Help uploading software and firmware

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geomoo
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Joined: 03/31/2012
Points: 41

Hello all. I'm very new here, but I've posted a couple of times. I have a 2007 Vectrix that has been trouble-free and great, although the range has diminished somewhat. I posted about my intention to do one of the first official Vectrix conversions to 42 AH Li when the kit is ready in the USA in a couple of weeks. In deciding whether to do that, I read a lot on this forum, which has caused me to change my mind. It has been amazing to begin to absorb the history of the relation with Vectrix such as the excited and careful musings about the Can bus, for example, through experimentation and to the confident manipulation of the data which is common today. Pretty amazing, but it does make me feel as though I'm just getting involved in this when the excitement of the original Vectrix is moving on to the next thing, with Vectrix having improved its product enough to be able to stand on its own. I'm a day late and a dollar short, as usual. When I read the dates of some of the posts, it makes me wish I had been active in the early days. My battery would be in much better shape today had I been.

In any case, I've decided that I can do my own conversion someday and meanwhile, I'll save money by using the current model until the battery fades a lot more or I have some unexpected excitement with the charger, fuse or such. So, this brings me to my question.

I've managed to get the diagnostic software on my laptop and I bit the bullet and purchased the PCAN-usb cable in order to see what's happening on the scooter and update my ancient software (62 mph) and firmware. The cable should be arriving in a couple of days, at which time I will need a little help. I also hope to use The Laird's revered firmware if someone will tell me how to make that happen. Thing is, I look at the hex files I have and don't have any idea what is what. Perhaps my reading hasn't been diligent enough, but the details of how to do these upgrades seem to have simply materialized on the site, with people going overnight from awe at being able to connect to the bus to somehow knowing how to do upgrades. Would someone be willing to either provide me with the links that discuss the how-to details or help me through the process via email or pm when I get connected to the bus?

Y'all should know that the stimulating discussions I have read here have motivated me to educate myself on these topics. I have a little training in electricity from way way back and I had a pretty good feel for hex, assembly language and such in the very early days of computers (Commodore Pet, anyone?). Still, it's a very basic starting point. Thing is, it is clear that familiarity with these topics will have immense usefulness in the future. Thanks to all for getting me started on this road and for any help you might offer me in getting the most life out of the first version of the first fully electric highway capable motorcycle.

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Hanging on by my fingernails, technically speaking.

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martinwinlow
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Joined: 03/26/2012
Points: 204
Re: Help uploading software and firmware

Hi Geomoo,

Well, I am at 2008 V owner now - done about 300 miles on a 2008 VX-1 which had 6.5k miles on it when I bought it a month back. I'm in the UK, BTW.

I plan to upgrade to TheLairds software too soon.

Your question about how the upgrade is actually done is a good and valid one. I have not dabled with the V's canbus yet but I might be able to shed light on things from a basic viewpoint having done some hex programing of PIC microcontrollers.

Basically, as you know you have your Vectrix which has a controller in it which is like a computer controlled light dimmer that allows the motor (the light in our analogy) to be provided with a very carefully timed series of pulses from the battery pack. It is the coontroller and the program it runs that works out the timing and uses other inputs (like the ignition key) to alter the output of the program to control other outputs (like the display).

The charger is also controlled by another computer with a disfferent program loaded into it. They can talk to each other (using the canbus I assume) and other bits of the bike too.

So there is a program in botht eh controller and charger running everything which are (I believe) running all the time albeit sometimes it is in a 'standby' state waiting to be woken up by one of the inputs and/or each other and therefore using very little power.

The 'HEX' files that are talked about are these programs. By attaching the PCAN-usb cable between the vectrix canbus and your PC you can swap out the existing programs (the Hex files) with the alternatives written/modified by TheLaird. It is as simple as that.

As to the actual steps involved in achieving this, I expect it will be fairly self explanatory once you connect the 3 together and run the diagnostics program.

This post... http://visforvoltage.org/forum/11677-installing-modified-charger-software ... should help.

If it needs it, once I am in a position to upgrade my own bike, I will do my own blog but the one I referres to (above) seems fairly complete. Perhaps you have found it already!

Regards, Martin.

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Regards, Martin Winlow
Herts UK
evalbum.com/2092

geomoo
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Joined: 03/31/2012
Points: 41
Re: Help uploading software and firmware

Hello, Martin. As a newcomer myself, I suppose I can still welcome you on behalf of the site. Thanks for a clear and useful explanation of what is happening. It was kind of you to take the time, and also kind of you to be so gentle in pointing out to me a quite thorough answer to my question recently posted by The Laird himself. I was embarrassed when I found it--don't know how I overlooked it the first time through.

I can reassure you that, unlike some here, I have had nothing but good luck with my Vectrix, although the disappearing bars syndrome has hit a couple of times and now seems to be permanent. But now I know how better to manage my battery, and the scooter is quite predictable, imminently useful, and tons of fun. You're going to love it. I just wish I had been following this site from the beginning. It looks as though you are doing the reading necessary to acquaint yourself with how to care for the battery and charger properly.

I am in the process of installing The Laird's upgrade. I can report to you that he is thorough, patient, and responsive in helping to make it happen. Way beyond simple courtesy. You catch me at a moment that would have me highly frustrated were I not able to call on him, because my PCAN-usb adapter arrived today and it appears the Vectrix diagnostic software is not communicating with it. He had warned me about the need for a different dll file, so I imagine that is the problem, although the PCAN View program which comes with the adapter is successfully communicating (blinking red light on adapter), so I'm not sure that is the issue. In any case, from what has happened so far, I feel confident that he will give generously of his time to help solve the issue. As it is, I'm trying to accept that I'm stalled and stop wasting my time screwing around with the computer.

Antiscab has also been very generous with his help, although I believe I finally wore thin with my continuing questions. (At some point, you need to just read through this site, as the current forum topic illustrates clearly.) When my battery fails, I'll be upgrading to his 70 ah LiFePo4 conversion, assuming I have satisfied myself by then that I can work on this bike along with the pros, and assuming my charger is still good. The one reservation I have about diy upgrades to Li is not taking advantage of Vectrix's improved charger which is in at least the 3rd iteration, given how many people have had charger troubles with the original ESD version. Antiscab only offers his conversion with the ESD charger, which is the only software which has been hacked. I think I have that right. Another alternative may be to find a cheap used Vectrix for back-up parts, especially a back-up charger.

For a truly impressive journey of courageous and ultimately successful exploration in the early days by a pathfinder, I suggest you track Mik's thread of his trouble with Vectrix Australia which led him to take matters into his own hands. This link is to the reverse engineering which began in earnest after what I consider egregious behavior, by Vectrix Aus, behavior for which I believe VA was later declared liable in a court of law. http://visforvoltage.org/forum/3582-vectux-quotopen-source-vectrixquot Wow. That shows what can be done with determination. Very impressive. And very educational. It seems you have some notion of these things. If you can combine that with hands-on skill, you'll keep your Vectrix on the road for many years. Good luck and thanks again for the post.

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Hanging on by my fingernails, technically speaking.

martinwinlow
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Joined: 03/26/2012
Points: 204
Re: Help uploading software and firmware

Hello GeoMoo,

Glad to hear things are progressing... to a point. You have remembered to put the various dll's etc in the right place on your hard drive, haven't you? Some have to go in the C:\ and others in the Windows directory etc. It's all a bit of a caffuffle... it would be nice if someone could put a step by step description (with LOTS of photos) on a web site somewhere...

I am familiar with the EV thing... EValbum.com/2092 ... but have little time at the moment to tinker as I am (almost finished) building a 5 bed house - year 7 and counting. Of course it will never be finished - PV, air source heat pump, veg garden, shed, plasterboard the garage and so on and so on. But I might be in line for early retirement soon...

My only issue thus far with my Vectrix is that the rear wheel has the raspy whine that I have heard others bemoan. The whine seems fair enough but the rasp just sounds nasty - as though the gears in the planetary gearbox are not happy. Goes ok tho so it can't be too serious. The other day I went to move the bike by hand and just after lifting it up and kicking up the side stand, I wheeled it back a couple of feet and got 3 quite loud basey clunks from the rear wheel/gearbox/motor as the wheel rotated and then it stopped. Anyway, getting off topic.

Please keep us abreast of your work on your Vectrix.

Regards, Martin.

__________________

Regards, Martin Winlow
Herts UK
evalbum.com/2092

geomoo
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Joined: 03/31/2012
Points: 41
Re: Help uploading software and firmware

Once again, I'm humbled by V is for Voltage and reduced to begging for help. I can't get the diagnostics to communicate with the PCAN adapter. The Laird sent me the needed dll file, and I have tried "installing" it on the base directory, in the systems folder, the systems 32 folder, the folder with the diagnostics, the folder with the PCAN drivers. Nothing but a damn solid red light. Incidentally, I don't move it around--I just copy it, so there are copies in all those places I mention. Is that a problem? I need help, now don't think I'll get there on my own. I'll be sending out an SOS to The Laird later today, but meanwhile perhaps someone else can offer a suggestion.

Ouch on that gearbox "raspy sound." That's the sort of thing I might not notice, and now I've been listening to mine with a paranoid feeling. It really seems there was a batch of bad gears made or something--I wonder if it could be worked out by region--where and when some scooters got the kind of gearbox Mik did such yeoman's work in exposing. I really do feel for you. At some point, you'll need to take a break from the house, it seems.

Beware on the house. I have known people who came to think of it as perfectly normal to sleep in a bedroom with unpainted sheetrocked walls, and duct tape on the unfinished windows to keep the wind out. After a while, you just don't see it as work that needs to be done. Seriously, it sounds impressive. I don't have the chops for that kind of work, and it makes me jealous. One can't hire people to do it as well as one does it oneself. Even with my limited skills, I generally find that in the end even I do better if it is something I can figure out, but it takes a long time.

Good luck with the gearbox. I'll write up the entire saga if I ever get connected to the diagnostics. A little organization would be very helpful with these adventures. It's mostly all here on the website but tough to find.

__________________

Hanging on by my fingernails, technically speaking.

martinwinlow
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Joined: 03/26/2012
Points: 204
Re: Help uploading software and firmware

Hi Geomoo,

Right - first things first...

1/ What laptop are you using?
2/ What operating system are you running on your laptop?
3/ As per TheLairds post 'Fri, 12/02/2011 - 06:20 Installing the Modified Charger Software', have you:-

a/ Got the two folders named 'ScooterSW' and 'ScooterDiag' in a folder and what is the path to each folder? Ie e.g. 'C:\xxxx\My docs\Vectrix Stuff\ScooterSW' (If you look in the path bar at the top of the Windows Explorer you will see the path - just highlight it, and copy and paste it into your reply - sorry if this is not new to you!).

b/ Got all 4 (apparently) required .dll files in the relevant Windows system folder? Now, the Laird has them in 'C:\Windows\System' but it may be that they need to be in 'C:\Windows\System32' - this is all assuming your hard disk directory structure is as it normally is with a Windows installation - and assuming you are running Windows! What are all their paths?

That's enough for now. Let me know your answers. If you are 'Skyped up', feel free to call me - my Skype name is the same as my VIFV screen name, or whatever it's called. MW

__________________

Regards, Martin Winlow
Herts UK
evalbum.com/2092

martinwinlow
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Joined: 03/26/2012
Points: 204
Re: Help uploading software and firmware

GeoMoo:
Have a look here...

http://visforvoltage.org/forum/6031-can-bus?page=1

... post number 15.... looks lie it system32 where your all needs to go!

MW

__________________

Regards, Martin Winlow
Herts UK
evalbum.com/2092

martinwinlow
Offline
Joined: 03/26/2012
Points: 204
Re: Help uploading software and firmware

GeoMoo:
Have a look here...

http://visforvoltage.org/forum/6031-can-bus?page=1

... post number 15.... looks like it system32 where your all needs to go!

MW

__________________

Regards, Martin Winlow
Herts UK
evalbum.com/2092

geomoo
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Joined: 03/31/2012
Points: 41
Re: Help uploading software and firmware

Victory!!!!

Thanks so much, Martin, for your help. It takes a village, I suppose, because help from a fourth source besides The Laird, antiscab, and you is what got me there.

I asked gridconnect for an older version, thinking if I installed the older dll file with an installer, it might work. I got a standard reply, "It's a 3rd party program so not our problem," and figured that was it, although I repeated my request more precisely. Three days later, get an email from John Korsakas at gridconnect with a link to the best discussion here on V is for Voltage. He had found it by googling. And btw, I hadn't even mentioned Vectrix nor which program I was using. Probably googling found him the page better than the VIFV search. Anyhow, here is probably the best explanation on this site for dealing with this problem:
http://visforvoltage.org/forum/11662-problem-can-bus-usb-resolved

The above forum page contains a message from the folks at PEAK who had also been very helpful to Badmade. He pasted their reply to him, which included this link. It downloads the needed dll file:
http://www.peak-system.com/produktcd/Develop/PC%20interfaces/Windows/PCAN-Light%20API/Win32/PCAN_USB.dll

I don't know why the dll files I got from The Laird and antiscab failed to work in any of the 3,762 folders I tried them in on my computer, but the file I downloaded from the above link worked the first time.

Pretty awesome and unusual for a company to provide such great customer service. Hats off to John Korsakas and gridconnect for going beyond the call of duty. Thanks to all involved. I'm headed out right now to hook this baby up to my Vectrix, but it's late, so I'll wait until a less mistake-prone time to upload The Laird's firmware.

Frustrating to know the entire time that the solution would be simple, even though I spent hours moving files around, re-installing programs and such.

__________________

Hanging on by my fingernails, technically speaking.

martinwinlow
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Joined: 03/26/2012
Points: 204
Re: Help uploading software and firmware

Whoop, whoop! MW

__________________

Regards, Martin Winlow
Herts UK
evalbum.com/2092

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