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LVB Tracker software upgrade

First, I would request that everyone that gets an LVB Tracker Box from AMSAT-NA to address any problems to Gould Smith, wa4sxm@amsat.org rather than to Howard.  Howard is working on many other important projects for multiple AMSAT groups. Mike, WB8CXO and I will work with you to resolve any problems

This email is to clarify the effect upon the LVB Tracker boxes delivered via AMSAT-NA arising from the release of software version 0.9 that Howard Long, G6LVB has announced.

0. The LVB Tracker boxes sold by AMSAT-NA have software v 0.7 when delivered.
    release 0.8 had a fix to make the board work better with the PREDICT software, v0.7 did work fine in our tests with PREDICT
    release 0.9 has a fix to make the 9600 bps communication bit timing better, the current timing in v0.7 & v0.8 should be 
        adequate. Any bit timing problems should effect all tracking software communication, but will effect longer serial data 
        strings more.
1. If you are not experiencing any problem communicating with your selected tracking program, this software upgrade probably 
        is not necessary.
2. We are not shipping the MAX232CPE chip with the boxes because:
        a) you cannot/should not run both the USB and serial ports at the same time
        b) we couldn't rationalize the extra expense and time to adequately package a loose chip so it could be found when 
3. We are in the process of packaging some MAX232CPE chips and will make them available at a reasonable cost through the 
        AMSAT office within the next two weeks.
4. You cannot reliably re-program the box using the USB port.
5. To re-program the PIC processor using the main board you must:
        a) remove the LVB Tracker cover
        b) disconnect the LCD, pushbutton and rotor controller cable headers
        c) unscrew the four screws holding the main board to the case and gently remove the main board from the box
        d) very carefully remove the USB module from the 28 pin socket. There are surface mount parts on the bottom of the USB             module, so use extreme caution when prying the module out of the socket.
        e) insert the MAX232CPE chip into its socket, making sure to orient it correctly
        f) follow the instructions for running the DOS program Howard wrote to program the PIC chip via a serial port.
        g) remove the MAX232 chip after a successful programming effort
        f) insert the USB module back into the 28 pin socket on the main board
        g) screw the main board back into the enclosure
        h) re-attach the LCD, pushbutton and rotor controller cable headers
        i) re-attach the cover
        j) go through the calibration procedure again (possibly)
6. We are testing the new software release and after successful testing will use this in our future LVB Tracker boxes.

We are also testing the LVB Tracker 2, using a different PIC chip and new software.  This chip will replace the one in the current box and with some proposed hardware additions will make a more versatile unit. There are still some changes/improvements that need to be made and additional tests run before we make this available.

Each box is tested, calibrated and made to control a Yaesu rotor from SatPC32 or MacDoppler Pro before shipping. Mike Young, WB8CXO continues to take a great deal of pride in providing a quality box to those getting these units from AMSAT.

Gould, WA4SXM

Sent via AMSAT-BB@amsat.org. Opinions expressed are those of the author.
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