P20 "Reference failed"

I was happily listening to music and then it stopped. I’m like what the hell? Then I see my components all off and the P20 saying “Reference failed”. Nothing in the manual.

I turned it off, waited 20 secs, turned back on again and it initialized itself properly and seems to be ok after that. And I have a little red symbol at the top that looks like a document (see picture)

. What is that? Nothing in the manual.

I’ve had other problems with this P20 (for which it had to go back to the factory three times) so am a bit worried about this. Thanks!

My P15 had the same red symbol on day one. I never asked, but seems to me it’s an unused feature.


Can you provide an assist?


Mine has always had that with no effect

Mine doesn’t have that. I wonder if it’s specific to being network connected?

Yes, no cable plugged for me so world symbol is also orange

Super simple but that’s just telling you you don’t have an SD card in the back. The globe being green tells us you have it connected to the network.


OK thanks. But much more importantly, what’s the “Reference failed” mean?

Purely speculation, but it sounds like the reference sine wave isn’t correct

I’m not certain what that message means. I wonder if there was a slight brown out or something which put the unit into protection. If all seems fine after the reboot and the THD in vs out is what it usually is, all should be fine. If THD out is higher than in, then you definitely have something to worry about.

According to Bob, the designer of the PowerPlants:

"This refers to the voltage reference that are used to make the measurements and generate the accurate output signals. This is a pretty critical function so we include two references and the system constantly compares them to make sure they agree.

I’m sorry to say we have had occasional “false positives” where noise or some other transient causes the system to get a bad reading. The system shuts down as a precaution, and waits for you to manually restart it. During the start up sequence it checks everything again before connecting your gear.

So it sounds to me like we can chalk this one up as a “glitch”. We don’t like it when we have those, but we don’t take any chances when it comes to protecting your gear. If this happens regularly we should have a look at it here."


Great, thanks so much! Makes me feel better.