HDR FOX T2 switching off randomly

penshaw

Member
My HDR FOX T2 is over 7 years old and has recently started to switch itself off randomly. It never switches off while recording, only when on standby but of course this means any recording schedule is missed. It can easily be reset by switching off/on at the rear main switch.
It switched itself off tonight but this time the display contained a line of 'a's as shown in the attached photos. Previously, when it switched off the display would be blank.
Any ideas? or is it time to replace?
 

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penshaw

Member
When it switches off the display would be completely blank, and the circular light, which is normally blue or red, would also be off. The unit would be totally unresponsive until an off/on reset by the main switch on the back.
That is until tonight when all those 'a's appeared on the display as shown above but again totally unresponsive until an off/on reset.
 

Black Hole

May contain traces of nut
When it switches off the display would be completely blank, and the circular light, which is normally blue or red, would also be off. The unit would be totally unresponsive until an off/on reset by the main switch on the back.
That is until tonight when all those 'a's appeared on the display as shown above but again totally unresponsive until an off/on reset.
I've never experienced or heard of anything similar.

I have not examined the PSU module in detail to know its architecture, but I imagine it is a pretty standard SMPS (switch mode power supply), and I am not aware of anything that could drop out and be "rebooted".

"All those 'a's" must have come from somewhere - most likely the front panel controller going into a fault state, possibly because of incorrect PSU voltages (educated speculation).

If I had your unit here, I would swap the PSU with a known good one and see what happened. However, without a known good PSU to try, and unless you have some experience with electronics and can check out a few things, my inclination is to say you are stuffed.

What happens now depends on how much you want to keep the HDR-FOX or whether you are happy to move on to a new model. If you want to remain a HDR-FOX user (and I see you are a long-term member of this forum, so presumably know all the arguments), I suggest eBay for a replacement unit (or to use for spare parts). Be aware there may be two versions of PSU (IIRC), so if buying for potential spare parts and have the RE version hardware (aerial sockets aligned vertically instead of horizontally) look for a second hand RE unit.

Commissioning, Disassembling, and Repairing an HDR-FOX (click)
 

MymsMan

Ad detector
It never switches off while recording, only when on standby
A power supply fault probably would not be so considerate, but the simplest 'fix' might be to avoid going into standby. @Black Hole routinely runs his boxes 24x7, the increase in electricity cost is modest and lower than replacing parts and worth trying for a while to see if alleviates the problem.
 

Black Hole

May contain traces of nut
A power supply fault probably would not be so considerate
I imagine the PSU has a full-power mode and a standby mode, somehow commanded from the main board (if not by a signal then by current demand), so I hypothesise it is the standby mode which is faulty.
 
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MymsMan

Ad detector
I imagine the PSU has a full-power mode and a standby mode, somehow commanded from the main board, so I hypothesis it is the standby mode which is faulty.
True, and possibly related to thermal expansion that trips at some point as machine cools down in standby but clears once it reaches cold allowing the restart

@penshaw do you know how long after going into standby the machine fully shuts down or is it that you only notice the problem the next time you try to turn the machine on.

Did the line of a's appear as the machine went into standby or later?
The frozen front panel is more like what we associate with a 'normal' crash, though the display normal just freezes rather than a's , so this could be unrelated to your other problems - it will be interesting to know if it recurs.
 
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penshaw

Member
>Black Hole, MymsMan
Many thanks for your help, I am going to reformat the HDD first and will then try disabling the stand by. I will post the results.

@penshaw do you know how long after going into standby the machine fully shuts down or is it that you only notice the problem the next time you try to turn the machine on.
I only notice the problem when it has failed to record or when I next try to switch it on, so I don't know exactly when it switches off.
 

/df

Active Member
I imagine the PSU has a full-power mode and a standby mode, somehow commanded from the main board (if not by a signal then by current demand), so I hypothesise it is the standby mode which is faulty.
Hasn't the pin-out of the PSU <-> main board cable been settled? I thought the lines were all variations of ->12V, 6V, <-Gnd.

As the front panel handles the remote control and isn't separately connected to the PSU my bet is that one (at least) of the non-zero voltages is a standby supply and that the front panel can put the main board into standby thus, as you suggest, indirectly turning off the main PSU supplies.

Although disabling standby may solve OP's problem it does allow the box to crash in other ways, eg the DLNA indexer.
 

MymsMan

Ad detector
I am going to reformat the HDD first
This would seem a little extreme since all the indications are that the problems occur when the disk is not in use

I would attempt the disabling standby first,
then trying the 'System Flush' https://wiki.hummy.tv/wiki/Firmware_Downloads to ensure that some corruption of the firmware isn't involved
next I would install the custom firmware since that includes a powerful fixdisk utility (as well as many useful facilities for normal use)
 
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penshaw

Member
Reformatted the HDD (nothing lost as I always delete recorded programmes after they have been watched) but the problem persists. The unit switched itself off after less than 10 minutes and could only be restarted with an off/on reset.

I then disabled standby but again it switched itself off after less than 10 minutes but this time a row of 'c's was on the display as shown. Would only restart with an off/on reset.

I have now installed the 'System Flush' firmware and I am waiting to see what happens now. The Humax is fully on and the TV is off.

If that doesn't work I'll install the Custom Firmware as suggested.
 

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MikeSh

Well-Known Member
If it is a PSU problem, no amount of faffing with the firmware or HDD will have any effect.
Yes. So AIUI he's working through all the faffing with those things to eliminate them.
If none of that works it's probably time to get physical.
 

Black Hole

May contain traces of nut
I'm thinking that if the PSU fails that often, it could be very risky to try installing firmware. If the power goes while the firmware write is incomplete, it should be the case that the loader remains untouched and the firmware can be reinstated... except that it can never be reinstated while the PSU is dropping out and interrupting the process.

What's worse: a machine which works for ten minutes at a time but has a very slight (I would say infinitesimal) chance of being fixed by installing custom tools, or a machine which works for ten minutes at a time but has no program? I'm not sure exactly how long a firmware update takes, but it must be more than 5 minutes.
 
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Black Hole

May contain traces of nut
this time a row of 'c's was on the display
Doesn't matter, just random.

It makes more or less no difference. It's useless for any practical purpose either way.
Yes and no.

As it stands, there is the potential that a replacement PSU has a good chance of repairing it or at least making the situation no worse. If a firmware update corrupts the flash there is a possibility it will be bricked regardless of a new PSU. Even if you get CF installed, is fixdisk going to help in a 10 minute window?

I'm convinced this is a PSU fault and everything else is clutching at straws. So far as I am concerned there are these choices:
  • Try to obtain a PSU;
  • Obtain a second-hand HDR-FOX in the knowledge that it contains a PSU or can be used as-is;
  • "Upgrade"
If the OP goes for the first option, the last thing he wants to do is anything which could brick the unit.
 
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penshaw

Member
The 'System Flush' software has not helped, the same problem persists.
In view of the above latest posts, I'm not inclined to attempt to install the 'Custom Firmware'
I've googled for a replacement PSU but no success.
Is the PSU serviceable? Cannot find any documentation at all.

(Edited to correct PSU from PCU)
 
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Black Hole

May contain traces of nut
I've googled for a replacement PCU but no success.
Possibly because it's a PSU not a PCU.

Is the PCU serviceable?
Possibly, if you are experienced in electronics, but as it has high voltages present it's not the sort of debugging I would want to do. If the electrolytic capacitors appear to have domed rather than flat tops to their cans (indicating an internal build-up of pressure), PSUs can be got working by "blindly" replacing them like-for-like - I've actually done that on a Panasonic unit and was most surprised that it worked (and there was a kit of parts for the specific model available on eBay).

Cannot find any documentation at all.
Not a chance.

Commissioning, Disassembling, and Repairing an HDR-FOX (click)
 
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