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Nomad freezing problems


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My Nomad 6 delivered recently. I tested extensively at home without detecting any problems. I took it out on my first job last week and had some serious issues.

In the middle of recording a scene it stopped processing audio. I heard an audible pop, as if it was shutting down but it kept recording silence. A warning came up: "dangerously low external voltage". At this point my voltage meter read 0.0 and the interface was haywire. My NP1 battery had been reading 14.5 volts or so before this incident and I had internal batteries installed. I had tested the internal batteries previously by hot swapping an NP1 and the until didn't miss a beat.

I swapped out CF cards and the power cable and put in a fresh battery. I got the unit to work again but similar meltdowns happened several times over this 4-day shoot. Sometimes that same low voltage warning came up. Other times all audio just cut out with no explanation and I had to reboot. I was able to back myself up and luckily no meltdowns took place during critical moments but it was wildly stressful.

I spoke with technical support at Zaxcom but they were not helpful. They say it's my external power issue which is not making sense. If my external power is too low shouldn't the unit switch to internal power before ceasing all audio processing and freezing up? Another strange thing that happens occasionally is the unit won't turn off when I hit the power switch on the side of Nomad. This makes me think there is something wrong with the internal wiring related to power. It has occurred to me that perhaps the external voltage threshold is higher than I thought. Perhaps I should not let my batteries get below 14.6 volts? Not sure this explains everything though.

Anyone experience anything like this? Also, I installed the latest firmware update in the middle of this shoot, from 8.9 to 9.2 I believe. This did not help.

Any input on this is much appreciated. Is this a Zaxcom factory fix or something I can prevent?


Greg Miller

San Francisco, CA

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I discover most freeze caused by Mirror CF slot, Even i used the Transcend 133X 16Gb still sometimes Freeze happen....but 1 times as i close the mirroring , the whole day shooting saying 5,6 hours no freeze occur... then i open mirroring for copying files , mirroring 2 cards both are Scan disk 16Gb 60Mb/s , the first one ok, the second freeze once during mirroring....

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Keeping mirroring off during boot up has helped with some problems but I have had it engaged consistently during recording. Is it just as safe to wait until a scene or even a shoot is over before mirroring?

I have a transcend 133x 32g card in the primary. I have been swapping out the same model cards in the mirror slot and a sandisc 64mb/s 32g card that I borrowed from a camera op. Same issues with that in the mirror slot.

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First there is a user settable battery voltage warning adjustment. Go to the ENG menu and adjust it so you don't get the battery warning message prematurely. Is your external battery a Lithium battery - because lithium batteries die very quickly they can show a reading of 14.5 volts and can drop to 11 volts very quickly especially with age. Nomad should seamlessly switch battery sources essentially it will go to which every battery has a higher voltage - what type and what was was the sate of your internal batteries.

As far as Nomad not powering down using the switch - Zaxcom had gotten a bad batch of switches (they have since changed vendors). The biggest complaint regarding the switches is users have been reporting the switch getting stuck in the on position. Unfortunately It sounds like you may have gotten a bad switch. This though should have no affect on the battery warning.

Did you format your cards in Nomad?

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Jack : I used both Transcend 16 Gb 133 X in primary and mirror slot before, and has format mostly each time... freeze still sometimes randomly occur, but once i tried mirroring off, the whole day shooting is fine, so i suppose the situation pointing to mirroring.....

Greg, I found it quite safe for one day shooting of docu i experienced, i used to be though that mirroring is just for safe for recording , but now seems thing happen opposite.... But i do need more days testing ,since the freeze is very randomly.

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I've had one freeze during a shoot. Here are the particulars:


- Nomad 8 with v. 2.95 firmware.

- Zaxnet was OFF.

- No E.Q. or Hi-pass filters enabled

- Track and Output limiters engaged

- Recording 6 tracks with continuous mirroring ON.

- Both cards were Transcend 32gb 133x.

- We were recording an interview with a lav on one channel only

(but six tracks were still recording and being mirrored).

- Without warning, zzzt. It froze. Locked up and no sound being passed.

- I called "cut" and rebooted the machine.

- I turned off mirroring and finished the day with no issues.


That's my story and I'm sticking to it.

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Yeah, part of the issue may just be your external batteries. Mine are brand new LI-PO that have a LVC at 11V, but my nomad will still die when the display reads about 12.6 - 13V. But that does not explain why your nomad will not switch to the internals. What chemistry are your internals? And are they completely fresh?

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External batteries are NP1 lithium ion

Internal are brand new enercell 1.2v 2500MaH Nickel-Metal Hydride

Perhaps these are not powerful enough

Definitely don't need to lower the low voltage warning. It comes on currently after the machine has already stopped processing audio.

It does sound like I got a bad switch.

Has anyone returned their Nomad to Zaxcom over this issue and had them successfully fix


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Perhaps recording to 2 media is causing enough of a power usage spike on record that marginal batteries drop below usable levels for a second, and then the recorder thinks neither battery is adequate to continue rolling? Just a thought. Anyone experimented with this when running on an AC supply?

phil p

I was running on a lithium NP-1 with hours of use still available.

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Unless you have multiple pieces of outboard equipment (batteries, cables, CF cards) causing different and odd problems at exactly the same time (highly unlikely), and after replacing all of those items the replacements all have the same problem (virtually impossible), it can only be an internal issue with the Nomad that will probably require the factory to fix. But before you do that, revise the software and restore factory defaults. After that, if the problem happens again, I'm afraid it will need to be sent to Zaxcom.

Glen Trew

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