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TiVo Obnoxiously Loud Fan

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Posted by: ic2dogz

I am a new TiVo user. I recently asked TiVo about the unusually loud fan noise emitted from the box. The answer that I got back was that the fan is indeed loud and that is what is making the noise.

In other words, there is no solution. Or is there?

I love the system and I love the features, but I have to admit that the fan noise is very irritating. I am ready to give it up unless there is something that can be done about it.

Any help or advice would be very much appreciated.

Thank you for your time.



Posted by: JPriller

Your choices are somewhat limited.

If it's under warranty (either the standard 90 days or an extended warranty you purchased) you can take it back to where you bought it, complain, and say you want a replacement. I have a new Series 2 and can't hear the fan at all, so while I've seen a number of complaints about fan noise here it's not true of all units.

Or, if it's not under warranty you can replace the fan. That would involve opening the TiVo up, getting the fan size (and hopefully its Cubic Feet/Minute rating), and searching the web for one that'd match and is supposed to be quiet, like the Silencer line from PC Power & Cooling. That might also involve a little surgery to the fan power cord to attach the plug that goes into the TiVo motherboard, but if you or a friend are comfortable stripping wires and soldering it's quick and easy. I replaced the fan in my old Series 1 because it was driving me up a tree, and only burned myself with the soldering iron once. :)



Posted by: ellinj

Do some searching in the upgrade and underground forums. There are some folks there that have had some success replacing the fan.



Posted by: stevel

Replacing the fan is easy, you just need to identify the size and minimum flow rate for your model. They vary. Some models take 80mm fans, some 60. The 60s tend to be noisier as they turn faster. Look at the sound level ratings of various fans, and don't even consider one with sleeve bearings.

I've tried several different fans in my DSR6000s. Many start out quiet, but get noisier over time. The way the 60mm fans mount in the TiVos can contribute to noise, as they tend to amplify vibrations.

Currently, I run ADDA fans in my boxes, but they're starting to get loud. I should, in the next few days, receive some Sunon "magnetic levitation" fans - it will be interesting to see what they are like. The Vantec Stealth is a waste of money.



Posted by: stevel

The Sunon arrived today. I don't recommend it - the ADDA is quieter. I thought the fan in my unit was getting noisy, but it turns out it's the original Quantum A disk.



Posted by: dd9

quote:
Originally posted by stevel
The way the 60mm fans mount in the TiVos can contribute to noise, as they tend to amplify vibrations.


Actually, the way the 60mm fan mounts in the combo units is optimal for sound dampening as it shares the disk mount. It is isolated from all metal to metal contacts with rubber noise/vibration insulators.

The series 1 SA's just have the fan slapped on the back of the main housing which would be a little louder. Not sure how any of the S2 stuff is.



Posted by: stevel

Um, what do you call the sheet metal box that the fan is screwed to? (And with only two screws - the other end left to vibrate against those metal prongs...) The disk mount bracket, with the box over the fan, does an admirable job of amplifying any noise! I have seen fans dead quiet when running on their own that make a racket when mounted in the combo box.

The Series 1 SAs use a larger, slower fan that faces to the back of the unit, and hence is much quieter.



Posted by: dd9

quote:
Originally posted by stevel
Um, what do you call the sheet metal box that the fan is screwed to?



I call it an isolated piece of metal from the main Tivo housing. There are 4 rubber mounts that will absorb the HD noise as well as the fan noise.



Posted by: stevel

It will still vibrate and amplify the fan noise. In fact, it does. You can take a fan that appears near silent on its own, but it will be noisy when you attach it to the bracket. Doesn't matter that the vibration isn't transferred to the TiVo chassis - the noise will escape through the vents.



Posted by: randyf

Since it still under "warranty " I have not yet opened up my S2 TiVo's, and until reading this thread, I assumed that the pratt-whitney like noise coming from the unit was the Hard drive.

So, I jammed a toothpick in it, and GUESS WHAT ! I can't even hear the thing standing next to it !

So now, I have to get on the "quiet fan" bandwagon, and try to shut the thing up!

The worst part is, it isn't an air-moving noise, it's a this fan has no-bearings-at-all kind of noise! I'll bet the manufacturer of the units saved at LEAST $1.00 by using these crap-o-matic fans :rolleyes:



Posted by: JPriller

If anybody finds a good quiet fan of the right size and CFM, please post a URL. My Series 2 SA's fan isn't noisy right now, but with all the posts about this I'm afraid it may only be a matter of time.



Posted by: dd9

quote:
Originally posted by stevel
It will still vibrate and amplify the fan noise.


You're picking nits on this one. The HD will do the same then by your reasoning - as they share the same bracket. It's still a better fan mount than being mounted to the main chasis.



Posted by: stevel

quote:
Originally posted by dd9
You're picking nits on this one. The HD will do the same then by your reasoning - as they share the same bracket. It's still a better fan mount than being mounted to the main chasis.
No I'm not picking nits - I'm writing from experience.

The fan mounts to what is effectively a small sheet metal box wth an open bottom - in other words, a drum. The attachment is with screws on one end of the fan only, the other end is just pressed against two metal prongs stamped out of the box. Any slight vibration of the fan will (and does) resonate in this box.

The drives are much larger mass items mounted with four screws tightly against the bracket, which is two L-shaped pieces of metal at that point. Any vibrations from the drives (which don't tend to vibrate anyway) get damped by the mass and don't travel well along the bracket rails.

I've managed to reduce the problem quite a bit by applying Dynamat to the insides of the "drum" part of the bracket. This seems to damp the fan vibrations enough to eliminate amplified noise.

randyf, the fans TiVo uses are actually quite good. But none of these sorts of fans are high-precision items and manufacturing tolerances do vary, with some individual fans being nosier than others.



Posted by: Swoo

I've had a Sony T-60 DirecTv TiVo for just over three months.

When I first got it, it ran very quietly. But in the last month or so it has gotten noisy enough to hear across a room. Of course, it's either the hard drive or the fan. Given that it wasn't noisy at first, does anyone have an idea which could be causing the problem?

I called the store I bought it from (Orbitsat.com) and they told me to call Sony. I called Sony and they gave me the name of a "local" (30 miles away)repair center. The repair center told me they don't repair TiVos, and that I'd have to send it to Sony's Regional Repair Center (in Irvine, CA).

Has anyone ever had to deal with Sony's repair center? Any idea how long it'll take to fix?

As for my warranty, I still have the one-year parts warranty, but my 90 days labor has passed - although I think my gold credit card will double that, so I still may be covered.

Many thanks.



Posted by: weaknees

Unfortunately, the only real way to tell is to open the box, which will void the warranty. I don't know what the deal is with your Gold card...so maybe you could open the box and still be ok w/them.

If you want to open the box, you can pretty easily test for the cause. I would recommend that you open the TiVo, unplug the fan, close the TiVo, and power up. (Don't leave your TiVo on for very long without the fan plugged in, though.) If you still hear the noise, it's the drive(s).

Generally, over time, the Quantum/Maxtor drives sometimes get very noisy. In addition, over time, the fans can also get noisy. Fortunately, both can be replaced fairly easily. Check out the Upgrade Center for more details.

Michael



Posted by: pols2c

The units made by TIVO really cut cornors, including uisng a very noisy fan. I bought an AT&T series II and put in my bedroom, and I have no problem sleeping. It is not perfectly quite, but I cannot hear the fan. I can hear the hard drives if I listen, but the noise is usually drown out by my ceiling fan. The best solution is buy a Sony or buy an AT&T and put the unit made by TIVO up for sale on e-bay.



Posted by: DaveLessnau

Except for the Sony (I believe) all Series2s are made in the same plant by Solectron. About the only differences between them are the case and faceplate.



Posted by: dd9

quote:
Originally posted by stevel
No I'm not picking nits - I'm writing from experience.


Glad to hear it, so am I.

I stand by what I said. The combo solution is far quieter than the SA solution with regards to fans. And FAR better than mounting to the chasis (which is what the SA's do anyway).




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