DigiSnap 2700 Upgrade

Posted 2011-10-17

Over the last year or so, we've had reports from several customers of a particular problem with the DigiSnap 2700. The controller will be working fine for a period of time (i.e. months), and then one day, for no discernible reason, just shut itself off, and stop taking pictures.

Debugging this problem has been very difficult! It happens so rarely, on a small percentage of the controllers, and it resolves itself if you so much as glance at it. While we still don't know the source of the issue, we do have new firmware for the controllers, which at least addresses the symptoms. The firmware has been tested here for about a month on some units that were exhibiting the bug fairly often, and so far, they have not failed.

I'm encouraged enough to now recommend all customers upgrade the firmware in their DigiSnap 2700 controllers.

Let me address a few questions that will pop up...

  1. How do I know if this is a DigiSnap 2700, or one of the earlier models?

    DigiSnap 2700

    The DigiSnap 2700 has only been in production about 1 ½ years. There are three connectors on one side of the case, and the big 9 pin connector on the other side. All other DigiSnap models have only the 9 pin connector built into the case.

    You can double check the model when the DigiSnap is communicating to a computer, as the model number is reported at the top of the menu.

    Please don't use this firmware on any other model DigiSnap... it will not work properly.

  2. I'm not aware of any problem with our DigiSnap controller, should I upgrade it's firmware? Is it dangerous?

    The firmware change will not change the way the device is used... you won't notice the difference, and it appears to make them more reliable. I'd recommend upgrading it at your convenience.

    You should not have any problem with the upgrade failing... this is a very reliable process, which we've been using for 12 years. If by chance something happens, such as turning the power off in the middle of the upgrade, then we'd be happy to address this!

  3. Will I need to re-configure the DigiSnap after updating the firmware?

    Yes. The settings will all be reset to factory default.

  4. Can I do the upgrade in the field? What do I need?

    Sure! You don't even have to remove the DigiSnap from your Time-Lapse Package. The upgrade must be done from a computer using some version of Windows operating system. Using virtualization software like VMware, Parallels, or VirtualBox to run Windows on a Mac or Linux also works. You will need the same equipment used to configure the DigiSnap: a serial port (such as from a USB/Serial converter), and the null modem cable.

  5. I'm not at all comfortable doing this myself... can I send it to you?

    Absolutely! We'll even ship it back to you at our expense.

Cautions...

As with all firmware upgrade operations on electronic devices, it is impossible to test for all configurations of computers, so there is the possibility of failure. If the firmware upgrade process does not successfully complete, the DigiSnap may cease to operate. In this case, it would need to be returned to Harbortronics for re-programming. Please do not upgrade your DigiSnap during a critical period of time.

DigiSnap Firmware Upgrade Procedure

  1. You will need a serial port on your PC to communicate with the DigiSnap. If you are using a desktop PC, you probably already have a serial port on the back. If you are using a laptop, you may need to install a new serial port using a USB/Serial converter. These are available from numerous sources, including Harbortronics.
  2. Connect the DigiSnap to your PC's serial port, using the supplied null-modem cable. This is exactly the same as when configuring the DigiSnap.
  3. If you have a terminal program open, please close it, to free up access to the serial port.
  4. Download and extract 2700Upgrade.zip. There are two files in 2700Upgrade.zip: DSUpgrade.exe, and 27V4301.H. Both are required to upgrade the DigiSnap.
  5. Run the upgrade program, DSUpgrade.exe. This is a program which should run fine on all windows PCs. The program will lead you through a few simple steps... selecting the serial port for instance.
  6. Cycle the power to the DigiSnap off and then back on again to initiate communication with the program. The firmware version and serial number of the DigiSnap are read.
  7. Enter the file name for the data file. If you enter the wrong data file, nothing will happen to the DigiSnap, just try again!
  8. The data file will be checked to make sure it is error free and corresponds to your DigiSnap. At that point, you may simply answer yes to the confirming questions, and the upgrade process will begin.
  9. The program shows the status of the upgrade process, and should take less than 1 minute.
  10. Once finished, the DigiSnap is automatically turned off, and is ready to be re-configured, and put back into service.