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2.30 Unstable Download of Firmware & Code 
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Joined: Tue Mar 10, 2009 2:43 pm
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Location: Houston, TX
Post 2.30 Unstable Download of Firmware & Code
I sat down with 2.30 RobotC Cortex for an hour last night. I was shocked how unstable downloading has become.

MASTER FIRMWARE - Motors turning on
The master firmware cortex download causes the motor ports to spasm (a warning message alerting motors could turn on before downloading would be helpful)

ORANGE CABLE -
We were never able to successfully download robotc firmware or code through the orange cable. We had to use the USB A-to-A method.

Typically error messages were that our com port could not be connected and then it listed 4 different solutions, we carefully went through each solution and we never able successfully connected.

We successfully used the orange cable with RobotC 2.02 to verify our cable.

A-to-A transfer-
We were able to download the program directly with A-to-A transfer but we had to follow a very specific sequence for turning on the Cortex then plugging in the A-to-A cable before we download.
Sometimes the USB wired connection would not come up on preferences,

Are these instabilities being looked at ? If not I would be happy to post more details and screen shots of the errors.


Fri Oct 29, 2010 12:33 pm
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Joined: Tue May 15, 2007 9:02 am
Posts: 403
Post Re: 2.30 Unstable Download of Firmware & Code
Hi Lyncas -

Thanks for spending the time to convey your experience. I'm going to try to respond to each portion of your message, so I don't miss anything.

Quote:
MASTER FIRMWARE - Motors turning on
The master firmware cortex download causes the motor ports to spasm (a warning message alerting motors could turn on before downloading would be helpful)


The Master Firmware is supplied by Innovation First, and there's not much we can do about motor spasms. The motors only turn on if the Cortex is also powered by a battery, and theoretically you shouldn't need the battery to download Master Firmware, so you could switch the Cortex to "OFF" during this process if it presents a problem. A warning message is a good idea - I'll make an internal note for the developers.

Quote:
We were never able to successfully download robotc firmware or code through the orange cable. We had to use the USB A-to-A method.


We've been successfully downloading programs and firmware wirelessly (using the orange cable to connect the PC to the joysticks) for some time. Was the driver for the orange programming cable installed on the computer you were using? Download links for the driver can be found here: http://www.robotc.net/download/cortex/

Did you follow the steps to link the VEXnet Joystick and Cortex after downloading their firmware files? We have instructions for that here: http://www.education.rec.ri.cmu.edu/products/teaching_robotc_cortex/reference/VEXnet_setup_guide.pdf

The entire "approved" setup process can be found here: http://www.education.rec.ri.cmu.edu/fire/competitions/vex-robotics-competition/#gettingstarted
Quote:
We were able to download the program directly with A-to-A transfer but we had to follow a very specific sequence for turning on the Cortex then plugging in the A-to-A cable before we download.
Sometimes the USB wired connection would not come up on preferences


When the Cortex is turned on, it "looks" for how it's connected, and what it's connected to - Joystick over VEXnet, the PC over USB, or nothing. Once it figures out how it's connected it stops looking, so changing the connection method may require power-cycling. For the "USB Wired" option to show up, the Cortex has to be turned off when it is connected to the PC. If it's already turned on, it may think there's no connection, and then not make itself visible to the PC.

Quote:
Are these instabilities being looked at ? If not I would be happy to post more details and screen shots of the errors.


We've been experiencing very robust communications with the Cortex. That said, we're committed to continue to improve ROBOTC for users that are experiencing issues. In order to help us figure out why you're experiencing issues, you could help us by:
- Very specifically detailing the processes that you're using, where they're failing, and what the result looks like
- How old is your VEX Cortex
- What type of computer do you have (Operating system, age, make, model, ect)
- Anything else that seems relevant

Again, no obligation to provide any additional detail, but figuring out why you're experiencing issues goes a long way with helping us solving them. Thanks again for spending the time to write about your experience.

_________________
Jesse Flot
CMU Robotics Academy
ROBOTC Support


Fri Oct 29, 2010 1:54 pm
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Joined: Thu Nov 11, 2010 1:23 pm
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Post Re: 2.30 Unstable Download of Firmware & Code
We have been having the same problems, but I was originally able to download through the orange cable. I upgraded from RobotC 2.25 to RobotC 2.30 when the problems started, but nothing changed. I have serial to usb driver installed on my computer, and tried it on my laptop as well with the same problem.


Thu Nov 11, 2010 1:50 pm
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Joined: Tue May 15, 2007 9:02 am
Posts: 403
Post Re: 2.30 Unstable Download of Firmware & Code
If you've followed all of the troubleshooting steps, and still are having trouble, try contacting VEX Robotics to see what they say.

support@vexrobotics.com technical support
+1-903-453-0802 phone
+1-214-853-5687 fax

_________________
Jesse Flot
CMU Robotics Academy
ROBOTC Support


Thu Nov 11, 2010 3:28 pm
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Joined: Tue Mar 10, 2009 2:43 pm
Posts: 21
Location: Houston, TX
Post Re: 2.30 Unstable Download of Firmware & Code
Here is another problem we have been able to track down

When using CORTEX, you cannot download code wirelessly (over VEXnet) if you have a competition switch plugged into the Cortex Remote Transmitter. Doing so will result in incomplete downloads and "File Corrupted" dialogs from RobotC.

Should the error be something more descriptive like "don't program with a competition switch ? "


Fri Nov 19, 2010 1:39 am
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Posts: 403
Post Re: 2.30 Unstable Download of Firmware & Code
Hi Lyncas -

Thank you for continuing to provide valuable feedback. I'll make internal notes about both the downloading issue, and the error message. We'll make improvements to both ASAP.

_________________
Jesse Flot
CMU Robotics Academy
ROBOTC Support


Fri Nov 19, 2010 10:02 am
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