FCD+ firmware update 20.03

Folks

I have a firmware update and docuemntation for your FCD over in the downloads section. This applies to units before about serial number 10250 where there were some frequencies inadvertently blocked in the firmware.

In addition, I’ve updated the FCHID2 program so you can see the current firmware version that’s loaded onto your FCD. It is also written in VC6 so hopefully this will correct some of the problems folks have encountered with FCHID2 hanging. However, as I’ve been unable to reproduce this situation I am rather coding in the dark I’m afraid!

Many thanks, Howard

 

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33 Responses to FCD+ firmware update 20.03

  1. Burak says:

    Hi Howard,
    Ic have just recieved my FCD+ today and was dissapointed that it did not work out of the box as previously with the FCDP. After reading the website I tried it on my other computers and there the FCD+ worked flawlessly (incl. Windows8 64bit and windows XP SP3, so this is not a “64bit issue” as most of the time with hardware).

    Also even with no dongle connected the old (FCHid2001.exe) would crash at start on the PC where it does not run, while on the PC’s where it works it would start and show “FCD not Found” in the right hand status.

    With the new version of the Software (FCHID2.002.exe) I have now different problems on my main PC. The software starts, and lets me set a new frequency. But as soon as I start -any- SDR software (or any other software that accesses the Sound Device, ie. Windows Sound Settings) it hangs again (not crash). I do not hear anything and I cannot set a new frequency. If i pull out the Dongle while it hangs the GUI will act as if it has recovered but it crashes on next entry.

    So: Result has changed but error persists. Sorry.

    On the “broken” PC I still can use the old FCDP or RTLSDR dongle with no problems.

    I would really like to help you get a more precise problem cause, but until now I have nothing that is reproducable. Maybe you could add a “general catch for any exception”, so we can give detailed feedback on error reports.

    -Burak

  2. Simon Franklin G1rnb ex-VK4uy says:

    Hello Howard,

    I have had my new FCD-Pro+ for a short time and would like to say congratulations on such an amazing device.

    When connected to my existing 20m antenna system I believe your device rivals my previously used RX (an FT950) in sensitivity and selectivity…quite remarkable.

    After listening to a CW pileup on 20m I know this to be true.

    It is only a matter of time before you design and create a DC-light RX & QRP-TX device, and anticipating this can I place my order now. please.

    Anyone who has issues with noise, noise bars or anything related to performance should firstly consider their antenna system and overall selectivity.

    Best regards again

    • admin says:

      Hello Simon

      Thank you for your kind words.

      I have to say, when I was first developing the device, just a few weeks ago, I was like a kid in a sweet shop. It’s been a long time since I’d been so fired up scanning the bands, particlarly down at LF/MF/HF. Indeed I must confess that I’ve had a lot of fun playing with it myself.

      Many thanks, Howard

  3. admin says:

    Hello Burak

    Firstly, I am sorry that you’re encountering problems. Secondly, Thank you very much for such a complete set of diagnostics, that is very useful for trying to find out what the problem is.

    I am aware that of a limited few situations with similar issues that you are having with FCHid2001. So far I have been unable to reproduce the fault here, so I am working “blind” when trying to fix it.

    At the moment, I believe that it may be to do with USB 2.0 hubs that have single transaction translators where bandwidth is shared with other full-speed peripherals like the FCD+ on the same hub. Certainly there is anecdotal evidence that either placing the FCD+ on a USB 3.0, or placing it on a USB 2.0 extender (or external hub) has resolved this, but as I’ve been unable to reproduce this myself it’s proved difficult to really nail this down. May I suggest that if you have a spare USB 2.0 hub or USB 2.0 extender, you could try that and let me know if that makes any difference? I am not suggesting that this as a final solution, but it will help me to diagnose the fault.

    Also interesting is that the FCHID2.002.exe bahaves differently: this is essemntially the same code as FCHid2001, but recompiled for VC6 (the same compliler used for the original FCD’s FCHID) with the addition of displaying the firmware version and re-coding the buffer overrun library functions that aren’t in VC6. Indeed, from your descriptions, it is very plasible that we may have a buffer overrun problem that’s causing this fault.

    When the code runs, it enumerates the USB devices in order to locate the FCD+: it may be that there is a buffer overrun problem that’s causing the crash. This would explain why it works on some PCs and not others.

    Once again, I must thank you for your detailed diagnostics, it is most useful and will help in resolving this.

    Many thanks, Howard

  4. David - M0ZLI says:

    Hi,
    Received my FCDP+ (10660) yesterday, plugged it in, and everything went as it should. Just need the correct connection for the antenna and I’m away flying… my junk box was sadly lacking the corrrect plug! The shack system here is XP SP3, Intel E7500 dual core, 4 Gb ram etc. Have just tried it in my 4 year old Sony VAIO laptop running Vista and all is well, both running SDR#. More to be tried soon, but not sure if the XYL will let me try it on her Windows 7-64 bit beastie :o)
    It’s been well worth the wait and congratulations to Howard and all involved in producing a nice bit of kit!
    73 – David

  5. Burak says:

    I was actually trying it on an extender on a usb3 hub. Seems like one of both solutions is nice but the combination of both still causes the same error. Here is a list I have compiled:

    All of the following tested with : FCHID2.002.exe
    PC:
    (windows 7 – 64bit – Service Pack 1)

    USB2 Port -> FCD+ ==> Hangs when soundcard is used
    USB2 Port -> USB2 Ext -> FCD+ ==> Works
    USB2 Port -> USB2 Hub -> FCD+ ==> Works

    USB3 Port -> FCD+ ==> Works
    USB3 Port -> USB2 Ext -> FCD+ ==> Hangs when soundcard is used
    USB3 Port -> USB2 Hub -> FCD+ ==> Hangs when soundcard is used

    The PC has front and back USB3 ports, the ones on front behave the same as on backside.

    Just for comparison:
    Laptop:
    (windows 8 – 64bit)

    USB2 Port -> FCD+ ==> Works
    USB2 Port -> USB2 Ext -> FCD+ ==> Works
    USB2 Port -> USB2 Hub -> FCD+ ==> Works
    USB3 Port -> FCD+ ==> Works
    USB3 Port -> USB2 Ext -> FCD+ ==> Works
    USB3 Port -> USB2 Hub -> FCD+ ==> Works

    The USB Extender is a 5 meter active extender with the electronics on the far end from the PC, it is branded “Digitus”.

    The USB Hub is a noname Hub with a really short(5 cms) fixed cable and it has a sticker which stated 480Mbps, it behaves like a regular USB2.0 Hub. I used it without external power for the tests above.

    The laptop is a pretty old one (4+ Years, from the first”Core 2 Duo” era), the USB3 capability was added with an “Expresscard”.
    ________________________
    After doing the above tests, I tried to remove all other USB devices from the PC. This has changed the behaviour when connected directly, so now it is:
    USB2 Port -> FCD+ ==> Works
    All others did not change.

    I then one by one reconnected all USB devices, the Keyboard changes the situation. Since I have a Logitech G15 Keyboard (LCD, many additional keys, integrated USB Hub) I suspected that the compund device causes an overflow.

    I then tried to work without the Keyboard, but to fill up all USB ports with anything I have (Android tablet, USB Serial adapter, USB Mass Storage stick, Mobile phone, Amazon Kindle) All these connected it still worked.

    I again removed all of them, and connected one single Keyboard (this time a simple china branded one, no compund device) and it again crashed.

    Connecting a Keyboard on the laptop does not change anything it all still works fine.

    Maybe the number of HID devices the software can enumerate is limited and the one additional keyboard causes an overrun ? (I think my mouse also shows up as two devices, but I have not other to test)

    • Burak says:

      Sorry, I wanted to do one last test, but i did send the message prematurely.

      I tried to connect as many HID devices as I can to my laptop, to maybe reproduce the error. No luck, even with 3 Keyboards (including the Logitech G15 from above) and the Mouse from above, I was still not able to reproduce the error on the laptop.

      I must admit that my regular PC is pretty much filled up with drivers and software that I do not use anymore and I will make a clean reinstall as soon as I am finished with the project I am working on. So this may not me such a big issue for me. Also for now I know that I can just connect the extender to a USB2 port and it works for me.

      Still I would like to continue to help solving this. Is there maybe a general forum where not just me but also other people with the same problem can take part in this ?

      -Burak

      • admin says:

        Hello Burak

        Many thanks once again for an extremely detailed set of results, they are extremely helpful. It’ll take me a while to think this through, and I may write some utilities that I may ask you to run if that’s possible?

        There have been a couple of occasions this has been mentioned over on the Yahoo FUNcube Dongle Plus group, I am not sure if you have been over there. However yours are by far the most detailed set of diagnostics I’ve seen which will help enormously in rectifying the problem you’re seeing.

        Many thanks, Howard

        • Burak says:

          Hi,
          Sure, if it helps I can do some testing. I guess as the admin you can see my mail adr.. nah .. before you go searching, here it is; chip273 -at- gmail -dot- com, u can mail me directly.
          Meanwhile I will go signup that yahoo group.
          -Burak

        • Rob M0VFC says:

          Hi Howard,

          If a further data point is interesting: after using the FCD+ very successfully on a few PCs, I then moved it to an HP Proliant Microserver, which has no on-board sound card, so I added a USB soundcard.

          Running CW Skimmer gave an “Undefined external error” message when trying to start it; SDR-Radio.com remote server ran fine. A tell-tale was a system tray message that briefly appeared mentioning insufficient USB bandwidth.

          It turns out that all six externally accessible USB ports on the box are connected to a single USB controller, despite two further controllers showing up in device manager.

          Moving the FCD+ to the secret internal USB socket mounted on the motherboard (for VMWare ESXi USB keys and the like) puts it on a different controller to the USB soundcard, and Skimmer now runs fine.

          (I still have no idea where the third USB controller actually appears physically!)

          Sadly no hubs or extenders to hand, so I can’t test that bit I’m afraid.

          Once again, the FCD+ is a mind-blowingly good device – thank you so much!

          73,
          Rob, M0VFC

          • admin says:

            Hello Rob

            Thank you for your detailed symptoms. If you ever get to be able to reproduce the fault with the “insufficient USB bandwidth” I’d be grateful for a print screen. It would appear to match my suspicions that some USB controllers still have single USB 1.1 transaction translators shared between multiple USB 2.0 ports. I have not had any luck reproducing the fault here I’m afraid so I’m rather scrabbling away in the dark.

            If you ever get the chance to try an external USB 2.0 hub or extender, I’d be very interested in your findings.

            Many thanks again, Howard

  6. Mike G0MJW says:

    Hi Howard,

    Well done. I have not tried updating yet. Are there any differences in the programming interface?

    Mike

    • admin says:

      Hello Mike

      No, there is no change tot he API, the changes in the code are (a) remove FCC cell block and (b) a modification to the factory calibration procedure.

      Many thanks, Howard

  7. Dave says:

    Hi Howard,

    Could you please tell me if I’m on the waiting list for the FD Pro +, I’m terribly sorry to bother you with this request, but I didn’t see any kind of acknowledgement to say it has received my request, so instead of filling it out again, I thought I would check first.

    Thanks in advance, and keep up the great work!!

    Dave
    VE3JMW

    73’s

  8. Michi says:

    Hmm. Is the FCC block going to be re-instituted for US users? (I think this is silly as there is no cellular left on those bands anyways, and has not been for five years) – but, I’m betting someone is still going to raise a fuss about it not being “cell blocked”…

    • admin says:

      Hello Michi

      If you personally import from a distribution channel outside the US, then it is the generic version without cellular blocking that is available.

      To distribute and retail within the US, you have to have FCC conformance. You cannot achieve FCC conformance without cell block, even though it is irrelevant since the analogue system is switched off now.

      Many thanks, Howard

  9. Peter says:

    Hi Howard,

    Thank you for creating yet another excellent device. I have had the pro for about a year now and enjoyed it a great deal. Thanks for sending the plus out so quickly, even on your vacation! I anticipate A LOT of fun on the lower bands! Both worked straight out of the box! However, I do have one question. I cannot get the control program (FCHID2.002.exe) to take more than a 7 digit frequency. Is it something I’m not setting correctly? Otherwise everything is working perfectly. Thanks again!

    73’s Peter ve7ngp

    • admin says:

      Hello Peter.

      Many thanks for your note. I’m not certain I’ve understood your note: the limit of 7 digits is by design, as the maximum frequency is about 2GHz, or 2,000,000kHz: the frequency entered in the FCHID2.002.exe (as with other FCHID versions) is in kHz. Does this make sense, or am I misunderstanding your question?

      Many thanks again, Howard

    • Peter says:

      Hi Howard,

      Thanks for your reply. I guess I was looking at your youtube and the numbers on the controller display appear to accommodate more digits. Also, in SDRSharp and HDSDR, the frequency display will take a 3 place decimal. However, given both of these software have controllers that will fine tune anyway. So, no more problem. I’m really enjoying the Pro+! ….truely plug and play! now if only my DIY HF antenna will work better! Thanks again Howard.

      73’s Peter ve7ngp

  10. Des Heard G6YEK says:

    Hi Howard
    Had the Pro+ about a week now,absolutely fantastic.
    Merry Xmas to you
    73s Des G6YEK

    • admin says:

      Hello Des

      Many thanks for your kind words. I’ve had quite a bit of fun with it myself.

      Many thanks, Howard

    • admin says:

      Hello Des

      Many thanks! I was quite blown away myself when I first put the prototype together at what this tiny device could achieve.

      Thanks again, Howard

  11. serge szpilfogel says:

    Can anyone tell me if the EXtio_FCD_G0MJW.dll which i have already in HDSDR software V2.51 will work with the FCD PRO + ?? or do i need an update ??
    Also does the NEW FDC PRO + needs to have firmware updated as was the case with the first FCD i got?? Thanks
    Serge/VE1KG

  12. Dupoty nicolas says:

    Hi Howard,

    I have an issue with my FCD, i’m on Debian 64b and when i try to use FCD with gnuradio/Gqrx i have this line in my console : audio_alsa_source[hw:1]: unable to support sampling rate 96000
    card requested 192000 instead.
    .

    Can you explain me how can i solve this issue .

    Thank a lot.

    Good evening

    • admin says:

      Hello Nicolas.

      It sounds like you are using an FCDProPlus.

      Can you set your sampling rate to 192000 instead of 96000 in GNUradio? The FCDPP runs at 192kHz sampling rate, whereas the old FCD used 96kHz.

      Many thanks, Howard

  13. Larry says:

    Hi Howard,

    I got FCDPP #13591 from you at Dayton. Amazing device. It works very well with HDSDR and SDR#. However, my preferred program for satellite is SDR RadioV2, which unfortunately does not “Start” the FCDPP. I have been using the original FCD with SDR RadioV1.5 without difficulty, but after attempting to run the new FCDPP with SDR RadioV2, the FCDP not longer will run with SDR RadioV1.5 – a real puzzle. It seems like half of the planet is running SDR RadioV2 with the FCDPP, but it won’t play for me. The SDR Radio Forum on YAHOO has been of little help, even with screenshots and log files. Has this problem come across your screen? Do you have any idea what might be the problem. Machine runs W7/64.

    Thanks for any help, Larry/K4OZS

  14. Larry Phelps says:

    Hi Howard,

    Thanks for the reply. I have done quite a bit of thrashing my problems, and I thought that I would share my recent efforts with the hope that perhaps with your experience with Windows7 you might suggest further troubleshooting directions.

    I have followed your troubleshooting guide, and all seems to be fine. Windows recognizes the FCDP+ and FCHID2.002 finds and controls it OK. I’ll restrict my comments here to the FCDP+. I do have the FCDP also, which I used extensively in an automated station setup for ARISSat during its lifetime.

    Here is what I have found and done;

    (This testing is with the FCDP+ installed by itself – FCDP removed from the system)

    HDSDR v2.61: Runs fine with the ExtIO_FCDPLUS_G0MJW.dll
    SDRSharp v1.1.1.1000 : Runs fine with the SDRSharp.FUNcubeProPlus.dll
    MULTIPSK v4.24 : Runs fine with its built-in FCDP+ support.

    SDR Radio v2.0 Betas (Most recent Build 1428) : Finds the dongle (using its SEARCH window) but will not “START” the dongle. A brief flash of the display and then no spectrum and no audio. I am aware that this program requires each VFO to be enabled to hear the audio. I also am aware that the FCDP is not supported in V2.0 of the program.
    The SDR Yahoo group has not offered much help, presumably since this is not a problem seemingly experienced by others.

    MAP65 : Options dialog finds the presence of the dongle. When the dongle SETUP is run, the control program cannot “Detect” the FCDP+.

    All this may sound like there is questionable support from the reluctant programs, but my FCDP+ runs fine with SDR Radio v2.0 on another Windows7 Pro laptop. The SDR/FCDP+ combination WILL RUN in an Windows XP Mode Window (albeit slowly) on my machine. It would appear that this is a local issue with 64 bit operation, since there are many reports of successful use of the FCDP+ with SDR Radio V2.0 under Windows 7.

    With that in mind, I have used what you might describe as a “fiddly” process to start over at the beginning. I set the environment for the Device Manager so that I could see all of the old instances of USB activity. I then went through all of the old Human Interface Device, Sound Device, and USB Composite Device enumerations for both dongles and removed them from the system. Then I removed SDR Radio V2 using Windows Uninstall. After restarting the FCDP+ and re-installing SDR V2 there was no change in behaviour.

    There is a USB 3.0 port on this machine that I use for external drive backup. Is there any possibility that there is some obscure conflict with this port? No conflict is noted in the Device Manager.

    The machine is a Dell 9100 with Windows7 Pro 64-Bit, Core i7 X990 3.47GHz, with 12G Ram.

    All this flapping around is driven by my blind devotion to the satellite support provided by SDR Radio. I know there are other options, but I sure would like to solve this particular issue.

    Any further thoughts or suggestions would be most welcome. Again I have been enjoying the FCDP+ running under these other programs – an amazing receiver.

    Thank you for your time.

    73-Larry.
    K4OZS

    • admin says:

      Hello Larry

      Thanks for your note. Sounds like you’ve been busy!

      Difficult to know what is going on with SDR Radio: V2 should support the FCD+ directly unless something’s changed recently. I am not sure about MAP65, it’s something I’ve yet to try. I am wondering whether there is some contention between one or more programs trying to control the FCD+?

      There should be no problem with FCD+ on USB 3.0, that is what I used during development of the device!

      I am sorry I don’t have much more to suggest at present other than to make sure nothing else is trying to control the FCD+, especially given the sterling work you’ve obviously done to diagnose. You might like to try the FCD+ yahoo group in case someone else has had this problem. http://uk.groups.yahoo.com/group/Fcdproplus/

      It is very strange behaviour, especially as it works with several other programs!

      Many thanks, Howard

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