Texecom Firmware Flash – Progress

After a brief detour into heating control I’m back to talking about my Texecom adventures. I will as promised come to the more detailed software side of the heating project soon. However, with the Spring weather coming I’m feeling keen to start taking on some new projects so I’m back to thinking about upgrading my Premier Elite to v3.01 (it’s already gone up from v3.00).

As some commenters have pointed out, one can buy the firmware flash interface from www.cctvcentral.co.uk for a good price at the moment:

Capture

And they also are the only place anywhere that seems to be selling the ComPort+ accessory which gives you an additional serial port output using the on board communicator output.

comport

These need more discussion and I’ll come to this in another post. As you will see I had to buy 5 of them… so if anyone wants one of my 4 spares for a nominal fee to cover costs please let me know.

Anyway I took the plunge and ordered them all, and they arrived last week. The service from cctvcentral was pretty good, as the firmware flasher got damaged in transit and they sent me out another very quickly.

I spent a couple of hours this afternoon with the firmware flasher, but unfortunately so far have met with failure.

I connected everything up as per the instructions, and I have learned a few things. First of all, this is the first time I had tried powering the whole panel down and one of the problems doing this is that it sets off the tamper alarm on the external siren. I have a Texecom Odyssey 1 which  I installed some time ago. It is quite smart for a bell box, and one of things you can do is temporarily disable it if you are working on it. You can do this by using the engineer utilities to switch the strobe on 3 times in 30 seconds. This worked quite well, although it resets itself when you put the power back on. I’ve come to the conclusion that it’s impossible to do any kind of work on alarms without making a dreadful racket.

I’ve also learned that the Texecom firmware software only recognises FTDI serial ports – presumably because that’s what is in the genuine product.

However, on running the software and trying to flash the panel… nothing happens. It just gives an error message saying ‘board not responding correctly’.

I’m a bit stumped by this – I’m sure that the pinout is the same for the serial port and the software recognises it. I’m quite sure that I’ve connected the ribbon cable to the alarm board properly.

The only difference between my home made cable the real one is the first pin – which on the board gives 12V out. Looking at the flash interface, the corresponding pin is linked to a couple of pins on the flash board including a capacitor or two. So it must be doing something… but what? I’m really not sure what I should do about this, as unless I can get hold of a real Texecom flash cable I can’t know what that pin is for.

So all in all, not good news at the moment. I have the flash board… but I can’t use it. And I really do not want to be spending £40 on a genuine Texecom cable after getting this far! I have seen people on ebay selling third party copies which they say do work with the interface, so I might have to resort to getting one of these. It seems a shame though… I’m sure the solution is pretty simple but at the moment I have no way of finding it out!

Any comments or thoughts would be welcome. I will post some hi res pics of the board (including the all-important underside) shortly.

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20 thoughts on “Texecom Firmware Flash – Progress”

  1. You should try to use the driver from the original cable USB-Com (only if you are using a FTDI variant).
    Looking forward to the pictures to help find a solution/working clone…
    Got last week my first texe-kit and I am pleased with it. It came with the COM-ip module, this eliminated the need for that other cable yet. Minor thing it was deliverd with firmware V2 not V3.
    Bummer for now but not for long, I hope/know.

  2. Thanks

    I don’t think it’s a driver issue, and in fact the Texecom software identifies my serial port as a ‘USB-COM’.

    From my very limited probing around the board so far, the spare pin seems to be connected to the VOut pin on the MAX662A, which suggests that the board is sending a 12V signal back to the interface (which is consistent with the 12V out from the main panel). However this I think is then sent back to the panel, maybe via the TXD / RXD lines? In truth I don’t know anything about flash programming. Still that pin must be doing something!

    Hopefully we will find out more in due course…

  3. Can you check that the spare pin is connected to MAX662A pin8 (see specs)?
    That could bring us something…

  4. A few minutes later (I saw the light… somewhere).
    But of course: you should apply power (5V) to the MAX ic, no power = no programming !?

  5. The same thought occurred to me at first, but I investigated further:

    Vcc on the chip appears to be connected to one of the pins coming from the panel itself – so I think this is where it is getting power from. The normal serial ports on the panel output 12v on pin 1 (the spare pin), and this is connected to Vout (pin 6) of the MAX IC. So when powered up one should see 12V out on the spare pin – just like the main panel does.

    The question is – why? The only purpose of the IC so far as I can make out is to provide 12V out for programming, so does the official Texecom cable somehow redirect that 12V back on the TXD / RXD lines for programming?

    Trouble is that I don’t know enough about how flash programming works. The other problem is that I really can’t face spending about £40 on a real Texecom cable as that does seem really outrageous!

  6. It might be I’m barking up the wrong tree, as I’ve been talking to someone else who says that it should work with just the three pins connected. There might be a driver issue on my laptop or something like that. So I’ll need to try again… will post back with results.

  7. We would be happy with the hi-res pictures from the pcb board.
    Waiting for these to order my Max chip.
    Keep tinkering!

  8. Thanks, have emailed about this.

    Yes it is in and working now, will take a pic shortly. I have replaced the small FTDI PCB with a USB serial cable which has the chip in the USB plug and plugs straight on to the pins. This saves space and is a bit neater. So I have two of these plus the mobile phone interface connected now. I’m very glad that Texecom have done this… although it is quite a niche interest.

  9. Great work, this is very interesting and opens all sorts of possibilites. If you have any of the ports left I would be interested in one.

  10. Now that I have filled up my COM1 and COM2 ports I could do with a COM3, could you let me know how much you want for one of yours?

  11. Loving your blog mate.
    I’ve just ordered the equipment to make a COM-GSM and also the USB FTDI interface so I look forward to them arriving (hopefully I can follow your guides and won’t have any extra questions!!!!)

    Do you have any of the COM Ports left? If so I could do with one more so let me know how much you want.

    Thanks again for the blog

  12. Great, glad you are finding it helpful! Please post if you have any queries, would be glad to help if I can. I do have a COM port left, I’ve emailed you about this separately. Please let me know how you get on. I’m getting impatient for the next firmware release now… must be soon…

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