Adding a self-powered USB drive to upgrade a Wally to a DVR

JJinVista

SatelliteGuys Family
Original poster
Oct 16, 2008
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With regards to adding DVR capabilities to a Wally receiver:
Dish states that if you want to turn your Wally receiver into a DVR, you need a USB 2.0, 500 GB - 2 TB capacity, and self-powered or internal-powered (not pulling power off the USB connection).

I've seen a few comments on this forum indicating that you may not want to skirt the self-powered issue and use one of the slim "passport" sized USB drives. The kind that rely on the USB cable for the power supply.

Ok, I can understand we're probably dealing with a marginal power supply in the Wally, but there's not a lot of competitively-priced external USB drives to choose from in the marketplace which require a power plug to go into a wall outlet.

I've got a spare SATA to USB enclosure, the type that you drop a desktop hard drive into and the powered enclosure turns it into a USB drive. And for $50-$60 I can get a 1 or 2TB SATA drive to place into the enclosure and I believe I've met their requirements.

Does anybody see anything wrong with this approach?
 
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This EHD has built in power. There is a 2TG available.

1 TB DVR Upgrade Expansion

The fact that it has no power cord means that it is getting its power from the Dish receiver. Dish wants drives to have their own power supply rather than using the Dish receiver internal power. The ad claims that the this drive has its own power supply but this is a false claim. It gets its power through the USB cable. You could get by with a powered USB hub. If you do not use a powered USB hub the Dish receiver is supplying the power.


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I am looking at the Seagate expansion desktop hard drives on Amazon. They have a power supply. I tried to post a link, but I could not. The 3 TB version is $90. The portable versions are powered by USB.
 
The fact that it has no power cord means that it is getting its power from the Dish receiver. Dish wants drives to have their own power supply rather than using the Dish receiver internal power. The ad claims that the this drive has its own power supply but this is a false claim. It gets its power through the USB cable. You could get by with a powered USB hub. If you do not use a powered USB hub the Dish receiver is supplying the power.

This EHD works just fine with the Wally thru the non powered 4-port hub. This 4-port hub also has attached to it a Bluetooth adapter, Wi-Fi adapter, and a OTA adapter. All these things are in the DISH RV site and there is no mention of needing a powered hub or EHD.
DISHForMyRV: DISH Mobile Satellite Systems & Pay As You Go TV for RV, Camping, Tailgating, & the Great Outdoors
 
I don’t doubt that a nonpowered drive will work but since the Dish receiver is supplying the power, you could risk overheating the Dish receiver. I don’t have the specifications of what Dish has used for their power supply. I do know that the Dish web site still states “The external hard drive must have its own power supply.”
It could be that the power supply on the Wally is ok since there is no internal drive. But again Dish does not sanction this.


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This EHD works just fine with the Wally thru the non powered 4-port hub. This 4-port hub also has attached to it a Bluetooth adapter, Wi-Fi adapter, and a OTA adapter. All these things are in the DISH RV site and there is no mention of needing a powered hub or EHD.
DISHForMyRV: DISH Mobile Satellite Systems & Pay As You Go TV for RV, Camping, Tailgating, & the Great Outdoors

DISHForMyRV is not a DISH owned site. It's owned by DISH retailer Pace International.
 
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The Seagate 1 TB DVR still comes with a power adapter. The power adapter outputs 12 volts at 1.5 amps.


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Be aware of powered hard drive enclosures. The one I just bought had some type of energy-saving feature which spun down the drive when the Wally powered down after it's 4 hour default time.

In this state, the Wally (or even my Windows computer when I tested the drive there) once powered back up would NOT "wake up" the drive. One would have to cycle power on the USB drive to get it to spin back up and be useful and active again.

This caused me fits on the initial installation. The initial format went just fine since I hotplugged the USB drive in and manually powered it on. But then the Wally asked to reboot, which resulted in the drive spinning down (power still on to the drive, just not spinning). Upon reboot, the drive did not come back online automatically and the Wally behaved like a non-DVR Wally.

And if you recognize the situation and manually cycle power to the drive at this point to get it to start spinning, you're in a circle; you go back to the Wally saying that a drive has just been plugged in and you have to reboot if you want to use it. :coco

The only workaround for an energy-saving drive like this is to do a hard boot on the Wally (unplug and plug in the receiver) and then power on the drive between the first and second Wally splash-screens, which is late enough to keep the drive powered on through the Wally boot process, but early enough that the Wally won't recognize that you just plugged it in and put you into the recursive mode of having to reboot again to use it.

This really wasn't a workaround for me at all, since I'm using the Wally in my RV with a Playmaker and a 20 minute boot routine to check switch, acquire, program download, etc.

I found an old drive enclosure which I had laying around which had a physical on-off switch, moved the internal hard drive to that, and tried it. With the enclosure's switch kept in the "On" position 24/7 it works just fine. So it appears to be a characteristic of the enclosure, not the internal bare drive triggering the spin-down sleep mode.
 
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Be aware of powered hard drive enclosures. The one I just bought had some type of energy-saving feature which spun down the drive when the Wally powered down after it's 4 hour default time.

In this state, the Wally (or even my Windows computer when I tested the drive there) once powered back up would NOT "wake up" the drive. One would have to cycle power on the USB drive to get it to spin back up and be useful and active again.

This caused me fits on the initial installation. The initial format went just fine since I hotplugged the USB drive in and manually powered it on. But then the Wally asked to reboot, which resulted in the drive spinning down (power still on to the drive, just not spinning). Upon reboot, the drive did not come back online automatically and the Wally behaved like a non-DVR Wally.

And if you recognize the situation and manually cycle power to the drive at this point to get it to start spinning, you're in a circle; you go back to the Wally saying that a drive has just been plugged in and you have to reboot if you want to use it. :coco

The only workaround for an energy-saving drive like this is to do a hard boot on the Wally (unplug and plug in the receiver) and then power on the drive between the first and second Wally splash-screens, which is late enough to keep the drive powered on through the Wally boot process, but early enough that the Wally won't recognize that you just plugged it in and put you into the recursive mode of having to reboot again to use it.

This really wasn't a workaround for me at all, since I'm using the Wally in my RV with a Playmaker and a 20 minute boot routine to check switch, acquire, program download, etc.

I found an old drive enclosure which I had laying around which had a physical on-off switch, moved the internal hard drive to that, and tried it. With the enclosure's switch kept in the "On" position 24/7 it works just fine. So it appears to be a characteristic of the enclosure, not the internal bare drive triggering the spin-down sleep mode.
What brand and model EHD did you just buy?
 

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