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TiVo Repair and Troubleshooting Guide: Problems and Solutions

If you need a TiVo repair, we can help! We have three options for you:

1) Check out our self-help TiVo repair guide below,
2) Use our Repair Contact Form for individual assistance and support, or
3) We now offer a flat-fee TiVo repair service for all standard definition TiVo DVRs.
4) We also have repair options for high definition TiVo DVRs.

5) For additional resources, please see our TiVo Repair blog entry.

We have dedicated repair pages for the following units. If your unit is not one of these, then please see our general TiVo troubleshooting chart, below.

Series3 HD TiVo (TCD658250/TCD648250B) Repairs.

HR10-250 DirecTV TiVo Troubleshooting and Repair.

TCD140060 60 Hour TiVo Series2 Problems.

General TiVo/DVR Problems and Troubleshooting

PROBLEM / ERROR MESSAGE CAUSES / SOLUTIONS
STANDALONE TIVO*
CAUSES / SOLUTIONS
DIRECTV WITH TIVO (DIRECTIVO)**

PICTURE PROBLEMS

  • TiVo freezes at random times while watching recordings or live TV
  • TiVo audio & video stop and start at random times
  • TiVo audio / video becomes out of sync for a short period (stutters)
  • TiVo restarts at random times while watching live TV or recorded programs
  • TiVo has Green "A Severe Error has occurred…" screen (GSOD)

Possible Causes:

  • Hard drive failure

Suggested Solutions:

  • Hard Drive Replacement Kit
    NOTE: It is possible that the cause of these problems is something other than a defective hard drive, but in our experience, a drive problem is by far the most common cause. TiVo drive stuttering is a bad drive 99% of the time and can be easily fixed with a replacement drive.

Possible Causes:

  • Hard drive failure
  • Also see "No Satellite Signal or Frequent Pixellation" below

Suggested Solutions:

  • Hard Drive Replacement Kit
    NOTE: It is possible that the cause of these problems is something other than a defective hard drive, but in our experience, a drive problem is by far the most common cause. TiVo drive stuttering can usually be fixed with a replacement drive.

NO SATELLITE SIGNAL OR FREQUENT PIXELLATION
(DirecTV TiVo units only)

  • TiVo displays "searching for satellite" message constantly or on-and-off on one or both satellite tuners
  • TiVo displays blocky video frequently, and when you rewind, the blocky video is in the same place
  • When running the satellite test, TiVo displays no satellite signal on one or both tuners, or the satellite signal jumps up and down
  • Certain satellite channels appear pixellated very frequently, but others are fine all (or nearly all) of the time
  • Searching for Signal on Satellite 2 (or, less frequently, on Satellite 1)
N/A

Possible Cause:

  • Defective satellite tuner

Suggested Solutions:

  • TiVo Satellite Tuner Repair

    There are some ways to check whether you have a bad tuner. If you are running dual-tuners, you can switch cables (SAT 1 becomes SAT 2 and vice versa) and see if the problem stays with the same tuner. Or, if you have heavy pixellation, pause that channel and check to see if your other tuner works fine (press down on the circular directional pad to switch tuners). If one tuner works and the other doesn't, you likely have a bad tuner. See also Pixellation: Drive or Tuner?

TIVO DOES NOT START UP (PART I)- TV SCREEN IS NOT SHOWING SOLID BLUE SCREEN, SOLID BLACK SCREEN or SNOW

  • TiVo stuck on "Powering up…" or "Almost there…"
  • TiVo constantly restarts and never gets to TiVo Central
  • Front panel lights are lit


Possible Causes:

  • Hard drive failure (most likely)
  • Corrupt TiVo software
  • Bad power supply
  • Defect in chip on motherboard
  • Defective hard drive cable or internal power cable

Suggested Solutions:

Possible Causes:

  • Hard drive failure (most likely)
  • Corrupt TiVo software
  • Bad power supply
  • Defect in chip on motherboard
  • Defective hard drive cable or internal power cable
  • Defective modem

Suggested Solutions:

TIVO DOES NOT START UP (PART II)- TV SCREEN SHOWS SOLID BLUE, SOLID BLACK or SNOW

  • TiVo displays a black screen, blue screen or nothing at all when the TiVo is powered on
  • Fan may or may not be spinning
  • Drive may or may not spin up

Possible Causes:

  • Bad power supply
  • Defect in chip on motherboard
  • If drive does not spin up, you can power off the unit, open the unit and disconnect the IDE drive cable, and then plug the TiVo back in (with the drive cable still disconnected). If the drive spins up with the IDE cable out, you likely need a chip repair. Contact weaKnees for repair costs.
  • If you have an HD TiVo, you might need an HDMI repair. See also our Series3 TiVo troubleshooting page.

Suggested Solutions:

Possible Causes:

  • Bad power supply
  • Defect in chip on motherboard
  • If drive does not spin up, you can power off the unit, open the unit and disconnect the IDE drive cable, and then plug the TiVo back in (with the drive cable still disconnected). If the drive spins up with the IDE cable out, you need a chip repair. Contact weaKnees for repair costs.

Suggested Solutions:

TIVO DOES NOT START UP (PART III)-
TV SCREEN IS BLUE/BLACK/SNOW

  • TiVo displays a black screen, blue screen or nothing at all when the TiVo is powered on AND you hear a slight tick tick tick noise when you plug in the TiVo
  • Fan is not spinning

Possible Causes:

  • Bad power supply
  • Defect in chip on motherboard

Suggested Solutions:

Possible Causes:

  • Bad power supply
  • Defect in chip on motherboard

Suggested Solutions:

MODEM PROBLEMS

  • TiVo has no guide data
  • TiVo holds line open when phone line is connected
  • Error: "Failed. No Dial Tone"
  • Error: "Failed. Modem Not Responding"
  • Error: "Failed. Could not Connect"
  • Other dialing errors

Possible Causes:

  • Improper dialing settings
  • Bad/defective cables
  • Bad/defective modem
  • Modem needs to be reset
  • Trouble with TiVo’s servers
  • Use of VoIP (Vonage, Packet 8, Verizon FIOS, etc.)

Suggested Solutions:

Possible Causes:

  • Improper dialing settings
  • Bad/defective cables
  • Bad/defective modem
  • Modem needs to be reset
  • Trouble with TiVo’s servers
  • Use of VoIP (Vonage, Packet 8, Verizon FIOS, etc.)

Problems/Solutions:

  • Purchase a WeaKnees TiVo Modem Replacement Kit
  • Follow "Phone Troubleshooting" Tips in TiVo on-screen menus.
  • Have your internal modem fixed (generally not reliable - 'fixed' modems often fail again soon)
  • Try using ,#034 or ,#019 as your dialing prefix (,=pause)
  • Use a shorter phone cable
  • Contact weaKnees for assistance

NO VIDEO

  • TiVo Series 2 TCD140060 or TCD130040 has all of the lights on in front of the unit, but displays no video (or a black screen or blue screen)
  • No video on other Series2 units
  • No video on Series3 HD TiVo DVRs

Possible Causes:
This is becoming a more common problem on the TCD130040 TCD140060 TiVo units. The solution is a new power supply, which we have here. Fore more information, see this page, which has more detailed information.

If you have a Series2 TiVo with no video (black screen), we have found that a power supply often solves this problem in other units as well.

If you have a Series3 HD TiVo, you might have a bad HDMI port. We can repair bad HDMI ports on TiVo Series3 units. See our TiVo HDMI Repair page and also our Series3 HD TiVo repair page.

If you have a DirecTV TiVo with no video (black screen), we have found that a power supply often solves this problem in other units as well.

PROBLEMS ACQUIRING SATELLITE SIGNAL

  • DirecTV/TiVo sticks at 28% when acquiring satellite signal
  • DirecTV/TiVo unable to display live TV on SAT 1 or SAT 2


N/A

Possible Causes:

  • The "28% Problem"
  • Incorrect satellite setup
  • Wiring problems
  • Defective satellite input

Suggested Solutions:

  • SEE THE SOLUTION TO THE 28% PROBLEM HERE
  • Confirm you have chosen the correct dish and multiswitch in satellite setup
  • Confirm that you have chosen the correct number of inputs (1 or 2)
  • If one sat input works and one does not, try switching satellite input cables to see if the problem follows a cable or follow the information here
  • DirecTV TiVos are not compatible with SWM systems

LOSS OF LOCAL CHANNELS

DirecTV/TiVo no longer displays local channels

N/A

Suggested Solution:

Contact DirecTV (800-DIRECTV) and tell them that you have lost local channels. They will fix this problem immediately by sending a signal to your access card.

VIDEO DROPS OUT BUT AUDIO CONTINUES

 

N/A

In early-model TiVos (SAT T60 and DSR6000), this was a problem caused by a software update in early July 2004 to 3.1.0c. More recently, the HR10-250 had this problem, and a software update (to 6.3b) was released to solve it.

EXTERNAL MODEM NOT WORKING WITH VoIP

You have purchased a WeaKnees external modem and are having trouble connecting using VoIP.

Please note: We have not been able to make MagicJack work with TiVos.

  • If you are using Vonage, be sure that you have your "bandwidth saver" setting set to 90Kbps. This is a Vonage setting and can be accessed through your Vonage account.
  • Be sure that "Dial Tone Detection" and "Phone Available Detection" are both turned off.
  • Set the call waiting prefix to "*99" which tells Vonage that you will be placing a data call.
  • Try a new/different dial-in number. Many VoIP users have reported that not all dial-in numbers work equally well with VoIP and an external modem. To change your dial-in number, first find the number here. Then, change your dialing prefix from ",#319" to ",#319,,XXXXX" and replace the "Xs" with the number that you found from the link above, as you would dial it on your phone.
  • Keep in mind that standalone TiVos need only dial in about once every two weeks, so even if your calls fail sporadically, your TiVo will operate fine.
  • If you are using Vonage, be sure that you have your "bandwidth saver" setting set to 90Kbps. This is a Vonage setting and can be accessed through your Vonage account.
  • Be sure that "Dial Tone Detection" and "Phone Available Detection" are both turned off.
  • Set the call waiting prefix to "*99" which tells Vonage that you will be placing a data call.
  • Try a new/different dial-in number. Many VoIP users have reported that not all dial-in numbers work equally well with VoIP and an external modem. To change your dial-in number, first find the number here. Then, change your dialing prefix from ",#319" (pause enter 319 on your remote) to ",#319,,XXXXX" and replace the "Xs" with the number that you found from the linnk above, as you would dial it on your phone.
  • Try changing the dialing prefix to ",#396", which slows the modem down.
  • Keep in mind that DIRECTV DVRs with TiVo need only dial in about once every month, so even if your calls fail sporadically, your TiVo will operate fine.
TiVo IS OVERHEATING

Possible Causes:

  • Bad fan
  • Not enough air flow around unit
  • Motherboard is problematic (temp sensor is damaged) (generally the unit shows the message immediately on startup if this is the case)

    Suggested Solutions:
    New case fan, or increasing airflow around the unit. Try putting something under all four corners (eg. a hockey puck or the equivalent). For motherboard issues, contact us.

Possible Causes:

  • Bad fan
  • Not enough air flow around unit
  • Motherboard is problematic (temp sensor is damaged) (generally the unit shows the message immediately on startup if this is the case)

    Suggested Solutions:

New case fan, or increasing airflow around the unit. Try putting something under all four corners (eg. a hockey puck or the equivalent).

If you have a DIRECTV TiVo that displays an overheating message soon after startup, then you almost definitely have a bad power supply. You can order a new one on our TiVo power supply page or contact us for assistance.

If you have a DIRECTV HD DVR HR21P (HR21 Pro) with overheating and/or fans that are not spinning, this is a known motherboard problem that WE CAN FIX! See this page.

TiVo REBOOTS / RESTARTS FREQUENTLY

Possible Causes:

  • Bad hard drive (most likely)
  • Bad power supply
  • Bad power
  • CableCARD issues (Series3 only)

Suggested Solutions:

If you have pixellation or other video/audio problem in between reboots, then consider a hard drive replacement kit.

If you have no other problems and your picture quality is otherwise fine, you might consider getting a UPS or a replacement TiVo power supply.

If you have a Series 3 TiVo that is rebooting or restarting constantly, then you should see the instructions here for resolving that problem.

Possible Causes:

  • Bad hard drive (most likely)
  • Bad power supply
  • Bad power

Suggested Solutions:

If you have pixellation or other video/audio problem in between reboots, then consider a hard drive replacement kit.

If you have no other problems and your picture quality is otherwise fine, you might consider getting a UPS or a replacement TiVo power supply.

TiVo WON'T CONNECT/DIAL IN DUE TO S03 (SO3) ERROR

Possible Causes:

  • Bad Hard Drive
  • Database corruption
Suggested Solutions:

Possible Causes:

  • Bad Hard Drive
  • Database corruption
Suggested Solutions:
TiVo REMOTE STOPPED WORKING

Possible Causes:

Suggested Solutions:
We can repair burned resistors on motherboards. Contact us for details.

We sell replacement TiVo Remotes for pretty much all TiVos.

Possible Causes:

Suggested Solutions:
We can repair burned resistors on motherboards. Contact us for details.

We sell replacement TiVo Remotes for pretty much all TiVos.

TiVo HDMI PORT DOESN'T OUTPUT VIDEO

Possible Causes:

  • Bad Port

Suggested Solutions:
We can repair bad HDMI ports on TiVo Series3 units. See our TiVo HDMI Repair area.

 
TiVo HD and TiVo HD XL Show a Flashing Green Light only

Possible Causes:

  • Motherboard Failure

Suggested Solutions:
We can now repair this motherboard problem in house. Start with our TiVo Series3 Repair option.

 

GENERAL NOTES: Opening your TiVo voids your warranty. You MUST pull the TiVo’s power cord before you open the unit. WeaKnees is not responsible for any damage that you do to your TiVo and is providing this information for informational purposes only.

*A standalone TiVo is any TiVo model that does NOT have a DirecTV receiver built into it. These include the Philips HDR112, HDR212, HDR312, HDR31201, HDR31202, HDR21203, HDR31204, Sony SVR-2000, Series 2 TiVo models including TCD140060, TCD130040, TCD240040, TCD240080, TCD240140, TCD24004A, TCD24008A, TCD540040, TCD540080, TCD540140, TCD649080, TCD649180, Series 3 models TCD648250B, TCD652160, and TCD658000, TiVo Premiere models TCD746320, TCD746500, TCD748000, Premiere4 models TCD750500 and XL4 (Premiere Elite) TCD758250. All Humax, Toshiba, and Pioneer TiVos are also standalone TiVos.

**A DirecTiVo is a unit that has both TiVo and DirecTV integrated into one unit. These model include the Hughes GXCEBOT, HDVR2, and SD-DVR models, Philips DSR6000, DSR6000r, DSR7000, DSR704, and DSR708, Sony SAT T-60, and all Samsung, RCA, and DirecTV TiVo models.

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