Warning for 7000DLE MKII owners

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w-u-2-o
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Warning for 7000DLE MKII owners

Postby w-u-2-o » Sun May 05, 2019 1:47 pm

Introduction

As of the date of this post there have been at least two unfortunate "bricking" incidents when programming new firmware onto 7000DLE MKII units. Bricking is a slang term for a situation where both the normal and Bootloader FPGA images in non-volatile memory are corrupt and none of the normal programming tools (HPSDR Programmer or Bootloader) will work. The only way to reprogram a bricked unit is to open it up and use a JTAG programming pod (aka "USB blaster") with special software to reload the Bootloader image.

This post will explain the problem and how to avoid it.

Background

All electronic designs suffer from the problem of obsolescent parts. The Orion MKII SDR board in the 7K and 8K series radios is no different. When a part goes obsolete and is no longer available there is usually a simple answer in the form of a newer replacement part. Such is the case for the Orion MKII board when the original EPCS128A memory IC went obsolete. The board was revised with an almost identical EPCQ128A memory IC and these later revision boards are the ones used in the 7000DLE MKII units. In order for the unit to work properly with both kinds of memory ICs there is a jumper, J14, that must be correctly configured. For the older EPCS128A no jumper should be placed. For the newer EPCQ128A a jumper shoud be in position.

The Problem

If the jumper is incorrectly configured and an attempt to reprogram the unit with either HPSDR Bootloader or HPSDR Programmer is made, the contents of the memory will be corrupted and the normal programming tools will no longer work.

In this case the specific issue is that at least two 7000DLE MKII units were shipped from the factory with J14 missing when it should have been installed. The owners of those radios tried to upgrade firmware and were left with bricked units. Both were able to recover them using a JTAG programming pod but this is probably something best avoided for most people!

What you can do to avoid this situation

If you are worried that your unit may be missing its jumper you can remove the bottom cover of the chassis and look at the Orion MKII SDR board to confirm that the memory IC part number and J14 configuration is correct. J14 should be jumpered if the memory is an EPCQ128A. Below are two photos that show the location of the memory IC and of J14 (the blue jumper next to U15, it may not be blue in your unit).

OrionMKII_EPCQ128A.jpg
OrionMKII_EPCQ128A.jpg (1.3 MiB) Viewed 1046 times


OrionMKII jumper.jpg
OrionMKII jumper.jpg (1.59 MiB) Viewed 1046 times
w3ub
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Joined: Fri Dec 14, 2018 6:32 pm

Re: Warning for 7000DLE MKII owners

Postby w3ub » Sun May 05, 2019 8:58 pm

Can we assume that if we have previously updated FW on our 7000 that the jumper is correct, or should everyone check it?
Is there a procedure somewhere for removing the covers?
Thanks (from a new user)
Doug
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w-u-2-o
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Re: Warning for 7000DLE MKII owners

Postby w-u-2-o » Mon May 06, 2019 1:38 am

Doug,

If you have already successfully updated firmware then there is nothing to worry about.

I'm not aware of a procedure to take the bottom off. I have an 8000 here so I'm no help on that part of it ;)

73,

Scott
Tom-KJ4WQ
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Re: Warning for 7000DLE MKII owners

Postby Tom-KJ4WQ » Mon May 06, 2019 8:02 pm

Thanks, Doug, for the most helpful pictures of the chip and the jumper location.

Having just received a 7000DLE MKII, I was very relieved to read about the resolution to the trouble Gordon N1MGO had trying to flash his unit. I had followed his well-reported saga with great interest and some concern.

I found that my radio, S/N 117, delivered 30 April, has the EPCQ128A chip but lacked the jumper on J-14. Fortunately, I hadn't tried to install any updates.

If you have a 2.5 mm hex driver bit (and a Phillips for the four feet), the bottom plate is very quickly removed. The Orion board is very accessible.

73,
Tom
w3ub
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Re: Warning for 7000DLE MKII owners

Postby w3ub » Mon May 06, 2019 9:57 pm

We can thank Scott!

And I just noticed this is only for the MKII, I have the original 7000DLE.

Doug
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w-u-2-o
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Re: Warning for 7000DLE MKII owners

Postby w-u-2-o » Wed May 08, 2019 10:00 pm

And I just heard about another user who received their 7000DLE MKII apparently pre-bricked, and with the jumper missing. :o
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Gary_Sitton
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Re: Warning for 7000DLE MKII owners

Postby Gary_Sitton » Sat May 11, 2019 3:02 pm

Doug,
I haven't attempted a P2 firmware update ,nor have I looked to see if J14 has a jumper, nor have I looked to see if it is needed because of the reported possible EPROM memory change. I will open up my 7000DLE Mk-II this weekend and see what needs to be done. I assume that if the jumper is necessary, then putting it in will only effect future P2 firmware updates and nothing else. I am waiting on using the P2 compatible PSDR software for other reasons for the time being, but will eventually definitely want to go the P2 route.
Thanks, Gary
73, Gary K5AMH
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w-u-2-o
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Re: Warning for 7000DLE MKII owners

Postby w-u-2-o » Sat May 11, 2019 11:24 pm

Gary,

The J14 jumper must be installed if you have the newer memory IC. This is true for any firmware you choose to load, P1 or P2, in any order, with any of the three firmware loading app's.

73,

Scott

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