General discussion relating to Topfield products for the Australian market

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TRF-2400 Lagging

Post by inglewoodpete »

My two-year old TRF-2400 has just started lagging in a most annoying way. The manual does not describe the way to recover normal operation so I thought I'd ask here before doing a factory reset.

The problem:
  • * The PVR has serious lagging problems in the playback and operating system area.
    * The behaviour is as if the processor just can't keep up.
    * Recording seems to be OK.
    * From a cold start or coming out of standby, the internal disc is unavailable for 10 or 15 minutes (message in top left saying "Checking HDD" or similar).
    * Playback stops for 1 to 20 seconds but then continues from where it stopped (no loss of recording).
    * Some menus lag by up to 30 seconds or so. I've almost done some damage by pressing the OK button 2 or 3 times, thinking that the keystroke was not received. It's just dead slow on some actions.
Any thoughts or experience with these symptoms? FW is Jan 2013

Posts: 13
Joined: Fri Mar 19, 2010 3:08 pm

Post by inglewoodpete »

With no replies/suggestions I defaulted the box back to factory settings. No change to performance.

I then reformatted the hard drive. No real change to performance either, although the internal disc 'only' remains unavailable for a few minutes. To me, this is expected given that there are only a couple files on it so far.

I then took the lid off the box. Physically, everything looks in order: no swollen or leaking electrolytics. I checked the voltages on the output connector of the power supply board. There are 3 output voltages: 5v, 12v and 17v. With the PVR board connected, all voltages are pretty close to spec: 5.17v, 12.4v and 17.2.

Next, I checked the noise on the rails with an oscilloscope. I don't seem to be able to attach a picture of the noise to the forum. There is a 1-cycle spike at the start of the charge phase +/- 250mV (~40nS) on the 5v rail. Otherwise the waveform is practically flat.

My question: is the spike normal? I suspect it has nothing to do with my problems.

I'm beginning to think that the hard drive is on the way out and is loading up the processor. Any thoughts? My only experience with hard drives in a Toppy are two totally dead drives over several years in my 4400.
Geoff Bacon
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Location: Bristol

Post by Geoff Bacon »

Can your toppy run taps that work on a TF5800?

Probably not but if yes, and the disk uses FAT24 (like the TF5800), then you might be able to use my fsCheck tap (get from link to TopManager below). This will check the key file structures on the disk and also report on the SMART attributes showing the health of the disk. If fsCheck doesn't work, you can perhaps use HDDInfo to check the SMART attributes

Other than that you are probably reliant on someone in Oz responding as your model is not used in the UK (I suppose that andfras may be able to give some generic advice about the hardware).

TopManager program
TF5800, TS On, F/W: MS6 Recommended F/W 12/9/2009 -Sy+EvEzPePfUUuZ
TAPs: PcControl B1.4; StopExit v1.01; MHEG On/Off A3; QuickJump 1.72; EIT Sub (Game) v0.6; SecCache (UK) v0.4; EPG2MEI v0.96; Font Manager 1.0d; Extend v1.7; WSSkiller V2.12d; MyInfo B5.6; fsSave 1.1; PruneEPG 1.0; MyStuff 6.6-1;
Sig generated by EMJB's MyInfo.tap on 3/5/21
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Joined: Sun Mar 12, 2006 1:38 am
Location: NSW, Australia

Post by blip »

Posts: 13
Joined: Fri Mar 19, 2010 3:08 pm

Post by inglewoodpete »

Thanks Geoff and Blip for your suggestions. I have never tried TAPs and now did not seem to be the right time: the 2400 was running like a dog.

I have owned Topfields for about 10 years (the 4400 is still going fine after a few repairs). From my experience, the Topfield has two vulnerabilities: the power supply and the hard drive. Replacing the electrolytic capacitors in the 4400's power supply worked miracles a few years ago. And I had had two disk drives fail a couple of years apart. These were complete disk failures that occurred during particularly hot spells (shade temperature > 40C) in summer.

The 2400 has been spontaneously rebooting and time shifting recording would periodically stop when it wasn't specifically recording a program. Not often but annoying. So I replaced all 14 of the larger electrolytics with low ESR caps from Jaycar and Altronics. A couple were a bit of a squeeze to fit. Alas, it didn't fix the lagging problem. I had my doubts anyway but maybe I've fixed the random problems that I've just mentioned.

The lagging problem seemed to be related to reading the hard drive. Programs would record OK but randomly freeze and resume on playback, never at the same place on the recording, suggesting that the recording function was OK. Since the drive was over two years old, I took a punt and bought a 1TB WD (500GB drives are hard to get in OZ these days).

The drive swap took 10 minutes and INSTANT SUCCESS! No slow startups and no lagging. A happy Toppy owner again.

So, my thoughts on the solution(s). The power supply refit was probably due and only cost ~A$8.00 and a couple of hours. And the hard drive: it's as if the read buffering had gone a bit patchy. Who knows for sure?

For the record, the original WD5000AVDS (500GB 'Green') was replaced with a WD10PURX (1TB 'Purple'). The guy in the computer shop said that the purple models are made specifically for the surveillance market, where continuous use is the norm.
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