How to use a Motorola DVR/Configuration

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How to use a Motorola DVR
Identify | Connections | Setup | i-Guide | MSTV | Passport | Tivo | FireWire | Remote | Firmware/Software | Configuration | Bugs | Boot Errors | VOD Errors | Resets | Help

Temperature[edit]

The DVR has been observed to run better and perhaps produce fewer occurrences of "bugs" or undesigned behavior when it is kept running at a cooler temperature. Most users observe their boxes running within the 38-57°C (100-135°F) range; the cooler, the better.

Note: The DCT64xx PIII and 34xx have a fan on the bottom of the unit to help with cooling.

How to check the temperature[edit]

The temperature is displayed in the diagnostic menu.

  1. Turn off the box (press POWER on the remote)
  2. Immediately press the OK/SELECT button. Press it again if the display (black text on white background) does not come up within a second.
  3. DOWN ARROW to d13 and press OK/SELECT. You'll see a screen that lists HDD info.
  4. DOWN ARROW will get you to second screen which shows the current and high temp readings for the HDD.
  5. To get out of the menu just press POWER twice and the unit will turn back on.

Note that this is only the temperature of the hard disk, which is towards the front center of the box. The left side of the box where the power supply and CPU gets MUCH hotter, particularly when recording. It can in fact be used to boil water for my coffee. When it gets this hot, it tends to shut itself off, (Intel CPUs power off for safety at 105°C (221°F)) and when having this problem the HDD temp as read using the method above is 127°F.

Steps to keep your cable box running cooler[edit]

  • The Motorola manual recommends maintaining 2 inches of space surrounding the box on all sides and on top to allow for proper ventilation.
  • Install a USB-powered laptop/notebook cooler on top of the STB, a device that will pull air off the top and push it out the back. The USB ports on the front or back of the STB, if powered, may be used to power the cooler. Note: The USB ports may or may not be powered on your particular STB. The back ports have been found more likely to be powered than the front port.
  • Install an 80mm or 120mm PC fan behind the STB, powered by a PC power supply or variable DC power supply.

Hard Disk Drives[edit]

Some units have noisier disk drives than others:

  • Seagate drives seem to be quieter than Maxtor Quickview drives.
  • Exchanging the unit may help you find a quieter one.

How To Check Your Incoming Signal Strength[edit]

  • Set both of the STB tuners to channels you have seen exhibit problems. Use the tuner swap button.
  • Turn the STB off and press OK/SELECT on the remote within 2 seconds to enter the diagnostic menu.
  • Press the DOWN arrow and then OK/SELECT to select the "d03 OOB STATUS" option.
    • The SNR (Signal-to-Noise Ratio) and AGC (Automatic Gain Control) values are of interest. Any value stated less than "GOOD" (i.e., "FAIR" or "POOR") could indicate a problem.
  • Press OK/SELECT to go back to the diagnostic menu.
  • Now select the "d04 INBAND STATUS" option.
    • The SNR and AGC values are of interest. Any value stated less than "GOOD" (i.e., "FAIR" or "POOR") could indicate a problem. Be sure to look at values for both Tuner 1 and Tuner 2.
  • Press OK/SELECT to go back to the diagnostic menu.
  • Now select the "d06 CURRENT CHANNEL STATUS" option.
    • On a digital/HD channel the MPEG VIDEO & AUDIO LOCK values are of interest for both tuners. (Use the UP/DOWN ARROWS to see information for both Tuner 1 and Tuner 2.)
  • Press OK/SELECT to go back to the diagnostic menu.
  • Press the POWER button to exit the diagnostic menu and press the POWER button again to turn the STB back on.

What the values tell you[edit]

  • If your AGC levels are FAIR or POOR and the percentage is high (over 50%), then a stronger signal may help. If possible, try to minimize the number of splitters, connections, and poor quality RG-59 cable. Try to use RG-6 whenever possible. If you have simplified as much as possible, consider a broadband compatible RF amplifier. Ideally, it should be placed as close to where the cable comes into your home as possible.
  • If your AGC levels are FAIR or POOR and the percentage is low (under 50%), then you may have too strong of a signal, which can overload the tuner. Consider using an RF attenuator, or even a splitter or two to reduce the signal (a 1:2 splitter will reduce the signal strength by a little more than 50%). Any unused outputs on a splitter should have a terminator screwed onto it. (A terminator is a 75-ohm resistor inside a little cap to prevent noise from getting into the lines.)
  • If your SNR levels are FAIR or POOR (typically below 20 dB), then check all connections. If possible, try to minimize the number of splitters, connections, and poor quality RG-59 cable. Try to use RG-6 whenever possible. A stronger signal MAY help, but not always. An amplifier also increases noise a bit, and could make things worse. If you only have problems with a few channels, it could be interference at a particular frequency leaking into the cable from someplace.
  • Motorola DCT700 SNR

How To Check If HDCP is Enabled[edit]

  • Turn the STB off and press OK/SELECT on the remote within 2 seconds to enter the diagnostic menu.
  • Press the down arrow and then OK/SELECT to select the "d11 INTERFACE STATUS" option.
  • Press the down arrow to go to Page 2.
  • Look under the "DVI PORT" section for the "HDCP ENABLED" option to check if it reads "YES" or "NO".
  • Press OK/SELECT to go back to the diagnostic menu.
  • Press the POWER button to exit the diagnostic menu and press the power button again to turn the STB back on.

How To Check If 5C DTCP is Enabled[edit]

  • Tune to the channel you are checking for 5C DTCP use.
  • Turn the STB off and press OK/SELECT on the remote within 2 seconds to enter the diagnostic menu.
  • Press the down arrow and then OK/SELECT to select the "d11 INTERFACE STATUS" option.
  • Look at "5C IMPLEMENTATION". A "0" indicates 5C DTCP is not being used, a "1" indicates 5C DTCP is being used.
  • Press OK/SELECT to go back to the diagnostic menu.
  • Press the power button to exit the diagnostic menu and press the power button again to turn the STB back on.

On some boxes, it may display "5C IMPLEMENTATION = NO." If this is the case, then you must do the following instead to check your 5C status:

  • Tune to the channel you are checking for 5C DTCP use.
  • Turn the STB off and press OK/SELECT on the remote within 2 seconds to enter the diagnostic menu.
  • Press the down arrow and then OK/SELECT to select the "d06 CURRENT CHANNEL STATUS" option.
  • If "CCI" and "DRM" have values of "0x00" the channel is unencrypted. If either setting has any other value, such as "0x01" or "0x02", it indicates encryption.
  • If the "RC Flag" (Redistribution Control Flag) has any value other than "0x00", then the Broadcast Flag has been detected and the Firewire output is encrypted as a result.
  • At least one person has been able to record over FireWire with "CCI" set to 0x02, "DRM" set to 0x00, and "RC Flag" set to 0x00.

How To Check if Analog-Digital Simulcasting (ADS) is Enabled[edit]

Analog-Digital Simulcasting (ADS) is used by the DVR in local cable markets where ADS is available. The DCT3412, and the tiny non-DVR DCT700, having only digital tuners, always employ ADS. The DCT6208. along with the DCT64XX (all models), and non DVR DCT models 5100, 6200 1100/1200, 22XX, and 25XX have analog and digital tuners. In an ADS market, those models will default to their digital tuners, as ADS overrides their analog tuners completely. Refer to the article on ADS for more information on how the technology is used in cable systems.

Method 1:

Dolby Digital logo with "double-D" symbol
  1. Tune to a single-digit channel (ex: Ch. 9). These "basic cable" channels would normally be received as analog without ADS.
  2. Press the INFO button. If the Dolby Digital double-D symbol is displayed, the channel is digital, and you have ADS.

Note: The Dolby Digital symbol may not show up on the second tuner. Use the tuner swap button to switch to Tuner 1 to check for the double-D symbol on a "basic cable" channel.

Method 2:

  1. Tune to a single-digit channel (ex: Ch. 9). These "basic cable" channels would normally be received as analog without ADS.
  2. Press CABLE then POWER to shut off the box.
  3. Immediately press OK/SELECT to enter the diagnostic menu.
  4. Press the down arrow to go to "d06 CURRENT CHANNEL STATUS" and press OK/SELECT.
    • If the type is "ANALOG", you do not have ADS.
    • If the type is "DIGITAL", you may have ADS (this tuner may be tuned to a digital channel that wouldn't use ADS, check the other tuner in the next step to see if it is tuned to an analog channel).
  5. Press the down arrow to scroll to the second page showing details for Tuner 2.
    • If the type is "ANALOG", you do not have ADS.
    • If the type is "DIGITAL", and the type on Tuner 1 was also "DIGITAL", you have ADS.
  6. Press OK/SELECT then the power button to exit the diagnostic menu, and then press the power button again to turn the STB back on.