How to Update the FLEX-5000/3000 Firmware (prior to v2.0.10)

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How to Update the FLEX-5000/3000 Firmware (prior to v2.0.10)

How to Update the FLEX-5000/3000 Firmware (prior to v2.0.10)

  System Dependencies
  Minimum PowerSDR Version:   Firmware dependent - v2.0.0.0 to v2.0.9
  Applicable Hardware:     FLEX-5000 & FLEX-3000

Content provided by: FlexRadio Systems Engineering

This is a step-by-step guide for manually upgrading or "flashing" the FLEX-5000 or FLEX-3000 firmware using the FLEX Firewire Control panel with Firewire driver version or above.  This method of upgrading the firmware is used for firmware versions to 2.0.9.  Starting with version 2.0.10 the FLEX-5000 and FLEX-3000 firmware is automatically updated by PowerSDR and a manual firmware upgrade procedure is no longer necessary.

Upgrading the firmware for your FLEX-x000 software defined radio is a two step process.  First you must download the firmware files to your PC using the PowerSDR v2.x Integrated Installer (setup) package.  When you run the PowerSDR v2.x Integrated Installer, it automatically installs the FLEX-x000 firmware binaries to your computer as part of the installation process without needing any user intervention.

Second, you must use the Firmware Loader applet that is in the FLEX Firewire Control Panel to actually program the flash memory in your SDR with the new firmware binary.

WARNING: You *must* have the FLEX Firewire driver v3.5.0.7171 or higher installed and operational before proceeding.  Failure to meet this prerequisite will result in the failure of upgrading the firmware on your software defined radio.

NOTE:  The instructions and screen shots used below are only representative examples of the screens you will see when upgrading your firmware in regards to file names and firmware version numbers.  Please use the appropriate file and firmware version for your actual upgrade.

Upgrading the FLEX-5000/3000 With New Firmware

Step 1:
Run the PowerSDR v2.x Integrated Installer program to install PowerSDR 2.x and all of the ancillary drivers and software needed to operate your software defined radioIf you already have the latest version of PowerSDR v2.x installed, re-executing this step is not necessary.

Step 2:
Power up the FLEX-x000 and do NOT start PowerSDR.

Step 3:
After the firmware binary files have been extracted to your computer, start the FLEX Firewire control panel in order to load of the firmware into the radio's flash memory.

NOTE: If you receive an error that Driver Error: Driver Access Error, make sure your FLEX-x000 SDR is powered on.  If it is not powered on, power it on now, right click on the OK button.  Restart the FLEX Firewire Control panel from the icon on your desktop.  The FLEX Firewire Control Panel application should now start without any errors.

Step 4: Left click on the button labeled Firmware Loader as shown below.

Step 5: The Firmware Loader applet will be displayed in the Device Setting section of the FLEX Firewire Control Panel.  Left click the "Show Details" check box which will show the currently loaded or "running info" firmware (older firmware may not have a version or APP number shown) in the Details section of the FLEX Firewire control panel.  Then left click on the "Browse" button to select the firmware binary file to upload to your radio.

Step 6: Once you click on the Browse button, a Chose a new File dialog box will appear giving you the ability to select the firmware binary file (a file with the extension of ".bin").  Below are the locations of where you can find the firmware files that were extracted to your PC in Phase I above.

Depending on the Windows operating system you are using, you will have a new folder labeled FLEX Firmware created in the Documents (Vista and Win7) or My Documents folder.  When you open this folder, you will see two folders; one for each FLEX-x000 software defined radio.  Underneath each radio type folder is located the different firmware versions in a separate folder labeled with the firmware number.  In those folder you will find a firmware binary with a file name like FLEX-5000_FW_2.0.0.3.bin which is the firmware file version for the FLEX-5000 and the associated readme or release notes file for that firmware version.

Below is a sample of the directory structure for the FLEX Firmware folder.  You will need to become familiar with the location of these files because you are going to have to select the firmware image (*.bin) from the appropriate folder for  the firmware image writer (burner) to use.
..\FLEX Firmware

..\FLEX Firmware\FLEX-5000
 ..\FLEX Firmware\FLEX-5000\
 ..\FLEX Firmware\FLEX-5000\
 ..\FLEX Firmware\FLEX-5000\

..\FLEX Firmware\FLEX-3000
 ..\FLEX Firmware\FLEX-3000\
 ..\FLEX Firmware\FLEX-3000\
 ..\FLEX Firmware\FLEX-3000\

Using the Chose a new File dialog box, navigate to the appropriate radio type folder and then navigate down and open the firmware version folder.  In the firmware version folder a single file will be displayed; this is the firmware binary file you need to select by highlighting it and left clicking the OPEN button.  See the Windows XP example below for the FLEX-5000, firmware version

Step 7:
Once you have selected the firmware binary, the Details section in the FLEX Firewire Control Panel will be updated with information on the file you selected, showing the new firmware version as the APP version.  Note the Product version for both the running info and file info firmware binaries should be the same.  If not, you selected a firmware binary from the incorrect radio family.  The FLEX-5000 has a Product ID =1 and the FLEX-3000 has a product ID = 2.  If this is the case, click on the BROWSE button and reselect the proper firmware version.

You are now ready to start the Firmware upload process.  Left click on the UPLOAD button to begin.

Step 8: The flashing of the new firmware to your radio will begin by first uploading the binary into memory.

And then finish by creating the DICE sector and uploading the binary into flash memory.

When the firmware upgrade is complete the Firmware Progress... window will close.

Verifying a Successful Update of the FLEX-5000/3000 Firmware
The FLEX-5000/3000 must reset or reboot before the new firmware is initialized.  The final step of the firmware upgrade process is to automatically issue a software reset of the FLEX-5000/3000.  If this is successful, you will hear a relay click several seconds after the last screen of the firmware upgrade process is displayed.

WARNING: If you do not hear the relay click or have any doubt that the FLEX-5000/3000 did not reset, then manually shut off the power and restart the FLEX-5000/3000.

Accessing the Firmware Release Notes
The firmware release notes are contained in the same folder as the firmware binary files.  Open the folder with Windows Explorer and double left click on the FLEX-x000_Firmware_ReadMe.txt to view the release notes and any other pertinent information about the firmware release.

This KB article may reference additional files that are available on the FlexRadio Systems web site Downloads page. Please use the URL(s) below to download the referenced materials.

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Last Modified:Friday, September 24, 2010
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