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Old November 12th, 2010, 09:31 AM   #1
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Overheating In Cold Weather

I have been using a nanoFlash with a Canon XL-H1 since early August for wildlife filming. All went well until cold, frosty weather arrived.

So far this has occurred with temperatures in the 20s and lower 30s Fahrenheit. After the unit is exposed to these type of temperatures for 15-30 minutes the unit will power up and then quickly display the following messages:
This message occurred this morning when only the nanoFlash was powered up.
Low Power Mode
Box Overheated
Power Down And Cool

With the camera powered up first and then power applied to the nanoFlash the message was:
Box Overheated
Power Down And Cool

I am using the latest firmware. In each case this has happened placing one's hands on both sides of the unit and warming it for a minute or so will enable it to power up correctly,

Has anyone had a similar problem or have any idea what is going on.
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Old November 12th, 2010, 10:07 AM   #2
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Dear Willard,

I think what is happening is that the internal temperature sensor is providing our firmware a very low number.

And, our firmware is misinterpreting this number as being Too Hot.

We have no Low Temperature shutoff.

I will alert our engineers immediately.

What firmware are you using?
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Old November 12th, 2010, 11:11 AM   #3
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Dan,

Thanks for your quick response.

I am using firmware: 1.6.29
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Old November 12th, 2010, 11:14 AM   #4
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Dear Williard,

We are testing a nanoFlash in cold conditions now.

I feel that we are just misinterpreting the sensor value when it goes negative.
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Old November 12th, 2010, 02:44 PM   #5
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Dear Willard,

We have duplicated your issue.

We have found and fixed the problem with the firmware.

We were misinterpreting the value from the temperatue sensor for below-zero readings.

We are currently testing the fix by freezing a nanoFlash.
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Old November 12th, 2010, 05:37 PM   #6
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Dear Willard,

We have incorporated the fix for the issue you reported earlier today into our nanoFlash Public Beta firmware 1.6.226.

While this is fixed, please do not use 1.6.226 for actual production until we approved it for Production Level.

You, of course, may test the new firmware if you wish.
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Old November 12th, 2010, 05:52 PM   #7
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Dan,

Thanks so much for your efforts in solving the problem. I will likely try the beta firmware in the very near future.

The nanoFlash has greatly improved the performance of my XL-H1 and I am very happy that I purchased it.
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Old November 12th, 2010, 06:14 PM   #8
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Dear Willard,

Thank you for the kind words.

It was very nice for us to be able to solve your problem so quickly.

We just got it in to the new firmware in the nick of time.

This morning we had to freeze a nanoFlash to duplicate the problem, then we fixed it and had to freeze the nanoFlash again to test it to ensure that we solved the problem.

So, the nanoFlash spend a lot of time today in our freezer.

Just so you know, eight nanoFlashes flew to the edge of space. One to 99,200 feet, and the ambient temperature was -75 degress F, -59 C. And the nanoFlashes did not have adequate protection from the cold. On the way down, one exceeded the speed for sound for a few seconds.
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Old November 16th, 2010, 12:06 PM   #9
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I installed the new firmware (1.6.226) and tried it on a cold, frosty morning and got the same error messages:

Low Power Mode
Box Overheated
Power Down And Cool

Box Overheated
Power Down And Cool

Again I tried warming the unit with my hands and it started recording, but then gave the following error messages:

Lost src 00 18
Unexpected src 02
LBA PROGRESS ERROR
STOPPING
Clip 453 retry

At some point the unit would display the STOPPING message and there was no way to escape from this without removing the power source and bringing about a hard shut down. Neither the remote button orthe stop button would stop the unit.

I am recording without tape in the unit, using internal timecode, with the trigger set to Record and Remote.

The unit seemed to work OK once used a bit, and worked without any problems once the temperature got above freezing.

On the next cold morning I am going to power up the unit and let it go into power-save mode before I take it into the cold and see if it will perform correctly.

If this does not work, I will re-install the previous version of the firmware and use a hand-warmer when the weather is cold to keep the unit working, until a solution can be found.
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Old November 16th, 2010, 12:25 PM   #10
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Dear Williard,

We will start running cold tests on a nanoFlash with 1.6.226 as soon as possible.

What procedures are you using from preventing the humidity from causing problems in the very cold weather?

You mention you are taking it out in the cold.

May I assume that you are taking it from a heated room, out into the cold, then letting it get real cold, then powering it on?

As with any electronics, one has to take some precautions to protect against transistions from heated areas to very cold areas.

Some, put their gear in Zip Lock bags, before they go inside. The humidity will normally be low outside (typically), and much higher inside, depending on the type of heat. Propane, when burned, will humidify a room.

You could also put bags of silica gel to soak up the humidity in the Zip Lock bags.

You could also power up the nanoFlash, inside, using battery power, or AC power, with the CompactFlash cards inplace, then go outside with the power still one. Of course, you can switch to battery power just before you go outside.

I will sent you a private message with my phone numbers.
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Old November 16th, 2010, 01:24 PM   #11
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Dear Friends,

We are currently re-running our cold test of a nanoFlash with 1.6.226.

We are using a different nanoFlash for this test.

I have spoken with Mr. Hill.

He takes the nanoFlash out of a heated house, then drives to his shooting location, then hikes to the shooting area, all with the nanoFlash powered off.

Then the nanoFlash is in the cold, typically for 30 minutes of longer, powered off.

Then when he sees the wildlife, he immediately powers on the nanoFlash then starts to shoot.

Thus, the nanoFlash is at ambient temperature, below freezing, and the CompactFlash cards are also cold.

The nanoFlash does require a warm-up period when working in very cold weather.

And most CompactFlash cards also need to be warmed, which the nanoFlash does, in very cold weather.

Mr. Hill is using a Canon 7D battery to power the nanoFlash. I have recommended a larger battery so he can let the nanoFlash warm up prior to his shots.

We also discussed putting the nanoFlash in a Zip Lock bag, with a handwarmer, to keep the nanoFlash a reasonable temperature prior to use.
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Old November 19th, 2010, 07:36 AM   #12
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Same issue

Currently shooting in northern Alberta and have been having the same issue. Today is -4F (-20C) Have been using the low-tech fix. Been keeping the nanoFlash under my thermals until I need to use it... Once running it seems to keep going.

David
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Old November 19th, 2010, 07:54 AM   #13
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Dear David,

Much to my chagrin, yesterday I learned that the firmware fix did not make it into the Public Beta as I thought, and as I reported.

We have the fix in the code and it will be in our next firmware release.

Just warm up the unit, externally, until it is above freezing, then it will stay warm as long as it is on.
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Old November 20th, 2010, 07:59 AM   #14
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To be perfectly clear, Mr Wright is not using the Beta version, he is having the problem with the previous production version of firmware.

Jeff
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Old November 27th, 2010, 05:57 AM   #15
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Using previous firmware / even colder

Update on cold temperatures.

As Jeff mentioned I have been using a nanoflash with the previous software so that might account for the problems but wanted to give you an update. I felt unable to try the new update while on a shoot in case there were any other issues that might occur.

Temperatures in Alberta got even colder. First off I tried keeping the unit inside my jacket to keep it warm while hiking into location and then powering up on board the camera. Worked fine when it was around minus 20C. In the last few days the temperature dipped again to minus 30C (plus strong winds making it feel even colder). At that temperature the nanoflash would not work under any circumstances if exposed to the air, even if kept warm until the time we needed it. Basically the only option at that point is to have long enough cables to have the unit inside your clothing and let your body heat keep the temperature high enough for the unit to work.

Pretty extreme temperatures in which to test the unit but a good lesson for me for future projects.

David
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