Replacing hard drive on Expander

Grasshopper

After many years service it appears my 1TB Iomega Expander has bit the dust. No amount of cycling will make it appear on my Gateway. My assumption is it's the hard drive that has died - it clicks about 7 or 8 times each time I boot it up - however it's possible that the enclosure itself has died.

I've got a Seagate SkyHawk coming to replace the drive, and I'm debating whether to also replace the enclosure or use the existing Iomega enclosure and simply swap out the drives. Does anyone know if I swap the drive, does the Gateway see this as a new drive (looks at the drive ID), or does it read the ID from the enclosure and see it as the original device, but now blank?

At some point I'd like to try to get the data off the original drive - maybe clone the original drive and copy to a new drive - and then I could hotswap it to the Gateway when I want to view content on that drive. But I don't want to do anything that will kill any chance of watching previously-recorded shows on the original drive (or for that matter on new one). I've checked through previous discussions and it wasn't clear where/how the index for previously-recorded shows on an external drive is stored - on the Gateway or on the expander itself.

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Here is a good discussion on drives and enclosures.  http...

Grand Master
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-- My 1TB Iomega Expander has bit the dust. No amount of...

Grand Master

@erikrp -- My 1TB Iomega Expander has bit the dust. No amount of cycling will make it appear on my Gateway. My assumption is it's the hard drive that has died - it clicks about 7 or 8 times each time I boot it up - however it's possible that the enclosure itself has died.

I would suspect that the disk-drive has died. There is a eSATA-to-SATA circuit-board inside the enclosure. If that board has died, you would not hear any "clicks".

Check your computer(s) for having an eSATA port. [My Lenovo laptop does, and my Dell desktop does.] If it does, you can connect the Expander to the powered-off computer, and then see if Windows detects the device. If it does, you will not be able to view the files -- the formatting of the disk-drive is not compatible with Windows (FAT, FAT32, NTFS), but you can run a free program, such as SPECCY, to view the S.M.A.R.T. statistics for the disk-drive, to assess its health (or lack thereof).

> I swap the drive, does the Gateway see this as a new drive (looks at the drive ID), or does it read the ID from the enclosure and see it as the original device, but now blank?

I think that it will see the new disk-drive as "blank", and also not "formatted" with the file-system that your PVR requires.

> I've checked through previous discussions and it wasn't clear where/how the index for previously-recorded shows on an external drive is stored - on the Gateway or on the expander itself.

Power-off the PVR, power-off the Expander, and disconnect the Expander. Power-on the PVR, and list the index of the recordings. For me, the index was complete, but trying to "play" a recording pops-up a message that the recording is not available, because the recorded was written to the Expander.

 

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Thanks mdk for the feedback. My computer doesn't have an...

Grasshopper

Thanks mdk for the feedback.

My computer doesn't have an eSATA port but I do have a Vantac NexStar external dock (USB) so I could pop the drive in and test that way. I was concerned that there could be some inadvertent writing to the drive that would cause a problem but as you say testing that way would help assess the drive's health.

> I think that it will see the new disk-drive as "blank", and also not "formatted" with the file-system that your PVR requires.

I've seen conflicting comments about needing to format the drive before connecting it to the Shaw PVR - some say it's required, some say it's not and can even cause problems if it is pre-formatted. The Gateway has an option to format the drive so I assume that should be sufficient, but I'll confirm once I get the drive and hook everything up.

> Power-off the PVR, power-off the Expander, and disconnect the Expander. Power-on the PVR, and list the index of the recordings. For me, the index was complete, but trying to "play" a recording pops-up a message that the recording is not available, because the recorded was written to the Expander.

I only ever see the shows listed if the Expander is attached - and working. Since the Expander hasn't been working for over a month, I don't think trying that cycling as you mention will help. However that should prove the Gateway only recognizes content if the Expander is attached, and it doesn't have any memory of what is on the Expander. That may mean that if I am able to get the original drive working I won't lose the ability to watch that content when connected to the Gateway, regardless of whether I swap out only the drive and keep the original Iomega case, or replace the drive and the case.

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Thanks for the suggestion. I had seen that post when I wa...

Grasshopper

Thanks for the suggestion. I had seen that post when I was researching the problem and while it does have some useful information it doesn't answer my particular questions.

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> I've seen conflicting comments about needing to format...

Grasshopper

> I've seen conflicting comments about needing to format the drive before connecting it to the Shaw PVR - some say it's required, some say it's not and can even cause problems if it is pre-formatted. The Gateway has an option to format the drive so I assume that should be sufficient, but I'll confirm once I get the drive and hook everything up.

I may have an answer to my own question. I tried to format using the Gateway UI and after about 30 seconds I got "Warning! The External Hard Drive was removed improperly. Your drive has not been formatted properly and will not work. Reconnect the drive if you wish to format the drive." Might be worth noting that I had not removed the drive.

I assume the issue is the Gateway is seeing an unformatted drive and doesn't know how to format it?? Not sure why or how formatting helps it, but if that's what it needs I'll hook it up to my external (USB) dock and format it. Any idea what drive format to use (NTFS, FAT, exFAT), or does it even matter if the Gateway will want to re-format it anyway?

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-- there could be some inadvertent writing to the drive N...

Grand Master

@erikrp -- there could be some inadvertent writing to the drive

No. The disk-drive is formatted by a file-system that Windows does not support.

So, Windows does not know "how" to read/write to this file-system.

> the Expander hasn't been working for over a month

Since it has been "clicking", it's likely to be "dead", meaning that you won't be able to copy anything from it.

> I only ever see the shows listed if the Expander is attached - and working.

I see all the programs, but I have an "antique" Motorola PVR.

> I don't think trying that cycling as you mention will help

It might, and there probably is no harm in trying. Edison tried a lot of materials, before he found the correct material for the filament in the light bulb.

> replace the drive and the case

Although I have not tried it, even I should follow my own advice, and try it, I doubt that replacing only the case, and keeping the same disk-drive, will cause any problem. But, changing to a different eSATA-to-SATA "shim" is likely to be a problem with the "sameness".

I have seen statements that the Expander is encrypted to work only with the PVR that formatted it.

Good luck.  You'll need it.  It's too bad that recording to the "Shaw BlueCurve Cloud" has only recently become an option.

 

 

 

 

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I realized in my note yesterday I neglected to say I had...

Grasshopper

I realized in my note yesterday I neglected to say I had received my new hard drive sooner than expected. Popped it into the old Iomega case, connected it to the Gateway. I can't remember if I got a popup about it recognizing there was an external drive attached or if I went to the Settings page and selected it that way. Either way I was prompted to format the drive, which I did, and after about 30 seconds I got "Warning! The External Hard Drive was removed improperly. Your drive has not been formatted properly and will not work. Reconnect the drive if you wish to format the drive." 

Took the new drive out of the Iomega case, and put that drive into my external USB dock. Went to Windows Disk Manager and said I needed to initialize the drive. Tried to initialize but but got a message "Data error (cyclic redundancy check)" and can't go any further. I'm not sure if that's an expected step, if something went wrong, or by fluke I happened to receive a bad hard drive. My next step will be to crack open the computer case and hook up the drive to the motherboard to see if I can access the drive long enough to format it. If I get that far I'll put it back in the Iomega case, and hook it up to the Gateway and see if that has solved the solution.

Yeah, definitely not an easy process...!

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My experience with my present expander is that the extern...

Grasshopper

My experience with my present expander is that the external plug in the wall power supply is the first thing to fail. This is typical of these cheap switching supplies. My expander failed about 6 months ago and I rummaged through my box of power supplies and sure enough I found a suitable one that brought the expander back to life.

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