Resetting a Topfield 5800/5810 using Antares and Emptysettings.tdf

This note details how to reset a Topfield Terrestrial TV (Freeview) PVR (UK models 5800/5810 and possibly other non-UK models in the 5000 series).

Some of the settings or the firmware in a Topfield 5800/5810 can become corrupt and the box fails to boot, usually sticking in a cyclic start-up sequence that never ends. As a result much of the software that can be run on a computer and interfaces to the box cannot connect because the Topfield 5800/5810 has not fully booted. This means much of the user friendly ways of installing firmware and/or deleting files cannot be used.

These instructions assume some prior knowledge of how the Topfield PVRs operate and/or the use of some 3rd party software. The best place to gain this knowledge, or ask questions, is in the UK Toppy user forums.

Toppy.uk.org User Forums

With any problem on a Toppy it's worth trying a couple of things before going any further.

A cold boot.

Switching the box off at the mains plug for 2 minutes (to let internal power supplies to fully discharge) and switching back on again gives the box a full cold boot. This doesn't happen if the box is just switched off into standby.

Stopping TAPs

If TAPs (Topfield Applications = 3rd party software) have been installed on the box these can be prevented from automatically starting by holding down the 0 (zero) button on the remote control as the box comes out of standby. Hold down the button until a picture appears. Holding down the button only stops the TAPs loading for this one start-up - they will revert to starting normally on the next start-up unless the button is held down again

If neither of the above work and the box is still in a continuous start-up sequence try loading Emtysettings via Antares as detailed below.

If it is only some setting that have been corrupted some pretend firmware that only resets some of these settings may get the box booting again. This pretend software is called Emptysetting.tfd and performs the same functionality as a factory reset in the 5800/5810 menus. If the box is not fully booted you cannot get to the menus - hence Emptysettings.

Link for Emptysetting

The Emptysettings firmware file

Note: If you can get to the menus there is no point in running Emptysettings as a factory reset (factory settings) from the menu performs the same function. A factory resets leaves the contents of the hard disk (your recordings and installed software) untouched.

Topfield provide a utility called TFDN_USB that allows a USB connection to a Topfield at the very early stage of the 5800/5810 boot sequence bypassing the need to have the box fully booted. TFDN_USB out-of-the-box only runs on a 32 bit Windows operating system . There is however a better option of using some third party software for the PC called Antares which can perform a similar function and is compatible with both a 32 and 64 bit Windows operating systems.

Antares Software

Install the USB drivers first via zt4

z4t (used to install USB drivers)

If Emptysettings fails to work then the firmware may be corrupted. The RECOMMENDED firmware from the Toppy.org.uk site can be loaded in the same way as Emptysettings. The recommended firmwares contain many bug fixes and performance enhancements. Topfield abandoned their UK customer base half a decade ago after releasing some truly buggy firmwares so on no account download any firmwares from their Korean web sites!


Step 1 Turn off your Toppy at the MAINS plug

Step 2 Connect the USB cable between the PC and the Toppy

Step 3 Start Antares

You should see the Antares screen as shown below.

The left hand window will be blank and it will be reported that the PVR is not connected.

Antares screen shot 1

Step 4 In the right hand window find where you have downloaded the Emptysettings.tfd file and double click on it.

You should see the window as shown below

Antares screen shot 2

Step 5 Click on Yes

The following window should appear.

Antares screen shot 3

At this point Emptysettings is pre-loaded into Antares and Antares is waiting for a USB connection

Step 6 Switch your Toppy on at the MAINS plug

A few things will now happen in the next few seconds with Emptysettings, or a few minutes with real firmwares.

The message on the front panel of the toppy will indicate that firmware is being downloaded finishing with the word END

The Antares window should change, as shown below.

Antares screen shot 4

After a few seconds your Toppy may reboot automatically or you may have to do it manually (standby on/off)

Your Toppy will be stuck in the Menu waiting for you to re-scan for channels. This is normal after a reset (which Emptysettings has just performed)

If you have a 5800 the Factory Reset/Emptysettings also resets the video output mode of operation to RGB over the SCART cable and resets the RF channel number for the video out via the daisy chained "aerial" lead . If you have you box connected by way of a "component" video lead you will get a blank screen on the TV until you change the video output option in the menu. This will require the TV being connected via SCART and RGB to be able to see the menus.

There are a few more common faults on a Topfield 5800/5810 that are relatively easy/cheap to fix

If you have never upgraded the firmware there are RECOMMENDED versions with many bug fixes and performance enhancements on the toppy.org.uk web site

The use of third party software can transform the box from something that is fairly mundane to something that can be considered best in class - despite the age to the box.

See the Toppy UK site for more details. The site has nothing to do with the manufacturer or UK importer/distributor. Most (all) of the bug fixes were written by a few Toppy users and later some were incorporated into the firmware issued by the UK distributor.

Toppy.uk.org Web Site

A few other useful Toppy Links

Power Supply Repair

General Topfield 5800/5810 References

More repair information

TopManager Windows program