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mlord

join:2006-11-05
Nepean, ON
kudos:13
Reviews:
·Start Communicat..
reply to MrMazda86

Re: Upgrading Firmware on DCM-476 modems

said by MrMazda86:

+1 double awesome!! That looks like the kind of creation I'd make. Is it home programmed as well, or do you have some kind of pre-programmed firmware for it?

Thanks. It most definitely is "me-programmed" as well, but using the Arduino development tools and libraries.

The fancy blue sub-module is a $3 pre-fab unit off eBay (China). But I just need only the physical card slot from it, and not all of the other stuff. So the built-in 3.3V regulator there is unused, as there's a larger 3.3V regulator on the main board.

Cheers

MrMazda86

join:2013-01-29
Kitchener, ON
said by mlord:

Thanks. It most definitely is "me-programmed" as well, but using the Arduino development tools and libraries.

Haha... Arduinos are quite the handy little things. They're quite versatile really.

mlord

join:2006-11-05
Nepean, ON
kudos:13
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reply to mlord
said by mlord:

The fancy blue sub-module is a $3 pre-fab unit off eBay (China). But I just need only the physical card slot from it, and not all of the other stuff. So the built-in 3.3V regulator there is unused, as there's a larger 3.3V regulator on the main board.

Speaking of which.. I noticed the main regulator getting unusually hot (thus the heatsink). Today I delved into this some more, and discovered it being due to some interaction with the one on the blue sub-module. So I removed the (unused) regulator from the sub-module, and power consumption is now 1/10th of what it was before. Much better.

Cheers

mlord

join:2006-11-05
Nepean, ON
kudos:13
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2 edits

1 recommendation

reply to mlord

Rig #1: going to an ISP.

Rig #2: for myself.
I like the new soldered-up flashing rig so much, that on Sunday I made a second one for myself. Heh heh.. now that it's all so "finished" looking, I'll probably never have another person drop by in need of it!

But I can always re-purpose it as a data-logging rig if need be, and I definitely have uses for those from time to time. The extra header on Rig #2 (top edge) is for the main serial port, so I can reprogram it "in-circuit" when needed, but also for logging serial data from a server (needs external level conversion). And there are enough free "holes" in the perfboard to add a couple more I/O headers for temperature monitors or similar.

Cheers


Teddy Boom
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reply to mlord
said by mlord:

The fancy blue sub-module is a $3 pre-fab unit off eBay (China).

Of course there is an even cheaper way to get an SD card slot. Or, more accurately, a micro SD slot. Just solder up an SD to micro SD adapter

But as you've been saying, the real cost behind a flashing rig are the clips.

Are these cheaper than the ones you found before?
»www.mcumall.com/comersus/store/c···uct=4498

Still not really cheap...
--
electronicsguru.ca

mlord

join:2006-11-05
Nepean, ON
kudos:13
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Those clips say $6.62 for a pair of clips, or $3.31/each.
Digikey sells the (superior!) E-Z-Hook XKM grabbers for $3.01/each.

I like the idea for a cheap micro-SD slot, though!
Full-size slots, like the blue one above, go for under $2/delivered on eBay.
But micro slots are really hard to come by at a reasonable price.

Cheers


Teddy Boom
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Toronto, ON
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Ya, I found that eventually..

There appears to be a variety of generics available.. How bad were the ones you got (from dealextreme I guess?)?

These look a little better than the ones you got, still not good though:
»www.ebay.com/itm/2-x-Grabber-SMD···1be4a176

This guy has a large quantity of Agilent ones for some reason, cheap if you need the numbers:
»www.ebay.com/itm/New-AGILENT-167···2ad#shId

Another seller with the slightly better looking generic:
»www.ebay.com/itm/1-set-4MM-banan···70df3da6

Have you seen this:
»sigrok.org/wiki/Probe_comparison

This was an interesting enough thread, just sticking it here for future reference:
»www.eevblog.com/forum/reviews/ch···gestion/

And linked in that thread, very nice but still not cheap:
»www.ebay.com.my/itm/TEKTRONIX-SM···bb52b8c1

Oh well.. I better get back to work
--
electronicsguru.ca


Teddy Boom
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3 edits
edits....

Here we go.. Zeroplus grabbers for $1 each, unknown shipping:
»siliconkit.com/ocart/index.php?r···t_id=218

and these guys not much more with cheap shipping to US addresses:
»store.nkcelectronics.com/view_cart.asp
--
electronicsguru.ca

mlord

join:2006-11-05
Nepean, ON
kudos:13
Reviews:
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reply to Teddy Boom
said by Teddy Boom:

How bad were the ones you got (from dealextreme I guess?)?

Yes, the generic clips were from dx.com (DealExtreme). I did manage to use them to flash a couple of modems, but the tips on them are about 2X the size of the XKM grabbbers, making it quite difficult to attach them to adjacent pins. And they simply won't fit underneath the DCM-475 heatsinks.

I can give you a handful of them when I return your modems, if you want.
They do make excellent clips for everything except the modems!

Cheers


Teddy Boom
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join:2007-01-29
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kudos:21
Ya, a couple would be great, just to see what I think of them
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electronicsguru.ca

mlord

join:2006-11-05
Nepean, ON
kudos:13
No problem.
I've put two each of five colours (10 in total) into a baggie for you.

Scycotic

join:2012-12-10
lol my dad has a whole bag full of those in the basement from a few decades ago...never knew they were worth that much! Makes me wonder how much the rest of the stuff lying around is worth...

arthurwinslo

join:2012-11-30
Toronto, ON
reply to CHRoNiCWiLL

Re: Upgrading Firmware on Thompson DCM475

I have yet to have problems using 3M SOIC clips on these SPI based modems (both 8 and 16 pin variants). I've programmed a considerable amount with them as well. I've ordered them from digikey. My only gripe with digikey is the shipping but they came in one day which was great. The Pomona ones are good as well.

You have to be careful when picking up probes from eBay. I ordered a batch last summer and the pitch on them was not what the auction described, the pitch of the grabbers were too big. I guess you get what you pay for when going the cheap route.

mlord

join:2006-11-05
Nepean, ON
kudos:13
Reviews:
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3 edits
reply to mlord

Re: Upgrading Firmware on DCM-476 modems

said by mlord:

The 476 probably just has a newer generation chip that uses less power. Neither modem is really "better" than the other, though I do prefer the soft green LEDs of the 475 to the garish blue ones on the 476.

Okay, I've taken a current generation DCM-475 modem and compared power consumption with my August/2012 DCM-476 modem. The DCM-475 actually uses ever so slightly less power than the DCM-476.

This is in "idle" mode, with no cable line connected.
And the difference was small, but consistent.
Slightly less than one watt.

0.044 amps @ 125VAC versus 0.052 amps @ 125VAC.

Edit: I've also now measured consumption on my nearly 3-year old DCM-475 that connects us to the internet here, and it shows pretty much the same number as the brand new DCM-475. Both are about 16% more power efficient than the DCM-476, independent of which PSU is used.

There are also slight differences between PSUs, depending upon which stock the manufacturer happened to have on hand when packaging the individual modems. The variance there seems to be within half a watt.

Cheers

mlord

join:2006-11-05
Nepean, ON
kudos:13
Reviews:
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said by mlord:

I've also now measured consumption on my nearly 3-year old DCM-475 that connects us to the internet here, and it shows pretty much the same number as the brand new DCM-475. Both are about 16% more power efficient than the DCM-476, independent of which PSU is used.

Heh.. it's probably due to those blindingly bright blue LEDs on the DCM-476. Perhaps I should swap out the resistors on those for higher values and see if the power consumption takes a measurable drop afterward.


Teddy Boom
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reply to mlord
said by mlord:

said by mlord:

The 476 probably just has a newer generation chip that uses less power.

Funny, but ya, it is probably the LEDs. Even though the 476 draws more, that theory is probably still correct, the CPU probably is a little more efficient.

There is also probably a field failure aspect. Once they know there are very few field failures, they can afford to be a little less conservative about the thermal design.
--
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Teddy Boom
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reply to mlord

Re: Upgrading Firmware on Thompson DCM475

said by mlord:

Yeah, the cheapest, easiest way to assemble a rig, is to clone my setup.

Parts list with heavy edits:
3.3V Arduino compatible chip (eg. Atmega328p, cost $3.50).
clips ($3/each, need 6),
12VDC to 3.3VDC power supply (about $5)
a breadboard ($4)
an SD-card socket (to hold the new firmware) ($10)
a couple of LEDs, resistors, and that's mostly it.
So.. I've been trying to source clips, and I can definitely get those Zeroplus ones from China for just under $1 each landed in 200 unit quantity. Or about $1.50 each landed from the US in 20 unit quantity.

I'm sure we could get the DC power cost down below $2 with enough effort, but certainly not more than $3.20 as here:
»dx.com/p/dc-4-5-35v-to-1-25-30v-···d-156808

Micro SD card with converter as socket socket is $4.10 here:
»dx.com/p/2gb-micro-tf-card-with-···k-128032
(but only ~$3.50 if you buy 10)

Then there is the PCB, but that should be cheap enough as well.

Overall, looks like $20 cost is doable. Realistically it would still have to sell for $50 shipped though.
(mlord would have to be paid for his efforts! And others, who contribute significantly to logistics, if that's how things were to go)

The point of all this... Is it worth pursuing any further?

Possible issues:

Should people of varying experience and competency really be attempting this?
(seems to me that isn't a big deal, people will self select--if you can get the modem open, you can probably handle the electronics)

Do theft of service issues make this a bad idea?

Overall, I'm really not sure what I think, but it is worth discussing.
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electronicsguru.ca

mlord

join:2006-11-05
Nepean, ON
kudos:13
Want me to bring you a pre-programmed Atmega328p when I visit (about 10 days from now) ?

chall2k56

join:2007-10-03
Edmonton, AB
Reviews:
·ELECTRONICBOX
·Acanac
·WIND Mobile
mlord,

I sent you an email, not sure if it got thru, since I couldn't remember my old username and password....If you dont get it, can you send me a PM with an email address to get at you with, so I can get my modem upgraded to avoid the disconnects

mlord

join:2006-11-05
Nepean, ON
kudos:13
You've got a PM.


underubb

@teksavvy.com
reply to Teddy Boom
said by mlord:

...The first 64KB appears to be a fixed "bootloader" area, including MAC address and various crypto certificates...

said by Teddy Boom:

...I'm pretty sure it is in the configuration file, along with what speed of service you are getting, and what priority on the network you should get...

said by Teddy Boom:

...Do theft of service issues make this a bad idea?

Overall, I'm really not sure what I think, but it is worth discussing.

Presumably if a user if a user changed speed, priority, or mac address in the configuration, the ISP would be able to detect and fine said user.(assuming they bothered to monitor this sort of thing)

Other changes to the configuration or firmware (better logs/settings) could be made undetectable by the ISP, but would not really be worth the time AFAIK.

So I don't really think there is any problem with randoms upgrading firmware.

related thought: There are a lot of Raspberry Pi's floating around that might be overkill but might be able to do the job.

Other related thought: depending on the keys used in the modem one might be able to push your own upgrade just by plugging it in to a crafted device (without opening the modem), but I guess there is no point in attempting that harder and less robust approach.

Anyway thanks Teddy Boom and mlord for all the hard work, I hope it motivates the ISPs to take a more sane approach to firmware upgrades and less likely to adopt a more open approach for modems.

iudjin

join:2013-03-10
Etobicoke, ON
reply to CHRoNiCWiLL
I am another DCP-475 modem owner with 2.08 version of firmware told by TekSavvy to get or buy new modem.
Are you still helping people with firmware update ?
Thanks in advance.

ShetiPhian

join:2011-12-29
Belleville, ON

1 edit
Teddy Boom and mlord both preform the upgrade but you need to take your modem to them.

If memory serves me correctly:
mlord is in Ottawa and charges $5
Teddy is in Toronto and charges $10


QuantumPimp

join:2012-02-19
Reviews:
·voip.ms

1 recommendation

reply to Teddy Boom

SPI Programmer
Thanks for bringing back memories

I built and designed these USB SPI programmers shown in the attachment. If I remember correctly it cost about $3.50 to make (based on ATTiny45 or 85 ... can't remember) .

Mostly did it for experience and fun but after making a bunch the hobby was too much like work at slave wages. Ended up spending weekend after weekend hand soldering, hand testing, hand packaging, hand shipping. Yuk.

Still have a dozen hanging around somewhere.

I'm impressed that you guys are offering to fix modems for $10 or less. Clearly not a industrial money making enterprise. That is very caring and generous.

Cory

join:2004-09-28
Canada
I was wondering if anyone is still doing firmware flashes? If so is anyone doing them in the GTA area closer to concord/thornhill/richmond hill?

Thank you.

Cheers

mlord

join:2006-11-05
Nepean, ON
kudos:13
Yes, No.

mlord is in Ottawa and charges $5
Teddy Boom is in Toronto and charges $10

Scycotic

join:2012-12-10
And some new guy is in Kitchener/Waterloo and charges $10


Teddy Boom
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said by Scycotic:

And some new guy is in Kitchener/Waterloo and charges $10

That is zinc, here's the thread:
»[Cable] Kitchener/Waterloo firmware upgrades

I just pinged him to see how things are going.
--
electronicsguru.ca


Teddy Boom
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3 edits
reply to CHRoNiCWiLL
Meanwhile...

I finally have a DCM476 of my own to play with, and I've been playing.
(well, I had a DCM475 of my own way way back, but it sold quickly)

Turns out it is possible to upgrade the DCM476 with just a TTL serial cable and a TFTP server. The method is similar to the DCM425 method.. Apply a short to pin 2 of the SPI flash at exactly the right moment and you get an open console.

(edit to add some instruction)
Serial console settings
Baud: 115200
Data bits: 8
Stop bits: 1
Parity: none
Flow control: Xon/Xoff

The moment for the short
First power up with the serial console connected. After about 3 seconds of being powered on, the console should display a bunch of information in plain text. Get used to how long it takes from applying power to seeing the output. Then apply power again, but this time apply a short between ground and pin 2 of the SPI flash (on the 476, or pin 8 on the 475) just at the moment that the information would be displayed.

If you see the normal output, you were either way too early, or too late.

If you see the Broadcom wavy logo, but the output is stuck, you've done it very slightly too early.

If the output is much longer, and results in a prompt that you can type instructions at, you are in.

Command to flash

cd d
dload -i2 192.168.100.10 02.50.bin

(or, you know, 02.16.bin if it is a 475)

A thing of beauty :D

I don't mind making up detailed instructions if the demand is there, but for now just pm me if you'd like to give it a try.

And, I'm almost certain that this will work just as well on a DCM475, but we won't know until somebody tries.

more edits:
So I just did the upgrade on a DCM475 using the short method, and it works just as well. Of course the DCM475 has a 16 pin SPI flash, so you have to apply the short to pin 8 instead of pin 2 on the 8 pin SPI flash. Everything else is exactly the same.

--
electronicsguru.ca

dannyphones

join:2013-04-14
Toronto, ON
Hey Teddy Boom,
Where abouts downtown do you live?

How easy is this new method?