DD1 firmware update problem: Wireless Quick Release Initial Ping Failure - Potential Solution?
Note: I will likely ramble a bit due to the horrific experiences I've had dealing w/ Fanatec to date, so if you just want the potential solution scroll down.
The Airing of Grievances:
I recently purchased the Podium F1 wheel + DD1 base + CSL V3 pedals (received them all yesterday) and so far the experience has been nothing short of a nightmare. When installing the latest driver software (402) and going to the properties page I was prompted to update the base firmware. That seemed to work just fine. Then it prompted me to install new firmware for the Wireless Quick Release. This installation appeared to fail with the dreaded "Initial ping failure" message. I googled this and found several forum posts here describing this problem, steps attempted to troubleshoot, and ultimately RMAs being issued for this problem.
I attempted to uninstall the 402 driver and install multiple older ones (one at a time) with the base connected to a USB2.0 port instead of a USB 3.0 port. Attempting to go through the update process seemed to provide different errors depending on the version I was using, but ultimately nothing I tried worked. As a result I filed a support ticket w/ Fanatec and was immediately offered an RMA and told that I'd be responsible for paying taxes/duties on the new unit.
I'm from Canada, and ordering directly from the Fanatec US webshop. When I placed my first order initially, I accidentally selected a desk mount that was incompatible with the DD1 base. I realized my mistake within an hour of the purchase as I was reading through the tech specs of the parts I ordered. I ended up cancelling that order and placing a new one w/ the appropriate desk mount. Instead of simply cancelling the initial credit card authorization, Fanatec decided to bill me for it, then to do a separate transaction for the refund. As a result I got screwed out of over $150 due to the exchange rate difference. I would have expected this had I not cancelled my order so quickly - pre-auth transactions post in ~ 24-48 hrs so after that time I realize there's no choice but to issue a refund instead of cancelling the original transaction. That said, my cancellation (and the refund transaction) were well within that time window. I don't know why this is their process for cancelling foreign currency transactions, but I'm hoping somebody who can do something about it reads this and realizes how infuriating it is to hand over $3000.00+ local currency and get screwed out of an add'l $150+ just because of the way you guys process your cancelled orders.
After submitting my support request I kept reading through other forum posts until I came across this one: https://forum.fanatec.com/discussion/comment/67664#Comment_67664
Fortunately, I have a stack of old laptops as I had to go back a few generations to find one with a USB 2.0 port on it. The laptop is an old Lenovo that I haven't booted in years, and still has Windows 7 on it. I installed driver version 381 on this laptop, plugged in the wheel base, and all of the firmware updated successfully - albeit to slightly old versions being that the driver is a few versions old. The wheel finally showed up in the Wheel Property Page and allowed me to perform function tests, calibrations, etc. It also showed up in FanaLab.
On my main PC that I plan to use the wheel on, I uninstalled the Fanatec driver, and installed the 381 driver and rebooted. I plugged the base/wheel/pedals in to my new PC and suddenly everything worked beautifully. I've only gotten to use it for ~ 30 mins since, so I've got no idea if this is a permanent solution, or whether something will go wrong after a few hours use, but I will make every effort to come back and update this thread after a few days use.
All that said, I'm now really confused. The fact that I got the wheel working and updated using an old laptop, with an old OS with USB 2.0 ports seems to suggest that there's no hardware problem with the wheel/base at all, but that the problem lies either with the drivers, or the firmware updater/bootloader. My questions to Fanatec staff are the following:
- Since this issue has been talked about SEVERAL times in these forums, and they almost all result in an RMA - what specifically is the hardware issue that needs to be solved with the wheel? I'm not keen to RMA this thing, and having to pay for taxes/duties AGAIN because YOU sent me a defective product unless I'm certain that the issue will be fixed when I get a replacement unit. If someone can respond to this with specifics it will go a long way to reassure me that you actually know what you are doing and that I won't simply have the same problem w/ the replacement unit. I noticed that the previous posts that all suggest they got an RMA are suspiciously void of any update as to whether or not their replacement unit worked when they got it.
- If this is some known problem (which it appears to be based on the volume of forum posts here, and the fact that the support team immediately issued an RMA vs. attempting to do some troubleshooting) why are you still shipping bases with these defects? If you understand the problem why aren't you fixing it (or testing for it) before shipping these units out? Shelling out over $3000 CAD for your products, only to have them arrive possibly defective in combination with my previous order cancellation experience has left an incredibly sour taste in my mouth.
These are only my thoughts and, admittedly, could be entirely wrong.
When I first placed my order I thought I was buying a premium product. I've since been given the impression that Fanatec is a few people working out of a garage. I imagine they're really good at manufacturing because the physical build quality of the products are amazing. Unfortunately, it feels like their software/firmware development was outsourced to Fiverr.
I see posts full of issues and the blame being put on "the computer" and advising people try another computer. This makes my head spin. It's NOT a problem with the computer, it's a problem with trash software/drivers. I'm very much looking for confirmation from anyone on these forums that they've run into the same hassles, tried this solution, and had a working wheel for a good length of time. The absolute last thing I want to do at this point is interact with Fanatec in any way, so if I can get away with avoiding an RMA based on a stranger's report that their wheel is still working after this I'll trust that over Fanatec support. Honestly, this whole experience has me so infuriated that I'm as likely to destroy the entire kit with a baseball bat and put the video online vs. spending another penny on taxes/duties and another minute of my time dealing with Fanatec support.