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Home Improvement Article

Max Out Your Comcast Scientific Atlanta DVR Capacity

The Comcast  Scientific Atlanta Explorer 8300HD and HDC DVRs have a 160GB hard drive that can only store 20 hours of HD programming.

Want more capacity? I did. So, for about $130.00, I added the external Iomega 34508 eSATA DVR 1 TeraByte Expander Drive and increased our storage to 725 hours of regular programming or more importantly, 145 hours of HD programming!

My Installation Instructions

Turn your TV On and leave it On until the installation is complete. But do not attempt this installation if a program is scheduled to be recorded during the installation process.

1. Check the recording space used on your DVR. Write down the percentage of used and available space.

To check the recording space used on your Comcast Scientific Atlanta Explorer DVR, press MyDVR on your remote to display the list of programs you have recorded. Then press the blue Preferences button "B" and select Recording Space Used from the menu. Write the number on a piece of paper and then press the red button "C" to return to your recorded list.

Then press the power on/off button on the DVR to turn it off and then disconnect it's power cord.

2. Connect the AC adapter cord to the DVR Expander and an electrical outlet. The power LED illuminates.

CAUTION: Do not connect to the auxiliary power connector on the back of the DVR, as it is not an adequate power source for external drives.

3. Connect the eSATA cable to the DVR Expander and DVR.

4. Power on the DVR.

To power on the DVR, first plug it into the AC outlet. The display in the DVR will briefly say Boot and then go blank for a up to three or four minutes.  Eventually the display will show the time of day. Then and only then should you push the power on/off button on the DVR. Stated another way, do not push the power on/off button until the DVR displays the time of day.

When a message appeared on the TV that asked if I wanted to format the external device. I selected "Yes". Nothing happened for a minute or so and then the TV displayed a Comcast Ad.

5. Check the recording space on your DVR. If the DVR Expander was detected properly by the DVR, the percentage of used space should be decreased and the percentage of available space should be increased.

I checked the the recording space used and it was the same as when I started. But, because the DVR had recognized the external device and given me the chance to select Format External Device, I decided to try just restarting the DVR.

So I powered the DVR down, unplugged it, waited 30 seconds, replugged it, waited for the time to appear, and then pushed the power on/off button. A message appeared on the TV that said "The external storage device works with this DVR"

Again I checked the recording space used and was pleased to see that the original 79% I had recorded had gone to 11%.


Warning: While the Scientific Atlanta Explorer 8300HD and HDC DVRs are designed to support an external hard drive, Comcast does not support this feature. So if you ask Comcast if it's ok to connect an external hard drive, they will probably say no. And if you have problems with your Comcast service, you may have to disconnect the DVR expander before Comcast will service your DVR.

by Peter Schulz

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