Success using a Flash Drive, SD Card or MicroSD with Tablo

It is a 5 year “limited” warranty that covers waterproof, shock-proof, temperature-proof, magnet-proof, and x-Ray-proof.

If your flash fails for any of those reasons your tablo is probably also toast.

I’ll be sure to let everyone here know the outcome. I think it’s also waterproof, but I won’t be testing that.

I’ve worked with computers and electronics for many years. Are there any Tablo Techs watching this thread that concur that a failed USB Flash drive can (would) also “toast” a TABLO? Or am I only risking a failed/damaged flash drive?

It shouldn’t hurt the Tablo itself, but unsupported storage can still cause buffering, failed recordings, and misfiring of auto-delete algorithms as noted.

You’re free to give this a shot, but I think everyone is just saying not to be surprised if weird stuff winds up happening.

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It shouldn’t hurt the Tablo itself,

Excellent! I’ll happily report back on weird stuff and hopefully non-weird stuff. Worst case scenario: I’m $20 poorer at the end.

You’re going to do what you’re going to do… it never mentions read/write lifetime. Testing sites mentions storing files, that’s why it highlights the fast speeds. Store a large video file, read it really fast. Tablo doesn’t store recording in large files. There’s dozens to hundreds of segments stored per recording about 100m each.

Sure it’ll work in the short term, probably great. What will it hurt your tablo, it’s an experiment (probably not much). I guess for $20 you can easily replace it when needed - I can’t wait for you to prove everybody else wrong. It’s about time the world got put in it’s place :poop:

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Yes, you’re right. Flash drive manufacturers don’t report read/write lifetimes. Oddly, SSD manufacturers do report this: 3,000 to 100,000 r/w cycles depending on brand and model.

I don’t really care about proving anyone wrong. I see this as a $20 risk versus a low-cost storage reward.

Not odd at all. SSDs are designed as primary storage for computers, with many read/write cycles. Flash drives are designed for more archival storage (or sneaker net). Very few read/write cycles (comparatively).

Very few read/write cycles

Agreed. SSD Memory is higher quality than Flash memory and SSD has more r/w cycles. However, some USB flash drives can reach 100,000 r/w cycles.

TABLO engineers, might you know how many read/write cycles on the integrated memory in the Tablo Dual 64GB? Does it have a rated lifespan in hours or years?

Interesting, you can buy a USB Flash drive that has SSD characteristics:

Wear leveling is an essential feature in SSDs, but not every USB flash drive on the market has a programmed algorithm in place. This is largely because the amount of flash memory available on a USB flash drive is smaller than a typical SSD. However, not having wear leveling means a USB flash drive can’t be used as efficiently as possible. As a result, for industrial users, wear leveling is a must. Consumer USB flash drives don’t generally come with wear leveling, because it is not usually necessary for the applications these devices are used for. For industrial users, it is necessary to choose an industrial grade USB flash device. Industrial grade devices include wear leveling and other data protection features.”

Very likely a trade secret :speak_no_evil:

I guess if you’re not recording much it’s fine.

But a 1 TB HDD is so cheap these days. Especially when you compare it to the cost of the Tablo unit, and the subscription.

Let us know how it goes.

I will. I’m also going to try this $18 320GB drive from Seagate with one of my Tablos

Lightweight storage needs, minimum cost - got a WD Scorpio Blue WD3200BEVT 320GB from ebay for less than $10 and 2 of these for under $20 Sabrent EC-UST25 Enclosure! Unsupported as in - don’t call us. Not - does not work :laughing:

And no experimenting.

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Do you have a favorite (cheap) enclosure or cable?

Not necessarily “cheap” as affordable. I first found Sabrent enclosure when looking for a 3.5" with a cooling fan. Then got another USB 3.0 - with cooling fan. Used it on my tablo until I got a second one and wanted them to match. I had a WD Blue drive in service, and got a second… to cheap not to. Then found the smaller boxes. These have been running almost 6 months - the 3.5" setup ran over a year.

I’ve gotten “out dated” used computer parts and components from ebay for years for affordable prices. Seldom have any real problems, life happens. Drives continue to runs for years, PC boards and parts boot many several years later. These dated parts still play and stream HD video on a TV hassle free.

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I wanted to give a status update for what is so far a successful test of using a FLASH drive with a Tablo Duo (but NOT the QUAD model!)

  • The primary advantage is that the flash drive has a very small profile when inserted into the Tablo Duo and it doesn’t require external power. Yes, I can buy an external hard drive for about the same price, but it doesn’t hide inside the Duo.

  • I’m using the Samsung FIT Plus USB 3.1 Flash Drive 128GB - 300MB/s (MUF-128AB/AM) as recommended by JEB in this forum. For it, I paid about $20 on Amazon.

  • The Samsung FIT Flash drive has a 5 year warranty and is designed to be an expansion of a computer’s hard drive… One of the profiled uses is for video and it was presumably designed for a greater number of read/write cycles than most flash memory.

  • I’m intentionally using both Tablo Duo tuners at the same time, that is, I’m recording on two channels at once to try to see if I can make the recordings fail or the flash drive fail. So far, every recording has worked perfectly. My Recording quality and Live TV quality is set at HD 720 3 Mbps. I have no objections to the possible degradation at this setting because I can’t really tell the difference, I’m mostly watching news and late night programming.

  • Presumably, since a 64GB Tablo Dual can store 40 hours in onboard memory, then it seems likely I’ll be able to store 80 hours on the flash drive. So, twice the storage with my $20 flash drive compared to Tablo’s 64GB model.

  • Important: I have a Tablo Quad and a Duo. The DUO successfully recognized and formatted the Samsung flash drive and has been working great. The QUAD model recognized the flash drive, but will not format it. So this experiment is working with the DUO but not with the QUAD.

  • Tablo’s Cloud DVR is about $5 per month for 64GB of storage, so if my Samsung Flash drive lasts more than 4 months, it will have been a better financial investment than the Tablo Cloud.

  • The Tablo 65GB Dual with integrated memory is only available refurbished, at limited times, with a 1 year warranty. Using my own flash drive, I can use a brand new Duo, and swap out memory, if necessary.

Summary: So far so good using a Samsung FIT 128GB Flash drive with a Tablo DUO. User JEB in this forum has been using one much longer than I. This was my 1 month check it and I’ll post again in 6 months (or sooner if I discover any problems).

I continue to have success with the same arrangement as Chuck_Eglinton. I also live in a Tivo-centric household so my Tablo and a dual tuner Recast are backups and, for the Tablo, experimental. I also did some testing of read/write speeds. I started two recordings and then watched to other older recordings and watched for problems. After fifteen minutes I saw none. I then checked the on-going recordings both “live” and for the earlier times when I was watching the old recordings. I saw no problems.

Of course, this does not address how long the Samsung FIT will work since I have no idea how wear leveling or its absence will affect reliability but I really like the convenience of an all-in-one device. Also, of course, I understand that Tablo, not I, risk being pestered by more casual users who want to know why their setup isn’t working when they deviated from Tablo’s recommended storage options.

If my Samsung Fit Flash lasts for anywhere near the duration of the 5 year manufacturer’s warranty, I’ll be happy.

@JEB @Chuck_Eglinton

Have either of you tested recording a live sports event like football? My experience in using a Flash Drive was that normal programming (such as an interview or a film) recorded well. However I had trouble recording a fast moving sport such as football or hockey on a Flash Drive.

Every so often the recording would have skips. Not on a normal hard drive but on a Flash Drive. In investigating this phenomenon, I came to the conclusion that the lack of a buffer or cache on a Flash Drive meant dropped frames from fast motion events. Standard hard drives (though not the cheaper SSDs) have inbuilt buffers or caches to avoid data overruns.

However with the Covid-19 pandemic cancelling live sports it may be difficult to find such an event to record.