Visiting the Texecom website today I’ve made the exciting discovery that the firmware for the Premier Elite panels has had a major upgrade from v2.11 (which is what mine shipped with) to v3.00
Now I’m a firmware junkie – doesn’t really matter to me whether I want or need the new features, but I just want to be on the latest version. So whether it’s TVs, microwave ovens, dishwashers or guitar amps I’m always interested in getting the newest software release.
Texecom provide a very useful summary of the changes here
From a initial look through, much of it is expansion and improvements rather than major new features but one thing particularly caught my eye. Since I’ve been playing with these panels I’ve thought that I’d really like 3 COM ports – one for the GSM interface (when I finally get it working), one for integration with the Vera smart home controller (more of this in another post) and one for a permanent COMIP connection. This is apparently available on the most expensive panel but I didn’t think of that when I bought it.
Anyway it seems this new firmware allows COM3 to be accessed via the existing communication port – confirming my suspicion all along that it was just a COM port in disguise. It will require a breakout board which no doubt one will have to buy from Texecom:
Although judging by this picture it will simply connect out a few pins – so maybe it will be possible to identify which pin is which and connect directly to it and I am worried that this new board will be expensive.
The other problem is that one cannot simply flash the new firmware using a COMIP or USB-COM which is a bit of a pain. The firmware is held in flash ROM, but they seem to have left the programming chip off the main board and so one has to buy the ‘CDH-001 Firmware Flasher’ which is going to be about £30 from the usual sources
Looking at this picture really makes me unwilling to pay £30 for the privilege – it is clearly just a MAX662A flash programming chip plus a couple of capacitors, a switch and a button which can’t be worth more than a few quid. However without knowing the pinout of the programming port and without being able to study one of these I’m a bit stuck. I’d love to be able to DIY one of these… but I suppose I may have to grit my teeth and stump up if I want to get the upgrade. I suppose if you are an installer you make your money back after the first job but for me the ‘cost per use’ is very high. If only they showed a photo of the underside!
To make matters worse the above adapter still needs the USB-COM to work, but at least I already have one of those.
If I do get one I’ll analyse it and post the results… or I could just stay at v2.11 but I’m not sure I can tolerate that now I know I’m out of date.
In other news I’ve now got all the bits from China so will try again with my ComGSM DIY effort and will post the results.