Channel.scan shows 5 bars, recording fails due to weak signal

I have a quad tuner that had been working great for years. Over the last week or so,. recordings are failing with an error of poor.reception. When I scan for channels it shows up as 5 bars, but I can’t watch it live or record now (4-1). I can see other channels. I vaguely recall updating firmware somewhat recently, but am not sure on timing. I’m.also.wondering if a tuner is going bad. Any way to do some diagnostics?

If you are concerned about something internal to the Tablo being the cause, then the best thing to do is contact Tablo Support either by phone or by submitting a ticket.

After you did the new channel scan, did you hit “add to guide”?

I did. I also removed the channel that was the problem from the guide and then tried watching other high quality signal. After iterating through, I’m pretty sure I’ve lost a tuner and it isn’t a channel problem.

quad models haven’t been out for “years”, most users get dots

are you able to view the channel on with tuner on a TV? or on some other device with an ATSC tuner?

My model is the old school 4 tuner one that’s only sold as refurbished. It’s been running almost non-stop with the same antenna installed in the attic since 2014… Part of my concern with a tuner finally dying. Nothing in the setup changes except for time. Resetting the tablo didn’t help nor did unplugging the power for a couple of hours.

Yes. Tv can pick up the channel and the when I scan on on the tablo it shows 5 green dots. I’ll try to get into the attic this weekend to see if tweaking the antenna position helps. But I was curious if anyone else had seen anything similar or a way to access hardware logs.

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they wont let us see our own system logs :disappointed:

If you have a Linux system you can connect your hard drive to it and read the logs…

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I’m pretty sure they’re stored internally. Changing ports with HTTP requests give a clue, for /pvr vs guide info vs tuner and drive info. When you view a recordings URL you only get the vague weak signal or no storage messages. (I’m using a tablet, so I dont have the resources to show I’m not making this up)

There should be actual detailed system information. logging, hopefully, with more of a clue.

@Enginerd - I had similar issues and it turned out to be a HDD going bad. I could record shows (2 tuner version) on 2 channels, one might work and one would come up short and have pixelization. I initially thought I might have a tuner issue but Tablo support never really answered my direct question about a tuner issue. They did read the logs and came back with many reception/antenna suggestions.
If you have a way to test out a new (or different) HDD go for it, just make sure you read the other posts about how to preserve your recordings and settings to a new HDD.

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I completely agree with all this. Myself have posted using utilities how to move recordings around.

One thing to note, why so often with tablo devices the drive is “going bad”? If a file system is corrupt, the physical drive has no problems. If the drive has mechanical failures, it’s less and less likely you’ll be able to retrieve data… or perform a read/write test. Which several user do not encounter.

Yet more often than not, “bad” drives are salvageable when tablo claims they are going bad. So what happened with the drive, did you discard it? Or find it worked elsewhere? Hopefully I’m mistaken.

@djk44883 - My HDD did not appear to be bad from anything the Tablo might have reported. I did not look at any logs but Tablo support did. I removed the HDD from the Tablo and used the Seagate utilities to check it out. I was attempting to salvage the drive by low-level reformatting or marking sectors bad but the utility provided failed when I tried to do an in-depth test/repair function. If it could not be repaired using their program, I felt it was beyond repair and junked it.
I know what you are mentioning about filesystems versus actual HW errors but this seemed to be a lower level error that the filesystem was not recognizing but the drive was failing to write properly.
Anyways, my issue seems to have resolved itself with the replacement HDD.

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I had a somewhat similar experience with my WD HD Elements portable drive. I performed an online benchmark and it scored in the bottom 2% of other benchmark tests for the same drive. I tried to low-level format/repair several times but that would not work. I used the drive for other mundane tasks and the performance was terrible but it would work. I put it on the shelf for several months and decided one day to try the low/level format/repair and at that time it worked. The drive appears to be OK now and the performance is reasonable but I’m not really using it for anything, i.e. it is sitting on the shelf. Maybe it would work fine if I redeployed it elsewhere or maybe the problems would reappear.

@bbaorbb - too late now for me!

I was wondering what “low level formatting” was suppose to be/do.

What does “low level format” a SATA or ATA (IDE) drive mean?
Actually the term “low level” is a bit of a misnomer. The low-level process first used years ago in MFM hard drives bears little resemblance to what we now call a “low-level format” for today’s SATA and ATA (IDE) drives. The only safe method of initializing all the data on a Seagate device is the zero fill erase option in SeaTools for DOS. This is a simple process of writing all zeros (0’s) to the entire hard disk drive.


The modern equivalent to low-level formatting is “zero-filling”, whereby you replace all data on your hard drive with arbitrary zeros or other characters, making that data deleted and unrecoverable.


No one understood what 0 writing and Windows users had no way of doing this and dd is extremely dangerous, so someone created a tool and gave it a name?

One would think that they would display some message about hard drive read/write errors or SMART failures. I had one drive when I first setup that had SMART failures yet the Tablo didn’t report this. I’ve since binned that drive. I didn’t know it was bad until I looked at it with Crystal Diskinfo.

Low level format has just become a general term for a disk wipe really. People still say Low Level Format, most people in the know realize they are just wiping the drive to clear the partition table and any other file system related data to make it easier to install a new OS.

People have thought that writing zeros is low level formating since the 1960’s.

The reality is that commercial users passed a high grade degausser over the magnetic media.

I’ve degaussed many hard drives. It’s not a Low Level Format as it destroys any guide track data making a modern drive trash. Only way to get that working again is at the factor. Modern tape drives are the same way. Keep the degausser away if you ever want to use it again. Nice way to destroy a drive before giving it to the e-cyclers. Hit it from the bottom as the stainless steel tops tend to block the magnetic fields and disperse them.

You wanted to know how to actually remove the data.

And even working in R&D we had to degauss more disks and tapes then you have ever seen. And even modern disks may get degaussed. When big banks, financial institutions, and DoD depose of media some take extra steps to destroy data before it’s sent through the chipper.