[mythtv-users] System freezes on boot - Need advice

Roger Heflin rogerheflin at gmail.com
Wed Jun 4 02:40:42 UTC 2008

Craig Huff wrote:
> I have a MythTV system that has been running fine on a PATA Seagate
> 250GB hard drive (at least until the last week or so).  I upgraded the
> system last November by adding a SATA Seagate 500GB (ST3500320AS)
> drive to store the /video/recordings data on.  I eventually plan to
> replace the PATA drive with a smaller one that still suffices for
> root, /boot, and /var.  FWIW, the motherboard is an ASUS A8N-SLI
> Premium.  I have the SATA drive connected to the nvidia SATA
> controller, not the Silicon Image controller.  In March, I moved the
> SATA drive from a standard drive bay into a newly installed Athena
> Power BP-SATA3051B SATA Backplane that can hold 5 SATA drives in the
> space of 3 5.25" drive bays (future expansion).
> My problem:  The system has in the last couple of weeks started
> locking up on boot (I normally shut down the system when I'm not at
> home and use the MythWakeup tools to automatically wake up to run
> mythfilldatabase and record programs).  The BIOS will frequently get
> stuck when searching for IDE drives, won't find the boot PATA disk
> (there's only one each PATA/SATA disk plus the DVD/RW PATA on the
> secondary IDE bus), or will get to the point where it should start to
> read from the boot record and get stuck.
> Typically, if I fiddle long enough with rebooting alternately with the
> SATA drive powered off and then on again, I can get the system to boot
> from the PATA disk while the SATA drive is off.  I don't need to
> completely boot, but can shut down before it reaches the GRUB
> selection screen and then reboot with the SATA disk powered on as well
> and it will boot up just fine.  Sometimes it boots without a hitch and
> others...
> I have checked the power connections for both drives and the IDE and
> SATA data cables, but found no connection to the problem.  The SATA
> data cable is the latching variety, too.
> Anyone care to suggest a cause or causes for this?  I could really use
> a pointer or two.

I would check to see if the disks are spinning up.   Some controllers aren't 
able to spin up disk, and there are a number of disk hardware failures that 
cause disks to not spin up, or to spin up really really slow, it could also be 
that the power supply is not providing enough to proper spin them up anymore for 
some reason.

If you have something solid and metal you should be able to touch it to the 
drive case and put the other end to your ear and hear if it is spinning or if 
possible put your ear on the device.

If this is the case, I would get a new drive soon, copy the data to the new 
devices, and RMA the old device if it is still under warranty.

If it is not spinning up there are ways to make it more likely that it spins up, 
but the are a pain, and typically are done to get the data off.


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