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Axpert SCC MPPT v4.12 Firmware


PurePower
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On 2018/04/14 at 4:01 PM, PurePower said:

I have seen a few people showing screen shots of v4.12 of the SCC firmware.

I'm wondering if 4.12 might be the one needed by the dual- and triple-SCC models.  [ Edit: it's not.] These Solar Charge Controllers have a different protocol, so that they can get their data over a daisy chained serial connection without interfering with each other. SCCs do have a "DIP switch" port (real or virtual, i.e. implemented by different PCB layout) that tells the firmware whether they are capable of 60 A or 80 A, so it's possible that they might do a similar trick to talk the two different protocols. If that's the case, then 4.12 might also be an enhanced version of 4.10 for single-SCC models. But maybe they don't or can't do the DIP switch thing for protocol selection, in which case 4.12 might be only for the dual- and triple-SCC models (i.e. it might not work in a single-SCC model at all). I can't seem to find anything on this now.

Can you recall where you saw these screen shots?

Edited by Coulomb
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On 15/04/2018 at 1:04 AM, Coulomb said:

I'm wondering if 4.12 might be the one needed by the dual- and triple-SCC models.  These Solar Charge Controllers have a different protocol, so that they can get their data over a daisy chained serial connection without interfering with each other. SCCs do have a "DIP switch" port (real or virtual, i.e. implemented by different PCB layout) that tells the firmware whether they are capable of 60 A or 80 A, so it's possible that they might do a similar trick to talk the two different protocols. If that's the case, then 4.12 might also be an enhanced version of 4.10 for single-SCC models. But maybe they don't or can't do the DIP switch thing for protocol selection, in which case 4.12 might be only for the dual- and triple-SCC models (i.e. it might not work in a single-SCC model at all). I can't seem to find anything on this now.

Can you recall where you saw these screen shots?

I saw it on this forum. 

And i also think i saw a pic on the AEVA forums but cant find it now. 

 

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On 2018/04/17 at 12:43 AM, PurePower said:

I saw it on this forum. 

 

Ah. It goes with main firmware 72.90, which I've never heard of (though that means little), and it came from a no name brand machine that produced error 90 (which might be designed to catch clone manufacturers). My guess is that both 72.90 and 04.12 are unauthorised copies (perhaps with minor modifications) of older Voltronic Power firmware. I would not consider that to be a credible source. I'm not saying that there aren't other, credible sources, but that's not one of them.

[ Edit 2020: I no longer believe this; I think 72.90 and 04.12 are both genuine versions. 72.90 didn't seem to last long, presumably obsoleted by 73.00. ]

Edited by Coulomb
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25 minutes ago, PurePower said:

Is there no way to download the firmware from the inverter? 

There used to be for the main DSP firmware, but the version 4.12 firmware is located in the HCS08 microcontroller of the solar charge controller (SCC). They introduced security (password required) on the main firmware years ago, so they likely have done the same for the SCC firmware. 

I'm also not familiar with the process of reading the flash image from the HCS08, and don't have the required hardware or PC software, so I haven't tried (in case they haven't used security with the SCC firmware). 

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19 hours ago, PurePower said:

Is there no way to download the firmware from the inverter? 

Generally speaking, not necessarily in the specific case of this equipment, MCUs have a feature (on the atmega it's called fuse bits for example) that you can activate that disables the reading back of the code. So during development you will likely leave this feature off, and then you will enable it when you ship the final product.

Sometimes a manufacturer will leave it open, possibly because in the rush to get it to market it might be forgotten, possibly because it isn't deemed worth that much, or something, and you'll be able to read the code back with a suitable ICSP interface for that MCU. But it is pretty common for this to disappear in time.

Don't know if anyone remembers the film Entrapment. Catherine Zeta Jones and Sean Connery. There is this scene where she is bragging about stealing something, how she stole it and dropped it in the mail room, literally mailing the loot to herself. Connery then produces the stolen item, to her amazed face, and explains to her that it is always easier to break into the mail room.

Similarly, if you want to steal a company's data: Find out where they keep the backup tapes. Back in my day... I kept them on a shelf in my home. Cheap off-site storage you see. Remember when Hetzner's FTP backup servers were compromised? That's why it is a big deal.

If you want to steal firmware, steal it from the publicly available firmware downloads rather than attempting to read back a chip. And right there... that is where the next thing kicks in: The firmware is quite often encrypted nowadays, and they key to decrypt it is inside the bootloader on the MCU... again suitably protected so you can't read it back.

Now it seems Voltronic might still have some open holes here and there, but I would expect them to close it in due time.

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1 hour ago, plonkster said:

The firmware is quite often encrypted nowadays, and they key to decrypt it is inside the bootloader on the MCU...

Interesting. But presumably you'd load it from flash into RAM, and these processors have much less RAM than flash memory.

Do they typically encrypt the whole image, or just key parts?

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2 hours ago, Coulomb said:

Do they typically encrypt the whole image, or just key parts?

I have no idea :-)

Of course none of this is foolproof. The problem with copy protection is that in all cases you usually have to give the consumer everything he needs to actually get the content out... and if you can get it out, you can copy it. It's just a matter of required effort.

(I wish music producers understood that).

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On 14/04/2018 at 4:01 PM, PurePower said:

I have seen a few people showing screen shots of v4.12 of the SCC firmware. Does anyone have a copy of this firmware?

I happened across another report of 4.12, this time with 72.70 main firmware:

http://forums.aeva.asn.au/viewtopic.php?p=66551#p66551

Also in the very next post on that forum, someone reported the SCC firmware for dual- and triple-SCC models as 1.02. So my theory that 4.12 is mostly for dual- and triple-SCC models doesn't look good. And obviously, despite the original poster's problems, 4.12 does work with single SCC models, and almost certainly was supplied from the factory in his case.

There is plenty that they could improve with the SCC firmware, so it would be good to get a look at 4.12. Anyone that comes across a firmware update file for 4.12, please lets us all know here.

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By all means ask MPP Solar, especially if they are your supplier. GiantPower no longer sell Voltronic Power hardware, except as part of a complete power system, and they long ago removed their handy web page with firmware update files. 

I don't want to be known as a pest that asks for every new firmware update file, and so far I haven't needed any updates. So I don't ask them myself.

Asking Voltronic Power directly will likely result in them telling you to contact your supplier. 

Edited by Coulomb
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