Author Topic: Freezing causes and solutions?  (Read 5623 times)

Offline Dave at IceTV

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Freezing causes and solutions?
« on: October 10, 2015, 02:31:11 PM »
For those with a Skippa that freezes regularly there can only be 2 possible causes: Either a software bug or a hardware fault.

Software:

The next software update, as I understand it, contains a low level firmware (middleware) change to fix a known bug that results in a number of processes ceasing to work. i.e. IceTV stops updating (and new timers don't record), timers can record for very long periods, autoskip stops processing files etc. I believe this bug could be the cause of many of the reported freezing issues, and therefore the next update software update may fix most software related freezing issues.

Hardware:

Out of all of the Skippas IceTV has setup and operating at the office, and staff have at home, 1 of them regularly froze after it warmed up. Restarting it by pulling the 12 volt plug out for 10 seconds would only solve the problem for about 10 minutes then it would freeze again. Out of curiosity I plugged in a power supply from a working Skippa into this Skippa that constantly freezes... and the freezing stopped. Using a multi-metre I checked the output voltage of the power supply from the freezing Skippa at 12 hour intervals but it was always outputting a touch above 12 volts, as it should. I never checked this power supply under load.

My conclusion is that this particular power supply stops outputting enough power under load when warmed up. If I'm correct, the fix for Skippas that constantly freeze every 10 minutes making them unusable may be to try a suitable cheap generic 12 volt power supply.
cheers

Dave
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Offline bodogbodog

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Re: Freezing causes and solutions?
« Reply #1 on: October 10, 2015, 02:46:48 PM »
Dave - thanks for posting and all your efforts on behalf of customers and the IceTV community - we can but hope that there is a "next update" and that it delivers
Beyonwiz T2 1gb + E8400 Win Svr 2013, 4GB RAM, 8TB storage, Tiny Twin USB Tuner, Hauppauge WinTV NOVA TD-500 Tuner + IceTV Skippa

Offline warkus

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Re: Freezing causes and solutions?
« Reply #2 on: October 10, 2015, 02:48:34 PM »
Makes sense Dave,

Could also be a loose wire/connection in the adaptor plug, seen that before many times.

The adaptor needs to be at least a 4amp adaptor 12v with 2.1mm plug centre positive.

We carry good quality 12v 5amp adapters on the shelf for $29 plus postage.

Altronics Sell similar for $56 so check your prices before you buy as there is a lot of markup on parts like that.

Offline lespato

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Re: Freezing causes and solutions?
« Reply #3 on: October 11, 2015, 09:23:45 AM »
Hi Dave and Warkus.

I am wondering if the power supply could also be causing the random rebooting some are reporting.  If the power supply had a sudden voltage drop when the demand was high it might cause the Skippa to reboot. Just a thought.

lcp

Offline Kmgh

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Re: Freezing causes and solutions?
« Reply #4 on: October 21, 2015, 10:25:46 PM »
Sounds like this could work for me. Could someone point me in the right direction to buy a suitable power supply? (I'm afraid I'm not even remotely tech savvy). Thanks guys. :)

Offline TimC

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Re: Freezing causes and solutions?
« Reply #5 on: October 22, 2015, 01:49:38 AM »
Could someone point me in the right direction to buy a suitable power supply?

It really depends on where you live, but some possibilities are:
Dick Smith, Jaycar and Altech stores. I think they all have Online sites as well. Google will find them.
 
12 V is a pretty common plugpack voltage, but the amperage needs to be at least 4 Amps as Warkus stated in a previous post. 
The Off the shelf plugpacks often come with a set of different types of connectors, however there are two ways they can be connected. getting it wrong could damage the Skippa.

At Jaycar and Altech, there is usually someone that is tech savvy enough to check the new and old power supplies with meter to make sure the new one is right before you leave the store.
 
If you know anyone that owns a meter, they should know enough to set one up for you.   
Toppy, 2400, Toppy 2460, Skippa

Offline warkus

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Re: Freezing causes and solutions?
« Reply #6 on: October 22, 2015, 03:10:26 AM »
I sell replacement power supplies if anyone needs them.

I have replacement 12v 5a packs on shelf with the correct 2.1mm plug positive tip.

Cost is $30 plus GST plus postage.

Message me if you need one. I'm not really sure though that this is the cause of many of the issues people are having.

I just received a Skippa from someone today to look at, the issue with this box is the dodgy SATA connector on the mainboard, even the slightest touch causes system lockup, and disconnection of the HDD.

Replaced the SATA socket with a better quality socket and it's not missed a beat since.

I have another in here too today, haven't looked at that one yet, but the owner said he already tried 3 power packs and it's still failing.

So just not quite sure how much of these issues really are power pack related.

Mark

Offline earthenox

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Re: Freezing causes and solutions?
« Reply #7 on: December 28, 2015, 09:54:26 PM »
Hi folks.

New user, apologies if in the wrong place; unsure where to post this.  Only registered as my 72yo father pre-purchased a Skippa and it also seems to have freezing issues. I use the term freezing issues as it stops responding to the remote and the buttons on the front panel.  This happens at random times of the day, anywhere between 10 mins and 10 hours after powering it on.  Have not yet tried the power pack replacement option, however it is running quite hot when it does lock up (so hot that you can't put your hand on it for more than two seconds). I know the issue is not the sata cable as I can access the DLNA Server on the Skippa and stream raw recordings via Windows Media Player on my mother's 8.1 laptop even when it stops responding to the remote and the buttons on the front panel.

We were advised by email that heat can be a problem for the Skippa and to consider adding some higher feet to it and to allow it to breathe better.  It's sitting in a room that currently doesn't get ridiculously hot or humid (my parents live in Hervey Bay and even on hot days the lounge room doesn't go above 33-34oC).  It's currently located on the second shelf in a small alcove with an open back within an entertainment unit with nothing close to it in any direction for at least 10/15/30cm (width/height/depth with width being 10cm on either side of the Skippa unit itself).

We were also advised that the heatsink may not be sufficient for the CPU and that it can cause overheating issues, locking up the system.

As such I've told my father to unplug it and not use it until I can get some more information in what I can pursue hardware wise to try to rectify the problems he's experiencing.

Please forgive me if my terminology is slightly skewed, I'm going purely from the viewpoint of building a PC and I am making the broad assumption that the hardware setup may be similar, at least the theory.

Basically I'm trying to find out -- the socket type (is it a ZIF socket? or does it have a clamp to hold it in place like an Intel chip etc? Is there anything specific I need to do when removing the heatsink to ensure the CPU isn't damaged?), what kind of heatsink I may be able to purchase to try and replace it, and if people are using a thermal paste like arctic silver 5 or ceramique on it when re-attaching the new heatsink.  I was contemplating trying to find a small USB powered fan to try and extract the air out of the vents on the top (I measured it at around 10x5cm but couldn't find anything at the local Jaycar, even in the 5x5cm range) but I'm not overly fussed on retro-fitting something to it if I can just address the root of the problem and fix it once and for all.

I'd prefer to be armed with this info before taking it apart as I live in Ipswich and need to drive for 4 hours to attempt to help them out with this.

Currently it's a fire hazard and not worth even plugging in to test it.  Both my folks are 72 and they were hoping the Skippa would allow them to consolidate their 3 x PVR's that they were using into one to record all of their favourite TV shows.

I'd love to hear from anyone who might be able to shed some light on my situation, or even better, has had success in this exact scenario.

Thanks in advance.

EDIT: Forgot to add we updated to the latest firmware as provided by email by support, and I even did a full factory reset to no avail.

Offline Rowdy

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Re: Freezing causes and solutions?
« Reply #8 on: December 29, 2015, 02:31:29 AM »
I have had success in reducing the supply voltage to 10.5 volts. The Skippa no longer randomly reboots and it runs cooler. I still get an occasional reboot when flicking through channels, but no lock ups.
Topfield 5000, 2400, Skippa

Offline bodogbodog

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Re: Freezing causes and solutions?
« Reply #9 on: December 29, 2015, 09:52:21 AM »
New user, apologies if in the wrong place; unsure where to post this.  Only registered as my 72yo father pre-purchased a Skippa and it also seems to have freezing issues

Welcome - unfortunately you are in the right place (as in sorry you are having freezing problems)

I have a Skippa with the same issues - I tried an alternate power supply from Warkus and it didn't make any difference - as Warkus has advised after testing it seems some of the SOC's in the Skippas have issues - and if that's the case there is no fix for them given the demise of IceTV v1 and their supplier Alltech
The big issue with freezes is that programmes fail to record - so as a PVR it becomes useless as it's so unreliable

I basically gave up on it and bought a second hand Skippa which is running very well and no hangs (there's the occasional random reboot when you are changing channels but I can live with that) - the second Skippa does have an internal fan fitted to cool the CPU - that keeps the temp down

I'm very happy with that unit - a working Skippa is great - the features including Skippa and the tight integration with IceTV are great

I'll be interested to see how you get on with your trouble shooting  - fingers crossed for you

Offline warkus

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Re: Freezing causes and solutions?
« Reply #10 on: December 29, 2015, 03:08:55 PM »

Hello,
 
I understand what you are trying to do, but I think it is unlikely you will be able to achieve what you want to do (bigger heatsink).
 
As for your comment that it’s a fire hazard, that’s really not true and is very alarmist…
 
In short, the SOC is the main IC for the unit, it is made up of multiple processors – including the CPU – and other controllers, all built into the one chip. On those units that are having the freezing issue, it appears that part of the SOC is shutting down, ie possibly a single processor (video for example), but the remainder of the processors and controllers appear to stay up, this is evident by the fact that you can still access it via DLNA even when the unit is non responsive.
 
Sadly, the SOC is soldered directly onto the mainboard, so there is no socket. The Heatsink is attached to the top of the SOC by Thermal Adhesive, and it is extremely strong. Should you attempt to remove the heatsink without proper tools and a LOT of care, you will almost certainly destroy the SOC, or even rip it straight off the mainboard causing permanent damage. It takes a lot to get the heat sink off properly without causing damage. Believe me the adhesive is very strong.
 
Now hypothetically if you did get the heat sink off, no damage to the SOC, cleaned it up, and had replacement thermal ADHESIVE on hand (good quality stuff, not your cheap Jaycar crap – and NOT standard thermal paste) then yes you could replace the heat sink. Trouble is that there is literally ZERO room in / around the SOC to allow for a heat sink that is bigger, perhaps you “might” be able to get a marginally bigger heat sink in there with a lot of stuffing around, but honestly, it’s not worth your time.
 
Those finding that lowering the voltage down works for them are lucky. You could try that. Certainly by reducing the voltage in the unit down, it will generate less heat, and if the SOC is borderline and very sensitive to heat and voltage, it definitely could help, but 3 units I have tested were not fixed with lower voltage input, going down as low as 9v.
 
BTY, the only reason that it is possible to reduce the voltage input on this unit is because the HDD is a 2.5” drive, and they only use the 5v power rail to run, even though the standard SATA power cable is plugged into the drive, the 2.5” drives simply don’t use the 12v rail. On an Altech 9600, which uses a 3.5” HDD, you can’t do this as the HDD requires the 12v rail, and dropping the power down to 10.5v on my test bench Altech 9600 caused the unit to fail immediately. (The Altech 9600 is near identical internally to the Skippa, but older SOC).
 
Anyway in short, I understand your frustration, but my honest opinion is to give up and find an alternative unit, like Humax 4 Tune or similar. I wish I could be of more assistance…
 
 
Mark
 

Offline earthenox

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Re: Freezing causes and solutions?
« Reply #11 on: December 29, 2015, 04:46:52 PM »
Hi Mark,

Thanks for providing the info regarding how the chip is attached to the board etc.  Whilst I'm comfortable with most things to do with opening up boxes and replacing common components, I don't think trying to even fix this is an option for us now.  Which is a shame.

As for your comment that it’s a fire hazard, that’s really not true and is very alarmist…

I understand what you are conveying, however if after having a one metre tall fan directly pointed at and over the top of the Skippa on maximum output and after 10 minutes it's hot enough to burn your hand if left on it for more than 3 seconds, then for me there is a genuine cause for concern.

I guess for the moment I'll be telling my father to bin it.

Thanks for your input.

Offline JPP

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Re: Freezing causes and solutions?
« Reply #12 on: December 29, 2015, 05:00:06 PM »
If it's definitely an issue of failing some time AFTER it's been turned on, i.e. it takes a finite repeatable time after a cold start before it starts to play up, you could try what I did and mount a 40mm small fan inside the case directly pointing at the heat-sink. Just use double sided adhesive strip to fix it to the bottom of the case.

I took several photos of this mod, but as I on-sold my Skippa to another Forum member I don't have the option to take a photo of it for you. You can get the 12 volt supply from either the bare connector holes at the side of the PCB or hook them into the 12 volt line that supplied the HDD (it's there even though it doesn't use it).
« Last Edit: December 30, 2015, 07:37:49 PM by JPP »
Phil.
Beyonwiz T2, DVDO Duo Video Processor

Offline bodogbodog

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Re: Freezing causes and solutions?
« Reply #13 on: December 29, 2015, 09:02:02 PM »
I guess for the moment I'll be telling my father to bin it
Don' do that for everything - the 1TB drive is salvageable and can you rescue the remote and anything else that might be useful for us remaining Skippa users  as spare parts?
Right now we don't have any manufacturer support and a small number of units so any "spare parts" are important for us moving forward

Offline earthenox

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Re: Freezing causes and solutions?
« Reply #14 on: December 31, 2015, 07:13:02 PM »
Will definitely bear it in mind bodog.

Some more info came to me from my father that may be of use ... until I spoke to my father on the phone that he forgot to mention that the front of the Skippa was cold even though the back was hot during his test with the fan on it.  Now I'm seriously wondering if he's one of the 'lucky ones' (if I may use that term) who have the power pack issue.

Either way I think I'm going to ascertain a replacement and see if that helps before he comes to a decision regarding selling it for parts.

For what it's worth, although I may come across a little short (and my apologies to those who have interpreted it that way) my father is incredibly keen to do what he can (whilst being realistic) to see if he can get this to work and support IceTV's current subscription service.

Enjoy your NYE festivities.


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