I have tripled my TiVo Series 3 hard disk space!

Following the directions on TiVocommunity.com I have successfully added 500gb external storage to my TiVo series 3!

I bought a Seagate ST3500641AS 500gb drive from Frys for $119 a couple weeks back for MacPro use, but since I have decided to wait on that, I decided to take a chance with the unreleased eSata support in the Series 3.

eSata is “External Serial ATA”. I bought a case/Express32 card combo from WiebeTech (TTE-0, but I got TTE-BND-0) for $114 which included an eSata only case and a MacBook Pro expressSlot32 eSata adaptor.

You want eSata only because firewire/usb bridge chips will slow the throughput down. This case has a cable that connects the drive directly to the eSata port on the back.

The case also has shock absorbing/dampending, which are silicon grommets that you screw through into the drive. The case came with a screwdriver, very nice plated screws, an external brick (which is corded, does not need a huge power slot) and is very very quiet.

I first plugged the card and drive into the Mac, but nothing mounted. So I installed their drivers (very geeky, poorly distributed) and that locked the entire Mac up. After a forced reboot, I removed the card, then installed the drivers and that worked fine. I slid the card in, the drive asked to be initialized and then I did a file copy from the internal 7200 100gb drive to the Seagate and got a whopping 40mb/s via PathFinder. Nice.

Next I used the “Card Menu” that shows up (it looks like a little address card) to power off the card after I had ejected the drive from the desktop.

I powered down the TiVo, plugged the drive into my UPS (Uninterruptible power supply, which is very important if the power goes out), connected the included cable to the TiVo and powered on the TiVo.

As soon as the red lights went out, I held down Pause. When the orange light showed (about 2 seconds) I entered ’62’ The lights on the TiVo went out and in a minute or so it rebooted. After powering up, it told me that my second drive had been added. A few minutes later I was back at the TiVo menu!

Before adding the external 500gb, the internal 250gb supported 35 hours of HD programming, 330 hours of SD. Now I get 98 hours of HD or 927 hours of SD

If I ever decide to use the drive elsewhere, I just power down the TiVo, unplug the drive and power the TiVo up. The TiVo will warn me that I am about to divorce the drive, and any content on the drive is lost forever Plugging the drive back in after a divorce will erase the drive. If you see the divorce screen and don’t want to lose yoru content (say the drive got unplugged by accident), do not consent to the divorce. If you get divorced, you lose your stuff – Kinda like real life.

I’ll report later if I run into any issues or bugs, as this is an unsupported TiVo feature. Sure beats opening up the box though!

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