Why I can no longer recommend Synology

By | February 3, 2020

I recently had to replace my old Synology DS415+ NAS with a new Synology DS918+ NAS, at a cost of more than $600, because my DS415+ failed.

When I researched the failure that permanently bricked my DS415+, I learned the following:

  • The failure was caused by a known defect in a component of my NAS.
  • The defect could have been repaired before the NAS failed by soldering a resistor onto the NAS’s motherboard, at a cost of a few cents for the resistor and a few minutes of labor.
  • However, because my NAS failed before the resistor repair was performed, it was permanently destroyed and had to be replaced.
  • Synology knew about the defect in February 27, but instead of notifying the owners of affected hardware and offering to repair or replace their NASes, Synology only published a press release extending the warranty on the affected NASes, which most people wouldn’t have known to look for until after their NAS was destroyed by the defect and it was too late to fix it.
  • Some people did happen to learn about the issue on their own. It appears that for any of those people who contacted Synology during the extended warranty period, Synology repaired or replaced their NASes for free, even if they had not yet failed.

Because the defective component did not burn out my particular NAS until after my warranty expired, Synology refused to replace my NAS or offer me a discount on a replacement, even though the failure of my NAS was clearly caused by the defective component.

I actually understand why Synology refused to replace my NAS, given that it’s out of warranty. What I do not understand — and cannot accept — is their failure to contact the owners of affected NASes while they were still under warranty and offer to repair or replace them.

Synology makes a pretty good product, and until this incident I was happy to recommend them, but I can’t in good conscience do that any longer.

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12 thoughts on “Why I can no longer recommend Synology

  1. I.S.

    My DS415+ has failed too (blue flashing light), attempts to repair it failed. Can it still be saved? If I replace it with the new NAS will it read the hard discs or have I permanently lost all the data for which I have no back-up?
    Will the new 9-series (DS918+, DS920+) work? Could I even choose to switch to QNAP?

    Reply
    1. jik Post author

      I have heard conflicting answers to the question of whether the NAS can be fixed once all the blue lights start flashing. Some web pages say yes, some say no. I honestly don’t know.

      You can put your drives into any other Synology NAS and it will read the data with no trouble. I can’t say for certain if you can put them into a different brand of NAS. I think it’s highly unlikely, but I suppose it theoretically may be possible if you used a standard RAID configuration rather than something Synology-specific.

      If you want to switch to a different brand of NAS you could buy that NAS and enough drives for it to hold the data you had on the Synology NAS, then buy a new Synology NAS, put your old drives into the new Synology NAS, transfer the data from there to the new NAS, then put the old drives in the new NAS and reformat them, and then return the Synology NAS you purchased just for this purpose. I’d normally feel a bit squeamish about about recommending something like this but Synology kind of deserves it given how they handled this. Having said that, it’s not Synology that’s going to end up with the open-box return, so maybe choose a storefront that charges a restocking fee so at least they don’t end up getting totally screwed.

      Reply
  2. Ralph

    My DS1515+ developed a second fault beyond the Intel Atom multiplexed clock silicon fault that is hacked with a 100 ohm resistor. The first fault being entirely Intel’s and affected many products, not just Synology NAS. The 100 ohm hack is in the Intel Errata literature for Atom chips running stepping B0 silicon.

    The second fault is around Q1 on the motherboard. Q1 clamps the ATX PS-On (green wire) to ground to turn the PSU on. This transistor was no longer able to turn on my PSU so in the end I replaced it with an NPN bipolar that I measured had a dc. Hfe of 860 and now the motherboard turns the power supply on properly. I have been running with this repair for 3 days straight now. I tested both WOL and power off and on schedules.

    The failure of this transistor to clamp Ps-On to ground resulted in intermittent power supply problems and my unit was suffering unexpected shutdowns and rebooting in the early hours of the morning until one morning when I turned it off to move it to the work bench it turned into a brick.

    I pulled the motherboard and found It had already been modded by a synology repairer with the 100 ohm resistor, which took 3 months before I got the unit back. I then found that Q2 had been removed Q2 ( which parallels Q1), birth near the ATX power cinnector and clamp PS-On to ground (green wire). This drew my attention to Q1 and I measured that is was not clamping PS-On hard enough to ground. Replacing Q1 brought the board back to life. While I was at it I hot swapped the lithium battery with a new one without losing my configuration. I temporarily soldered a 3.2 volt batttery holder between ground and the 3 volt pad near the the lithium cell holder to hit-swap a new lithium cell. Note the board is live around this area and I used ESD techniques when working on the board.

    This power supply fault no doubt applies to many motherboards.

    I wrote to Synology asking if I could buy a replacement motherboard and they said later ones would not work. They practically insulted me and said I should not repair the board myself and that it should be sent off to one of their agents (the save agent that removed Q2 no doubt). This is after I gave them the detailed description of the very poor drive situation to Q1 and that my only recourse was to find a higher gain transistor,

    BTW this problem can be circumvented by grounding the green wire on the ATX PSU, doing so will not hurt the motherboard and you could even put a switch on the side or back of the unit. With the green wire bridged you can shutdown the unit via software and wait for disk light activity to cease, then turn the power off.

    I am more concerned about the failed Intel Silicon and how long it is going to last with a 100 ohm clamp.

    Reply
  3. Andrew

    The resistor fix does work on a machine that has failed. See my reply to another of your posts, or search Youtube for how to do it.

    Reply
    1. jik Post author

      That is not my understanding from my research on the issue.

      In any case it is too late the old NAS has already been recycled.

      Reply
        1. jik Post author

          Yes, if the blue light flashes as shown in this video when you power it on, you can fix it as shown in the video.

          Unfortunately, there’s a more severe version of the failure when the blue light doesn’t even flash. In that case, the CPU is burned out and can’t be repaired even with this fix.

          Reply
  4. John Bevan

    I had a similar and worse experience with Hewlett Packard about two years ago. I sold an HP printer to a client and not even two months after the delivery and setup, the power supply failed. Unlike most of the HP inkjet printers that have a “brick on a leash” style of adapter, this one was installed inside the machine and therefore not field-replaceable. I got in touch with HP and let them know the situation. They insisted that I run through the various troubleshooting steps to determine whether the problem was the power supply. I let them know everything I had done to determine that already but they still insisted that they email me the procedure so that I could do their troubleshooting. Upon receiving it, I had done everything that they detailed in the procedure. I called them again and let them know this and asked to have a replacement printer sent. Rather than do this, they sent me a link to a website at which to order parts along with the part number that I should order. Going over there, I found that the part number they gave had nothing to do with the printer in question nor did it even match the power supply for this printer. (The part number was for a brick on a leash, not an integrated power supply.) So, I called them a third time and let them know this latest bit. They then said that I would have to go back to that website and order the part and install it myself rather than get a new printer. They gave me a different part number. I went back to the website and found that part was not in stock and there was no ETA for a new supply. I called AGAIN and let them know this. They then said that there was nothing more that they could do. So, after only about two months of service and about a month of going back and forth with HP over this $100 printer, I bit the bullet and bought the client a new printer out of my pocket and then cancelled my relationship with HP. If they are unable to honor their warranty, especially when the one contacting them is an HP Authorized Warranty Service Technician who has been certified continuously since 1994, then I cannot in good faith or conscience recommend or sell any of their products. So, for the past two years, I have not sold a single HP printer, scanner, laptop, desktop, monitor, or other product that they offer and will not do so until they change their ways and, in an ideal world, reimburse me both for the printer that I purchased for the client and for the time that I wasted with their imbeciles. (Of course, the reimbursement will never happen since big corp HP doesn’t care about the small retailers and support folks.)

    Reply
    1. jik Post author

      While I agree with you that HP handled this terribly, it doesn’t seem “similar” to my story in any substantive way. Rather, it seems like you’re using my almost entirely unrelated blog posting as an opportunity to post unrelated venting about a different company.

      Reply
      1. John Bevan

        I see it as being similar in that both companies showed a complete lack of customer support in each case. Both knew that there were problems and neither did anything to help those who had the problems. In your case, at least Synology did step forward for those who approached them before a problem occurred. In my case, HP did nothing even though they did acknowledge that the machine was still under warranty and needed warranty service. So, while Synology still erred, at least they didn’t foul things as badly as HP did.

        Reply
        1. jik Post author

          both companies showed a complete lack of customer support

          I don’t think that’s true.

          Both knew that there were problems

          Nothing you wrote seems to prove that HP “knew that there were problems” as opposed to the much more mundane explanation that you were just dealing with a terrible support rep, which is alas all too common but not indicative of a policy decision not to inform customers about a known defect in a product, which is my main complaint with Synology.

          Reply

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