Recourse to Sonos killing our equipment?

  • 23 February 2020
  • 6 replies

I want restitution. Period.

I have a ZP100 that was perfect for my needs. It sits in my family room; I have the line-outs to my AV receiver to power my main speakers; Line-in from from phone or cdplayer; I connect speaker-outs to my living room & kitchen area; I listen to music stored on a NAS in iTunes format. This works for me.

Now it doesn't work for me. Why, because of the latest firmware update. I went to use the Android controller, and like every other month it forced me to update. Well I dont want to update. I wanted to use the damn thing. Given no choice, I updated. Now it will only stay alive for 1-2 minutes and then it's unresponsive and needs to be power cycled. Kaput.

So I called Sonos support. They were super nice, and we worked together for 30 minutes. I generated a diagnostic file and they looked at it. First they thought that the newer firmware is too large for the memory on this older unit. Then they changed their position saying that it was experienceing a boot issue. Then they change to a third position because it was successfully booting but then hanging up after 1-2 minutes. Ultimately they offered the 30% upgrade option.

This is simply unacceptable. I purchased this unit because it fit my needs: network enabled and reads music from various sources, an amplifier with speaker outs, line-in, line-out, a dedicated controller (CR100), and phone controller apps. I purchased my current automobile because it has specific features, as is fhe case with my lawn mower, TV, refridgerator, laptop, hot tub,... Sonos Corp thinks they can keep changing the features of our Sonos audio equipment. Does anyone here think they would not have passed over this brand had they known that Sonos would take the liberty of bricking the CR100 and now stuffing so much into the firmware that locks up the ZP100s & ZP120s. Where do they get off not allowing me to use my amp when they decide to update the firmware. Huh? Where do you get off, Sonos?

So predictably my conversation with support came around to them pushing me to upgrade. But it would cost me $400 and operationally be something that just doesnt have the features I'm using and have my other equipment integrated with. I can just imagine their board room conversation... "How can we force our loyal customers to upgrade their equiment... Let's kill the CR100 and force them to use smartphone apps--this will give control to force firmware upgrades, then stuff older units with bloated firmware making them unstable, then claim that in order to provide 'The Sonos Experience' we'll kill off the older units entirely and force them to buy new equipment.

I have news for you Sonos: Fool me once, shame on you; Fool me twice, shame on me.

So where does that leave ME? I'm out a ZP100. I want Sonos Corp to compensate me for this. There are two options that I would accept: 1) buy this unit back from me for $400 (plus the CR100, etc), or 2) replace it with another ZP100 (from their junk pile, whatever) with a firmware that fits the memory, and an android app that doesnt phone home collecting data on me, or I'll use the 3rd party app like SonoPad or Andronos.

So that's my position. I'm not going to fade away either, but research the validity of my complaint in terms of legal recourse. I'm fed up with the strongarming we as consumers are subject to, and it's time to do something meaningful about it.

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6 replies

I am afraid I haven't read every word of your post but if the latest update had made older units unusable there would be dozens of posts about it by now. 

It's an old unit.  Maybe it just finally failed.

Lol, replace a unit made over a decade ago?  There isn’t a consumer law in the world that will cover that case.  And Sonos has not “killed off” any units via a firmware upgrade, no matter how old. 

Your unit has probably just given up the ghost.  Even high grade non-volatile flash memory eventually reaches its max P/E cycles, and the storage from 10+ years ago had far less maximum than that of today.  Also, if you were power cycling the unit often, that will have hastened the process. 


Crashing after a couple minutes is a ZP100 failure mode that I’ve seen. In severe cases I’ve seen them take down the network. Why does it seem as if the update caused the issue? I don’t know for certain, but I can speculate that there is a bad area in RAM and the updated firmware is now attempting to use the bad area. There could also be a power supply issue. I’ve seen units crashing as you describe, but if one leaves the unit un-powered for a few days, it will then run for a few hours or days after power is restored.

Or, the failure after the update could be an unfortunate coincidence.

To those who think units "just die": Have you seen inside these things? They're built very well--nice quality components. But writing new firmware to nvram over and over again is most likely the cause. Sure, some folks have seen (and repaired) power supply components such as caps and rectifier diodes, but let's see.... Unit working fine..., forced firmware upgrade, Pffft! Hmmm, yeah jgatie: "given up the ghost"--is that a technical term? I think you're right, max write cycles on the non-volitle RAM... another unit killed off by over-taxing the nvram. And who's failt is that? Not mine. I was pissed from the beginning when Sonos forced firmware updates on me every other month. Oh, and my CR100 was also killed off with firmware updates.

I'm not going to answer every one on this thread, suffice to say that the "Sonos experience" for me is -- IT SUCKS. (sucked--I'm out)

Incredible.  What can one say? Sanity has left the building. 


Updating once a week would not overly stress the NVM. I’ll also note that frequent updates is a recent development. Previously, updates would be months apart. Updating the firmware once a week for 15 years is only 780 cycles. Even 15 year old NVM can tolerate this. The library index and SONOS Playlists are also stored in NVM. Regardless, I’ve observed this sort of occasional failure years ago … long before the more frequent updates became common.

Every piece of hardware has a failure signature that will change over time. If one goes to a large service operation with a broken model XYZ, chances are that the staff is already aware of a short list of failure modes unique to that model.

Overall, the SONOS field failure rate is very low, but I realize that this is not very comforting and nothing seems fair when your unit fails. Keep in mind that ZP100’s are now approaching 15 years old and the failure rate will begin to rise. Unfortunately, I don’t have year by year failure statistics, but I do have several friends with ZP100’s that are still playing.