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 Post subject: R8.3 Freezing Frontend
PostPosted: Sun Jul 05, 2015 2:00 am 
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Location: Silicon Valley, CA
It's hot here in Sacramento this July 4th, but the frontend of this newly-upgraded Mythbox is freezing! When it freezes, the entire computer is frozen -- backend, web, ssh, and frontend So I guess it's not just a frontend freeze but a whole-box freeze.

The occurrence doesn't seem tied to any specific thing. It has frozen while using the remote to choose a show to watch. It has frozen while watching a show. It has even frozen (a few times) when a show was put on "pause" for 5-20 minutes, i.e. when we tried to resume there was no one home!

My first thought was graphics -- this is the new ASRock Q1900-ITX mobo that Britney helped me get Intel accelerated graphics on. I'm using "testing" repos on this and that's aways my first thought. Except -- I've built and used FOUR of these now, and this is the only one freezing. To be fair, two are frontend-only boxes for the freezing wonder here, and haven't been used enough to really see if they have a problem or not. But two boxes have been used and tested extensively and one freezes and one doesn't.

So. Ideas? I see there are new updates since the testing repo ones -- can I install those on top of my testing Intel driver and see if they have any (beneficial) effect? Other hardware? Memory? (Everything is brand new, but you never know...) I already noticed a weird item where a SATA-3 disk drive did NOT like the SATA-3 port on this mobo but preferred a SATA-2 connection. So maybe disk troubles?

I'm grasping at straws here. I don't see anything in logs to help. I don't even know which log to look in since it freezes so randomly -- watching a show or not, paused or not, mousing around or not -- which log to even look in? (I've done at least a casual inspection of all the logs but nothing leapt out at me.)

Just looking for "independent" ideas on this holiday weekend!

-- Joe

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PostPosted: Sun Jul 05, 2015 4:40 pm 
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So we've tried the obvious hardware things... We swapped the memory in the freezing frontend with known good RAM out of a Macbook with no change. We also tried moving the disks around on the SATA ports (because of my previous issue with a SATA-3 drive) with no change.

The next thing to try is a motherboard swap, with one of the FE-only machines which currently depend on the freezing FE/BE box. But to be honest, I'm thinking the problem is something besides a recalcitrant mobo.

I notice that one method which will ALWAYS freeze is to watch a show on the FE/BE and "pause" the show for a long time. The last time we did this, I noticed the time display on the bottom of the paused screen stopped updating the minutes after 3 minutes had elapsed. So 3 minutes of pause caused it to freeze and die.

We are now trying this test on a FE-only machine, to see if they freeze in a similar fashion. I'm starting to think this is a software issue.

There are upgrades available, but I'm leery of adding them because it introduces new variables into the mix. We're already running from the "testing" repo because we needed an updated Xorg and Intel video driver to get this far. There are new files in the main repo now, but I'm fearful that they won't include the extra stuff needed for our late-model Intel video chipsets.

I have run my box at home EXTENSIVELY (it's a FE/BE identical to this one) and seen NO freezing issues at all. So I'm somewhat of a loss to explain it even with software as the culprit.

Am I missing something?

-- Joe B.

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PostPosted: Sun Jul 05, 2015 9:06 pm 
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I think we've isolated the problem to SOFTWARE. We reinstalled 8.3 on the box, and without updating drivers we performed our acid test -- we put a show on pause. An hour later, the box still has not crashed. I think this indicates the problem was added when I used the "testing" repo and updated the Intel driver.

Now we have updates in both "normal" and "testing" repositories. I know I need to add the "testing" repo to get the Intel driver and new xorg, but do I need the new "normal" repo at all? I think I'll try adding only the testing repo now, adding only the needed files for the Intel driver. There have been a few files added to "testing" since I built my (still working flawlessly) mythbox on this same mobo, but hopefully that isn't the reason the box began freezing on pause.

-- Joe

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PostPosted: Mon Jul 06, 2015 6:53 am 
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I'm not surprised that it might be a bit difficult to get rolling on intel graphics. Testing can be unstable at times that makes it even more fun. It's better to have a spare drive or a vm for testing that way you can just test and see what breaks.


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PostPosted: Mon Jul 06, 2015 1:12 pm 
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The surprising thing is that the Intel graphics seems to work. We've done two FE/BE boxes and two FE-only. The only one that we know freezes is one of the FE/BE boxes. Oddly enough, using the FE box on our freezing FE/BE won't freeze at all, but using the player on the FE/BE WILL freeze.

I *think* it has to do with software somehow, but it still could be the most subtle hardware problem I've seen in years... Our last backup plan is to abandon the FE on the freezing FE/BE box and use it only as a BE. Before that we're going to try swapping the mobo from the FE-only and FE/BE boxes. If the problem follows the mobo we'll have a discussion with NewEgg...

-- Joe

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PostPosted: Tue Jul 07, 2015 7:55 am 
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Recently I tested EXSI 6 with16GB of HyperX from a little AMD server on an Asus Matx Core2 mb it would not post 1 stick even though it is perfect on the server. It comes done 1.5 vs 1.65 volts and bios.


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PostPosted: Wed Jul 08, 2015 7:06 pm 
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So I came home to the "other" FE/BE box and confirmed it works FLAWLESSLY under all condition. Mind you, this is using EXACTLY the same mobo and configuration as the "bad" FE/BE box. Is it possible there is some setting on the "bad" box that causes it to freeze? The BIOS settings are identical, but I'm wondering about settings in LinHES and Myth.

For example, I couldn't read the tiny type on the default LinHES GUI so I changed it back to the default "widescreen" Myth GUI. I think its unlikely that the GUI choice can cause the freeze up, but what about other programs/utilities? Is there a way to easily dump the myth database and compare settings between two systems? Is it possible to "default" the settings and retain all the tv and video metadata?

My friend has thousands of shows in his metadata he'd like to retain. There should be a uniform way to export the metadata with the video files so they can be moved/imported into a different system. It would decrease the "oh cabbage" factor when doing upgrades by a huge margin!

-- Joe

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PostPosted: Wed Jul 08, 2015 8:24 pm 
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There is a drastic solution. A partial restore. It only restores the most critical information and no settings. https://www.mythtv.org/wiki/Database_Ba ... f_a_backup

Are the two machines identical enough that you can swap hard drives and see if the problem persists?
It could be a failing hard drive?

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PostPosted: Thu Jul 09, 2015 6:03 pm 
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The "bad" system did have a disk filling problem at one time. But I'm not sure his database was affected. This is on R7.4 and I've already forgotten if it has a separate partition for mysql (probably not). Even that was a weird thing -- he has two 2TB drives and a 4TB drive. He added the 4TB drive to take pressure off his two 2TB drives and it started using it at first, but later quit putting shows on the 4TB drive and filled both 2TB drives to 100%.

My system is almost identical to his. I have two "new" HDHomeRun tuners and he has one new and one old. Mobo and other hardware is identical -- we both boot from smallish SSD drives and have larger drives for storing shows. He has the three drives, I just have two 2TB drives (shoot me if I watch more TV that that). He is in Sacramento and I'm in Santa Clara, so our listing lineups are different.

Mine works perfectly, no problems or lockups. His locks up when he uses the FE on the FE/BE box. It happens when watching shows, either actively or even on pause. In fact, it happens on pause EVERY TIME, with the time varying from 3 to 30 minutes before it locks up. I also got a lockup every time when I tried to play AirPlay music thru his box while it was "paused" or watching a show. It was instant lockup death.

His setup only works if he uses a separate FE and BE box, networked together. Then he gets no freezes or crashes.

-- Joe

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