Forgetful firmware? Have to keep reflashing every boot up otherwise goes into boot loop.

hummy-rich

New Member
Hiya. Lucky old me picked up my HDR-FOX T2 from one of my mum's neighbours last summer as they were having a clearout after upgrading their main telly and getting Sky Q.

It was plugged in to their secondary TV and was barely used (had two recordings on it from 2013!). I brought it back home and installed the CFW on it and had been using it with my kitchen TV for about six months without any problems (and improving dinner time TV viewing no end!). But then it just started crashing. A lot.

Turning it off at the mains overnight seemed to help but it started getting really unreliable. If I scheduled a recording for when it was in standby then it'd inevitably go into a boot loop when it tried to start the recording and I'd get the CRASH message on the display panel and I'd have to leave it for a while and see if it was in the mood for fixing itself after a little rest.

I haven't really had the time to take a good look at it until recently but I started by dumping all the content off the drive, wiping any scheduled stuff and basically ended up resetting everything to factory defaults. No difference in terms of stability. I then did a system flush and CFW reinstall and it no longer brought up the CRASH message but it just kept on rebooting. I couldn't seem to get a picture out of it either so I ended up moving it to my better telly in the lounge and at least got the initial Humax logo showing before the picture died again.

By this point I thought the HDD might be the culprit and since I'd got a spare lying around I thought I'd swap it out. I tried booting up without any drive in and still got the boot loop issue. I put the newer drive in and did a system flush and then a CFW install and crossed my fingers. Got "WIZARD" on the front panel rather the reboot I half expected. I turned the telly back on and yes, it seemed to be working. Did all the setup, formatted the drive, changed channels, recorded a few programmes, played them back. Yes! I'd fixed it.

No, I hadn't.

As soon as it went into standby it went back into the boot loop again when I tried to turn it back on. Tried reinstalling the CFW, didn't seem to fix the problem. Did the system flush instead and followed it up with the official firmware and it was back in business again... until I turned it off. And so on.

Basically, it literally only seems to function for as long as it's been reflashed with either the official or the custom firmware and then not allowed to go into standby or turned off. If I didn't know any better then I'd say it was like my old desktop PC which needed a new CMOS battery because it'd forget how to boot up otherwise.

I like to think I'm pretty methodical and have checked everything against all the usual possible causes (seriously, I have read a lot of threads here first, especially the Steps for Resolving HDR-FOX Crash/Reboot Issues one) but unless there's something I've missed then I'm thinking it's got to be a hardware issue, right? I'm not able to solder anything due to lack of ability (and soldering iron... and solder) so unless anyone has any other ideas I'm probably better off saving myself a lot of time and grief and just trying to pick up another unit elsewhere. I got ~6 months out of this one for free so I reckon I've done ok and learned a few things along the way about decrypting HD content and getting my old laptop to talk to it via an ethernet cable etc.

TL;DR - Am I out of luck? Should I just get another one if it's not something I can easily fix myself (assuming there's nothing else I'm likely to have missed). Cheers.
 

/df

Well-Known Member
Maybe your machine has hit the fabled end-of-life flash storage issue. If so I think it's the first.

The normal boot-loop scenario seems to be that start-up works unless the disk is attached, implicating the power supply circuitry, but you've ruled that out.

The kitchen location suggests possible contamination of the PCB, which could be sprayed with a suitable cleaner. Screwfix has WD-40 Specialist Contact Cleaner or just use an old toothbrush with isopropyl alcohol.

Otherwise, no doubt someone will be happy to acquire it for parts though you could retain the disks for use elsewhere or in a USB-SATA caddy.
 
OP
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hummy-rich

New Member
Thanks for your reply. I did wonder if it had got muck inside but where it's positioned is fairly far away from anything that's likely to gunge it up and it was really clean inside when I opened it. I half expected to find something that looks like it had blown or layers of dust but there really wasn't anything obvious. It's frustrating because when it works it works fine but it just can't seem to handle powering down at all. Assuming I do go down the route of getting hold of another, I may keep this one anyway as a backup for recording stuff when the other is busy etc. Having to reflash every time is a pain but for occasional use it'd be fine.
 

Black Hole

May contain traces of nut
I think you've done everything you can usefully do. The idea that it works for as long as you don't turn the power off after a re-flash does rather indicate an amnesia fault.

It could still be useful - after all, I don't turn mine off!
 
OP
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hummy-rich

New Member
Thanks. I thought I was probably out of options but figured it wouldn't hurt posting here first before trying to get hold of another just on the off chance there was something I'd overlooked.
 

/df

Well-Known Member
I recall that, looking at the PCB memory ICs, there was an apparently excess RAM IC that might be a live copy of the firmware ROM. So might the failure mode be that the ROM is failing to be flashed correctly, not apparent until the power is removed?
 

prpr

Well-Known Member
So might the failure mode be that the ROM is failing to be flashed correctly, not apparent until the power is removed?
It might be interesting to read back the contents of the flash - loader, kernel, firmware etc. to see if that reveals what is going on.
 
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