As seen in my previous post, I’ve been having problems with some harddrives in my workstation. I’ve also had some problems with my TV’s digital box, a Motorola VIP1963.
At first there was some trouble with time-shift not working, but this could be resolved by simply rebooting the device. This wasn’t really worth noting because this device is constantly on and never rebooted, so I guess it was bound to happen sooner or later.
Suddenly the other day, the device rebooted on it’s own, and when it came back up it gave me an error message saying that the harddrive could not be found. This message was in swedish:
Rebooting as suggested didn’t make any difference, the same message just appeared again. Ignoring the message and proceeding anyway, I could see that time-shift was not working. Starting a TV recording gave me an error message saying I didn’t have a digital box with recording functionality:
I’m looking for previously recorded TV shows, but they seem to be missing. Obviously this doesn’t look good at all and I have no valid warranty on this device so returning it to Telia is not an option.
Looking around in the menus, I find an option for making a harddrive test; Inställningar -> Systeminställningar -> Starta hårddiskkontroll. This gives me another error message that the harddrive is missing:
Ok, so I’ve been toying with the idea to upgrade the harddrive anyway and replacing it with a harddrive suitable for Audio/Video equipment, and designed for long-term usage. I unscrew the 6 screws to see what harddrive is being used, and this is what I find:
Not so bad. According to Western Digital this drive has “ultra-quiet operation and low-power use for portable digital device”. I think I’ve read somewhere that AV in Western Digitals model number indicates this is a harddrive suitable for Audio/Video equipment, but I can’t see this noted anywhere.
What’s on the disk?
I remove the harddrive and connect it to my workstation, having no idea what to expect to find. My workstation connects this as /dev/sdc and this is where it gets interesting! Apparently /dev/sdc1 is recognized as having a JFS filesystem! There is also a /dev/sdc2, but the filesystem on this partition is not recognized.
I begin with a filesystem check:
This completes with no errors.
I try to fdisk /dev/sdc2 too, and this operation seems to default to using fsck.ext2 and fails with an error message:
fsck.ext2: Superblock invalid, trying backup blocks...
fsck.ext2: Bad magic number in super-block while trying to open /dev/sdc2
The superblock could not be read or does not describe a correct ext2
Of course I’m curious to if it’s possible to read the recorded TV shows on /dev/sdc1. A file listing looks like this:
a_l1eojm_2DqM0H/ a_l1eojm_fxraJZ/ a_l1eojm_uctyrg/ assetdb.db.5@
a_l1eojm_2hr5Cw/ a_l1eojm_hHRl6r/ a_l1eojm_uvQ3Nd/ assetdb.db-journal@
a_l1eojm_2xAncO/ a_l1eojm_hYRvQS/ a_l1eojm_V2JZha/ assetdb_l1eojm.db
a_l1eojm_908A3A/ a_l1eojm_iccNH0/ a_l1eojm_w0RUZ5/ assetdb_l1eojm.db.1
a_l1eojm_a1Qx2z/ a_l1eojm_ixJCnn/ a_l1eojm_Wgjjjw/ assetdb_l1eojm.db.2
a_l1eojm_aDstdm/ a_l1eojm_l2wfDo/ a_l1eojm_wPUqYZ/ assetdb_l1eojm.db.3
a_l1eojm_AIZ222/ a_l1eojm_lji6Um/ a_l1eojm_XMc6FW/ assetdb_l1eojm.db.4
a_l1eojm_AVJddo/ a_l1eojm_lxfb59/ a_l1eojm_yCpwqZ/ assetdb_l1eojm.db.5
a_l1eojm_aZu2mn/ a_l1eojm_mX374y/ a_l1eojm_ydwCZV/ assetdb_l1eojm.db-journal
a_l1eojm_ByxdnB/ a_l1eojm_nwlw8g/ a_l1eojm_ZmKwr6/ asset_MbQuN7/
a_l1eojm_dR7p0n/ a_l1eojm_o7F7gd/ asset_3ProLZ/ asset_zEj0Je/
a_l1eojm_dROs9c/ a_l1eojm_Ob8h4l/ assetdb.db@ reserved@
a_l1eojm_Eu0G7O/ a_l1eojm_p9Ktaf/ assetdb.db.1@ scheduler.db
a_l1eojm_euVWHy/ a_l1eojm_pEYpnS/ assetdb.db.2@ static/
a_l1eojm_EVTDbC/ a_l1eojm_qSveDC/ assetdb.db.3@ temporary/
a_l1eojm_fW6WSg/ a_l1eojm_SrhkAi/ assetdb.db.4@
All the similarly named directories a_l1eojm_* are recorded TV shows, and contains among other files, files named chunk_0, chunk_1 and so on. This means that previously recorded material could probably be hand-picked for backup and transferred to a new harddrive, should you want to save only a few specific shows. The chunk files are media files which can be opened with mplayer or VLC. Unfortunately they seem to be encrypted, as only an itty bitty portion of the upper part of the movie is viewable, and the sound is a choppy as well. See picture for reference:
In hindsight I can see that it could have been interesting to take notice of what the file command said about the chunk files, as well as trying to find a recording from an openly broadcasted channel to see if these files get encrypted too. I didn’t think of this at the time, and now I can’t really be bothered to open it up again…
edit, here’s the output from the file command:
Ok, so it’s time to run a few tests to verify the status of the harddrive. Is it really failing?
Ask the device to report it’s SMART health status:
This gets a test result of PASSED.
Ask the device to report all SMART information about the device:
Nothing out of the ordinary can be seen here. My previous failing harddrives have reported a specific time (counted from power on) that for example a CRC error occured.
Running a short self-test, with the harddrive still online. This takes a few minutes to complete, and the drive can still be used but may have degraded performance:
The test can be monitored, and you can see how long it takes before the test completes:
Show information about a previously made self-test:
Show information about previously logged errors (8 most recent log entries per default):
The tests didn’t show anything interesting this time, and I assemble the digital box, boot up, and everything is working again. It could have been that the JFS filesystem was flagged as dirty and that an fsck solved this problem, but one would think that this could be handled by the ROM…
I run the harddrive test again from the menu; Inställningar -> Systeminställningar -> Starta hårddiskkontroll.
WARNING: When this test is available and you decide to execute it, it’s going to restart the digital box and remove any damaged recordings it finds.
Nothing gets reported as the device boots up. All recorded TV shows seems to still be available (I tried a few of them).
I’m keeping a close eye on you, Motorola VIP1963. You’ll get your new harddrive someday, but not today.