Author Topic: Buyer Beware: Siglent Electronic Load  (Read 2134 times)

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Offline digby70

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Buyer Beware: Siglent Electronic Load
« on: June 23, 2021, 01:15:22 am »
I purchased a Siglent SDL 1020X-E Electronic Load 3 weeks ago. Upon receiving the unit, I attempted to upgrade the firmware.
This upgrade failed and the display gave me multiple error messages (see attachment.). In addition the unit did not function at all.
I returned the unit to the place of purchase and they sent me another Siglent SDL 1020X-E and I tried again to upgrade the firmware but
experienced the same problem. This makes me doubt the quality of their products. I am now wondering if others are having problems with
Siglent test equipment as I was going to purchase a spectrum analyzer from them. [attachimg=1]
 

Online TheDefpom

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Re: Buyer Beware: Siglent Electronic Load
« Reply #1 on: June 23, 2021, 01:20:01 am »
I have the same load and updated the firmware without issue, it is certainly an interesting issue.
Cheers Scott

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Offline digby70

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Re: Buyer Beware: Siglent Electronic Load
« Reply #2 on: June 23, 2021, 01:28:32 am »
I reported the incident to Siglent and they are looking for a solution.
 

Online james_s

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Re: Buyer Beware: Siglent Electronic Load
« Reply #3 on: June 23, 2021, 01:39:48 am »
I suspect it's defective. Getting a bad one straight out of the box is not unheard of,  it even happens with the big guys like Fluke, Tek and Keysight once in a while.
 

Offline mindcrime

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Re: Buyer Beware: Siglent Electronic Load
« Reply #4 on: June 23, 2021, 01:43:24 am »
To be fair to Siglent, I wouldn't rush to judgment knowing that pretty much every manufacturer on the planet has had some variation of a similar problem at some point in time. The software / firmware industry in general is not particularly competent at shipping quality software (and I speak as someone who has been writing software for 20+ years). Software is hard and everybody screws it up at some point in time. I'd give them a little time to research it and get back to you before judging them as "low quality" in general (relative to the rest of the industry that is).

I'm sure Keysight, Rohde & Schwarz, GW Instek, Rigol, Fluke, Yokogawa, Keithley, Tektronix, etc., etc., etc. have had their share of machines over the years where a firmware update failed.

 

Online tautech

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Re: Buyer Beware: Siglent Electronic Load
« Reply #5 on: June 23, 2021, 02:53:49 am »
I purchased a Siglent SDL 1020X-E Electronic Load 3 weeks ago. Upon receiving the unit, I attempted to upgrade the firmware.
This upgrade failed and the display gave me multiple error messages (see attachment.). In addition the unit did not function at all.
I returned the unit to the place of purchase and they sent me another Siglent SDL 1020X-E and I tried again to upgrade the firmware but experienced the same problem. This makes me doubt the quality of their products. I am now wondering if others are having problems with Siglent test equipment as I was going to purchase a spectrum analyzer from them. [attachimg=1]
Welcome to the forum.

Good on you for coming here and having a bitch however what you have offered is a lot short on detail.  :-//
Which FW version upgraded from to which version ?
Source of FW files used to upgrade ?
What instructions did you use for FW installation guidance ?
Avid Rabid Hobbyist
 

Offline TurboTom

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Re: Buyer Beware: Siglent Electronic Load
« Reply #6 on: June 23, 2021, 08:36:54 am »
Did the electronic load work ok out of the box before the firmware update attempt? I'ld always recommend to check general function to be sure a product is working as it's supposed to before applying any updates or modifications (should be common sense actually...)  ;).
« Last Edit: June 23, 2021, 08:38:56 am by TurboTom »
 
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Offline digby70

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Re: Buyer Beware: Siglent Electronic Load
« Reply #7 on: June 23, 2021, 03:53:03 pm »
Yes, the unit worked fine before the attempted upgrade.
As far as detail, my purpose for the post was not to "bitch" but merely provide general information. Particular details were provided to Siglent USA.
 

Offline digby70

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Re: Buyer Beware: Siglent Electronic Load
« Reply #8 on: June 23, 2021, 05:05:53 pm »
Problem solved: I was using a Verbatim 16 GB flash drive to upgrade the firmware but the upgrade failed. Upon switching to
a Cruzer 2 GB drive allowed the unit to complete the firmware upgrade successfully (both of these drives do work in my PC and laptop).
 

Online james_s

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Re: Buyer Beware: Siglent Electronic Load
« Reply #9 on: June 23, 2021, 06:02:38 pm »
It's possible the instrument just can't deal with large drives, >2gb is a common barrier when working with devices that are either older or based on a microcontroller rather than a full fledged PC.
 

Offline kcbrown

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Re: Buyer Beware: Siglent Electronic Load
« Reply #10 on: June 23, 2021, 09:10:10 pm »
Problem solved: I was using a Verbatim 16 GB flash drive to upgrade the firmware but the upgrade failed. Upon switching to
a Cruzer 2 GB drive allowed the unit to complete the firmware upgrade successfully (both of these drives do work in my PC and laptop).

This is clearly a bug in the firmware update mechanism, either on the software end or the hardware end.  A failed upgrade should never compromise the device.  Flash memory is so cheap these days that there's absolutely no excuse for the device to not have enough to store both the pre-upgrade boot image and the upgraded one, so that boot from the pre-upgraded one would happen in the event the upgrade fails or is incomplete.  Verification of the upgraded version in flash is an obvious required step, as is integrity checking the firmware image copied from the USB drive prior to installation of it, as is not changing which of the two boot images the device will boot from until after the installation has been completed (thus guaranteeing that in the event of a failure or interruption, the device will boot from the pre-upgrade image).

I would suggest registering a bug with Siglent on this.

« Last Edit: June 23, 2021, 11:59:08 pm by kcbrown »
 

Online james_s

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Re: Buyer Beware: Siglent Electronic Load
« Reply #11 on: June 24, 2021, 07:44:27 pm »
Flash memory is so cheap these days that there's absolutely no excuse for the device to not have enough to store both the pre-upgrade boot image and the upgraded one, so that boot from the pre-upgraded one would happen in the event the upgrade fails or is incomplete. 

I completely agree there. Unfortunately this sort of failsafe seems to be far less common than it ought to be.
 

Offline rf-loop

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Re: Buyer Beware: Siglent Electronic Load
« Reply #12 on: June 25, 2021, 04:14:25 am »
Problem solved: I was using a Verbatim 16 GB flash drive to upgrade the firmware but the upgrade failed. Upon switching to
a Cruzer 2 GB drive allowed the unit to complete the firmware upgrade successfully (both of these drives do work in my PC and laptop).

In many Siglent instruments there is limits. In some Siglent instrument one update was even so that Siglent told it can use Only! 8G USB with Only 4k cluster size. But so tight limits are rare,

With over 10 years experience with Siglent instruments I have made my own decision for my own use. I use only Kingston (2G, 4G) and 8G formatted to native FAT32 with 4k cluster sizes. And I keep these some sticks only for use with Siglent. These 2 and 4G have also led if there is some reason for watch activity)

Of course many Siglent instruments may work today also with bigger capacity USB sticks, but because in my homeland I also give technical support to some my friends etc... for avoid "Oops things" (I use these old USB drives so I do not need think what pass for what model) what I know works reliable and if with these is some problem I know that problem is not USB stick itself.
Also never use any USB stick what have used for some linux or some other boot... if so, they need restore to original factory state (deep format) and example in Windows, example using "diskpart" (Windows key + R and write just diskpart, after then you need really know what you are doing for avoid "oops")
Normal quick format is just bullshit for this purpose.
Last least 8 years I have never meet any single FW update  problem with Siglent instruments and I have done these quite lot (or other problems with USB sticks).
But mostly I do these things so that I use first brain and after then hands.
Also before plug out USB from computer, first close it... safe to remove and so on... (you may have experience it is not necessary... until you first time meet "what a shit happen" situation.
Deep format for critical USB drives are also good to do some times because it also find and block bad sectors ( I do it also for all new drives if used for critical purposes). It need remember that USB drives are not reliable!

Partition size, Cluster size

512  - 8191 MB,   4 KB
And note, for use with Siglent FW updates.  There must be only one partition!

« Last Edit: June 25, 2021, 09:35:06 am by rf-loop »
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Offline Sighound36

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Re: Buyer Beware: Siglent Electronic Load
« Reply #13 on: June 25, 2021, 10:26:35 am »
Rf-loop

Did you have a hand in this design or coding for this product or were the SA & VNA more your field of expertise?

digby70

Personally, If I find a fault with a test product I go back to the point of sale, explain the issue and leave the ball firmly in their court. 95% of time I receive satisfactory outcome. The vendor is more than happy to assist, if he cannot resolve the issue, the manufacturer is involved simple process. Personally, I find bitching about it on an open forum distasteful, However I would suggest that if all avenues have failed then this maybe your only option. Though if a manufacturer lets the situation escalate to this stage without intervention or just fobbing you off then possibly. Still, they are ways and means of going about it, just my observations.

Its called customer service, strange old fashioned concept I know but it is very valid personally I have encountered issues with various manufacturers and the suppling vendor has rectified the problem very positively.

Just a side bar;

Our company has a distribution company, and not so long ago I was presentating at a new product launch at one of our retailers, at the end of which I asked the question to around 20 guests (pre covid);

"What in your minds constitutes good dealer service?"

Answers ranged from:

'Phoning up at 4pm and getting a next day delivery'

'Giving me x£££ on a trade in and free delivery'

'Great coffee and chat'

So, I posed the question

If you purchased say a 48inch 4K tv from an online retailer, you could possibly save £250 on your purchase with a genuine warranty.
Now if in that warranty period the set went wrong, you call the supplier who says 'Right we will arrange for collection of the unit’ You have to remove it from its wall mount etc, pack it up securely and wait in for the courier to collect which will be between 8am and 6pm sorry we can’t be any more specific due to couriers’ route'

You do not get a loan unit in the meantime and its down the manufacturer whether they repair or replace the unit which could take up to three to four weeks, then you have the reverse of having to wait in for delivery and then mount and set up the tv again.

Purchasing from a reputable dealer you will not have these issues, they will arrange collection and removal of the faulty unit at your convince and will leave a loan unit while your faulty one is attended to. Then when ready will arrange a delivery time to suit you and reinstall the unit.

Yes, you pay more, however is this customer service worth the extra against two days out or paying the mother in law to stay in and wait for the collection and drop off?


You pay your money and makes your choice
« Last Edit: June 25, 2021, 03:39:52 pm by Sighound36 »
Seeking quality measurement equipment at realistic cost with proper service backup. If you pay peanuts you employ monkeys.
 
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Offline 2N3055

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Re: Buyer Beware: Siglent Electronic Load
« Reply #14 on: June 25, 2021, 12:52:02 pm »
I stumbled upon this topic, and must say that Sighound summed it up nicely.

My first reaction was:

1. If I tried to flash 2 different devices and they had same error, first thing I would check is what I did wrong.
2. Error was to try upgrade with same device that was involved in first unsuccessful upgrade. I would download again, use different stick with fresh format.
3. I would contact vendor to try to troubleshoot with them.
4. Only after I had definitive proof that it wasn't my fault and with explanation what is wrong and if vendor would refuse to fix the problem although it was their to fix, and then only, I would publish to general public an inflammatory topic with inflammatory  title "Buyer beware...:"

This way it came out as: don't buy Siglent loads because I'm a Muppet...  :-DD

My advice to OP: Everybody make mistakes.. God knows I reacted too soon many times in my life..  But please be so kind and fix (edit topic title to something like: False alarm and warning: Siglent Loads are sensitive to USB stick properties..). That would convert a mistake to a useful topic that will warn other users that if they have problem, the USB stick might be the culprit...
 
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Online nctnico

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Re: Buyer Beware: Siglent Electronic Load
« Reply #15 on: June 25, 2021, 01:09:41 pm »
My advice to OP: Everybody make mistakes.. God knows I reacted too soon many times in my life..  But please be so kind and fix (edit topic title to something like: False alarm and warning: Siglent Loads are sensitive to USB stick properties..). That would convert a mistake to a useful topic that will warn other users that if they have problem, the USB stick might be the culprit...
But still the DC load could have failed in a more descriptive / well defined manner; for example by checking the USB stick layout and testing the checksum of the firmware image to see if the image is actually complete. A message saying 'USB stick incompatible' or 'firmware image corrupt' is way more descriptive than the device getting into a non-working state.
« Last Edit: June 25, 2021, 01:37:54 pm by nctnico »
There are small lies, big lies and then there is what is on the screen of your oscilloscope.
 
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Offline Gridstop

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Re: Buyer Beware: Siglent Electronic Load
« Reply #16 on: June 25, 2021, 02:03:13 pm »
This way it came out as: don't buy Siglent loads because I'm a Muppet...  :-DD

My advice to OP: Everybody make mistakes.. God knows I reacted too soon many times in my life..  But please be so kind and fix (edit topic title to something like: False alarm and warning: Siglent Loads are sensitive to USB stick properties..). That would convert a mistake to a useful topic that will warn other users that if they have problem, the USB stick might be the culprit...

This is an incredibly insulting response to someone who has brought to light an inexcusable firmware bug in a shipping product. Nobody has pointed out where in the documentation siglent says you must use a specific size/format USB stick to perform the upgrade or the unit will be bricked, not just fail the update. I know because I went and looked and neither the firmware update instructions nor the user manual says anything beyond "The  SDL1  can  be  upgraded  with  new  firmware  using  an  external  FAT32 formatted USB memory device." That's it, nothing about size, nothing about sector size, nothing about the unit being bricked, nothing about the unit completely failing to validate the firmware before starting the install. This is absolutely not a 'False Alarm'.

Keep in mind people will have to use this flawed update process to upgrade to any future fixed version of the firmware, so anybody unfortunate enough to have not seen warnings like this thread is likely to have the same problem since larger and larger usb sticks are becoming the default. I think I just bought a 5 pack of 16GB ones for $10 from amazon. I only have a single <2GB kicking around the house. Anybody who hasn't hit this exact same problem before or seen this warning will be seriously likely to brick their siglent load in the same way. But I guess they all must be muppets so who cares.
« Last Edit: June 25, 2021, 02:09:43 pm by Gridstop »
 

Offline mawyatt

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Re: Buyer Beware: Siglent Electronic Load
« Reply #17 on: June 25, 2021, 02:17:40 pm »

With over 10 years experience with Siglent instruments I have made my own decision for my own use. I use only Kingston (2G, 4G) and 8G formatted to native FAT32 with 4k cluster sizes. And I keep these some sticks only for use with Siglent. These 2 and 4G have also led if there is some reason for watch activity)

Caution!!! Our luck with Kingston SD cards has been just the opposite, these are the only SD card brand that have failed (had 2) so we've removed all Kingston brand SD cards and destroyed them. I opened one before it was crushed, and found a unbranded micro SD card wire bonded to an SD case :o

These may have been counterfeit, don't know, but we don't buy memory products from unauthorized dealers off eBay, most are from B&H or local Best Buy which is likely where these Kingston cards came from.

Now, since the Kingston issue long ago all our memory products are from Sandisk, Transcend and the old Lexar (when they were owned by Micron which actually made the memory chips) and never had an issue with any of these memory sources. Our use was hard on the cards since many thousands of images were collected with our chip imaging work, this was repeated often so the cards got many read/write cycles with many images, tough use indeed!!

Don't want to bash Kingston, since these could have been fake and happened long ago, but we won't be using any Kingston memory product USB sticks or SD cards, others can decide for themselves.


Best,
« Last Edit: June 25, 2021, 02:27:44 pm by mawyatt »
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Online nctnico

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Re: Buyer Beware: Siglent Electronic Load
« Reply #18 on: June 25, 2021, 02:35:49 pm »
I have used hundreds of Kingston SD cards in products. Not a single problem. But these where sourced from a professional (business to business) vendor with traceable sourcing; not from the equivalent of the local supermarket that goes for rock bottom prices. However Sandisk and Transcend are also reliable brands.

All in all I'm quite sure you have bought counterfeits.
There are small lies, big lies and then there is what is on the screen of your oscilloscope.
 

Offline 2N3055

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Re: Buyer Beware: Siglent Electronic Load
« Reply #19 on: June 25, 2021, 02:59:53 pm »
This way it came out as: don't buy Siglent loads because I'm a Muppet...  :-DD

My advice to OP: Everybody make mistakes.. God knows I reacted too soon many times in my life..  But please be so kind and fix (edit topic title to something like: False alarm and warning: Siglent Loads are sensitive to USB stick properties..). That would convert a mistake to a useful topic that will warn other users that if they have problem, the USB stick might be the culprit...

This is an incredibly insulting response to someone who has brought to light an inexcusable firmware bug in a shipping product. Nobody has pointed out where in the documentation siglent says you must use a specific size/format USB stick to perform the upgrade or the unit will be bricked, not just fail the update. I know because I went and looked and neither the firmware update instructions nor the user manual says anything beyond "The  SDL1  can  be  upgraded  with  new  firmware  using  an  external  FAT32 formatted USB memory device." That's it, nothing about size, nothing about sector size, nothing about the unit being bricked, nothing about the unit completely failing to validate the firmware before starting the install. This is absolutely not a 'False Alarm'.

Keep in mind people will have to use this flawed update process to upgrade to any future fixed version of the firmware, so anybody unfortunate enough to have not seen warnings like this thread is likely to have the same problem since larger and larger usb sticks are becoming the default. I think I just bought a 5 pack of 16GB ones for $10 from amazon. I only have a single <2GB kicking around the house. Anybody who hasn't hit this exact same problem before or seen this warning will be seriously likely to brick their siglent load in the same way. But I guess they all must be muppets so who cares.

I didn't say Siglent load couldn't have more robust /better firmware upgrade procedure.. In fact they should, because obviously things can go wrong.

It is not a firmware bug. It is a upgrade procedure that cannot cope with absolutely every combination that can happen in the field.

Wrong thing was repeating same procedure expecting different outcome. I would have returned load and demanded it to be replaced with one with the current firmware, so they have the responsibility to do it right. I wouldn't do it twice in a row, same way.. And would demand explanation what happened.

In addition to manual, there are release notes and firmware update with the firmware that go in more detail. There is a recovery procedure to load firmware even on device that failed previous update.. Which in the end worked for OP.

Problem I have is not that he had problem, which he had. And problem is with firmware updated being fiddly about USB sticks. That is something Siglent should look into if they can.

Problem is that OP declared "Buyer Beware: Siglent Electronic Load ....This makes me doubt the quality of their products. I am now wondering if others are having problems with
Siglent test equipment as I was going to purchase a spectrum analyzer from them.".

That was his first reaction... Before troubleshooting, before waiting to hear what happened, before finding out the problem or solution. That is just lame.
And then saying, problem solved, device works fine, upgrade worked fine with different stick...
But all previously said is still there...

That being said, English is not my first language, and I know as much as I do, not much. I also don't know what are cultural side notes on Muppets. It seems that you took that as a hard insult. Muppet show in my country is referring to goofy behavior but in an humorous and endearing way. You would tell that to somebody that you like but that did something goofy.
If I think someone is an idiot, word I would use would be an idiot.  Not Muppet. Smiley next to it was a hint..
If someone find it insulting, I apologize. Now I explained what I meant.

 

Offline 2N3055

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Re: Buyer Beware: Siglent Electronic Load
« Reply #20 on: June 25, 2021, 03:04:20 pm »

With over 10 years experience with Siglent instruments I have made my own decision for my own use. I use only Kingston (2G, 4G) and 8G formatted to native FAT32 with 4k cluster sizes. And I keep these some sticks only for use with Siglent. These 2 and 4G have also led if there is some reason for watch activity)

Caution!!! Our luck with Kingston SD cards has been just the opposite, these are the only SD card brand that have failed (had 2) so we've removed all Kingston brand SD cards and destroyed them. I opened one before it was crushed, and found a unbranded micro SD card wire bonded to an SD case :o

These may have been counterfeit, don't know, but we don't buy memory products from unauthorized dealers off eBay, most are from B&H or local Best Buy which is likely where these Kingston cards came from.

Now, since the Kingston issue long ago all our memory products are from Sandisk, Transcend and the old Lexar (when they were owned by Micron which actually made the memory chips) and never had an issue with any of these memory sources. Our use was hard on the cards since many thousands of images were collected with our chip imaging work, this was repeated often so the cards got many read/write cycles with many images, tough use indeed!!

Don't want to bash Kingston, since these could have been fake and happened long ago, but we won't be using any Kingston memory product USB sticks or SD cards, others can decide for themselves.


Best,

I use free 4 GB USB sticks that my vendor sends me with every shipment filled with documentation. I have handful of those and they work perfectly.

Those that work best are USB 2 4GB or less. Format with FAT32 with 4k sectors and voila..

I agree with Nico, those Kingstons were probably counterfeits.
 

Offline Gridstop

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Re: Buyer Beware: Siglent Electronic Load
« Reply #21 on: June 25, 2021, 03:22:43 pm »
I didn't say Siglent load couldn't have more robust /better firmware upgrade procedure.. In fact they should, because obviously things can go wrong.

It is not a firmware bug. It is a upgrade procedure that cannot cope with absolutely every combination that can happen in the field.

Wrong thing was repeating same procedure expecting different outcome. I would have returned load and demanded it to be replaced with one with the current firmware, so they have the responsibility to do it right. I wouldn't do it twice in a row, same way.. And would demand explanation what happened.

I agree that digby definitely could have saved himself some headache/hassle by changing up his procedure.

Obviously I disagree that I think this is a serious bug, not just a quirk. Like the others in this thread have demonstrated, everyone seems to have different experience with different brands/types of flash. I totally understand how this happens on a development team because I've been there. You get something working, the lab has a big supply of a single variety of usb or sd card flash in the cabinet, and everyone falls into the habit of doing what works. Then the product ships and you realize not everybody has 8GB Sandisk Class 2 micro sd cards or whatever. I agree they can't support every possible combination but it needs to fail gracefully and safely.

And lastly I appreciate I may have inferred more offense than intended, sorry. It just felt like calling out a guy who was genuinely trying to warn others. If I owned this exact model I would have really appreciated the warning. I just bought another siglent product and I'll be keeping this in mind for sure.
 
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Offline Old Printer

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Re: Buyer Beware: Siglent Electronic Load
« Reply #22 on: June 25, 2021, 03:45:27 pm »
https://youtube.com/watch?v=srbCmB-RjYM&feature=share

This is a link to a video by Tomtektest who is a retired EE with a PhD. It describes a similar situation of upgrading FW on a Siglent AWG but from outside of the warranty period. Tom is a gentle soul and a very calm guy, not sure I would be quite so relaxed about it. If this turns out to be a brand defect that runs through the Siglent line, they have some work to do. I have an 1104X-E scope that may be outside warranty and I am concerned about updating the FW.

Just checked, I am still inside their 3 year warranty so I will get the ideal flash drive and get my scope updated.
« Last Edit: June 25, 2021, 04:04:33 pm by Old Printer »
 

Online RoGeorge

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Re: Buyer Beware: Siglent Electronic Load
« Reply #23 on: June 25, 2021, 04:07:04 pm »
Siglent fans, you are not doing any good to Siglent by bashing digby70, a buyer and a newcomer to EEVblog, with words like "bitching" and "Muppet".   :(

Offline mawyatt

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Re: Buyer Beware: Siglent Electronic Load
« Reply #24 on: June 25, 2021, 04:07:58 pm »

Problem is that OP declared "Buyer Beware: Siglent Electronic Load ....This makes me doubt the quality of their products. I am now wondering if others are having problems with
Siglent test equipment as I was going to purchase a spectrum analyzer from them.".

We are in the middle of a very difficult & complex design task which includes a high voltage multi-output (7 independent outputs) power supply. To help with the power supply test and evaluation an electronic load was considered. After noting this thread title it does convey more than just a USB stick issue with the Siglent Load, and did raise an issue if the Siglent Load has more problems. After reading a few times, we went ahead and ordered the Siglent Load and accept the "Buyer Beware" risk ::)

Best,
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