General discussion relating to Topfield products for the Australian market

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belles
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UK 5800 now living in Sydney - PSUs have gone I think...

Post by belles »

Hi

From researching various threads on the forums it would appear that either the PSUs or the HDD have gone on our Toppy. It's been in the country since May although was acting up a little in the UK. Have been able to live with the time and timer staying on GMT but last night the archive button showed no files in it when a few seconds previously it had 1MB of space left and now doesn't work at all. There was a whirring noise last night as if it was trying to read the files but today, nothing.

We've brought loads of programmes over hadn't had time to watch in the UK so a bit gutted at the moment can't access them and of course can't record or use any of the live TV functions. Have tried to access the files via USB and get the message 'driver didn't install'. I have Altair on the laptop (running Windows 7 O/S) so was hoping to be able to pull things off Toppy that way.

I know if the HDD has gone I have limited timeframe to retrieve the files and am not game enough/techie enough to use a soldering iron so can anyone recommend someone who might be able to fix it, please - really wish it had happened in the UK when one of the forum stalwarts might have been able to help.

I'm quite intuitive with technology but don't understand half the terminology on here so if someone could give advice in layman's terms I'd really appreciate it.

Don't really run any TAPS, essentially bought the Toppy as knew we'd be moving to Oz at some point and theory was it would be easier to run if I downloaded some firmware here (which I haven't yet done)

I'd be so grateful if someone could help us out.

Thanks
andyfras
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Post by andyfras »

I have been sent PSUs from Australia before, and the postage is not too much more, although it does take a few days. Please send me a PM if you would like more details.

In the meantime, I suggest that you remove the hard drive and connect it to a PC running TopfHDRW. It may be able to read it, or correct the corruption, if any.

http://www.topfield.cc/files/Firebird/T ... _Setup.zip
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belles
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Post by belles »

Hi Andy

Thanks for the offer and sorry for the delayed response - a friend who I didn't know works in IT actually spent a week looking at it for me and sadly the HDD is fried. He took it out and tried every which way to get the information off it but no go, so bang go all our programmes :-(

I'm a bit nervous about buying another Topfield given this experience but having done some research it seems they are the best option for what we want. I now have to decide which of the various models available in Australia to buy...Surprisingly, there seem to be concerns here about the quality of the EPG, which was never a problem in the UK so most people are recommending the 2400 pvr with ICE - however it doesn't have the 1TB of storage or wifi of the model I am favouring- 2470 or even the 7170 so more headaches as I try to decide which to buy.

Thanks again,

Helen
juwlz
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Post by juwlz »

Topfield use a proprietary file system. Your data is almost certainly recoverable (or at least some of it) by using connecting it to a Windows PC and using TopfHDRW. But that's the ONLY way you'd be able to do it.

Julie
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belles
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Post by belles »

Hi Julie

I'm a little confused as another friend in IT warned us we had a limited amount of time to get data off it - given it's now well over a week since the topfield packed up is this still possible? Also, the friend who looked at it tried using the link you've posted I think - he emailed it to himself when we took the pvr over. I guess I could try but not so keen on opening it up as not done that before...

Thanks,

Helen
juwlz
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Post by juwlz »

belles wrote:I'm a little confused as another friend in IT warned us we had a limited amount of time to get data off it
Based on what?
- given it's now well over a week since the topfield packed up is this still possible?
If you haven't had the Toppy switched on, the data on the drive won't have "deteriorated". Hard drives don't work like that.

The way a Toppy's PSU (Power Supply Unit) works, the longer you leave it getting worse, the greater your chances are of doing damage to the drive, but once everything's powered off, nothing's going to get worse.
Also, the friend who looked at it tried using the link you've posted I think - he emailed it to himself when we took the pvr over. I guess I could try but not so keen on opening it up as not done that before...
Well, you could always send it to Andyfras. To do it yourself, you need a way of connecting it to your PC. There are various cables or caddies available to do that, but you'd need to get one. Andy knows what he's talking about when it comes to Toppy repairs, and Toppies are a bit of a law unto themselves, so I wouldn't necessarily expect otherwise knowledgeable IT / electronics folks to succeed unless they were following the advice available on this forum and elsewhere (e.g. Toppy Repairs and Andy's website). Andy's charges are very reasonable, and he can usually provide a quick turnaround (within a week).

Usually with a Toppy, faults that behave like a hard drive failure are actually a PSU failure (or are hard drive problems caused by ignoring the signs of PSU failure until it causes a real hard drive failure). If you do get hard drive corruption, then it's almost always at least partially recoverable using TopfHDRW (but I think you need a Win XP or Win 7 PC to run it on).

Julie
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belles
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Post by belles »

Hi Julie

Thanks for the clarifications :-)

I think it was based on his knowledge of other HD drives. We had the Toppy on for about another three days after the archive stopped showing up.

I daren't even think about posting the toppy, or parts of it, from Australia as it was going to cost us $18 yesterday to post a 120g parcel by airmail - could be cheaper to just put the money towards a new one :-( besides the toppy isn't a happy bunny here generally - switching off after recording doesn't work amongst other things. Our flat in London had issues with damp so thinking it may have affected it a little.

Will PM Andy to see what he thinks but if anyone has advice re other Toppys here would be gratefully received.

Thanks
Geoff Bacon
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Post by Geoff Bacon »

perhaps andy would come out to you?

Geoff
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MikB
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Post by MikB »

juwlz wrote:the data on the drive won't have "deteriorated". Hard drives don't work like that.
But with those spinning platters, if you don't keep them spinning, they wobble and fall off the central spike and all the data slides to the edge ... surely you knew that? :wink:

Your IT guy may be thinking of a failing hard drive in a PC -- an actual HDD fail -- where once you start getting warning signs of impending plate-wobble, er, failure, you need to make a copy of any non-backed-up data NOW. Not soon. NOW. Preferably sooner. Because at any moment it could fail
forever. And switching off an unhappy-but-failing hard drive could result in it not coming back on!

But Juwlz is right, if the problem is with the PSU (only appearing to be a hard drive fault) then switching it off and leaving it off is the best course of action to prevent the hard drive being damaged by the PSU getting worse.
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MikB
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Post by MikB »

Geoff Bacon wrote:perhaps andy would come out to you?

Geoff
I think the postage would be excessive, besides, aren't there rules about that sort of thing?
Toppy Taps: http://toppy.signal11.org.uk

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inglewoodpete
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Post by inglewoodpete »

I'd just wave goodbye to any recordings on the hard drive and buy a new one (bare hard drive). All Toppys that I've seen have a normal computer hard drive. There are threads on this forum on how to replace a hard drive. You will need PATA-to-SATA adapter, which can be bought from Jaycar or eBay cheaply.
andyfras
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Post by andyfras »

There is no point in replacing the hard drive until the PSU capacitors have been replaced. There is a strong chance that the new drive could be damaged.
Toppy PSU repair service or capacitor kits for DIY available - PM me for details.
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inglewoodpete
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Post by inglewoodpete »

Yes, you're right. First things first. Repair the power supply then recheck the hard drive. With the relatively low purchase prices and high labour costs, it's easy to see why so many appliances get thrown away.

I'm lucky (and so is the rest of my family :roll: ) that I can do my own repairs. I'd offer but Sydney is 3,000km away.
juwlz
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Post by juwlz »

And even after the PSU has been repaired, check the threads re known working and non-working hard drives and SATA adaptors. Not all drives and adaptors work well in the Toppy.
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