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F4 and F8n freezing up


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Hello all, 

I had some issues with my Zoom F4 and F8n and wanted to see if other users have experienced this. 

The F4 would freeze, the elapsed time would stop, and no buttons would work and I’d have to remove external Talentcell power and remove the AA battery tray to get it to power down.

 

My setup is: 

Shooting with a hypercardioid boom mic into input 1 of Sound Devices 442, direct outs 1-4 into the Zoom F4, recording to PolyWav files on (2) Sandisk 32GB Class 10 SDHC cards. Using breakaway from SD442 to camera. 

 

Then, I got the F8n, hooked it up to all this the exact same (SD442 direct outs to F8n 1-4)  and had the exact same problem on a shoot today, along with a high pitch squeal coming through my headphones when it froze up.

I unplugged the Talentcell battery to just finish the take out on my Eneloop AAs, but the elapsed time was frozen. I removed the Eneloop AAs to get it to shut down. Started up again without Talentcell and it froze again, so it’s not the external power.

I ran a Quick Test on both cards and both came up OK.

Kept freezing so I ditched the F8n and just recorded from 442 to camera (which saved me! Pristine Sound Devices audio, someday I hope to upgrade) 

After the shoot, I ran a Full Test on both cards and after the 45 mins both came up OK. 

 

When I download the files, they are completely blank of information. The wav file is there, but no audio, as in only kb in size.

The only other constant is that I was filming in the exact same location for both the F4 freeze-up instance, and the F8n freeze-up. Not some wild industrial space, but just in an office in an office building. I can't imagine my environment would be able to tweak my recorder into a freeze (?). 

The main difference being F4 day had no external TC connected to recorder. 

F8n day had Timecode Systems external TC connected and wirelessly transmitting to a couple cameras. 

 

Any ideas? I only found 1 dude on Creative Cow who has had a similar issue and am waiting to hear back from him and the manual didn’t provide any clues. 

 

Thanks in advance for lending any expertise/thoughts,

 

Jeff

(JW feel free to move this to a better spot if I posted in the wrong area, I’ve been reading here for a while but rarely post) 

 

Sandisk 32GB Class 10 U-1 Extreme Pro 95mb/s SDHC Cards (freshly formatted and tested)

Talentcell YB1208300-USB

Audix HC microphone

Canare XLR cable

Timecode systems wireless TC boxes

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Thanks y'all. I guess it begs the question of what the actual point of the SD performance check is on the device if it then comes up OK only to then fail? 

 

I'll explore some other SDs. Are there any known offenders out there? This Zoom list has some new-to-me brands like GreenHouse, Baffalo, Silicon Power and IO Data. I've used Lexar, Sandisk and Kingston but not these others. I'll dig in and see what the 'net says about these. Cheers! 

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I'd get an approved Sandisk, Lexar, Toshiba or Transcend from a reliable seller to avoid counterfeits.

 

The performance check probably only checks a fraction of the card, since filling it up completely would take hours. so it's more to check if the general speed is ok, but it's well possible that some defective sectors are tripping the recorder when used under longer recordings.

 

 

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On 1/29/2020 at 11:17 AM, mclaindigital said:

When I download the files, they are completely blank of information. The wav file is there, but no audio, as in only kb in size.

 

Is this true on both cards?
Are both cards identical with identical recordings, do you have past projects on the card as well?

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9 hours ago, IronFilm said:

Is this true on both cards?
Are both cards identical with identical recordings, do you have past projects on the card as well?

Yes, see screenshot. Both cards had this on them. Files, but they were blanks. They were identical Sandisk 32GB cards. 

I've used them before on other lengthy recording sessions, but they were freshly formatted prior to the shoots. 

The 'recommended' list from Zoom - many of the part numbers aren't relevant any longer, so I guess I'm going to go for the next best thing I can find. 

Thanks for the recommendation Chris and Allen - and thanks IronFilm for chiming in, I know you are a Zoom user. Thanks to all for your time! 

Got myself some new cards - but man, as much as I'd like to use just the F8 in a bag, it makes me nervous to not have the breakaway or hop option off my 442 in play, just in case I have a card freeze again. I have a gig where I run outs to a PA for sound reinforcement while also filming and recording the presentation, and if I did this off just the Zoom and it went into freeze-and-squeal, that would be very bad! But at least if my outs are coming out of the 442 to the mains, the squeal won't come through and my breakaway can at least keep a recording going! Yikes. Hoping it is just an anomaly. Zoom tells me it's very rare. 

Chalking it up to Live and learn! 

 

 

Screen Shot 2020-01-28 at 10.22.50 AM.png

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9 hours ago, mclaindigital said:

They were identical Sandisk 32GB cards. 


Where did you buy these from?
 

9 hours ago, mclaindigital said:

Got myself some new cards

Where did you get these from?
 

9 hours ago, mclaindigital said:

Hoping it is just an anomaly. Zoom tells me it's very rare. 

It is. I hang out on the very active Zoom F series facebook groups (there are a couple of them), and I almost never see something like this posted. And usually we can trace it down due to some kind of user error such as using Class 4 cards, or just something plain dumb like locking the card. 

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Thank you David - both sets from B&H - going to try a couple different brands and run some record tests on these next ones. 

Cards I was using were Sandisk Class 10 95mb/sec cards. And I would assume if the card was locked I wouldn't be able to get anything recorded at all? 

In both instances this happened, (on my F4 and on my F8n) it recorded for a few minutes before freezing, both times resulting in zero kb recorded to the cards. The only constants in both situations were: 1. My location, office building where we shoot this bit  2. The operator (me)  3. The cards 4. The record scenario/settings

The only differences between the two occurrences were F4 one time and F8 the other, no external TC on F4 occurrence, external TC on F8 occurrence.

I can't imagine an office environment would be emitting any kind of signal that would make both an F4 and F8 freeze up. And I am not sure what sort of settings I would be employing to make the device act like this (single mic, channel 1, dual record, that's it) and it's never been a problem on any other time I've used it - only in that specific location with those specific cards. I thought maybe the SD442 going direct in could be causing an issue, but my headphones are in the F8, where I'm hearing the high pitch squeal, not the 442. So, by my eye, it's gotta be the cards. Good to know about the FB groups too! Thanks! 

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  • 2 months later...

Are they working ok now? Is this Talentcell solution a legit one? it seems like not a highly appropriate solution for a professional tool.

 

The high pitch squeal can indicaate a voltage issue.

 

Those SD cards are the only ones I use in almost all my machines (in other recorders and some cameras too) and I found them to be super reliable, if bought from a reputable dealer.

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39 minutes ago, Kisaha said:

Is this Talentcell solution a legit one? it seems like not a highly appropriate solution for a professional tool.

 

Talentcells are one of the most recommended power solutions for Zooms; the issues are 1) non-locking power connectors and 2) an external on-off switch.

 

I got around both by designing and 3d printing a battery cap that physically holds the connector in place and makes it very difficult for the switch to accidentally be hit. I suppose you could modify the battery pack with a locking 2.5mm jack and a different switch, but the cap was easier.

 

I haven't had any issues with the packs introducing noise. I just bought a second one and rewired the input for my BDS so that I can hotswap the batteries.

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Since the Zoom media test passed, but you had a failure, I'd appreciate it if you could tell Zoom what happened and see if they want your SD cards so they can analyze the problem and tell us what happened and/or improve their media test.

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