Pioneer DVR-A09XLB Firmware Upgrade Qs

Hello all.
I’m not sure if this belongs here or on the Firmware forum.
But being that I saw several 109 firmware posts here and none @ Firmware…

Drive: Pioneer DVR-A09XLB (Ultra DMA 4)
Firmware: v1.17 (Shipped Firmware)
Media: Taiyo Yuden 8× DVD+R (YUDEN000T02)

I’ll be receiving some YUDEN000T02 media today, (from Rima of course)
so procrastination is gonna have to wait, because I need to update.
Logically, one would download latest firmware from manufacturer’s website
and update using the utility provided by the manufacturer, right?
Well, while browsing around the forums,
I ran into several 109-firmware-update-horror-stories that tell me otherwise;
and naturally… well, they got to me.
For starters, (from what I’ve read) it seems that the latest version isn’t always the best.
Not just one, but many posts complaining about things such as
a decrease in burning speeds, random errors, a decrease in success rate, etc…
occuring after having updated to the latest firmware.
Then, there’s the method of flashing.
Apparently, the official method of flashing is again, not always the best choice.
Some got errors during the update, some got errors after the update.
And some just couldn’t update using the official method all together!
But my biggest concern, and probably the reason why I’m taking this so seriously,
is the little note that Pioneer put on their site:
“Once updated to version 1.58, this drive will not revert to older firmware versions.”
And to make matters worse, it looks like that applies to some older versions as well.

As you can see, I’m worried, I’m confused, and I’m frustrated.

I guess my first question is:
Which firmware version should I update to?

Now most of you will probably say “the latest” without even needing to think.
And you’re probably right, maybe the latest version IS the best. (common sense)
But I can’t just ignore all those horror stories I read.
Not to mention, that if I make the wrong choice, I may not be able to revert.
So I’d really appreciate if my concerns were acknowledged in your recommendations.
Maybe I scared myself to death for no reason. (wouldn’t be the first time)
But I guess I’d feel better if I heard it from you guys.
(I should add that I plan on burning Dual Layer DVDs in the near future.)

My next question is:
What method should I use to update?

There’s, of course, the official method. (which I’m a little skeptical of)
And then there’s DVRFlash. (which I know nothing about)
Now I’ve always been an “official” kind of guy… when it comes to updates.
I hate mods, I hate hacks, I hate homebrews and I try my best to avoid them.
But if the official method is as problematic as it’s said to be, then I guess I’ve no choice.
However, I don’t want to use DVRFlash if there is no advantage in doing so.
Even less if there are drawbacks or risks involved.

Finally:
Is there a way to revert, and if so, does it depend on the firmware or the update method?

Perhaps it’s what makes anything of this nature so scary; the “no turning back” clause.
Especially with my luck…
Hopefully, there’s a good enough firmware version out there that I won’t need to revert.

I’m probably making this much more complicated than it is. (as usual)
But I really love this Pioneer drive and screwing up means, “Bye, Bye Love.”
So, I would like to be sure of what I’m doing, before I do it.
Thank you all for your time and patience.
I look forward to your replies.

@nQuirer

I suggest using Dvrupdate 0.9 if flashing your Pioneer 109!
For me the best firmware is the latest from 8.58 buffalo!
With DVRupdate it’s easy to go back to your old firmware!

pionneer :stuck_out_tongue:

I knew I was missing something.
With so many different versions of this drive out there,
I can’t believe it didn’t occur to me to post a picture of my actual drive.
My appologies.

Here’s a picture of my drive:

It came in [B]this retail packaging.[/B]
Hope that helps.
My YUDEN000T02s came in earlier today. YAY!
But I think it’s best that I wait till I know which firmware I should update to before I start burning.
Thanks again.

Hallo,

I see you’re yousing a A09, so you should use the latest official firmware from Pioneer.

Here you can download the latest fw 1.58

http://wwwbsc.pioneer.co.jp/product-e/ibs/device_e/file/DVRA09_FW158EU.EXE

richman :wink:

Thank you for your reply.
I don’t know if you actually read my entire post. (wouldn’t blame you if you didn’t)
But I read that v1.58 has resulted in nightmares for some people here.
And since you can’t revert, I’m a bit shaky about going with it.

[B][U]Would it be better to just upgrade to something like v1.55?[/U][/B]

It just looked to me like that version was the best one, overall.
I’m probably wrong, but again, I’m only going by what I read.
Anyway, thanks for your help. :slight_smile:

Hallo,
I think you can update to version 1.55 without any problem, because fw 1.58 has only several new Media Codes which are mostly unknown or crappy media!
I’m using a Pioneer 109 with firmware 8.58(1.58 with bitsetting from buffallo) and i have no problems so far with good quality media!(Verbatim 16x+r, CMC 8x±r, Optodisc 8x, RICOR R03, DAXON AZ3, Yuden T02, CMC 16x+r and SONY 16x-r)

You should decide whether you’re using 1.55 or 1.58!

pionneer :cool:

DVRUpdate can take your firmware up, down or sideways, at least amone retail, bulk and some of the better known OEMS.

BUT: You most have a copy of the firmware - it can’t go “back” to one that was only on the drive, as there are no firmware extracting programs.

Thank you both for the quick replies.
I’m feeling a lot better about this whole update shebang.

@Pionneer:
I noticed that’s the second time you mention that Buffalo firmware.
Bitsetting may come in handy, but I want to be clear on something first:

[B][U]Are there any drawbacks to using Buffalo firmware as opposed to using official?[/U][/B]

I know that riplock is one of them.
If you know of any others, please let me know.

@Matth
You seem pretty confident about DVRUpdate.
Two quick questions:
[B][U]If I update to v1.58 via [I]official method[/I], can I still use DVRFlash to revert later?[/U][/B]

Maybe it doesn’t make a difference, but I’d like to know for sure.
By “revert”, I never meant magically “rolling back” to my previous version.
However, I do have the actual v1.17 firmware file in my possession.

Last:
[B][U]Are there any cons to DVRFlash in comparison to the official method?[/U][/B]

I know that revertion is the pro, but I’d like to know if there are any cons before I risk it.
Just want to know for peace of mind.

Thanks.

By using DVRFlash, also by using the offical updates in general, you must know what you are doing or it can lead to an accident.

Hello chef, and thank you for your reply.
I have, however, updated optical drive firmware before. (yes, successfully)
I mean, I’m no “Guru” or anything, but I know [I]what[/I] I’m doing.
Hell, getting the right file is probably the hardest part.
The rest, is pretty much self-explanatory.
Not to mention, Pioneer kindly provides a nifty guide for the whole thing.

Still, I don’t think the question here is [I]’[B]what[/B]’[/I], but rather ‘[B]which[/B].’
[B]Which[/B] method should I use, [U]Official[/U] or [U]DVRFlash[/U]?
And if you notice, all my questions thus far have been formulated to make it
so I’m not crossing my fingers as I execute that decision;
being that there are still some things I’m a little shaky about, in regards to the two.

Nonetheless, I appreciate the advice and I hope you can help me a bit more.
:flower:

I think geting all available firmwares (latest versions) and testing them with your prefered media is the best way to find out what you want for your drive.

For flashing you could use DVRFlash and DVRUpdate.
The offical flashers/updates will not allow you to flashback or crossflash your drive.
All possible firmwares (and kernel files) can you find here.

If you want that your drive remains a real XL one, I would suggest using 1.58 either stock or RPC1.
I think the Buffalo 8.58 is the best choice overall.

It is always possible to flash back using DVRFlash by using the standard and a suitable kernel firmware.

Good Luck!

Does the web browser you use alter the HTTP protocol? No, and neither does the flash program you use alter the flashing protocol. What does change is the removal of the “idiot checks”, that prevent flashing on to the wrong OEM model or derivative, flashing same-on-same, or flashing backward. Most of the “errors” thrown by the flashers relate to things that are occuring prior to the actual erasure/programming sequence.

Pioneer’s flasher enforce their official position, that you can’t flash over the same version, you can’t flash an older version, you can’t flash an RPC1 drive, and you can’t cross-flash to a different version of the drive.

Flashing a drive is not a risk free operation, whether you use stock or modified firmware. You are basically performing a brain transplant, so make sure that things like the power being removed mid process do not occur. So flash in safe mode, or make sure all applications, anti-virus and other naferious crap is not running and interfering with system operation.

Runing either flasher would be equally fine, but clearly if you want to do something the Pioneer flashers don’t support (or explicitly forbid) then you will have to use alternate tools.

One of the main reasons people what to flash to earlier versions is that Pioneer has de-rated their favorite media, ie one that was burning at 12X, but now only burns at 8X because Pioneer has decided that the media hasn’t performed well in the lab, and the safe policy is to burn it slower. Depending on the production line or batch, the media the user has might perform better, but Pioneer doesn’t have your burner or your media to test, so goes with a general solution.

There are also technical reasons why going backward may not be a good plan, clearly an older firmware can have no knowlegde about what a future version might do whereas an newer version will know what versions preceeded it. Can Word 6 read a document file edited by Word 2000?

So flash your drive with incremental firmware versions, and decide if they perform how you want. There is no point upgrading if the version you have now peforms properly, upgrades usually will address media you don’t have, or technical anomalies which you may never encounter. If it works, leave it alone.

Brother Vlad