Recordings interrupted

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dcalder
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Recordings interrupted

Post by dcalder »

Over the past month or so, my recordings have started to become incomplete. I’ve turned on both diagnostic settings yesterday. Last night Great Performances (channel 909) had this happen. It happens on about 3 of 4 shows now (sometimes near the front of the show, sometimes near the end). Here are observations:

Old recordings play through without any issues.
Broken recordings show a full progress bar, but if I skip to an area past the interruption the playback shuts down.
If I catch it while a show is in progress, I can watch the show live without problems. If I try to restart recording using the live record button, it changes the button to blue, but does not resume recording. I can’t seem to force the system to record once the show is interrupted, however, while I’m watching live, I can pause the show as normal. Haven’t tried deleting the show and then setting “record this airing”.

My storage is a USB connected Raid 1 disk setup with lots of room left (3TB), so it is not running out of storage.

I use the raid for storing FLAC Music rips without problems, though I do use error correction, so it might be hiding a disk problem. My FLAC rippings are done on another PC connected to the hard drive raid by Windows Sharing functionality.
The raid reports a normal mirrored state.

No physical changes in the system (hardware, network, software, etc) except keeping HD Homerun software up-to-date, has been done on the Win 10 system (it is dedicated to this function). Cablecard is my access to my shows. I did try to reset my USB and ethernet cables, to no effect. The Homerun is connected to the PC though a Nighthawk router (all ethernet, no wifi).

Somehow, I still think this is a disk storage issue, but it should resume if I catch it, right?

Thanks,
Dave

nickk
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Re: Recordings interrupted

Post by nickk »

The long shows the HDD is sometimes not writing data fast enough.

There are repeated "Filesystem: wasync excessive lag" warnings and then the recording fails. The warning means the data is arriving from the tuner faster than the HDD is writing it to disk.

Most of the time the HDD is keeping up which points to either the HDD being used by something else that is keeping it very busy at times or the HDD is failing. I have had several WDC Red drives fail like this with no SMART errors... it seems the drive won't report an error if it eventually succeeds even if it took so long to succeed that recordings fail.

jasonl
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Re: Recordings interrupted

Post by jasonl »

Since it's a Windows PC doing the recording, there's also a good chance that the problem is software, not hardware. Do you have any third-party firewall, security, antivirus, or antimalware software installed on the PC? If so, either get rid of it, or at least make sure that it is set to exclude the HDHomeRun, the hdhomerun_record program, and the recording location from all scans, monitoring, filtering, and so forth. The builtin Microsoft stuff (Windows Firewall, Windows Defender) is fine and doesn't need any special configuration, but anything third-party is suspect because it can sit there try to scan things and take forever, and of course it's never actually going to find anything because it's just video data. Such programs tend to automatically update themselves and that may introduce new problems, even if you didn't make any changes.

You may also want to keep an eye on Task Manager when the recording is happening and see if any programs have a spike in usage at the time when the recording fails. Recording to a USB drive is going to make it a little more sensitive to having enough resources available. It's hard to max out a modern PC to the point that it can negatively impact recording performance, but not impossible.

dcalder
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Re: Recordings interrupted

Post by dcalder »

Excellent advice. Since the PC is dedicated and straight windows 10 pro (antivirus et. al.), I was leaning towards the disk failure, but was observing activity during recordings and it occurred to me that there was one task that was happening concurrently. Indexing.

I checked my settings and sure enough the USB Raid 1 array was on the list. I only have my FLAC (rarely written to) music library and DVR(about 5 shows a day) recordings on that storage, so it is not necessary to be indexed.

I turned it off and voila, the system has been recording without any interruption from that moment. Nothing else was changed. I do wonder if indexing gets more intense with a shared drive on the LAN network for my separate pc music/HD DVR player (powered off when not in use). I'll be moving my music off that raid (20,000 songs, 1000 directories/albums) to make the system truly dedicated.

I still think the disk array should have easily been able to handle both DVR and indexing. The problem was intermittent, so there still may be a marginal disk problem. So I may have just given it the little breathing room it needed. Once I get a free afternoon without recordings scheduled, I'll separate the disks and run some diagnostics on each one. Backed up my libraries yesterday to get ready.

Thanks for the guidance. Y'all are great. And over the nearly decades, I can't count the hours time spared from dreck content and ads. One of my best life improving investments.

dcalder
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Re: Recordings interrupted, resolved

Post by dcalder »

For the benefit of those that might find a similar situation, here is my journey. The interruptions (aborts) continued to a lesser extent.
Note: The length remaining would show a normal length for the show. Once interrupted, the length bar would then recognize the shortened length, but not before viewing once.
Note: Better said, the recording would "abort" and exit (it would play and replay fine till that point). If a show recorded completely, then it would always play without a problem.
o Removing indexing seemed to have improved the problem, but I was still getting some interruptions (aborts).
o I did find that I had Red drives in my Raid 1 and that Windows events showed a disk access problem, but no errors from SMART or check disk. So I went there.
o I really didn't want to buy new drives, so I wanted to try a couple things to see if the Reds were the problem.
o I split the raid 1 into JBOD and replaced the second drive with a Hitachi, but kept the recordings on the remaining Red.
o The recording abort seemed to get worse, but I had not done a power off reset of the PC (always a key step when changing), so I did that.
o It got a lot worse, but still, for some reason, giving the Red the benefit of the doubt, I rechecked my cabling.
o It appeared that somewhere along the way a USB cable had been swapped. My raid was USB 3 (blue plug), but the cable was not (though that is not always USB3 incompatible).
o I swapped the cable with a known good blue and from that point, the system quit recording at all. I could see the older recordings were listed, but unplayable, and the task list showed the recordings scheduled, but they would not record at all. Resets and running the SD setup utility (did not make any changes here, though) did not fix this.
o At this point, I was verifying the cables were secure when I noticed that under certain positions, the system notified that the drive was being disconnected. Wiggling the cable would bring it back.
o I secured the cable in a position that kept it from being disconnected, but the non-recording/playback continued.
o I then ran a check disk to see if the abrupt cable disconnects might have caused a problem on the disk.
o Check disk found repairable errors which then did so.
o I also found that the SD set-up utility showed a different label for the recording destination drive (changing to JBOD changed the designation, but not the drive letter (E)). Since I was getting recordings after the JBOD change, I doubt this was the non-recording, non-playing issue, but it was was odd that it worked at all when it changed to JBOD. I updated the destination.

After that, the system has now run flawlessly for days and many recordings.

My guess is that I have bad USB port which was causing the problem. Perhaps there were multiple problems.

Odd that it did not affect playback on shows recorded correctly. Also odd I never heard the USB disconnect chime as I was sometimes in the room when the aborts happened.

The system is not in a place subject to vibration or bumps.

Never did use the Hitachi drive I put in the JBOD (I eventually would have pointed the system there to confirm the Red drive problem). The system remains pointed at the RED (though now not in a Raid 1 configuration). It remains an option, if the problem returns. That and ditching my raid device itself.

Hope this helps someone.

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