Re: QCX Firmware Upgrade Problem With AVRDUDESS

Hans Summers

Hi Jan, all

A few comments on the thread...

Regarding the Arduino method of updating firmware, detailed at in the .pdf document by Simon VK3ELH: as far as I know, if you are using the Arduino as AVR programmer you should not need to worry about libusb or any other drivers. You must have already installed the Arduino software on your computer, which already takes care of anything necessary for it to work, on any Operating Systems. 

About programming firmware updates: ANY of the firmware versions T1.00, T1.00a, T1.00b can all be upgraded to T1.00c. Even the original YOTA summercamp firmware chip can be upgraded to T1.00c. A blank ATmega328 cannot be programmed with the QCX firmware. Only an original QRP Labs firmware chip with QCX firmware installed on it, can be upgraded.

When upgrading a firmware chip:

1. Do NOT program the fuses or lock bits! If you change these fuses it can result in an effectively totally dead chip, or it can result in a chip which cannot run QCX firmware.

2. Make sure that you perform (or enable) a chip erase before programming the Flash memory (with the .hex file). The programmer (and Avrdude etc) will allow you to program the Flash without a chip erase, but this does NOT work. The reason for this is that Flash programming only changes '1' bits to '0'. It cannot change an existing '0' back to a '1'. Therefore programming the Flash without a chip erase just results in unexecutable nonsense. A chip erase is correct because it sets all the Flash bits to '1'. Then when you program the Flash the necessary bits are written to '0' and you end up with a proper valid program.

Regarding earlier QRP Labs kits (such as Ultimate3S, VFO, Clock etc), all the above also applies, EXCEPT that with all of these earlier kits you CAN successfully install the .hex on a new blank chip.

The only exception is the RC1 key-shape processor chip for the PA kit , this chip is one-time programmable since the I/O connections necessarily involved using the Reset input signal as an I/O pin, which sets a fuse disabling reset; the consequence is that the chip cannot be reprogrammed. As a result the .hex file for the RC1 is not published and in any case the firmware works exactly as it should and does only one thing, so there have never been any new firmware versions for that chip anyway (and most likely never will be any).

73 Hans G0UPL 

On Nov 4, 2017 8:12 PM, <Jan.Verduyn@...> wrote:

When posting messages It makes sense to state  what operating system you are using with Avrdude  and also which QCX version you are trying to upgrade from.    If you are using W10 OS then remember there are some 3 different versions of W10 brought out since launch (1.5, 1.6-anniversary and now1.7).  The latest W10 version appears to have clamped down and is insisting on Digital Drivers being installed.  There are digital drivers for libusb - kindly provided by Fred Krom  PE0FKO  (Amateur Radio Certificate), however I do not know if these work with AVERdude.

I also failed to upgrade the QCX  firmware - The chip is marked T1.00 and displays as such.  Possibly firmware upgrade is not supported on the very first firmware version.  I use Atmel Studio 7  and  Atmel AVRII ISP which works fine when I program our own Atmel chips.  When upgrading the QEX chip there is a confirmation that the new flash has been applied to the chip and there are no warnings, however the old firmware is not overwritten.   Of course "verify" does not work - rightly so because of Firmware protection.  I have not been bold enough to erase the previous flash and I will try again after I have received a new chip from QRP-Labs!  
Jan G5BBL 


Join to automatically receive all group messages.