Firmware Upgrade Instructions


Earlier this year (April 2011) I distributed a firmware upgrade for yourMark5A/B which fixes a severe problem where an e-VLBI transfer CANNOT BESTARTED AT ALL lest some data is recorded to disk first. For seamless e-VLBIobservation this April 2011 firmware should be installed on your Mark5. If youhaven't already done so, please read on below for instructions how to do this.

tl;dr: as long as you SSErase a diskpack using the firmware you intend to makea diskrecording with you're good to go.

Unfortunately some stations switched back to using the old firmware because itwas thought that the upgrade broke diskrecording (whilst fixing e-VLBI). Recentdedicated tests with an affected station showed without a doubt that it was NOTthe firmware that broke the diskrecording but the lack of following observingpractices that caused it.

Both Haystack and Conduant are adamant that, in order to guarantee correctbehaviour of the Streamstor, a diskpack MUST be SSErase'd on the system that isgoing to record on it, USING THE FIRMWARE it is going to record with.

What happened was that at the time of failing disk recording the disk had beenrecorded on with a previous firmware version and then, when an attempt was madeto record with the upgraded firmware this, obviously, failed miserably.

Please refer to the "Mark5A" and "Field System Checks" sections of the standardobserving procedures - for detailedinformation.

The "SSErase a diskpack before starting to make a discrecording" has been ineffect for QST, at least since 2003. As said before: we have tested thediskrecording with mixed firmwares on a Mark5A and found that "SSErase"'ing itafter a firmware change and before recording makes for a working Mark5diskrecording. (Not SSErase'ing breaks it, which was also tested).


First a pre-check. If you issue the:


command to your Mark5 and amongst the version/datecodes you see:

ApiVersion 12.13 : ApiDateCode Apr 13 2011

(Or a later version+date) then you're already done, you don't have to doanything.

Anything below 12.13 and/or Apr 13 2011 is eligible for upgrading. Please findthe detailed instructions again below. This is just a copy of the originalannouncement sent April 19th 2011.

Upgrading your firmware - please read very carefully

Attached to this mail you'll find two firmware images. Which one to use andwhat to do with them depends on your actual flavour of Mark5/StreamStor.

The discriminating factor is "AMAZON + FPDP2" on the one hand and "not AMAZON"on the other hand.

It is _crucial_ to realize that the firmware for the AMAZON is ONLY suitablefor those Amazons that have an FPDP2-based daughterboard installed. DO NOTFLASH your Amazon-based streamstor if you do NOT have FPDP2!!

Telling them apart

Issue an "ss_rev?" command to your Mark5.
Check the "BoardType" and "PCBType"/"FPGAConfig" [those latter only if present]

==> Does your reply look like this?

!ss_rev?  0 : BoardType AMAZON-VP : SerialNum 2572 : ApiVersion 10.07 :ApiDateCode Dec 10 2008 : FirmwareVersion 15.57 : FirmDateCode Apr 08 2011 :MonitorVersion 12.17 : XbarVersion 2.28 : AtaVersion 0.00 : UAtaVersion 0.00 :DriverVersion 921 : AMAZON : SerialNum 2789 : PCBVersion 3.00 : PCBType FPDP2 :PCBSubType NORMAL : FPGAConfig FPDP2 : FPGAConfigVersion 1.06 : NumChannels 2

then you are the lucky owner of an AMAZON + FPDP2 based system.

==> Does your BoardType NOT contain "AMAZON" at all, but any of the typesV100/XF2/VXF2, your output looks like this:

!ss_rev?  0 : BoardType PCI-816VXF2 : SerialNum 8320 : ApiVersion 10.07 :ApiDateCode Dec 10 2008 : FirmwareVersion 12.13 : FirmDateCode Apr 13 2011 :MonitorVersion 6.02 : XbarVersion 3.18 : AtaVersion 1.05 : UAtaVersion 0.00 :DriverVersion 921 ;

then you can use the other firmware.

Upgrading V100/XF2/VXF2 based systems

This is very easy. Follow these steps:
Use the attached firmware called sspxf_12013.bib.  As you may know, thefirmware for the XF2 is not flashed on the board.  Instead, it is readin from $STREAMSTOR_BIB_PATH/sspxf.bib when the StreamStor boots.  So, all youhave to do is, as user "oper":


• Move/rename the existing sspxf.bib file in that directory (in caseyou need to revert to it).

• Move the attached sspxf_12013.bib file to$STEAMSTOR_BIB_PATH/sspxf.bib

• Reset the StreamStor (by calling XLRReset or XLRCardReset) or rebootthe PC.

• Run whatever program you like to use to get the version numbers.  Forthe firmware, it should report version 12.13 and a date of April 13, 2011.


Follow the instructions in the attached textfile "how_to_ssflash_V8_Linux.txt".

***** Once you have flashed the Amazon there is NO WAY BACK! *****

This flashing is permanent. Once done, the firmware stays there (on the card).

If you experience issues with your streamstor card(misbehaving/hanging/crashing) it might be wise NOT to flash but rather consultConduant, Haystack or me for advice. If the flashing fails it will brick yourMark5. At JIVE we have now flashed two Amazon based Mark5's without anyproblem.

Note: there are *two* versions of the ssflash binary:


I have found that, on our system, the "linux/util/ssflash" version doesn'tstart (exits with a floating exception). The "gcc_v3/util/ssflash" does work.