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Old 07-01-2002, 10:00 PM   #1 (Print)
Dan203
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Thumbs up External modem SUCCESS!!!

Well thanks to a little help from spankspank I have successfully got a TiVo running 3.0 to use an external modem without any hacking!

The modem is a US Robotics Sportster 33.6. It's connected to the TiVos using the original TiVo serial cable and a RadioShack DB9 -> DB25 adapter. What I had to do to get it working was...
  • I connected it to a computer using the modems original serial cable.
  • I then sent it these commands AT&D0&H0&I0&R1&W0 and AT&D0&H0&I0&R1&W1 using hyper terminal, which disable DTR, RTS and flow control.
  • I disconnect it from the computer and connected it to the TiVo.
  • I then flipped the modem over and switched the "Terminal Override" dip switch to ON. (I had to do this because the TiVo would not connect to the modem otherwise)
  • I set the TiVo dial prefix to ,#319 and did the test call, which worked.
  • Then I tried a daily call which also completed, and just finished successfully loading the data.
I know the connection speed is slow (i.e. 19,400), but it successfully downloaded and indexed two days worth of data that it didn't have before.

Dan

P.S. I tried 38,400 and athough it completed a test call, it would not complete a daily call.

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Last edited by Dan203 : 07-02-2002 at 12:38 AM.
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Old 07-02-2002, 01:25 AM   #2 (Print)
JYoung
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Good going.
Question, why write out two profiles in the modem?

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Old 07-02-2002, 06:34 AM   #3 (Print)
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Cool - that's pretty much what I was trying to do back in the days of 1.3. But we didn't have prefixes then, and after trashing my TiVo once by messing up the /dev directory, I let it rest... then TiVoNet came and I forgot all about it.

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Old 07-02-2002, 08:04 AM   #4 (Print)
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Dan you are indeed the man!

How did you verify the connection speed, and how did you try to "force" a higher speed?

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Old 07-02-2002, 08:53 AM   #5 (Print)
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Quote:
Originally posted by phone1
Dan you are indeed the man!

How did you verify the connection speed, and how did you try to "force" a higher speed?


I can answer that. The first one - by using ,#319 and checking the logs; the second one - by using a different prefix.

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Old 07-02-2002, 11:24 AM   #6 (Print)
Dan203
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Cool

My ignorance is showing through here.

JYoung - I saved the settings to both profiles because I originally thought that it was losing them after I unplugged the modem. As it turns out it was actually losing the Terminal Ready status, which I ended up fixing by flipping that dip switch. The only reason I said I set both profiles is because I did, and I'm not sure which one the modem is actually using. As a matter of fact I also sent each of those commands with a &WT at the end too, so that may have also had an effect.

phone1 - I didn't "verify" the speed.(I didn't even look at the logs) I was basing the 19,400 speed on the dial prefix that I used. (i.e. ,#319 sets the TiVo to max out at 19,400)

Dan

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Old 07-02-2002, 11:33 AM   #7 (Print)
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Dan: As long as the modem and TiVo are on the same power source, you can probably just echo that command string line to the modem from the TiVo by sticking an extra command at the bottom of one of the rc.* files. That way, you won't have to worry about blackouts or brownouts preventing you from guide updates.

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Old 07-02-2002, 11:47 AM   #8 (Print)
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From the Almost Complete Codes List:
Quote:
,#3xx - 3.0 only - Use PPP over serial for the daily call. This is the same as with ,#2xx, but in this mode, it does a "modem emulation". That is, it will send AT type commands over the serial port as if a modem was there. Some third party PPP servers support exactly this kind of mode. Also, there has been one or two reports of people using this to actually connect an external modem to the serial port and having it really dial and complete a test call. Nobody has yet reported using this to complete a real daily call however. It seems that the serial port and the lack of flow control is a real problem for this type of setup. I imagine that if you set a modem up to use a very slow connection (9600) you could get this to work right. The Tivo definitely resets the modem using ATZ, so as long as the modem can save settings, you might be able to get it to work. If you get it working, make a thread in the Underground, we'd love to hear about it.
I gotcha - didn't make the connection (NPI). BTW, sounds like this reference needs to be revised.

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Old 07-02-2002, 12:15 PM   #9 (Print)
9thTee
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Great work!
Is there any way to use an external modem AND have serial control over a DSS or cable box? I assume not, but just checking.

Mark
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Old 07-02-2002, 01:10 PM   #10 (Print)
Marcel
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Dan,
Can you be more specific on how you sent the commands to the modem using hyper terminal? I am using win XP Pro and a US Robotics Sportster 56k X2.
Will this work?
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Old 07-02-2002, 01:23 PM   #11 (Print)
Dan203
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I have no idea if that specific modem will work, but here is how you use HyperTerminal...
  • Open Hyperterminal.
  • It should pop-up a dialog asking you to make a new connection.
  • Just enter test into the text box and press OK.
  • On the next dialog select the COM port the modem is connected to, leave the defaults for everything else, and press OK.
  • You should now be connected to the modem, and have a blinking cursor.
Now just enter the commands I listed and press enter. If it works it will report back OK. If not it will report back ERROR.

Dan

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Old 07-02-2002, 02:08 PM   #12 (Print)
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Quote:
Originally posted by Tracer
Great work!
Is there any way to use an external modem AND have serial control over a DSS or cable box? I assume not, but just checking.

Mark
9thTee.com


Certainly you could with a serial A/B switch. DSS/cable on A, modem on B. This would require you switch over to the modem, force a call, then remember to switch it back. Some people go through similiar aerobics now to avoid daily phone calls.

And for a true hack.....
It would be interesting to see how well both an external modem and a DSS/cable box could coexist on the same cable. i.e. a serial cable connecting first to the modem then to the DSS/cable box. i.e. in series.

The DSS/cable box might get hosed during a modem transfer, but who knows? I doubt it would cause a channel change though it certainly would prevent one. The modem would probably be fine with channel changes flying by it. Until it's receiving guide data download which might cause a hangup or just a retrans but hey..
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Old 07-02-2002, 02:33 PM   #13 (Print)
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You may have to turn echo on to see what you type "echoed" on the screen:

ATE1

Not all modems may support all of these, but it may not matter - if you get an error, enter them one at a time with Dan's values:

AT&D0
n=0 Ignore DTR
n=1 On-Line Command Mode
n=2 DTE Controls DTR

AT&H0
n=0 Disable TX Flow Control
n=1 CTS
n=2 Xon/Xoff
n=3 CTS and Xon/Xoff

AT&I0
n=0 Disable RX Flow Control
n=1 Xon/Xoff
n=2 Xon/Xoff Chars Filtered
n=3 HP Enq/Ack Host Mode
n=4 HP Enq/Ack Terminal Mode
n=5 Xon/Xoff for non-ARQ Mode

(If your modem is not accepting &H and &I commands, try AT&K0 to disable all flow control.)

AT&R1
n=1 Ignore RTS
n=2 RX to DTE/RTS high

The AT&Wn justs stores as profile 0 and 1. The modem should power up profile 0, but this way it still works either way.

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Old 07-02-2002, 02:36 PM   #14 (Print)
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Quote:
Originally posted by spankspank
And for a true hack.....
It would be interesting to see how well both an external modem and a DSS/cable box could coexist on the same cable. i.e. a serial cable connecting first to the modem then to the DSS/cable box. i.e. in series.
Since all the flow control, RTS and DTR from the modem have been disabled it might work on a Y cable if the DSS/cable box doesn't freak out when TiVo tries to dial out.

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Old 07-02-2002, 03:28 PM   #15 (Print)
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Quote:
Originally posted by JYoung
Good going.
Question, why write out two profiles in the modem?


The W0 profile is used on a power-up start or a simple ATZ, and the W1 profile is used on an ATZ1. Some systems (dunno about TiVo) will use their own "private" profile in W1, and the reserve W0 for a "known good" cold start.
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Old 07-02-2002, 03:33 PM   #16 (Print)
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Re: External modem SUCCESS!!!

Quote:
Originally posted by Dan203
P.S. I tried 38,400 and athough it completed a test call, it would not complete a daily call. [/B]


Yeah, the Sportster 33.6 doesn't have enough of a buffer in it to keep up at a high DTE rate. And, since the serial port on the TiVo doesn't support hardware handshaking, then you're stuck without it. Software handshake (XON/XOFF) won't work since the CPU in the modem isn't fast enough to react to it before the buffer fills.

With a 56k Courier or Sportster, you should be able to run a bit higher DTE speeds. But again, the lack of handshake will bite you eventually and you may end up retransmitting so many blocks that any time you made up in increasing the speed may be lost.
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Old 07-02-2002, 03:40 PM   #17 (Print)
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great news for people that dont have computers right next to there tivo
-spencer

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Old 07-02-2002, 10:15 PM   #18 (Print)
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I don't have an answer to this or need an answer since I have turbonet, but will a winmodem (one that realies on computer hardware and a software interface to do the processing) work? I would think probably not, but like I said I don't know.

Edit:

Maybe you can't even get an external winmodem? After thinking about it for a bit I don't ever recall seeing one.
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Old 07-02-2002, 11:27 PM   #19 (Print)
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Quote:
Originally posted by ryanjennings

Maybe you can't even get an external winmodem? After thinking about it for a bit I don't ever recall seeing one.


It's possible that USB modems are, or can be, winmodems.
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Old 07-03-2002, 01:26 AM   #20 (Print)
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Re: Re: External modem SUCCESS!!!

Quote:
Originally posted by mpulver


Yeah, the Sportster 33.6 doesn't have enough of a buffer in it to keep up at a high DTE rate. And, since the serial port on the TiVo doesn't support hardware handshaking, then you're stuck without it. Software handshake (XON/XOFF) won't work since the CPU in the modem isn't fast enough to react to it before the buffer fills.

With a 56k Courier or Sportster, you should be able to run a bit higher DTE speeds. But again, the lack of handshake will bite you eventually and you may end up retransmitting so many blocks that any time you made up in increasing the speed may be lost.



Any loss of data due to "no handshake" would not be the fault of the modem. It would be Tivo's inability to keep up with the stream of data transmitted to it. The majority of data flows to the Tivo (from upstream servers). It doesn't matter what modem you use. The Tivo has to keep up with receiving the data via serial port while simultaneously recording a program. Try it on a Pentium75. That's why 38400 (on a Series I, right Dan?) doesn't work. Too much data falls on the floor. It seems the Tivo serial port is limited to 19200 of IRQ service without overflowing the 16 byte buffer in it's serial port UART.

Software handshake could be implemented, it was just not needed for DSS control. In fact Tivo's slow CPU is why you'd prefer some software handshake, to tell the modem to throttle until the buffer can be read. The Tivo serial port is already the bare minimum with just 3 wires. Expecting to support an external modem on a serial port driver without handshake requires some compromise.

I'd think a series 2 could keep up with a DTE of 38400. 57600 is needed to prevent dogging the transfer rates.
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Old 07-03-2002, 10:06 AM   #21 (Print)
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Re: Re: Re: External modem SUCCESS!!!

Quote:
Originally posted by spankspank
Any loss of data due to "no handshake" would not be the fault of the modem. It would be Tivo's inability to keep up with the stream of data transmitted to it. The majority of data flows to the Tivo (from upstream servers). It doesn't matter what modem you use. The Tivo has to keep up with receiving the data via serial port while simultaneously recording a program. Try it on a Pentium75. That's why 38400 (on a Series I, right Dan?) doesn't work. Too much data falls on the floor. It seems the Tivo serial port is limited to 19200 of IRQ service without overflowing the 16 byte buffer in it's serial port UART.


Actually I don't think that's the case. Because a lot of people, including myself, have been able to use 57,600 or even 115,200 when the serial port is connected to a computer via PPP.

Dan

P.S. Yes this is a 14 hour Phillips Series 1 TiVo.

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Old 07-03-2002, 10:16 AM   #22 (Print)
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The problem is probably more likely the fact that at a higher serial speed, the TiVo is trying to send data to the modem much faster than it can send it over the phone (since serial and modem speeds don't match, except at 19200). Since no flow control is available, the modem has no way to tell the TiVo to stop sending data, so it overflows the modem's buffer, and the modem starts dropping data. This causes the next layer up, PPP, to have problems. If PPP has too many problems, it will drop the connection and the call will fail.

If you could force your modem to connect at 38400 (with a 56K external modem) and set your port speed there, you *might* get it to work. The TiVO can handle 115200, like Dan said, because I run my serial port at 115200 (PPP over serial), and get full 10KB/sec during ftp transfers.
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Old 07-03-2002, 11:19 AM   #23 (Print)
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Ahh, true. I forgot people were running 115k to another computer. So a faster modem with more buffer might work with a higher DTE.
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Old 07-04-2002, 04:06 PM   #24 (Print)
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Quote:
Originally posted by mpulver


The W0 profile is used on a power-up start or a simple ATZ, and the W1 profile is used on an ATZ1. Some systems (dunno about TiVo) will use their own "private" profile in W1, and the reserve W0 for a "known good" cold start.


The W0 is the factory default. You can set W1 to be the default after a power-on with the &Y1 command.

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Old 07-06-2002, 09:04 PM   #25 (Print)
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Thanks for this great tip (I think my main Tivo's modem died in a storm tonight...this will do for a temp solution). You forgot the AT code to shut off the modem speaker, though.

Bob
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Old 07-07-2002, 06:33 PM   #26 (Print)
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If you're bored, you can see what commands the Tivo is sending using the ,#3xx trick. Setup your Tivo, connect it via a null modem to your computer, start up hyperterminal, and do a test call. Just give it the proper responses, like "OK" and so forth until it tries to dial the number. I think it's just doing an ATZ and then dialing, but I'm not totally sure of that. Anyway, that'll tell you which profile you need to be using.
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Old 07-08-2002, 08:38 AM   #27 (Print)
mdgaffney
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Note

Thanks to Dan203 for getting me started on using external modem.

Using a US Robotics 56K external and setting it to AT&D0&H0&I0&R1
Setting the Terminal Override plus setting Carrier Detect override
switches allowed me to connect using dial prefix ,#311
Note the only difference is the CD override switch.

I was able to make a daily call.

The Otclient log showed:

opening device
Setting modem to 115200 baud
Initializing modem
ATZ
OK
External Port
Trying to connect
ATDT9999999 (my telephone dial in number)
Connect 45333/ARQ/V90/LAPM/V42
Got a connection
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Old 07-08-2002, 09:31 AM   #28 (Print)
Tuckee
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My in-laws modem is fried, and I wanted to try an external modem solution. It is a Phillips Series 1, S/A. It has ver 2.5, do I need ver 3.0 for the external modem settings to work?

TIA
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Old 07-08-2002, 09:43 AM   #29 (Print)
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Sorry don't know if 2.5 works. I am using 3.0.
If it does you will probably get 3.0 update.
It would be interesting to hear how it goes. If it does not work
you may have to restore.
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Old 07-08-2002, 09:48 AM   #30 (Print)
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OK, mine was working fine for a day, but now it's not. All I did was unhook it, add the "speaker off" command (M0) to the init string, and hook it back up. It dials just fine but never connects. Anyone know what I might have done to screw it up?

Today's task will be to try and restore factory defaults (I dug up the modem's manual yesterday) and store the init string again.

Oh, and the modem is a Practical Peripherals 28.8 modem, a Mac model (worked just fine on a PC for years, though). I couldn't find the "Terminal Override" setting (either software or hardware), anyone have a guess as to where it might be hiding?

Bob
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