Toppy Reference Info

MyStuff

MyStuff is a skinnable TAP (Topfield Application) which replaces the rather basic native (standard) User Interface.  It is written entirely by BobD for the UK 5800 and 5810 Toppy models, although it does also run on a number of other non-UK Toppy models too.  MyStuff incorporates code contributed by a number of other Toppy authors (notably, in no particular order, R2-D2, SimonC and EMJB), and makes use of a number of support TAPs also contributed by other authors (notably EMJB and R2-D2). 

The MyStuff support team comprises BobD (of course), ChunkyWizard (author of the manual and the Windows and Firmware installers, plus the channel logos), HydeTheDarkerSide, Wildoat, Bawbagg, and myself.  The team's contribution is to test and feed back on internal development builds to get them ready for beta test and release, and to help answer MyStuff questions on the Toppy forums.  In return we get to try out new features early, and get a reasonable amount of input into new MyStuff features.  Oh, and we try to actually get together in person every year or two. 

Firmware

Topfield haven't updated the official firmware for years, with the result that Toppies would be virtually useless due to several changes in the way that the broadcast signals are transmitted (some of which date back to 2008) if it wasn't for user-contributed patches created by forum members.  

5800 and 5800t users have a choice between Freeview+ (5.14.xx) and non-Freeview+ (5.13.xx) firmware.  Freeview+ is the system that includes the ability to use Topfield's native SeriesLink functionality - but frankly, they've made rather a mess of it, which is why the Freeview+ version of the firmware is not recommended for 5800 users.  5810 users have no choice, but more user-contributed patches have been created for this firmware. 

The most important bug fix patches have been incorporated into toppy.org.uk's Recommended Firmware for the 5800 and 5810.  All of these firmware versions end with a "T".  

NB: An improved version of SeriesLink functionality (one that doesn't forget a series if there's a gap of more than a week between programmes, for instance) is available by installing MyStuff, which can be combined with the Recommended Firmware on both models.  NB: The Windows installer for MyStuff incorporates a firmware updater, so you don't need to install the firmware separately.  

Note that the most recent Toppies shipped from Turbosat with firmware version 5.14.09+ (on 5800s) or 5.15.09+ (on 5810s).  In both cases, although those firmware versions include some of the most critical user-contributed bug fix patches, improved firmware with even more bug fixes is available, and it is recommended that you update.

You can find your current firmware version by pressing Menu | Information | System Info (or System Status if it's a 5810), and looking at the Software Version.   

 ModelFirmware version
Last updated
 5800 5.13.65T2009
 5800 5.14.09T2009. Not recommended, but better than 5.14.09+ for users who want SeriesLink but don't want to install TAPs
 5810 5.15.09T2009

If you switch between 5.14.xx and 5.13.xx firmware in either direction on a 5800, you MUST do a Factory Reset and channel scan afterwards.  This will delete your timers and reset some of the A/V output settings to their defaults, but will not affect the recordings on your hard drive. 

For more information, refer to the following links.

If you use FWLoad (either on its own, or via the Windows FIrmware installer script, or the MyStuff installer), any patches you put in /ProgramFiles/InstallerFirmware/Add will always be reinstalled when you do a firmware update.

Toppy Forums

Toppy repair service / parts

The overwhelming majority of hardware failures in Toppies (including hard drive and tuner failures) are caused by failing capacitors in the PSU (Power Supply Unit).  In many cases, simply replacing the capacitors in the PSU is enough to resurrect an apparently dead Toppy.  In fact, a lot of things that look like drive failure or tuner failure are actually PSU failure, when there's actually nothing wrong with the drive or tuner.

However, it must be said that the sooner a repair is done after the first signs of failure, the better.   Because of the power supply's design, the longer you leave a Toppy running with a suspected PSU failure, the more likely it is that other hardware components will be permanently damaged (such as the hard drive - which not only contains all your precious recordings, but is also relatively expensive to replace).  If you suspect a PSU issue, unplug your Toppy from the mains.  Do not continue to use it, even just as a set top box for live viewing, until it has been repaired.

If you start to see unusual behaviour from your Toppy, and it is a 5810 more than about 2 years old, or a 5800 more than 3 or 4 years old, PSU failure is a reasonably likely cause.  If you rarely put your Toppy into standby and/or don't have plenty of ventilation around the box, these timescales may be shortened further.  Having said that, many people have 7 or 8 year-old Toppies that have never given them a day's trouble. 

The good news is that PSUs are inexpensive to repair. If you're handy with a multimeter and soldering iron, and happy to proceed carefully enough with an open Toppy to avoid a fatal electric shock, you can take the DIY approach by following the advice on the PSU Repair Wiki page.  The cost will be around the price of a few sandwiches or beers. 

If (like me) you would rather have your Toppy repaired by somebody who knows what they're doing, andyfras in Fleet, Hampshire or MikeyP in Bolton both offer a quick turnaround repair service to other Toppy forum members for less than the price of a meal for two at a typical steakhouse chain.  Send them a PM for details.  Alternatively, andyfras can supply a capacitor kit for a DIY repair more cheaply than the minimum order value from reputable suppliers.  

Turbosat

The UK distributor can usually supply parts for other types of repair, such as motherboards, front panels, etc.  Although they're generally very helpful, their PSU repair service is rather less thorough (and more expensive, I think) than that provided by andyfras and MikeyP, so these days I would advise using them primarily for parts supply. 

They also occasionally have stocks of refurbished Toppies for sale. 

Toppy Windows Tools

Antares is a replacement for Altair that runs on Win7 64 bit machines (and has a bunch of useful extra features)
TopManager is a utility for managing your Toppy, taking backups of your settings, installing a selection of useful TAPs, etc.

Toppies use a proprietary file system that can't be read on a computer without installing special tools.  For Windows PCs these are:
  • TopfHDRW (near the bottom of the page - they're in alphabetical order) can be used to read / repair Toppy hard drives attached to a PC.  The original version has a disk size limit of 1TB, but a later version (not tested by the author) should be able to cope with drives of up to 2TB.
  • TFTools - the software that allows you connect your PC to a Toppy using a printer-style USB cable.  It is important to install the software BEFORE connecting the cable.  Note that due to Topfield's implementation of the USB connection, file transfer speeds will be faster than USB 1, but not as fast as you would normally expect from USB 2.