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HiVolt
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join:2000-12-28
Toronto, ON
kudos:21
reply to phi1z

Re: Upgrading Firmware on Thompson DCM475

The warranty excuse isn't valid... The modem isn't broken. It simply needs an update.

Marc, if you're reading this, have you gotten any answers on this? We discussed this in another thread and you said you'd look into it...

phi1z

join:2011-06-28
Ottawa, ON
said by HiVolt:

The warranty excuse isn't valid... The modem isn't broken. It simply needs an update.

Agreed.

I started having this issue a long time ago (i want to say November of last year.. i remember when it started because battlefield 3 had just come out and i kept getting disconnected from the game).

At the time i had opened a support ticket in the direct forum trying to figure out what was going on, there had been speculation it was a firmware issue (I remember a huge thread something about Brampton 475 disconnects) but at the time i figured that if that was the case it would be a simple fix.. upgrade the firmware no more issue.

Flash forward to a few months ago I'm still having the issue (coming to the conclusion the problem is not likely to fix its self) i open a new ticket. At this point the 2.16 is confirmed to fix the problem but my modem was now out of warranty.

I didn't even initially buy this modem. I bought a Motorola modem when i signed up that turned out to be defective (just stopped powering on shortly after purchasing it) which teksavvy replaced with the 475 because the Motorola was out of stock.. Only problem is now this modem is having these constant disconnects.

What really angers me is instead of offering a solution to the problem, they told me "the modem worked when we gave it to you". I find it mind boggling that they deem this to be an acceptable response to the problem... Live with the disconnects / Buy a new modem / or go to bell/rogers is what it feels like they are saying.

mlord

join:2006-11-05
Nepean, ON
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It's not like there are only one or two of us with these modems -- Teksavvy probably deployed 10,000+ of them. And now gradually each of us is having cable issues, and TSI tech "support" plays dumb in each case, and nothing gets resolved until we break down and purchase yet another new modem from them.

Ugh.

And what of those 10,000+ modems that are now landfill bound?
What a pathetic waste.

graniterock
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join:2003-03-14
London, ON
Reviews:
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The least they could do is acknowledge the problem on the phone. This would stop people from having to bang their heads against a wall as much. I had a DVR with flakey firmware, when that company told me it was the firmware it saved me from having troubleshoot hours on end to find a problem out of my control. I appreciated the honesty and lived with the problem for a considerable time until an update was pushed.


Teddy Boom
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1 edit
said by graniterock:

The least they could do is acknowledge the problem on the phone. This would stop people from having to bang their heads against a wall as much. I had a DVR with flakey firmware, when that company told me it was the firmware it saved me from having troubleshoot hours on end to find a problem out of my control. I appreciated the honesty and lived with the problem for a considerable time until an update was pushed.

For the VAST majority of Teksavvy customers (all TPIA customers, actually), firmware issues are bureaucratic and not technical. The root of the issue is that Rogers refuses to look at trouble tickets if they are filed stating an unsupported firmware.

This problem is complicated by the way Teksavvy agents have been handling customer calls recently. For whatever reason, Teksavvy agents have been emphasizing firmware version, and checking firmware version as an early step in troubleshooting. This allows them to say "unsupported firmware, buy new modem" and end the call even when firmware has nothing whatever to do with the actual problem. I complained about this practice here:
»[Cable] Attn Marc: Cable modem firmware and TSI technical suppor
Hopefully TSI Andre is going to improve the handling of those cases. That still leaves lots of issues with the way Rogers handles it though. It is still true that there is no point opening a ticket with Rogers if you have "unsupported firmware", even if the firmware in question is actually perfectly functional.

All that said, the one common firmware that does seem to cause technical issues for a small but significant group of customers is the DCM475 with STAC.02.08.

The thing I really don't understand about all this is the process of approving firmwares and modems, and then later delisting them. For example, if Teksavvy pays Rogers the $8000 modem testing fee, does that guarantee the firmware approved under that process will always be "supported"? Judging by the SB612x situation, I have to think it does not. When can Rogers say a firmware that was tested is now unsupported? Does Rogers have to offer a substitute firmware or does Teksavvy have to pay again? And so many other questions about that process, it is just bizarre.
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mlord

join:2006-11-05
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Re: Upgrading Firmware on Thompson DCM475

Yup. Okay, so you're just clipping the JTAG thingie onto the flash chip, and extracting the contents over SPI, right? I'll see if I have something here to do that.

But yes, best would be for someone in Toronto to let you at their DCM-475 w/01.16 for ten minutes or so. Anyone? Teksavvy themselves? (ha ha).

Cheers


Teddy Boom
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said by mlord:

Yup. Okay, so you're just clipping the JTAG thingie onto the flash chip, and extracting the contents over SPI, right? I'll see if I have something here to do that.

Yes, exactly. Anything that can read an SPI flash is good enough. Then there is a little work figuring out which part of the flash dump is the actual firmware, which should be very simple.

Technically, I don't know for sure that the DCM475 is SPI, but every other D3 modem I've seen is--sometimes 8 pin, but mostly 16 pin.
--
electronicsguru.ca/for_sale/Cablemodems

mlord

join:2006-11-05
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Flash chip from dcm475 02.08

chip markings
Here's the flash chip, 16-pins:

mlord

join:2006-11-05
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3 edits
Best link I've found thus far for something resembling a datasheet for it:

»www.spansion.com/Support/Datashe···A_00.pdf

Edit, yeah that's the part all right.
3.0V 32mbit SPI NOR flash memory chip.

mlord

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I don't have any SPI masters at hand that I'm familiar with, but I do have a spare Arduino board here which undoubtedly groks SPI.

Otherwise I've got some USB->GPIO dongles that I can program to do the transfer. That might be quicker for me, because I've not bothered to learn the ins/outs of Arduino yet.


Teddy Boom
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said by mlord:

I don't have any SPI masters at hand that I'm familiar with, but I do have a spare Arduino board here which undoubtedly groks SPI.

Otherwise I've got some USB->GPIO dongles that I can program to do the transfer. That might be quicker for me, because I've not bothered to learn the ins/outs of Arduino yet.

Might be a fun project, but I'm not sure it is worth the effort

What we really need is somebody in Ottawa, and another in Kitchener/Waterloo, willing to do the flashing for other TPIA cable customers. Those people could be set up with a full set of equipment at reasonable cost. That would reduce this entire issue to annoyance level.
--
electronicsguru.ca/for_sale/Cablemodems

mlord

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1 edit
That's more or less what I've got in mind. Once I get it working here, I have several friends with 02.08 modems that will likely need upgrades soon. And I'd be willing to take on any others that are needy and aware enough to find me.

Curiously, the modem has a 4-pin header and a 4-pin socket near the flash chip, but it appears to be a 3V serial port for the processor rather than SPI for the flash. I should hook it up and see what it does at some point.

Doing a bit of simple math, my USB->GPIO adapter will be much too slow for the 32mbit flash contents, so I think I'll have to program the Arduino board to do it for me. They have a handy SPI library and tools, just gotta learn to use them. Might take a few days before I'm ready.

Cheers

AtomicVGZ

join:2011-10-03
Orleans, ON
Sign me up!


Teddy Boom
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reply to mlord
said by mlord:

Curiously, the modem has a 4-pin header and a 4-pin socket near the flash chip, but it appears to be a 3V serial port for the processor rather than SPI for the flash.

Two different 4 pin ports?! Certainly one is a serial port. The firmware you are running will have locked console, but you'll be able to see some output from it. If there is a second.. I've no idea what that would be. Maybe an unused USB location...
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mlord

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1 edit

Internal (serial?) connectors
Not two ports, just two connectors for the same port. Strange.

Meanwhile, I've got my Arduino board running, with a very basic SPI routine clocking at 8MHz, hooked up to the logic analyzer. Looks good there -- the built-in SPI interpreter has no trouble understanding the address/data bytes.

From that I'll need to write some code to parameterize the address and data values, and to relay stuff over the serial/USB interface to a PC. Once that's working, it's pretty simple for me to whip up code on the PC to issue commands to the flash chip.

Not that I wanted an "easy" project or anything, but my Arduino is a 5V part, so I'll also have to add some level shifting to the circuit before I can finally hook it up to the 3V flash part in the modem.


Teddy Boom
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That two places for the same port thing must just be a manufacturing feature of some sort. The white header is on all RCA modems, but it is hard to connect and reconnect to in bulk. The black one near the edge would be much more convenient to use on the assembly line. I sure wish they had the black one on DCM425s, it would make my life easier! But ya, still strange..

I'm sure you already know about using Nokia DKU-5 cables to connect to 3.3V serial ports:
»www.ebay.com/sch/i.html?_nkw=dku···m=&_ipg=

USBJTAG NT has data rates of 3/6/12MHz, so I'm guessing your 8MHz Arduino should be in the ball park for sure. Not a project I'd choose to take on myself, but I guess I'm just stuck in my analog past
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mlord

join:2006-11-05
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said by Teddy Boom:

USBJTAG NT has data rates of 3/6/12MHz, so I'm guessing your 8MHz Arduino should be in the ball park for sure. Not a project I'd choose to take on myself, but I guess I'm just stuck in my analog past

Heh, I'd probably have ordered a USBJTAG-NT by now if their website would stop crashing long enough to read more about it -- perhaps you've triggered a mini "slashdot effect" on them.

But it's a good excuse to finally play with Arduino, and things are simpler than I expected there. I might buy a newer Arduino board though, to get 3V logic levels along with built in 12mbit USB. My current board can clock SPI at 8MHz, but is constricted on data transfers to/from the outside world: serial, 115200bps. But for now, I'll try and get it all working with what I have on hand -- it should still take less than 10 minutes to move 4MBytes over that serial link.


Teddy Boom
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said by mlord:

it should still take less than 10 minutes to move 4MBytes over that serial link.

Some cable modems have 16MByte flash!
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electronicsguru.ca/for_sale/Cablemodems

mlord

join:2006-11-05
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I've now broken down and ordered an Arduino Pro Micro 3.3V board for this project. It should be here on Wednesday, and ought to simplify things: faster comms, and no need for level shifting.

Still looking for a cheaper source for the clip-on connector ($12 shipping for a $12 part??).

Cheers

mlord

join:2006-11-05
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Update: things are moving along.

Got the 3.3V Arduino board today -- have to get it running soon.
Also have all of the code written and tested (with logic analyzer) for dumping / programming flash on the Arduino.

Haven't found a more affordable source for the (excellent) recommended test clips, but just noticed that the EZ-Hook clips from the analyzer work very well on the in-circuit flash chip. So I'll just use those, since I've got lots of them on hand.

So I'm pretty close to hook-up time. Once I get the new 'duino going, the first task is to rip the 02.08 firmware a few times via different sequences, and do binary compares to judge the reliability of the communications. Then try erasing and reprogramming just the 02.08 firmware, and do readback/verify again.

If that all works, I'll get hold of the 02.16 modem and snatch a copy of the latest firmware from it.

Cheers


Teddy Boom
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said by mlord:

So I'm pretty close to hook-up time. Once I get the new 'duino going, the first task is to rip the 02.08 firmware a few times via different sequences, and do binary compares to judge the reliability of the communications. Then try erasing and reprogramming just the 02.08 firmware, and do readback/verify again.

If that all works, I'll get hold of the 02.16 modem and snatch a copy of the latest firmware from it.

Install the USBJTAG software and take a look at how cable modem flash is organized on other modems, it will help a lot. If you need a flash dump from a modem, I can pass that along..

In particular, what you'll find is that some of the firmware will be human readable. Try searching for "DCM" and "docsis" in a hex editor. If you've read the firmware properly you should find strings like that. When my friend read a DCM425 chip for me, the bytes always came out flipped:
If I load 425-1.bin into USBJTAG and then inspect image0 I see the
string as follows:
CD4M525-.2803.-1118032S-.Sib.n

Flip the bits and I get:
DCM425-52.08.31-110823-SS.bin.

So maybe it is all just pairwise swapped?!?!
So I googled around a bit and found HEX Workshop, which conveniently has a byte swap feature. Not long after that I had a working ST52.08.31 image.
»www.hexworkshop.com/

Unfortunately no Sayal in Ottawa:
»www.sayal.com/zinc/zinc_contactus.asp
But there must be an electronics supply place.. Not sure about test clips, but they aren't that obscure, so the odds can't be too bad.
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electronicsguru.ca/for_sale/Cablemodems


TSI Gabe
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Gatineau, QC
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That's called Endianness

»en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Endianness

x86 are little endian

While in this case is likely MIPS based which is usually big endian.
--
TSI Gabe - TekSavvy Solutions Inc.
Authorized TSI employee ( »TekSavvy FAQ »Official support in the forum )


Teddy Boom
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said by TSI Gabe:

That's called Endianness

Thanks! I've heard of little endian and big endian before, and I probably even dealt with the ideas a little 15 years ago, but I sure didn't make the connection.

I mentioned that I'm an analog guy right?
--
electronicsguru.ca/for_sale/Cablemodems

mlord

join:2006-11-05
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1 edit
reply to mlord

The test setup.. forgot to disconnect the Logic Analyzer
Unfortunately the new 3.3V Arduino w/USB died after just a minute or so of use. So for now, I'm back to the serial port version at 5V. Turns out level shifting is a non=issue. I was all set to do it, but just hooked things up without it for a trial, and it all works!

Dumping 32mbits of flash now.
...
00009f50 00 6a 00 69 00 0a 50 70 61 6e 00 01 00 01 00 08 |.j.i..Ppan......|
00009f60 6d 46 57 4c 00 01 00 08 52 53 54 4c 00 01 00 19 |mFWL....RSTL....|
00009f70 54 48 4f 4d 00 01 00 00 07 44 43 4d 34 37 35 00 |THOM.....DCM475.|
00009f80 00 04 31 2e 30 00 00 00 4c 52 43 41 20 00 03 00 |..1.0...LRCA ...|
00009f90 00 00 00 44 43 4d 34 37 35 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 |...DCM475.......|
00009fa0 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 |................|
...

More later, whenever it finishes (hours, likely).


Teddy Boom
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said by mlord:

Unfortunately the new 3.3V Arduino w/USB died after just a minute or so of use.

So for now, I'm back to the serial port version at 5V. Turns out level shifting is a non=issue.

Interesting... I think maybe the 3.3V got over loaded because of other loads on the modem board. Maybe the 5V Arduino is more robust--outputs more current. It takes around 0.5A from my bench supply when I apply power direct to the chip in circuit, some modems close to 1A.

5V is on the edge really.. If it is really 4.8V, then I'm sure it is pretty safe (though I'd like to keep it 4V and lower normally). If it is really 5.5V I think you are risking the modem..
said by mlord:

...
00009f50 00 6a 00 69 00 0a 50 70 61 6e 00 01 00 01 00 08 |.j.i..Ppan......|
00009f60 6d 46 57 4c 00 01 00 08 52 53 54 4c 00 01 00 19 |mFWL....RSTL....|
00009f70 54 48 4f 4d 00 01 00 00 07 44 43 4d 34 37 35 00 |THOM.....DCM475.|
00009f80 00 04 31 2e 30 00 00 00 4c 52 43 41 20 00 03 00 |..1.0...LRCA ...|
00009f90 00 00 00 44 43 4d 34 37 35 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 |...DCM475.......|
00009fa0 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 |................|
...

More later, whenever it finishes (hours, likely).

Looking good
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mlord

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reply to mlord
Click for full size
SPI activity
Well, that wasn't so bad. I've now got an exactly 4 MByte file with a binary dump of the entire flash chip inside. Oddly enough, none of the flash is write-protected either, according to the chip status register.

I'm going to dump it a few more times and check for bit errors between the various dumps. Meanwhile, here's a look at the logic analyzer display during the dumping..

mlord

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3 edits
reply to Teddy Boom
said by Teddy Boom:

said by mlord:

Unfortunately the new 3.3V Arduino w/USB died after just a minute or so of use.
So for now, I'm back to the serial port version at 5V. Turns out level shifting is a non=issue.

Interesting... I think maybe the 3.3V got over loaded because of other loads on the modem board.

No, it died before ever being connected to anything other than my PC's USB port. A not uncommon issue, apparently. I'm checking to see if I can get it replaced under warranty.

quote:
5V is on the edge really.. If it is really 4.8V, then I'm sure it is pretty safe (though I'd like to keep it 4V and lower normally). If it is really 5.5V I think you are risking the modem..
I'm powering the flash chip with 3V, but feeding it TTL signal levels for the SPI lines. A paper I read earlier suggests this is kosher, and thus far it seems to be. The only real concern was whether the MISO data line from the flash chip would have a high enough logic "1" voltage to work with the Arduino. Correction: I did keep the level conversion for MSIO after all. So just that one line (data-out from the flash chip) gets up-shifted to 5V logic.

Cheers

mlord

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Mmm.. interesting. You know how these modems always chop off the log messages displayed in the web interface? Well.. the full log messages (not chopped) are stored near the end of flash.