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Humax

Started 8th October 2017

At the end of 2009 analogue TV was turned off in the North of England and I replaced my S-VHS video recorder with a Humax Foxsat HDR -- a box that can record from two satellite channels (Freesat) to hard disc and provides typical personal video recorder functionality.

From the start it would occasionally not record programmes it was supposed to. Complaining to various people always brought forth the suggestion to reset the box, a process that loses configuration information and the schedule of recording.

I never found these resets to have the slightest effect on missed recordings. I suspect they are, like the software companies who suggest reinstalling Windows to make products work, a cure that is worse than the problem, or at least will take the complainer some time to accomplish.

My feeling is that over many 1000's of programs there will always be some mistakes in the codes transmitted to control recording. But these are rarely admitted.

At the end of 2016 failed recordings became much worse, not just the odd programme but 90% of them. By this time my box was quite old, long past its last software update. I thought the code system had changed. Asking Humax if I should buy a new box got me the usual advice to do a reset (which I had already done, and which I did again with zero effect on the problem). Although this time they threw in a bit of black magic - power the box off, and swop the two satellite inputs around.

I eventually made some progress. If the box is powered on when a recording is due, then it records with no problem. Fortunately it is possible to set the box to power on and off at a given time. Since almost everything I want to record is on between 6PM and Midnight all I have had to do is set the box to power up at 5:30PM and power off at Midnight.

That is a fix. My suspicion is that the hard disc has become fragmented and the boot time is now sufficiently long to upset things. To check that idea I would have to reformat it - a bit like reinstalling Windows...

What Happened
Things worked well for over three months, then one day I was offered "HDD is not Formatted, Format?" I turned this down. Subsequent reboots resulted in the box ignoring all commands. I put the hard disc in a Linux PC and I was able to copy off all the recordings. However there is a small partition with a single file (reserve.info), and that file could not be read due to errors. Using the Disks utility to look at the SMART hard disc errors showed problems, and the disc would not pass a self test. I hard formatted the small partition and then the disc did complete the self test.

I put the disc back in the Humax, on power up it insisted on doing a format, which removed all the recordings. However it then appeared to function normally and would successfully power up and record things when scheduled.

It seems the original problem of missed recordings was pointing to hard disc failure.

A couple of weeks later the hard disc failed again, and I replaced the Humax with their latest version the HDR-1100S. This gets a lot of negative comment but I found it perfectly acceptable - with the big plus of getting programs off the internet as well as satellite.

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