Frozen nDac after attempted firmware update

Being a busy person I should have known better, but after reading positive comments on the forum about the impact of the firmware update on the nDac's performance I decided to try it when I had a spare 5 minutes.  

I first checked my existing firmware version.  The lights blinked 3, then 2 and 4, then 2.  According to the firmware decoder table contained in the update instructions that seems to mean my unit had firmware v2.5.4.  I don't know what that means, but it's different from v4.11.8 so I assume that meant I didn't have the latest version.  After all, I purchased this unit a year before v4.11.8 was released in December 2015.

I downloaded v.4.11.8, unzipped the files, and put the five update files on a Sandisk Cruzer Blade 15GB flash drive.  As far as I can tell they were in the root drive because they were not contained inside of any folder.  I populated them directly onto the flash drive.

I turned the Dac off, and then on again, and after it was up and running I inserted the memory stick in the front USB port.  The five lights lit up, but then they never went off one by one as the instructions told me to expect.  

I consulted this thread from 2016:  https://forums.naimaudio.com/to...ights-permanently-on.  Based on Jan-Erik's suggestion, I took the flash drive out, powered the unit off, did a hard restart by powering the unit back on while simultaneously holding down the Dock and 4 buttons, and then I inserted the flash drive into the USB port on the back of the unit after all five lights went on.  

The five lights then went off one by one, which gave me some hope, but then they all went back on again.  Basically, the unit is frozen and won't play any music.

Is this fixable?

 

 

 

Original Post

I suggest you get another make of USB flash, put the files onto that and try a forced update again, because it sounds as if the nDAC isn't reading the files ok from your present stick.

i don't have the instructions around as I'm on holiday but I am assuming that the update notes said it was ok to go from your present firmware to the latest one in one go?

The other thing to do is to ring or email Naim support. They should be able to help you, even if it's only to confirm that you need to involve your dealer.

best

David

You might have a problem similar to Oferr's a few days ago. I would switch the nDAC off, switch it back on again and check whether the firmware has really been updated to v.4.11.8 yet or not. If not, I would check if your memory stick can really play WAV files and I would follow the instructions all over again.

Richard suggested also to follow a foce update procedure in the following post: https://forums.naimaudio.com/to...82#69426746256983482. :)

Good luck.

Chag -

Thanks for all the replies.  I should have mentioned that now when I turn on the nDac and hold down the Dock button that the lights blink 3, 3, then 2, which based on the firmware grid in the update instructions seems to imply it now has firmware v2.2.4, which is different (lower?) than the prior firmware v2.5.4 it had.  What does that mean?

Admittedly, I failed to check if the nDac could play a wav file from my flash drive before attempting the firmware update.  Call me naive, but I wouldn't have guessed that using the "wrong" kind of flash drive would render a $4,000 Naim product inoperable.  Maybe there should be a warning in the update instructions?  Just a thought.

How do you go about selecting a flash drive that will work with the nDac?  Do you just buy 20 different drives from Amazon and hope that one works?

ngarritson posted:

Thanks for all the replies.  I should have mentioned that now when I turn on the nDac and hold down the Dock button that the lights blink 3, 3, then 2, which based on the firmware grid in the update instructions seems to imply it now has firmware v2.2.4, which is different (lower?) than the prior firmware v2.5.4 it had.  What does that mean?

Admittedly, I failed to check if the nDac could play a wav file from my flash drive before attempting the firmware update.  Call me naive, but I wouldn't have guessed that using the "wrong" kind of flash drive would render a $4,000 Naim product inoperable.  Maybe there should be a warning in the update instructions?  Just a thought.

How do you go about selecting a flash drive that will work with the nDac?  Do you just buy 20 different drives from Amazon and hope that one works?

The Naim DAC is, generally speaking, a very reliable and competent device. But it is a bit picky when it comes to UBS drives and its firmware upgrade procedure is not what one would expect to win any user friendliness award. I have tried once to collect some information on unsupported drives in https://forums.naimaudio.com/to...rted-usb-drives-list but I was not very successful. As a rule of thumb, try old drives rather than news and small rather than large drives. Good luck, nbpf.

ngarritson posted:

[...]  Maybe there should be a warning in the update instructions? 

I don't know about the english version, but the german instructions clearly mention the WAV test (see Jon Honeyballs post). I followed that advice and everything was fine.

Mulberry posted:
ngarritson posted:

[...]  Maybe there should be a warning in the update instructions? 

I don't know about the english version, but the german instructions clearly mention the WAV test (see Jon Honeyballs post). I followed that advice and everything was fine.

So do the english instructions. Still, one would expect that if a drive cannot be read than no damage can occur. Also, during my first update, I made the experience that a drive that could be read by the old firmware could not be read by the new firmware. This luckily had no implications for the update itself which went fine. But I could not playback any files from the very same drive that I had used for updating! That was very puzzling but was confirmed by a visit to my Naim dealer.

ngarritson posted:


Admittedly, I failed to check if the nDac could play a wav file from my flash drive before attempting the firmware update.  Call me naive, but I wouldn't have guessed that using the "wrong" kind of flash drive would render a $4,000 Naim product inoperable.  Maybe there should be a warning in the update instructions?  Just a thought.

 

"Ensure you have a Memory Stick (USB thumb drive) that you know works with the DAC. The best way to test this is to put a .WAV le on the memory stick and try to play it. If the le plays then the memory stick is suitable to use for the software upgrade"

In my experience of updating my nDAC, a small drive was useful -- I think I used a 4GB item or it might have been 2GB

Mulberry posted:
ngarritson posted:

[...]  Maybe there should be a warning in the update instructions? 

I don't know about the english version, but the german instructions clearly mention the WAV test (see Jon Honeyballs post). I followed that advice and everything was fine.

Yes, the WAV test is mentioned, but the possibility of a catastrophic outcome is not mentioned.  If the consequences of using the wrong flash drive are not even worth mentioning, then why would the owner have any reason to believe there is significant risk involved?  If it's so critical to choose the right flash drive, then why wouldn't the instructions even bother to advise how to go about choosing the right flash drive?  

This experience is so far outside the bounds of every other consumer tech product I have owned I am astounded.
Unless some kind person can point me to the right model of flash drive (I am very surprised this information is not more readily available), I am envisioning $100 to ship the nDac to the nearest competent dealer, $100 for shipment back, and then another $100-200 for the "repair" - so $300-400 total to get this situation corrected.

If that is in fact going to be the case, then I'd almost just as soon throw the nDac into the river and spend that money on a Chord Mojo instead.  Rumor has it that's not such a bad trade anyway.  Then I can go back to using Naim gear as it was originally intended - as the control system to be complemented by other brands for the speakers and sources.  

Sour grapes?  You bet.  I have owned Naim systems for 20 years.  I currently have a V-1/100, an 82/hicap/250, a Nait2, and a CD5/112/flatcap/150 (utterly ridiculous that the CD5 can't be repaired btw).  I'm in disbelief that a brand I have revered for so long could stick me with an outcome like this.  

jon honeyball posted:
ngarritson posted:


Admittedly, I failed to check if the nDac could play a wav file from my flash drive before attempting the firmware update.  Call me naive, but I wouldn't have guessed that using the "wrong" kind of flash drive would render a $4,000 Naim product inoperable.  Maybe there should be a warning in the update instructions?  Just a thought.

 

"Ensure you have a Memory Stick (USB thumb drive) that you know works with the DAC. The best way to test this is to put a .WAV le on the memory stick and try to play it. If the le plays then the memory stick is suitable to use for the software upgrade"

In my experience of updating my nDAC, a small drive was useful -- I think I used a 4GB item or it might have been 2GB

Thanks Jon.  Are there any other criteria I should follow?  Can you tell me which kind of drive worked for you?

ngarritson posted:
nbpf posted:

SanDisk micro 4GB cruzer worked for me.

Thanks.  Just to be clear before I order one from Amazon - it's black, and it has a little white switch in the middle that you slide from back to front to get the USB connection to extend outward?

Correct!

Morton posted:

Flash drives  are very cheap, would it not be a good idea for Naim to include a suitable one in the box to avoid this issue?

To be honest, I do not think that they know which are suitable USB drives better than we do. Perhaps the Naim DAC operates on very tight memory constraints in which case I can imagine that a new firmware might drop support for certain USB sticks to improve other functionalities. I do not know, perhaps Naim uses this particular feature of their DACs to gauge the patience of their customers. After my first nDAC upgrade I have anyway decided that there are questions that one should better try to ignore and that nDAC firmware upgrades shall be done in the morning and after a good breakfast and a few cups of tea. But not on Friday morning, of course.

nbpf posted:
ngarritson posted:
nbpf posted:

SanDisk micro 4GB cruzer worked for me.

Thanks.  Just to be clear before I order one from Amazon - it's black, and it has a little white switch in the middle that you slide from back to front to get the USB connection to extend outward?

Correct!

Fantastic, thank you!

Morton posted:

Flash drives  are very cheap, would it not be a good idea for Naim to include a suitable one in the box to avoid this issue?

Take it back to your dealer to have it updated

THATS WHAT THEY ARE THERE FOR

JEEZ...

jon honeyball posted:
Morton posted:

Flash drives  are very cheap, would it not be a good idea for Naim to include a suitable one in the box to avoid this issue?

Take it back to your dealer to have it updated

THATS WHAT THEY ARE THERE FOR

JEEZ...

If the device is bricked, the dealer has to send it back to the factory. If it reacts to the dock button, there is a chance that a forced update with a new USB stick solves the problem. I would give it a try and then bring the device to the dealer on Monday if the update does not work.

Jon I think his dealer isn't that close by, if you read his recent posts.

NGarritson I see from your profile that you have another Naim DAC, a V1 at work. You could check that you can play a WAV from your chosen USB stick on that, and from your unsuccessful USB stick come to that. Of course the DACs are different and you could run into the issue nbpf mentions, but if it were me it would give me some confidence, as you can't check the new USB on your nDAC.

best

David

 

jon honeyball posted:
Morton posted:

Flash drives  are very cheap, would it not be a good idea for Naim to include a suitable one in the box to avoid this issue?

Take it back to your dealer to have it updated

THATS WHAT THEY ARE THERE FOR

JEEZ...

I know that is a well meaning response, but I don't believe U.S. dealers are generally as committed to the Naim brand as they are in the U.K.  Further, I moved to a new town last year and I am nowhere near the dealer I bought it from.  I happened to speak with the local dealer last week to inquire about buying some MM phono boards for my 82.  The guy was confused about the difference between phono boards and the Stageline, and he didn't know what "olive" was.  I also spoke with their service department about having the connections resoldered on some NAC A5 and it felt like I was talking to somebody from the car stereo department at Best Buy.  Not exactly confidence-inspiring with respect to getting a DAC fixed.

 

David Hendon posted:

Jon I think his dealer isn't that close by, if you read his recent posts.

NGarritson I see from your profile that you have another Naim DAC, a V1 at work. You could check that you can play a WAV from your chosen USB stick on that, and from your unsuccessful USB stick come to that. Of course the DACs are different and you could run into the issue nbpf mentions, but if it were me it would give me some confidence, as you can't check the new USB on your nDAC.

best

David

 

That was really thoughtful of you.  Unfortunately the V-1 doesn't have a standard USB input.  It only has an asynchronous USB input.

jon honeyball posted:
Morton posted:

Flash drives  are very cheap, would it not be a good idea for Naim to include a suitable one in the box to avoid this issue?

Take it back to your dealer to have it updated

THATS WHAT THEY ARE THERE FOR

JEEZ...


Calm down it's only a forum. My suggestion was, I thought, just good customer relations to help prevent people going through the grief described on this thread when, apparently, using the 'wrong' flash drive can freeze the dac.
Of course going to a dealer is the safest route but it is not always convenient.

I bought a couple of 16 GB flash drives by different brands at Staples (capacities less than 16 GBwere not available), reformatted them to FAT.  Neither worked.  The 4GB Cruzer is on its way from Amazon but frankly I have given up hope.

I spoke with another dealer who I trust more than the local dealer, and I was advised to take it up with Audio Plus Services, the distributor for North America, which I will do.  

Just to check, gave you been in touch with Naim support about this? I'm sure at the very least they can tell you the exact type of USB stick they've successfully tested the upgrade process with. And you never know, maybe they have some other magic counsel to offer.

ngarritson posted:

I bought a couple of 16 GB flash drives by different brands at Staples (capacities less than 16 GBwere not available), reformatted them to FAT.  Neither worked.  The 4GB Cruzer is on its way from Amazon but frankly I have given up hope.

Have you followed the force-update procedure (dock and button 4 pressed at power on, wait for the button light to be all on, then insert the drive) precisely as described in https://forums.naimaudio.com/topic/ndac-update-crash?reply=69426746269287039#69426746269287039 ? What happens upon force-updating?

 

Dave***t posted:

Just to check, gave you been in touch with Naim support about this? I'm sure at the very least they can tell you the exact type of USB stick they've successfully tested the upgrade process with. And you never know, maybe they have some other magic counsel to offer.

Good idea.  I just sent them an e-mail.  

nbpf posted:
ngarritson posted:

I bought a couple of 16 GB flash drives by different brands at Staples (capacities less than 16 GBwere not available), reformatted them to FAT.  Neither worked.  The 4GB Cruzer is on its way from Amazon but frankly I have given up hope.

Have you followed the force-update procedure (dock and button 4 pressed at power on, wait for the button light to be all on, then insert the drive) precisely as described in https://forums.naimaudio.com/topic/ndac-update-crash?reply=69426746269287039#69426746269287039 ? What happens upon force-updating?

 

Yes.  When I force update all five green lights come on and stay on.  At that point I insert the flash drive in the USB slot on the BACK of the unit.  The nDac appears to read the flash drive, as the green lights then turn off sequentially from right to left as the update instructions tell you to expect, but then all five green lights go back on and stay on.  This happens regardless of which flash drive I use.  

ngarritson posted:
nbpf posted:
ngarritson posted:

I bought a couple of 16 GB flash drives by different brands at Staples (capacities less than 16 GBwere not available), reformatted them to FAT.  Neither worked.  The 4GB Cruzer is on its way from Amazon but frankly I have given up hope.

Have you followed the force-update procedure (dock and button 4 pressed at power on, wait for the button light to be all on, then insert the drive) precisely as described in https://forums.naimaudio.com/topic/ndac-update-crash?reply=69426746269287039#69426746269287039 ? What happens upon force-updating?

 

Yes.  When I force update all five green lights come on and stay on.  At that point I insert the flash drive in the USB slot on the BACK of the unit.  The nDac appears to read the flash drive, as the green lights then turn off sequentially from right to left as the update instructions tell you to expect, but then all five green lights go back on and stay on.  This happens regardless of which flash drive I use.  

Sorry to hear that. Are you trying to upgrade to  4.11.8 straight from 2.5.4? Perhaps you could try to first upgrade to something in between. The firmware version before 4.11.8 was 4.10.6, I believe. You could also try upgrading from the front port. If all this fails you should probably get in touch with Naim's technical support, I'm afraid. Best, nbpf

It appears that you've pretty much exhausted available options and that your device needs to be reflashed by the local (?) distributor.  Call AudioPlus Services in Canada and ask for Manu (I don't think AVoptions in the US does the digital/computer stuff, but you can check with Chris West there).

Failing that, you can try calling Phil Harris in the UK - they might be able to do something remotely.  Anything is better than shipping back and forth, if it can be avoided.

 

There is a happy ending to the story.  AudioPlus fixed the nDAC for just $80 (and replaced the green Naim light for free).  I ran the Apollo-R through it and immediately the source was in an entirely different league.  I did a quick compare of the nDAC vs. the V-1 and, well...   I can't quit you nDAC.  

The rest of the system is 82/hicap/250/ATC SCM7s.  While the dac was gone for service I started wondering if I needed better speakers.  Something wasn't quite right.  Maybe the ATCs were the weak link.  Then I put the nDAC back in and suddenly the ATCs sounded like world beaters.  Incredible uplift.  Didn't somebody once mention something about "source first"?

It's too bad a component that sounds so great could cause such misery with the interface.  

Hi Chag, sorry, I did not see your post asking me : Hi Oferr; Have you had any response yet from dealer and/or Salisbury? I am just curious to understand issue and remediation. Well, the dac was sent back to England... and I am still waitting for it...
Likes (0)
×
×
×
×