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Author Topic: XTBM-Pro Firmware Update  (Read 4523 times)

JeffVolp

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XTBM-Pro Firmware Update
« on: July 05, 2016, 05:11:59 PM »

I'm cleaning up a minor issue with the XTBM-Pro where the display may not fully clear when switching back to the monitor mode.  If anyone has uncovered another issue that needs to be addressed, I'd like to hear about it.  Please contact me directly.

Jeff
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JeffVolp

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Re: XTBM-Pro Firmware Update
« Reply #1 on: August 04, 2016, 09:55:07 AM »

Jeepers, I have received absolutely zero suggestions for anything to be addressed.  It is hardly worth a firmware update just to fix this minor issue.  Has anyone discovered anything else?

Jeff
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toasterking

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Re: XTBM-Pro Firmware Update
« Reply #2 on: August 09, 2016, 02:03:57 PM »

Jeepers, I have received absolutely zero suggestions for anything to be addressed.
There could be a very simple reason for that.  The XTBM-Pro is the gold standard to which all other X10 meters should be compared.  I have zero issues and zero complaints.

But I thought really hard and came up with a suggestion:  I'd like to be able to see voltages over 9.99V.  Would this be desirable or possible with a firmware update?  Sometimes I'd like to see if something new I'm plugging into the circuit is in fact causing some attenuation even if the signal is still plenty strong at the time.  That way I'll know if I have a device that could potentially cause problems if connected in an area where signals are already attenuated.
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JeffVolp

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Re: XTBM-Pro Firmware Update
« Reply #3 on: August 10, 2016, 08:35:39 AM »

Jeepers, I have received absolutely zero suggestions for anything to be addressed.
There could be a very simple reason for that.  The XTBM-Pro is the gold standard to which all other X10 meters should be compared.  I have zero issues and zero complaints.

But I thought really hard and came up with a suggestion:  I'd like to be able to see voltages over 9.99V.  Would this be desirable or possible with a firmware update?  Sometimes I'd like to see if something new I'm plugging into the circuit is in fact causing some attenuation even if the signal is still plenty strong at the time.  That way I'll know if I have a device that could potentially cause problems if connected in an area where signals are already attenuated.

Thank you very much for the compliment.

Unfortunately, the hardware was designed to max out at 9.99V.  X10 problems occur at the low end below 1Vpp.  So I thought it better to provide the resolution down there than to show how much the XTB transmitters can pump out.  Even though the XTB transmitters will peg the XTBM-Pro at 9.99V when measured nearby, since X10 signal strength falls off rapidly as you move away from the transmitter, you can always check out on a circuit to see the effect of a new device.

Jeff
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JeffVolp

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Re: XTBM-Pro Firmware Update
« Reply #4 on: August 20, 2016, 02:36:08 PM »

The XTBM-Pro firmware has been updated to fix the two remaining minor bugs that I have been aware of.  Several characters from a prior mode could be left on the display following the "double-button" reset to the X10 Monitor mode.  And the voltage for bit 4 did not lock along with the rest of the bitmap display when the cursor was moved off the zero position.  Both have been corrected, and all Pro units shipping from 8/20/16 on will have the update.
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JeffVolp

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Re: XTBM-Pro Firmware Update
« Reply #5 on: August 24, 2016, 07:36:18 PM »

In case anyone is interested, I'm in the process of porting over the XTBM-Pro firmware to the basic XTBM.  Obviously, none of the additional features will be available, but the higher clock speed and improved noise handling might be worth the upgrade.  The new processor is not compatible with the original XTBM PCB, so the upgrade can only be done on an XTBM ordered after mid-2011.  It does require a soldered-in resistor to be moved to an alternate location.

Jeff
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bkenobi

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Re: XTBM-Pro Firmware Update
« Reply #6 on: August 25, 2016, 12:55:23 AM »

I'm interested if you make these.  How much and how complicated?
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JeffVolp

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Re: XTBM-Pro Firmware Update
« Reply #7 on: August 25, 2016, 09:40:48 AM »

I'm interested if you make these.  How much and how complicated?

It is not "if", but "when".  The conversion has been completed, but I'm chasing the last couple of bugs.

Whether your XTBM can be upgraded depends on when it was purchased.  The original XTBM PCB was intended to support both processors because the one used in the Pro was supposed to be backward compatible.  Even samples were not available at that time, and when they became available I found the comparator configuration I had used was not supported in the new device.  That required swapping 6 pins on the PCB to support both PICs.  There are two resistor locations at the top left corner of the PCB if it supports both PICs.  One position is labeled for the 16F684 and the other for the 16F182X.

The upgrade requires moving that resistor to the alternate location, and replacing the socketed PIC with the new device.  Like all upgrades, the $8 cost is dominated by the new PIC and shipping.  If your XTBM can be upgraded and you don't want to do the upgrade yourself, send it back with $12 to cover the upgrade and return shipping.

Jeff
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bkenobi

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Re: XTBM-Pro Firmware Update
« Reply #8 on: August 25, 2016, 11:08:35 AM »

It looks like I purchased the XTBM kit in early 2012.  Moving the resistor is no big deal and since the PIC is socketed, that's also a simple change!
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bkenobi

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Re: XTBM-Pro Firmware Update
« Reply #9 on: October 08, 2016, 10:24:35 PM »

I've been searching for a better place to post a review, but this seems like the best spot.

Jeff sent me an updated firmware for my XTBM a month or two ago and I just got an opportunity to install it and give it a try.  The kit includes a single part (the new firmware kit) and an instructions document.  The guide is short but contains sufficient detail to easily get the update installed.  It's basically as simple as pulling the old chip and installing the new one and then moving a resistor (desolder, move, solder).  This should have taken 10 minutes (mostly waiting for my soldering irons to heat up) except that I got impatient and tried to pull the resistor before I had removed all solder resulting in a broken resistor leg.  The broken resistor was a 100ohm 1/4w resistor but anything between 47 and 220 ohm will work according to Jeff.

I tested the same couple components prior to update and after the new firmware was installed.  The initial test resulted in noise being reported on the order of 0.1-0.3 but the new firmware reported nothing.  Jeff confirmed that the new update should handle low strength signals better such that they won't be reported as noise and see them as valid, low strength X10 commands.  The other thing I can say is that when initially turning on the XTMB after update, it took a few seconds to initialize.  Afterwards, it felt like it started up quicker.  This could have just been in my head, but it seems faster (displays the initial text sooner, gets to the signal strength quicker).

Thanks again Jeff!
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