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Anyone know what this is?

I just got hooked up with digital tv today, and www.wegener.com/PRODUCTS/STREAMING_MEDIA_DECODERS/SMD_515.php these are what they gave me for set top boxes. Little IPTV streaming boxes. I noticed there was a spare led labeled HD on the front, and upon further inspection, I found a ide connector and a power connector for a 3.5 inch hard disk.

Normally my isp would want me to rent a different receiver for PVR functions, and additionally a lot more per reciever. This box can use a hard drive, but when I put one in, nothing happens when I plug it back in. Now apparently, from what I've read, my isp might have installed their own firmware onto the boxes, but I do not think that is the case, the menus look like the one's I've seen online.

I expected for there to be an extra option pop up in the menu when I powered it on with a hard drive installed, but that was not the case... is it the format? I have a 40 gig in there (for a tester) formatted as fat32.

What am I doing wrong here?? Oh yeah, and theres a screenshot I got off my tuner card, it only shows this "boot" screen when you unplug the power and plug it back in, otherwise when you switch it off, it seems to go into a "Soft-off" mode, and the hard disk I noticed also continues to spin after it's been turned off... I don't like that :S

Anyways, I can't find anything online, so much as a quick reference manual on wegener's website, but it didn't provide anything useful, it vaguely mentioned the recording function, but nothing of installing a hard disk or setting it up. I assume there should be SOME kind of menu/setup I can get into to setup the hard drive/view more options other than the audio format and some other minor options I can currently see like menu appearance.

I'm super fascinated to see if I can get a hard drive actually functioning on here, like the remote even has a record button on it, so obviously it was meant to be a pvr, just they expect you to pay them out the nose for them to put one in for you.


Picture of Anyone know what this is?
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Punkguyta (author) 7 years ago
 Does anyone else have any suggestions??!?!
gmoon7 years ago
I know next to nothing about hacking DVRs, but that's a Linux shell prompt (or BSD or some other open source *nix system.) The "gcc" reference (GNU Compiler Collection) identifies it as such.

If you had an input device (IR keyboard or something), you might get a response.

I guess the first thing to try would be to format the drive with a Linux file system--EXT2, EXT3, etc., on a regular computer. Then see if the unit responds to the formatting. Of course, DVRs might encrypt the drives...
Punkguyta (author)  gmoon7 years ago
 F*ckin brilliant gmoon. I didn't even think about plugging in a usb keyboard to see what it does on startup. It has TWO usb's, one on the front panel, but on the side of the box, and one on the back. The installer saw me looking at the side usb port and he told me it does nothing, and I was like oh. I know at least one, or both of them are for upgrading the firmware (why two tho is my question, convienience?)

Do you guys wanna see a picture of the inside of this unit??? Since you've identified it as a linux or bsd distro, I'm super curious about the changing of OS on this unit, as that might mean it could run another copy of linux.

You suggest formatting the drive in EXT2/3, how would I accomplish this from windows? I'm sure it's completely possible, I'll get screwing with Google later. I think this device is capable enough to format the drive itself though.

I'll try the keyboard thing and see what happens, all I have laying around is a usb apple keyboard, but if the bios on my pc recognizes it at boot, and it works fine, then it should work for the box too. Another thing too, if it's just a distro of linux, I doubt it's been set up to use encrypted recording or anything fancy such as tivo might use to prevent people from doing what I'm trying to do. These are just meant to be cheap set top boxes, obviously the version with a hard drive that comes with it would cost me way more than it's worth.

Also it'd just be damn fun to do this.
gmoon Punkguyta7 years ago
With luck you might get the unit to respond and record with the addition of a keyboard... assuming there's no activation code required. It would be pretty trial to add something like that overtop a Linux OS. There may be activation codes and support software installed on the hard drives themselves...

From a Windoz system, the easiest way to format a HD is to use a Linux "Live CD", like Knoppix or Slax. First connect a second drive. Boot from the CD and use the available system tools  (shell commands) to format the drive. There are GUIs that can do this... SystemRescueCD is one "live" CD tool that should included them.

Watch out for the funky naming schema--Linux names it's drives very differently than MS.

As far as actually hacking / replacing the kernel, it's doubtful. Not only is it burned to firmware, but companies rarely release executables or source code for this type of hardware. Technically, they should release any changes made to existing source code, but they aren't required to release any propriary drivers (Click here and search for Wegener), executables, or compiled code (which might be for unusual microprocessors.) Without the drivers, you might be able to compile a generic kernel that works, but it wouldn't be able to do much with the hardware (graphics, etc.)

I have a Hauppauge MediaMVP, and a lot of people have hacked that hardware and system software, so it's not impossible. But it took the effort of lots of folks, and no one's ever duplicated all the functions of the factory firmware...(although they have added other interesting functionality.)
Punkguyta (author)  Punkguyta7 years ago
 HOLY CRAP I just thought I would check it to see how warm it was before bed, I've had it on all night watching tv (not recording). HOLY F***. The hard drive was so hot I burned my hand, literally, I took the case off immediatly and when I went to lift the drive to stand it on it's side, I burned my hand. I have never felt a hard drive get this hot before! How is it still operating?!?

It's recording as we speak! The hard drive indicator light inside is showing it writing to the drive every few seconds, but it's not like it's under constant load. What the hell is going on here??! I'm glad I caught this before I had a fire inside there.
Is it remotely possible (I am just guessing, postulating) that said HD for your machine is special built to handle different power source parameters (rated for lower / higher voltages or amperages) causing it to get hot? 
 
Punkguyta (author)  Goodhart7 years ago
 I left it running after I took the cover off and the next day it felt normal, just warm to the touch, I think it's simply too small of a case to have a drive inside without a fan, there is a spot to mount a fan, but no fan.. Better yet, I doubt any fan small enough (I believe it looks like a 40mm or 60mm case fan mount) would actually cool it down with the cover on. Bah I'm not that worried at the moment, but it does look a bit garish with the cover off.
Yeah, it will become the collector of "dust"  :-)
Glad you got it recording, could it have a timeshift function keeping the drive in constant use?

L
Punkguyta (author)  lemonie7 years ago
 Nope nope, I figured it out, just happens to be too small of a case without a fan to cool everything down. I'll work on getting a fan in there, but until then the cover will stay off.

And no, it doesn't do timeshifting, I don't need it anyways. I think thats neat theres a hard drive indicator inside on the mainboard, but not particularly useful to me when im trying to view my tv at the same time. It only seems to flash when its recording. However I'm still curious as to why it doesn't spin the drive down when I put it into standby... I don't really care about the drive's life however, it's just a 40 I had laying around.
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