MCP9350i: Adding additional tuners.

The MCP9350i is a great machine mainly because of the form-factor (i.e. it’s acceptable to wifey/gf/lady) I got mine cheap because the existing TV tuner wasn’t working so (hence it’s cheapness – I mean real cheapness!).

So the first thing I did when I got the machine was to look around for a replacement card. I couldn’t find an nvidia dualTV card (the standard fitment) but I thought that I was being clever when I uncovered the what I thought was the identical layout of the Hauppauge Wintv-PVR-500 to the machine’s existing Nvidia dual tuner. Further research reveals that the connector that allows extra inputs to be added is infact pin-for-pin identical on the two cards. Plus when you look at the pictures of the cards they have the same connectors arranged in the same order. What a very clever chap I am – oh yes.

comparing old and new tuner cards.JPG
Here you can see a photo comparing the Hauppauge wintv-pvr-500 (top) and the Nvidia dual tuner card (fitted as standard to the MCP9350i).

However my smugness at being so clever was short lived – I bought a PVR500 card off ebay and when I looked closely at the configuration of the connectors I realised they’re the same and in the same order but the don’t line-up – doh!

comparing old and new tuner cards end on.JPG
Here are the connectors of the two cards (Hauppauge underneath)

My vision of just dropping the new card as a direct replacement was destroyed. Having bought it I decided to add the Hauppauge card anyway. Although it would be possible to cut the backplate so the new card would fit I thought it would be neater to add it and leave the existing card in position.

For my own amusement I wrote a guide to doing the modification. I’ve written this walk-through using the hauppauge card but this modification is not specific to that card you could fit any PCI tuner card in this way.

STEP 1: Remove the lid

step 1 removing the lid.JPG
Unscrew the 4 torx drive screws on the outside of the case

step 1 machine with lid removed.JPG
Here’s the machine with the lid removed.

STEP 2: Remove the riser assembly

step 2 removing the backplane.JPG
The PCI and PCI-express cards are mounted in a riser assembly that can be removed intact. Start by removing the 2 silver coloured phillips screws (see the photo).

step 2 backplane assembly removed.JPG
Here’s the complete riser assembly when removed.

STEP 3: removed the outer skin of the riser assembly

step 3 remove external skin from backplane assembly.JPG
Unscrew the black phillips-head screw on the back of the riser assembly

step 3 external skin removed.JPG
Here’s the riser assembly with the outer skin removed.

STEP 4: Modify inter skin of the riser assembly.

The inner part of the riser assembly has holes in BUT they aren’t in the correct place. I might be possible to drill holes in the right place but since it will not be visible at the end I decided to put out a big slot so all the connectors fit through – more precise holes can then be drilled in the outer skin where it will be visible.
step 4 cut out backplane.JPG
The inner part of the riser assembly before being attacked.

step 4 cut-out backplane (finished).JPG
Here’s the inner part of the riser after being butchered.

STEP 5: Drill the outer skin of the riser assembly

This is the part that will be visible when the machine is reassembled to care is needed to get the holes just right and drill then neatly.
step 5 drilled external skin (done).JPG
The outer skin of the after drilling the holes.

STEP 6: Fit new tuner card

step 6 reassembly - new tuner fitted.JPG

Done it – here’s the riser with the new card in it. In my case the s-video input is slightly mis-aligned. This is annoying but the machine has other s-video inputs on the original analgue card so it’s not worth hacking away at the case to make it fit.

One problem I did not resolve is that the little tags that you can screw the card in place with are not aligned correctly. I decided that there wasn’t alot of movement possible since the holes are quite a tight fit – maybe if I have the thing in pieces again I’ll bodge some kind of fixing tab.

step 4 brackets are not aligned 1.JPGstep 4 brackets not aligned 2.JPG
The tabs on the riser assembly don’t line up with the holes in the new card.

STEP 7: Reassembly is the reverse of removal

Reassembly is the reverse of removal as they say in all the manuals – simple really. While reassmbling you have time for a quite prayer to the deity of your choice – please don’t let me have wrecked this TV card that I spent all that money on.

step 5  drill external skin.JPGstep 6 reassembled machine with lid off.JPG
A quick photo of the riser assmbly with both tuner card in it and of the whole machine when completed before the lid goes back on.

STEP 8: Reboot and pray

Oh bloody hell it boots but the axis of evil that it microsoft (maybe the EU should invade and install a democracy) has detected a hardware change and the pre-installed copy of XP/MCE asks to be authenticated.

step 7 reboot - or dear.JPG

Maybe I’ll go straight to vista – I did think I should upgrade to vista anyway, or maybe I’ll try the system recovery option at boot?

UPDATE – Having gone to all that trouble I subsequntly swapped out the PVR-500 dual analogue tuner for a PEAK Dual DVB-T tuner – it was pretty much a drop in replacement – the holes almost lined up only one (the aerial one) needed to be enlarged with a larger drill bit.

157 Comments

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    February 6, 2015 @ 3:45 pm

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    February 6, 2015 @ 4:17 pm

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    February 6, 2015 @ 4:49 pm

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  4. roland Said,

    February 7, 2015 @ 12:41 am

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    February 7, 2015 @ 7:03 am

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  6. Mitchell Said,

    February 8, 2015 @ 4:13 pm

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  7. Jim Said,

    February 12, 2015 @ 12:36 pm

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    tnx!…