For questions, answers and tips aimed at new users, or those thinking about buying a Toppy

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mpooley
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Thinking of getting a Toppy

Post by mpooley »

Hi all
Having had a TIVO and loved it I have since had a humax TB8000 which wasn't bad I bought a Humax HDR FOX T2 which I sent back as it kept crashing then I foolishly bought a 3view which is total rubbish and has now crashed and wont re-boot.

I have often considered the Toppy mainly because of TAPS but I am worried I am going to buy another box that doesn't do the basic job properly.
I don't ask much! Just record the programs I set up! dont keep forgetting them and handle conflicts in a sensible manner whilst warning me that a program wont get recorded!
Not much to ask I think?
would be nice to have a well designed remote too! But I expect that asking too much

would you say the Toppy forfills these requirements :?:

thanks for any advice
Thanks


Mike
andyfras
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Re: Thinking of getting a Toppy

Post by andyfras »

mpooley wrote:would you say the Toppy forfills these requirements :?:
Mostly (apart from the remote).

You will only be able to find a second-hand Toppy now and that will almost certainly need its PSU capacitors changed before you start.

Next, ensure that the forum recommended firmware is installed. The easiest way to do this is to use the MyStuff installer. The MyStuff TAP will give you the clever recording facilities missing from the manufacturer's firmware (and most, if not all other manufacturer's PVRs too).

After that you can decide which additional TAPs and firmware patches you need.

You will then have a reliable state of the art PVR with everything you need apart from HD.
Toppy PSU repair service or capacitor kits for DIY available - PM me for details.
MyStuff 6.6 : Little Clock : MHEGOnOff : Extend : EPG2MEI : SecCache : EIT_Sub : TSSaver : Prune EPG
Channel Organiser : Tap Commander : HDD Info : PCControl : Signal Monitor : MyInfo
URC-7555 remote: TF5800 320GB 2.5", Recommended_5800.tfd + CfPePsScUUuWfZ
MarkPax
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Re: Thinking of getting a Toppy

Post by MarkPax »

mpooley wrote:... but I am worried I am going to buy another box that doesn't do the basic job properly.
I don't ask much! Just record the programs I set up! dont keep forgetting them and handle conflicts in a sensible manner whilst warning me that a program wont get recorded!
Not much to ask I think?
Yes. The Toppy with MyStuff will do everything you want.

I went through exactly the same process. I had a bunch of duff boxes (Sagemcom, TVonics, Vestel). They were all crap. They either failed to record when they were supposed to (Sagemcom), failed to play back properly (TVonics) or both (Vestel).

I didn't want to buy a Toppy, it all sounded like a right fiddle. But having bought one, it's the best purchase I have made in a long time. I've had my Toppy just over a year now, so I have probably recorded 2000 programmes. And it hasn't missed a single one. That's about 10x more reliable than any other box I've ever had. And now I have it set up with lots of searches, it basically looks after itself - usually it has set a timer up before I have seen the programme in the Radio Times.

But some minor gotchas:-
1) You must have MyStuff to get the best out of it. But there is a steep learning curve for MyStuff. It helps if you have a fairly logical mind and can get your head round the completely different way in which it works. Set aside a few evenings to fiddle and curse. Once you've got the hang, you will never be able to live without it
2) The Toppy's playback functions (eg FF and RW) are a bit basic and slow to respond. There are patches and TAPs to help, but it is not as good as eg my Sagemcom or my old Thomson in that respect. I've got used to it now.
3) Good ones are hard to get hold of. Others on here can advise you though
4) No HD

These forums are a great place, everyone is very helpful. Usually there is a TAP to do what you want. BobD might even tickle MyStuff to do what you want (now that's service!). I am a very novice programmer, but even I was able to write a couple of TAPs to do specific simple things I wanted. I couldn't be happier now.

I liked my Toppy so much, I immediately bought another one. It's stashed in a cupboard. I figure that I'm good for about the next 10 years now, or until the Beeb forces us to go HD.

Edit: I guess that by the time you've bought a Toppy and paid Andyfras to fettle it, you'll be looking at maybe £150. Seems like a lot for an obsolete box without HD. But still well worth it IMHO.
TF5800t, TS On, F/W: MS6 Recommended F/W 12/9/2009 +PeR0UUuWfZ
TAPs: TAP Commander 1.34; TommyFF v2.1; BlankStuff v2.5; MyInfo B5.5; EPG2MEI v0.96; MyStuff 6.5; Font Manager 1.0d; Extend v1.7; SecCache (UK) v0.4; EIT Sub v0.6; TF5000 Display v1.53;
Sig generated by MyInfo on 19/5/11
gomezz
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Re: Thinking of getting a Toppy

Post by gomezz »

mpooley wrote:would you say the Toppy forfills these requirements :?:
Be aware that the Toppy does not give you access to the Freeview HD channels.

It also seems that it is not just the 3View box that has problems but the company has also crashed and burned. One to cross off the shortlist.
TF5800, F/W: MS6 Recommended F/W 12/9/2009 -Sy+BmC0CbCfCtDEgEmEvEzIMPePsVdZ
TAPs: Power Down 0.75; QuickJump 1.72; MyStuff 6.6; TAP Commander 1.34; MyInfo B5.4; EPG2MEI v0.96;
Extend v1.7; EIT Sub v0.6; mei2archive BETA 3.8l6; Font Manager 1.0d; (Power Restore V0.7.3b)
juwlz
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Re: Thinking of getting a Toppy

Post by juwlz »

mpooley wrote:I have often considered the Toppy mainly because of TAPS but I am worried I am going to buy another box that doesn't do the basic job properly.
I don't ask much! Just record the programs I set up! don't keep forgetting them and handle conflicts in a sensible manner whilst warning me that a program wont get recorded!
With MyStuff and supporting TAPs installed, you can set various types of searches, and control their priority in case of unresolvable clashes. (i.e. if it's not possible to reschedule recordings in such a way that everything gets recorded sooner or later, it will automatically drop the timer from the lowest priority search involved in the clash.)

Text Searches permanently remember and search for programmes matching the criteria you set, which can be any combination of channel (or groups of channels), title (or part of one), text in the description, genre, etc.
Series Searches permanently remember the CRIDs associated with series (until a CRID expires after 6 months of non-use), so even series with programmes further than a week apart will record, and MyStuff will reschedule timers where possible to resolve clashes.
Power Searches combine the initial text matching of Text searches with the clash resolution of Series Searches.

In addition, MyStuff will automatically add padding to your timers so that you don't miss the start and end of recordings, and Extend uses the broadcast "accurate" signals to extend overrunning / late running programmes for up to 2 hours or until the signal is seen or the tuner is needed for another recording.

You won't get "in your face" warnings about things that won't be able to record, but you will be able to identify them in the Timers list and the EPG in case you want to override your search priorities.
would be nice to have a well designed remote too! But I expect that asking too much
Most people would agree that the 5800 remote is better than the 5810, but many (including myself) use universal remotes instead anyway.
Would you say the Toppy forfills these requirements :?:
Yes, but with a caveat. Out of the box, the Toppy has dodgy firmware, and there is no support whatsoever from Topfield. There hasn't been an OTA firmware update for years, nor do we ever expect to see one again.

As they are no longer available new, you will have to buy second hand, and you should be aware that the PSUs do not last forever. Failures can manifet themselves as apparently broken tuners (which you may get as soon as you attempt to retune the Toppy to the muxes and transmitters in your area, especially if your Toppy originated in another part of the country), fried hard drives, etc. Unless you know for certain that the PSU capacitors (all 13 in a 5800 (not just the 6 originally advised, years ago) and 8 in a 5810) have been replaced, it's well worth doing that before you get too dependent on the box. MikeyP and andyfras both offer a prompt, expert repair service for about £25, or andyfras can supply a complete capacitor kit for a DIY replacement at cheaper prices than you would pay for a minimum order direct from a reputable retailer. The PSUs will fail sooner or later, so it's generally advisable to deal with the situation proactively. This is very much NOT a case of "if it's not broke, don't fix it". It's broke, even if you can't tell yet ;-).

IF you are enough of a tinkerer to be happy installing the necessary software onto a PC and hooking it up to the Toppy to install the MyStuff suite of TAPs and firmware, you'll get what you want, with a very flexible and configurable UI.

If you want a box that "just works", the Toppy is not for you.

However, despite the apparent doom and gloom above, if you're happy to work with it to tweak it to your preference, you'll find plenty of help on the forum here, and the Toppy can be a fantastic piece of kit. Development of MyStuff is still active, and I'm NOT looking forward to the day when mine have to be retired.

Julie
5800, TS On, F/W: MS6 Recommended F/W 12/9/2009 -Sy+BmC0CfCtFsIMPePsR3UUuUxZ
5810, TS On, F/W: F/W: MS6 Recommended F/W 12/9/2009 +BmCfCtFsR3Z
MyStuff info; Help!; Reference
Harmony 885 remote. Sig date 8 April 2012
juwlz
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Post by juwlz »

Alternatively, if you live in a Virgin Cable area, there's always Tivo ;-).
5800, TS On, F/W: MS6 Recommended F/W 12/9/2009 -Sy+BmC0CfCtFsIMPePsR3UUuUxZ
5810, TS On, F/W: F/W: MS6 Recommended F/W 12/9/2009 +BmCfCtFsR3Z
MyStuff info; Help!; Reference
Harmony 885 remote. Sig date 8 April 2012
mpooley
Posts: 3
Joined: Sun Dec 18, 2011 11:52 am
Location: Norfol UK

Post by mpooley »

juwlz wrote:Alternatively, if you live in a Virgin Cable area, there's always Tivo ;-).
Ahhh! don't I wish!!

Well Thank you all for your very detailed replies :D

I very much appreciate them all.

I am a bit of a tinkerer and a programmer so looks like I will like this box

Just hope my wife does! :shock:

now off to look for a second hand one

thanks

Mike
Thanks


Mike
juwlz
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Post by juwlz »

mpooley wrote:I am a bit of a tinkerer and a programmer so looks like I will like this box

now off to look for a second hand one
Don't forget to budget a bit of extra cash and time to get the PSU sorted before you (and your wife) start to use if for real.

Julie
5800, TS On, F/W: MS6 Recommended F/W 12/9/2009 -Sy+BmC0CfCtFsIMPePsR3UUuUxZ
5810, TS On, F/W: F/W: MS6 Recommended F/W 12/9/2009 +BmCfCtFsR3Z
MyStuff info; Help!; Reference
Harmony 885 remote. Sig date 8 April 2012
mpooley
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Location: Norfol UK

Post by mpooley »

juwlz wrote:
mpooley wrote:I am a bit of a tinkerer and a programmer so looks like I will like this box

now off to look for a second hand one
Don't forget to budget a bit of extra cash and time to get the PSU sorted before you (and your wife) start to use if for real.

Julie
Yes thanks I had taken that into account. I will probably get a kit and do it myself,

Not had much luck finding one for sale yet though :roll:
Thanks


Mike
andyfras
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Post by andyfras »

There's a selection on eBay

Don't worry about the 'faulty' ones, they almost certainly just need some new PSU capacitors. See my sig when you are ready for a kit.
Toppy PSU repair service or capacitor kits for DIY available - PM me for details.
MyStuff 6.6 : Little Clock : MHEGOnOff : Extend : EPG2MEI : SecCache : EIT_Sub : TSSaver : Prune EPG
Channel Organiser : Tap Commander : HDD Info : PCControl : Signal Monitor : MyInfo
URC-7555 remote: TF5800 320GB 2.5", Recommended_5800.tfd + CfPePsScUUuWfZ
MarkPax
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Post by MarkPax »

mpooley wrote: I am a bit of a tinkerer and a programmer so looks like I will like this box
Just hope my wife does! :shock:
You will love it. I expect your wife will find your constant fiddling the most annoying part. The fact that you have your laptop plugged into it 24/7:- "can we watch some TV?" "Just another 5 minutes dear, I've nearly got this TAP working" etc etc

Buy 2 - one for you to fiddle with, one to actually use. Enjoy.
TF5800t, TS On, F/W: MS6 Recommended F/W 12/9/2009 +PeR0UUuWfZ
TAPs: TAP Commander 1.34; TommyFF v2.1; BlankStuff v2.5; MyInfo B5.5; EPG2MEI v0.96; MyStuff 6.5; Font Manager 1.0d; Extend v1.7; SecCache (UK) v0.4; EIT Sub v0.6; TF5000 Display v1.53;
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juwlz
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Post by juwlz »

andyfras wrote:There's a selection on eBay
Just to be clear, you want a 5800 or 5810, not the other model numbers. A "T" suffix is fine.

Julie
5800, TS On, F/W: MS6 Recommended F/W 12/9/2009 -Sy+BmC0CfCtFsIMPePsR3UUuUxZ
5810, TS On, F/W: F/W: MS6 Recommended F/W 12/9/2009 +BmCfCtFsR3Z
MyStuff info; Help!; Reference
Harmony 885 remote. Sig date 8 April 2012
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