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Bootloading New Software
Guidance for loading new software into the SDR Cube Transceiver
(The latest software may be downloaded from the Software page.)
The SDR Cube has a Field Programming ("bootloading") feature that allows a user to send the hex file of a new/updated software application to the Cube over the Aux serial port on the rear panel. When bootloading is complete, the new software is permanently burned into the controller’s memory.
a) Determine what COM port number your USB or RS-232 serial port is -- You can find this out by clicking START and then right-clicking My Computer. Select Properties and then the Hardware tab. Click Device Manager and find the Ports line item in the list. Expand that line item and see that the Communications Port will have a COM number shown. That is the serial COM port number that you'll use.
b) Get the FlashCube.bat file (and associated other files) onto your local computer -- Save the files to a known location, such as at the root of your hard drive (C:\)
c) Edit the two batch files (those with the “.bat” extension) to use the COM port number appropriate for your system, as noted in step ‘a’ above. Typically one can edit a batch file by right-clicking the file and select Edit. If necessary, change COM1 in the command line to be the active COM number of your system. Then close and save the batch files.
d) Connect the PC’s RS-232 Serial Port to the SDR Cube “Aux” port on the rear panel
A one-time preliminary step is to read a small memory segment from the SDR Cube. This will demonstrate to yourself that a successful connection has been made before you attempt to flash a new program into the Cube …
e) Power up the Cube in a special way -- Hold down the "Menu" button on the Cube, while turning on the power switch. This commands the Cube to look to the serial port before it continues powering on normally. (If you have the cover open, notice that the red LED LD3 indicates that the running condition of the bootloader program.)
f) Run the ReadCube.bat file
g) The PC screen starts displaying the Cube memory contents in a black “Command Prompt” window, starting at location 0x400 -- Wait for the display on the PC to stop displaying the data, then compare it to the screen shot below. If it is generally like what we show, and if the memory display stops with a message: “Hit any key to continue”, then you indeed have a fully functioning serial interface! The numbers shown happen to the be the contents of memory locations starting at address 0x400 in the dsPIC, which is the Cube software we programmed into the dsPIC before delivering it to you. (These numbers correspond to version 1.0 software - they will likely be somewhat different for follow-on versions.)
Now that you know that you have a good connection to the Cube, you will next flash the new program into the Cube’s controller ...
h) Once again, power up the Cube in a special way -- Hold down the "Menu" button on the Cube, while turning on the power switch. This commands the Cube to look to the serial port before it continues powering on normally.
i) Run the FlashCube.bat file
j) The PC starts sending the new program file to the Cube for flashing on a line-by-line basis. -- Again, if the enclosure cover is off, you will see the green LED on the DSP board change state each time a packet is received. Further, every time a line of data has been flashed, a decimal point (‘.’) is displayed. When about 100 lines of data have been, the PC displays “Hit any key to continue”, and the Cube reboots and runs the new program. The FlashCube process is done!
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Solutions, LLC. All Rights Reserved.
Page last updated: December 12, 2012