ARIES Femto reliability problems (Solved!)

I am sharing this to everyone that has an ARIES and has reliability problems:

  • Need to reset a few times every day
  • ARIES cannot find the USB interface with the DAC (I have a VEGA)
  • Runs very hot, even in standby
  • WiFi connection lost a few times a day
  • Stuck in “starting mode”
  • Need to physically switch off the ARIES
  • When in exact clock a change in frequency, for example from 44 KHz to 96 KHZ, or simply playing a 192 KHz file, results in several minutes of drops or white noise for DSD files
  • Restart while playing

All these things started happening for me after a few months of normal use. The distributor was very kind and gave me a new ARIES. After a few months the same problems started to appear. So, I did my searches and, thanks to this support site, I tried different things:

  • Use the 2.4GHz WiFi, not the 5GHz (it works a little better, but still a lot of problems)
  • Use the ARIES wired (same thing, a little better but not enough)
  • Replace the Intel 7260HMV WiFi card (this solution is better and lasts for a few weeks; after that the problems start to show again; I changed the WiFi Card three times)

The problem is the Intel7260HMW. This card has a design flaw and, when used in the ARIES, runs very hot and, somehow, deteriorates with time.

I really love how the ARIES and the VEGA sound so, before throwing in the towel and find an alternative I decided to go deeper. On the support site I found that the ARIES firmware has drivers for the new Intel models: 7265NGW, and 8260NGW. The problem is that these cards are not PCIe but use the newer bus format M.2. And the antenna connectors are MHF4 instead of U.FL.

So, I found an adapter from M.2 to PCIe and replacement antenna cables. And I bought an Intel 8260NGW. Replacing the card is easy: remove the white sticky pad under the ARIES, unscrew the 12 screws, remove the upper part of the ARIES cabinet. There are two more screws to unlock the WiFi card. Then just insert the 8260NGW in the adapter, the adapter in the PCIe slot and use the new antenna extensions provided with the adapter. The cables provided with the adapter can be used as an extension but the plugs are a little flimsy. For this reason I decided to cut the original cables and the extension cables near the plugs, solder the wires and isolate them with heat shrink sleeves.

WOW! The ARIES runs a lot cooler now (10°C less on the upper cabinet), sounds a lot better (this was unexpected) and doesn’t present all the usual problems. Even the Exact Clock works fine now. This is the first time in years that I really love my ARIES! I am connected through the 5GHz WiFi.

You will need these two things:

Two weeks are gone now, and the ARIES has disconnected from the 5GHz WiFi just one time. It still runs very cool and sounds great! The exact clock needs just a couple of minutes to stabilize from standby and then plays music without drops, at 192 KHz or when changing frequency. No more white noise for DSD files.

Thanks to Mlmowery and Xuanqian for their help!

Enjoy your ARIES and please feel free to comment, correct my English and ask questions.

Cheers

Marco

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Hi Marco,

That’s a great how-to and must of taken a bit of time to compile, well done.

It’s a pity Auralic can’t create another forum section for user submitted articles similar to yours, they could still be vetted by Auralic but if deemed worthy they could form a useful library of info, similar to Auralic’s own help pages.

Hi SiHancox!
I got a lot of help in this forum and I am happy to share and to help people get the best from their gear,
Cheers

This is truly terrific. Many thanks for tireless searching and testing solutions to this problem that has been bedeviling Aires lovers.
Could you tell us just how hot the Airies was running before you did the modification, and where you measured the temperature?
There may be Aries users who have not yet encountered this problem, but who will. Being able to determine whether their Aires is running too hot know, will encourage them to do the modification before performance suffers.
Many thanks.

The temperature on the upper cabinet, at the center of the word “Auralic” is now 32C (90F), running or in standby.
Before replacing the card the temperature was around 50C (122F), running or in standby…
Cheers

If connecting by ethernet, perhaps turning off wifi in settings would disable the card and its problems as well.

Hi Pete,

Not sure you can turn off the WiFi card, you can decide to use Ethernet but I seem to remember someone said the boot process still looks for a functioning WiFi card.

That’s why I believe you can’t remove a faulty card to get around the issue.

I haven’t seen any other posted solution other than card replacement that fixes this issue, and for that solution to be permanent the card needs to be the updated version.

That’s just my take on the situation though, and it’s a pity the firmware couldn’t be updated to make the card unnecessary for the boot process if all a user wanted to use was Ethernet.

Worth a try anyway. Xuanqian has said there can be less risk of interference turning of wifi and BT radios if not using them. Turning of the radio has a good chance of helping beyond that.

Then turn it off Pete and let us know how you did it.

Sorry, I’ve got the VEGA G2 as streamer/DAC.

Hi Pete,

Don’t disagree regarding reducing interference, just not sure how you turn off WiFi, I can’t seem to find that option in settings for my Altair G1 anyhow!

You can turn off each of the four Input Methods if not used that supposedly improves sound quality though.

I don’t know about the Altair. The OP was working with the ARIES. When I did have an ARIES G2, my memory is that there were settings to turn off the radios.

Suppose it’s possible certain devices may have that option, had another look through G1 and definitely can’t find it, from memory it was same for the Mini I had previously.

Saying that, I did notice quite a difference between the options available in settings on Mini compared to the new G1, which sort of surprised me considering both devices are very similar in what they do.

Anyhow, as you say, it’s worth looking to see if that option exists.

Every auralic product is different from one another so I would not expect them all to have the same settings in the software. The Post is in regards to the Aries Femto specifically.

Hi Michael,

Yes, appreciate we are talking about the Femto, all I’m saying is I’ve never seen a WiFi card off option in the two devices I’ve owned and I definitely remember seeing a post previously stating that the WiFi card can’t be taken out of line or the device won’t boot, just can’t find that discussion to point to it.

You can turn off AirPlay and Bluetooth but don’t think that’s the same as actually turning off the WiFi card.

May be those that do have the Femto can confirm whether my assumption is correct or not, would be interesting to know just from a personal point of view because this whole card issue has been very interesting.

I have an Aries Femto, and am using the wired ethernet connection - with fairly good (but not perfect) results.

The earlier comments are I believe correct… in as much as you cannot disable the WLAN interface as far as I can tell. At some point will need to have a poke around to see if there are any other management interfaces that might allow access at the o/s level - but through the UI, I don’t see any way to achieve this.

You are correct, turning off AirPlay is not the same as turning off the WLAN interface (to be more exact, AirPlay is a higher level protocol that runs on top of whatever interface sits below it). There is no Bluetooth connectivity on the Aries either - hence these are not going to change the behaviour.

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+1 on the thanks for the great write up… hopefully this is something that will keep the Aries units running for a bit longer. Who knows, maybe this hardware workaround combined with a future firmware update, might just prove the sustainability of what was/is a premium component.

One can not just turn off disable or remove the WiFi card in an Aries Femto. If if were possible I would have done it when I first started to have problems. I think WiFi is also necessary for setup purposes at least on the Aries Femto.

Thanks so much for this fix. My second replacement WiFi card had just started failing and I was about to begrudgingly buy another when I saw your post. I ordered the newer card with adapter as per your instructions and have just got it up and running successfully. Obviously time will tell if it doesn’t go the way of the others but it does appear the problem lay with that particular intel card so I’m very hopeful. As I don’t own a soldering iron I simply joined the new antenna adapters onto the existing wires and although it’s a bit of a squeeze to get them in, it’s all working fine.
It would be great to hear from Xuanqian on this fix. Does he use the 8260 NGW on the current Auralic streamers? He should really get behind this if he believes it’s a proper solution to this recurring problem. At some point we’ll all either upgrade or replace our Aries for a newer streamer and although I knew it wasn’t Auralic’s fault per se, it did still leave me questioning whether I’d chance buying another of their products due to the inherent fault with the card.
Safe to say I’m happily streaming again and will keep my fingers crossed that it’s a permanent fix.

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Like I already wrote alio loco in this forum, the very first AURALiC device I purchased was a used Aries Femto. Its WiFi adapter turned out to be faulty; luckily the seller took the Aries back. The next Aries I purchased harboured a faulty WiFi adapter too. I gave it back as well. Despite these bad experiences I kept faith with AURALiC and became the happy owner of two used Aries Minis - which I sold in the meantime in order to upgrade to a new Aries G1 - and have ordered a second one which I can hardly wait to be shipped.

To sum up, I‘d like to say that it is a nuisance that the reputation of a splendid company like AURALiC has been threatened by a mere stupid bought-in-part. Today I‘m very glad that I didn‘t apostate but have sticked to AURALiC :innocent:

Robin