T to the PC? In SD only? Does the .hmt modification trick work for the 5000T?
Any other things I should consider?

Thanks in advance.
 

Trev

The Dumb One
#2
Most likely is that the signal strength on the HD multiplex (Mux) is marginal. It could be that the T2 is just a bit less sensitive than your other box. Please report the signal strength and quality readings from your T2 on the HD Mux.
Re. 5000T. Humax would say that wouldn't they (To misquote MRD). Get your signal level up a bit and everything in the garden will be rosy.
Fix the Fox. There are quite a few derogatory remarks sculling about on the 5000T
 

MartinLiddle

Super Moderator
Staff member
#3
Is there an alternative solution such as fixing the HDR Fox?
Tell us what the signal strength and quality is (as reported by the HDR-FOX T2) on an SD channel and on a HD channel.
]
Will I be able to copy recordings from the 5000T to the PC? In SD only?
Yes you can copy SD recordings from a 5000T to a PC and decrypt them.
Does the .hmt modification trick work for the 5000T?
No.
 

Black Hole

May contain traces of nut
#4
This is a severely mixed post. Queries about performance and fixing a HDR-FOX need to be in HDR-FOXland.

When the device is first switched on, HD channels will play for a minute or two, then they start to jitter, then cut out completely. If I switch between HD channels during this time, the level of jitter is not affected. e.g if BBC1 is jitter-free, C4HD will be too. If I watch C4HD for a little while until it starts to jitter, I can switch back to BBC1 and it suffers the same level of jitter that C4HD was. It's as if the level of interference is not related to channel, only to time.
The pass through from this device, when connected to another decoder, will display HD channels even while the HDR Fox refuses to do so.
The SD channels are unaffected.
Could be a signal problem (as mentioned above), and you need to do a survey of the multiplex signal strengths & quality (preferably at the time there are problems) using Menu >> Settings >> System >> Signal Detection. You might even be the cause of the problem if the HDMI link interference is degrading the signal from the aerial because of low quality cables (the aerial lead in particular).

If you find no nothing to blame in the signal strength, note there is no difference in the processing of StDef and HiDef broadcasts except the data rate. There is no hardware degradation that might explain StDef working and HiDef not working. it could simply be that your HDD has accumulated a significant number of file system errors so that the access retries are overloading the system (affecting the HiDef data rate but still getting away with it on StDef).

Quick Guide to Disk Recovery (click)

I have begun backing up the old recordings and decrypting the HD videos using HFODU2. (BTW - thanks to whoever wrote this, it works brilliantly.)
I'm sure @EEPhil will be pleased to know that.

For anyone else: Decryption Guide (click)
 
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af123

Administrator
Staff member
#6
Humax have advised that the HDR Fox is likely failing due to its age. That it might simply not be able to decode HD signals any more for some reason the hardware/firmware is not up to the job.
They're giving their usual level of advice then...
As per other posts, this is almost definitely either a disk problem (that may or may not be fixable), or a signal strength one.
Given your description of the symptom, I'd put my money on the hard disk; see the guide linked by Black Hole above, or https://wiki.hummy.tv/wiki/Maintenance_Mode_Disk_Check (although this latter page is in need of an update now)
 
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BarryJV

New Member
#7
Tell us what the signal strength and quality is (as reported by the HDR-FOX T2) on an SD channel and on a HD channel.
86% Strength, 100% Quality on a SD channel. (49)
81% Strength, 100% Quality on an HD channel (58) when first switched on. Seems to remain there for a while. Then with the signal at 80% to 81% the quality drops to 5%. (Takes a few minutes).

If you find no nothing to blame in the signal strength, note there is no difference in the processing of StDef and HiDef broadcasts except the data rate. There is no hardware degradation that might explain StDef working and HiDef not working. it could simply be that your HDD has accumulated a significant number of file system errors so that the access retries are overloading the system (affecting the HiDef data rate but still getting away with it on StDef).
That seems very plausible - it might even explain why HD decoding starts off fine and then degrades over a period of a few minutes.

As per other posts, this is almost definitely either a disk problem (that may or may not be fixable), or a signal strength one.
Given your description of the symptom, I'd put my money on the hard disk; see the guide linked by Black Hole above, or <I can't post links> (although this latter page is in need of an update now)
I'll try the two disk checks/fixes first and get back with the results. Thanks to everyone, this was really helpful.
 

Black Hole

May contain traces of nut
#8
86% Strength, 100% Quality on a SD channel. (49)
81% Strength, 100% Quality on an HD channel (58) when first switched on. Seems to remain there for a while. Then with the signal at 80% to 81% the quality drops to 5%. (Takes a few minutes).
This is your problem. To prove it has nothing to do with the HDD, open up and disconnect the drive (the HDR-FOX will continue to operate as normal except with no recording functions).

Commissioning, Disassembling, and Repairing an HDR-FOX (click)
 

prpr

Well-Known Member
#11
Those signal levels seem high to me.
I would say buy a 10dB attenuator (or take out whatever amplification you have) and see if that makes it any better.
I'm in the Mendip transmitter area
Whereabouts, roughly?
Wells? :roflmao:
there are warnings for possible weak signals at the moment
Are there? Where? Based on what you've posted, I think not.
Tell us about your receive hardware.
 
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BarryJV

New Member
#13
This is your problem. To prove it has nothing to do with the HDD, open up and disconnect the drive (the HDR-FOX will continue to operate as normal except with no recording functions).
Certainly the fact that the signal quality is dropping even when the strength is not, is the problem. What I don't understand is why that would happen. I ran the maintenance mode fixdisk from the custom firmware, but the problem remains. I haven't tried disconnecting the HDD yet.

Are there? Where? Based on what you've posted, I think not.
Tell us about your receive hardware.
On the Freeview website there's a guide to current maintenance of transmitters, likely effects etc. Mendip is listed as posible weak signal for this week and the past few weeks, but let's face it, 81% isn't that weak, so it seems that the signal is getting through.

You might even be the cause of the problem if the HDMI link interference is degrading the signal from the aerial because of low quality cables (the aerial lead in particular).
I haven't checked this yet, but I usually buy good quality cables, I'll make sure everything is OK with the HDMI and see if I can find any issues.

I'll get back when I have more to report.
 
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BarryJV

New Member
#14
Update from today:

There was an old top-up TV card in the common interface, but removing it made no difference.
The fan is working (I checked just in case).
Even though the fan is working it is hot inside the case. I have no idea if that is normal. The heat is not extreme, but it's warmer that I think it ought to be. Do Humax allow these things to run hot?

I disconnected the hard drive. The picture was clear and stayed clear for a long time, maybe a couple of hours.
When I reconnected the hard drive, the picture was clear and stayed clear for longer than it ever normally does, maybe an hour or so, then went back to the old problem.

The hard disk certainly seems to be implicated, but I do wonder if this is an overheating issue. Without the extra heat generated by the HD, could the device be running too warm, which in turn could cause errors in the processing. This depends on whether silicon is allowed to run hot and fail or whether temperature is sensed and the device reacts. There are no temperature warnings displayed, so perhaps the temperature is a red herring.
 

Black Hole

May contain traces of nut
#15
(This REALLY needs to be moved to the relevant section of the forum) - done.

You should read the stuff we have about the HDR-FOX. The only means the unit has to monitor internal temperature is the SMART reporting of the HDD. To improve on the default behaviour, take a look at the CF fan package, and also sysmon. Is the unit dusty inside? Later models have reversed the direction of the fan so it blows in rather than sucking out - the jury is out on the benefits of that, but you could refit the fan the other way around if you want.

If it behaves OK without a HDD, and if you are prepared to go to the expense when there is a possibility it won't help, I propose fitting a new HDD (and use it for something else if you still end up binning the unit).

https://hummy.tv/forum/threads/index-of-package-primary-topics.8005/
https://wiki.hummy.tv/wiki/Custom_Firmware_Package_Notes
 
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BarryJV

New Member
#17
You should read the stuff we have about the HDR-FOX. The only means the unit has to monitor internal temperature is the SMART reporting of the HDD. To improve on the default behaviour, take a look at the CF fan package, and also sysmon. Is the unit dusty inside? Later models have reversed the direction of the fan so it blows in rather than sucking out - the jury is out on the benefits of that, but you could refit the fan the other way around if you want.

If it behaves OK without a HDD, and if you are prepared to go to the expense when there is a possibility it won't help, I propose fitting a new HDD (and use it for something else if you still end up binning the unit).
I see you've moved the thread to the other section. Based on what I was told by Humax I thought the question would come down to whether a newer machine could cope better with current broadcast standards, I thought we'd be discussing the technical capabilites of the HDR Fox versus the 5000T, but it didn't turn out that way.

Update from today:
I read through some of the older threads on the forum and discovered the fan utility. With the fan set to 60% min the device ran at 50C and HD decoding was much more stable. I turned up the fan to 75% and the device is now running at 46C and has managed to decode HD for over an hour now. It also feels cooler to the touch on the outside. I had previously cleared out as much dust as possible, that might have helped.

Based on what I read elsewhere on the forum, with the fan at 75% I expected to be seeing the device run cooler. I only have the disk diagnoses tab to go on at the moment, sysmon is installed but not working yet (it just says loading, I suspect it needs a restart).

I'm considering the hard drive swap option, the disk diagnostics utility reports there have been errors in the past and showed a red banner across the top of the window warning that the HD might be faulty, but there's been no problem since.

If the high temp is a faulty HD generating heat, it could explain everything. I might take that option.
 

Black Hole

May contain traces of nut
#18
I see you've moved the thread to the other section. Based on what I was told by Humax I thought the question would come down to whether a newer machine could cope better with current broadcast standards, I thought we'd be discussing the technical capabilites of the HDR Fox versus the 5000T, but it didn't turn out that way.
Not me, but a moderator responded to my remark.

The problem is posting about two separate subjects in one post. If all the discussion about diagnosing a HDR-FOX remained in the 5000T section of the forum, it would be less useful to others by being filed in the wrong place. What I would have preferred is for the first post in the topic to have been split, but that's more involved and since the discussion is overwhelmingly about fixing the HDR-FOX this is an acceptable compromise.

Humax have advise that I replace the HDR Fox with a 5000T...

Before I invest (expend) in a new 5000T, I wanted to get comments and advice from the regulars here.
e.g. Does it sound plausible that the 5000T would fix the problem?
We have far less expertise in how suitable a 5000T is, the majority opinion on here would be to fix or replace the HDR-FOX.

Replacing it with a 5000T cannot be described as a "fix" - it is a replacement PVR with a different set of characteristics to come to terms with.

I read through some of the older threads on the forum and discovered the fan utility.
If I were being picky, I would take issue with your use of the word "discovered" in as much as I directed you to it. It's like "discovering" Xanadu by following the road signs to get there.

sysmon is installed but not working yet (it just says loading, I suspect it needs a restart).
I just checked my machines, and sysmon isn't working on one out of three. Not sure why that is...
 
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Trev

The Dumb One
#19
As a reference, I am running my fan at 60% ATM and the HDD temp is 34 degrees. I turned it up from 45% during the hot weather as the HDD temp was approaching 50.
I will knock it back to 45% now and report back in a while with what happened.


EDIT: It has settled down at 42 degrees and is just about to tell me the meaning of life and everything.
 
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