The Amazon Fire TV Recast among the best ways to stream and record over-the-air channels through a Fire TV or Fire TV Stick. It has a lot of great features, but the one thing I’m asked about the most is if there’s a way to pull recordings off of the device. Since Amazon doesn’t provide that functionality, it might be possible with a bit of creative exploration. The best way to do that is to access the device’s hard drive. To start things off, here’s a step-by-step guide on how to take apart the Fire TV Recast, as well as a close look at its components.
To get into the Fire TV Recast, you have to remove 4 Torx T10 screws located under the rubber pad on the bottom of the device. You don’t have to peel back the entire rubber pad, which is held down by a sheet of double-sided tape, to get to the screws. Just peel back each corner a bit and you’ll be able to remove the screws without disturbing too much of the rubber pad.
Once the 4 screws are removed, the bottom lifts right up. Just be careful not to snag or break the clear light pipe that redirects the LED light from the circuit board to the front of the Fire TV Recast. The circular stamps on this component indicate it was manufactured on August 6, 2018.
With the bottom removed, the underside of the sole circuit board is revealed. All components of the Fire TV Recast are attached to a plastic tray that slides towards the front of the device and then lifts free from the top housing. You can see the empty space along the front where the tray slides into to free itself from a pair of retaining clips.
Before the inner tray can slide free from the Fire TV Recast’s top case, a metal nut on the tuner’s coax connector must be removed.
A pair of retaining clips along either side of the back of the Fire TV Recast need to be pushed aside so that the inner tray can slide towards the front of the device. I found that pushing the upper case outward and the inner tray downward slightly was enough to slide the tray free.
Once the inner tray, and all of the components that are attached to it, have slid past the two retaining clips, the entire innards of the Fire TV Recast can be lifted up and out of the device’s upper housing.
With the components out, you can see how everything is mounted. A Nidec UltraFlo T80T12MMA7-57 80mm fan near the front, rated at a speed of 2,000 RPM and sound output of 17.5 dB, blows air into a chamber created by the tray housing and the circuit board. A foam gasket along the top of the tray helps keep the cool air from blowing past the chamber. Mounted upside down in the chamber is a standard 2.5-inch spinning hard drive.
To remove the hard drive, disconnect its SATA data cable and power cable from the circuit board and remove the 4 Torx T10 screws holding it in place. The drive will drop down and slide out of the tray. If you’re going to remove the circuit board, you can disconnect the fan cable also.
The drive in my 1TB Fire TV Recast seems like an off-the-shelf Western Digital WD10JUCT spinning 2.5-inch drive. It spins at 5400 RPM, has a 16MB cache, and a SATA/300 connection with a 3 Gbps maximum transfer speed. The drive in the 500GB Fire TV Recast is a Western Digital WD5000LUCT with identical specs. These are AV-class drives, which are made specifically for DVR applications, so that they can last longer when left on 24/7.
With the hard drive and fan disconnected, the circuit board can be released from the inner tray by pushing back a pair of large clips. Large metal plates, which I assume are aluminum heat sinks, cover the majority of the circuitry. The metal plates are all held down by spring-loaded plastic clips.
Question: How much noise does the fan make?
It’s nearly silent. You have to put your ear right up to the Recast to hear anything. Even then it’s just a hum and you can’t tell if it’s the fan or the drive that’s humming. The fan is rated at 17.5 dB of sound, which I assume is at its max speed. A decibel scale I just looked up lists that as between “breathing 10dB” and a “quiet room 20dB.”
Have you tried to mount the drive on a PC yet? If it is booting off the HDD vs booting from flash, there could be a lot possible mods/upgrades.
Not yet, but that’s the plan. I wanted to get the teardown article up first. I’ll be messing with it tonight or tomorrow.
5400RPM drive with 16MB cashe. I guess a silent SSD drive would be too much to ask. Amazon selling this drive for 77.00.
It’s not a good idea to use SSD drive as DVR storage.
Tell that to a Nvidia Shield. It considers mechanical drives like that as slow but readily accepts SSD’s without the warning. I’m sure there are people, who would agree with you and others, who would not.
The reason why it may be bad is because the nature of SSDs with the usage of a DVR may shorten their life.
There are various factors involved though e.g. usage, SSD type, etc.
I suspect cost though will be the biggest reason why Amazon stuck with a HDD.
In regards to the Shield, it depends on what you’re doing, for something like adoptive storage you’d want solid state while for something like media playback or Plex’s DVR, a HDD would likely suffice as well as offering better $/GB.
The wear off of SSDs is overrated. Normal people won’t reach the lifetime. A 1TB disk has a min average lifetime of around 3000TB written. If you record permanent at Bluray quality 40MBit/s thats around 0.432TB a day. Your drive then has a lifetime of 3000TB/0.432TB=6944 days=19 years.
No need to worry as these are worst case calculations.
Depends on the drive though as there are various factors, I actually looked it up and some drive failed at a fraction of some of the other drives when stress tested by one person, albeit these were 240-256GB drives.
Also don’t forget that multiple tuners are involved which increases the data requirements and if things like caching are involved then that’s more data usage.
When you add storage to a 16GB Shield for DVR using Channels app as I do, it definitely prefers a SSD over mechanical drives, though it will format it for internal use once you bypass the, appears to be a slow drive warning.
SSD’s are pretty cheap now and if a shared storage SSD gives me faster performance, but fails in a couple of years that’s OK. You did agree that adoptable storage probably should be SSD.
I looked it up and apparently for adoptive storage a HDD can cause issues.
To clarify, when I said a HDD would suffice, I meant when used as external storage, not adoptive.
These drives are designed for video work with special firmware to handle streams. A faster SSD could do the same but the way flash memory wears out, you would be replacing the drive after a year and honestly they don’t handle streams like these spinning drives do. It speaks volumes that the drive can do all the while spinning at 5400 rpm.
Is this the 4 or 2 Tuner version? Be interesting to see the difference in the tunes that can transcode
This is the 4 tuner version.
I ran out of space pretty quick on my 1tb Recast. Went back to Tablo until they open up external usb support (or if possible I could drop my own 4tb drive in).
Can the hardrive be upgraded to 2 or 3TB and then software reinstalled.
Looks like lots of headroom for a 15mm drive, so a 4 or 5TB 2.5″ might be a possibility. Won’t be A/V optimized, but that may matter less with a bigger onboard cache to smooth things out.
Failing that, the 2TB hybrid SSD/HD Seagate drives may work well.
Does the drive have a GPT partition map? I’d hope so, in this day & age. Single partition for the whole drive? EXT4 filesystem?
Is there anyway to put in a 4tb HD in the recast?
Why has nothing been added to this since Feb???
I did the same tear down of this recast. Drive doesn’t shhow content when connected to pc runing Windows 10. Easeus Partition Master software detects drive but it shows it is empty. Free space is 100%. Also there is no drive letter since Windows 10 doesn’t recognize it.
Partitional table is MBR instead of GPT. Can’t copy files if they don’t show. Also, I don’t know if upgrading to larger size will work since you can’t transfer files. Unless, you can try to clone whole drive to new one that is larger…
Has anyone loaded Linux on one of these? Maybe Android TV or some other OS?
I found out how to upgrade the Fire TV Recast and it works. I upgraded from 500gb to 1tb drive and I even tested a 1tb ssd, but it does require a Linux PC
Unmount The Drive
Only needed if it’s been mounted already.
Prepare the Drive
lsblk (find the disk you want to use in the Recast)
lsblk -f (see if there are partitions or not
Fire up fdisk
fdisk /dev/sdd (sdd is my disk, yours maybe different sde,f,g,h)
If you already have a filesystem on the disk, wipe it.
d, enter (this deletes any partitions)
Now create a new extended partition.
n, enter (starts the partition creation process)
e, enter (sets partition to external)
(It’ll now ask you to set the start and end cylinders on the disk. Just hit return for each to accept the defaults.)
Change the system type to Linux.
t, enter (change partition type)
83, enter (Linux partition)
Write the changes to disk (this can’t be undone).
Create the Filesystem
Format the new partition using Ext4.
mkfs.ext4 /dev/sdd1 (use your drive number sda,b,c,d)
lsblk -f (you should see your drive and the ext4 partition
Install drive in Recast and power it back on.
Awesome! Great job figuring this out!
Anyway you could elobrate on this a little more. Are you connecting the recast to your computer or the new hd to the computer and doing these prompts. Bought a used recast with no hdd, install 1tb hdd and just keeps pulsing blue.
You need to use a computer that is running some form of Linux.
The easiest way to add a 4 or 5 TB 2.5″ drive is to format a new disk with Linux using Gnome Disks or GParted. Just format the new drive with the EXT4 option. It takes a minute and does not require the use of Terminal and fdisk commands. You will need an external USB drive enclosure that costs about $15-$25. And Linux, of course.
You can also play the videos stored on the drive with a Linux system. MS Windows and Mac OS will not work at all.
I installed a 5TB drive (Seagate BarraCuda 5TB Internal Hard Drive HDD – 2.5 Inch SATA 6Gb/s 5400 (ST5000LM000)) to my Recast after formatting it on my Linux computer with the Ext4 format. The 15mm drive fits into the Recast with no problem and now I have massive storage for my recordings. It is not a surveillance drive so it probably will not last as long as a AV drive, but the teardown is easy (Thanks to above pictorial tutorial) and replacement is easy. Just remember to format the drive with Ext4 format. GPT partitioning works fine with the Recast, no need to use MBR partitioning (which only works up to 2TB anyway).
Also, the 4 HDD mounting screws each have a rubber grommet. Be sure not to remove the grommets because they can be difficult to re-install into the mounting holes on the Recast.
Thanks for the excellent info on formatting. I was able to find a great formatting software which made formatting very easy. I used DiskGenius, (diskgenius.com), and reformatted a drive with GPT partitioning, and with a Ext4 format. When I installed the drive internally it showed up fine with the DVR storage space correctly displayed and the Recast working well. I was successful using not only an AV harddrive, but also an older 256gb Samsung SSD. Though small, it worked fine and displayed the available space correctly.
Does this apply to the internal drive or the external usb?
My recast has suddenly stopped booting.. pulsing blue, while the drive is continuously making a clicking/knocking noise.
Was hoping to try to salvage it by putting a new drive drive (formatted with ext4).. but not sure if
BTW, I can’t believe they placed the (factory reset?) button inside, instead of somewhere accessible!
Is the inside tray that houses the fan and other components made of metal or plastic?
Note as well that when you are trying to remove this tray, it does not pull out directly from the outer case. You need to slide it to the side in the outer case, and then it pops out easily. This was not apparent to me from the excellent tear down instructions.
Does anyone know if the OS for this is in firmware or if there’s a small SSD in there somewhere? I’m still hoping there might be some way to install something other than Fire TV on it.
Did you ever complete and upload a full teardown with detailed pics, so that, the chip designations can be clearly seen and researched?
I would like to know the maker and part numbers for the main CPU, memory, flash and the Tuner IC’s!
The internals without the heatsinks can be seen in the FCC docs, however, they are not very good quality!
Here is the FCC link:
Here is a nicer link that will show all of the filings:
Thanks, in advance, for any assistance you can provide!
In another Amaon Recast article posted here, @Elias_Saba indicated that he can’t keep up with the posting of messages so he probably will not see my previous message….
So, I am opening up my question to everyone here!!!!
Does anyone have detailed pics of the ReCast’s (4 tuner preferably) system board? Or knows the chips used in the device???
Sorry, I never removed any of the heat sinks so I don’t know the IC part numbers.