Official Harman/Kardon AVR x54: Problems and Solutions Thread - Page 22 - AVS Forum
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post #631 of 2863 Old 10-31-2008, 07:57 AM
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Someone asked earlier so I thought I'd give the scoop.

Edit: I started writing this post and it got too long so I decided to leave the long part last for whoever cares and the short answer first.

Short Answer:
BTB/WTW is a color range used mainly by Consoles & PCs (I should say they can be set-up to use it, its not mandatory). They are ranges in color that aren't used in broadcast TV or movies (DVD/BD Discs). If the TV (or the AVR) isn't able to display BTB/WTW information, it basically 'crushes' black/white detail (by making several different shades of black just look the same shade, vice versa for white). The best way to test this is to use a calibration disc (AVIA, DVE, etc) with a BTB pattern and see if it is displayed properly.

Long Answer:
BTB/WTW (Blacker than Black / Whiter than White):
The standard range for Movies (DVD/BD Discs)/TV Signals is from an RGB scale of 16-235 (give or take 1 unit, I can't remember). You'll notice, that the range begins at 16, which means there are 15 more ranges available at the bottom end. The same is true at the top end of the range, it goes up to 255 (although, not as obvious).

These ranges (0-16, 235-255) were initially used for synching a video signal but today are not really required. Problem is, since our whole TV system was built around this range, old sets weren't made to go below 16 or above 235, hence, if you started making it a standard today, many people would not be able to see a proper image on their existing sets.

Now, a lot of CE companies are providing BTB/WTW support in their products since there is now a significant audience for its use. Will this become a standard eventually? No idea, but I wouldn't hold my breath as it wouldn't be anytime soon.

Please correct me if I was off in anything...
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post #632 of 2863 Old 10-31-2008, 08:13 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jmelan View Post

just updated my firmware ...
pcm delay appears to be significantly improved ...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Zacrobmer View Post

Updated with no issue.

PS3 PCM sync issue= fixed...

...It does still drop audio if paused for too long, but it seems intermittent now, had it paused for ten minutes, the sound came right back, a short time later, I fast forwarded for maybe 30 seconds and the sound dropped...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Zacrobmer View Post

The firmware also fixed the "beginning of track clipping" when playing audio. Played through several mp3's via PS3 as a media server, shuffle, fast forwarding etc, every song played all the way through no clipping. Same with cd's...

Can someone shed some more light on the PCM locking as the posts are slightly confusing.

For those who have PS3s, do you hear the first click in the XMB?
(not because I care about the click, but because it gives you an indication of its lock-on speed).

For those who have experienced some sort of infrequent drop in the sound, did it come back after a delay or did you have to do something to get the sound back.

Thanks

Quote:
Originally Posted by bommai View Post

Does the new firmware fix the supposed lack of video pass through without any processing?...

Anyone please confirm this... couple of things:
1. BTB/WTW passthrough
2. Resolution passthrough (the old FW would set a fixed resolution... you'd see 'incoming' and 'outgoing'. 'Outgoing 'would be manually set which means if the input res changed, the output wouldn't .... ie one channel comes in at 480i and the other at 720p/1080i, but the receiver shoots them all out at whatever was set manually (ie 1080p).
[refer http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showt...#post14217581]
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post #633 of 2863 Old 10-31-2008, 08:40 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by -Axle- View Post

Can someone shed some more light on the PCM locking as the posts are slightly confusing.

For those who have PS3s, do you hear the first click in the XMB?
(not because I care about the click, but because it gives you an indication of its lock-on speed).

For those who have experienced some sort of infrequent drop in the sound, did it come back after a delay or did you have to do something to get the sound back.

Thanks


Anyone please confirm this... couple of things:
1. BTB/WTW passthrough
2. Resolution passthrough (the old FW would set a fixed resolution... you'd see 'incoming' and 'outgoing'. 'Outgoing 'would be manually set which means if the input res changed, the output wouldn't .... ie one channel comes in at 480i and the other at 720p/1080i, but the receiver shoots them all out at whatever was set manually (ie 1080p).
[refer http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showt...#post14217581]

I hear all clicks, opening splash etc from PS3.

The first couple of second of audio tracks is no longer missing.

For me at least, when pausing (or I assume any drop of sound input) after a indeterminate amount of time, the sound is gone, the source/speaker diagram on the front display flashes and can only be fixed by changing the source or surround setting, and the receiver appears to resynch. This was an issue with the old FW and remains, but it appears tha tit takes longer for the receiver to drop the synch.

Unknown on the resolution passthrough. My STB is set to output 1080i. I have not left my source menu up and flipped channels, but I'm pretty sure the STB puts out 1080i regardless.
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post #634 of 2863 Old 10-31-2008, 09:28 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Zacrobmer View Post

I hear all clicks, opening splash etc from PS3.

The first couple of second of audio tracks is no longer missing.

For me at least, when pausing (or I assume any drop of sound input) after a indeterminate amount of time, the sound is gone, the source/speaker diagram on the front display flashes and can only be fixed by changing the source or surround setting, and the receiver appears to resynch. This was an issue with the old FW and remains, but it appears tha tit takes longer for the receiver to drop the synch.

Unknown on the resolution passthrough. My STB is set to output 1080i. I have not left my source menu up and flipped channels, but I'm pretty sure the STB puts out 1080i regardless.

I'm guessing the audio drop is some form of "screen saver sleep mode" for and audio device? Sounds like they just set the time longer, past how long a reasonable person would pause something? Is it the same ammount of time every time that causes it to drop?
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post #635 of 2863 Old 10-31-2008, 09:44 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Opuntia View Post

Man, that is totally unacceptable...talk about a lack of quality control. This paired with all the bugs and issues does not make a good case for the quality of the product...it may sound great, but jeez!

Ironically I never noticed it till now, because the logo blends in so well with the rest of the receiver it is hard to tell. The good thing is Harman on the technical side and there customer support has been very good to me. I went on line and replied to there returns page sent them a copy of my receipt and the picture and with in a day, they sent me a RA # and said that a new unit will replace this one, with the Firmware in place. Hell I will take that any day of the week, especially dealing with my 805 Onkyo fry out. So far I am impressed, but they need to have someone checking those receivers in Shanghi who isn't blind...
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post #636 of 2863 Old 10-31-2008, 10:02 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mr4thdimension View Post

I'm guessing the audio drop is some form of "screen saver sleep mode" for and audio device? Sounds like they just set the time longer, past how long a reasonable person would pause something? Is it the same ammount of time every time that causes it to drop?

That is a good question. Mine at least has always done it. If using the DVR for instance, and fast forwarding through a comercial most of the time it would drop synch. With the new FW it seems to allow longer time. I'll have to play with it this weekend a bit more only had a couple of hours last night.
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post #637 of 2863 Old 10-31-2008, 10:58 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mr4thdimension View Post

I'm guessing the audio drop is some form of "screen saver sleep mode" for and audio device? Sounds like they just set the time longer, past how long a reasonable person would pause something? Is it the same ammount of time every time that causes it to drop?

What's the point of even having a "time-out" for audio, why can't the audio channel just remain open?
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post #638 of 2863 Old 10-31-2008, 01:05 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Opuntia View Post

What's the point of even having a "time-out" for audio, why can't the audio channel just remain open?

Because then it wouldn't be "green"

I'm also wondering about the center channel issues. Anyone been able to consistently check this to see if they lose the center? I've played GT4 and Drake's Fortune and the center channel has dropped out randomly in both of those games.
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post #639 of 2863 Old 10-31-2008, 03:04 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by -Axle- View Post

Can someone shed some more light on the PCM locking as the posts are slightly confusing.

For those who have PS3s, do you hear the first click in the XMB?
(not because I care about the click, but because it gives you an indication of its lock-on speed).

My AVR 255 still doesn't lock on in time for XMB clicks, it does however lock on much faster than the previous firmware and it doesn't lose the signal instantly when there's no sound, it waits about two seconds. A huge improvement, could still be better though.
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post #640 of 2863 Old 10-31-2008, 04:37 PM
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Hi everyone,

I consider myself to be reasonably tech savvy but I cannot get this update to work. I tried perhaps 20 times, used different usb slots etc. but no luck. I'm using the Dynex USB serial cable. I keep getting the following no matter what I do:

Connecting to AVR unit.
Upgrade failed.
Please check the connection between the computer and your AVR.
Make certain that the correct Serial Port has been selected, that the AVR is in
standby, that the rear panel Download switch is in the Download mode and then
press the rear panel 'Reset' button once again.
Press the “Upgrade Button” when ready.


Any thoughts???

Healthy skepticism is the best component for your HT
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post #641 of 2863 Old 10-31-2008, 05:31 PM
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I did upgrade from 49.1.1 to 93.1.1 but now I have an issue with setting the resolution on the receiver. is anyone having this same thing?
the setup
ps3 to 354 via hdmi then to the tv again via hdmi.
problem is in the 354 resolution setup i can no longer change it. it is stuck at 480p

but if i use component out from the 354 then i can change it but gets copy protection stuff.

I am pleased with the audio fixes but this one is making me mad.
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post #642 of 2863 Old 10-31-2008, 05:57 PM
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Wow, the Dynex USB cable is completely useless. My PC can't even recognize the stupid thing.
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post #643 of 2863 Old 10-31-2008, 06:20 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by vr4 View Post

I did upgrade from 49.1.1 to 93.1.1 but now I have an issue with setting the resolution on the receiver. is anyone having this same thing?
the setup
ps3 to 354 via hdmi then to the tv again via hdmi.
problem is in the 354 resolution setup i can no longer change it. it is stuck at 480p

but if i use component out from the 354 then i can change it but gets copy protection stuff.

I am pleased with the audio fixes but this one is making me mad.

I'll share my stupidity in hopes of helping someone else.

When you do the upgrade, be certain that you follow all the instructions. The 1st time I did the upgrade, it went super great and fast. The instructions said 45 minutes but my SUPERIOR install took only 20-25 minutes.

After finishing, the firmware appeared to be upgraded as the version had changed. I set about to reconfigure my system and started with the automatic speaker setup. To my disappointment, the auto setup would not work. Rather than sending annoyingly loud sounds to my speakers, there was nothing. It would just sit there saying it was "working". The manual speaker setup worked fine. I could force the sounds to produce.

I decided to try the upgrade again thinking I must have missed something. Boy, did I ever miss "something". What I realized was that after each iteration of sending data to the AVR, you are expected to change from standby to active and allow the AVR to read the buffer and write the contents. I realized that I had not done this the 1st time. Instead, I had only really allowed the final process to write the AVR. I think that was the video upgrade.

After doing the upgrade again, and not skipping any steps, everything worked great and the auto speaker setup routines worked normally again. My point in sharing my shame is to suggest that you might try the upgrade again and pay extra attention to each step if you notice any odd behavior after the upgrade.

So far, I'm very pleased with the upgrade. My PS3 now behaves as expected.
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post #644 of 2863 Old 10-31-2008, 07:13 PM
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Does anyone else notice that the AVR-254/354's video output is really, really dark? I mean, hooking up my PS3 to my HDTV directly (with Component cables), I only need to use a brightness setting of around 65.

But hooking up the PS3 to the back of the AVR-254, and then from the receiver to the TV (once again, using Component connections), I have to turn the brightness setting to something around 80 to get the same levels.

I have the same problem regardless of whether I turn video processing ON or OFF. I don't have HDMI inputs on my TV, so I can't test that to see if it's any different.

Is there something wrong with my receiver, or is this how it's supposed to be?
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post #645 of 2863 Old 10-31-2008, 07:39 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by outlier2 View Post

Hi everyone,

I consider myself to be reasonably tech savvy but I cannot get this update to work. I tried perhaps 20 times, used different usb slots etc. but no luck. I'm using the Dynex USB serial cable. I keep getting the following no matter what I do:

Connecting to AVR unit.
Upgrade failed.

Same here. I am using monoprice cable. Vista recognized it and installed Prolific USB to Serial interface. Vista told me it was successfully installed as COM3. HK Software detected it as COM3 and set COM3 automatically. But I am getting the same failure message. Is it the cable? Drat!
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post #646 of 2863 Old 10-31-2008, 08:22 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by stevek777 View Post

Same here. I am using monoprice cable. Vista recognized it and installed Prolific USB to Serial interface. Vista told me it was successfully installed as COM3. HK Software detected it as COM3 and set COM3 automatically. But I am getting the same failure message. Is it the cable? Drat!

I got the error message first time out and the software also pre-selected COM3. It was wrong. I changed to COM4 (the only other choice) and the update took off running. Took nearly 45 minutes and the only real pain was the number of times the download and reset button had to be pressed... at least a half dozen times.

One other suggestion. You may want to check for driver updates for the USB to Serial cable. I am running Vista on my laptop and it automatically checked for and loaded a new driver after connecting the cable for the first time and just prior to running the FW update.

It seems the FW update has improved things. I never had any HDMI issues and was always able to get 1080p/24 to pass thru from my Blu-ray player, but now the set-up menu actually shows 1080p/24. Also, it appears the sound cut-off at the start of audio tracks may be fixed. Time will tell though because this problem did not show up until my 354 was a few weeks old. Perhaps hitting "reset" was the fix for this problem. If the cut-off returns with the popping sound, it could be a bad power supply and nothing a FW update would fix.

Issues still remaining:
1) Fan noise (which I did not expect to be fixed)
2) Bridge light is on even though charging is set to off
3) Set-up menu bugs like switching to the source that is being set-up (dumb) and kicking you out of the set-up menu after pressing enter as required for some settings (also dumb).

I was also hoping HK might include some extras like the ability to dim or turn off the power light, and auto-dimming on all lights... but no such luck.

Sean
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post #647 of 2863 Old 10-31-2008, 08:34 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by staticks View Post

Can anyone confirm a noticeable difference in the black level quality of the video?

The Blu-Ray movie (Baraka) I watched tonight had the best picture quality I have yet seen. I have a pretty good eye for black level (given that I calibrate my own display) and blacks looked very good and accurate. Can't say for sure that the FW update had anything to do with it, but it certainly didn't hurt picture quality. In hindsight, I should have taken a full set of calibration readings before and after the FW update. Perhaps someone else has done so.

Sean
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post #648 of 2863 Old 10-31-2008, 09:08 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Opuntia View Post

What's the point of even having a "time-out" for audio, why can't the audio channel just remain open?

Well it was just a kind of open ended question to ponder, but if I were to throw some ideas out I could see several reasons to have an audio "time out" feature. As stated before, it would be a power saving feature. A second reason would be to drop any noticeable static, hiss, or feedback when the volume is high and no real signal is running. Lastly maybe to drop a bit of wear and tear on the product itself. Is it really necessary? who knows, but regardless it SHOULD bring itself back online when it recognizes the signal is back. Not a deal breaker if it doesn't happen all the time but i would get pretty annoyed if it was so short that it cut out when fast forwarding through commercials.
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post #649 of 2863 Old 10-31-2008, 09:30 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by stevek777 View Post

Same here. I am using monoprice cable. Vista recognized it and installed Prolific USB to Serial interface. Vista told me it was successfully installed as COM3. HK Software detected it as COM3 and set COM3 automatically. But I am getting the same failure message. Is it the cable? Drat!

Me too. I have tried the Gigaware Usb>serial cable mentioned in the update directions and a 232 male>female serial cable. I have tried it using 2 laptops with one running 64 bit Vista and the other running 32 bit Vista and my desktop PC running 32 bit Vista. Using the dekstop I can get the the update to the point where you have to turn the AVR on and wait 30 seconds then hit upgrade to start the video portion of the upgrade. When I click upgrade the program cannot find the AVR. When I tried using each of the laptops the AVR was never even recognized.
I know there have been some success stories with Vista but I have to believe the problem is with Vista. But thats just a guess. Tomorrow I am trying a friends XP machine. Hopefully that works.
Just to throw a question out there is anyone familiar with using serial connections and possible settings? When I connect the serial cable to the AVR 354 and then start the first upgrade it stays on searching for the AVR. I can disconnect the cable while it says searching and no error messages or nothing comes up.
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post #650 of 2863 Old 10-31-2008, 09:55 PM
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Can someone please help...
I'm using a Nextech usb to serial cable which I loaded successfully on windows XP laptop. I tried both available com ports and I keep getting that Upgrade fail message. I pressed the back download and reset many times over and still same error.
Does anyone have any ideas???
Also what's curious is that even after pressing the reset button my 254 still retains all my previous settings. Is my reset the problem????
Any help is appreciated.
Thanks
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post #651 of 2863 Old 10-31-2008, 10:33 PM
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yes this firmware upgrade is pissing me off also. I used a standard usb2serial with no results then went and bought a 38 gigaware witch the website tells you to use and go no results at all!!!

I finallly called H/K and they said the only cable that would probably work is a BELKIN usb to serial adapter. you can find one at walmart, bestbuy, ebay.

furthermore i am just a little pissed I am on my 3rd cable now this update better be Fing worth it,

apparently the flash file error is just ******** the h/k guy told me bc the cable is no good.

if you have any ideas please let me know !!!

joe
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post #652 of 2863 Old 10-31-2008, 11:07 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jlohojo7 View Post

yes this firmware upgrade is pissing me off also. I used a standard usb2serial with no results then went and bought a 38 gigaware witch the website tells you to use and go no results at all!!!

I finallly called H/K and they said the only cable that would probably work is a BELKIN usb to serial adapter. you can find one at walmart, bestbuy, ebay.

furthermore i am just a little pissed I am on my 3rd cable now this update better be Fing worth it,

apparently the flash file error is just ******** the h/k guy told me bc the cable is no good.

if you have any ideas please let me know !!!

joe

Do you have any computers with a straight-up serial bus/port? One of my older computers has one, and I just connected it to my receiver with a standard RS232 (serial) cable; no USB-to-RS232 converter needed. It worked just fine.
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post #653 of 2863 Old 10-31-2008, 11:10 PM
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So this upgrade is failing on the Video update portion on my laptop running xp and I am using a serial cable.

Same error as everyone else even after confirming the AVR is in Operate mode.

"Connecting to AVR unit.
Upgrade failed.
Please check the connection between the computer and your AVR."

Will start from scratch tommorow.
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post #654 of 2863 Old 11-01-2008, 01:57 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jehanzeb View Post

So this upgrade is failing on the Video update portion on my laptop running xp and I am using a serial cable.

It worked!!

Since the HK Upgrader software would not let me close or exit the program, I went as far back as possible, put the AVR in Standby, powered it on again and re-ran the steps. This time it worked.

Btw, the Video DSP upgrade Flash write step is extremely CPU intensive if you have a relatively older laptop. I noticed the CPU was pegged at 100% for this entire step.

Checked firmware on remote 1, 2, 3, 4 and OK: Ah, the latest one
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post #655 of 2863 Old 11-01-2008, 03:00 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TroyM View Post

I'll share my stupidity in hopes of helping someone else.

When you do the upgrade, be certain that you follow all the instructions. The 1st time I did the upgrade, it went super great and fast. The instructions said 45 minutes but my SUPERIOR install took only 20-25 minutes.

After finishing, the firmware appeared to be upgraded as the version had changed. I set about to reconfigure my system and started with the automatic speaker setup. To my disappointment, the auto setup would not work. Rather than sending annoyingly loud sounds to my speakers, there was nothing. It would just sit there saying it was "working". The manual speaker setup worked fine. I could force the sounds to produce.

I decided to try the upgrade again thinking I must have missed something. Boy, did I ever miss "something". What I realized was that after each iteration of sending data to the AVR, you are expected to change from standby to active and allow the AVR to read the buffer and write the contents. I realized that I had not done this the 1st time. Instead, I had only really allowed the final process to write the AVR. I think that was the video upgrade.

After doing the upgrade again, and not skipping any steps, everything worked great and the auto speaker setup routines worked normally again. My point in sharing my shame is to suggest that you might try the upgrade again and pay extra attention to each step if you notice any odd behavior after the upgrade.

So far, I'm very pleased with the upgrade. My PS3 now behaves as expected.


are you able to change resolution?
I did the firmware upgrade 3 times now and setting download/reseting each step exept for the video as it does not require one and the unit needs to be on unlike previous steps.
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post #656 of 2863 Old 11-01-2008, 03:47 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jehanzeb View Post

So this upgrade is failing on the Video update portion on my laptop running xp and I am using a serial cable.

Same error as everyone else even after confirming the AVR is in Operate mode.

"Connecting to AVR unit.
Upgrade failed.
Please check the connection between the computer and your AVR."

Appreciate the COM3 - COM4 feedback, but for me, COM3 is the only choice, and it appears to be correct, at least it agrees with the device manager. There are many options in RS-232. Speed, data bits, parity, stop bits, flow control. Does anyone know what the HK is looking for? This might be where the incompatibility is. My default setups are as follows:

bps: 9600
data bits: 8
Parity: none
stop bits: 1
Flow control: none

In advanced settings, I have a checkbox ON for Use FIFO buffers, which requires a 16550 compatible UART. I can also choose a different COM port, but I don't see why that would be an issue. This looks like real software and I hate to go and spend $35 to fix a problem a settings tweak would also fix.

Perhaps someone who has done it successfully could check the working settings and publish here. The device should appear in Device Manager under "Ports" - if you double-click on it, you should have a window that has a "Settings" tab.

Or maybe someone can get through to an HP support tech who can say something more helpful than "You need a different cable." There are thousands of possible combinations of settings, so trial-and-error is not an attractive option.
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post #657 of 2863 Old 11-01-2008, 05:03 AM
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So I bought a USB-Serial from NCIX(canada) and tried for about an hour with drivers (Vista 64 and XP 32) and no luck. The OS's would recognize the cable but whenever I tried to upgrade, I would get a connection failure. I tried to change COM assignments and fiddle with the settings, nothing!

In my despair, I picked a regular serial cable (from the source) - it's a nexxtech I believe - and connected it straight to a COM1 port on my ASUS mobo and the upgrade worked like a charm.

All the issues that have been described are gone (PS3 related mostly). But the only thing now is when I play an MP3 file from my PS3 can't assign anything as a sound other than 2 CH or virtual speaker, and if I set it to Auto, it says Multichannel PCM. Before the upgrade I was able to assign DTS or dolby or logic7.
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post #658 of 2863 Old 11-01-2008, 05:05 AM
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Hi!
Firsttime poster here.
I encountered a problem when updating my avr255.
After I push the Upgrade icon I only get like 10-12 bars (around 30%).
It just says:
Connecting to AVR unit.
Loading the new firmware.
I have waited for about 30 minuts without any progress on the bars. I use a USB to serial cable and XP. I have also tried it on a Vista same problem there!

Does anyone have a clue what the problem might be??
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post #659 of 2863 Old 11-01-2008, 05:27 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by vr4 View Post

are you able to change resolution?
I did the firmware upgrade 3 times now and setting download/reseting each step exept for the video as it does not require one and the unit needs to be on unlike previous steps.

Yes, I can. I don't seem to be having any issues with resolution. I've tested with a Tivo HD that is set to send 1080i at all times. I can have the AVR change it to 480p, 720p, and 1080p with no problems. It normally is just sending the 1080i it receives from the Tivo to the TV for deinterlacing.

I also have an Original Xbox at 480p and a PS2 at 480i. Both are being changed to 1080p in the AVR. I don't see any issues at all.
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post #660 of 2863 Old 11-01-2008, 06:38 AM
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Did the upgrade yesterday via my wife's Dell laptop (XP) & Dynex USB/RS-232 cable. I kept getting the fail message until I got to the last COM Port I could pick & it worked fine. Something to consider (if I remember correctly) is that you need to press the reset button on the back each time you try a defferent COM Port...I could be wrong though, I'm just going off memory here. Regardless, the process took around 20 minutes.

PS3 audio issues are fixed. I hear the opening "swoosh," all clicks, the begining of all audio tracks I stream from my PC & even after a 3 or 4 minute pause of a movie last night, audio started back up instantly. No PCM lock issues at all on my end now.
Video processing seems to be off when set to off.
Haven't checked for BTB/WTW yet.

Finally...this is the receiver I thought I was getting a few months ago.
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