Saturday, April 11, 2009

Warning about updating firmware in NewerTech Voyager Q

In addition to the firmware update process for the NewerTech drive dock GUID problem (see previous post) needing a few extra steps (see this post), it can also brick your dock (make it completely non-functional), even if you follow their instructions precisely.  Here's how:

You must have a drive inserted in the dock when doing the firmware update, as clearly stated by their instructions. What the instructions don't tell you is that the drive must NOT be mounted on the Windows system being used for the update.

Since my drives are normally formatted HFS+ (journaled) I probably would never have known, except for my using a still unformatted, but coincidentally DOA drive, to do my initial firmware updates.  Due to some other coincidental problems using one of the docks and my having noticed that the drive I'd used previously was DOA (it wouldn't even spin up), I tried formatting a new drive FAT 32 and carrying out the same procedure on the final NewerTech dock I needed to update.  The update failed, after wiping the firmware on the dock, officially turning it into a brick.  Actually, it went into a USB upload mode and awaited firmware flashing as if from scratch.  Fortunately, I was able to find out the flash vendor, type, speed, and burst read setting from another working Voyager device, and I was able to find the appropriate config_934DSB.txt file from the data installed with the firmware uploader app, and after switching back to the damaged, non-mounting disk, I successfully flashed the device's firmware and recovered it completely.  But it was scary and I was borderline clueless when I started that process.  It may be sufficient to unmount the drive (make it "safe to remove") before flashing, but I'm not going to try it.  If you use an unformatted or HFS+ formatted disk it shouldn't be an issue.

If you find yourself with a bricked drive dock, to recover, use the same Oxsemi Uploader.exe app that caused the problem.  Click "Select Flash" and enter the following values for the NewerTech Voyager Q [Vantec NexStar NST-D100UFS values in square brackets]:
  • Flash Vendor:  Silicon Storage Technology
  • Flash type:  SST39xF020 - 8 bit
  • Speed:  70 ns [50ns]
  • Enable burst read:  on [off]
Click "OK".  Then click "Upload/Upgrade Firmware".  At the first dialog, navigate to and select the "config_934DSB.txt" file (probably in C:\Program Files\Oxford Semiconductor\Oxsemi Uploader\Data\UF934DS).  [Use the "config_934DSA.txt" file for the Vantec.]  At the next dialog, select the firmware update file, per NewerTech's original instructions.  Let the upgrade finish, and you should have a functioning drive dock again.  Then follow the instructions in this post to actually change the GUID and you've finally solved the problem that started all this.

5 comments:

  1. Please help me! I have the Voyager Q from Newertechnology, bought second hand. It had a problem with usb 3.0 so I tried upgrading the firmware with the program provided by Newertechnology support but the flashing failed and now my device is bricked. Could you provide me with the programs needed to restore my Voyager Q? I can't find any "Oxsemi uploader" on google... What shoul I do?

    Simeon

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  2. Simeon - I have placed a copy of everything Newertech originally gave me here: http://shinyverse.org/voyager_daisy_chain_fix.zip

    Absolutely no guarantees of any kind, but I suppose since all you have is a brick at this point it can't really hurt anything. Please grab it quick, because I intend to remove it soon. I'm not comfortable putting an executable I didn't create on the web in general, nor an executable this old, and back in the day the Newertech folks were keeping a tight reign on this. But hopefully this together with the details in this post will help you recover your device. Let me know how it goes.

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  3. Thank you very much for taking the time to help me. I just downloaded the files and I shall see if I can fix the device with the information you provided so long ago. I'll keep you informed on the outcome. Again, thank very much!

    Simeon

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  4. I have several problems:

    First, The Oxsemi Uploader app you provided seems to be missing a launch file. When I open the shortcut in the startup menu, it says it doesn't find the exe file.
    I found an earlier version of it (V2_17_0100_0001) which opens via a .jar file and is apparently a beta version. (image: http://hpics.li/a063045)
    THing is, I can't click "select Flash" if the uploader doesn't recognize my Voyager Q...

    What should I do? Is there a way to tell the computer that it is indeed connected to the Bricked device?

    Simeon

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm not sure how much I'll be able to help since I am a Mac and Unix nerd, but know next to nothing about Windows. However, I notice that in that archive there is a file called "Uploader_3_02_0000_0005.exe". Can't you just run that directly? You can either use provide a path to that file via the DOS prompt or just double-click it in the GUI. I think. Hopefully the right version of the uploader will find your Q.

      Delete