IMPORTANT: different firmware for 7000DLE/Andromeda hardware shipped after 1 July 2022

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w-u-2-o
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IMPORTANT: different firmware for 7000DLE/Andromeda hardware shipped after 1 July 2022

Postby w-u-2-o » Wed Jul 13, 2022 12:42 pm

All 7000DLE and Andromeda's shipped from Apache after 1 July 2022, those with serial numbers DX8300497A and higher, are shipped with, and require, different firmware than all other 7000 variants.

This was caused by parts availability/obsolescence issues that forced a change to the FPGA part number.

The older boards used an EP4CGX150F896. The new boards use an EP4CE115F29C8N.

The newer boards are known as the Orion MKIII. There were also part number changes associated with the PHY and VCXO chips but that does not affect firmware. The boards are otherwise identical to the MKII

For Protocol 1, you MUST use the MKIII firmware now posted here:

https://github.com/TAPR/OpenHPSDR-Firmware/tree/master/Protocol%201/ANAN-7000DLE_ANAN-8000DLE-Andromeda

There aren't any functional changes in this firmware, but it had to be recompiled/rebuilt to work with the new part number.

Because there was no prior warning from Apache of this change there is currently no available Protocol 2 firmware for units shipped after 1 July 2022 at this time. If you load existing P2 firmware the unit will not work.

It is hoped that P2 firmware for the new units will be available soon. Please don't ask how soon because I don't know!

This is all as much a surprise to me as it is to everyone else. I had no prior warning either.

Thanks,

Scott
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Re: IMPORTANT: different firmware for 7000DLE/Andromeda hardware shipped after 1 July 2022

Postby drwil » Thu Jul 14, 2022 2:42 pm

Thank you Scott for the update on this issue. I ordered an Andromeda back on May 22, 2022. It has not shipped yet, but I imagine it will be under this P1. I am totally new to using SDR and I do not know the differences between P1 & P2, but I am sure there are several. 73 de Dr. WiL NM4W
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Re: IMPORTANT: different firmware for 7000DLE/Andromeda hardware shipped after 1 July 2022

Postby Chipp » Thu Jul 14, 2022 8:30 pm

Very Concerning in that this appears to be a Downgrade of the FPGA and may impact the ability to connect to the radio using gigabit Ethernet supported in Protocol 2. Also alarming is the lack of notification to the development community.

Referencing the Altera documentation, the new FPGA appears to provide less functionality and possibly a lower clock rate than the original FPGA. Gigabit Ethernet is also in question.

Built on an optimized low-power process, the Cyclone IV device family offers the following two variants:
■ Cyclone IV E—lowest power, high functionality with the lowest cost (New FPGA)
■ Cyclone IV GX—lowest power and lowest cost FPGAs with 3.125 Gbps transceivers (Original FPGA)

The PCIe hard IP Block is also not available in the new FPGA.

What impact this will have on latency and timings to support Protocol 2 and Gigabit Ethernet, to the best of my knowledge, is a complete unknown. Someone with more knowledge needs to weigh in.
Attachments
FPGA Resource Comparison .docx
(406.29 KiB) Downloaded 56 times
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Re: IMPORTANT: different firmware for 7000DLE/Andromeda hardware shipped after 1 July 2022

Postby drwil » Thu Jul 14, 2022 8:51 pm

Does this mean that the Andromeda radio I gave 2k deposit is different from the one I had been promised? Should Apache Labs offer a full refund? Thank you.
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Re: IMPORTANT: different firmware for 7000DLE/Andromeda hardware shipped after 1 July 2022

Postby Chipp » Thu Jul 14, 2022 9:40 pm

drwil, until we get information from Apache Labs and the development community this is unknown. That said, I have put my order, placed through HRO, for a 7000 on hold until these questions are answered.
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Re: IMPORTANT: different firmware for 7000DLE/Andromeda hardware shipped after 1 July 2022

Postby drwil » Thu Jul 14, 2022 9:55 pm

Thank you for your reply. I order mine through Apache Laba. I am not sure I can put it on hold. However I would not hesitate to request my credit card to cancel the transaction. Thank you kindly.
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Re: IMPORTANT: different firmware for 7000DLE/Andromeda hardware shipped after 1 July 2022

Postby w-u-2-o » Fri Jul 15, 2022 1:13 am

All,

First, let me by crystal clear: I am not an employee of Apache Labs, nor do I have any fiduciary interest associated with the sale of Apache hardware. I am merely someone who is highly evangelistic about our radios, and, since I am not a software or firmware developer, helping run this forum, and helping out other Thetis/Apache users, is how I choose to give back to the community.

If you weren't aware, Apache only builds hardware. They happen to load the necessary firmware on that hardware before they ship it. Apache does not create any software, nor any firmware. All software (e.g. Thetis, piHPSDR, PowerSDR, linHPSDR, etc.) is created by volunteer developers and is 100% open source. The same is true for all of the firmware.

Apache did a fine job of dealing with parts obsolescence issues during difficult times, both pandemic and post-pandemic. This is not the first time. This will be the third revision of the Orion MKII board.

Any product that is produced for more than a year or two will suffer these issues. I spent 40 years in the electronics industry myself and can attest to this many times over. The hardware that Apache is providing is functionally identical to the hardware they have been providing.

Apache also did engage with the open source development community to ensure that Protocol 1 firmware was available to ship with this latest revision of hardware. However, and most unfortunately, Apache did not fully engage the open source development community to enable parallel development of Protocol 2 firmware for this latest revision of hardware.

This situation is now being corrected.

How long it will take to correct is the question. An initial build of P2 firmware for the new revision hardware is already complete and the developer is waiting on appropriate hardware on which to test and debug it. So things are moving in the right direction. When they will finish moving is more than I can predict.

Right, wrong or indifferent, those are the facts as I understand them. I hope that they will be helpful to all.

73,

Scott
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Re: IMPORTANT: different firmware for 7000DLE/Andromeda hardware shipped after 1 July 2022

Postby K4IBC » Fri Jul 15, 2022 1:27 am

Scott,
Thank you for the update. That is reassuring that P2 is being worked on at this time and not left to be some after thought.
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Re: IMPORTANT: different firmware for 7000DLE/Andromeda hardware shipped after 1 July 2022

Postby Chipp » Fri Jul 15, 2022 4:41 am

All, it is certainly good news to hear the development community is now working on Protocol 2 firmware for this latest revision of hardware.

Like Scott, I am neither a software or firmware developer by today's standards. I have spent my entire career in high tech. Early on I worked in hardware engineering and software development for eight years (1969 - 1978) before moving into product management and ultimately sales.

Full Disclosure: I have an Anan 7000 on order since February 13,2022.

My only interest is ensuring radios with the new FPGA have the same functionality and capabilities as other 7000's and can leverage future enhancements in Thetis and protocol 2 firmware as they evolve over time.

The source of reference for my posts is the Altera development guide, 2016 revision.

Here is how Altera described their offerings.

Built on an optimized low-power process, the Cyclone IV device family offers the following two variants:
■ Cyclone IV E—lowest power, high functionality with the lowest cost
■ Cyclone IV GX—lowest power and lowest cost FPGAs with 3.125 Gbps
transceivers

Based on the documentation it appears both FPGAs were available to the design team. The original, GX device supports numerous protocols, including gigabit Ethernet. The E device does not.

Cyclone IV GX devices offer a wide range of protocol support:
■ PCIe (PIPE) Gen 1 ×1, ×2, and ×4 (2.5 Gbps)
■ Gigabit Ethernet (1.25 Gbps)
■ CPRI (up to 3.072 Gbps)
■ XAUI (3.125 Gbps)
■ Triple rate serial digital interface (SDI) (up to 2.97 Gbps)
■ Serial RapidIO (3.125 Gbps)
■ Basic mode (up to 3.125 Gbps)
■ V-by-One (up to 3.0 Gbps)
■ DisplayPort (2.7 Gbps)
■ Serial Advanced Technology Attachment (SATA) (up to 3.0 Gbps)
■ OBSAI (up to 3.072 Gbps)

High-Speed Transceivers (Cyclone IV GX Devices Only)

Cyclone IV GX devices contain up to eight full duplex high-speed transceivers that
can operate independently. These blocks support multiple industry-standard
communication protocols, as well as Basic mode, which you can use to implement
your own proprietary protocols. Each transceiver channel has its own pre-emphasis
and equalization circuitry, which you can set at compile time to optimize signal
integrity and reduce bit error rates. Transceiver blocks also support dynamic
reconfiguration, allowing you to change data rates and protocols on-the-fly.

I have no knowledge why the original part was selected over the new FPGA. Perhaps all the additional capabilities of the GX device were never incorporated into the design and are not even used.

The complete development guide is over 16 MB and is readily available on the internet. The device ordering guide shows the decoding of the ordering codes for each device variant. Reference attachment.
Attachments
FPGA Resource Comparison .pdf
Attachment has been updated with information on how to decode the part numbers.
(490.6 KiB) Downloaded 51 times
Last edited by Chipp on Fri Jul 15, 2022 5:40 am, edited 1 time in total.
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drwil
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Re: IMPORTANT: different firmware for 7000DLE/Andromeda hardware shipped after 1 July 2022

Postby drwil » Fri Jul 15, 2022 5:34 am

Thank.ypu for your input and narratives.on the.topic of P² updates. It is helpful and reassuring. Best regards.from NM4W - Dr. WiL
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Re: IMPORTANT: different firmware for 7000DLE/Andromeda hardware shipped after 1 July 2022

Postby rdwing » Fri Jul 15, 2022 10:18 am

I think we need an official statement and explanation from Apache Labs. Why was this change made, why were customers with pending and processing orders not notified, what are the consequences of the change. Will these Mk III radios forever be gimped compared to Mk II? If this becomes a sole batch with changed parts, that doesn't bode well down the line as it means potentially limitations compared to the other hardware, and additional work for anyone who takes it on to support development of newer firmware or programs.

My new 7000 hasn't even arrived yet, and frankly I don't know that I would have gone through with the purchase if I was aware of this change. I specifically intended to run Protocol 2, and don't appreciate what feels almost like a bait and switch. I ordered a specific product, and I'm disappointed to have to find this out from a 3rd party.

Maybe this is all a moot point, but without concrete information all we have left is speculation. From the initial look at the datasheet, the new FPGA seems like it has substantially less capabilities.
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Re: IMPORTANT: different firmware for 7000DLE/Andromeda hardware shipped after 1 July 2022

Postby drwil » Fri Jul 15, 2022 12:52 pm

It is concerning. I found out that Apache Labs does not reply to emails from customers. At least not as requested. I have emailed them several times with no response. I finally got a response when I said I would put a stop payment to my credit card if I did not hear from them. This was back in June. Perhaps we should email their support department and express our concerns. And request possibility of a full refund if we do not wish the product they have to offer. Meanwhile thank you to all of you for your input. I'm totally new to this SDR concept. But not the new in ham radio. I placed the order after a friend of mine recommended them. But I do have other choices from other companies. I'm waiting for some sort of understanding of this issue. Thank you all of you. NM4W
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Re: IMPORTANT: different firmware for 7000DLE/Andromeda hardware shipped after 1 July 2022

Postby drwil » Fri Jul 15, 2022 1:14 pm

I have email Tony at Apache Labs and here is an example of my email content. If you feel likewise perhaps you should email as well. However I do not think we will get a respond. Have a good day and thank you again.

"Good morning. Please take time to read the information below. It may have an impact on the product that you are putting together for those of us waiting for a radio that we have down paid. I don't know if these are mere speculations. However many people in the room are having increase concerns including myself and perhaps consider a full refund since the radio that we have applied to buy is different from the one that you are selling. Please advise of decision immediately so that we know what actions we need to take. If it is indeed a different radio based on hardware then you need to notify those of us expecting a different one. And be given the option to process the order or to get a refund. I found this to be very unethically concerning.

Dr. William Perez - NM4W "

Best regards. I did include some information and express that this was entirely and opinion and perhaps speculations. I did not mention anyone in particular.
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Re: IMPORTANT: different firmware for 7000DLE/Andromeda hardware shipped after 1 July 2022

Postby administrator » Fri Jul 15, 2022 2:42 pm

Hello,

There seems to be some confusion regarding the move to the Orion MKIII, The board change addresses several issues faced due to part shortages and obsolescence. Whilst updating the design our engineers also made some hardware changes/upgrades which will improve performance of the radio.

Here are some points I just shared with a customer:

1. More that 50% of the new FPGA is free and available for future additions, the device was chosen keeping in mind the future requirements
2. There is absolutely no change in the bootloader/Firmware Verilog code, only the device has been redefined and compiled in Quartus, which also means that firmware porting to the new device is relatively easy given the expertise of our developers.
3. We are and will continue working with the developers to ensure full compatibility with all HPSDR protocols
4. The Orion MKII boards has several improvements:
a. Improved power rails and LDOs which especially help with the extra power requirements for protocol 2 and future needs
b. Support for the New KSZ9031RN PHY makes the board future proof since the current PHY KSN9021RL used in the Orion MKII is EOL
c. Inclusion of an Ultra low noise LDO for the master clock will considerably improve Rx/Tx phase noise

You should be able to use the updated radio with Thetis, PowerSDR, LinHPSDR, PiHPSDR as before without any problems, so I believe your fears are completely unfounded.

If anything the new board offers a number of improvements over the Orion MKII and replaces several EOL parts with active parts.

Hope this helps,

Regards,

Tony,
Apache Labs Support
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Re: IMPORTANT: different firmware for 7000DLE/Andromeda hardware shipped after 1 July 2022

Postby drwil » Fri Jul 15, 2022 3:44 pm

Thank you, Tony.fpr addressing all concerns. I sincerely appreciate you taking the time to reply to me on email as well as here. Best regards.

Dr. WiL - NM4W
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Re: IMPORTANT: different firmware for 7000DLE/Andromeda hardware shipped after 1 July 2022

Postby dynamicfusion » Fri Jul 15, 2022 6:16 pm

That appears to be a good list of improvements. It does not seem that functionality is affected.
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Re: IMPORTANT: different firmware for 7000DLE/Andromeda hardware shipped after 1 July 2022

Postby WR4N » Thu Jul 21, 2022 4:22 am

(See below.) This is my 3rd ANAN 7000 DLE MKII & it’s one of the new post July 1 ANANs. At first, I was shocked and upset - especially after loading PROTOCOL 2 right out of the box & it not working with THETIS v2.9 ... and even more upset after wasting much of 3 days trying to get things working. Finally, I reached Tony and he explained - and sent me the new Metis_Orion_MKIII_rev5 I loaded it and it works perfectly with THETIS v2.9. To my surprise, it is actually quieter and the RX audio is superior!!! I anxiously await the new PROTOCOL 2, but to be honest - even with the new PROTOCOL 1 - I am thrilled with the post JULY 1 ANAN.

administrator wrote:Hello,

There seems to be some confusion regarding the move to the Orion MKIII, The board change addresses several issues faced due to part shortages and obsolescence. Whilst updating the design our engineers also made some hardware changes/upgrades which will improve performance of the radio.

Here are some points I just shared with a customer:

1. More that 50% of the new FPGA is free and available for future additions, the device was chosen keeping in mind the future requirements
2. There is absolutely no change in the bootloader/Firmware Verilog code, only the device has been redefined and compiled in Quartus, which also means that firmware porting to the new device is relatively easy given the expertise of our developers.
3. We are and will continue working with the developers to ensure full compatibility with all HPSDR protocols
4. The Orion MKII boards has several improvements:
a. Improved power rails and LDOs which especially help with the extra power requirements for protocol 2 and future needs
b. Support for the New KSZ9031RN PHY makes the board future proof since the current PHY KSN9021RL used in the Orion MKII is EOL
c. Inclusion of an Ultra low noise LDO for the master clock will considerably improve Rx/Tx phase noise

You should be able to use the updated radio with Thetis, PowerSDR, LinHPSDR, PiHPSDR as before without any problems, so I believe your fears are completely unfounded.

If anything the new board offers a number of improvements over the Orion MKII and replaces several EOL parts with active parts.

Hope this helps,

Regards,

Tony,
Apache Labs Support
RADIO: ANAN 7000 DLE MK2 (Black Version) Thetis 2.8.11.
PC: HP Desktop - Intel Core i7 (10th Gen) - 16GB memory - 512GB SSD - Intel UHD Graphics 630 - WINDOWS 10 (100% Dedicated to ANAN)
PS: ASTRON 35 AMP (100% Dedicated to ANAN)

Best 73s,
WR4N - David
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Re: IMPORTANT: different firmware for 7000DLE/Andromeda hardware shipped after 1 July 2022

Postby drwil » Thu Jul 21, 2022 2:52 pm

Awesome David. Thank you for sharing your post. I ordered an Andromeda back on May 22, 2022. I am still waiting for shipment & delivery patiently. I am totally new to the Anan SDR radios, I have been reading and learning Thetis and the radio's manual in theory. I honestly do not know where to start once the radio is on my desk. Best regards.

73 de Dr. WiL - NM4W
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Bootloader for new 7000DLE

Postby dieseldawg » Fri Jul 22, 2022 11:52 pm

I have experienced problems loading the new firmware for the new 7000. The bootloader recognizes the radio, but after pushing the program button, the erasing message is displayed, but never erases, just locks up. Is a new bootloader needed, or some other problem.

Greg
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Re: Bootloader for new 7000DLE

Postby w-u-2-o » Sat Jul 23, 2022 12:00 am

dieseldawg wrote:I have experienced problems loading the new firmware for the new 7000. The bootloader recognizes the radio, but after pushing the program button, the erasing message is displayed, but never erases, just locks up. Is a new bootloader needed, or some other problem.

Greg

Would you please clarify: exactly which version of firmware are you trying to load on exactly which version of hardware?
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Re: IMPORTANT: different firmware for 7000DLE/Andromeda hardware shipped after 1 July 2022

Postby dieseldawg » Sat Jul 23, 2022 12:55 am

Orion Mk III, the board sent after July 1
The firmware is the rbf listed in this thread for the Mk III board
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Re: IMPORTANT: different firmware for 7000DLE/Andromeda hardware shipped after 1 July 2022

Postby w-u-2-o » Sat Jul 23, 2022 1:08 am

dieseldawg wrote:Orion Mk III, the board sent after July 1
The firmware is the rbf listed in this thread for the Mk III board

Why would you try to reload the firmware that is already on the board?

That said, it ought to work, but I'm curious: why try the reload?

AFAIK no new Bootloader is needed or available. But I would not be surprised if this became a problem...
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Re: IMPORTANT: different firmware for 7000DLE/Andromeda hardware shipped after 1 July 2022

Postby dieseldawg » Sat Jul 23, 2022 12:18 pm

The new boards do not ship with any firmware installed. The bootloader doesn't even get past erasing the FPGA. Just locks up.
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Re: IMPORTANT: different firmware for 7000DLE/Andromeda hardware shipped after 1 July 2022

Postby w-u-2-o » Sat Jul 23, 2022 1:22 pm

dieseldawg wrote:The new boards do not ship with any firmware installed. The bootloader doesn't even get past erasing the FPGA. Just locks up.

That does not sound correct. Apache hardware has always shipped with firmware loaded since the ANAN-10.

Has anyone else received a brand new 7000 with the Orion MKIII without firmware already being loaded?

As WR4N posted above, he had no problem getting Bootloader to work.

It seems more likely that your unit arrived broken. I'd recommend you contact Apache service.
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Re: IMPORTANT: different firmware for 7000DLE/Andromeda hardware shipped after 1 July 2022

Postby dieseldawg » Sat Jul 23, 2022 2:36 pm

My assumption was that the Mk III was tested at the factory. So either there was a defect or the FPGA wasn't loaded. I guess I was hoping there wasn't a defect.

I was confused by Tony's post which said he got a post July 1 Mk II board, then got it replaced by a Mk III board, for which is sounded like he loaded the FPGA.

I suppose mine could be a defective unit, but wanted to explore other possibilities to avoid having to send it to service.

What is the experience of others who received a Mk III board wrt the FPGA? I'd be interested in hearing about them.
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Re: IMPORTANT: different firmware for 7000DLE/Andromeda hardware shipped after 1 July 2022

Postby w-u-2-o » Sat Jul 23, 2022 2:53 pm

Did you receive just a bare board, or a new 7000 or Andromeda?
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Re: IMPORTANT: different firmware for 7000DLE/Andromeda hardware shipped after 1 July 2022

Postby dieseldawg » Sat Jul 23, 2022 2:54 pm

It is a new 7000.
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Re: IMPORTANT: different firmware for 7000DLE/Andromeda hardware shipped after 1 July 2022

Postby w-u-2-o » Sat Jul 23, 2022 3:01 pm

Do have past experience using Bootloader? If not then it could just be simple user error.

How did you determine the 7000 had no firmware in it when it arrived?
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Re: IMPORTANT: different firmware for 7000DLE/Andromeda hardware shipped after 1 July 2022

Postby dieseldawg » Sat Jul 23, 2022 3:59 pm

Yes, I've had 200D's and 700DLE Mk II's for which I've used the Bootloader to program the FPGA's.

The new 7000 couldn't be found by Thetis and the Bootloader just locked up trying to erase the FPGA. I figured the most likely problem was with the new FPGA, possibly incompatible with the current Bootloader, although it could be something else. The Bootloader was able to retrieve the MAC address.

That's why I asked about other owner's of the MkIII's experience with programming the FPGA.
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Re: IMPORTANT: different firmware for 7000DLE/Andromeda hardware shipped after 1 July 2022

Postby w-u-2-o » Sat Jul 23, 2022 4:12 pm

So far there are only two reports regarding Bootloader: yours (negative), and WR4N (positive). The units should ship with firmware installed. Nobody has posted they received a non-functioning unit without firmware.

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