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>>> TiVo Memory (RAM) Upgrade complete! <<<

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GarySargent is offline Old Post 02-20-2002 04:53 PM
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GarySargent
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Registered: Oct 2000
Location: W. Yorks, UK
Posts: 1833

Talking 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).
17) Pray!
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:

code:
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 81d8082000000 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:

code:
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!

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Automan is offline Old Post 02-20-2002 04:56 PM
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Automan
TiVo Forum Special Member

Registered: Oct 2000
Location: South Coast, Sussex, UK
Posts: 1391

Well done,
It will be interesting to see how much it helps...

Will you be offering a memory upgrade service ?

Automan.

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LanMan is offline Old Post 02-20-2002 09:22 PM
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LanMan
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Registered: Feb 2002
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Hi,

Yep I upgraded my TiVo to 32M tonight at work, havn't plugged it in yet - it'll have to wait until I get home and connect it up to the PC to tweak the BIOS.

Got my chips free from Micron, just emailed them and asked for a couple of samples, arrived a few days later. It always tastes sweeter when it free...

As you and others have said, flux and a fine pointed soldering iron and if you borrow or get hold of a illuminated microscope or lens it really helps, especially if your over 40 like me, and the close vision is something of the past.

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GarySargent is offline Old Post 02-20-2002 09:32 PM
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GarySargent
Moderator

Registered: Oct 2000
Location: W. Yorks, UK
Posts: 1833

My TiVo's do seem slightly more nippy now after the upgrade - though nothing spectacular. I think the improvements made in V2.5.5 to the software already speeded things up - probably more disc bound now than memory starved.

The daily call seems to wizz through a lot quicker.

Overall I'm glad my TiVo has a spot more oomph, but I'd probably advise those that aren't upgrade mad not to bother - the chance of recking your TiVo is too high to justify the small gains.

__________________
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http://www.tivofaq.co.uk » Frequently Asked Questions.
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http://www.tivobugs.co.uk » List of current bugs and problems.

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mrtickle is offline Old Post 02-20-2002 11:28 PM
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mrtickle
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Registered: Aug 2001
Location: Birmingham, UK
Posts: 2057

Argh, shame!

I was hoping that you'd only upgraded one of them so that you could compare

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GarySargent is offline Old Post 02-20-2002 11:37 PM
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GarySargent
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Posts: 1833

quote:
Originally posted by mrtickle
Argh, shame!

I was hoping that you'd only upgraded one of them so that you could compare



Well I'll gladly accept a third TiVo to compare them to if anyone feels the need to send me one

__________________
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Sproglet is offline Old Post 02-20-2002 11:42 PM
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Sproglet
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quote:
Originally posted by GarySargent
Well I'll gladly accept a third TiVo to compare them to if anyone feels the need to send me one


I'm sure Mr Tonks will be glad to send you one.
Only problem is he'll want you to send him £199 first

__________________
David

240Gb 2.5.5 TiVo and $ky Digi

Remember: Nothing is so smiple that it can't get messed up.

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andyc is offline Old Post 02-21-2002 09:19 AM
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andyc
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Gary,

Well done - glad you were brave enough

Andy.

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Ian_m is offline Old Post 02-21-2002 10:09 AM
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Ian_m
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Registered: Jan 2001
Location: Southampton, England
Posts: 298

To anyone else doing this upgrade, I would also recommend some solder braid/wick to remove excess solder if you accidently bridge two pins.

As Gary says, surface mount soldering is easy with the right tools, flux and patience.

(No I haven't upgraded my TiVo to 32Mb only mods I have done is 160Gb and being a early Fred).

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MrBassMan is offline Old Post 02-21-2002 02:50 PM
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MrBassMan
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Registered: Jan 2002
Location: Hampshire, UK
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My TIVO was given brain surgery about a week ago and there was a definite difference in speed when going from one menu to another.

However: I agree with Gary's assessment that the difference is not enough to justify the risk of damaging the TIVO unless you are ultra confident (like Gary) or ultra stupid (like me).

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Mark Norton is offline Old Post 02-21-2002 03:23 PM
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Mark Norton
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Registered: Oct 2001
Location: London, UK
Posts: 48

It looks like the serial socket is a stereo 3.5mm jack socket for send, receive and ground. Is the inner-most connection send or receive? (I assume outermost is ground).

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eric23 is offline Old Post 02-21-2002 05:10 PM
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eric23
One of Dot's gang

Registered: Jan 2002
Location: Brighton, UK
Posts: 68

Well, I was going to investigate memory upgrades after your original post, Gary. But now I have 2.5.5...

WOW! It's so much faster. Adding an 80G really slowed it down under 1.5.2 but now it's running faster than ever!

__________________
Eric
TiVo crazy since December 2001.
Upgraded UK TiVo. 40GB Factory installed + 80GB Maxtor = 140 hours

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MrBassMan is offline Old Post 02-21-2002 05:44 PM
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MrBassMan
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One of the reasons 2.5.5 is faster is that a lot of the old .tcl script files that perform various functions have been replaced by an executable binary.

This has in fact stuffed me up! I had hacked one of the scripts to allow my TIVO to continue using the modem for updates when the TivoNet card is installed. I cannot hack the binary so I am looking for another way.

If anyone has a solution I would be enternally gratefull

If somebody has a serial port telnet connection, can you see if you have the file /var/tmp/pppaddr.

If so, what does it contain? I think the TivoNet module may be deleting this file to disable modem dialling.

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GarySargent is offline Old Post 02-21-2002 05:53 PM
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GarySargent
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Nope that file isn't on my TiVo.

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MrBassMan is offline Old Post 02-21-2002 06:05 PM
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MrBassMan
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In that case I suspect that the TIVO module that would normally create this file is detecting the eth0 device and so not creating it.

If have found the code that dials or not dials based on the presence of this file but cannot see where it is physically created - except that one of the new binary files has the ppaddr string in it!

Now if only I knew what it was supposed to contain - I could recreate it on the fly!

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LanMan is offline Old Post 02-21-2002 07:39 PM
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LanMan
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Smile

quote:
Originally posted by LanMan
Hi,

Yep I upgraded my TiVo to 32M tonight at work, havn't plugged it in yet - it'll have to wait until I get home and connect it up to the PC to tweak the BIOS.



Follow up: -
The memory upgrade went without a hitch, the inter-menu navigation seems a little more zippy and the database processing has certainly got faster. It still takes forever when I add or edit season passes though, 2.2.5 is still slow in this area too? Odd...

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GarySargent is offline Old Post 02-21-2002 07:42 PM
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GarySargent
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quote:
Originally posted by LanMan


Follow up: -
The memory upgrade went without a hitch, the inter-menu navigation seems a little more zippy and the database processing has certainly got faster. It still takes forever when I add or edit season passes though, 2.2.5 is still slow in this area too? Odd...



Such processes are almost certainly disc bound as the whole of the schedule information needs to be ploughed through. Wishlists in particular slow down the season pass manager a lot as the whole of the guide data has to be scanned.

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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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LanMan is offline Old Post 02-21-2002 08:03 PM
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LanMan
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quote:
Originally posted by GarySargent


Such processes are almost certainly disc bound as the whole of the schedule information needs to be ploughed through. Wishlists in particular slow down the season pass manager a lot as the whole of the guide data has to be scanned.


Still, a lot faster and more convenient than plouging through the Radio Times!!

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benlast is offline Old Post 04-10-2002 01:52 PM
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benlast
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I'm intrigued as to why one would want to upgrade the memory in a TiVo, anyway. Look, it's not a general purpose PC, it's a dedicated device. The designers will have made sure that it runs fine using 16Mb. It's also running Linux which tends to be perfectly happy with low memory sizes (under my feet here as I type is my P90/16Mb firewall/ppp dialer/smtp host/web proxy system running like a dream).
Typically, when a unix system is properly sized, any extra RAM added is used only for file caching. I'd suspect that any caching of the MPEG streams is done seperately to general file handling and thus the only effect of the extra memory is, as people have reported, slightly to speed up access to menus.
I guess the reasons for upgrading are (a) the geek's typical "because I can!" or (b) the PC user's typical "because I always need more power", neither of which really apply to a TiVo, now, do they?
:-)
ben (systems engineer, Unix/Linux guru and happy owner of a TiVo with an extra 80gb disk)

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MrBassMan is offline Old Post 04-10-2002 02:12 PM
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MrBassMan
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Or c) You have installed a TivoNet card and are running more software than the designers orginally intented.

This applies to me.

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