Begining with firmware version 2.0 and later you may now update the firmware on the controller yourself. The V2.0 firmware contains a bootloader that accepts updates via the same serial port connection used to program the flight parameters. No hardware changes are required but if you currently have an older version of the firmware you will need a chip swap to begin using the updater. I offer this free of charge. Please contact me if you are interested.
The screen shot below shows the AYUCR Firmware Updater interface:
The procedure for updating the firmware is as follows:
Download the desired firmware file using the links below and save the .hex file on your computer in a convenient location
Make sure have a fresh battery in the controller and connect it to a serial port on your computer using the PC Interface Cable
Install and start the Updater software
Use the Search button to browser for and load the .hex file you downloaded earlier. The status line should indicate the Model (APC for AYUCR Pencam Controller) and version number of the .hex file
Make sure the Port is set to the COM port you connected the controller to. The baud rate must be set to the default of 2400 baud
The controller should be powered up and giving the slow-blink standby prompt
Click Write to begin the update process. A dialog will ask you to confirm that the controller is powered up and blinking
The status line will update to tell you what the Updater is doing. Do not disconnect the controller or power it down until the firmware status reads "Done!"
The LED will be on solid at this point. You must power the controller off and on to reset it
First the existing firmware is read from the controller to make sure that it is compatible with the new firmware. If not a warning will be given. The updater can only write the non-bootloader portions of the firmware to the controller so the check makes sure that the bootloader code is the same between the old and new versions. If you get an error saying that the old and new versions don't match it is probably best to cancel the update and contact me. After this check the new firmware will then be written. It is possible that an error during update will render the controller inoperable. I have tested the updater at length and this should not happen. If you have any trouble please contact me. You can confirm that the firmware update took by running the flight parameter programming software and use it to check the version number that the new firmware reports.
The update history below contains links to both the firmware (.hex) file and the source code (.zip) When you click on the links you will most likely just get a dump of the hex file. To download the firmware right click on the link and select "Save Target As..." Save the file with an extension of .HEX. The .HEX file can then be loaded into the programmer driver or AYUCR Firmware Updater and flashed onto the chip.
- Fixed a bug that caused the flight parameters to sometimes not read properly on powerup. This could cause all sorts of weird behavior. Everyone should upgrade to this version!
- No functionality changes but the version number now contains no letters which were causing problems for the Windows programming software.
- Experimental release
- Wait for clock to stabalize on powerup to prevent glitches when powerup banner is sent to serial port
- Experimental release
- Tightened up serial and flash write routines to save space in bootloader region
- Bootloader forces page alignment in all addresses to ensure integrity of bootloader-safe regions of memory
- Fixed non-manifesting bug in interrupt service routine
- Experimental release
- Added bootloader to allow future firmware upgrades via the serial port
- Added a /M command to return a model number ("APC" in this case) string
- Fixed a glitch with the /N command. When displaying numbers with a zero as the middle digit the digit was being dropped and the display would be screwed up. Using the '+' and '-' keys should now cycle through the full range of values properly now.
- Adds three new flight parameters, poweron_time, cycle_count and cycle pacing. These parameters can be used for compatability with a wider range of cameras
- Uses a different arming method. Rather than holding down the mode button which only worked on older Pencam units the mode is periodically cycled to prevent the camera from going to sleep on the pad.
- Interrupt driven launch detect. This prevents missed launches when the camera is cycling the mode button.
- Eliminated two pullup resistors from kit. These are no longer necessary making the kit slightly faster and easier to assemble
- First released version
If you have a controller based on the PIC16F819 microcontroller you can also upgrade your firmware by reflashing your chip externally. This requires a PIC programmer. Peter H. Anderson sells the Olimex-PG2B serial port PIC programmer at his webstore for less than $15. This simple programmer works with a free software driver and allows you to reflash your existing microcontroller. NOTE: All firmware files are for the PIC16F818/819 only. Please order an upgrade chip if you have the older chip. You can reflash the upgrade chip later on your own or use the AYUCR Firmware Updater
If you don't want to swap chips and would like to keep your existing chip additional chips are also available from me for $5 each. See Ordering Page for more information