Fios TV One VMS4100P2 STB - Disk noise solutions?
datro
Enthusiast - Level 2

My recent Fios triple-play installation included a VMS4100P2 STB and an IPC4100 Mini STB.  When the tech and I installed the VMS4100P2 in my dedicated music listening room (which is also my "home theater" room) I noticed what I thought was fan noise coming from the unit.  At the time, I thought this wouldn't be much of an issue, but since then I've come to realize that it is bothersome to me when doing critical music listening.  After doing some investigating, I've also discovered that it is NOT fan noise I'm hearing but rather the internal 2.5 inch Toshiba 1TB disk spinning continuously (and using power needlessly).

I do NOT have DVR service (don't want it) so I'm not sure why Verizon installed the VMS4100P2 unit, although I'm guessing they just install these as the default for all new installations since it has all the latest tech features their service can leverage, even if the consumer is not planning to use the DVR functionality.

I'm very motivated to find a way to eliminate the disk noise and would like to hear from any users with comments or suggestions.  Here's what I'm investigating:

  • Locate the VMS4100P2 in an adjacent room and route the HDMI, coax, and audio RCA cable pair through the wall to my TV and audio rack in the music room.  Max cable run would be 15-20'.  I've already verified the bluetooth remote will have no problem communicating with the STB from the music room.

  • Sound proof the open rack where the VMS4100P2 is now located.  Tried this already, but it makes the unit operate about 4-5 degrees hotter since there is less air movement.  Not good for the disk, and not 100% successful at eliminating the noise.  (The diagnostics indicate the disk is already running at 118 degrees F when in an open environment).
  • Swap in a 1TB SSD in place of the Toshiba drive in the VMS4100P2.  I know this would completely invalidate any service coverage from Verizon but I think it could be made to work.  The process would be similar to replacing the main disk in older PC with an SSD:  remove the Toshiba drive, make an exact copy of it to an SSD, and then install the SSD.  The UNIX variant running in the STB should see the drive contents as expected, though obviously this would be a bit of an experiment.
  • I considered just disabling the disk power (internally) but after researching I learned that the unit logs data continuously to the disk, totally separate from the DVR functionality.  So a no go ...
  • The IPC4100 mini STB does not have a fan or disk, so you might think that simply swapping locations for the VMS4100P2 and IPC4100 would be the best solution.  However the IPC4100 mini does NOT have any audio output jacks which I need in order to feed the audio directly into my preamp in the music room.  This is why I located the VMS4100P2 in the music room to being with.

Any comments on the above?  Any other suggestions?  Are there any current up-to-date STBs from Verizon that do not have internal disk drives?

Thanks.

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clem21
MVP MVP
MVP

@datro wrote:

@clem53: I probably should clarify the nature of what I'm hearing ... the word "noise" is probably a bit misleading.  I can't hear it when music is playing.  It's when the room is quiet that I hear it.  And it's more of a low whirring sound; I guess some (most?) people would not even notice this or object to it.  But to me it is very annoying to hear this sound when the room should be quiet.

So I'm doubtful that the unit is defective, though your suggestion to compare it to another unit is valid.

Regarding shutting off the unit with the button on the top:  On my unit, that button doesn't shut off anything.  If I push it once, the LED's flash a few times and the unit just stays on.  I have no idea what it is doing at this point.  If I hold it down for about 5 seconds, it does a full unit reset and just comes back on.  And besides, my understanding is that this unit HAS to be on for the IPC4100 mini (in another part of the house) to continue to function.

Thanks for your reply.  I'm still wondering if what I'm hearing is fan or disk spinning.  My ear at close range tells me it is probably disk, so I'm still wondering if pursuing the SSD idea could be worth it.


Not sure if you could replace the drive, even if you clone the original to an SSD.  The button on top only puts the box into standby mode, they NEVER totally shut down. I thought it might suspend hard drive use in sleep mode. I believe the fan stays on at all times because the mini uses tuners in the main box for channel selection so it does have to stay active as you assumed. Here is a link to the manual for the IPC 4100 from Arris in case you need it:

https://usermanual.wiki/ARRIS/IPC4100

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datro
Enthusiast - Level 2

EDIT:  Well, I just found a picture of the Arris VMS4100 circuit board online and it looks like I spoke too soon regarding the presence of a fan.  There is clearly a small fan inside the Arris VMS4100 so I'm assuming there would also be one in my CommScope VMS4100P2 (FYI, CommScope bought Arris).  Curiously, I don't see any evidence of the disk drive in the photograph of the circuit board, maybe it is underneath it.

Anyway, I still want a completely noiseless STB (whether the noise is fan or disk drive), so I'm still hoping for feedback on my original post.

clem21
MVP MVP
MVP

@datro wrote:

EDIT:  Well, I just found a picture of the Arris VMS4100 circuit board online and it looks like I spoke too soon regarding the presence of a fan.  There is clearly a small fan inside the Arris VMS4100 so I'm assuming there would also be one in my CommScope VMS4100P2 (FYI, CommScope bought Arris).  Curiously, I don't see any evidence of the disk drive in the photograph of the circuit board, maybe it is underneath it.

Anyway, I still want a completely noiseless STB (whether the noise is fan or disk drive), so I'm still hoping for feedback on my original post.


Most of those units do not make enough noise to be noticeable. You may have a defective unit. Is there a neighbor you could check on that has Fios service that would let yo see if their unit was as loud? If not I'd ask for a replacement unit and see if it is any better. I assume you shut off the unit with the button on the top, correct?

datro
Enthusiast - Level 2

@clem53: I probably should clarify the nature of what I'm hearing ... the word "noise" is probably a bit misleading.  I can't hear it when music is playing.  It's when the room is quiet that I hear it.  And it's more of a low whirring sound; I guess some (most?) people would not even notice this or object to it.  But to me it is very annoying to hear this sound when the room should be quiet.

So I'm doubtful that the unit is defective, though your suggestion to compare it to another unit is valid.

Regarding shutting off the unit with the button on the top:  On my unit, that button doesn't shut off anything.  If I push it once, the LED's flash a few times and the unit just stays on.  I have no idea what it is doing at this point.  If I hold it down for about 5 seconds, it does a full unit reset and just comes back on.  And besides, my understanding is that this unit HAS to be on for the IPC4100 mini (in another part of the house) to continue to function.

Thanks for your reply.  I'm still wondering if what I'm hearing is fan or disk spinning.  My ear at close range tells me it is probably disk, so I'm still wondering if pursuing the SSD idea could be worth it.

clem21
MVP MVP
MVP

@datro wrote:

@clem53: I probably should clarify the nature of what I'm hearing ... the word "noise" is probably a bit misleading.  I can't hear it when music is playing.  It's when the room is quiet that I hear it.  And it's more of a low whirring sound; I guess some (most?) people would not even notice this or object to it.  But to me it is very annoying to hear this sound when the room should be quiet.

So I'm doubtful that the unit is defective, though your suggestion to compare it to another unit is valid.

Regarding shutting off the unit with the button on the top:  On my unit, that button doesn't shut off anything.  If I push it once, the LED's flash a few times and the unit just stays on.  I have no idea what it is doing at this point.  If I hold it down for about 5 seconds, it does a full unit reset and just comes back on.  And besides, my understanding is that this unit HAS to be on for the IPC4100 mini (in another part of the house) to continue to function.

Thanks for your reply.  I'm still wondering if what I'm hearing is fan or disk spinning.  My ear at close range tells me it is probably disk, so I'm still wondering if pursuing the SSD idea could be worth it.


Not sure if you could replace the drive, even if you clone the original to an SSD.  The button on top only puts the box into standby mode, they NEVER totally shut down. I thought it might suspend hard drive use in sleep mode. I believe the fan stays on at all times because the mini uses tuners in the main box for channel selection so it does have to stay active as you assumed. Here is a link to the manual for the IPC 4100 from Arris in case you need it:

https://usermanual.wiki/ARRIS/IPC4100