Are there any predictive indicators of SmartSDR Upgrade woes?

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  • Updated 1 year ago
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With the massive amount of testing and then end use experience doing release version upgrades, a small percentage of users end up struggling. 

Of those successfully doing each update, not all of us do the updates the same way.  Some like myself might even be prone to not reading the release notes until we have a problem (guilty).

There are few who end up in limbo, which FRS is very helpful doing remote and if needed bench service to fix.

From all the experience are there any leading indicators of a troubled or trouble-free upgrade ahead for a particular user?

Or is there simply too many variables to draw causal or even casual correlations from? 

If there are sharable observations, what are best practices to minimize problems?

73

Steve K9ZW

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Steve K9ZW, Elmer

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Posted 1 year ago

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EA4GLI - 8P9EH - Salvador

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I don't remember seeing it in the upgrade instructions but I recommend a freshly rebooted windows prior to a SmartSDR upgrade.
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Rick

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I had a flawless upgrade experience and things seem to be working better than ever here! I'm grateful.
73
Rick, W2JAZ
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Steve K9ZW, Elmer

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Yeah, but that is because your play tenor sax.  Almost perfect here for a bari sax player.  Feel sorry for the bass sax guys (mostly because I hate lugging mine - a '27 Conn - around).

More seriously do you just do the drill, keep a carefully focused and clean PC or any other suggestion?

Thanks!

73

Steve K9ZW

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Rick

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HaHA LOL!
I do the drill....follow their install procedure very very carefully and to the letter. I've learned my lesson. There is however still a nagging issue with SmartCAT not playing nice with other gear that requires I use some sort of virtual serial port software. I use VSPE and if SmartCAT is running and I'm trying to use another radio in the shack that needs to see virtual ports I've constructed with VSPE forget it.....it won't work. I just encountered that a minute ago.
73 
Rick, W2JAZ
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Chris Tate - N6WM, Elmer

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One item I do, and it may or may not be in indicator, is that I do an unplug reset prior and then again after all upgrades.  I am up and downgrading constantly as part of the alpha program and sometimes with shakey alphas that cause problems.  I have been able to recover from all issues.  but from time to time if I forget to do the unplug routine I have occasional issues.  your mileage may vary.

Chris N6WM
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Terry Tankersley

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Make sure radio is off and no power to radio. I close dax and cat then uninstall software, boot computer. Install new software, boot computer. Turn on power and then radio and update. I have only had it stall one time, held button in until radio powers down remove power. Turned back on and radio finished installing software. This seems to work for me, pretty much as the instructions.
 6500   windows 8.1
K7NY
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Bob Kozlarek

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As a product engineer in the consumer electronics industry I am no stranger to firmware updates, and the possibilities that may occur. Unless the firmware adds a new feature, I try to follow the advice I give others - "If it's not broken, don't try to fix it". While an update might resolve some small issue, that's not to say that everyone has that issue. Every update I've done to my 6500 has completed without an incident and I think this entire issue is being exaggerated. To many people worrying about the "what if" possibilities.
(Edited)
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Steve K9ZW, Elmer

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You're right Bob and the 99.8% that upgrade well are unnoticed and seldom comment upon, where the rare problem is trumpeted and has a presentation in isolation that outweighs its actual importance.

73

Steve K9ZW

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Tim - W4TME, Customer Experience Manager

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"Or is there simply too many variables to draw causal or even casual correlations from?"

This sums it up.  If you follow the instructions outlined in the Release Notes, then there is a high probability of not having any issues.  But the 6000 is a multi-processor embedded system and with different subsystems that have to undergo firmware upgrades and sometimes something hangs or goes awry.  The percentages of customers having issues compared to the installed base are VERY low and if "cold booting" the radio does not correct the issue, then a HelpDesk ticket is needed so we can investigate and try to correct the problems remotely.  If not, then we'll expedite a repair process. 
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Steve K9ZW, Elmer

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Thank you Tim.

From the FRS have any "bad neighbor" programs been noted? 

Example, we have some industry specific software we use professionally that is ten times harder to get a clean install or upgrade if certain other programs had been installed and run.  The techs tell us it is something with slightly difference SQL engines and configuration that just bucks the second package to install.  We have a work around though the software support vendor says we shouldn't need it.

And I should add Tim a tip-of-the-Hat to the FRS for an ecosystem that has flavors of Linux, Windows, Windows RT/Tablet, iOS, and more in several levels of release all playing pretty darn nice together! 

73

Steve K9ZW


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Tim - W4TME, Customer Experience Manager

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We have complete control over the software in the radio, so if there are any bad neighbors there, we moved them into the neighborhood.

On the Windows side of things, virus protection apps, firewalls, and internet security suites are the bad neighbors.  We accommodate for the installed Microsoft firewall, but fo all others, all bets are off.
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Lee, Elmer

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One thing I do is close all connected programs including DAX and CAT.  Probably just a talisman behavior but I like the idea of going commando

73  W9OY
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Martin Ewing AA6E

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I've done quite a few upgrades on a number of Flex units. Generally, no issues without even carefully following the instructions. One time the update froze up, but it was fixed by doing a total removal and installation ... per instructions!

I think Flex's distributions are about as straightforward as such a complicated system could be. You might get in trouble if you've got a lot of extra stuff that has to coordinate - ddutil, waveforms, USB peripherals, amps, etc. That's life!

The interaction with Windows updates is another matter. :)