External Drive running 24/7?

Is the external USB drive supposed to blink lights and spin 24/7 even when tablo us not in use? Just wondering if it will have a short life span running all the time. I have a Toshiba casino connect,



There shouldn’t be drive access but yes, spin 24/7. 

No, not necessarily shorter life for the drive as electronics typically fail at power-up. Off/on, start/stop, decelerate.accelerate and so on are harder than being on steady 24/7.
I ALWAYS leave all of my devices powered on and rarely ever have failure. My computer drives run 24/7/365. 
At work our server drives run 24/7/365 and a drive failure in one of our shelves is extremely rare. 
We’ve got dozens of drives in the shelves, some years old and I believe it has been at least a year since any failed under the intense workout they get.

for Tablo IMO you don’t want that drive spinning down and then having to spin back up anyway. It’s far more reliable and faster if the drive is a constant speed, be it 7200 or whatever RPM. 
Once it formats the drive it should just sit with the drive spinning but otherwise idle unless or until you access Tablo to play a recorded show or watch live TV. It DOES use the drives for live TV as well. 

Hard drives fail, some more than others.   Most commercials DVRs use drives optimized for video use, not standard consumer desktop drives.    If this is of concern you can definitely use a hard drive optimized for video use with Tablo which is what I’m doing

True - but I would expect drives used with DVR would experience less fragmentation and thus less head seeking. I note that when recording and viewing the drive with my Tablo is barely moving, the LEDs hardly flash - compared to starting Windows, opening Word, saving a document, etc. I’d expect drives for video to be less taxed in that the heads don’t slam around as much. 

Observations of my Tablo drive makes me wonder if it’s just loafing even when recording - the exact same drive connected to my computer is quite noisy and seeks a lot, the LEDs run like Christmas lights at the Griswolds. 
When the drive was used with my Tablo recording or playing or watching live, the lights barely blinked and it was quiet. Not so in my computer. 
(SATA drive in a SATA dock connected to my Tablo after removing it from my computer)
I have found over the decades that MTBF is pretty constant within brands and models regardless of use UNLESS powered up and down a lot. Those powered up and down failed more quickly. (we used to manufacture electronic controllers and I built the computers used to interface with the turbo-compressor controller systems)

I have a friend at Seagate, I have to see what he thinks of all this.

I have read that the power on/off cycle is a contributing factor to drive failure.   Unless you never delete any episodes, there is going to be fragmentation.

Thanks, I tweeted @tablotv this question and they said drive shouldn’t spin when table isn’t playing content or recording. Thanks for your response.

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I like my tablo but that’s a rather crazy answer. Some drives have a sleep timer and some do not and depend on the host(tablo) to be put into sleep mode. So for drives that have sleep timers just what does tablo support state is the desired sleep settings. And for those that are controlled by the host(tablo) how long does tablo take to put the drive in sleep mode? Additionally does tablo keep log files on the drive? If so how often are these updated and just what events cause these to be updated?

After getting my 2-tuner Tablo (back in May) my Seagate Backup Plus Slim USB HD would never spin down.  I resorted to downloading a software tool from Seagate, and set the sleep time to 10 mins.  Has been working without problems, most of the time the drive is sleeping.

The problem with turning on sleep on hard drives is that the Tablo cannot wake them back up. It can with some drives but not all. Hence the suggestion to turn off sleep mode on drives attached to the Tablo.

I am also worried about the 24/7 aspect with regards to hard drive usage. I use Roku to view and make sure that I exit the Tablo app before turning off the TV otherwise the Tablo will be recording (buffering) whatever live TV I was watching all night long. Just remember that if something is streaming live TV your hard drive is in constant use.  As for fragmentation; that shouldn’t be an issue due to the static file system created in “blocks” on any DVR system. Your show isn’t one giant 2Gb file, its comprised of a huge pile of 10 second clips that are played back to back to display the show. The “clips” is the main reason you can’t just download files from your Tablo to your PC.

I used to work in an electronic engineering firm. The QA person there was keen to remind folks that electronics fail at power-up and that was a fact.

I’ve had better luck leaving things ON then on-off-on-off as far as electronics or similar devices. My PCs have been on constantly since, well, I’ve owned PCs in the 1980s. The only drive failure I have ever had has been the media, platter, bad sectors and that’s not related to leaving them on, that’s a media defect,etc.
Any time you power up electronics there is a surge internally as things get “filled” up. 
I designed the computers that CCC used for their Series 4 turbo-control systems and I worked directly with motherboard manufacturers who also said that leaving them on was best, fewer failures. 
At work we have all but totally eliminated router failures by putting them all on small UPSs and telling the offices leave them on ALL THE TIME. Never power them down.
Of our PC failures most occur for those who turn their computers off when they leave or power cycle them. 
The drives in our SAN shelves are on full 24/7/52 and a failure is almost unheard of. Our servers are never shut down unless it’s for rare hardware additions. 
Our current server or SAN drives have been in place for a good 4 years now. We lost 1 out of the whole array in all that time. They don’t spin down. 

Fragmentation has zero to do with run-time or power up and power down, etc. It’s to do with file write, delete, write, delete, etc.
Windows is more prone to that than some other operating systems and is a bigger issue when you have a large file that must be split among several smaller openings. The head seek time and spindle spin times then come into play as the OS attempts to furnish the entire large file out of many small pieces of file. And a lot depends on the OS and drive logic-  does it anticipate and read-ahead? What sort of caching does the drive or OS do?

This is all wonderful, that having the drive on and off could be worse, but doesn’t answer, why is my hard drive running 24/7 on my Tablo? Does that mean that it’s supposed to be spinning all day, all night? And about the computers, the drives go to sleep.

I want to go off a little at the same time. Can I use a SSD on the Tablo or is there something that would make that a bad choice? I’m asking because, there aren’t motors or heads or anything. But I also read that a memory stick or SD or CF Etc. is not recommended.

I’m happy with my USB 3 hard drive, USB 2 wouldn’t be recognized or format. Fine, welcome to the modern world. :wink:

USB keys or sticks aren’t recommended cause many are too slow or their read and write life are too short.

SSDs do not suffer from either of those problems, so while it is likely overkill to use an SSD with a Tablo, go ahead.

I am using a 2tb WD SSD (internal in Tablo Quad), no issues. Downside of an SSD is cost, regular hard drives are much cheaper. Also, in my experience SSDs run hotter than a regular drive. Regular hard drives may have a way to set a sleep time in the drive. I had a Seagate USB2 drive that I used with a 10 minute sleep setting, ran great for years. Most times if I went to the Tablo the drive would not be spinning.