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Old 08-05-2008, 05:48 PM
voy voy is offline
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Angry Downgrading Firmware from 1.21.01 to 1.03.04 - Help...!

Hi community,

so I'm the proud owner of a 4GB Zen for a week now.

Have happily found this board, have read the FAQ - very useful, especially how to sneak into recovery mode. Saved me at least once. ;o)

Now here's my issue...

I have successfully made the transition from the European firmware to the US version - the boost on volume was much needed. That went fine, and my ZEN is currently on FW 1.21.01.

From what I have read from various boards - picked my bits and pieces - Creative introduced that kind of "standby mode", which is really draining my battery a lot. I found that FW 1.03.04 should be the last version where off is really off and not standby mode.

I loaded that firmware at least three times today - hard to find those "outdated" firmware files by the way... Consequence is, FW installs successfully, at least that's what the executable tells. However, the screen of my ZEN remains blank. Absolutely blank. LED is on, though.

No matter how many times I turn it on and off, no matter how many times I reset it, no matter how many times I connect and disconnect it from the PC. Formatted, used the rebuild function as well. No go...

Reloading the current firmware though is smooth sailing, and the screen welcomes me again.

How comes I can't downgrade to that energy saving firmware?

Why does my screen stay blank?

I didn't manage to find any older firmware than 1.03.04.

Any thoughts how I can force my ZEN to accept that firmware - with a fully functional display? *sigh*

Greetings from Vienna, Michael
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  #2  
Old 08-06-2008, 12:06 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by voy View Post
Hi community,

so I'm the proud owner of a 4GB Zen for a week now.

Have happily found this board, have read the FAQ - very useful, especially how to sneak into recovery mode. Saved me at least once. ;o)

Now here's my issue...

I have successfully made the transition from the European firmware to the US version - the boost on volume was much needed. That went fine, and my ZEN is currently on FW 1.21.01.

From what I have read from various boards - picked my bits and pieces - Creative introduced that kind of "standby mode", which is really draining my battery a lot. I found that FW 1.03.04 should be the last version where off is really off and not standby mode.

I loaded that firmware at least three times today - hard to find those "outdated" firmware files by the way... Consequence is, FW installs successfully, at least that's what the executable tells. However, the screen of my ZEN remains blank. Absolutely blank. LED is on, though.

No matter how many times I turn it on and off, no matter how many times I reset it, no matter how many times I connect and disconnect it from the PC. Formatted, used the rebuild function as well. No go...

Reloading the current firmware though is smooth sailing, and the screen welcomes me again.

How comes I can't downgrade to that energy saving firmware?

Why does my screen stay blank?

I didn't manage to find any older firmware than 1.03.04.

Any thoughts how I can force my ZEN to accept that firmware - with a fully functional display? *sigh*

Greetings from Vienna, Michael
How are you loading the firmware? You will need to wipe the device and reload the firmware to a formatted drive. If you run the firmware update as an update there is probably logic that says do not commit an older version over a newer one. Also, is the old FW the US version as well?
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  #3  
Old 08-06-2008, 12:33 AM
voy voy is offline
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Default My Procedure

Hi Lifter59,

thanks for responding.

I basically start the player in recovery mode, run a format all from there, after do a clean up, then reload firmware, then connect it to USB and start the firewall update with filename ZEN_PCFW_L21_1_03_04.

The upgrade procedure itself appears normal to me, "Upgrading firmware" (which takes a while), then it comes to the point where it says "Player is now rebooting" (but player screen remains blank) and then "Firmware upgrade completed!".

I then disconnect the unit, can still put it into recovery mode, as the unit itself is responding (LED on right), but no display...

Interesting though, while this FW 1.03.04 is on the unit, once it's turned on, I can't turn it off anymore, other than pushing the reset button.?

The only difference in FW Filenames I see is, that 1.21.01 is starting with ZEN_PCFW_L22 while 1.03.04 has a L21 in it... Is this meaningful?

Both Files are the US (English) Version, so I think that 1.03.04 is also the US-version. At least no "e" in the Filename.

By the way, ZEN_PCFW_L22_1_11_04 loads fine. Just tried that. But this version does have this Non-Off Standby function as well, right?

*sigh* again...

Michael
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  #4  
Old 08-06-2008, 06:01 PM
zylor zylor is offline
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where have you downloaded the us version of the firmware? to boost your volume? i want to upgrade to that firmware too.. could you explain me what to do? i'm a new zen user!
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  #5  
Old 08-06-2008, 06:40 PM
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Hello voy. Welcome.

I wouldn't even begin to try putting that premature of a firmware version on the Zen. It doesn't surprise me at all that it has the problem you are describing when using it. If you want the most stable firmware that doesn't have the "sleep" mode of the newer firmware releases, get firmware version 1.13.01. Any firmware's after this version has the newer "sleep" mode feature. You can download 1.13.01 here.

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Originally Posted by zylor View Post
where have you downloaded the us version of the firmware? to boost your volume? i want to upgrade to that firmware too.. could you explain me what to do? i'm a new zen user!
Check out the Zen FAQ sometime:

Quote:
The European firmware will have an "e" at the end of the veersion number. The European firmware has a volume restriction set in place due to a Country requirement. To remove this restriction on the volume, you can install hte US version of the same firmware. The firmware is identical except for the removal of this volume restriction. To do so, follow the directions below:

Don't try to install the US version of the firmware over top the European version. The European firmware should be removed first and then the US firmware can be installed.

1. Connect the Zen to your computer and verify that it is connected and are able to access it.
2. Download the US firmware.
3. Disconnect the Zen from the computer and boot into Recovery Mode and select the Reload Firmware option.

(This will remove the current firmware you have installed and help ensure no problems when changing firmware versions.)

4. Connect the Zen to the computer
5. Execute the US version of the firmware to install.
Enjoy!
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  #6  
Old 08-07-2008, 02:29 AM
voy voy is offline
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Hi BobbyRS,

thanks for your suggestion, so I'm currently on FW 1.13.01, and testing that.

I was under the impression that FW 1.10.05 was the first one, where Creative introduced that weird standby mode. I drew this conclusion via a link from wikipedia to epizenter where they say that one of the enhancements of 1.10.05 is:

Startup is nearly instant now. The Creative logo screen has been removed frombootup. Everything takes about 3 seconds to load, compared to the 10-15 seconds previously.

For me, I identified that behaviour as standby mode. That's also the upgrade where I found that users started to complain about weaker battery life.

Now, if a fast startup without displaying the Creative logo is the indicator that the Zen was in standby mode at time of startup, then I must say, with FW 1.13.01 it also behaves like this.

I thought that a startup with the Creative logo displayed means the unit was really powered down, and the one without means it's coming out of standby mode. Am I wrong?

So basically what I'm looking for is a firmware that really powers the zen down each time I turn it off, as start-up speed was not a buying criteria for me, but battery life was definitely.

Of course I'll monitor the battery life of the FW you recommended, but I still would like to have one without any kind of standby mode.

Is there really none out there?

Michael (always trying) ;o)
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Old 08-07-2008, 06:12 AM
akenaton80 akenaton80 is offline
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Default ?

Hello, It's my firts post. I've just registered to reply this topic. I'm from Spain, so sorry for my english.

Voy, I have exactly the same problem. I bought a 16GB Zen (FW 1.21.01) and I want to downgrade to FW 1.03.04 just to fix some video problems. I've try to install some of this versions and I finally I could fix the video problem. But now that I read the standby issue I want to use the 1.03.04 version, but my screen go black.

Do you know where can I find a firmware witout the standby problem?

Thanks in advance
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  #8  
Old 08-07-2008, 06:39 AM
voy voy is offline
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Hi ekenaton80,

I'm currently testing FW 1.13.01 - but it looks like, it's draining away the battery as well.

I'm nowhere near of getting 10 hours (with blanked out display) of battery life. Have to say, that I usually use the ZEN for 15-30 minutes, then turn it off again. (Office work). That way, it looks to me like it's 30 minutes on, and 2 hours on useless standby until it finally powers down. (Have you noticed a screen flicker, while your Zen was off for around 2 hours? That seems to be it.)

I'm wondering if there really was no firmware release between 1.03 and 1.10?

So, sorry, I can't point you to that firmware you're looking for, as I'm looking for the same ;o)

I trust that BobbyRS still has some knowledge on this issue for us in the pipeline.

Michael
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  #9  
Old 08-07-2008, 10:24 AM
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Voy, I am using the 1.13.01 firmware right now. It powers down completely when I power it off. I get around 20-24hrs of runtime out of the battery for audio playback. There is a "Idle Shutdown" mode the Zen will enter IF you do not power the Zen off, but only lasts for a short time before the Zen powers off completely by itself if not used.

Let me make sure I'm clear here:

Idle Shutdown (setting under Player Settings) = When you do not use the Zen (sits idle for a period of time), it goes into a type of stand-by mode for a period of time (instead of fully shutting down like the title says) before powering down completely. When you use the power button during this time, it comes back on as a faster "resume". This setting can be adjusted to either be turned OFF, 5 Min, 15 min, 30 min. I believe it is set to 5 min. by default. I'm not sure how long it lasts in this idle state before completely powering down (since I don't really use it), but I suspect it may be similar to the "sleep" mode described below. This would most likely cause the decrease in runtime you are describing. With this setting set to OFF, my Zen always stays on (with just the backlight dimmed; another setting) until I either begin using it again or I turn off.

Sleep Mode/Stand-By Mode = (In the newer firmware versions after 1.13.01) When you use the power off button of the Zen, it enables a low-power state or "sleep" phase instead of truely powering down the Zen to where it requires a full boot process to turn on. This provides a type of "instant-on" turn on of the Zen instead. This type of "sleep" mode lasts for around 2 hours before finally powering down completely. If have heard of some people using the Reset button to fully turn the player off to bypass this "sleep" mode. However, the downside to this is when you power the Zen back on, it will rebuild its database and depending on how much media you have on the Zen, this could take a while.

With the older firmware, before 1.10.05, the start up times were extremely long. Firmware versions from 1.10.05 and after have significantly reduced the boot-up time. This has nothing to do with their "sleep/stand-by" mode feature that they later introduced when powering OFF.

When using the firmware version 1.13.01, the Creative logo appears (and I get the full bootup) for me everytime I power on because I use the power off button and have the Idle Shutdown set to OFF. So, I am still getting a full shutdown of the power off sequence. Therefore, I haven't noticed any shorter runtimes.
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Last edited by BobbyRS; 08-07-2008 at 11:16 AM.
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  #10  
Old 08-07-2008, 11:15 AM
voy voy is offline
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Hi BobbyRS,

wow, that was a detailed answer - thank you!

But,... ;o)

I have both set Idle Shutdown and Sleep Timer to: Off.

Now, if I turn my Zen off, and back on after some seconds, it doesn't show the creative logo (as yours does), it starts quite quickly with the animated ZEN logo...? It shouldn't do that, right?

So our Zens do behave differently, although on the same firmware? I'm not grasping it...
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Old 08-07-2008, 11:28 AM
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Quote:
wow, that was a detailed answer - thank you!


Quote:
I have both set Idle Shutdown and Sleep Timer to: Off.
Do not confuse the Sleep Timer to this so called "Sleep" Mode. They are not related. The Sleep Timer is used when the Zen is doing a type of activity like audio playback and turns itself off (it does appear to go into the same "Sleep/Stand-By mode first though instead of powering off all the way) based on the time specified in the Sleep Timer setting. The same as the Sleep Timer feature on a TV.

Quote:
Now, if I turn my Zen off, and back on after some seconds, it doesn't show the creative logo (as yours does), it starts quite quickly with the animated ZEN logo...? It shouldn't do that, right?
If it is truly powering down completely, then no. Since it isn't, your Zen is not powering down completely, but going into this "Sleep/Stand-by" mode instead.

Quote:
So our Zens do behave differently, although on the same firmware? I'm not grasping it...
It appears so........ Hmmmm
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Last edited by BobbyRS; 08-07-2008 at 11:41 AM.
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  #12  
Old 08-07-2008, 12:29 PM
voy voy is offline
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Aaah, well, different firmware, different firmware loading approach (this Creative Wizard thingy), but still same behaviour: FW 1.20.02. (no "e")

Idle Shutdown = OFF

No alarm set (I thought this might be a possible trigger to let the Zen enter standby mode instead of completely shutting down)

Turning the unit off, waiting a minute or 2, I turn it on again and am instantly greeted with the animated ZEN logo...

What's wrong with my player? Or is it me? Hm....

Just a thought: is there any setting file on the Zen in which it stores it's parameters? Maybe something I should backup somewhere and then delete? Hoping that Zen might rebuild it on startup and possibly gets rid of some firmware-changing-related unappreciated config-data?

BobbyRS.....
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Old 08-09-2008, 02:57 AM
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Originally Posted by voy View Post
Aaah, well, different firmware, different firmware loading approach (this Creative Wizard thingy), but still same behaviour: FW 1.20.02. (no "e")

Idle Shutdown = OFF

No alarm set (I thought this might be a possible trigger to let the Zen enter standby mode instead of completely shutting down)

Turning the unit off, waiting a minute or 2, I turn it on again and am instantly greeted with the animated ZEN logo...

What's wrong with my player? Or is it me? Hm....

Just a thought: is there any setting file on the Zen in which it stores it's parameters? Maybe something I should backup somewhere and then delete? Hoping that Zen might rebuild it on startup and possibly gets rid of some firmware-changing-related unappreciated config-data?

BobbyRS.....
You need to keep one thing in mind - you need to execute a HARD format of the device, restarting it in Recovery mode doesn't guarantee that ALL components of a previous build are removed. My guess is that you have some stray components from a previous/later build in the player where they didn't exist in another version.

As BobbyRS pointed out you REALLY DON'T want to use a previous version of the firmware that is so close to the baseline. The initial firmware is usually upgraded within months to deal with stability issues and/or changes to supported software (like the Creative software or WMP - they may have a minimum required firmware older than what you are installing which will create other issues). I am also willing to bet that once you get the older version installed, you will see issues that are far more troublesome than the "problem" you are trying to solve. YMMV - so good luck at getting to where you want to be...
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Old 08-09-2008, 04:47 AM
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Hi Lifter 59,

thanks for the input!

I'm already off the train of using 1.03.04, all I want is to get this thing turned off like BobbyRS Zen does with the firmware he recommended - 1.13.01, for the sake of conserving battery life to reach something like the 25hours runtime that Creative is advertising...

HARD formatting... Hmm... Sounds good to me! It's not from recovery mode, and it's not from window's system panel either, I guess. Tried both, there wasn't a difference in result.

What exactly would be the way to HARD format the device?

Michael
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Old 08-12-2008, 12:12 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by voy View Post
Hi Lifter 59,

thanks for the input!

I'm already off the train of using 1.03.04, all I want is to get this thing turned off like BobbyRS Zen does with the firmware he recommended - 1.13.01, for the sake of conserving battery life to reach something like the 25hours runtime that Creative is advertising...

HARD formatting... Hmm... Sounds good to me! It's not from recovery mode, and it's not from window's system panel either, I guess. Tried both, there wasn't a difference in result.

What exactly would be the way to HARD format the device?

Michael
Format from the Windows Explorer (right click on the drive letter and select format). BE SURE that you have downloaded the firmware you want and the instructions for loading the files first. Also, if there are any default files that were resident on the player when you got the device, save them off the player too as they will vanish forever with the format...
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Old 08-12-2008, 10:21 AM
voy voy is offline
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Hi Lifter59,

thanks for giving me some hope - tried that (did the format out of the Creative's Zen Tool), but the result's still the same.

Can't keep the Zen away from the standby mode it insists on entering everytime I turn it off.

Well, waiting for a new firmware - or another brand player, whatever comes first.

However, this is a great forum - thanks to all!

Michael
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Old 08-13-2008, 06:14 PM
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voy, the only differences I can think of between my Zen and yours is that yours once had the European firmware loaded and that you downgraded after upgrading firmware. This particular Zen I am using has never had a European firmware version installed nor has it ever been upgraded past firmware version 1.13.01.

I do want to also point out that on my other Zen with the latest firmware, I still get around 20-24 hours of audio playback. So, there really isn't much difference with battery life with the introduction of this "stand-by mode" in newer firmware versions unless I am continually turning the Zen off and on and not using it while on for very long; basically it stays in stand-by mode for a much longer time due to not allowing it to fully power down for any long duration of time.
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Old 08-13-2008, 11:02 PM
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Originally Posted by voy View Post
Hi Lifter59,

thanks for giving me some hope - tried that (did the format out of the Creative's Zen Tool), but the result's still the same.

Can't keep the Zen away from the standby mode it insists on entering everytime I turn it off.

Well, waiting for a new firmware - or another brand player, whatever comes first.

However, this is a great forum - thanks to all!

Michael
You need to use a non-Creative tool - format it so the device only appears as external storage and then proceed.

*However* I am in strong agreement with BobbyRS that you are chasing something that will not change what you get.

Try turning the screen contrast way down and the timeout way down and re-benchmark. See what you get for battery life now and decide if this is really worth it. If you are looking for the "king" of battery life - look at a Cowon i7. You will get better than 40 hrs but will give up a lot in screen real estate and storage capacity. I had one and the battery life did NOT outweigh the other benefits of a Zen......
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Old 08-14-2008, 08:55 PM
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Thanks a lot BobbyRS
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Old 08-14-2008, 08:59 PM
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No problem zylor. Enjoy!
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