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My ZDAC-1 just died (Read 13002 times)
Donnie
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My ZDAC-1 just died
04/30/11 at 01:53:36
 
I was just toggling my ZDAC from USB to Coax and it died.
The green light is on but nothing is coming out. I've toggled it back to USB, nothing, toslink, nothing. Powered down and back up, nothing.
I hear something clicking inside when I change the switches but no sound. Other than thinking that the computer let it's deamons loose inside of my dac, I'm at a loss of what to do.
I will try a hard shutdown and check fuses but with the green light on I doubt that it is a power issue.
Film at 11:00!
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Re: My ZDAC-1 just died
Reply #1 - 04/30/11 at 01:57:09
 
Sorry indeed to hear that! I would call Steve as soon as you can. . .
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Donnie
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Re: My ZDAC-1 just died
Reply #2 - 04/30/11 at 03:28:03
 
I shut it down, unplugged it, checked the fuse, unhooked everything from it. Reconnected everything and turned it back on. Nothing but a quiet clicking from inside the box. It sounds like a road trip to E. Peoria is in my future. I'll tell my boss that I have a vendor visit in Peoria and get paid to drive up there and back.
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Donnie
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Re: My ZDAC-1 just died
Reply #3 - 04/30/11 at 12:33:34
 
Don't worry Pale, I was just kidding! We are still in full austerity mode, the days of frivolous travel are long behind us.
I am really bummed out about my ZDAC, it is what made everything work in my system. I'm back to analog outputs from my Wadia / IPOD and it sucks.
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Re: My ZDAC-1 just died
Reply #4 - 04/30/11 at 14:41:12
 
Donnie, I can't tell from your post if you have something hooked up via toslink or coax????? But if it is just the USB that is wired, it may be a simple computer thing. The clicking is probably just the DAC trying to switch to USB. I don't know Windows, but is there a system sound control panel or something like that, or some other system audio or sound panel where you can choose output paths? On my Mac, this happened once with my ZDAC and going to the system sound preference, internal speakers was highlighted. I clicked on USB and all was well. The computer had mysteriously switched to internal speakers, and not automatically connected to the USB out for some reason. It only happened the one time. Never since.

I hope this is it. Good Luck!
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Donnie
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Re: My ZDAC-1 just died
Reply #5 - 04/30/11 at 21:49:03
 
Will, My problem is with every input. I have my CD player coming in through toslink and my Wadia coming in through coax. Nothing works.
I think that something inside went bad. As I always say"Any technology I don't understand must be magic".
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Re: My ZDAC-1 just died
Reply #6 - 05/01/11 at 15:06:47
 
Ouch! Sorry to hear that.
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Donnie
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Re: My ZDAC-1 just died
Reply #7 - 06/17/11 at 00:25:14
 
I'm really starting to be disappointed with Decware. I checked back to this post to see how long I have been without my ZDAC and it has been a month and a half! Steve emailed me 3 weeks ago saying that parts should be in stock between 7-10 days. I'm not one to complain but I don't think that I'm out of line expecting that my $875 DAC should work for more than a week and if not, getting a replacment back to me quickly.
Again, I'm not really mad, just disappointed. My Torii is missing the input voltage. She wants to sing but can't.
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Re: My ZDAC-1 just died
Reply #8 - 06/17/11 at 00:33:42
 
I feel your pain Donnie! That does seem too long! Here's a sincere hope you have it very soon!
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Re: My ZDAC-1 just died
Reply #9 - 06/17/11 at 01:13:07
 
Donnie, Sorry to hear that. I would feel the same way.

Seems like a small business on a roll often runs into things like not being able to get and keep parts. Especially for such a small team with no real idea about what orders to expect from such a broad range of products, it must be hard to manage. Drag none-the-less!

I hope the ship comes in soon for you......
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Re: My ZDAC-1 just died
Reply #10 - 06/17/11 at 01:57:02
 
I understand the problems with niche market businesses. I have friends that supply motorcycle trials products, that market makes tube amps look huge. They grow quickly, reach saturation and soon fail. For Decware to last as long as they have shows me that they have a good business plan, but sometimes things get out of control. I just hate being the person that the business plan fails on. I'm sure that their main problem is that they don't have enough volume with their supplyers to have any clout. Bigger is better when you need something.
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Re: My ZDAC-1 just died
Reply #11 - 06/17/11 at 02:57:57
 
Please accept our apology for the delay in repairing your ZDAC.  I have been getting the crystals from Japan and since the earthquakes - there have been huge delays in parts.  We don't blame anyone for being disappointed, we are equally frustrated with these delays.  There are new ZDAC orders that have also been on hold for quite some time.  I have enough parts coming to fill current orders and repair or replace up to 10% of all ZDAC's sold.  This is why we have listed the ZDAC as sold out on the web page.  I don't want to take more orders until we see some assurance that this isn't going to keep happening.

Steve

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Donnie
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Re: My ZDAC-1 just died
Reply #12 - 06/17/11 at 23:16:08
 
Steve, Thanks for the explanation. Believe it or not this is the second thing that I have had affected today from the earthquake in Japan. You don't have any parts laying around for a Mitsubishi Hobbing machine do you? I just thought I would ask, you never know. Like I said before, I'm not mad at all, if I was there would be a dead body in your trunk and the police would be coming around the corner, LOL.
I'll just sit here and wait for the day that I can listen to James McMurtry songs at the volume that they deserve. Thanks again for making all of these great toys for a semi- grown up 50 year old child. You have no idea of how happy you have made me in the last few months.
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Donnie
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Re: My ZDAC-1 just died
Reply #13 - 08/30/11 at 23:30:35
 
WA-Hoo!!
I just got word that my ZDAC Is fixed. I'm going to make a road trip up to E. Peoria on Thursday to pick it up. All of that plus I can eat at Ming's Chinese Buffet. Sounds like a good day to me.
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Re: My ZDAC-1 just died
Reply #14 - 08/30/11 at 23:34:13
 
Awesome Donnie! Really happy for you!
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Donnie
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Re: My ZDAC-1 just died
Reply #15 - 09/01/11 at 23:30:11
 
Allright, I just got back from East Peoria with my ZDAC-1. Unboxed it, damn no power cord! I called Decware and they are shipping me one. I started looking around the house for something that I could use and found one on the back of my wife's Plasma TV. Seeing that she wouldn't be home until 11:30.... ZDAC hooked up and playing right now. Wow it really makes a difference. When I first had it in my system everything was new and I couldn't - didn't know what it was doing. First I must have gained 6-10 db in volume and so much more detail. I could go on like all of the reviewers but I don't know shit and quite truthfuly don't care if I do.
I talked to Steve for 10 -15 minutes, nice guy, seems like someone that I could talk to about a lot things and he would be able to have something interesting to say about whatever I brought up. I didn't keep him long, it looked like he had plenty to do and I didn't want to be a bother.
So anyway I've been able to turn my Torii down from WFO and enjoy some music.
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Re: My ZDAC-1 just died
Reply #16 - 09/01/11 at 23:55:50
 
Fantastic! Glad it's back!
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Re: My ZDAC-1 just died
Reply #17 - 09/02/11 at 00:43:53
 
Great news! Enjoy!
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Donnie
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Re: My ZDAC-1 just died
Reply #18 - 09/22/11 at 23:00:33
 
I am sad to report that my replacment ZDAC-1 has just also died in the same manner that the first one did.This leads me to conclude that the problem must be ME.
The only thing that I can figure is that my computer is hitting the ZDAC with something that isn't right. I can't imagine that two DAC's would die in the same manner without some sort of outside influence.
Both times that this has happened is when I had been playing a file off of my Dell computer, not my usual Gateway. When I unplug the USB cable and switch the ZDAC back over to coax to listen to my Ipod/Wadia combo, nothing plays.
I'm a little depressed right now, I guess that I will start looking for some kind of replacment DAC. I can't imagine that Decware would give me another one to blow up.

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« Last Edit: 09/22/11 at 23:17:08 by Donnie »  

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Re: My ZDAC-1 just died
Reply #19 - 09/22/11 at 23:10:41
 
Donnie, it shouldn't do that. . . I would definitely talk to Steve about it. So sorry to hear this!
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Re: My ZDAC-1 just died
Reply #20 - 09/22/11 at 23:50:09
 
Sorry this is up Donnie. I agree with Lon. I would check with Steve.

Have you tried unplugging the USB and then plugging it back in back of the DAC to see if DAC connects to the computer. Or cut off the ZDAC for a while, then power up again, connect the USB, and restart the computer with the DAC plugged in. It may be that the DAC Digital in is somehow confused? Also, once mine stopped working in this way and I went to the audio out on the MAC and found that, for some unknown reason, the DAC and Mac had not hooked up even though they had been playing together the days before. The Mac Audio out was still set on internal audio. I changed it to the USB and all was well. Worth a try anyway.
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Donnie
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Re: My ZDAC-1 just died
Reply #21 - 11/20/11 at 00:29:31
 
I have a interesting development to report.
I had more or less gave up on my ZDAC-1 ever working and had set it aside with plans on eventually sending it back to be fixed. In the interim I had moved my old Onkyo reciever back into the house and was using it as a DAC/preamp.
Last night I was talking to a old buddy and it came up that he didn't have any kind of sound system at all. I thought that it wasn't right for me to have 2 pretty good systems and he to not have anything, so I loaded up his truck with my Onkyo and NHT'S.
I just figured that I could listen to my Torii directly from the analog outputs from my Wadia and be happy with what I had.
Well this evening I looked at the ZDAC just sitting on the shelf and thought "what the hell" and hooked it up. Guess what, it worked! I have no idea of how long it will run or what I need to do to keep it running, but for now I'm pretty happy. Maybe there is something to this Karma stuff.
I still haven't tried hooking up my computer to the ZDAC, that always seemed to be when problems started. I'm pretty sure the computer lets it's Demons loose into the DAC and they run rampant destroying all that is good about a Zen designed circut. I could be wrong about that, you never know what demons are lurking about for.
The difference in soundstage and detail is pretty remarkable. I guess that the Onkyo was OK but this is MUCH better.
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Re: My ZDAC-1 just died
Reply #22 - 11/20/11 at 01:28:29
 
Yay heavy and a bottle of bread Donnie! Yeah, the ZDAC-1 is an awesome DAC, it's so sad that it's not available any longer. I had to spend many multiples of the price to really be wowed by another DAC (the PS Audio PerfectWave I'm using now). Glad yours is up and running again. Fingers crossed it keeps on working.
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« Last Edit: 11/20/11 at 01:29:01 by Lon »  

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Donnie
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Re: My ZDAC-1 just died
Reply #23 - 11/20/11 at 02:36:44
 
OK, I have a question. Do other owners of ZDAC's turn them off when you stop using it? In the past I just left it on, but giving my history maybe I should shut it down when I turn everything else off.
But then I hate to turn off something that is working for the first time in a month. Time will tell.......
I'm still trying to work up the nerve to hook my computer up to it. The bad thing is that I bought it to use with the computer and the Ipod/ Wadia combo was kind of a last minute addition just for convienience's sake.
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Re: My ZDAC-1 just died
Reply #24 - 11/20/11 at 02:59:18
 
I always left mine on. I don't do computer audio so I have no experience of it not working with a computer, and it always worked for me. The only times I thought I had a problem was in fact operator error. . . not having the switches in the right configuration but thinking I did. I confess that happened. . . more than twice. (I had the unit facing backwards, which didn't help).
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Re: My ZDAC-1 just died
Reply #25 - 11/20/11 at 04:13:58
 
I just took the plunge and hooked my computer up to my ZDAC. I played a bunch of different songs through it for a hour or so. I then shut the Winamp player down, unhooked the USB cable from the ZDAC, crossed my fingers flicked the switch to coax and turned on my Ipod. Success!
I'm going to shut it off when I go to bed tonight and hope that it will start up in the morning.
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Re: My ZDAC-1 just died
Reply #26 - 11/20/11 at 11:52:47
 
Great! Here's hoping that it keeps on keepin' on!
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Re: My ZDAC-1 just died
Reply #27 - 11/20/11 at 16:18:35
 
Donnie

I can think of 3 things that might cause your DAC to go bad and then fix itself.

1)  heat.  Fails when hot, runs when cool.  Just got through finding a bad processor in a PC that fails when it hits 92 degrees F.  Runs just fine now (winter) when my room temp is 70 and the processor is around 85, but failed regularly last summer when the room was around 80 and the processor was at 95.  Is your room temp cooler now than it was when the unit was failing?

2)  bad solder joint somewhere.  This would probably make the unit sensitive to vibration.  Move it and it works, move it again and it fails.  A light whack on the side of the unit might cause it to work/fail.

3)  power supply.  Perhaps a capacitor going bad might put the power supply right on the edge where almost anything is possible.  Probably would suspect this last though, after heat and vibration are ruled out.

Dan (met you at Decfest last month)
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Re: My ZDAC-1 just died
Reply #28 - 11/20/11 at 16:56:32
 
Well it didn't come back up this morning. I shouldn't have shut it off last night.
Thinking back on how it has went down before, I came to the thought that it always failed after the power was shut off. Once the power went out in my 'hood while I was at work and the ZDAC didn't come back up when I got back home. I'm going to experiment with shutting it off and on. If that doesn't work I guess that I will pack it up and send it back to E. Peoria. Damn, I was really liking how it sounded, it added a lot of punch to everything.
At one time I thought that it was something that I or my system was doing that  caused the problem but since then I've stuck another DAC in it's place with no troubles at all. Maybe the third time is the charm.
Dan,
Heat maybe, but it stays a pretty constant temp down here in my bunker, I'm 4' underground and it stays pretty close to 70 all of the time.
I have "Tapped" the DAC several times with no luck. Of course always remember that hitting a inanimate object only hurts yourself, and makes you look a fool to everyone else.
A power supply problem would be over my head, unless you want to design a machine to make it. As far as I can determine, electricity works off of smoke, if you let smoke out of something it never works again. When you go by a powerplant there is always smoke coming out of a chimney, that means excess power is being made. Simple.
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Re: My ZDAC-1 just died
Reply #29 - 11/20/11 at 18:26:09
 
Hey I thought there were little thunderstorms in all the components making lightning? Smiley

Hope you can get it squared away Don. I think another call to Steve may be in order. . . .
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Re: My ZDAC-1 just died
Reply #30 - 11/27/11 at 18:11:35
 
Donnie,

My first ZDAC had a quirk that appears to have had to do with warming up....maybe as Dan suggested...a weak solder connection or cap or resistor or something where warming up fully made it work. Anyway, the way I saw it develop was weird and Steve never figured it out, probably because it was not worth running down. At first the DAC worked fine. Turn it on and it worked. Then it started taking 10-12 minutes after turning it on until it would make sound. The light was on, and you could feel warmth, but no sound, presumably until something got fully warm???

This got worse taking more time to warm up....like 40-50 minutes if my memory is correct. So I just left it on. When I got time to have it gone, I sent it back and Steve replaced the output stage. Worked fine at first, but slowly ended up the same...fine if left on, but eventually taking a long time after turning it on to make sound. And it was not audibly fuzzy as it came to life....it just got to a point where it sounded great from no sound at all.

So though it worked as long as I kept it powered up, I finally I sent it back and Steve sent me a new unit that has worked fine for a long time now.

Don't know if this is related, but maybe.

Have you tried leaving it on for a long time?
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Re: My ZDAC-1 just died
Reply #31 - 11/27/11 at 18:58:27
 
Will,
When I get it to work I always leave it on. But if the power goes out it doesn't come back up. I'll just turn it on now and try it tomorrow and see if that makes a difference. I really need to get up off of my butt and send it back, but I keep thinking that it will heal itself.
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Re: My ZDAC-1 just died
Reply #32 - 11/27/11 at 19:21:39
 
Quote:
I keep thinking that it will heal itself.


Yes I know the feeling. For me it is motivated by the sound the thing is capable of, and not wanting to lose it. But alas, yours unfortunately needs to go to the mother ship for repairs!
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Donnie
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Re: My ZDAC-1 just died
Reply #33 - 11/27/11 at 20:30:40
 
Will, I'm giving my ZDAC one final chance. I hooked my CD player up to it through the Toslink connection and put it on repeat. We're going to let it cook for the next day or so and then hook it back up to the Torii and see what happens. My optimisim has no bounds.
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Lon
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Re: My ZDAC-1 just died
Reply #34 - 11/28/11 at 16:00:29
 
Fingers crossed Donnie. Hope it works!
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Donnie
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Re: My ZDAC-1 just died
Reply #35 - 11/28/11 at 23:21:19
 
Nope! It didn't work. I'm calling the Mothership tomorrow.
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dank
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Re: My ZDAC-1 just died
Reply #36 - 10/25/12 at 00:42:23
 
So, I got the "free" ZDAC (see "a contest of sorts" started 10-7-12 in the General Discussion and Support forum) and I'm digging into it and I could use some help.  I think I found Donnie's problem as the select lines to the CS8416 receiver chip were low at 1.8v.  Removal of 2 small surface mount resistors and the addition of a 1k brought the selects up to a logic compatible 2.5v and I'm now getting signals out of the CS8416 (OLRCLK, OSCLK, SDOUT when I play a song over the USB.  

However, the up-sampler daughter card was plugged in 1 row off (did you do this Donnie?) and it appears to be dead (although the oscillator and 3.3v regulator are working).  Does anyone know if the up-sampler board can be bypassed?  It looks like it can be with just 3 or 4 of the two pin jumpers you see on disk drives.

Also, does anyone know what the dip switches should be set to on the little CS4398 board?  Mine are set to on, off, off, off reading from pin 14 to pin 1 (left to right if the USB connector is in the upper right corner).

Thanks

Dan
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Donnie
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Re: My ZDAC-1 just died
Reply #37 - 10/25/12 at 01:42:09
 
Dan,
The only thing I ever did is remove the back cover to see if something was loose. Nothing fell out, so I screwed it back together.
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Donnie
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Re: My ZDAC-1 just died
Reply #38 - 10/25/12 at 01:56:49
 
Dan,
I just remembered that I gave the DAC to my brother who said he would look at it. Mystery solved! I blame Dale. He always was a little undependable.
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