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Old August 22nd, 2011, 10:09 PM   #1
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Urgent Firmware Update Request for Flash XDR

Dear Dan & Andy at Convergent Design:
I'm continuing to use my Flash XDR on now a weekly basis on production shoots. The latest firmware release (1.5.92) is so broken I cannot turn on the Flash XDR and have the device boot up properly. What happens is it hangs and I get a blank blue screen ! I cannot turn the device off when this malfunction occurs without physically unplugging the power plug. On average, it takes 3 attempts before the XDR fully boots up, then the device functions normally.

I did speak with you and engineer Andy from CD on a conference call last month, but I need to know when we XDR users can see a new firmware release which addresses this problem, as well as a few other functionality issues regarding the TC signal and interfacing the XDR with Avid Media Composer Adrenaline or Nitris DX external I/O Boxes. On the set, the delay of not being able to physically turn on my XDR at first attempt upsets the 1st AD and the Director and the talent. Can you please help with this issue ASAP ?

We need to be able to play out from the XDR via HD-SDI and at the same time have the XDR output the DVITC or LTC Source CF Card TC signal via the appropriate Pin on the RS-422 interface. The reason for this functionality request being that all Avid made I/O boxes do not allow for the de-embedding of the TC signal from the HD-SDI input stream ! The Adrenaline and Nitris DX box only permit TC signal input from the RS-422 or separate balanced audio in LTC sockets. You could argue this deficiency puts any user of a portable SSDR device in a big post prod quandary, since most recorders output the TC signal from the HD-SDI socket to save on plug real estate, and lack of source TC data from captured video file can create a myriad of post workflow show stoppers.

Anyone in post with AMC will tell you they prefer not to import these clips, rather capture them in realtime as DNxHD 220 X codec. The DNxHD codec is a superior lossless in/out compression codec requiring no video mix down transcodes in order to output the edited time line.

Mark Job
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Old August 25th, 2011, 02:16 AM   #2
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Re: Urgent Firmware Update Request for Flash XDR

UPDATE: I rolled back to the previous firmware (1.5.91). As soon as I did so I noticed two things.

1. My XDR now consistently boots up quickly each time I press the little red on/off button.

2. I am able to set and sustain a slightly higher data bus rate on my Sandisk Extreme III and IV cards (220 Mbps)

Dan, can you please explain again which two buttons to press at the same time on my XDR in order to watch what the data buffer does in Record on each card I have ?

Also, I noticed I can no longer manually adjust the Analogue inputs when I have them set to LINE IN. If I leave them at the MIC setting, then I can manually adjust my audio input levels to whatever I want. I seem to remember being able to manually adjust these before. Was this setting changed, or has it always been Automatic Level Record when using the Analogue LINE IN XLR's ?

Mark Job
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Old August 26th, 2011, 03:23 PM   #3
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Re: Urgent Firmware Update Request for Flash XDR

Hello Mark,

We are currently looking into this power up issue, Which we know is a bit cumbersome, Typically with our internal testing, if given enough time possibly around 20-30 Seconds between powering down and pressing the power button, the units tend to boot up fairly consistently, but we realize this is not a long term solution.

As for the High Data Rate with the San Disk Extreme III, compact flash cards will vary slightly in how the perform card to card, this is typical, for a card to be Qualified at a set bit rate it is determined by what majority if not all the cards perform at consistently, with 8 channels of audio.

To check the FiFO buffer you must hold down the left arrow while pressing the record button, this will show you the cards ability to maintain the bit rate consistently.

Lastly you should only be able to manually adjust the level's while recording when the Flash XDR is set to MIC, when the XDR is set for Line IN the the audio level is determined by the device that is outputting the audio. Which I have just Verified, it is the same in 1.5.92 as it is 1.5.91

Hope that Helps

Best Regards
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Old August 26th, 2011, 03:49 PM   #4
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Re: Urgent Firmware Update Request for Flash XDR

Hi Andy:
Thank you for your response. You have answered some of my questions but I have some more and a few observations if you can answer and comment on them please.

Observation: Your suggestion to wait 20 or 30 seconds does not work with my XDR. I have waited up to 10 minutes but all I get is a blank blue screen. I am unable to effect a reboot by pushing the on/off red button. Only a physical disconnect from the power socket will effect an off state in the box.

Questions:
1. What about enabling source recorded TC signal output via the standard pin on the RS-422 interface to permit proper play out into Avid Media Composer Adrenaline or Nitris DX (Avid won't De-embed the TC signal from the HD-SDI stream of anything inputted to it. Adrenaline or Nitris DX boxes require TC to be inputted via RS-422 or separate 3 pin XLR line input.- Nor HD-SDI .

2. Does CD make a Time Code De-Embedder Box for HD-SDI sources with XLR or RS-422 line output of the TC ?

3. What is your time frame for an XDR update ?

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Old August 26th, 2011, 07:34 PM   #5
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Re: Urgent Firmware Update Request for Flash XDR

Dear Mark,

We will be happy to repair your Flash XDR.

Concerning the Timecode out via a Pin on the RS-422 interface.

We do not believe that there is a dedicated pin for timecode on the RS-422 interface.

If you have any information about such a pin, please let me know.

We do not manufacture a timecode disembedder, but others may.

We do not have a schedule, at this time, for the next Flash XDR firmware release.
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Old August 27th, 2011, 12:41 AM   #6
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Re: Urgent Firmware Update Request for Flash XDR

Dear Dan:

I don't think I quite understand why you are offering to have my XDR repaired ? Is it busted ? I rolled back my firmware and now I get rapid on and off functionality once again. My picture and sound quality are excellent too. Even with the broken firmware ver. 1.5.92 I was able to obtain great picture and sound once I did get the XDR to finally boot, so I don't apprehend I have a busted XDR per se. Unless you think it's busted ? Since I am in the middle of a paid job with my XDR right now, I'm not able to send it off anyway.

Regarding RS-422 DB9 pinout signal designations - I was able to locate two standards.

Example 1:

Pin 1 = Signal Ground
Pin 2 = RTS+
Pin 3 = RTS -
Pin 4 = TXD +
Pin 5 = TXD -
Pin 6 = CTS -
Pin 7 = CTS +
Pin 8 = RXD +
Pin 9 = RXD -

Example 2:

Pin 1 = TX -
Pin 2 = TX +
Pin 3 = RX +
Pin 4 = RX -

Pins 5 through 9 carrying no signal.

There is numerous resistor and impedance information on the web for both RS-422 DB25 and DB9 connector pin outs. Be advised I am *not an electrical engineer.* I'm just a shooter and an editor. I will try and get the DB9 pin out schematic of the Avid Adrenaline box.

I hope this information will help CD figure out what its pin wiring is on its Flash XDR RS-422 interface.

Respectfully,

Mark Job
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Old August 27th, 2011, 03:09 PM   #7
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Re: Urgent Firmware Update Request for Flash XDR

Dear Mark,

Yes, if you can use the previous firmware and not have any power on / power off issues, then it is not a hardward issue.

I do not know what Avid is expecting over RS-422, but I suspect that they want the timecode to be sent as data over the serial interface as opposed to there being a "Pin" assigned to Timecode.

I assume that Avid is using the Sony DB9 protocol.
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Old August 28th, 2011, 02:34 PM   #8
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Re: Urgent Firmware Update Request for Flash XDR

Hi Dan:
I confirm this is correct. Avid, Panasonic, Philips, and everyone else manufacturing A/V equipment with an RS-422 interface has standardized on Sony's DB9 Communication Protocol. This uses a single or double clock chip to make the signal. It can be asymmetrical or symmetrical signal path communications. RS-422 can be transmitted over a cable as long as 1200 meters.

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Old September 19th, 2011, 05:46 PM   #9
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Re: Urgent Firmware Update Request for Flash XDR

Hi Andy, Tommy, and Dan:
We've hit the wall hard here with the whole issue of trying to get source TC into Avid Media Composer Adrenaline from realtime playout with the XDR. We urgently need some kind of firmware enablement of the RS-422 to pass the clip's TC out. In the meantime, can anyone tell us if there's such a thing as a Time Code de-embedder box, which can strip off the embedded TC signal in the HD-SDI stream and rout that out via an RS-422 port, or a standard LTC port ? This problem is really HUGE for us ! It's a show stopper.

Mark Job
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