BLOG 11 – Firmware Update for 12PRSAT System

New Firmware Updates

Since the initial release of the PR12SAT Portable Az/El Rotor system, we have been fixing software bugs, adding / improving Features and reliability improvements to the control electronics.  Updates were made to both the Hand Controller firmware and the Motor Control unit firmware.

Many of the fixes came from operating faults found by our early adopters and some were found during our continuous in house testing.

Improvements and Fixes include:

  • Magnetometer Calibration and Antenna Auto Calibration operations.
  • Start and Stop motor control logic fixing motor stall conditions when turning heavy or unbalanced antenna loads
  • Additional logic to better predict stopping time for better turn accuracy
  • Additional detection and correction logic added to keep a runaway motor condition from causing sever cable wrap
  • A fix to better support older version of the SatPC32 ServerSDX that does not support polling of the rotor system.
  • See below list for more details

The control electronics are not field upgradable and require the Hand Controller and Azimuth Unit to be returned for upgrade, the rest of the system can stay with you.

The upgrade is FREE and we will pay the return shipping, you just need to let us know that you are returning the units.  We will turn it around and have it back out in 24 hours.  Email us at: support@portablerotation.com to let us know you are returning the above parts for upgrade.

Firmware Revision details:

Release 1.1A

  • Initial Release as seen at Dayton 2016

Release 1.1B

  • Added Temperature monitoring and over-temp protection, stopping motor turns if the Motor Unit gets too hot. The control electronics in the metal enclosure can overheat on a hot day in direct sunlight.  Motor unit now reports internal temperature to Hand Controller and the hand controller will warn of over temp conditions and halt motor operations if the motor unit gets too hot.
  • Changed GPS data polling rate to improve system power on.
  • Changed Magnetometer Declination sign calculation, had it backwards

Release 1.1C

  • Many improvements in Motor Start and Stop operations. Motor was stalling when starting a turn with a heavy antenna load.  Also fixed stall conditions that could occur when slowing at the end of a turn with an unbalanced antenna load.
  • Added master turn timers to protect against a system fault that could cause a runaway motor condition, causing a motor unit reset.
  • Hand Controller now informs the Motor Controller of its operating voltage as provided from the Hand controller. This is used to better control stopping accuracy.

Release 1.1D

  • Enabled internal I2C signal filters in the motor CPU to better protect signal integrity of the I2C bus.

Release 1.1E

  • Added an operating improvement to the internal communications between the Hand Controller and the Motor Controller when operating with Tracking Applications that do not poll for position data. Some older Tracking applications do not poll for antenna position at all (like SatPC32 with SeverSDX dated 2013).  Some only poll during a movement (newer version of ServerSDX dated 2015) and other poll all the time (like PSTRotator).  When operating in Remote Mode the Hand Controller did not auto pole the Motor controller and used the host computers poll to initiate the data transfer between controllers.  This limited the amount of time the data channel between the controllers was in uses.  Without the polling operation the 2 controllers could get out of sync with each other during move operations.  The Hand controller now detects when the Host computer is not polling and will initiate the polling between the 2 controllers on its own, disabling its internal polling if the Host computer starts polling again.
  • Change in the sensitivity in the movement of the Antenna system during an Auto Antenna Calibration operation.

Hardware Modification:

  • Changed the Motor Controller I2C pull up resistors from 10K to 4.7K to improve noise immunity from motor noise.
  • Added additional 0.01uf Capacitors on the Optical inputs to improve noise immunity from motor noise.

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