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Mum says recordings are failing, rs says not, help?

Owen Smith

Active Member
My mum says recordings on her HDR Fox T2 are sometimes failing. RS knows the box connected today and has a list of disc contents. No empty files (but do they show in RS?) and RS has not emailed me about failed recordings on their box. It has emailed me in the past for failures and the option is still turned on. I updated all custom firmware packages over Christmas.

I've tried to diagnose over the phone but the things my mum says make no sense. She just makes terms up, I recently discovered when she says "The top entry" she actually means the folder for a series recording. So I'm rather in the dark about what the box itself says is wrong. There must be some issue because everything has been fine for years.

I have noticed RS says her box is in the National78 region which doesn't seem right. She's on Emley Moor. We don't use RS to record things, I use it as a bit of a remote management tool to get some idea what is happening on her box.
 

Black Hole

May contain traces of nut
I've tried to diagnose over the phone but the things my mum says make no sense. She just makes terms up,
Been there, done that. My "supported user" can't describe what she's looking at for toffee, or press the correct button when told, despite having been set up with an HDR-FOX and using it for all telly watching for several years. Trying to understand what's going on over the phone is a torture of frustration. Fortunately I'm over there several times a week, but one day I wasn't planning to go I couldn't fathom what was wrong (no telly at all) and hit the road - only to find the whole block had a distribution fault and nobody had telly (and the people who said they did turned out to be on cable).

Having remote eyes would be handy - any chance your mum could use a mobile phone camera / tablet on FaceTime (or whatever) to show you? No chance with mine.

Not dim, but of an age completely unused to technology. She finally conceded to a microwave oven just before Christmas, so I got her one as simple as it can be (one knob for power level, one knob that works like a kitchen timer), and replaced the instruction book with my own set of notes and specific instructions for particular meals. Problem no.1: the legends around the controls are not designed with the elderly in mind, so I've attached my own over the top (just a prototype on paper, but I'm getting in some printable vinyl to see how that works as a permanent job).

Has she used it yet? No. I've used it, the accuracy of the timer leaves something to be desired, but that doesn't matter much. M&S may force the issue - they've changed their packaging away from black plastic that is both oven and microwave compatible to metal foil for oven and clear plastic for microwave (unsuitable for conventional oven). This may be an improvement from environmental considerations, but it does not consider their primary customer base used to doing things the old way!
 

Matthew

Member
I have similar trouble with my Mum, I sorted a foxsat for her (she's in France) and took her through everything when I was last there, yet the other day she phones and asks how she can see her recordings, she presses schedule but it won't show them! I was forewarned though, when I first gave her the machine she successfully scheduled a number of programs and then couldn't understand why she couldn't then immediately watch what she had just scheduled. :o_O:

But I think you shouldn't assume the elderly can't manage new things, Mum switched to Linux without any problems and we just sorted her with a smart phone which she is getting on fine with though many kept telling me, she'll never cope with that!
 

Black Hole

May contain traces of nut
But I think you shouldn't assume the elderly can't manage new things,
I agree, but you can't assume they will either. I installed Linux on a friend's computer to replace a Windows that kept getting sniffy and slow, and that worked fine because I chose a Linux that looked very similar to Windows.
 
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Owen Smith

Active Member
My dad won't let me install a VPN. Two reasons: 1) he won't let me change anything on his computer because he's concerned I might break it; 2) he asked me what a VPN is so I told him (only fair) and he was rigid with fear that someone else could use it to hack in. Then the third problem is his computer is switched off most of the time.

The only way I could get a VPN would be to install it on the HDR Fox T2 itself, which isn't great when it's the thing you are trying to diagnose.
 
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Owen Smith

Active Member
So, does my mum's RS saying region COM78 National mean that RS will only tell me about failed recordings on COM7 and 8? If that is the case then the symptoms are all explained. But it is still logging successful recordings on PSB3 in RS eg. Great Canadian Railway Journeys so I would expect the log to show failed recordings as well.

Mum has been a bit clearer today now "The top entry" is understood. Some new series recordings are creating the series folder but then there is no recording. Others are not even creating the folder. She says she got it to work the next day by setting the recording on BBC2 HD instead (she normally uses SD just because it's on button 2), but when I asked her if she had deletd the BBC2 SD schedule item in the guide she said No. But there is no sign of it in RS, and her new BBC2 HD schedule item is there. It's as if she never scheduled the recording in the first place, but that wouldn't explain the empty new series folders.

The hard disc may be on its way out. It's had a lot of bad sectors in the timeshift buffer over the years, currently on about 1400. Over christmas I saw it do one End to End error. But I acknowledged that, and RS hasn't told me about any new disc errors.
 
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Owen Smith

Active Member
They do have a vaguely valid reason for watching SD by the way. They like to watch the BBC1 regional news, and find swapping from HD to SD to watch it more trouble than it is worth. I do agree with them on that, the BBC should pull their finger out (given proper funding) and get regional news on HD.
 

MartinLiddle

Super Moderator
Staff member
The hard disc may be on its way out. It's had a lot of bad sectors in the timeshift buffer over the years, currently on about 1400.
If by bad sectors you mean reallocated sectors then 1400 is certainly getting to the point where I would think about replacing the hard drive.
 

prpr

Well-Known Member
My dad won't let me install a VPN. Two reasons: 1) he won't let me change anything on his computer because he's concerned I might break it; 2) he asked me what a VPN is so I told him (only fair) and he was rigid with fear that someone else could use it to hack in. Then the third problem is his computer is switched off most of the time.
1 and 3: The VPN is not on a computer in my case - it's on the routers at either end, both of which I control.
2: The whole point is that no-one else can hack in.
 
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Owen Smith

Active Member
1 and 3: The VPN is not on a computer in my case - it's on the routers at either end, both of which I control.
2: The whole point is that no-one else can hack in.
I am aware that the whole point is no-one else can hack in. Trying to explain to my dad what makes it so that no-one else can hack in is damned nigh impossible. He turns the entire broadand router off when they go on holiday so that no-one can hack in while they are away. It also means we can't schedule anything to record using RS while they are away, which annoys my mum. And it means his target SNR has risen to 15db on Talk Talk because of all these outages it sees so his speed is a lot lower than it could be. He says that's Talk Talk's problem, their system shouldn't be so sensitive to people doing a perfectly normal thing like turning their broadband off (I have some sympathy with him on that). He has friends that turn their broadband off every night when they go to bed and turn it on again when they first want to use it the next day, at least he's not that bad.

You have to accept the daft constraints family members place on themselves, life is too short to have a blazing family argument about not being allowed to install a VPN.

He also only has the wifi turned on while I am staying with them so I can use my iPad. At all other times the wifi is turned off, both for security and power consumption reasons. All of their gear is hard wired, and they don't have smartphones.
 
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Owen Smith

Active Member
If by bad sectors you mean reallocated sectors then 1400 is certainly getting to the point where I would think about replacing the hard drive.
It was on 1200 reallocated sectors about 6 years ago. Always in the time shift buffer. Personally I think this hard disc was duff from new, but by the time I had CF installed and could see what was going on the HDR Fox T2 was out of warranty.

Usual problem, my dad will not let me replace the hard disc until it completely fails. He wants to fully use up the life of this one before putting a spare in (I have two spare HDR Fox T2s), otherwise as he sees it we're starting to wear out the replacement sooner than necessary. He hates the modern approach of nothing being repairable, and I agree with him generally on that but he takes it too far.

He was born in 1938, remembers the war when hardly anything was new, and in some ways the war never ended for my dad. Brexit is a forbidden topic, that is something we really can end up having a blazing argument about.
 

MartinLiddle

Super Moderator
Staff member
It was on 1200 reallocated sectors about 6 years ago. Always in the time shift buffer. Personally I think this hard disc was duff from new, but by the time I had CF installed and could see what was going on the HDR Fox T2 was out of warranty.
Ok so the rate that sectors are being reallocated is very slow so it may go on for a while but the pool of sectors available for reallocation is finite; what capacity is the hard drive?.
He hates the modern approach of nothing being repairable, and I agree with him generally on that but he takes it too far.
I agree with him; I like fixing things.
 

Black Hole

May contain traces of nut
They do have a vaguely valid reason for watching SD by the way. They like to watch the BBC1 regional news, and find swapping from HD to SD to watch it more trouble than it is worth. I do agree with them on that, the BBC should pull their finger out (given proper funding) and get regional news on HD.
My supported user insists on the HiDef services not being tuned - can't see the benefit, doesn't want them cluttering up the tuning dial.
 
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Owen Smith

Active Member
My supported user insists on the HiDef services not being tuned - can't see the benefit, doesn't want them cluttering up the tuning dial.
In my case one benefit is the 5 channel surround sound sometimes on BBC and C4 HD channels, in addition to the HD picture. No BBC or C4 internet streams offer surround sound regardless of resolution.
 
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Owen Smith

Active Member
Ok so the rate that sectors are being reallocated is very slow so it may go on for a while but the pool of sectors available for reallocation is finite; what capacity is the hard drive?
It's the original 500GB drive. My two HDR Fox T2s also have their original drives, as does my Aunts (my other supported user). My Aunts has by far the highest spin up/down and hours on count of any of them, more than double any other yet her drive has low reallocated sectors.

I am convinced my parents got a duff drive. The question is whether it is causing their current problems or is unrelated and simply something I need to keep my eye on. I've been nursing it for years, I always run a disc fix on it when I go to see them.

Having just checked RS the current reallocated sectors is 1340, and it shows that was the value last time I acknowledged a new faulty sector at christmas. So it hasn't had any new reallocated sectors since then.
 
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Owen Smith

Active Member
My supported user insists on the HiDef services not being tuned - can't see the benefit, doesn't want them cluttering up the tuning dial.
There's a hell of a lot more pointless clutter on Freeview than can be attributed to the HD channels even if one were to agree with your supported user about them (which I don't).
 

Black Hole

May contain traces of nut
The evidence is simple: a 32" TV isn't big enough to make a noticeable difference between StDef and HiDef when your eyes aren't very good, and no surround sound system so that is irrelevant too. Plus the BBC's regional problem. For her, who changes channel simply by increment/decrement, there's no point having duplicate services to confuse the issue.

I took control of the situation when we were watching the Strictly final and used the TV's own tuner! Normally I leave the UHF to the TV disconnected, so that I know for sure it hasn't switched inputs.
 
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