Firmware updates FAQ

Firmware updates FAQ

Alicat regularly develops new firmware so users can get the most out of our newest electronics packages. The most current firmware version is 9v.

In this article, we answer common questions about these firmware updates.

9v firmware updates

Which instruments are affected by this change?

Most devices shipped after June 2021 have 9v firmware.

Exceptions (not 9v):

Can I update my existing instruments to 9v?

It depends. Devices with 8v firmware can be updated to 9v, but older hardware is incompatible with 9v firmware.

Do 9v Alicat devices communicate the same as 8v Alicats?

Yes. Communication protocols and commands have not changed in the move from 8v to 9v, so your command set will remain the same.

What changes will I notice?
  • Devices ordered with RS-232 or RS-485 will have both Alicat’s standard ASCII and Modbus RTU available, without the need for special firmware. The firmware will automatically detect which protocol to use based on the commands sent. Additional Modbus settings are available under MENU > SETUP > (RS-232 Serial or RS-485 Serial).
  • A new INFO button allows easy access to the details of a gas mixture created in Composer™. To view, press MENU > SETUP > Active Gas > COMPOSER Mixes. Then select the mixture of interest by name.
  • The main screen has new configuration options, available in MENU > SETUP > DISPLAY > Main Screen.
    • Choose whether a button press does either of the following:
      • Displays the value in the center of the screen.
      • Opens a menu to change engineering units and other settings.
    • Display the valve drive percentage above the center value (controllers only).

Menu changes (mostly same as 7v)

Features Menu location
AUTO TARE MENU > CONTROL > Setpoint Setup > Zero Setpoint > Autotare
CONTROL SETUP MENU > CONTROL
DEVICE UNITS MENU > Setup > Sensor > Engineering Units
DIAG TEST MENU > SETUP > Advanced > Register Status
FLOW AVG MENU > SETUP > Sensor
GAS SELECT MENU > SETUP > Active Gas
LCD CONTRAST MENU > SETUP > Display > Screen Lighting
MFG DATA MENU > ABOUT > About Manufacturer
MODBUS MENU > SETUP > RS-232 Serial
MODEL INFO MENU > ABOUT > About Device
PRESS AVG MENU > SETUP > Sensor
ROTATE DISP MENU > SETUP > Display > Display Rotation
RS232 COMM MENU > SETUP > RS-232 Serial
STP/NTP MENU > SETUP > Sensor > STP/NPT Flow Reference
TARE P w/BARO MENU > TARES > TARE PRESS
ZERO BAND MENU > SETUP > Sensor

Keep reading for older firmware version updates, or contact an applications engineer with additional questions.

8v firmware updates

Which instruments are affected by this change?

Most devices shipped between September 2019 and June 2021 have 8v firmware. Some devices shipped between January 2019 and September 2019 also have 8v firmware.

Exception:

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 most recent firmware.

Do 8v Alicat devices communicate the same as 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.

What 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:
    • Enabled setpoint ramping with a customized ramp rate to smoothly increase and decrease to a given setpoint.
    • Adjust deadband around a setpoint for those rare instances when adding deadband will help save expensive gases.
    • When controlling pressure with a mass flow controller, you can enable a maximum allowed flow rate. This is particularly helpful for Whisper mass flow controllers as it helps protect the sensitive differential pressure sensor from unforeseen changes in upstream or downstream pressure.

Menu changes

Features Menu location
AUTO TARE MENU > TARES
CONTROL SETUP MENU > CONTROL
DEVICE UNITS MENU > BASIC CONFIG
DIAG TEST MENU > ABOUT > DEVICE STATE
FLOW AVG MENU > ADV SETUP > SENSOR SETUP
GAS SELECT MENU > BASIC CONFIG > GAS
LCD CONTRAST MENU > ADV SETUP > DISP SETUP
MFG DATA MENU > ABOUT > MFG INFO
MODEL INFO MENU > ABOUT > DEVICE INFO
PRESS AVG MENU > ADV SETUP > SENSOR SETUP
ROTATE DISP MENU > ADV SETUP > DISP SETUP
RS232 COMM MENU > ADV SETUP > COMM SETUP
STP/NTP MENU > BASIC CONFIG
TARE P w/BARO MENU > TARES > TARE PRESS
ZERO BAND MENU > ADV SETUP > SENSOR SETUP

Keep reading for older firmware version updates, or contact an applications engineer with additional questions.

7v firmware updates

Which instruments are affected by this change?

Most devices shipped between June 2021 May 2017 have 7v firmware.

Exception:

  • No-change customers
Can I update my existing instruments to 7v?

Alicat’s 7v firmware update is compatible with most Alicat instruments that have serial numbers of 135,000 or higher. Some instruments with serial numbers between 80,000 and 135,000 may also be compatible with 7v.

Upon request, we can update your firmware to 7v during your instrument’s next annual recalibration at no charge. Alternatively, we can update instruments outside of the recalibration process for a firmware update bench fee of $80 (USD).

Will my new 7v Alicat communicate the same as my existing 6v Alicats?

Yes. Communication protocols and commands have not changed in the move from 6v to 7v, so your command set will remain the same, no matter which protocol you have been using.

Which changes will I notice?

The new menu map is reproduced on the following page. Below, you will find a listing of changes to the menu structure. Please see your new operating manual for more details.

  • A new BASIC CONFIG menu allows easy access to GAS SELECT, DEVICE UNITS and STP/NTP options. The GAS menu option also displays the currently selected gas.
  • A new TARES menu gives you access to flow and pressure tares, plus AUTO TARE.
  • A new ABOUT menu collects DEVICE INFO, DEVICE STATE and MFG INFO in one place.
  • The contents of the old MISC, MISC1 and MISC2 menus can now be accessed via the ADV SETUP menu, with the exception of STP/NTP, which is now in BASIC CONFIG.

Menu changes

Features Menu location
AUTO TARE MENU > TARES
CONTROL SETUP MENU > CONTROL
DEVICE UNITS MENU > BASIC CONFIG
DIAG TEST MENU > ABOUT > DEVICE STATE
FLOW AVG MENU > ADV SETUP > SENSOR SETUP
GAS SELECT MENU > BASIC CONFIG > GAS
LCD CONTRAST MENU > ADV SETUP > DISP SETUP
MFG DATA MENU > ABOUT > MFG INFO
MODEL INFO MENU > ABOUT > DEVICE INFO
PRESS AVG MENU > ADV SETUP > SENSOR SETUP
ROTATE DISP MENU > ADV SETUP > DISP SETUP
RS232 COMM MENU > ADV SETUP > COMM SETUP
STP/NTP MENU > BASIC CONFIG
TARE P w/BARO MENU > TARES > TARE PRESS
ZERO BAND MENU > ADV SETUP > SENSOR SETUP

Contact an applications engineer for support