Registered: Oct 2000
Location: W. Yorks, UK
TiVo Memory (RAM) Upgrade complete!
I've just successfully upgraded both of my TiVo's from 16MB to 32MB of RAM!
Both worked and passed the memory tests first time!
The process was actually MUCH easier than I envisaged (I've soldered before but not surface mount stuff, and I haven't used flux).
The chips were sourced from 9th Tee: http://www.9thtee.com/tivomemory.htm
They are based in the US and charged $20 for each memory upgrade kit (two chips per kit), and $18.25 for the shipping. I've used 9thTee before for a hard disc bracket and found them to be very good. They put the value of the parcel as $20 despite me ordering two lots which meant I had no customs duty to pay - very good of them
I bought some extra kit from Maplin to make sure things went smoothly:
12W Miniature Soldering Iron Type M - Order code YU90X at £14.99
This had a very fine pointed tip which was ideal and proved superb with the surface mount job it had to do. The 12W rating meant it wasn't too hot so my chips didn't fry! There is also a special offer on these soldering irons until the end of Feb - the latest Maplin catalogue (£3.99) has a £5 off voucher.
Flux Pen - Order code ND29G at £4.99
Again another great purchase! Never used flux before but this was so easy! Its like a marker pen - depress the tip and it soaks in flux. Just apply it to the circuit board pads where the chip goes.
Eye Glass - Order code GU96E at £2.19
A third great buy!!! Gets you up close to check your work. I held it in one hand and looked through at a distance while applying the soldering iron to the legs.
Ok so here's what I did (worked first time):
1) Unplug and lid off
2) Clean away years of dust from the place where the chips go. These are front left of the box as you are facing the front of it. You can easily perform the job without taking the circuit board off (as I did). They are probably in the most accessible spot on the board! The chips from 9th Tee were identical to the ones already on the board.
3) Apply flux to the pads on the circuit board for one of the chips.
4) Touch the water pipes to get rid of any static (meant to get a wrist strap but forgot!)
5) Position the chip on the pad. This is probably the trickiest bit! I used one hand and a small flat screwdriver with the other to get it in the right place.
6) Hold the chip in place by applying gentle pressure to the top of the chip (this might move the chip so you might need to realign / restart this bit!)
7) Touch one of the corner pins with the soldering iron. The technique I used was to start at the edge of the pad and move it towards the pin, then pull away. As the solder started to melt you could hear a slight fizz noise as it melted. There is enough solder on the board already - no more needed.
8) Do the same with the opposite diagonal corner.
9) Use the small flat screwdriver to carefully check the chip is fastened properly. Also use the eye glass to visually check.
10) Repeat on the other two corners
11) Repeat for the second chip steps 3 - 10
12) Apply flux to one side of each chip across all the pins
13) Working down that side on each chip - solder as above five pins at a time. I used the eye glass and peered from a distance (too hot to be close!). After each five check with the eye glass then do the same on the next chip to allow the first to cool.
14) Repeat steps 12-13 for the other side of the chip. You'll probably find this more difficult as you will have started on the easy side depending on whether you are right/left handed! Rotating the box so it is at an angle instead of straight in front helps.
15) Double check all pins with the eyeglass. Check for no shorts. Retouch any dodgy looking ones.
16) Put TiVo back together. Attach serial cable to PC (9600 baud, 8bit, 1stop, no parity, no flow control).
18) Plug into mains and immediately hit return every half second until password prompt appears. Password is "factory" without quotes.
19) On menu press X then M, select option 3 (32MB).
20) TiVo IMMEDIATELY reboots. Start pressing return again until you get the password prompt. Put the password in.
21) Press X, Press Z. You should see this:
BR6 = 0x1099482e
DRAM, total_dram=16, simarray[i]=16
Bank 6 (DRAM): 16 MB Addr: 01000000
BR7 = 0x99482e
DRAM, total_dram=32, simarray[i]=16
Bank 7 (DRAM): 16 MB Addr: 00000000
Installed DRAM: 32 MB
Checking DRAM between 80000000 and 82000000
System RAM check complete
This will be repeated multiple times as the test is repeated. Leave it for 10 mins - if there are no failures thats it - you've done it! Pull the plug and restart TiVo - just let it boot as normal.
As for does it make a difference - well I have V2.5.5 and I haven't noticed anything immediately - ie its not suddenly blindingly much faster. Though I've not had time to use it for more than a minute yet! I'll report back when I've used it for a while (some things are cached so its often a bit sluggish after a reboot anyway until they have been accessed at least once).
Memory usage is reported as:
bash-2.02# cat /proc/meminfo
total: used: free: shared: buffers: cached:
Mem: 30695424 29196288 1499136 62607360 13807616 4456448
Swap: 67104768 0 67104768
MemTotal: 29976 kB
MemFree: 1464 kB
MemShared: 61140 kB
Buffers: 13484 kB
Cached: 4352 kB
SwapTotal: 65532 kB
SwapFree: 65532 kB
If you are dithering as to whether or not to go ahead - all I can say is the process was much easier than I thought it would be. If you have used a soldering iron before its dead easy in fact! I guess if a mistake is made though it could all go horribly wrong!
Oh and sorry but I aren't planning to help anyone out by doing the upgrade for them! It was worrying enough with my own TiVo!
http://www.tivoportal.co.uk » Everything you need to know about TiVo in the UK.
http://www.tivofaq.co.uk » Frequently Asked Questions.
http://www.tivonews.co.uk » TiVo UK Newsletters.
http://www.tivobugs.co.uk » List of current bugs and problems.
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