eSata AppleTV Mod

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dynaflash
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eSata AppleTV Mod

Postby dynaflash » Tue May 06, 2008 5:12 pm

***
WARNING: EVERYTHING DONE TO THE APPLETV IN THIS TUTORIAL WILL VOID ANY WARRANTY YOU HAVE OR EVEN THINK YOU MAY HAVE ON YOUR APPLETV AS WELL AS QUITE POSSIBLY RENDER IT COMPLETELY USELESS. :)

WARNING: I MAKE ABSOLUTELY NO GUARANTEES THAT I WROTE THIS CORRECTLY. ITS FOR ENTERTAINMENT PURPOSES ONLY. IF YOU HOSE UP YOUR ATV DON'T EVEN THINK ABOUT CRYING ABOUT IT HERE.

This process requires that you have some understanding of taking things apart and that you are familar with imaging a new hard drive for use in the AppleTV or that you are at least moderately comfortable with the terminal for the imaging process.

***

Abbreviations used in this mod:
ATV: AppleTV
PATA: Parallel ATA (sometimes referred to as IDE)
SATA: Serial ATA
eSATA: External Serial ATA

The Problem:

My ever growing expanse of movies, music etc. is overwhelming my current ATV internal hard drive. As well, I use my MacBook Pro for all of my iTunes needs and sometimes I do not have it at home, or not turned on to stream (plus I hate streaming if I don't have to). So streaming is not a solution for me, as well I prefer the performance of sync'ed content. The largest hard drive to come in the ATV is currently 160GB. Furthermore the hard drive interface for the ATV is PATA in a 2.5 inch form factor (same as a notebook drive) which limits the internal hard drive replacements currently available to 250GB.

The Current Solutions:

Other than installing the largest available internal hard drive replacement you can also hack the ATV software itself to enable using a usb hard drive from the AppleTV's usb port for storage ( the factory apple software only allows this port to be used for "diagnostic" purposes) however you are still booting from the internal hard drive and have to use 3 party software to allow accessing the media on the usb drive. The AwkwardTV crew has done a remarkable job hacking the ATV OS to enable all sorts of wonderful things including using the usb port for a remote drive. However, in my case I do not want to hack the Apple ATV OS. Frankly I like the stock ATV software and enjoy getting my updates from apple trouble free without having to rely on the crew over at AwkwardTV coming up with a hack/patch to re-enable my software mods. Call me lazy, but thats just me. I also do not really care for the slow performance of the USB interface.

So, I want a much larger hard drive for the atv and I want it easily upgradeable as digital media can eat up a ton of space. I also want to be able to use the Apple ATV OS completely un-hacked so I do not have to worry about my ATV being broken by an apple update etc. I also do not want to have to crack my ATV open any more than I have to down the road as I have to do it at night as the rest of my family has become solidly addicted to the on demand nature of using the ATV.

This Solution: AppleTV-eSATA (informally known as AppleTV-Rex, at least by me) .

Image

The general idea here is to use an eSATA capable external hard drive as the ATV's main drive (read: no internal drive whatsoever). eSATA capable external drives up to 2 TB are getting more and more common and cheaper and cheaper. As a bonus almost every eSATA external drive also has a USB 2.0 interface which comes in handy for actually installing the AppleTV OS on the drive. In my case, I am using a Western Digital MyBook 500 GB Home Edition which has a triple interface (USB2.0, Firewire 400, and eSATA). I know, these drive have a notorious reputation for problems, but one: I already have it and two: I think many of the issues are due to people using the crappy WD software that comes with the drive. Since imaging it for the atv involves a complete repartition, that software is a non issue. One attractive feature of this is that since I am not modding the external hdd in any way, if I ever (gasp) decide to revert back or go to an even larger hard drive I can simply reformat the current external ATV hdd and use it for anything else I want like my ever growing media collection.

First you'll need a few parts:

- 44 pin hard drive extension cable ( NOT a standard laptop hdd cable) http://www.cablesonline.net/644fetomaide.html for $9.99 U.S.

- 44 pin to 40 pin pata converter http://www.cablesonline.net/44pinto40pin.html $6.99 US.

- Pata to Sata Bridge (local over the counter for me, you can order it online here): http://www.nanosys1.com/hd-cnt-cu-satahd-ide.html $19.99 US
or here even cheaper (thanks Cave Man) http://www.outletpc.com/c5573.html $11.89

- Sata to eSata Cable: Take your pick, many available all over the place I bought mine over the counter for about $10.00 US.

So, for about $47.00 plus shipping (depending what you have to order over the counter and what you can get online) plus the hard drive cost you can free yourself of the AppleTV's internal laptop drive limitations.

So, moving forward here we go.

Getting the ATV Software off of the existing internal drive an onto the remote drive:

If you are using a mac you can try using a gui app I wrote to make this process much easier than using the command line. Its called AtvCloner and can be downloaded here for free:
http://dynaflashtech.net/

Otherwise, here are some external links to some tutorials on how to do the same thing using the command line (note these are third party and I have not tried all of them nor do I vouch for them, they are merely listed here for reference) :

- Image the ATV software onto your mac: http://wiki.awkwardtv.org/wiki/Backup_y ... Hard_Drive

- Install the ATV software onto your new drive from the images you created above: http://wiki.awkwardtv.org/wiki/Prepare_a_Hard_Drive

Here are a couple of other useful tutorials that have worked well for some:

- Engadget using command line tools: http://de.engadget.com/2007/03/23/how-t ... -apple-tv/

- Engadget using iPartition: http://www.appletvhacks.net/2007/03/23/ ... e-process/

- Macworld's tutorial: http://www.macworld.com/article/57079/2 ... drive.html

So with that done and out of the way, how do we actually modify our ATV to be able to use the newly ready-for-primetime eSATA drive ? Take a deep breath and read on.

Since doing the steps above required you to already disassemble your ATV to the point where the base is removed and the stock hard drive is out. You have already voided your warranty (if you still *had* one) and part of the hardware work is done. The general idea here is we need to go from the ATV logic boards 2.5" PATA interface to an eSATA interface. There is no single adapter I am aware of at this time, so we need to do it in steps.

Step 1: Replace stock hdd cable with new 44 pin pata extension cable.

Now in my previous attempts this seemed easy but proved to be a bit of a tough nut to crack, at least with my knowledge (or lack there of) of ide interfaces. We cannot simply plug the 44-pin to 40 pin adapter and pata to sata bridge into the board *and still close the AppleTV*. However you can to temporarily test your setup but you have to leave the bottom off of the atv and hook it up upside down as the card and adapter will point straight up off of the logic board (actually down but its up if the atv is upside down, capisce ?).

So we need to use a ribbon cable to get things laying flat so it can be crammed back into the atv case and closed up. The stock atv hdd cable *WILL NOT WORK*. Nor will any other hdd cable. Even though the ends have the same pin arrangement, ide hdd cables are paralleled in other words the two rows (top and bottom, depending on how you look at it) are reversed, the pata hdd's are pinned accordingly, our pata to sata bridge is not (since its meant to plug into the logic board). So you end up needing a 44 pin hdd extension cable http://www.cablesonline.net/644fetomaide.html which will maintain the correct pinout as the logic board has. The one downfall to this particular cable is that the plastic on the end of the connectors is wider than the shroud that surrounds the pins on the atv's logic board. I simply used an exacto knife and cut the ends of the shroud to allow the wider connecter to fit. Pretty easy, the shroud is weak plastic anyway and has no real function as far as I can see. I would imagine that a more exhaustive search might turn up a cable that has ends that fit within the shroud though.

Image

Step 2: 2.5" 44 pin PATA ( End of our ribbon cable from step 1 ) to 3.5" 40 PIN PATA.

To do this I used a fairly common adapter used by techs, etc. to be able to connect a 2.5" notebook drive to a 3.5" IDE computer for troubleshooting etc. but I actually use it in reverse. Here is one link to get one http://www.cablesonline.net/44pinto40pin.html These adapters run the pins straight through so they match pin for pin except for the power pins off of the 44-pin side which go to a molex connector. In this application it passes 5 volts and a ground. So connect the 44 pin female end of this adapter to the male pins on the 44 pin cable in step one. Note: at this point our ATV is setup for a 3.5" 40 Pin ATA interface.

Image

Step 3: 3.5" 40 Pin PATA interface to SATA interface.

For this step we need to use a PATA to SATA bridge adapter. This is a bit more complex than the adapter above as it requires its own board and chipset and power supply since we're adding a new controller layer to the ATV from PATA to the newer SATA. In my case, I used this http://www.nanosys1.com/hd-cnt-cu-satahd-ide.html .

NOTE: There is currently no picture of this adapter on the website, furthermore it came in a Cables Online package but I cannot find it anywhere on their website either, but from searching and comparing in minute detail the specs, photos etc. I believe it to be this sata bridge http://www.syba.com/Product/Info/Id/295 from SYBA. It comes with a sata cable and a power plug with leads.

Warning: These bridges are a one way affair, in other words unlike the first adapter that can be installed in reverse, these cannot. For instance General Nanosystems also has a very similar looking adapter designed to connect a PATA Hard drive to a SATA logic board http://www.nanosys1.com/hd-cnt-cu-idehd-sata.html. This will not work. I know because I made the mistake. Make sure whatever you do you get a bridge to go from a PATA logic board to a SATA hdd and not the other way around unless you find one specifically designed to go both ways.

Another bridge adapter that has been tried I've heard is the pata2sata bridge adapter from StarTech.com http://www.startech.com/item/PATA2SATA- ... apter.aspx which has two sata ports (don't think thats of any use on our ATV mod) as well as looks to be physically larger at least in the pictures. I have no experience with this board but I mention it here as an option that could be tried.
EDIT: The PATA2SATA bridge above has proven *not* to work for whatever the reason.

So, onward with our mod. The bridge/adapter will have a power cable designed to go to a floppy connecter in a mini tower. This connector is a four prong connecter with four leads one red, two black and one yellow. The red is 5 volt, the yellow is a 12 volt lead and the two blacks are both ground. The ATV supplies 5 volts out of its 44-pin pata socket and when you installed the 44-pin to 40-pin pata adapter that 5 volts is transferred out of the red wire in that adapter to the molex connector. So I cut the molex connector off and soldered the red wire and the black wire from that adapter to the red and black wires on the sata bridge/adapter power plug (use the black lead on the bridge adapter right next to the red one). You can do whatever you want with the yellow and 2nd black lead off of the bridge as they dead end anyway and the bridge does not use them. Voila, now we have our atv powering our new SATA bridge/adapter.

Image

Step 4: SATA to eSATA.

Now we can simply connect our new SATA port to our eSATA external drive via a SATA to eSATA cable. I am using a 1 meter cable. There is really no big deal to these cables except for two different style ends and eSATA cables are shielded better than SATA cables as they are intended for external use. Anyhow these are in plentiful supply. Here is an example of such a cable http://www.satagear.com/eSATA-100_SATA_Cable.html though its not the one I used. At this point our ATV should go ahead and boot up off of the external hard drive if we power everything up. I suggest going ahead and doing this with the ATV open so if you need to change anything you can power down and do so without messing about with the enclosure. Just do not touch *anything* as long as your powered up. In my case, to be sure I was good to go on my drive imaging (especially since this is the first time I could even check it to make sure I had it right ) I went ahead and booted it up, checked Settings -> About to make sure the atv was correctly reading the hard drive size ( its kind of a shock to see almost 500GB or whatever on your AppleTV screen) then went and did a factory restore. Checked the drive space again, then did an upgrade to the latest AppleTV software rev. So now I have pretty good confidence all is well with my drive formatting.

Oh, and probably should put something around the card so it doesnt come in contact with anything metal. I had a piece of this silicon rubber anti slip stuff which is perforated for some airflow. I used that temporarily in this pic. Obviously something a bit nicer looking could be had easy enough.

Image

Step 5: Close it up:

We now have one last issue before we can call it a done deal and have a cold one. We need to modify the ATV case so we can close it up with the eSATA cable still running to our remote hard drive. Note that this is the only real modification of the ATV hardware itself. Since the back of the ATV is pretty crammed already with ports and I did not want to tangle with the aluminum/plastic top case, I decided to cut and bend an opening in the perforated metal bottom of the apple TV were it mates to the top at the back where the existing ports are. Just enough for the new eSATA cable and a bit of rubber around the cut so the eSATA cable is less likely to get nicked. This is the best place to create an opening in my opinion especially since all of the ATV's internals are mounted to the top. The bottom plate is an easily modified piece of sheet metal void of any delicate electronic parts, etc.

Now screw the bottom plate back on making sure that the eSATA cable is running out your new opening in the back/bottom. Leave that stupid rubber pad off and get yourself some cheap felt furniture leg feet at Home Depot or the like and stick those suckers on the bottom, they are about 3/16 inch thick and leave enough clearance under the ATV to allow for the eSATA cable opening out the back.

Image

Step 6: Hook up your remote hard drive and fire up the AppleTV eSata

So just plug your esata cable into your eSata port on your hard drive. Power up the hard drive and plug in your AppleTV ( I know, I know its a mess back there, I have since routed all of my cables better but you get the idea).

Image

Then fire it up ...

Image

Step 6: Enjoy your beverage of choice while you sync hundreds of gigabytes of digital media to your ATV-eSata!

So far ... : So far I have had it running for a week or so and it has been used quite a bit. No issues that I can determine. After firing it up the first time I did do a factory restore and then updated to the latest version 2.2 software and it all went without a hitch. The AppleTV has no idea it is running on an external 500GB eSata drive. I have every reason to think that this will not be broken but future AppleTV updates. So yes it is a somewhat invasive mod initially, however the long term benefits should outweigh that imho as the need to fix software hacks etc as the latest and greatest comes forth from cupertino should be non-existent.

TO DO: I am thinking what would really cap this off would be an internal SATA Male to Female cable inside with some kind of screw mount to the ATV bottom (like here http://www.macgurus.com/productpages/sa ... Cables.php second from the bottom), so you would actually just have a nice looking and convenient female eSATA port on the back instead of a couple feet of cable hanging out. Then you could plug in whatever eSATA cable you want from the ATV to the external drive without opening up the case again if you change your component layout in your entertainment system etc. . It would have to be pretty short though, the ATV doesn't have much room to coil up extra cable inside if its not the right length. Oh well, food for thought.

Final Note: As most of you know I absolutely hate writing and you can see my career as a pensmith is pretty much on the rocks. I am sure I forgot something somewhere but ... oh well. I will edit this and/or add to it for anyone that want's to have a wack at it. Now that its done would I do it again ? Ab-So-Freaking-Lutely. Now that I got it to work and scrounged the right parts, I would in a heartbeat. Just get a 40GB AppleTV (if you don't already have one) and your good to go. The AppleTV's are pretty sturdy actually, you can see by the base plate I have had mine apart like 100 times and hooked the ribbon cable up backward and all sorts of stuff testing different cable/adapter configs and it would always bounce right back when the original internal drive was hooked back up. I am actually pretty impressed with it.
Last edited by dynaflash on Wed Oct 21, 2009 5:27 pm, edited 5 times in total.
Reason: PATA2SATA alternate bridge does *not* work

Cavalicious
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Re: eSata AppleTV Mod

Postby Cavalicious » Tue May 06, 2008 9:24 pm

    <Cav sits in chair while trying to build his courage up with a bottle of Vodka>

dynaflash
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Re: eSata AppleTV Mod

Postby dynaflash » Wed May 07, 2008 2:55 am

< dynaflash whispers in Cav's ear " do it ... c'mon do it. You know you want to ... just do it ... " >

dynaflash
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Re: eSata AppleTV Mod

Postby dynaflash » Mon May 12, 2008 10:01 pm

To give an idea of the performance increase (which has to have more to do with the 7200 rpm 32mb cache drive than the eSata interface in my opinion) 2x ffwd is smooth as silk. As well I can use 68% crf with no vbv buffering limits on HP OP and it runs smooth as the dvd (read: no dropped frames). I don't know specifically why or how. But it does.

Timmargh
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Re: eSata AppleTV Mod

Postby Timmargh » Mon May 12, 2008 10:32 pm

Just out of pure curiosity do you think it would be possible to do a similar modification but using a Drobo for the storage? I realise it's a USB-only device but being able to easily add bigger drives without having to repartition or reformat would be handy.

dynaflash
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Re: eSata AppleTV Mod

Postby dynaflash » Mon May 12, 2008 11:11 pm

No, clue how the atv os would react. Only way to find out would be to try. Of course you would need a pata to usb interface bridge of some sort.

Though even if the drobo worked, you would be limited to the speed of the usb interface which is much slower than either the pata or esata interface.

Fawx
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Re: eSata AppleTV Mod

Postby Fawx » Wed Jun 04, 2008 3:38 am

You're right, USB2 is slower than ATA100 or (e)SATA, however this is one of those cases where it doesn't need to be. I've hooked a powered USB hub and an external 1TB hard drive to my ATV. Works like a hot damn. Now, if we look where the bottle neck is, it's not the USB interface. The max bitrate the ATV can handle is 5mbps (that's what I've seen mentioned in the forums and in apples' propaganda...if I'm wrong, please correct me) and for network interfaces you have 100mbps which in the BEST case will give you about 10MB/second, and wireless-n which is approximately 130mbps (before overhead takes its toll...) Even that can't manage to saturate the 480mbps that USB2 has to play with, especially when it doesn't have to share its bus with anything. The only time I get impatient with my ATV is when I'm copying new rips to it via samba. I get about 8MB/second...but again, that's what I got when I was using the internal IDE drive...why oh why didn't they put gigE on the friggen thing?!

Oh, also, I did a bit of research, and if you're interested in having a cleaner mod, and you don't use the wireless-n card (I don't), you can remove the card which is a Mini PCI-Express x1 slot, and get a bus extender (see http://www.adexelec.com/pciexp.htm - at the bottom of the page) which converts it into a normal PCI-e x1 slot. Throw a 2 port (e)SATA controller on it (silicon image 3132 preferably...OSX supports it as far as I know, including the fun features like port multiplication and such...plus it's a native PCI-e SATA2 controller) and call 'er a day. People have successfully done this mod with the MacMini, and technically this would give you the most expandability (with port multiplication, you can do up to SATA drives off of the ATV...why you'd want to is beyond me...but you can!) and bandwidth since PCI-e is going to be faster than the PCI controller the IDE bus is living on currently. Just another suggestion/way to look at things.

Also, any USB-IDE/SATA case will have the appropriate bridge chip, it's gotta be there :) The drobo shouldn't be an issue either, since it presents a logical volume to the bridge chip, so it's none the wiser that funny stuff is going on behind the scenes, so there's no reason at all why it shouldn't work right out of the box. Anyone know if they neutered the darwin install on the ATV to the point where it doesn't have software RAID capabilities anymore? It seems like the pieces are there...*shrug*...anyhow

Also I really want to thank you dynaflash for your contributions...I've been reading my way through the forums and with the new refresh on the Windows SVN build, and all the work that everyone on the handbrake team has put in to documenting things I'm *extremely* happy with the quality of the video comin' out of my computer. :D

Anyhow, I'm gunna go back to lurking mode...hope my post isn't out of place at all...

Cheers!

** Edit...spelling and grammar...*sigh*

dynaflash
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Re: eSata AppleTV Mod

Postby dynaflash » Wed Jun 04, 2008 2:21 pm

As I said, not sure on the drobo, you may be right, the atv may recognize a raid as a boot drive, I really don't know.
I am familiar with using the usb drive for remote storage, however as I also pointed out in my case I wanted the drive to be a treated exactly the same as the internal hard drive, boot and all. Not sure on what the limitation is on the stock atv, but I can report that I can run higher bitrates with no vbv and they are smoooth. Also I can tell you that ffw and rew at up to 3xx is very smooth, not jittery like with the stock internal setup. Why this is exactly I do not know, more video buffer (if the atv uses hdd for video buffer) or more space for vm, I really am not sure. I just know what I am experiencing via empiricle testing.

However as you point out, this mod does open up alot of possibilities for other variations of the same thing.

Fawx
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Re: eSata AppleTV Mod

Postby Fawx » Wed Jun 04, 2008 7:02 pm

AH! I gotcha. If all you're looking for is to move the iTunes collection to the external drive and get both the ATV and iTunes to recognize the larger capacity, you just need to move /mnt/Media to your USB device, which is mounted in /mnt/Scratch/Volumes/USB1T and then symlink /mnt/Scratch/Volumes/USB1T/Media to /mnt/Media.

Code: Select all

bash-2.05b# df
Filesystem   512-blocks      Used      Avail Capacity  Mounted on
/dev/disk0s3    1843200   1374592     450176    75%    /
devfs               195       195          0   100%    /dev
fdesc                 2         2          0   100%    /dev
<volfs>            1024      1024          0   100%    /.vol
/dev/disk0s4  309849696   1715696  308134000     1%    /mnt
/dev/disk1s2 1953455456 180744704 1772710752     9%    /mnt/Scratch/Volumes/USB1T

bash-2.05b# cd /mnt
bash-2.05b# ls
total 16
drwxr-xr-x    6 root  admin   306 Jun  2 02:43 .
drwxrwxr-t   32 root  admin  1190 Jun  2 02:57 ..
d-wx-wx-wt    3 root  admin   102 Jun  2 03:06 .Trashes
lrwxr-xr-x    1 root  admin    32 Jun  2 02:43 Media -> /mnt/Scratch/Volumes/USB1T/Media
drwxr-xr-x    8 root  admin   272 May 29 19:34 Scratch
lrwxr-xr-x    1 root  admin    10 May 29 19:44 local -> /usr/local


Here's a picture of my ATV About screen showing the storage. Sorry, I have no idea how to do an inline picture... :(

http://www.eotnetworks.com/atv.jpg

It's a crappy picture, so once again I apologize, but it does show that the ATV is using the external drive for its collection, I can also post a screen shot of iTunes if ya like, but I'm sure it's not necessary.

And I agree, video is flawless on a drive that isn't the built in drive. Fast forwarding and rewinding work smoothly, I can hop in and out of movies with no lag, browse my collection smoothly, etc. I think the biggest reason is not the fact you're using a SATA drive, but more the fact it's a 7200RPM drive with at least a 16MB cache. Makes a huge difference. My drive has a 32MB cache for example. Plus you're right, the ATV does use its internal drive for swap functions which I'm sure also means buffering as well. The internal drive is a 4200RPM drive with either a 2MB or 8MB cache...depending on the model. That is a crappy drive in every sense of the term.

What you did by the way is amazing. Seriously. I didn't have the guts to tear open a birthday present...and since I work with UNIX/Linux servers for a living, I found another way :) I thought about opening mine up...but I just couldn't bring myself to do it...however, if we could upgrade the CPU, Video or Memory I'd tear mine open in a heartbeat ;) But your guide is very concise and well written, I just wanted to provide an option for those who either can't tear open their ATV (Parents might kill them) or can't because they don't have the technical knowledge you do.

Out of curiosity did you hesitate at all doing this? :D *grin*

Thanks for sharing this guide for everyone. If anyone cares I can give the steps for what I did. It's about a 5 minute operation or so once you've PatchKey'ed your ATV. Also, everything works across reboots perfectly.

Hope that clarifies what I was talking about a bit better... :) More than happy to answer any questions though.

Cheers,

Fawx.

dynaflash
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Re: eSata AppleTV Mod

Postby dynaflash » Wed Jun 04, 2008 7:24 pm

Fawx wrote:Out of curiosity did you hesitate at all doing this? :D *grin*

No, actually not :) At each step initially I would re-install the original drive and boot it up to make sure i had a fallback.

So, with your setup is your usb drive also your boot drive ? the way I understand it its just your media drive. Would it survive a software update ? just curious. Your mod has many merits for the less faint of heart. Very nice. Good to see some folk out there also willing to dive into the hardware hack side of things. As you know, the atv is pretty simple and surprisingly durable. It seems to handle alot of taking apart and modifying just fine. ;)

Fawx
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Re: eSata AppleTV Mod

Postby Fawx » Wed Jun 04, 2008 8:17 pm

heh, fall backs are always good. Far too many people do things thinking "it's a good idea" without thinking about what will happen in the worst case...It's the shiny syndrome...I must admit it's afflicted me more than once... ;)

And no...though technically it IS possible to boot from USB (as evidenced by the PatchKey), and I have gotten the initial bootstrap to happen on a USB drive, it's just more work then it's worth for me. Plus technically having 2 drives is better, since the OS drive handles all binary loading, libraries, paging, buffering, etc and the USB drive is just for my collection. I have no doubt that if I managed to move boot and all over to the USB drive that performance would suffer, but how it's currently setup, I get more performance, since movie streaming will NOT be able to saturate the USB2 bus, and keeping all the binaries and such on the IDE drive gives a boost in performance since the IDE drive no longer is being stressed passed what it's poor little 4200RPM platters can do.

As for updates, I have those disabled. ;) So I honestly can't answer you if it would survive an update...my guess is no, since an update would put a kernel couldn't handle USB devices. But really, I don't see Apple releasing an update anytime soon, and I'm quite happy with the functionality given by what I have. I can add software as I see fit to my ATV, so pretty much it's just another server on my network for me to manage.

I still wish they'd put gigE inside the stupid thing. I haven't run FastE for about 5 years now...

I'm glad you like my way of doing things...I'm lazy so this seemed like the fastest option for me...and works like a hot damn.

By the way, SVN 1477 with decomb KICKS ASS! I didn't really see a forum area for praise...just problems/wishes(ponies)/and other. I've been reconverting some movies I haven't been happy with originally and getting VERY good results. I'm about > < close to installing OSX on my encoder box just so I can get all the GUI changes you've made...it kind of feels like Windows is the black sheep of the handbrake community ;) But I've managed fine editing the command line before it's sent to the encoder queue. I wish I could understand some of the higher level math concepts behind decombing and such...but the results are great.

TedJ
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Re: eSata AppleTV Mod

Postby TedJ » Thu Jun 05, 2008 12:40 am

Fawx wrote:By the way, SVN 1477 with decomb KICKS ASS! I didn't really see a forum area for praise...just problems/wishes(ponies)/and other. I've been reconverting some movies I haven't been happy with originally and getting VERY good results. I'm about > < close to installing OSX on my encoder box just so I can get all the GUI changes you've made...it kind of feels like Windows is the black sheep of the handbrake community ;) But I've managed fine editing the command line before it's sent to the encoder queue. I wish I could understand some of the higher level math concepts behind decombing and such...but the results are great.


I noticed you're a *nix user... have you had a look at JohnAStebbins' GTK+ based linux port yet? It's still under heavy development, but it looks very promising. You can find more details here.

Fawx
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Re: eSata AppleTV Mod

Postby Fawx » Thu Jun 05, 2008 3:37 am

Hmm...good to know! I'm going to build a dual socket 5410 xeon box for my encoding...I need every bit of horsepower I can muster since I've got about 400ish DVD's to convert...and I'm currently using XP x64...so I'm debating either switching to OSX (though I doubt it'll support the server board I'll be using) or just go to Linux.

I'll probably try both, see which performs better for me...hey, maybe I can use WinME2! ;) *ducks from the flames*

Thank you for the info! Muchly appreciated!

Vortec4800
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Re: eSata AppleTV Mod

Postby Vortec4800 » Wed Aug 27, 2008 4:45 am

Hey,

I followed your thread at the Mac Forums first and then came here for your writeup and parts list. I ordered everything in the list (except I used a PATA -> SATA adapter that I got from my local computer store, it looks exactly the same as yours and has the same chipset number as the Syba one you posted about) but when everything is all together the red light on the SATA converter turns on solid (not sure if this is correct or not) and the eSATA drive does not spin up. I get the ? and the amber/white blink on the front of the ATV. I tried turning on the eSATA drive and having it spin up right after plugging in the ATV and right before, and in every instance the drive spins up for a second and immediately spins back down into power-save mode and stays silent until I get the ? icon. Any thoughts or ideas? Thanks!

Vortec4800
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Re: eSata AppleTV Mod

Postby Vortec4800 » Wed Aug 27, 2008 5:19 am

Update:

I tried turning the bridge upside-down on the cable to see if it was backwards and now instead of only a red light on the bridge I get both a red and green light. It sits but still doesn't spin up the drive. If the drive is turned on the ATV waits for a very long time before giving the ? icon, but if the drive is turned off the icon comes up almost right away. Either way even with the bridge in the other way it still won't spin up the drive.

dynaflash
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Re: eSata AppleTV Mod

Postby dynaflash » Wed Aug 27, 2008 1:59 pm

Try removing the HDD patch cable and test it plugged directly into the socket on your atv's logic board. you will have to leave the bottom off and turn your atv upside down.

The problem is, you could have an issue with your imaging on your hard drive. See how it work first with the pata to sata bridge and 44 pin to 40 pin adapter plugged right into the logic board. Both Cave Man and I had immediate success like that.

If it still doesn't work, make sure you have your esata drive imaged properly.

As I recall, with everything in correctly there is a red and a green light that light up, when there is hdd activity at the eSata drive I think the green light blinks on the eSata Bridge.

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Re: eSata AppleTV Mod

Postby dynaflash » Wed Aug 27, 2008 2:01 pm

Vortec4800 wrote:UpdIf the drive is turned on the ATV waits for a very long time before giving the ? icon, but if the drive is turned off the icon comes up almost right away. Either way even with the bridge in the other way it still won't spin up the drive.


Well, if the drive is off it comes up right away cause it knows right away there is no drive. IT takes a while with the drive on because it sees the drive, but keep trying to boot from it and eventually can't and gives up.

Vortec4800
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Re: eSata AppleTV Mod

Postby Vortec4800 » Wed Aug 27, 2008 8:25 pm

dynaflash wrote:
Vortec4800 wrote:UpdIf the drive is turned on the ATV waits for a very long time before giving the ? icon, but if the drive is turned off the icon comes up almost right away. Either way even with the bridge in the other way it still won't spin up the drive.


Well, if the drive is off it comes up right away cause it knows right away there is no drive. IT takes a while with the drive on because it sees the drive, but keep trying to boot from it and eventually can't and gives up.


But that's the strange thing, the drive doesn't even spool up so it's like it isn't even trying to boot from the drive.

I got the Syba adapter that you had the link to, it looks exactly like mine except for a couple extra things on the back of the PCB, so we'll see if that works later tonight. When you start up the AppleTV do you plug in the power cable to the ATV then turn on the SATA drive? Do you have the SATA drive turned on but spooled down and the ATV spools it up?

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Re: eSata AppleTV Mod

Postby dynaflash » Thu Aug 28, 2008 4:05 am

Well, I have found that I have to plug in the drive first. Then the atv. Seems the atv fires up faster than the drive spools up. At least with my drive anyway.

Vortec4800
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Re: eSata AppleTV Mod

Postby Vortec4800 » Thu Aug 28, 2008 4:13 am

dynaflash wrote:Well, I have found that I have to plug in the drive first. Then the atv. Seems the atv fires up faster than the drive spools up. At least with my drive anyway.


I've gotten that to work now as well. But now I'm at my next problem:

The system tries to start, the drive spins up, everything is well and the Apple logo comes up, but then nothing else happens. The drive activity light blinks like something it happening but it doesn't matter how long I leave it the Apple logo never goes away. I've tried a bunch of different drive setup methods, leaving the Media partition along, resizing it, not having a Media partition at all, etc but no matter what the outcome is always the same. I tried using the Disk Utility to restore a 2.0.2 image to the OSBoot partition so the AppleTV should be able to just start right up but still all I get is the Apple logo. I tried changing the enclosure to a different brand, same thing. Any thoughts?

rajeev
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Re: eSata AppleTV Mod

Postby rajeev » Sat Aug 30, 2008 4:37 pm

Thanks for the detailed step-by-step instructions. I am able to attach 1TB eSATA drive to my apple TV using the instructions. I am also able to make room for the eSATA cable to come out of the USB slot, so I don't have to cut the base plate. Of course, it makes my USB port unusable.

However, it is only working if I don't attach 44 pin extension ribbon cable (http://www.cablesonline.net/644fetomaide.html). When I attach this cable, Apple TV keeps on rebooting. and after 4 or 5 reboots, it gives me the language selection and recovery screen. Diagnostics run fine, but it is not able to do the factory restore.

If I don't attach the ribbon cable, appleTV boots great without any problem! But now I cannot close the box!

Any recommendations?
Thanks,
Rajeev

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Re: eSata AppleTV Mod

Postby rajeev » Sat Aug 30, 2008 11:12 pm

I am confused if I need to use 44 pin M-F extender cable (http://www.cablesonline.net/544pinidelap1.html) or 44 pin M-F crossed cable (http://www.cablesonline.net/644fetomaide.html). When I connect 44 to 40 pin converter (http://www.cablesonline.net/44pinto40pin.html) directly to the Apple TV (without the ribbon extender), my Apple TV is working great with eSATA. This tells me that I probably just need the extender cable and not the cross-cable! Is that correct? Any reason why the extender cable will not work and why the cross-cable is suggested?

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Re: eSata AppleTV Mod

Postby dynaflash » Sun Aug 31, 2008 12:50 am

Its an extender cable. The idea is that with it attached to the logic board, the other end of the cable will have the identical pinout at the logic board itself.

EDIT: technically its a 44 pin crossed extender cable. It gets tricky cause they describe simply a long standard 44 pin ide cable as an "extension" cable. It's the one in my original post. on one end the wires cross each other right by the end.

Vortec4800
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Re: eSata AppleTV Mod

Postby Vortec4800 » Sun Aug 31, 2008 1:31 am

It looks like we need the extender cable and not the crossover cable as shown in the initial post. I'm having the exact problem you are with the cross-over cable but not when the unit is plugged directly into the logic board. I think I'll try and get a standard extension cable and not a cross-over cable and try it out. I'll let you know what happens.

Vortec4800
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Re: eSata AppleTV Mod

Postby Vortec4800 » Sun Aug 31, 2008 2:57 am

rajeev wrote:I am confused if I need to use 44 pin M-F extender cable (http://www.cablesonline.net/544pinidelap1.html) or 44 pin M-F crossed cable (http://www.cablesonline.net/644fetomaide.html). When I connect 44 to 40 pin converter (http://www.cablesonline.net/44pinto40pin.html) directly to the Apple TV (without the ribbon extender), my Apple TV is working great with eSATA. This tells me that I probably just need the extender cable and not the cross-cable! Is that correct? Any reason why the extender cable will not work and why the cross-cable is suggested?


Which place did you order your bridge from? Did you order it from the place that was a bit cheaper, like $12 for the bridge? I'm thinking maybe the bridge that we ordered for a little less money isn't actually the same than the bridge that's a bit more expensive. I ordered the more expensive bridge from the other place and will compare to see if that helps. The cross-over cable we have is definitely the correct cable, the problem is something else.


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