New to the FCD? Here’s a top tip!


Let’s cut to the chase – update your firmware! The latest is 18j.

I’ve noted that a lot of people just starting out with the FCD start by using some of the great newer software products out there, like SDR Radio for example, that weren’t about or set up to directly work with the FCD when we first designed it.

Almost all of this software is dependent on later versions of firmware that you’ll need to install first before you can use the FCD with them.

To update your firmware, you need to follow these steps from Windows…

o Download the original FCD controller program FCHID003 (, FCHIDBL bootloader program (, and the firmware image itself (

o *Important*! Exit any applications that may try to access the FCD. These will break the update process as they coexist on the same USB communication channel, so they must be closed down first.

o Plug in the FCD and let the drivers install if necessary. If it’s the first time you’ve inserted the FCD, it might take up to a minute or so to install.

o Run the FCHID003 FCD controller program (FCHID.exe), and press “Reset to bootloader”. This puts the FCD into a special “bootloader mode” to allow you to upload new code. Ignore any errors you see in FCHID – this is because FCHID is trying to communicate with the FCD but, because it’s now in bootloader mode, FCHID won’t be able to interpret what it’s getting back from its USB commands.

o Exit FCHID.

o Run the FCHIDBL.exe program you just downloaded, press “Open file”, and select the “” file you’ve also just downloded.

o From FCHIDBL, press “Write firmware”, and then wait a few seconds for the process to complete.


o Remove the FCD and then reinsert 10 seconds or so later. This automatically takes the FCD out of bootloader mode and back to its normal SDR operating mode.

o You will see an error like this if FCHIDBL is still running when you reinsert the FCD:

HIDOpen of Vid_04d8&Pid_FB56 returns 1
USB VID/PID found.
HIDQuery returns 1
Query message: FCDAPP 18.10 Brd 1.1 No blk
Error: not in recoginised FCD mode

This is actually correct despite it suggesting it’s an error! It is just the FCHIDBL program not understanding that the FCD is in normal SDR mode: the FCHIDBL program only understands the FCD when it’s in bootloader mode.

Many thanks, Howard

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