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Lifetime of HDR FOX T2

#1
Hi Everyone

Does anyone here know anything about the expected lifetime of the various components in an HDR FOX T2, assuming it is not exposed to any extreme conditions? (hard drive, circuit board, chips, capacitors, PSU, fan etc)

Thank you very much.

Kind regards

Tim
 
#2
Going by similar quality AV kit, barring lighting strikes they could go on for well over a decade. The Philips Matchline LCD TV here is over 15 years old and still working perfectly giving an HD-looking picture on SD, which is why it's still in use.

The hard disk HD will probably fail first but it's an easy replacement. The fan might give up if the Fan package is installed and set to run it at a minimum speed, again an easy replacement, and of course the display will get dimmer with age.

The '9200's Achilles' heel is/was the RTC backup supercapacitor which leaked all over the crystal's connections. I've fixed three of them but the HDR doesn't seem to have one so that's that weakness gone (I'm sure I'll be corrected if I'm wrong).

If I had to bet on the most likely component to fail it will be something on the separate PSU, either the mains side smoothing capacitor or the usual capacitor or resistor in the start-up circuit - I've not looked at the cct yet so I'm assuming as there are topologies that don't have this plus it mainly occurs on universal input supplies used on 230V. Both are easy enough to fix for someone with knowledge and experience.
 

Black Hole

May contain traces of nut
#3
You don't need to worry too much about discrete components - they can be replaced. So can the HDD. The PSU could be substituted at a push. You can manage without the VFD.

The main issue is with the tuners, the major semiconductors, and the electrically-alterable non-volatile memory (including configuration inside the system chip). Typically, the guaranteed data retention time is 10 years, and if the memory loss occurs somewhere we can't refresh, or disables the firmware update functionality, we're stuffed.

For anything else, see https://hummy.tv/forum/threads/hdr-fox-hardware-commissioning-disassembly-repair.5728/
 

MartinLiddle

Super Moderator
Staff member
#4
The '9200's Achilles' heel is/was the RTC backup supercapacitor which leaked all over the crystal's connections.
Are you sure it is the super capacitor leaking? There was nothing wrong with my 9200T super capacitor but the clock board had a layer of contamination on it. Biggles who did the most thorough investigation on this problem using professional test equipment, concluded that it was likely to be a manufacturing issue leaving contaminant on the surface of the board.
 

MartinLiddle

Super Moderator
Staff member
#5
Does anyone here know anything about the expected lifetime of the various components in an HDR FOX T2, assuming it is not exposed to any extreme conditions? (hard drive, circuit board, chips, capacitors, PSU, fan etc)
The hard drives have a design life of about 100,000 power on hours but a fair number do fail earlier than that. I would guess that an average main board and power supply will last at least 10 years but the word 'average' does mean that some will fail sooner. There is a steady trickle of reports that sound as though they are component failures on the main board.

I think it will be a terrible indictment of the PVR industry if they haven't produced a superior box to the HDR-FOX T2 by mid 2020 when the original boxes will be ten years old.
 
OP
OP
T

Tim.ivn

New Member
#6
Hi Black Hole

Thank you very much for your reply.

You can manage without the VFD.
What is the VFD?

The main issue is with the tuners, the major semiconductors, and the electrically-alterable non-volatile memory (including configuration inside the system chip). Typically, the guaranteed data retention time is 10 years, and if the memory loss occurs somewhere we can't refresh, or disables the firmware update functionality, we're stuffed.
From what you have said here, it sounds like an HDR-FOX T2 can irreparably stop functioning 10 years after being manufactured, even if it is unplugged from the power and kept in storage all this time. Is this correct?

If/when all HDR-FOX T2s stop functioning, can you thank of an alternative way of backing up Freeview HD recordings on another device (produced by Humax or another company) which will work then?

Thank you very much.

Kind regards

Tim
 
#7
Are you sure it is the super capacitor leaking?
Oh yes, quite sure. Leakage was well-known issue with these small ones round the time the '9200 was made.

The supercap on the display board is directly above the 32kHz RTC crystal so any leakage has to travel only a very small distance before it gets to the leads of the xtal, where, it being ionic and high value bias resistors used around the xtal, it stops the RTC oscillator. A quick look at the '8563 RTC datasheet doesn't give the internal bias resistor values around the oscillator but in discrete oscillators like this >1M0 is used so it doesn't take much to kill it.

And having leaked it then dries, leaving only surface contamination and a supercap that has lost a lot of its capacitance, hence:
There was nothing wrong with my 9200T super capacitor but the clock board had a layer of contamination on it.
Unless you'd done a rundown test against a known good one you'd not know how low a value of 'nothing wrong' you had.

I did three. My own one and a neighbour's were caught and fixed at the point where the "--:--" display appeared. The third had had been left until long after this and the leakage had had enough time to etch off a couple of tracks - I've just had a look through my 'For the record' pix but it looks like I didn't take any.

[Edited correct rubbish I swear wasn't there before I posted.]
 
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Trev

The Dumb One
#8
If/when all HDR-FOX T2s stop functioning, can you thank of an alternative way of backing up Freeview HD recordings on another device (produced by Humax or another company) which will work then?
Only if you have taken the precaution of making sure that all of your recordings have been decrypted, else, no chance.

PS. It ain't going to suddenly fail at the 10 year point.:eek::D:roflmao::frantic:
 
#10
Vacuum Fluorescent Display - the display on the front panel

...sounds like an HDR-FOX T2 can irreparably stop functioning 10 years after being manufactured, even if it is unplugged from the power and kept in storage all this time. Is this correct?
Data retention in EEPROMs and like memory is temperature-dependent - the higher the temp the shorter it's guaranteed to be retained. All the more reason for running stuff cool.
 
#11
Oh yes, quite sure. Leakage was well-known issue with these small ones round the time the '9200 was made.

The supercap on the display board is directly above the 32kHz RTC crystal so any leakage has to travel only a very small distance before it gets to the leads of the xtal, where, it being ionic and high value bias resistors used around the xtal, it stops the RTC oscillator. A quick look at the '8563 RTC datasheet doesn't give the internal bias resistor values around the oscillator but in discrete oscillators like this >1M0 is used so it doesn't take much to kill it.

And having leaked it then dries, leaving only surface contamination and a supercap that has lost a lot of its capacitance, hence:

Unless you'd done a rundown test against a known good one you'd not know how low a value of 'nothing wrong' you had.

I did three. My own one and a neighbour's were caught and fixed at the point where the "--:--" display appeared. The third had had been left until long after this and the leakage had had enough time to etch off a couple of tracks - I've just had a look through my 'For the record' pix but it looks like I didn't take any.

[Edited correct rubbish I swear wasn't there before I posted.]
That's very interesting. I wonder why my two year old 9200 board, which was the second one successfully cleaned by Biggles, is still working 8 years later. Perhaps the supercap stopped leaking?
 

Black Hole

May contain traces of nut
#12
Look it up: Glossary (click)

From what you have said here, it sounds like an HDR-FOX T2 can irreparably stop functioning 10 years after being manufactured, even if it is unplugged from the power and kept in storage all this time. Is this correct?
Electronics systems can suffer from a wide variety of random component or assembly failures, which may or may not have been intrinsic in their manufacture. We talk about a "bathtub curve" of failure probability over time - there is a (relatively) high rate of failure in early life, which get weeded out in manufacturing test or (these days) as customer exchanges in store (manufacturers save money on product testing by letting the consumer do it). Once the early failures are weeded out, there is a long period of low probability of failure (the floor of the bath) until failures due to old age kick in with a gradual upward slope to the curve.

If you've got a good one, it will probably keep going for quite a while. However, yes, an electronics assembly can fail even sitting on the shelf.

I have no specific data regarding the data retention of the non-volatile memory components used in the HDR-FOX - the figure I quoted was typical when I was actively designing (early noughties). That does not mean the memory will forget after ten years, it means the semiconductor manufacturer only guarantees data retention for that period over the specified operating temperature range. Chances are it's not being operated anywhere near its max spec temp.

If/when all HDR-FOX T2s stop functioning, can you thank of an alternative way of backing up Freeview HD recordings on another device (produced by Humax or another company) which will work then?
Why would you want to? FFS it's only telly. Stop squirrelling, or you will end up with a house full of hard drives and 100% of your day taken up refreshing the data before it degrades on the disk.

A PVR is for shifting a transmission to a time when it is more convenient to watch. If you accumulate more (on average) than you have time to watch (on average), there will be stuff you are keeping that will never get watched.
 
#13
That's very interesting. I wonder why my two year old 9200 board, which was the second one successfully cleaned by Biggles, is still working 8 years later. Perhaps the supercap stopped leaking?
It's possible. The problem may have been not enough headroom in the can for expansion so once some electrolyte had been vented the leakage stopped. If the PCB has been laid out differently the leakage may had gone completely unnoticed.

I didn't do a test to see how long the RTC ran without mains power, just replaced the supercaps with Panasonic ones (<£2 at the time) and I didn't make a note of the original brand. Overnight I remembered another neighbour had one that I wasn't asked to fix - I'll find out what happened to it.
 
#14
...another neighbour had one that I wasn't asked to fix - I'll find out what happened to it.
Just had a look. RTC working fine but the supercap is, or had been, leaking. This was one of the very last last Humax "Manager's specials", bought in 2010, and makes it four out of four machines with leaking supercaps.

No idea what they'd been using it for - it had clearly been on when they brought it over but it was tuned to a channel no longer on air and didn't respond to the remote or FP buttons until I realised what was happening and disconnected the aerial.
 
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