XMOS Chip Stuck on old Firmware (SMSL M500 USB DAC)

Technical questions regarding the xTIMEcomposer, xSOFTip Explorer and Programming with XMOS.
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Re: XMOS Chip Stuck on old Firmware (SMSL M500 USB DAC)

Postby Bob54 » Fri May 22, 2020 6:47 pm

Can you share other flash firmware images for this box?
Firmware 1.07 https://download.shenzhenaudio.com/Smsl ... rmware.rar
Firmware 1.08 https://download.shenzhenaudio.com/Smsl ... rmware.zip
Firmware 2.01 https://www.audiosciencereview.com/foru ... zip.62112/

How many boxes are impacted by this issue?
I can’t answer this, but if you look at the “Owner Thread”, especially in last 2 months the number of post about this is growing a lot.
https://www.audiosciencereview.com/foru ... view.9606/
Here is also the official “answer” from SMSL:
https://www.audiosciencereview.com/foru ... ost-404332

Are others sending the audio box back for the fix?
I follow the this topic on the audioscienc-forum quite closely, but currently I didn’t read about any case where this item was sent back to china or was repaired.
Probably most people are afraid of the high shipping cost and very long shipping time and still hope for a software fix.
So they hesitate because the box is not completely “dead”… if it would completely bricked I think the situation would be different.
(Think most people like me outside asian region buy this devices on amazon. The devices are shipped from a domestic dispatch warehouse but the seller is still smls/ shenzenaudio or other traders in asia.)

How difficult is it to open this box to get access to the PCB?
I didn’t opened my device, but the owner and expert from the audioscience-forum opened his device to investigate this mentioned “thermal issue”.
From outside the box looks pretty easy to open (just some torx or imbus drawers on the front and back, the rest is just an aluminium block),
but he writes it was a bit challenging see: https://www.audiosciencereview.com/foru ... sis.10348/

Are you a hardware developer?
No, my main development occupation is about business software, web development and there backends.
In my spare time I just do some experiments with arduino stuff, but don’t have much hardware-dev experience.

If the box contained a JTAG like tool, called xtag3 for Xmos developers, then the fix would have been rather simple.
Just run xflash using xtag3 --> correct the flash and retry the upgrade. However, do not see this on the design.
Noting the above, wonder if there is a market for an affordable tool to fix the issue?

Yes already came across this JTAG Programmer. For the SMSL M500 I didn’t found something on the internet, but I stumbled upon something interesting:
There is a DAC “d5” from the company “sabaj” and to update the firmware of this device a external tool is needed. This is available on aliexpress..See links below:
(Smsl and Sabaj seem to be very close to each other... if they are not even the same company.)
https://www.audiosciencereview.com/foru ... 561/page-2

Not wanting to purchase this rather expensive box for development but will do so if there is a business model with a return on investment.
Personally not an audio developer and neither is our company but after seeing the margins in this field perhaps we should consider it.

Yes maybe you should :-D , the key to success would be to be close to the customer to avoid a situation like the one we have now, where the equipment has to be sent halfway around the world. Think that many people would send in the devices, because most people still like their M500 (or other similar devices) very much (because of the good sound and also special features like MQA which are not so often found). Because even if it is quite expensive with 300- 400 bugs, it is "just" the lower to midrange price range and therefore it's at least for "normal mere mortals" audiophiles more affordable than other stuff on the market. (Maybe modifications and fixing design flaws (like this heating issue) is also a business model)
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Postby mon2 » Mon May 25, 2020 3:51 pm

Hi. Thanks for your alert. Have posted some dialog on this topic here:

https://www.audiosciencereview.com/foru ... 547/page-5

Did email SMSL factory (Kelly) on Saturday and they did reply this morning, including details from their Engineering Manager. This is promising support.

The shipped systems do not have the ability to reprogram the external flash memory device as-is. That is, external hardware is necessary to fix the firmware.

As suspected, the issue is DFU related (as per my post on the above audio forum).

Reviewing now to see if the issue can be resolved using only software - believe there is a possibility of this fix but need quality time to test with our in-house XMOS tools.

Tomorrow they will share with us on how to open the M500 box but hoping this will not be necessary - as we do not have access to this product.

More details later...
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Postby Bob54 » Thu May 28, 2020 11:01 pm

Hello, yes I saw your post in the forum.

Already really interesting details!
A good sign that smsl is answering at all and I'm curious how the story ends.
Really looking forward for further details.

Thanks again.

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