How to Troubleshoot a Charter DVR

By Darrin Meyer

The Motorola DCH6416 can record programs and control live TV.
i tv control and tv 3 image by chrisharvey from

The digital video recorder (DVR) from Charter Communications adds the ability to record, store and play back TV programming to the other features and options available with the set-top receivers provided with a digital cable TV subscription. Since a DVR is a sophisticated piece of equipment, there may be times when it does not function as you want it to, or you encounter an issue attempting to access a certain feature. When this happens, there are steps you can take to try to correct the issue before calling technical support.

Step 1

Check the cable connections between the cable outlet and the DVR and between the DVR and TV to ensure that the cables are securely attached if both devices are powered on but there is no picture or sound, or if you see the "Missing Functionality" error message. Check the power cord if the DVR will not power on manually, and change the batteries in the remote control if the DVR does not respond to the remote. Press "Input" on the TV's remote control (or the button of a specific input) to select the input that the DVR is connected to if the video and audio are not being displayed.

Step 2

Press "CBL" and then the "Exit" button on the Charter remote to reset the DVR if you cannot view some or all channels, or when other operational issues arise. Press "Rec" to begin recording a program to see if the issue is with the broadcast. If there is still no video, power the DVR off, unplug the power cord for 15 seconds and plug it back in. Turn the DVR back on when the clock display resumes.

Step 3

Press "My DVR" to view your list of stored recordings to see if the memory is full if you are unable to record a program. If necessary, delete recordings to make room for new ones. Keep in mind that a previously set program may not record in the event of a DVR conflict (when two other programs are set to record at the same time). Remember to set the "Save" settings of a recorded program to avoid having that program automatically deleted to make room for new recordings.

Step 4

Check the parental control and V-chip settings if you see a blue or black screen when tuning to a particular channel; the settings may be keeping that channel from being viewed. Disable or change the settings, if necessary. If the screen is blue or black on all channels (non-HDTVs only), and the cables are secure and the TV is set to the correct input, press and hold both the "Live TV" and "OK" buttons on the front of the DVR and press the channel up or down key to change the video format until the picture returns.

Step 5

Reformat the DVR's hard drive (Scientific Atlanta or Cisco models only) if you see the "Unrecoverable Write" error message. To do so, press "Cable" on the remote control and power the DVR off. Press and hold "Pause" on the remote until the "Mail Light" indicator flashes. Press "Page Down" once and then press "List" or "My DVR" three times. The display will show HDD1, HDD2, HDD3 and then HDDF. Wait two minutes (or less) for the DVR to reboot before powering the DVR back on.