Firmware Updates - V3

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tortugaranger

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Firmware Updates - V3
« on: 25 Aug 2021, 08:18 pm »
Hi All,

Starting with version 2.3.0 of the V3 firmware, which is being finalized now for new builds, all V3 based preamps/controllers will have the following new control features.

Turning Off - The current procedure for turning off the V3 is a 3 step process where you press the Menu button on the remote to escape out to the Volume menu item, then go 1 step up to the Off menu item, then pressing the Center button on the remote. In addition to this procedure, once you've escaped out to the Volume menu item, you can now just press the Mute button (lower right hand button) on the remote to turn off the preamp. The result is a new shorter 2 step turn off process in addition to the original 3 step process.

Auto Power On - Per customer request we've added a Auto Power On feature. Currently, when power is applied to a V3 preamp, the controller briefly boots up and then turns itself off waiting to be turned on for normal use. When enabled, The Auto Power On feature will turn the preamp on and leave it on after power is applied. Of course the preamp can be turned off at any time same as now. This feature can be enabled/disabled by going to the "On" menu item immediately above the existing "Off" menu item, selecting it, and then either Enable or Disable it via the Raise/Lower button on the remote. The Auto Power On feature is disabled by default.

I will post this update to the website firmware and control description sections for the V3 later this week.

Cheers,
Morten  :thumb:

Mjw21a

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Re: Firmware Updates - V3
« Reply #1 on: 20 Oct 2021, 01:26 pm »
Any word on the time frame for the next firmware release thanks Morten? I’m keen on a fix for the delay on changing volume when a screen timeout is set. :)

tortugaranger

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Re: Firmware Updates - V3
« Reply #2 on: 20 Oct 2021, 03:21 pm »
Hi All,

We have released version 3.x.y, a major update to the ePot.V3 firmware for both the Max and Mini stepped attenuator/controllers. This update does not affect sound quality or general audio performance. It also doesn't introduce any new features. The changes are entirely "under the hood" where the casual user will probably not notice any changes.

The Revision 3 firmware introduces a Real Time Operating System (RTOS) that the application now sits on top of. The RTOS makes it possible to split the application into separate tasks (threads) that can each have their own priority and operate as their own separate program along with the ability to coordinate with each other as needed. The key advantage of using an RTOS is the ability to organize and optimize any real time control system, such as the Tortuga Audio ePot.V3 series controllers, to be more responsive, predictable and manageable. Yes, there may be a few initial teething problems with the transition to RTOS but I think we've shaken out most of the obvious bugs already.

I didn't HAVE TO do this. Moving to an RTOS took months of quiet work. It makes for a more robust underlying ePot.V3 control system even if the average user can't tell the difference. It makes it possible to further evolve the ePot.V3 in the future.

If you're curious, we are using the open source https://www.freertos.org/. FreeRTOS was developed over the past 15 years in partnership with the world’s leading chip companies with an emphasis on reliability and ease of use. and is distributed freely under the MIT open source license. FreeRTOS has also been adopted by Amazon Web Services as part of its Internet of Things (IoT) initiatives.

Updating your firmware to version 3.x.y is not required if your unit is working ok for you as is. And again, your preamp will not sound better with this update.

Here's a link to V3 firmware updating:  https://tortugaaudio.com/docs/v3-firmware-updating/

Mjw21a

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Re: Firmware Updates - V3
« Reply #3 on: 20 Oct 2021, 08:55 pm »
Awesome, thanks so much Morten. I can definitely see how multitasking various processes and functions will benefit the device. Looking forward to updating tonight.  :)

Mjw21a

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Re: Firmware Updates - V3
« Reply #4 on: 21 Oct 2021, 01:49 pm »
Just updated. Seems nice and responsive. I’ll post more in a couple of days. :)

Mjw21a

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Re: Firmware Updates - V3
« Reply #5 on: 22 Oct 2021, 03:13 am »
I've not had a single glitch since the firmware update last night. I think if it were going to happen I'd have experienced it by now as it was quite regular. No delays on volume, and settings are saved after power down and turning back on. Everything is now perfect from my point of view. Thanks again Morten  :)

tortugaranger

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Re: Firmware Updates - V3
« Reply #6 on: 22 Oct 2021, 01:59 pm »
I've not had a single glitch since the firmware update last night. I think if it were going to happen I'd have experienced it by now as it was quite regular. No delays on volume, and settings are saved after power down and turning back on. Everything is now perfect from my point of view. Thanks again Morten  :)


I've found one more minor bug that in my view isn't worth bothering about but will be nevertheless corrected in the the next revision. If you manually reduce volume down to zero the preamp transitions from unmuted to muted when the volume step goes from 1 (minimum volume) to 0 (muted/no output). This is by design. The bug is that when you reverse course and raise volume back up 1 step from step 0/muted to step 1/unmuted, the preamp does indeed unmute but the volume step level remains at 0 instead of actually going to 1. Raise it one more step and everything works normally again.

tortugaranger

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Re: Firmware Updates - V3
« Reply #7 on: 24 Feb 2022, 07:58 pm »
Hi All,

Just a quick note letting you know that I've been quietly working on updating the V3 firmware over the past few months. I have not posted anything on these changes yet since almost all of this work is "under the hood" and as such is not obvious to the end user. Nevertheless, this "refactoring" work improves the stability, consistency, and maintainability of the V3 series firmware. I will be posting the latest changes/files on the website in another week or so.

The 2 most noteworthy changes include:

1) Real Time Operating System (RTOS) - The V3 firmware is now running on top of a highly proven real time operating system (RTOS). For all you non-software folks, an RTOS allows the programming to be structured as a collection of tasks. Only one task runs at any one point in time. Every 10 milliseconds, execution is handed off from one task to the next. Some tasks may have higher priority than others such that a higher priority task will run to completion before any lower priority task gets its slice of run time. The net benefit of using an RTOS is a smoother, more predictable, real time control system.

2) Refactoring towards object oriented programming (OOP) - Object oriented programming (OOP) allows code & data to be packaged together whereas with conventional non-OOP coding, the code and data are kept separate such that the data has to be passed around. The net benefit of using OOP is more predictable and maintainable code that in many cases can be re-used and extended more reliably. Most recently, parts of the user interface controls were reworked using C++ class/objects.

None of the above has any direct impact on audio sound quality, nor does it introduce new features. What it does do is make for an overall better preamp controller/attenuator.

xieqiao

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Re: Firmware Updates - V3
« Reply #8 on: 15 Mar 2022, 12:40 am »
I wonder if it is possible to have a detailed instruction on how we can update firmwares (through USB?) including where we can download the latest firmware and how to avoid risks such as bricking the preamp.

tortugaranger

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Re: Firmware Updates - V3
« Reply #9 on: 16 Mar 2022, 01:54 pm »
I wonder if it is possible to have a detailed instruction on how we can update firmwares (through USB?) including where we can download the latest firmware and how to avoid risks such as bricking the preamp.

V3 firmware updating is explained in detail in our online product documentation that can be found under the "Docs" topic in our website's main menu.

Here's the link: https://tortugaaudio.com/docs/v3-firmware-updating/

xieqiao

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Re: Firmware Updates - V3
« Reply #10 on: 17 Mar 2022, 05:55 am »
Thank you.  I like your realistic approach that gives us preamp owners more confidence and will ensure optimal performance.  In terms of LDR preamps, some other manufacturers claim their closed-circuit approach is inherently simpler, but that kind of one-size-fits-all approach or algorithm will at best be more appropriate for those only seeking a maintenance-free user experience.  The nonlinear nature of LDRs goes against simplistic solutions, and there seems to be no such thing as a revolutionary approach or a magic solution in the foreseeable future.
« Last Edit: 17 Mar 2022, 03:09 pm by xieqiao »

SoundFisher

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Re: Firmware Updates - V3
« Reply #11 on: 3 Apr 2022, 01:13 pm »
Hi to All,

I operate Firmware Update process using a Mac M1 under latest Mac OS X 12.3.1 (Monterey) release.

When I start STM32CubeProgrammer.app, I get a Java error.

Did someone experienced that, and fixed that problem?

Thanks for your help  :D

Patrick.


tortugaranger

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Re: Firmware Updates - V3
« Reply #12 on: 4 Apr 2022, 07:25 pm »
Hi to All,

I operate Firmware Update process using a Mac M1 under latest Mac OS X 12.3.1 (Monterey) release.
When I start STM32CubeProgrammer.app, I get a Java error.
Did someone experienced that, and fixed that problem?
Thanks for your help  :D

Patrick.

The STM32 Cube Programmer application is maintained by STMicroelectronics ("STM"), a leading microcontroller manufacturer out of Switzerland. Unfortunately, the application needs Java to run, and is known to have some Java related issues that are unfortunately beyond Tortuga Audio's ability to resolve directly. However, the application recently went through a major update in March, 2022, that has hopefully resolved those issues. We have not tested it on a MAC so I don't have first hand knowledge.

The updated 2.10.0 version has been posted to our website for download. I highly recommend you try the updated application and see how that goes. As part of this update, STM now provides separate versions for Windows 32 bit, Windows 64 bit and MAC.

Here's a link to our V3 Firmware update page:  https://tortugaaudio.com/docs/v3-firmware-updating/

SoundFisher

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Re: Firmware Updates - V3
« Reply #13 on: 5 Apr 2022, 06:30 pm »
Hi Morten

thanks for your response.

According to your advices, i Downloaded the "Mac package" containing the V2.10.0 app rerelease.

 :?Unfortunately, the setupSMT32CubeProgrammer-V2.10.0.app refuses to execute (Maybe for the same reason than my previious post) Even if I déclare that this software is safe and reliable (MAC "safety and confidentialité" process within System Preference app).

My Java release is Java8 update 321 (updated The 5th April).

Best regards
Patrick

kernelbob

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Re: Firmware Updates - V3
« Reply #14 on: 6 Apr 2022, 02:23 am »
Thank you.  I like your realistic approach that gives us preamp owners more confidence and will ensure optimal performance.  In terms of LDR preamps, some other manufacturers claim their closed-circuit approach is inherently simpler, but that kind of one-size-fits-all approach or algorithm will at best be more appropriate for those only seeking a maintenance-free user experience.  The nonlinear nature of LDRs goes against simplistic solutions, and there seems to be no such thing as a revolutionary approach or a magic solution in the foreseeable future.
Hi xieqiao.  When you refer to "The nonlinear nature of LDRs", are you referring to a nonlinear amount of output volume attenuation for a linear amount of control voltage change applied to the LDRs?  If so, the Tortuga calibrates the amount of control voltage needed for each desired step of signal voltage (0.6 dB in my LDRxB) for each saved targeted input impedance (9 on the LDRxB).  Or are you describing a different nonlinearity?  Thanks

xieqiao

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Re: Firmware Updates - V3
« Reply #15 on: 6 Apr 2022, 05:03 am »
Hi xieqiao.  When you refer to "The nonlinear nature of LDRs", are you referring to a nonlinear amount of output volume attenuation for a linear amount of control voltage change applied to the LDRs?  If so, the Tortuga calibrates the amount of control voltage needed for each desired step of signal voltage (0.6 dB in my LDRxB) for each saved targeted input impedance (9 on the LDRxB).  Or are you describing a different nonlinearity?  Thanks
According to what I have learned from the official website, LDRs are highly nonlinear and highly variable from one to the next. Traditionally, designers had to sort through 100’s of LDRs to find sets having matched performance curves. But Tortuga Audio overcame these challenges and moved beyond using matched sets of LDRs by incorporating LDR calibration directly into the design of the attenuator. Plug in a set of LDRs, run calibration, and the LDRs are automatically calibrated to work together regardless of their differences.

tortugaranger

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Re: Firmware Updates - V3
« Reply #16 on: 6 Apr 2022, 02:30 pm »
You can find references in audio forums to the nonlinear behavior of LDRs. And because nonlinear behavior of electronic components in audio applications are considered synonymous with distortion and generally considered "bad", LDRs are often considered a poor choice for audio applications. There's truth in there somewhere but it's not the whole story.

LDRs do indeed exhibit the nonlinear behavior typical of the quick and dirty graph below. What the graph shows is as the control current is reduced the relationship between current change and resistance begins to change radically. By the time the resistance is in the range of a few thousand ohms, this curve goes almost vertical, emphasis on "almost".

However, within the range of 100 ohms to say 100k ohms, this nonlinear behavior can be measured reasonably well with a simple circuit over this control range. The results can be stored in computer memory. That stored data can then be used to arrive at a lookup table of specific targeted resistance levels that correspond to specific levels of control current. To reproduce a given level of resistance, you need only apply the corresponding control current stored in the lookup table.

With 2 LDRs in a series/shunt configuration you then apply basic physics/math to arrive at the governing equation for simple attenuation:  dB = 20 x log (Rshunt/(Rseries + Rshunt)). It's a relative straightforward matter conceptually to make up an attenuation table of Rseries & Rshunt values that correspond to equal steps of dB over a given attenuation range at a given impedance level. That is what goes on inside of a Tortuga Audio preamp controller using our hardware design together with approximately 50,000 lines of embedded computer code. 

Overall point being, so what if LDRs exhibit inherent nonlinear behavior. Each attenuation point of Rseries and Rshunt are static values. Nothing is moving. There's no dynamic behavior here. Apply a given constant control current to the LDR - get a relatively steady and predictable resistance level.

In the event one or more LDRs drift in their current vs. resistance behavior over time, just test the LDRs again in-situ, store the new results, and Bob's your uncle.  :icon_lol:

I refer to this this re-testing as calibration or autocalibration and that proprietary process is built into our preamp controller.
 

kernelbob

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Re: Firmware Updates - V3
« Reply #17 on: 6 Apr 2022, 04:04 pm »
According to what I have learned from the official website, LDRs are highly nonlinear and highly variable from one to the next. Traditionally, designers had to sort through 100’s of LDRs to find sets having matched performance curves. But Tortuga Audio overcame these challenges and moved beyond using matched sets of LDRs by incorporating LDR calibration directly into the design of the attenuator. Plug in a set of LDRs, run calibration, and the LDRs are automatically calibrated to work together regardless of their differences.
From reading your initial post, you mentioned the LDR nonlinearity issue which is a challenge for many companies that want to use them.  Your initial post didn't mention Tortugas elegant solution.  I just wanted to clarify that Tortuga's solution avoids that issue.  Thanks.