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kcl's Linux bootdisk upgrade log

This was posted by on AVS Forum by kcl

Now that we've figured out how to upgrade a ReplayTV unit (not me; give thanks to videodude, toots, gnagflow, xyzzy, seanriddle, and many others), more and more folks want to try an upgrade. However, based on some of the threads that are starting to crop up, many consider the process somewhat akin to black magic.

Along this line, I though it might be useful to post an annotated log of a successful upgrade of a Panasonic 2000 using an 80GB disk (including, sigh, the screwups). I warn you that this is pretty long. Also, it is not intended as a tutorial. Its goal is to perhaps help others that want to upgrade at this stage of the upgrade procedures.

First, a couple of standard warnings:

  1. This process WILL void your warranty and,
  2. If you screw it up, you can make your unit inoperable.
If after reading this you still are not comfortable with the procedure, DON'T DO IT!

Just to set the stage, I'm a software professional, know both Windows and UNIX/Linux, and I'm comfortable fiddling with hardware. My ReplayTV (or RTV) unit is a 30-hr Panasonic (about 6 months old) and my PC is running Windows 2000. The upgrade disk is a 80GB Maxtor. I also own a TiVo and have upgraded it, too.

Note that the preparation of the Maxtor disk is based on a procedure outlined by tom_h over on the TiVo underground forum.

The procedure below does basically the following:

  1. Prepare the upgrade disk.
  2. Remove the disk from the RTV unit.
  3. Clone the RTV disk onto the upgrade disk.
  4. Patch the upgrade disk to enable the additional storage.
  5. Put the upgrade disk back into the RTV unit.

  • Went to the Maxtor web site, clicked on Software Download, downloaded the latest Maxblast Plus (MAXBLAST.EXE), UDMA Update (66TO100.EXE), Acoustic Management (SETACM.EXE), and Write Verification (SETWRTVR.EXE) packages.
  • The MAXBLAST.EXE creates a bootable "MaxBlast Plus" diskette, but I only wanted the bootable diskette with the latest CHIPSET driver and POWERMAX program (We don't need the things that the MaxBlast program does for us). So I created the diskette, deleted from it the DG.EXE file, the hidden DG.BIN, SPLASH.EXE, and SPLASH04.LBM files, and then edited the AUTOEXEC.BAT file to remove the "echo MaxBlast...", "SPLASH.EXE", and "DG.EXE" lines.
  • Ran the self-extracting zip files 66TO100.EXE, SETACM.EXE, and SETWRTVR.EXE files on the hard disk and copied the extracted UDMAUPDT.*, AMSET.*, and WVSET.* files (.EXE and .TXT) to the bootable diskette. (Note that the some files are extracted into subdirectories.) Labelled this the "Maxtor Prep" disk.
  • Downloaded gnagflow's RTVPatch diskette image and the zipped rawrite2 program. Unzipped rawrite2 and used it to create the RTVPatch disk (ran rawrite2 specifying RTVPatch.img as the image file). Labelled this the "Bless ReplayTV" disk.
  • Shut down Windows, turned off the computer, and opened it up. Disconnected all of the IDE disks, jumpered the upgrade Maxtor disk as a master, connected it to the system, and then powered on and booted into the prep floppy.
  • At the A: prompt, entered udmaupdt /dma:2 to set the DMA rate to 33mhz, did a power down/up reboot (required to complete the procedure), entered amset /off to provide the best seek performance, powered down/up with reboot, entered wvset /off to disable write verification, and did a final power down/up reboot.
    Note on the last operation (wvset) I got an unexpected "This drive does not support write verification" (paraphrased). I was under the impression all the latest Maxtor drives had this function, but I guess I was mistaken.
  • At the A: prompt, ran PowerMax, went through the preamble, selected the upgrade disk (the only one at that point), then ran the Installation Confirmation selection. That was successful, so I then started the Write Disk Pack (low level format) process to validate writability.
  • I expected the write test to take 4-5 hours, but 1/2 hour later I noticed it was done. Without going into details, I spent the rest of the day trying to figure out what I screwed up. (Did bios firmware updates, reconfigured, returned the drive for another, blah, blah, blah.) Long story short, I jumpered the damn thing wrong. It turns out there are jumper setting diagrams on both sides of the instruction sheet. Unfortunately, one side specifies the settings that are track limited, so instead of 80GB of tracks there were only 8GB. Yes, folks, silly and stupid things usually cost you the most time.
  • While the final write test was proceeding (it took about 5 hours), I turned on the ReplayTV, deleted all of the stored shows (I didn't want to hassle trying to preserve them), turned off and unplugged the unit, and then let it sit for a couple of hours (to hopefully bleed off any capacitors).
  • Opened up the ReplayTV and carefully removed the disk. (Wasn't hard. Just don't drop any screws or blunder with the screwdriver into any of the board components, particularly the power stuff near the drive, and you'll be ok.)
  • After the write test was completed, I powered down the PC, jumpered the Maxtor upgrade disk as a primary slave, reconnected it, connected the RTV disk (already jumpered as the primary master), inserted the Bless Replay floppy, powered on and booted up.
  • I needed to be careful here, because I wasn't going to run a backup of the RTV disk. (The original disk was the backup once I was done, but until then it was vulnerable. Note there is a procedure currently being developed that will allow you to save/backup the approx 350mb of RTV system info.)
  • Logged into the linux system as root and entered the command RTVPatch. (Note that linux is case sensitive and the commands rtvpatch, RTVpatch, and RTVPatch are not the same.) A dialogue was displayed with a numbered list of drives and a list of commands. Drive number 0 was the RTV drive, was 30GB, and was commented as a ReplayTV drive. Drive number 1 was listed as 80GB and was commented as needing to be patched. Performed the following operations:
    1. Selected the Replay drive as the source by entering the "s" command and then entering the drive number (0).
    2. Selected the 80GB drive as the target by entering the "t" command and then that drive's number (1).
    3. Copied ("mirrored") the system partition from the source to the target by entering the "m" option.
    4. Patched the target drive drive by selecting the "p" option. Selected the option to zero out the MPEG partition. That took a few minutes.
    5. Exited the program using the "x" command.
  • Powered down the PC, removed the Maxtor upgrade drive, jumpered it back to a master, put it back into the ReplayTV (Panasonic) unit, reconnected everything, and powered up. The RTV booted, I got a Please wait... screen, it powered off after a bit, and after a bit more the green light came on. Not as advertised. Did a manual reboot (hold power button for about 5 sec), got wait screen, powered off, green light. This time just tried to power up, got the "Welcome to Replay TV" screen (yea), but after about a minute it rebooted (boo). It came back up to welcome screen, the green light, and reboot repeating sequence. Big sigh.
  • Ok, decided to try without clearing the second (MPEG) partition. Removed the upgrade drive from the RTV, removed the original RTV drive from the PC, connected the upgrade drive (still the master), booted up with the Prep Maxtor floppy, and reran the write procedure for 6GB (cancelled the operation with ESC after the counter reached 6,000,000). I then powered down, put the RTV system disk back as master and the upgrade disk as slave, rebooted with the Bless RTV floppy, and reran the clone/mirror procedure (set source, set target, mirror, etc.), except that this time I didn't do clearing on the "p" command.
  • This time when I put the update disk back into the RTV unit, it booted, came up with the Please wait..., rebooted, Please wait..., and then powered off. Success! When I pressed the start button, I had a system that had over 25 hrs of pause (high quality) record time.
  • Took the original ReplayTV disk, labeled it, put it in an antistatic back, and stored it. (Obviously, then put my PC back together.)
Ok, I know that this may sound like some really complicated stuff to the uninitiated, but it actually isn't that bad. If you take out the write tests, the overall procedure only takes an hour or two. For example, tearing the RTV apart, redoing the mirror/patch process without the clearing, and putting it back together took less than an hour from start to finish.