Mod your Motorola Standard Definition PVR (DVR) with a bigger harddrive.

Picture of Mod your Motorola Standard Definition PVR (DVR) with a bigger harddrive.
My box is the PVR-3080 model which means it's the standard definition. It's extremely easy to upgrade your Motorola PVR (DVR) with a bigger harddrive. (Definitely a 1-banana project on the Shade Tree Howler Monkey scale)

The stock harddrive is an 80 gig SATA and it just wasn't big enough for my needs. Ok, actually it was fine... I just like taking things apart and tweaking them! The specs claim you can record up to 60 hours of Standard Definition programming. However, I maxed the harddrive and was only able to hit about 42 hours of record time. The shows were a pretty even mix of 30min, 60min and 120min recordings.
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Step 1: Items you'll need.

Picture of Items you'll need.
To do this upgrade you'll need the following:

-A screwdriver
-A rotary tool (Dremel tm) with a grinder bit
-3 PC harddrive mounting screws (optional)
-A bigger SATA style harddrive (approx 160 gig recommended)

A quick note about the harddrive: I have read that you should only put 160 gigs worth of drive space in this box because it can only use that much - anything bigger is a waist of money and unused drive space. However, I bought a 250 gig drive because it was cheaper than smaller drives I was looking at and it works fine. At 99% full my new drive is holding 100 hours of recordings. Remember that that the original 80 gig could only hold 42 hours. The drive is 3 times bigger but is obviously not able to hold 3 times the amount of recordings. So the 160 gig rule seems to hold true.
achris43213 years ago
But is it a way to reprogram it for regular tv?
squishyalt3 years ago
When you replace your hdd in the Motorola DCH6416/5380/000/160 model, hold down the Power and Format buttons on the front to force a format of the new drive and a reset of your DVR.

Be patient. It can take up to 2 hours to get your program listings back. (This will not save any programs saved to your old drive, but will get your new drive online.)
Just in case you want the manuals for the DCH6416...
some important items you will need if you want to leave the dvr original to return it to timewarner or comcast:
Plastic anti-tamper tab you can get them here:

original motorola dvr screws, trust me if you dont change these back you will get busted:

one more thing, get the right tool to open it here:

that should make things right. very good tutorial, make sure you read through it. :)
Don't see the actual screws on the site listed. Do you have another source for these?
you mean the screws for the Motorola dvr, a quick search gave me this...

let me know if that helps

Thanks! I don't know how I missed that one.
zack2474 years ago
whoa! a sata hard drive!?
ken261016 years ago
The boxes used by cable companies just like this model are sent from Motorola in Mexico using a Linux based program that when you try to read it from a windows based pc, forget about it and unless you have the exact "secret" version of linux they used on these boxes, you won't be able to transfer to your pc and the formatting used on these boxes and hard drives do not allow for copying straight from HD to disc.
dacker6 years ago
The HD DVR already has a puny 160GB HDD, so swapping another 160GB into it is a waste of time.

What all us Verizon FiOS HD DVR users NEED is the means to drop-in a 500GB or larger HDD.
shylock (author)  dacker6 years ago
Oh that's too bad! In our system the original HD boxes only had 60 gig drives. Seems like an oversight to limit the boxes to 160 gigs.
Did you see if you could get the recorded shows off of the old hard drive? I would be interested in seeing what format they are in, or if the files are even accessible.
shylock (author)  atombomb19456 years ago
I tried reading the old drive with my PC but it couldn't read anything. Also by connecting to the PC it corrupted the shows because when I put it back in the PVR it had been wiped.