4TB on Android Box how to setup

Help and support for HDHomeRun DVR and HDHomeRun software for Windows 10, Mac, Android, XBox, etc.
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3579mike777
Posts: 35
Joined: Mon Sep 03, 2012 5:10 pm

4TB on Android Box how to setup

Post by 3579mike777 » Tue Jul 02, 2019 4:36 pm

Currently I have a 2TB connected to my Android Box and it works okay. But the drive is ancient with bad sectors and I want to swap with a newer 4TB.

When I installed the 2TB, I removed all partition information in Windows 10. I set it up as "external" drive in Android setup. It works and the DVR automatically defaulted to this drive. However for some reason my recordings stop at around the 2 1/2 hour mark. It is almost as if there is the old FAT32 4GB file size limit.

I'm thinking of keeping the external 4TB formatted as NTFS and see how the Android box sets it up. I know these larger external drives have an interface so older computers with the 2TB limit can use the maximum space. I know because I took a different 4TB out of an enclosure and Windows could only read a tiny bit of it, including none of my data files. I put it back in the enclosure, copied the files, then pulled it back out and removed all the partitions and formatted to NTFS.

I will probably just copy and then delete all the files on this particular external drive, and then plug it into the box and see what happens.

nickk
Silicondust
Posts: 15523
Joined: Tue Jan 13, 2004 9:39 am

Re: 4TB on Android Box how to setup

Post by nickk » Tue Jul 02, 2019 9:26 pm

I can check the logs... what is the Device ID of your HDHomeRun?

Nick

3579mike777
Posts: 35
Joined: Mon Sep 03, 2012 5:10 pm

Re: 4TB on Android Box how to setup

Post by 3579mike777 » Wed Jul 03, 2019 2:49 pm

I went ahead and pulled the 2TB drive and tried my Seagate 4TB external, simply reformatting the main partition with NTFS. When I connected to Android box, it was not accessible without formatting. This time it didn't give me the option of whether to make internal or be able to read with other computers, just internal. So I formatted it. It only came out with 1.8TB of space, which is basically 2TB. This is a total waste, so I plugged it into my Windows 10 computer again. In Admin tools I found the drive and it still had the 3.63TB main partition, formatted in some unknown format not visible to Windows, plus the little hidden partition that makes it usable with older computers, actually like my main computer. I reformatted the partition and it was back to the same drive. So that was good.

I'm guessing it might not have worked because of the hidden partition stuff, but I don't want to mess with that, just keep it as is. I guess it is possible this box, which has Android 8.1 OS, had the 2TB limit on drives, which would be surprising.

Now the interesting part, the 2TB drive that was used as the DVR, and setup as removable not internal storage, was in fact FAT32 formatted by Android. When I connected to my Win10 computer, I could see and play the video files, but they obviously had the 4GB file size limit with FAT32, hence the recordings were stopping at 3.99GB, which is roughly 2hr20min. So problem solved on recording stopping before the end of the show.

One thing I will try next is put the 2TB back with the Android box and this time reformat as internal storage instead of removable. Then I will try recording something that is three hours long, preferably with a time ticker on the bottom, like Morning Joe on MSNBC.

I did enable sending reports back to Silicon Dust.

3579mike777
Posts: 35
Joined: Mon Sep 03, 2012 5:10 pm

Re: 4TB on Android Box how to setup

Post by 3579mike777 » Wed Jul 03, 2019 3:21 pm

For anyone following this, I tried formatting the 2TB to exFAT. When I connected to the Android box, the drive was accessible from the OS. So I went back to the HD app and after a minute, the exFAT formatted drive automatically defaulted to my DVR drive. This should solve the FAT32 4GB file limit problem.

My next step will be to do the same to the 4TB, simply reformat it to exFAT and see if I get the full space on the drive. I think it might work. I will update.

3579mike777
Posts: 35
Joined: Mon Sep 03, 2012 5:10 pm

Re: 4TB on Android Box how to setup

Post by 3579mike777 » Wed Jul 03, 2019 4:17 pm

Final update. I formatted the 4TB to exFAT. The Android box recognized the full 4TB with no additional steps. Started HD app and after a few seconds, the DVR started and defaulted to the 4TB.

I recommend formatting to exFAT any drive you connect to an Android box. NTFS will probably not work. If you let the Android OS format it, it might default to FAT32.

foxbat121
Posts: 1626
Joined: Tue Jan 05, 2010 3:48 pm
Device ID: 131087C9, 13233B7C

Re: 4TB on Android Box how to setup

Post by foxbat121 » Thu Jul 04, 2019 9:14 am

You are lucky to have the support of exFat or NTFS, or even FAT32. Many Android devices don't support any of those including Google's own devices because they need to pay extra license cost. For example, my Dell Android Tablet and Pixel 3 phones lack such FS support. They are not in the base line OS. But rather, OEMs need to add them to the device.

3579mike777
Posts: 35
Joined: Mon Sep 03, 2012 5:10 pm

Re: 4TB on Android Box how to setup

Post by 3579mike777 » Thu Jul 04, 2019 9:33 am

The exFAT 4TB worked good recording a long show. So as of right now, my Android Box DVR is working perfectly.

The negatives about this setup is it has to be running all the time, no sleep mode. This means the hard drive is spinning all the time. Since DVR recording is not very stressful on drives, and the fact I placed it on a nice notebook cooler, I suspect it will be fine. Old Comcast boxes were the same, running constantly 24/7. Comcast DVRs were notorious energy hogs. I haven't measured how much energy this combination is using but I bet it is fairly light. My WMC computer uses about 40watts, but it is able to sleep so the energy use is really good. The HD Homerun DVR need to be running all the time, so this Android box has got to be much less energy use than if I used a Win10 computer for DVR.

Potential problems is the box gets no security updates. Since this is pretty much dedicated to one app, the DVR, I suspect it will be reliable. That is as long as Play Store still works and updates the app.

Update: One further options on bigger hard drives is use Linux, maybe a live distribution that runs from a flash drive, to format external drives to EXT4. Haven't tried this yet, but I appears this format is compatible with android OS. One disadvantage is this format is not readable from Windows, so exFAT would still be first choice, provided your box supports it. I have a spare 2TB drive so I will test it at some point.

Also, I measured energy use on my android box. The box, external 4TB drive and couple of USB fans uses 12 watts when idle, and 15 when displaying video. Fairly efficient.

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