Alpha 8410‎ > ‎Alpha 84xx Monitor‎ > ‎

Version History

Version 1.7.9                            August 7, 2016

  • Fixed the behavior of the Show Port Names button on the Config page, Basic tab. On some versions of Windows clicking the button resulted in a null reference exception due to a change to the way the list of ports returned by the OS was handled. The button now correctly lists all physical and virtual serial ports known to the OS.


Version 1.7.8                            February 10, 2016

  • Fixed the behavior of the Config page after running the Colt loader or the EEPROM utility from the Config page. Previously, on exit of either of these programs, the Config page would be hidden behind other applications.  Now it remains on top.

  • The monitor now ignores duplicate telemetry strings. This reduces CPU overhead by about 4%. Duplicate telemetry strings are quite frequent when the amp is on but idle.

  • Corrected an issue with the idle plateV telemetry tweak defined on the Advanced tab of the Config page carrying forward to the plate dissipation calculation causing it to be negative in some circumstances.

  • Fixed the visual alignment of various values for G2 max input power, gridV, state, blower and firmware version.

  • Fixed the EBS threshold displayed in the EEPROM utility parsed data.  It wasn't scaled correctly (x10).

  • Streaming mode is disabled when the Stop button is clicked or the monitor is terminated by clicking the X icon in the upper right corner. This resolves the issue for those that use a terminal emulator to communicate with the amplifier but can't due to the flood of unsolicited telemetry data received.  Note that this capability requires an as yet unreleased version of firmware, 2.03m.

  • Added dual digital signatures to the installer and monitor executable and DLL files. Digital signatures provide assurance the program originated from me and that nothing has corrupted the file since I digitally signed it after compilation. The files have been signed for some time now but the SHA-1 digital signature algorithm used is now deprecated for currently supported versions of Windows. The files are signed twice, once with a SHA-1 hash for XP and Vista and again with a SHA-256 hash for Win7 through Win10.  If the file has been corrupted since it was signed, Windows will prevent the installer from running.

  • Fixed several esoteric issues with the installer.  Newer versions of the Inno Setup compiler used to create the installer had changed the behavior of the installation wizard.  The installer behavior now matches the documented installation steps again.

Version 1.7.0                            March 25, 2015

  • Added option for displaying tube deck temperature in degrees Celsius.  The monitor now also shows temperature in whole numbers whereas before tenths were displayed.  The amplifier telemetry provides temperature in whole-number degrees Celsius.   Temperature unit preference can be set on the Config, Basic tab or you can just click the C or F on the main and small windows and that will change it as well as change the option selected on the Config, Basic tab.


Version 1.6.9                            January 31, 2015

  • Fixed an issue with the tune/load/drive parameters not showing correctly for 8406 amplifiers. 


Version 1.6.8                            January 4, 2015

  • Added band switch position indicator to the small window.  The button to return to the main window was shrunk to make room for the new field and is now just labeled "Main".

Version 1.6.7                            December 25, 2014

  • Resolved an issue introduced in version 1.6.6 whereby the monitor left the amp in a state that prevented the Colt boot loader from being able to upload firmware to the amp. 

  • The Config and Stop buttons are inhibited until the initialization of the amplifier telemetry is completed.

  • Resolved an issue where the monitor would auto-restart when the Config page was closed regardless of whether auto-start was enabled on the Config page.


Version 1.6.6                              December 1, 2014

  • Monitor lock-ups have been resolved!

  • The telemetry string shown in the monitor is replaced with "Serial communications stopped" when the serial port is closed (by clicking Stop, Config or the program's close icon in the upper right). This was done to make it more apparent the telemetry has ceased rather than just looking like the telemetry is unchanging.

  • Removed extra line feeds from telemetry log file output.
The ability for the monitor to auto-recover from a USB cable unplug/re-plug event is temporarily broken as a result of the multi-threaded means of avoiding program hangs when the serial port is closed. I should have this fixed shortly.


Version 1.6.4                               November 24, 2014

  • Corrected firmware version comparison logic that prevented the use of the EEPROM utility when running the not-yet-released 2.04 firmware.

  • Added a description on the Config page, Paths tab for what's stored in the user's profile directory (monitor config file, fault log and EEPROM dump files).


Version 1.6.3                               August 27, 2014

  • Added better log file path and name exception handling to avoid situations where a manually-typed log file path and name resulted in possibly invalid data being written to the config file.  The log file path is now also validated upon being read from the config file.

  • Fixed an issue with populating the Paths tab of the Config window that caused the Config page to generate an unhandled exception.

  • Main and Small windows now display reasonably when the display resolution is set to 125%.  Previously the screen elements were all over the place after switching from the small to the main window.  The EEPROM utility wasn't affected as badly as the monitor but it should at least be usable under 125% scaling (120 DPI). 

    This endeavor consumed an inordinate amount of time as the support for uniform scaling (and the prevention of scaling) of controls in WinForms within .NET is just plain broken.  Due to this limitation, I won't be fixing this capability any further (for higher DPI).   The only real solution is to abandon WinForms and adopt the Windows Presentation Foundation (WPF) for window layout.  That's a big undertaking considering the number of elements on the window and the custom LED library.

  • The test environment now includes Windows 8.1 64-bit

  • Upgraded the development environment to Visual Studio Professional 2013.

  • Upgraded the installer environment to Inno Setup 5.5.5 for Unicode support.

  • Replaced the single-resolution alpha icon with a multi-resolution, multi-color depth icon.  The original icon was sized only for the title bar of the app and looked pretty nasty as a desktop shortcut or task tray icon.  The new icon has 13 different resolutions and color depths from 256x256 RGB/A down to 16x16 16 color.

  • The installer package, program executables and DLL and uninstaller are all now digitally signed.  Now when you run the installer it will reflect my name as the publisher rather than <unknown>.  This also provides assurance these files came from me and weren't modified.

  • The program executables and DLL are now strong-name signed .NET assemblies.  This allows Windows to better manage the versioning of these files in the global assembly cache.

  • Some of the changes above are development/publishing best-practices related and have little to no effect on the usage of the monitor.  With those out of the way, I can now focus on cleaning up the monitor code in preparation to apply the same multi-threading model I used for he EEPROM utility to the monitor.  That model allowed for clean exits without the serial port closure causing the utility to hang as happens all too often with the monitor.  Thank you for your patience.  This update took much longer than anticipated.

Version 1.6.0                          December 28, 2013
  • A new tab was added to the Config window to facilitate troubleshooting.  When users contact me for support, navigating to the profile directory where the XML configuration file and fault log file are stored presents issues such as Windows Explorer not being configured to display hidden directories (which part of the user's profile directory is hidden).  So, the "Paths" tab now shows all of the relevant file locations and provides hyperlinks that when clicked will open that path in Windows Explorer.

  • This is the first public release that supports the EEPROM configuration dump and parse capability.  That functionality is dependent on version 2.03k or later firmware (2.03k is the latest when this was published).  RF Concepts should be publishing this version on their download page soon.  They were waiting on the EEPROM capability within the monitor while getting more field time with 2.03k to make sure they were comfortable going live with it.

  • For more information on the EEPROM functionality, visit the EEPROM Utility page.

Version 1.5.9                          December 21, 2013    <For RF Concepts review>

  • The EEPROM utility validates the presence of the specified COM port before attempting to open the port.

  • The EEPROM utility button in monitor is disabled if no COM port is specified or firmware is not at least 2.03k.

  • Static data elements from mock-up were replaced with correct data parse logic.  This affected EAMPTYPE, EMINFAN and EFANTYPE data elements.

Version 1.5.8                December 20, 2013    <For RF Concepts review>
  • The EEPROM utility allows the user to abort the configuration download. The download is also aborted if power-on is detected, either at launch or during the download.

  • The EEPROM utility relies less on the monitor for operating parameters.  This was done to allow the utility to be run by itself from the command line by passing only the COM port and directory where the EEPROM config file should be stored.

  • Raw EEPROM configuration data (hex) can now be parsed into engineering units.

  • The EEPROM configuration file naming scheme was changed slightly.  The underscores are replaced with spaces for readability and the hour and minute are now included so multiple dumps within the same day do not overwrite each other.  An example from my 8410:

    841010080080 10DABCFB010800A6 2013-12-19 1900.hex     

    This file name is composed of:  MSN:
    841010080080, ESN: 10DABCFB010800A6, Date: 2013-12-19, Time (local): 1900


Version 1.5.7                December 11, 2013     <For RF Concepts review>
  • Serial port enumeration for the port selection drop-down incorporates more robust name checking.  This was done because a user had COM ports on multiple PCs that didn't have the typical COM1 to COM256 naming convention.  This prevented the monitor from even displaying after launch.


Version 1.5.6                October 20, 2013     
<For RF Concepts review>
  • Adds an EEPROM utility that is launched from the Configuration, Advanced tab.  The EEPROM utility offers a means to back up the configuration data stored in EEPROM in the amp's PIC micro-controller.  This is a 1 KB block of non-volatile memory where per-band configuration and user settings are stored. The utility writes the data to the same directory where the monitor XML configuration file is stored.  The file can be viewed with a text editor.  It conforms to the Intel Hexadecimal Object File Format Specification of 1988.  Once this is confirmed to work reliably, a parse function will be added.  This will allow the user to see what all the hex data represents in useful terms.  The long-term goal is to provide a configuration file upload capability.

  • Firmware version 2.03k is required for this functionality.   Note that 2.03k only supports reading the data.  A future version will allow writing (uploading) the data.

  • The program version is now displayed in the title bar.  This is true for the monitor and the new EEPROM utility.

  • The ESN (electronic serial number) is now parsed from the $APA20 telemetry string.  This was necessary to build the EEPROM output file name which is of the format <MSN>_<ESN>_<Date>.hex.   The MSN is the serial number off the back of the chassis.  The ESN is burned into the temperature sensor.  An example file name from my 8410 is:

    841010080080_10DABCFB010800A6_2013-10-20.hex

Version 1.5.5                August 28, 2013
  • The Config window has been reduced in size to allow all of it to be visible on Netbooks with 1024 x 600 displays.  Instead of having all the configuration items crammed on one window, there are three tabs - Basic, Advanced and Firmware that distribute the items across smaller tab windows.

Version 1.5.4                August 27, 2013
  • The monitor now supports streaming telemetry mode.  This capability was introduced in firmware 2.03a (an un-released beta) as a means to lower the overhead on the PIC micro-controller in the amp as well as the overhead on the PC running the monitor.  Up to this point, telemetry was polled wherein a command is sent and one set of telemetry data was returned.  With streaming mode, there is one command sent to start the streaming of $APA21 strings - the data responsible for most of the parameters displayed in the monitor - and the amp sends these at a 10 Hz rate without further requests from the monitor.

    If the monitor doesn't detect firmware of at least 2.03a, it reverts to polling mode.  Note that polling is done at a 6 Hz rate and streaming is at 10 Hz so the screen elements update 67% faster with streaming mode.

  • The restart behavior was tweaked so that clicking the Stop or Config buttons causes the monitor on restart to start from the beginning as though it had not recently communicated with the amp.   This resolves an issue where some of the static data wasn't updated after a firmware upgrade done via the Config window.  Previously, restarting after clicking Stop or Config resulted in only partial re-initialization.

Version 1.5.3                August 16, 2013

  • The monitor now validates stored window positions on launch and if any window (main, config or tune/load) is determined to not be entirely within the working area of the display it was previously on, all window positions will default to the center of the primary display.

This resolves the issue on multiple display setups where the monitor was moved to a second or third display and if that display were no longer present the next time the monitor was launched, the user would only see the monitor in the task bar.  The monitor itself would not be accessible.


Version 1.5.2 Mono Fork for Linux           July 31, 2013
  • This is an experimental cut of version 1.5.2 to run under Mono 2.8 (a .NET framework equivalent for Linux).  The standard monitor 1.5.2 failed a Mono compatibility check using MoMA (Mono Migration Analyzer).  The problematic methods were mostly WMI (Windows Management Instrumentation) calls for enumeration of serial ports (the functionality behind the 'Show Port Names' button on the Config page).  Since the serial port drop-down uses the standard .NET serialPort class for port enumeration, the WMI code was easily dropped.  The 'Show Port Names' button will now just show a message about this functionality being removed to allow operation with Mono.

  • This cut of version 1.5.2 is still wrapped in a Win32 installer that I assume will run under Wine on Linux. 

  • This experiment is the first step toward a monitor on Linux without re-writing it in C++.  I haven't tested any of this on Linux with Wine and Mono.  I've just removed the problematic code that prevented successful MoMA validation. 

  • If you try it feel free to let me know what works or doesn't work. 

  • Linux/Wine/Mono support is a low priority currently as I'm behind in getting an EEPROM dump capability and support for streaming telemetry completed.

Version 1.5.2                July 2, 2013
  • Fault handling was changed due to a change with firmware 2.02e and later where faults are now reflected in telemetry for several seconds as opposed to one instantaneous event as in versions prior to 2.02e.  The result of the fault code and amp state persisting in a fault condition with prior monitor versions was overlapping $APA21 strings in the fault log - making the fault log difficult to follow.  The fault handling uses a circular buffer of the last five $APA21 strings so it can write those to the fault log as a means to see what led up to the fault.  Now, the monitor will do that but treat all subsequent contiguous fault indications (fault code > 0 or amp state = 6) as part of the same fault.

  • Faults in the fault log file now include a header with the text description of the fault as well as the version of firmware the amp was running at the time of the fault.  A footer is also added to clearly separate each fault.

  • Buttons were added to the Config page to View Telemetry Log and View Fault Log.  These save the user from having to remember where the files are located and, in the case of the fault log, it's not apparent to some users how to navigate to directories like AppData or Application Data which are not visible by default.

  • The fault log file name is of the format "fault log 84xxnnnnnnnn.txt".  This was done to increase the likelihood that when the View Fault Log button is clicked that there would be a viewer associated with the log file type - in this case an ordinary text file (.txt).  If no other program has been associated with this extension, the file will open in Notepad.  Previously the fault file extension was .log and that may have resulted in users being prompted to select the appropriate viewer and not know what to choose.

  • The firmware comparison logic was updated to allow firmware versions without a character suffix.  This was done in anticipation of version 2.03 or whatever is the roll-up for all of the recent unpublished minor versions of 2.02.

  • String extraction bounds checking was tightened up to avoid errors such as "Index and length must refer to a location within the string. Parameter name: length"

  • Grid 1 dissipation was showing a negative value

  • The Switch button is now disabled after the STBY/OPR function has been returned to the amp front panel.  This button is not obvious in function so it may not be apparent why it should be disabled (greyed-out).  When the STBY/OPR mode is chosen from the monitor, that action inhibits the front-panel STBY/OPR switch.  The Switch button returns control to the front panel.  Power-cycling would also cause control to return to the front panel.  So, once the Switch button has been clicked and control returned to the front panel, it's meaningless to have the Switch button available for an unnecessary action.  Prior to 1.5.2 the Switch button was always enabled as it was the only means to halt the race condition with the STBY/OPR switching present in firmware version 2.02g.

  • An extraneous comma was eliminated from the power and STBY/OPR telemetry commands.  The only outward effect is that the action of these buttons is now a fraction of a second faster.  Under the hood there was an error reported via telemetry since version 1.4.9 that had no effect on operation.


Version 1.5.0                June 16, 2013
  • If auto-start is enabled, the COM port is validated before attempting to auto-start.  This resolves an issue where the monitor would not display or displayed something odd like two empty white windows or one white and one black empty window.

  • The unhandled exception where the SerialPort.PortName() call failed because the specified port was already open is resolved

  • The boot loader path now uses a manually-typed path without first closing and re-opening the Config page.  The path to the bootloader is validated before an attempt is made to launch the bootloader process.

  • The band switch change warning no longer warns on power-down.


Version 1.4.9                June 6, 2013
  • Adds remote STBY/OPR switching with firmware 2.02g and later.  When remote STBY/OPR switching is used, the front panel STBY/OPR switch is ignored.  The monitor has a 'Switch' button next to the STBY/OPR button to return control back to the front panel switch.  These buttons are not shown if the firmware is < 2.02g.  There will be a firmware release by RF Concepts soon.

  • The monitor can now gracefully handle the loss of communication with the amp.  If the USB cable is unplugged, the monitor will indicate in the telemetry string area that it has lost communications and will retry every two seconds.  Once the cable is reconnected, the monitor will resume communication with the amp automatically.

  • The serial number reported in $APA20 strings is now truncated to 12 characters.  Firmware 2.02e was adding an extraneous character occasionally to the serial number.

  • The fault log file name is now of the format 'faults_<serialnumber>.log'. This was to allow RF Concepts to store fault logs from various customers and have an easy means of identifying the fault log that corresponds to each customer.  Since the serial number is fetched via the $APA20 string it is possible the amp could fault before the monitor receives that string.  In that case the fault will get logged to the original file name 'fault.log'.  Note: the fault log file as well as the XML configuration file are stored in the directory:
  • C:\Users\<username>\AppData\Local\AE9K                                                             (On Vista, Win7 and Win8)
  • C:\Documents and Settings\<username>\Local Settings\Application Data\AE9K\         (On XP)
  • There is a change in terminology with respect to the bias states during transmit.  Historically I've referred to TX G1 as meaning transmit with EBS having the tube near cut-off and TX G2 as meaning EBS not active and thus transmit with full modulated bias.  These terms derive from the firmware code but are confusing to users because the tetrodes have G1 (control) and G2 (screen) grids. So, RF Concepts suggested the following:

    • TX G1 V1 Bias   (Transmit, grid 1, bias at voltage level 1 - EBS active, occurs during quiet periods in speech for example)

    • TX G1 V2 Bias   (Transmit, grid 1, bias at voltage level 2 - EBS inactive, full modulated bias as during key-down or modulated speech)

  • Warning if firmware is detected to be < 2.01c (the minimum supported version)

  • Note on the Config page next to the Launch Boot Loader button that the amp will power-down when firmware is uploaded.


Version 1.4.8                May 22, 2013
  • Tune and load table values now have the range of +120 to -20 to accommodate those who need to store off-scale values. If more than 20 off-scale, RF Concepts should probably address the underlying reason for such off-scale values.

  • The blower type and minimum blower speed have been added to the Static Data page.

  • The grid current bar graph now has a 12 mA full scale and shows yellow at 8 mA and red around 9.5 mA.  Previously full scale was 25 mA to align with the default value of the Grid Max LED threshold. 

    After reviewing 4CX1000A data sheets from 1959 to present, I believe the maximum permissible momentary control grid current is and has been 5 mA.  Eimac made this confusing by stating zero watts of control grid dissipation while including a note about the 5 mA of momentary current only in data sheets from 1959 through 1970 (the Eitel McCollough through Eimac Varian years) but omit it after their acquisition by CPI. The tube OEM for Alpha VTX-X118s includes the 5 mA note verbatim from the old Eimac data sheets.

    Given the tubes are in parallel I thought it appropriate to give visual warning at 9.5 mA with red LEDs.

  • I changed the fault strings slightly.  Their meanings haven't changed but there's a bit more detail.
    • Type 1: 'Low Gain' was changed to 'Gain < 10 dB'
    • Type 2: 'Ip - Soft' was changed to 'Ip > 1.5 A'
    • Type 3: 'Reflected power' was changed to 'Ref Pwr > 300 W'
    • Type 4: 'Input power' was changed to 'RF In Overdrive'
  • The logic for parsing the 'c' configuration command output was changed so it is flexible as to where certain data elements are.  Previously if the blower type was 'AC' the total number of elements in the 'c' response is fewer than for 'Orix' and 'Papst' and it threw off the parsing of the gain/efficiency/waste heat elements. It probably never came up because I have yet to hear from anyone that has the 'AC' blower type.
  • The 'c' configuration command output is now recorded in the telemetry log file.  Previously just $APA20, $APA21 and $APA22 strings were recorded.

Version 1.4.7                May 16, 2013
  • A new 'About' page was added with links to the setup and troubleshooting pages on this site as well as the new user support forum hosted at Nabble.

  • In addition to polling for $APA20 strings upon initialization, the monitor now polls for $APA20 again after the Config page closes so it can update the firmware version shown on the Static Data page.  This handles the situation where a user launches the Alpha boot loader from within the monitor and loads a different version of firmware on the amp while the monitor is still running.  Previously the monitor had to be restarted to reflect firmware changes.

  • Monitor functionality was verified with firmware version 2.02d (a release candidate).

Version 1.4.6                May 8, 2013
  • The text displayed for fault code 3 was changed from "SWR" to "Reflected Power" and the text displayed for fault code 4 was changed from "Ip - Hard" to "Input Power".  Originally, the fault codes and associated meanings were taken from two different documents of telemetry commands and responses published by RF Concepts.  The changes were made after clarification by Gordon Hardman on how fault handling was implemented in firmware (through the current version, 2.02c).

  • The monitor now has an installer.  Due to a limitation with Google Sites (where this site is hosted), the installer must still be zipped as they disallow hosting of exe files.  The installer has these features:

    • Auto-detects 32 or 64-bit Windows and recommends the correct Program Files base directory

    • Detects an existing installation and recommend installation to the same directory

    • Prompts to overwrite newer files (allows you to down-grade or abort if that wasn't your intention)

    • The monitor appears in Control Panel, Programs and Features (or Add/Remove Programs)

    • The monitor can be uninstalled via Control Panel or the uninstaller in program menu

    • Senses whether .NET framework 4.0 (full) is installed.  If not, it will download and install it.

  • The commands used for power-on and power-off were changed to work with firmware version 2.02c which deprecated the old single-character power handling commands.


Version 1.4.4                April 29, 2013
  • The Start button was disabled on initial launch regardless of whether there was a valid COM port previously configured and saved to the XML config file.  The Start button now behaves correctly.

  • The Change and Save buttons associated with the multimeter function selection were always enabled regardless of whether serial communications with the amp had been started. Now the buttons are disabled when serial activity is stopped.

  • And, hopefully the long-standing issue of the monitor hanging occasionally when stopping the serial activity, launching the Config page or closing the monitor has been resolved.  I won't call it fixed yet but so far rapid start/stop events haven't locked up the monitor as they did before.  This is was due to the .NET serialPort.Close() method not behaving as expected and a deadlock could result when changes to the serial port occurred in rapid succession.  Hopefully with rigorous testing we can finally scratch this one off the list.  Thanks for everyone's patience while I got this sorted out.


Version 1.4.3                April 24, 2013
  • Logging of telemetry is fixed.  Logging was disabled when serial auto-start was added and didn't get re-enabled once auto-start was verified.  Logging was also revised in the process:
  • Log entries are now date and time stamped where before they were just time stamped.  This aligns with fault logging.
  • Logging auto-starts if it was previously configured (the option is saved to the XML config file)

  • Logging is now independent of serial port control whereas before they were tied together
  • The Peak Power and Input Power fields under the TX : G2 column weren't resetting to zero when the Clear Max button was clicked.

  • The comparison of input power and the user-defined DRIVE level was not working as expected and has been corrected.

  • The Input Power field was subject to clipping that was intended only for the LED meter.  The clipping no longer applies to the numeric field and it will display whatever telemetry reports.  The LED meter will clip at 250 W just as the front panel does.

  • The logic for excessive drive power detection was fixed.  Previously this worked as expected until you changed the DRIVE level in the Tune/Load Table window.  Now the new value is picked up and matched to the current band as soon as that window is closed.

  • The telemetry polling rate after initial handshake was set to 6 Hz in version 1.4.0 but used the old rate of 2 Hz if auto-started.  It would use the 6 Hz rate only if the polling was stopped and restarted - as is the case with the Start/Stop button or launching and closing the Config window.  The post-initialization polling rate is now 6 Hz regardless of auto-start or any other condition.


Version 1.4.1                April 22, 2013
  • Corrected two full-scale limits to the LED meters


Version 1.4.0                April 21, 2013
  • Bar graphs now appear as a strip of LEDs thanks to an open-source third-party meter library created by Kent Andersson.

  • LED meters sport amber and red thresholds such as for output power in excess of 1.5 kW.

  • LED meters for power, gain and efficiency have momentary peak hold (700 ms) similar to the front-panel power output LEDs

  • The telemetry polling and user interface refresh rate was bumped from 2 Hz to 6 Hz to minimize the lag between the monitor and the front-panel displays of similar data

  • The form size bug attributed to .NET framework 4.0 (and the reason for a .NET framework 4.5 version) has been addressed.  There is now only one version for .NET framework 4.0 and this runs on XP through Windows 8.

  • Windows "Visual Styles" are no longer disabled for the monitor.  Previously these were disabled to allow setting the colors of the bar graphs and to prevent unnecessary damping of their display.  The new LED meters allow Visual Styles to be re-enabled.

  • The 'Clear Max' button in the TX G2 area now clears excessive drive power indications as well as clearing the G2 Max column.

  • A minor field and highlighting position problem with the drive level on the small window has been resolved.  Previously the 'DRIVE' text, the number, the highlighting and the "W" watt unit all overlapped a bit.

  • An issue with the Static Data window being displayed behind the main window has been resolved.


Version 1.1.1                April 17, 2013

  • Fixed position of Small Window button.  Was displaced on the main window after returning from the small window.

Version 1.1.0                April 17, 2013

  • Unified the Start and Stop buttons into one button - similar to one button being used for both Power On and Power Off

  • Power On button is disabled until monitor communications have started

  • New 'Static Data' button and window added.  EBS Threshold, Grid Min LED, Grid Max LED that were removed from the main window to make room for the Tune/Load/Drive user data have been moved to this new page.

  • Firmware version has been moved from the main window to the Static Data window

  • CE Mode was added to the Static Data window.  This reflects whether the amp is setup for European standards compliance.  Amps sold in the US have CE mode disabled.  With CE mode disabled, the amp will not power on automatically if mains power is applied with the power switch already in the ON position.  Instead, the power switch must be cycled off and back on (or the amp is commanded on via telemetry using the monitor software).  This is important for the remote power-on capability since it requires you leave the ON|OFF switch in the ON position.  

  • The Static Data window shows the detected amp model and serial number.  While indicating what model amp you have may seem pointless, it's there for troubleshooting.  I've had one case of a user's 8410 be configured in EEPROM to report that it was an 8406.  Model detection affects the band switch and Tune/Load logic as well.

  • The fault highlighting was changed to make faults more apparent.  Now the fault field will highlight red with the fault text in yellow.  This state will persist for 4 seconds - the same time the amp front panel persists fault warnings on the LEDs.  Then the highlighting will return to yellow with black text as before.  The fault warning in the monitor can still be cleared with a mouse click at any time (red or yellow states).

Version 1.0.0.2             April 14, 2013
  • Configuration option to auto-start telemetry polling if a valid COM port has been previously set
  • More robust initial handshake with amp microcontroller
  • Alternate telemetry field below the raw telemetry field.  This will be used to momentarily persist telemetry messages such as the warm-up count-down.
  • The XML configuration file is now properly truncated prior to file writes (previously the file was deleted)
 
Version 0.9.9.2            April 13, 2013
  • If no XML configuration file exists, all windows launch centered

  • Launching the configuration window now suspends telemetry polling and closes the serial port.  When the configuration window is closed, telemetry polling resumes.  This was done to allow the Alpha boot loader to re-use the serial port for firmware loading.

Version 0.9.9.1            April 10, 2013
  •  Changed 8410 / 8406 model detection logic.  Previously it used the $APA26-reported serial number.  Now it uses the 'c' configuration command.
 
Version 0.9.9.0            April 7, 2013
  • Added tune, load and drive levels to the small window
 
Version 0.9.8.4            April 7, 2013
  •  Moved efficiency up and added a bar graph and G2 last and max fields and supporting logic

  • Changed the color of the gain and efficiency bar graphs to more easily distinguish these primary tuning indicators

Version 0.9.8.3            April 6, 2013
  •  Keeping a history of time and date-stamped $APA21 strings for fault logging
  • On fault, write out $APA21 history to fault log

  • Fixed Tune/Load and Config windows not remembering positions

  • Faults are ignored if not transmitting (i.e. amp state > 3).  This was done to minimize faults detected on power-on when erroneous fault telemetry is received.

Version 0.9.8.2            April 3, 2013
  • Changed to .NET framework 4.5 as primary platform.  This resolved form size problems inherent with .NET framework 4.0.  Since .NET framework 4.5 can't be installed on XP, a .NET framework 4.0 version of the monitor will continue to be generated (same code in both) but users of the .NET 4.0 version will notice the main and small windows grow by 10 pixels when switching back and forth.

  • Reduced Grid V progress bar upper end from 300 to 150

  • Negated Grid V (it isn't reported negative by telemetry).  Previously it was just displayed with a minus sign prepended but the G2 Max state was evaluated using a positive number.  Now, the max is calculated with a negative number.  This sounds minor but it allows the G2 Max field to show the max voltage (max grid bias that results in max plate current).  This is more useful than showing the minimum voltage which is just the cut-off voltage.
 
Version 0.9.8.0            April 1, 2013
  • Configurable option to warn on excessive drive power with user-defined percentage threshold.  Click either highlighted field to clear. 

  • Highlight fault and persist fault string until user clicks to clear

  • Added per-band drive power to the Tune/Load page

  • Removed EBS threshold, Grid Min and Grid Max static data to make room for user-defined Tune/Load/Drive data

  • Added ability to specify path to Alpha 'Colt' boot loader and launch from within the monitor.

  • All options and paths are saved to the XML configuration file

  • Alpha 'Colt' boot loader launched with the 'working directory' set to the same directory as the boot loader executable.  Previously the boot loader was dropping output files in the monitor's program directory.  This works if you have administrative rights but is not a best-practice nor will it work with UAC (User Access Control) for non-administrative users.
 
Version 0.9.7.0          March 29, 2013
  • Alpha 'Colt' boot loader can be launched from the monitor configuration page

Version 0.9.5.0          March 28, 2013

  • Highlight Tune and Load fields when band switch changes position as a reminder to tune the amp before transmitting.  Click to clear the warning.


Version 0.9.2.0          March 25, 2013

  • Monitor starts a "#1," session when initially communicating with the amp.  Previously, commands were sent without regard to the session type.

  • The Tune / Load table was updated to accommodate the 8406. 

  • Front panel multimeter display of Gain, Efficiency or Waste Heat can be made from the monitor.  Optionally, this choice can be saved to EEPROM.

  • COM port and log path are saved to an XML configuration file


Version 0.9.1.0            September 24, 2012

  • Added 8406 detection

  • If 8406 is detected, the band switch indicator shows "6m : 50 MHz (8406)"


Version 0.9.0.0            June 1, 2012

  • Efficiency is now parsed from telemetry as opposed to being calculated.  This requires firmware 2.01c or later.

  • Waste heat is calculated from telemetry data

  • Plate power has been replaced with plate dissipation and like waste heat is also calculated from telemetry data


Version 0.8.2.0            May 13, 2012

  • Control grid (G1) voltage is shown negative as it should be, not positive as reported by telemetry

  • Windows 'Visual Styles' are disabled.  This was done to make the bar graphs, implemented as Windows progress bars, react quickly and not damped.  Visual Styles were introduced with XP and are on by default with Vista, Windows 7 and 8.  The downside is the buttons have less well-defined edges.

  • Calculated grid dissipation decimal was disappearing.  This has been resolved.

  • Power output bar graphs have a 1.5 kW upper limit.  Anything above that will just clip.  The numeric display of power output and the G2 Last and Max values are not limited.



Versions earlier than 0.8.2.0 were mock-ups too embarrassing in functionality to be published for general use.  There were roughly five and a half months of unpublished versions before this saw the light of day.