FAQ – Technical Update for 8v Firmware
Published: 13 December 2019
Alicat Scientific has developed a new firmware version (8v) to make the most of our newest electronic package. Please contact us at 888-290-6060 or firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions.
Which instruments are affected by this change?
All Alicat devices, with the exception of Class 1 Div 2 certified devices, will ship with 8v firmware as of September of 2019. This change was gradual and began as earlier as January of 2019 for our most commonly ordered devices.
Can I update my existing instruments to 8v?
Rarely. Since the 8v firmware was created to take advantage of a newer electronics package, older hardware is incompatible with 8v firmware. However, any device requiring repair that needs a new electronics package or a new sensor, will automatically be upgraded to the new electronics package and 8v firmware.
Will my new 8v Alicat communicate the same as my existing 7v Alicats?
Yes. Communication protocols and commands have not changed in the move from 7v to 8v, so your command set will remain the same, no matter which protocol you have been using.
Which changes will I notice?
The change in hardware has allowed for more resolution and additional features in 8v that were previously unavailable. Please see your new operating manual for more details.
- The improved resolution allows for more significant digits on both the display and serial data frame for some variables. The SENSOR SETUP menu now includes the ability to turn these additional digits on or off to match any non-Alicat programs that depend on the number of digits in the serial data frame.
- All monochrome displays now have the option to power up with the backlight on. This can be found in the DISP SETUP menu.
- Controllers have many new features in the CONTROL SETUP menu:
- Setpoint ramping can be enabled with a customized ramp rate to smoothly increase and decrease to a given setpoint. See Jun Kim’s blog for more information.
- Deadband can be adjusted around a setpoint for those rare instances when adding deadband will help save expensive gases. See Jesse Arenstein’s blog for more information.
- When controlling pressure with a mass flow controller, a maximum allowed flow rate can be enabled. This is particularly helpful for Whisper series mass flow controllers to help protect the sensitive differential pressure sensor from unforeseen changes in upstream or downstream pressure.