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Axpert King Inverter Firmware


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3 minutes ago, Plaashaas said:

Does FTDI232 and prolific driver make any sense?

 

FTDI232 is a TTL level RS-232 serial port, it 100% will not work with Axpert.

Prolific is the company that makes PL2303, if it says Prolific it is probably a PL2303.  But if it says FTDI232 it will not work.

They are two different things, so I assume those are two types of serial converters you have?

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Hi @Coulomb @weber I see that you've done a lot of work for the PV community, namely when comes to improving firmware of a numerous Voltronic Axpert inverters. I noticed, that you're giving your

@Youda You sir are a gentleman!  Maybe a gofundme page? I am sure others share your sentiments. 

Good morning @Coulomb yes, of course, the sponsorship offer i still valid Personally, I have InfiniSolar in my setup, but I have a past experience with an Axpert too and I know that it's a

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4 minutes ago, Plaashaas said:

That I have done for sure.

My experience has been that bad USB serial adapters will start the process but not complete it.  Failure to open the port (in my case anyway) has always meant it is in use by something else.  Can you open the port in a terminal program?

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17 minutes ago, Gnome said:

They are two different things, so I assume those are two types of serial converters you have?

Yes. Problem is the FTDI one worked fine for the display update. The prolific did not work for dsp.

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3 minutes ago, Gnome said:

FTDI232 is a TTL level RS-232 serial port, it 100% will not work with Axpert.

All these chips are TTL level.  In USB RS232 adapter something like a MAX232 is used to convert to RS232 voltages.

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3 minutes ago, Calvin said:

My experience has been that bad USB serial adapters will start the process but not complete it.  Failure to open the port (in my case anyway) has always meant it is in use by something else.  Can you open the port in a terminal program?

I have long since given up looking stupid.... I am desperate now so..... Terminal program???? Meaning "Device Manager" >>>> com ports ??? 

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Just now, Calvin said:

All these chips are TTL level.  In USB RS232 adapter something like a MAX232 is used to convert to RS232 voltages.

No.  PL2303 doesn't use a MAX232, it is a single chip.  And FTDI232 is commonly used on Arduino, it can be coupled to a MAX232, but given that it isn't easy to see if that is the case I would stick with what is know to work.

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Just now, Gnome said:

PL2303 doesn't use a MAX232, it is a single chip

They are all single chips.  You add something like a MAX232 (as a seperate level converter) wen you want RS232 voltagtes.  As @Plaashaaspointed out, it worked fine for his display update.  It would never work at TTL levels.

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2 minutes ago, Plaashaas said:

I have long since given up looking stupid.... I am desperate now so..... Terminal program???? Meaning "Device Manager" >>>> com ports ??? 

As I said, I don't trust your Windows install.  I would use a Windows 10 Live CD to rule it out.  All these things to try see what is blocking it.  Instead rule it out.  The live CD boots into a Windows 10 environment that is the same every time you boot it, you plug in the PL2303 (and install the driver if needed) and set it to COM1.  I did 1 year ago when I had the same problem that it couldn't open the port.  I posted that on the Australian forum, others tried it also and it worked for them also.

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5 minutes ago, Plaashaas said:

Thank you all for you patience and help. I will go try EVERYTHING suggested and if that fails, take the inverter off and back to supplier. 

Good luck, if you succeed come back and post so others can use that as a guide

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I had the same problem with the USB Serial Adapter where it cannot open port. Since i had a USB to USB OTG adapter from a tablet, I resorted to the USB flash technique, which was so easy. Copy dsp.hex to flash drive, then insert into inverter. While inverter is running normally, press top left button for 3 seconds, then press top left button again to choose upgrade, then press middle left to choose yes. Then wait like 10min, there is no progress indicator, inverter will reboot when it done. If it doesn't then press top left button again, and wait. I believe you have to make sure your Remote unit is running at least 2.2.

I used this method for a Mecer King and two Kodak Kings in parallel.

When i flashed a Kodak King, I initially got error 32 (communication interrupted) after it rebooted, I then reflashed using USB again, and it then worked.

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Weber and I are considering a fully patched Axpert King (PIP-5048MK) firmware at some point. But this is a lot of work, and it would have to be community tested, since we don't have Kings to work with or test on. With the rapid change in King main (DSP) firmware, we don't want to start this, only to have it obsoleted, and/or have to do it all again to a new version.

So we want to wait till the worst of the bugs we don't know how to fix (such as PV dips and freezes) are fixed, and there isn't a new version every few weeks to cater for new battery models with BMS. Forum readers will be in the best position to judge when the firmware is stable. Is 71.92 this stable version yet? Is 71.93 better?

For example: I've not heard much about the PV dips and freezes lately. Is that because it's fixed? If so, does anyone know what version it was fixed in?

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18 hours ago, Coulomb said:

Weber and I are considering a fully patched Axpert King (PIP-5048MK) firmware at some point

This is great news. 

18 hours ago, Coulomb said:

and it would have to be community tested

I have 4 Kings, 3 in parallel and 1 as a semi-online spare mainly used as a battery charger .  I would be very happy to help with the testing when you get there.

18 hours ago, Coulomb said:

Forum readers will be in the best position to judge when the firmware is stable. Is 71.92 this stable version yet? Is 71.93 better?

In the absence of release notes it is difficult to know where they have made changes.  My control system is also constantly evolving so I notice new issues that had perhaps always been there but not detected by me.  My list of issues/bugs is too long too include here (and to be fair I suspect that many of them occur only in paralleled setups) - perhaps one needs a "sticky" thread to log/keep track of  firmware versions and associated bugs?

Much as I would love to see a patched version, my gut feel is that the current firmware needs to evolve a lot before it could be called stable.  Whether Voltronic will ever get around to doing that is another question altogether....

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Hi @Coulomb @weber

I see that you've done a lot of work for the PV community, namely when comes to improving firmware of a numerous Voltronic Axpert inverters. I noticed, that you're giving your time for free and also do not posses a sample of Axpert King, which greatly limits your ability to continue with the firmware testing and development.

Although I'm not personally using any Axpert, I am a big fan of self-sustainability and renewable energy sources. Therefore, I'd like to help you a bit:

  • I am publicly offering you a one-time sponsorship of 1000 USD, so you will be able to obtain necessary Axpert King sample.
  • There's just one condition: you will include me as a HW sponsor in the Readme.txt file of all the future releases of Axpert King patched firmware.

If you do agree, just send me your PayPal address in a PM.

This is not a joke.
Youda

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17 hours ago, Youda said:

I am publicly offering you a one-time sponsorship of 1000 USD, so you will be able to obtain necessary Axpert King sample.

That's extremely kind of you, @Youda; thank you. Especially as you don't personally have an interest in the King.

17 hours ago, Youda said:

There's just one condition:

Of course.

18 hours ago, Calvin said:

my gut feel is that the current firmware needs to evolve a lot before it could be called stable.

So let's not do anything unless or until the firmware is stable. Then we can re-evaluate. I've mentioned this to Weber, and he agrees with accepting your offer (if still available) only when the firmware is stable.

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On 2020/07/31 at 11:59 AM, Plaashaas said:

Thank you all for you patience and help. I will go try EVERYTHING suggested and if that fails, take the inverter off and back to supplier. 

Did you come right? 

 

I was having the same problem, however mine was occurring in the parallel setup, so the one updated correctly but the other point blank refused. 

i eventually pulled the battery fuses, let the inverter restart and the viola it managed to create a connection and i could update. 

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Good morning @Coulomb

yes, of course, the sponsorship offer i still valid :)

Personally, I have InfiniSolar in my setup, but I have a past experience with an Axpert too and I know that it's a good value for the money. Since thousands of people all around the world are using Axpert flavours, it makes me a sense to support the improvement of the machine.

While the logic about waiting for a stable firmware first is reasonable, I would say that it might be a bit uncomfortable for you and @weber to come back to me later and say "Hey Youda, the firmware looks stable now, please send us the funds." That's the situation I do not want to put you in. Therefore, I would prefer to fund you right now. I perfectly understand that you will wait a month or two with the actual HW purchase, and I am okay with that. Like I said before - there are no other conditions, nor strings attached.

I will PM you right now....

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8 minutes ago, Blowdart18 said:

Did you come right? 

 

I was having the same problem, however mine was occurring in the parallel setup, so the one updated correctly but the other point blank refused. 

i eventually pulled the battery fuses, let the inverter restart and the viola it managed to create a connection and i could update. 

@Blowdart18

 

Not yet. I have used 3 different laptops and an old desktop, all with 2 different USB>Serial cables. Managed to get another cable I will be trying this weekend. If that fails I will take the unit to supplier. 

Mine is also parallel setup although at this stage I am just running of one. 

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13 minutes ago, Plaashaas said:

all with 2 different USB>Serial cables

Hi @Plaashaas,

Like so many here, I have also had many heart-stopping moments flashing new firmware onto my Kings.  I have tried both USB OTG and USB serial adapters with limited success, often resulting in me thinking that I have "bricked" my inverter.  Since I have started using a hardware RS232 port in my PC I have had no issues.

The current state of your inverter was probably caused by an update of the display unit that failed due to a bad USB-serial adapter.  It is however my strong impression that a poor USB-serial adapter is not the cause of what you are now experiencing.

It seems to me that:

  1. If there is no serial port on the PC, or it is in use, the programming tool will not show a COM port at all in the drop-down.  If you click Update it comes back with "Cannot find serial port".
  2. If there is a port shown in the drop-down,  it means the serial port is present and not in use.
  3. If you get the "Can not open serial port step 1" message it means that the PC is not getting the correct response from the inverter.  This will also happen if the serial cable is not connected to the inverter at all.
  4. The problem of the update starting, and then hanging up after some minutes is the one caused by a poor USB serial adapter.
  5. If you cannot see a countdown on the LCD on power-up, it probably means that the display unit is faulty/bricked. 

If I understand correctly you are struggling with "Can not open serial port step 1", and suspect that this will not be solved by using different cables.

If you can see a countdown, I would try:

  1. Power down completely (as @Blowdart18 suggested).
  2. Connect to batteries (only), with inverter switched off.
  3. Switch on inverter.  
  4. Click on update (no delay - it tries for 15 seconds).
  5. Now, if it starts and fails at some point, you have a USB serial adapter issue.

If you cannot see a countdown:

  1. Try re-flashing the display unit.
  2. Try swopping the display units.
  3. Take it back to the supplier.

Good luck.

 

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9 minutes ago, Calvin said:

Hi @Plaashaas,

  1. If you get the "Can not open serial port step 1" message it means that the PC is not getting the correct response from the inverter.  This will also happen if the serial cable is not connected to the inverter at all.

 

Yes this exactly the problem

10 minutes ago, Calvin said:

 

  1. If you cannot see a countdown on the LCD on power-up, it probably means that the display unit is faulty/bricked. 

 

Yes the display is off/dead but I am sure it took the 2:49 update.

11 minutes ago, Calvin said:

If you cannot see a countdown:

  1. Try re-flashing the display unit.
  2. Try swopping the display units.
  3. Take it back to the supplier.

Good luck.

Will try everything in that order. Thx

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