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Old 08-11-2008, 01:27 PM
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Unhappy VERY Strange Power/Firmware/Controls Related Behaviour

Hello to everyone! This is my first post and, unfortunately, I'm writing here because I'm having some serious problems with my Zen.
It is recognized by my pc but it won't power up anymore unless with the A/C adapter plugged in. I don't think it could be the battery because I've tested it with a multimeter and it seems fine.
When powered on with the A/C adapter, it boots fine with no errors (the battery icon shows full charge) but the buttons don't work: only the touchpad works as expected and I can't even turn the player off. The only way to turn it off is to unplug the cable.
I've taken it apart and all the connections are ok. I've also upgraded the firmware to the latest available version (1.62.02e) but it didn't help. It could definitively be an hardware issue but the scenario seems different than any other described here in the forum and I can't even figure out what could be wrong with the player...
I hope that someone could help me and thank you all in advance!

Last edited by GuybrushThreepwood; 08-11-2008 at 01:38 PM.
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  #2  
Old 08-11-2008, 05:57 PM
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Hello GuybrushThreepwood. Welcome to ABI.

You won't get a "true" voltage reading on a battery unless you check while the battery is under a load. Just because it shows the correct voltage, doesn't mean it is supplying that amount of power when the device is turned on. As a lithium-ion battery gets older (used or not used), its internal resistance increases. This causes voltage drops under loads and reduces the amount of current capable of being supplied. I would consider replacing your battery.

These should help:
Here is the ABI disassembly guide.
Here is a video of a disassembly.
Here are a few places to get a battery.
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Old 08-11-2008, 06:00 PM
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I've forgotten to say that if you need me to make more testing on the player, I'm free to help: I just hope we could at least understand what's really wrong with the player. Thanks again to everyone!
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Old 08-11-2008, 06:03 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BobbyRS View Post
Hello GuybrushThreepwood. Welcome to ABI.

...

As a lithium-ion battery gets older (used or not used), its internal resistance increases. This causes voltage drops under loads and reduces the amount of current capable of being supplied. I would consider replacing your battery.

Thanks for your reply and especially for your kindness: I really appreciate it! Do you think that a battery issue could justify that all the buttons aren't responding when connected to the A/C adapter? As said, I can't even turn the player off... What's the connection between a battery issue and this strange behaviour? Thanks again and have a good day!

Last edited by GuybrushThreepwood; 08-11-2008 at 06:14 PM.
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Old 08-11-2008, 06:12 PM
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Quote:
Thanks for your reply and especially for your kindness: I really appreciate it!
It's no problem.

Quote:
Do you think that a battery issue could justify that all the buttons aren't responding when connected to the A/C adapter? As said, I can't even turn the player off... What's the connection between a battery issue and this strange behaviour?
A battery can cause some weird behavior in a device. Especially when in devices with integrated charging circuits designed to function (power and charge) through the battery. At this point you know you have a power issue. Address it first (by getting it restored to run off of battery power) and then deal with any other problems that may still exist. Most of the time, when the power issue is resolved, any other odd behavior is corrected as well. I'm not saying that it will for certain, but is most likely the issue. There is always a possibility that an underlying problem may exist, but replacing the battery is easy and at a low cost to try. Hope that helps.
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Old 08-12-2008, 05:54 PM
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Hi and thanks for your reply. I've just ordered a replacement battery: I'm not that much confident that it could be a battery issue but I understand your point of view and I fully agree that replacing the battery isn't a big pain.
Could I submit to you a slightly off topic question? As said, I've completely taken apart my Zen and I'd like to clean away some dust which is between the lcd and its plastic cover (obviously I mean the outer one, the one with "Creative" printed on it and I've already separated the lcd and its cover from the rest of the player components) but I'm worried I could damage the screen: is there a SAFE way to separate the lcd from its plastic cover? Thanks again!

Last edited by GuybrushThreepwood; 08-12-2008 at 06:00 PM.
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Old 08-12-2008, 06:27 PM
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This video may be able to help with LCD/case removal. The front cover should be able to come off of the case, so you should be able to do your cleaning by removing it. Be careful with the pegs on the bottom. You can see a few pictures of the part of the fron cover/case that can be removed here. Use some compressed air and/or a microfiber or lens cleaning cloth to remove the dust.
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Last edited by BobbyRS; 08-12-2008 at 06:32 PM.
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Old 08-13-2008, 12:20 PM
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Ok, thanks for everything! As soon as I would receive the replacement battery, I would let you know if changing it has helped or not. Perhaps it could be useful for someone else having the same problems...
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Old 08-13-2008, 12:26 PM
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No problem.

Quote:
I would let you know if changing it has helped or not. Perhaps it could be useful for someone else having the same problems...
Yes, please do. It is always good to do so for that very reason.
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Old 08-18-2008, 01:16 PM
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@BobbyRS

I'm still waiting for the replacement battery to arrive... In the meantime, I've read this topic:

http://www.anythingbutipod.com/forum...ad.php?t=32928

and the guy there seems to have EXACTLY the same problem I have: what makes you think that mine could be different? I'm starting to fear it could be a rather common hardware problem but I obviously hope I'm wrong... If it would turn out to be an hardware problem, do you think it could be fixed or have I to start looking for a replacement ZVM?

Last edited by GuybrushThreepwood; 08-18-2008 at 01:22 PM.
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  #11  
Old 08-18-2008, 01:36 PM
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Well, it doesn't appear to be exactly the same issue when I read it.

Yours:

- Only powers on when plugged in with AC adapter
- Remove AC plug and the ZVM turns off
- When on, the Touchpad works, but the buttons do not


Theirs:

- Seems to not have any power issue running from the battery; can be turned on and off
- Touchpad partially works
- The reset and on/off button works
- When any buttons are pressed, they light up
- The buttons have worked since he began experiencing the problem

There is always the chance that something else could be wrong with your ZVM even after replacing the battery. Yours is clearly having a power related issue. If the ZVM cannot stay on when not on AC power or turn on/off with battery power, then you should either have a faulty battery or mainboard. Again, I emphasize what I said earlier:

Quote:
A battery can cause some weird behavior in a device. Especially when in devices with integrated charging circuits designed to function (power and charge) through the battery. At this point you know you have a power issue. Address it first (by getting it restored to run off of battery power) and then deal with any other problems that may still exist. Most of the time, when the power issue is resolved, any other odd behavior is corrected as well. I'm not saying that it will for certain, but is most likely the issue. There is always a possibility that an underlying problem may exist, but replacing the battery is easy and at a low cost to try. Hope that helps.
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  #12  
Old 08-18-2008, 03:40 PM
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First of all, I'd like to point out that I wasn't absolutely doubting you (how could I?). As already said, I fully agree with your point of view (in fact I've ordered a replacement battery ) and I was just saying that the issue described in that topic SEEMS very similar.
I was quite imprecise too: my touchpad only scrolls and tapping it doesn't produce any result, exactly as with the other ZVM in the other topic. As far as it concerns the reset button, I can't say anything about it because it's covered by the docking connector (necessary to use the A/C adapter) and I can't reach it.
By the way, I agree with you one more time: we can't say anything before I've tried out the ZVM with the new battery. Please forgive me but I'm very impatient to know how it would end up and that's why I'm searching for clues anywhere (even in the wrong places! ). Have a good day!
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  #13  
Old 08-18-2008, 03:45 PM
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Quote:
First of all, I'd like to point out that I wasn't absolutely doubting you (how could I?).
Don't worry about it; No offense taken.

Quote:
I was quite imprecise too: my touchpad only scrolls but tapping it doesn't work, exactly as with the other ZVM in the other topic.
Ahhh, witholding information now are we?

Quote:
As far as it concerns the reset button, I can't say anything about it because it's covered by the docking connector (necessary to use the A/C adapter) and I can't reach it.
It's a little tricky to do, but it can be done. You have to use a paperclip bent slightly in the angle needed to insert and press the button. Doing this would be a good test since booted into Recovery Mode bypasses the firmware.

Quote:
Please forgive me but I'm very impatient to know how it would end up and that's why I'm searching for clues anywhere (even in the wrong places! ).
No problem. It's understandable.
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  #14  
Old 08-18-2008, 03:55 PM
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Thanks for your immediate reply! I would try the paperclip trick then let you know.
Is the procedure described here:

http://forums.creative.com/creativel...151530#M151530

correct to access the Recovery mode? What option have I to select then? Perhaps you want me to try only if the buttons behaviour changes... Thanks again!
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  #15  
Old 08-18-2008, 04:10 PM
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Yup, that would be Recovery Mode.

Try to see if the controls work properly as well as seeing if it charges or hold a charge when disconnected (and doesn't power off).
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Old 08-19-2008, 03:49 AM
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Hi! I've thoroughly tested the player and here are the results:

- I've succeeded to enter Recovery Mode even with the docking connector in and the player behaves EXACTLY the same way it behaves in "normal" mode: only touchpad scroll works, touchpad tapping and all other buttons don't work. This way I can't take advantage of the recovery mode: I can't simply do anything!
The STRANGE thing I've noticed is that the VERY FIRST time I press any button it's recognized (the panel lights up) but it doesn't produce any result (not the expected one nor any other) and, after that, pressing any button doesn't even light up the panel. Though I haven't noticed this before, it happens even in "normal" mode.
- I've tried Creative Recovery Tool and it doesn't recognize the player though it figures in the supported players list and is correctly recognized by Creative Media Explorer. I've tried to make CRT recognize the player both in "normal" and recovery mode (like it seems it might be done) but it didn't help.
- I've discovered that, when connected to the A/C adapter, if I press the reset button the player turns off: is this normal? I don't think...
- I've disconnected the battery and fully discharged it with an external load: after reconnecting it to the ZVM, it still reports it as completely charged (weird!).
- Finally, I've tried to connect the player to the A/C adapter with the battery disconnected and it powers up and behaves EXACTLY the same. How is this possible? I was sure that the player was fed by the battery even with the A/C adapter connected but this clearly proves the contrary... Another weird thing is that, even with the battery disconnected, the ZVM reports it as fully charged.

I'm quite discouraged and I'm starting to lose my faith in the power issue...

Last edited by GuybrushThreepwood; 08-19-2008 at 05:59 AM.
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  #17  
Old 08-19-2008, 08:45 AM
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If, as I fear, I would have to search for a replacement motherboard (if I can find one, not such a simple thing: yes, I know that on E..y there is plenty of faulty Zens but, apart from the famous screen damage, the faults are always too generic and the risk of buying one with a faulty motherboard too is very high), I have a doubt: my Zen has a ZIF hard disk, are there two different boards for ZIF and IDE hard disk or are they the same? I hope that the motherboard remains the same otherwise this would be another problem to deal with. Have a good day!

---EDIT---
What about a firmware issue? I was just wondering if downgrading to an older fw could solve the situation... The only problem is that, by what I know, the only way to downgrade is through recovery mode and I can't use it because of the controls not responding...

Last edited by GuybrushThreepwood; 08-19-2008 at 09:44 AM.
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Old 08-19-2008, 02:07 PM
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OK, great testing! Let's see.....

Quote:
- I've succeeded to enter Recovery Mode even with the docking connector in and the player behaves EXACTLY the same way it behaves in "normal" mode: only touchpad scroll works, touchpad tapping and all other buttons don't work. This way I can't take advantage of the recovery mode: I can't simply do anything!
This does seem to indicate their is an issue with the TouchPad or mainboard and may be in need of being replaced.

Quote:
- I've discovered that, when connected to the A/C adapter, if I press the reset button the player turns off: is this normal? I don't think...
Yes, this is normal. When you press the reset button, the ZVM should turn off.

Quote:
- I've disconnected the battery and fully discharged it with an external load:
Keep in mind it isn't a good idea to fully discharge a lithium-ion battery. They have low voltage protection circuits built in and once they are engaged, the battery may no longer take a charge. It is best to keep a good charge on them by charging frequently.

Quote:
after reconnecting it to the ZVM, it still reports it as completely charged (weird!).
- Finally, I've tried to connect the player to the A/C adapter with the battery disconnected and it powers up and behaves EXACTLY the same. How is this possible? I was sure that the player was fed by the battery even with the A/C adapter connected but this clearly proves the contrary... Another weird thing is that, even with the battery disconnected, the ZVM reports it as fully charged.
The report of the battery being fully charged, does it show this when booted into Recovery Mode? If so, I'm thinking a power/charging circuit issue on the mainboard.

Was the first problem you recall having the no power when not on AC power? Did you then begin having touchpad problems? I also noticed that you mentioned having the problems before upgrading the firmware. What firmware version was installed before upgrading?

Quote:
If, as I fear, I would have to search for a replacement motherboard (if I can find one, not such a simple thing: yes, I know that on E..y there is plenty of faulty Zens but, apart from the famous screen damage, the faults are always too generic and the risk of buying one with a faulty motherboard too is very high), I have a doubt: my Zen has a ZIF hard disk, are there two different boards for ZIF and IDE hard disk or are they the same? I hope that the motherboard remains the same otherwise this would be another problem to deal with. Have a good day!
Yes, basically a 30GB mainboard is a 30GB mainboard in terms of replacing. When dealing with the replacing hard drives is when you will need to worry about the drives interface and connector types. Besides checking EBay, you can try doing a google search for Zen repair or parts to see if you can find someplace selling them.

Quote:
What about a firmware issue? I was just wondering if downgrading to an older fw could solve the situation... The only problem is that, by what I know, the only way to downgrade is through recovery mode and I can't use it because of the controls not responding...
Yes, that would be the way to downgrade; selecting Reload Firmware from with Recovery Mode to erase the currently installed firmware, then connecting to the computer to install the older firmware.

So....

- touchpad problems plugged into AC power (no battery); even when booted into Recovery Mode.
- full battery indicated in Recovery Mode; even with no battery installed.
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  #19  
Old 08-19-2008, 02:37 PM
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Hi and thank you very much for all the time you're dedicating to my problem: I REALLY appreciate it!
Before having the problem, I already had the latest version installed: I just tried to reflash the firmware to see if it could make some "cleaning".
The battery is reported as fully charged both in normal and recovery mode. I've tried to discharge it to see if its state was correctly reported by the player (obviously not ) and I didn't know the protection circuit thing: I've learned something new, thanks! Thanks for confirming to me that the motherboard is the same for all the 30Gb ZVMs too!
I've made some research and I've found that a tool called CreativeWizard exists: it makes possible to upload modded firmwares with new fonts and themes. Could I use it to downgrade without passing through recovery mode which by now is useless? First I need to find an old firmware (almost impossible) and extract it from the Creative package as CreativeWizards asks for .bin files.
I don't know if I've replied to all your questions: don't hesitate to ask if I've missed something.

p.s. What about the fact that the player connected to the AC Adapter with the battery disconnected behaves the same way?

Last edited by GuybrushThreepwood; 08-19-2008 at 02:42 PM.
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Old 08-19-2008, 03:03 PM
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Quote:
Hi and thank you very much for all the time you're dedicating to my problem: I REALLY appreciate it!
No problem.

Quote:
Before having the problem, I already had the latest version installed: I just tried to reflash the firmware to see if it could make some "cleaning".
So, did it ever work correctly with the latest firmware?

Quote:
I've made some research and I've found that a tool called CreativeWizard exists: it makes possible to upload modded firmwares with new fonts and themes. Could I use it to downgrade without passing through recovery mode which by now is useless?
For more info, you may want to check out this site and this thread.

Quote:
First I need to find an old firmware (almost impossible) and extract it from the Creative package as CreativeWizards asks for bins.
Try here.
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