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Backup Inverter firmware


ismii
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Hi all

I have few questions about axpert inverter

Is there any way to read and backup the existing firmware from  inverter before flashing new firmware. so in case if the new firmware is not compatible, we may restore the previous one.

if we flash wrong firmware (main firmware) then what will happen. does it  bricks(hard brick) the inverter or we can reflash it using com port again or have goto customer care.

what if we don't have com port on inverter. Is firmware flashing possible using usb port.

Regards

 

 

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1 hour ago, ismii said:

we can reflash it using com port

As far as I know the bootloader part of the firmware is never overwritten, so you can always re-flash it. The only thing that happens is if the rest of the inverter is dead (because of a failed flash or similar) there will be no indication on the LCD an it might look bricked, but from reading over and over from others who knows this inverter, apparently it is very hard to permanently brick it. @Coulomb once said something about the firmware still compiled in debug mode, ie it seems Voltronic hasn't locked it down completely and it should in theory be possible to read the firmware from the chip IF you have the relevant hardware programing device for that chip and there is a header on the board (doubtful). For normal non-electronic-engineer folks, the answer is no, there is no backup feature.

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12 minutes ago, plonkster said:

As far as I know the bootloader part of the firmware is never overwritten, so you can always re-flash it. The only thing that happens is if the rest of the inverter is dead (because of a failed flash or similar) there will be no indication on the LCD an it might look bricked, but from reading over and over from others who knows this inverter, apparently it is very hard to permanently brick it. @Coulomb once said something about the firmware still compiled in debug mode, ie it seems Voltronic hasn't locked it down completely and it should in theory be possible to read the firmware from the chip IF you have the relevant hardware programing device for that chip and there is a header on the board (doubtful). For normal non-electronic-engineer folks, the answer is no, there is no backup feature.

Thank you very much for reply. Pease let me clear if we flash wrong firmware to the inverter is there any chance of frying(hardware damage) the inverter.

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1 hour ago, ismii said:

if we flash wrong firmware to the inverter is there any chance of frying(hardware damage) the inverter.

I don't know. I don't know that inverter well enough. Just replied from my more general MCU knowledge, things that are the same pretty much across all embedded type systems.

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26 minutes ago, plonkster said:

I don't know. I don't know that inverter well enough. Just replied from my more general MCU knowledge, things that are the same pretty much across all embedded type systems.

Thanks alot

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15 hours ago, ismii said:

Is there any way to read and backup the existing firmware from  inverter before flashing new firmware. so in case if the new firmware is not compatible, we may restore the previous one.

There is a mechanism to do that, but it's been locked out for years by password protection. So very old models (say with factory firmware 52.30) could be read that way (I did so once), but we have copies of 52.30 saved away anyway (see AEVA PIP-4048 thread and its index). But we have enough saved factory and patched firmware versions now that you can likely lookup your present firmware version (U1 display line), and if all goes badly, download the nearest firmware to what you had and re-flash with that.

15 hours ago, ismii said:

If we flash wrong firmware (main firmware) then what will happen. does it  bricks(hard brick) the inverter or we can reflash it using com port again or have goto customer care.

In theory, you should never have a bricking. However, I have heard of someone in Germany bricking his 24 V model, with factory firmware from his supplier. I believe he's going to get a replacement processor daughter board from them for a lowish shipping charge.

15 hours ago, ismii said:

What if we don't have com port on inverter. Is firmware flashing possible using usb port.

You'd think so, especially since the 24 V models don't have a COM port, and they update through their USB port. But they get a different flash program (the software that runs on your Windows PC that sends the firmware data with all the handshaking and checksums etc). As far as I know, this inability to flash program 48 V models via the USB port is a limitation of the Windows flash program. It's old, full of spelling errors, can't handle virtual COM ports above COM9, and it seems the manufacturer has no interest in updating it.

As far as I know, every 48 V model comes with a COM port, possibly for that reason.

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14 hours ago, plonkster said:

Coulomb once said something about the firmware still compiled in debug mode,

A 24 V firmware I examined recently looked like it was compiled in release (non-debug) mode, so it looks like it's up to the individual engineer.

Quote

ie it seems Voltronic hasn't locked it down completely and it should in theory be possible to read the firmware from the chip

As mentioned in my last post, a password is required now to see the firmware. Without the password, you read all zeroes, and can't perform debugging of any kind.

I don't know whether the password remains active after re-flashing, however.

Every C2000 based processor board that I've seen (and there are only a few) has had the 14-pin JTAG connector populated. I suspect that the factory programs the chips through those connectors, rather than some fancy machine that can program a bare chip with 80 or more finely spaced leads. All the 48 V models have a C2000 processor.

Edited by Coulomb
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11 hours ago, Coulomb said:

You'd think so, especially since the 24 V models don't have a COM port, and they update through their USB port. But they get a different flash program (the software that runs on your Windows PC that sends the firmware data with all the handshaking and checksums etc). As far as I know, this inability to flash program 48 V models via the USB port is a limitation of the Windows flash program. It's old, full of spelling errors, can't handle virtual COM ports above COM9, and it seems the manufacturer has no interest in updating it.

As far as I know, every 48 V model comes with a COM port, possibly for that reason

I have a 24 inverter (provided by inverex) model name:  Axpert VM 3Kva Plus . it comes with USB port only. I tried to flash new firmware to it but it failed.

so I opened it up and found that there is USB to SERIAL board inside inverter I just took it out and replace it with  simple com board from another inverter and now I can flash it with out any problem.

The reason that some inverters dosent flashes through USB port is the USB to SERIAL board that is restricted to 2400 baud rate so the inverter can communicate to pc monitoring software but cannot be flashed via USB port because flashing is done with 9600 baud rate.

so if anyone want to flash inverter firmware and don't have com port on inverter you just have to replace the USB board the  with com board from any other inverter and flash the inverter with out any problem.

USB to serial board of my inverter is attached

USB_SERIAL.png

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Ah. I wonder if the USB to serial boards actually operate at 9600 bps, but are marginal. I had an owner from Germany message me about a failed firmware update via USB on a 24 V model. His update appeared to complete successfully, but the inverter was bricked afterwards. Maybe that's the reason that USB updating isn't allowed on 48 V models.

Not a terribly satisfactory situation for 24 V (and other?) model owners. But good to know that there is a work around.

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12 minutes ago, Coulomb said:

Yeah, my guess too. They must be shockers. 

The Victron Mk3-USB uses optos as well, that runs at 4800. I'm not sure what the vedirect cables use, they run at 19200 (might not be optos). I know that for MPPTs that might use optos to drive the FET on the high side (eg, the MicroCare units made in this country), the optos are limited to 50khz. That is to say, 9600 really should be doable with a good opto, but it is a known issue: You actually have to design for it and use the more expensive part.

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  • 3 months later...

Whew....I almost had a heart attack updating my Mecer 4kw to the latest 73.00C firmware.

I switched off all the cb,s and removed USB cable from the inverter and only left on the battery power.

I started the update and was constantly getting an error popup from the reflash tool. After an hour and a bit of battling I read Coulombs "what to do if you think the inverter is bricked" comment on his Aussie forum. I switched off the battery cb and when I switched it back on there was no display on my inverters LCD....Well to cut a long story short I followed Coulombs advice to try re-running the flash program and it ran smoothly this time around. To my relief when I switched the inverter off and back on.....voila it was working again with the new version. 

Hats off to @Coulomb and @weber for this nifty firmware. 

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