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PACE 3100 Sky+ Box - How to upgrade the HDD

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The following guide will describe to you the steps to replace/upgrade the Hard Disk Drive (HDD) in your PACE 3100 Sky+ box.


Please discuss this article and any questions at: HDD upgrade

Important notes
Pre-requisite (what you will need!)
Step 1 - Getting the right tools
Step 2 - Opening the box
Step 3 - removing the cover
Step 4 - removing the HDD caddy
Step 5 - disconnecting the HDD
Step 6 - removing the HDD caddy supports
Step 7 - preparing the new HDD
Step 8 - copying recordings across and HDDs bigger than 270GB
Step 9 - putting it all back together
Step 10 - formatting the drive if you didn't use the SkyCopyPlus software
Step 11 - all done
Step 12 - optional (noise reduction)

Important notes:

- this procedure will invalidate your warranty
- neither SkyUser nor Reddwarfcrew accept any responsibility or liability if anything goes wrong
- do not perform this procedure if you are not confident
- these steps shown are for a Pace3100 PVR2 Sky+ box, other Sky+ boxes will follow a similar process, but there may be subtle difference
- you should not follow this guide for a Sky+HD box (a further guide will be written in due course)

This guide has been written solely by Reddwarfcrew, however the knowledge has been obtained from many forum posts on digispy and specifically from information read from the following sites:

Digispy upgrade thread

Morlocks upgrade guide

Sky Copy Plus

Many thanks to all those that have spent time in working out how to get the best from the Sky+ box!

Pre-requisite (what you will need!)

- a P-ATA HDD (not SATA)
- a torx security tool (Security tool kit) size T10
- a philips screw driver

- an anti-static wrist strap (Wrist strap)
- a method to hook up 2 HDDs to a PC/laptop
- a silenx fan or similar (example silenx fan)
- available from many places.

Step 1 - Getting the right tools

Make sure you have the right tool. The Torx T10 screw bit must have a hollow centre (see screen shot). Put on the anti static wrist strap to prevent any static shocks that may damage the components in the box

Step 2 - Opening the box

Use the Torx screwdriver to remove the 3 screws at the rear of the Sky+ box 

Step 3 - removing the cover

Slide the cover off the box (pulling the cover toward the rear of the box)

Step 4 - removing the HDD caddy

Remove the 4 screws on the HDD caddy (still using the T10 screw driver)

Step 5 - disconnecting the HDD Gently lift the HDD and carefully detach the IDE cable and power cable

Step 6 - removing the HDD caddy supports

Fully remove the HDD caddy and remove the brackets (using Philips screw driver)

Step 7 - preparing the new HDD

Prepare your new HDD by setting the jumper to cable select.  You will need to check the diagram on your HDD to know which jumper to use

Step 8 - copying recordings across and HDDs bigger than 270GB

If your new HDD is smaller than 270GB and you do not want to copy any recordings off your old HDD then skip this step and proceed to step 9.
You now need to use the SkyCopyPlus software to copy your old recordings over and format the new HDD. Personally I perform this by putting the new and old HDDs in USB caddies and then run the SkyCopyPlus software, however there are many methods to achieve this.

Please follow the instructions on the SkyCopyPlus website (instructions here) for copying/formatting the HDDs.

Step 9 - putting it all back together

Now reverse the above instructions for putting your box back together

Step 10 - formatting the drive if you didn't use the SkyCopyPlus software

If you did not perform the task in step 8 by using the SkyCopyPlus software, then you will need to perform a full system reset to format the drive

- do not do this if you have copied your recordings across as it will delete them!
do not perform this if your HDD is bigger than 270GB as it will only format the drive to 270GB - use the  SkyCopyPlus software

On the Sky Remote press:

- 4
- 0
- 1

Do not worry that the menu's do not appear to change as this is a hidden menu! 

- then choose option 8 Full System Reset

Step 11 - all done

Job done, enjoy your larger HDD!

Step 12 - optional (noise reduction)


You may find your new HDD is more nosiy (clicking) when the HDD is in use.  You can download utilities for your HDD that can change the Acoustic Management to make the HDD perform more quietly.  Please refer to your HDD manufacturer's website for more detail.  Personally I have never bothered with this.

The Fan

When upgrading the HDD on a Sky+ box, the fan will now stay constantly on.  This is expected and not a fault.  If your fan is noisy, then you may want to replace it with a better quality fan like the SILENX (other brands available).  The normal Sky+ fan is plastic and very noisy, the SILENX is made from quiet material.  Simply remove the 4 screws that hold the fan in place, disconnect the power connector and put the new fan in. You can also by power reducers to make the fan run slower to also help noise reduction (these can be found from specialist on-line retailers)

Comments (10 posted):

Matt on 07 June, 2009 01:43:45
Cool, good info about the 270GB limit.

paul on 07 September, 2009 15:17:46
great walkthrough the only problem i had was finding the head configuration which i found was 16 head as there are 2 options on some hard drives(so maxtor fireball 3 2F040l0 are all 16 head)
paul on 07 September, 2009 16:34:30
great information only one problem i had was with the clarification whether the old hdd was 15/16 head)as a ref in the pace3100 it is a 16 head)
Paul on 20 October, 2009 19:24:40
Is the skycopyplus website down???

I just disassembled by sky_hd box and my pc and then.... the website with the vital bit of software wasn't working!!!

Any info would be gratefully received. At least I'm now comfortable with taking the sky+ hd box apart.
simon eccleshall on 04 January, 2010 22:39:33
new hard drive willnot turn off in standby it keeps spinning?any ideas why.
Amstrd DRX180 Samsung spinpoint 80Gb tried and also Smasung Spinpoint 160Gb both keep running in standby mode on Sky pus?
Lich on 14 February, 2010 20:08:02
Can anyone reccomend a sepcific drive for this ? I have 250Gb Samsung which works fine in an Amstrad box, but when I put it in the Pace box, it will not start (but works fine with it's original Maxtore 40Gb drive).
jebay2006 on 21 August, 2010 15:36:24
i have a 160gb in a second sky+ box that i bought,i want to upgrade to the maximum gb that i can,will i need to use the skycopy plus software for this or system reset,email me for replies please
Roger Handley on 22 September, 2010 13:55:39
Thank you for this excellent article. Could you please advise when you will be publishing a HDD upgrade for the Sky+HD box? If it already exists then a URL address would be appreciated.
osprey on 18 March, 2012 10:19:59
I cannot see the pictures.
I am running windows 7

Could realy use this info so please help.

HamsterGuy on 18 May, 2012 09:33:06
Just curios, why can't a SATA HDD be used?

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