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Old 01-29-2011, 11:31 PM   #1
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Join Date: Sep 2010
Location: Canada
Posts: 520
Adventures with a zx700 and a 2011 Flagstaff 831RLBSS

My 2011 flagstaff 831rlbss came equipped with a zx700 and a 32" Toshiba. At first, I was stoked about the unit when reading the features list. Sounded like a fantastic little box!

However, it's not without a few issues as delivered. Currently, it has a video "shifting" habit and static noise in the speakers while playing DVD's.

There's supposed to be a factory fix in the works for the video, but that's the extent to which I know about that.

So until that time I decided to mess around a bit to see what, if anything, can be done to mitigate the issue a bit. Figured I had nothing to loose anyways.

Here's what I've done and found so far:

First, I've done all the testing with a dvd of "avatar" in order to elimnate the different DVD variable.

Running the system as delivered, the video "jumps" about 1/2-3/4 inch about every 1-2 minutes. Kind of hard to ignore and just a wee bit on the other side of annoying.

Next, I tried several different TV's/monitors. A 32" Sharp Aquous, A 26" Samsung, a 42" toshiba plasma Monitor and the konta bedroom tv as delivered with the trailer. All screens except the tiny konta exhibited the same "jump" issue.

Ok, lets try and duplicate the "shifting" on the Toshiba with another DVD player. I tried a sony dvd player purchased in 2003, an old VCR we had lying around, a newer cheapy 50 dollar DVD player, a new Samsung blu ray unit and the motorola set top box from my cable provider, all using composite out like the zx. Hmm, no shifting with any of them.

Well, lets try some settings next. I hit upon a few that didn't eliminate the "jump" but they did minimize it a bit. Here's the skinny:

1. The "Setup" menu on the zx 700 lists Progressive scan, RGB, etc. A moderate improvement can be seen if you select "Progressive". It shouldn't matter as composite video out is supposed to be simple NTSC, but the jumping was less prevelant on this setting. Still there though...

2. Toshiba 32 inch. Open the menu settings on the Toshiba. Now you have two options to work with here:

a. open the "noise reduction" menu. turn it all off. The screen will still "shift" occationally, but much less.

b. Find the "Game Mode" option menu. Select it to "on". This is meant to reduce the "lag time" that is present on HDTV's when playing video games. Once again, the screen will shift, but less than before.

There's an additional problem with option 2, both a and b. You will notice more "artifacts" in the picture. IOW, messed up pixels, fuzzy edges, etc.

So, that's was the extent of playing with settings. Now it was time to pull the zx out of the cabinet and have a look at the install.

First thing I'm greeeted with is a big "made in China" sticker. While not abig deal (seems like everything is made there these days), it doesn't exactly instill confidence.

At first, the wiring looks quite intimidating to those that have never seen wiring before. While it's not by any stretch a "neat" install, it' not that uncommon these days. There's a few things I definately would have done differently, but it should all work the way it is (at least for a couple years). There's also a couple extra features of the ZX hidden away in there, like a remote IR plug-in, two more composite video outs and a few more audio RCA jacks. Those could turn out to be a nice bonus in the future if the video issue can be worked out.

A closer look reveals a Pyramind brand noise suppressor. Most good installers don't use these as it's just a band aid to cover ground loops and also attenuates a portion of your audio range while suppressing the ground loop noise. So, I pulled it off the signal wires and fired up the unit to see what we got. Whether or not it was a coincedince, I can't say, but the video jump was reduced by about half the frequency. Instead of a "shift" every 2 minutes or so, it was about every 4 minutes (on average). Well, that's better than it was. There was also no change in the static in the sound.

So, I'd reduced the shifting time by about half. Better, but there's still something else going on because it's still there.

What else could there be?

I then hook up the trailers composite video to a standalone dvd player. Maybe I can isolate the problem to the trailer and not the ZX. I unplug the composite right from the ZX and plug into the DVD player. I let it run for 20 minutes, no jumping. None. Hmmm....

Well, I've got it open now, lets keep exploring the wiring anyways. I reroute a few more signal wires that are running by power wires. I also open up a couple bundled wiring bits and pull the signal wires out of them. Then, Fire it all up and what do we see?

Well, I watch the whole movie, all 162 minutes of it. I keep a paper by the table and make a "tick" every time the picture "shifts". 23 ticks at the end. If you do the math, that's about once every 7 minutes. But that is a bit misleading, because I know there were some times it had to be 15 odd minutes before I noticed one. It was more like a couple quick jumps in a very short period, then it would settle down to where I was wondering if it would do it again.

So, while the ZX unit may or may not still be at fault, I was able to minimize the "jump" a fair bit. At least to the point where it was watchable without me wanting to just shut it all off. Still, an AV system in a $40,000-ish dollar shouldn't do it, but it was watchable...

I don't advise anyone take the install apart as I did unless you know what you are doing, you may end up fraggin something if you're not careful. It also may not make any difference on your unit at all.

As always, your mileage may vary...or just wait for a factory fix to be found/released.

I'm not trying to chuck "fecal matter" at anyone here, just posting what I've found and what results I've gotten.

Use at your own risk.



2011 Flagstaff Classic Superlight 831RLBSS "Atrium slide"
Husky Centerline Hitch
1998 GMC Sierra SLE K2500 6.5 Turbo Diesel
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