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    Sky+ hdd faulty - replace hdd or get new box?

    This is a discussion on Sky+ hdd faulty - replace hdd or get new box? within the Sky & Sky+ TV forums, part of the Other Sky help and support category; Hi. I have a small dilemma. My Sky+ box (Amstrad DRX280 PVR3) which I've only had for about 4 months ...

    1. #1
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      Sky+ hdd faulty - replace hdd or get new box?

      Hi. I have a small dilemma. My Sky+ box (Amstrad DRX280 PVR3) which I've only had for about 4 months or so has suffered a hdd failure (my day job is an I.T. repair guy) so immediately recognise the sound it is making. Although the box is under warranty, I thought that I'd open it to see which hdd it was (being careful not to damage the screw heads). It is a Seagate DB35.2 160Gb (ST3160212ACE).

      First of all, it seems as though this drive is quite old, certainly older than the box so I'm not too happy about that. Since then, the DB35.3 has been released, so cannot understand why I ended up with this older generation drive (poss. sky refurb?).

      Anyway, to cut a long story short, figured that I would upgrade and fix at the same time (even though I know it is under warranty, want a bigger size anyway) so set about looking on the net for a larger replacement. Jeez, can I find a DB35.3 IDE (and I mean from 250Gb upwards) drive ANYWHERE on the entire internet for sale that is actually in stock?! NOOOO!! So it seems like the boat has sailed for that series of drives. So even though I have good intentions, cannot fix the damn thing - very frustrating. I am very happy with the box itself as I noticed upon first set-up that the picture was definitely better than the Pace box it replaced - it seemed slightly crisper and sharper somehow. Also, the subtitles are far more reliable. On the Pace box I had, it kept 'losing' them whether toggling or not, and the only way to get them back was to re-boot the box- very annoying indeed. The Amstrad subtitles are very reliable and perfectly synced (seems like I may be one of the few people actually happy with the Amstrad box!)

      And so here I am, I have booked a Sky engineer for Friday 12th November. I guess he will just change the box for another, but I don't really want to do that since I am happy with this box (before you start wondering how I can possibly be happy with a box that has failed after 4 months, it isn't the fault of the box or Amstrad if the hdd has gone down. I replace hdd's all the time in customers pc's, very common failure).

      Hence the dilemma. Do I keep the box and just place a back order with one of the many sites reporting 'Out of Stock' status for the DB35.3 drives? Or should I let the engineer change the box and hope that I get a brand new (better) one?

      One last question - What are the most recent Sky+ boxes available now? I understand Pace are out of the picture now so I guess I'd either get another Amstrad or a Thomson? Which one is best? What hdd should be in it (assuming it's a new box)? And finally, should that hdd be IDE or SATA?

      Many thanks.


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    3. #2
      Undecided Adrian's Avatar
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      Re: Sky+ hdd faulty - replace hdd or get new box?

      If it's under warrenty I'd go for an engineer job, get a working box and then worry if you want to do a drive upgrade.

      As for the oldness of the hard drive, it's pretty much standard in these cases for a company to build something like a Sky+ box with the cheapest possible components rather than the best.

      For help getting a bigger drive in there once you get it fixed go to the Copy+ website for more info.

      Copy+, the free Sky & XTV disk copier software

      It has lots of information and a freeware program that will let you move your recordings over and format the new drive to work with the box, plus they have lots of information about what drives work with what box etc.
      I'm a PC, and Windows 7 Backup saved my sanity when BitDefender imploded !!!

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      Re: Sky+ hdd faulty - replace hdd or get new box?

      Thanks for the reply Adrian. I'm pretty much in agreement, but am just worried that although I'll get a working box, will it be as good a picture and subtitles as the one I've got now. Suppose I'll just have to go with it and see how I get on! Just annoying I've missed the boat regarding availability of the DB35.3 IDE drives. As a PC engineer, obviously like to repair my own things!

      On the last points I made, what box should I expect to get as a replacement? Is it likely to be another Amstrad but with a better drive? And are they still 160Gb as standard?

      Once again, thanks for your help.

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      Re: Sky+ hdd faulty - replace hdd or get new box?

      You may have to stand your ground as the installer may only have a smaller capacity drive refurbished box with him. Insist it's at least the same drive capacity. After that it's whatever he has in his van.

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      Re: Sky+ hdd faulty - replace hdd or get new box?

      The older smaller capacity drive models won't support anytime and should have been removed from supply when they recalled them all with the cheap upgrade they did.

      If your lucky you may get a working Pace PVR3 which I got given as a refurb after 2 broken Amstrad boxes and that has now lasted forever, but as normal you'll have to take pot luck with what the engineer has in his van.
      I'm a PC, and Windows 7 Backup saved my sanity when BitDefender imploded !!!

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      Undecided Adrian's Avatar
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      Re: Sky+ hdd faulty - replace hdd or get new box?

      After having a quick look on Dabs and Amazon there are still PATA (IDE) drives for sale, not the exact model number but they will be the equivilent.

      The trouble is that PATA is now not even supported on newer motherboards and I would expect it will be increaseing difficult for consumers to get them while manufacturers will be able to order them if they take a big enough quantity.
      I'm a PC, and Windows 7 Backup saved my sanity when BitDefender imploded !!!

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      Re: Sky+ hdd faulty - replace hdd or get new box?

      Sky bloke came and said would only replace the box, so I decided to keep it.

      I eventually ordered a DB35.3 ST3320820ACE from Dell on back order and it arrived pretty damn quickly, much quicker than stated in the initial email. Used copy+ to copy over the progs and format with big endian and everything is now working a dream. No skips, crashes, lock-ups, freezing at all. So well happy now! I just didn't want some unknown refurbed box with some crappy hdd in it. I'd already fixed the high-pitched squeal/whistle issue so now I've done the hdd, have an A1 box!

      Cheers for all your help, nice forum.

      Cassius.

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      Re: Sky+ hdd faulty - replace hdd or get new box?

      I'm pleased to see you, at least, have some sense. All too often people let Sky swap their Digibox for a series of "refurbished" boxes which never seem to work as well as the original.

      "Stick with what works" is my motto and "if it's broken, fix it!"

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      Re: Sky+ hdd faulty - replace hdd or get new box?

      With ya Sam. I tend to wait until something breaks and then usually repair and upgrade at the same time. In this case, have increased the capacity from 160 to 320Gb and the drive is a newer generation (DB35.2 to DB35.3). I wanted to keep the box because I still maintain that the picture quality on the DRX280 is superior to both my Pace V2 and Thomson 160. This became further apparent when I temporarily had the Thomson box in the living-room whilst I was waiting for the hdd to arrive. Picture's fine and clear but not as vibrant as the Amstrad somehow.

     

     

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