RC4 CodeLoader for Firmware Updates

Full sets of firmware files for each device family are provided in separate documents in this category (go to Firmware Updates).

Host PC Software

Download the Windows PC CodeLoader program.

The program, RC4_S3_CodeLoader.exe, does not require installation, it can be launched directly. It will run on any version of Windows from WinXP to Windows 10, and requires the Microsoft .NET 2.0 framework.

It is recommended that you use the RC4 CodeLoader cable, which contains a genuine FTDI USB interface chip and appears in the system as a COM port.

Windows Update provides the drivers automatically for most installations.  In a system with multiple COM ports, you must select the correct one within the CodeLoader program.

An encrypted RC4 firmware file must also be selected, which has the extension .rc4. Download firmware for the RC4 device family you need.

Restore Factory Defaults After Updating

In most cases it is necessary to restore factory default settings after updating firmware.  This is because new features often reorganize how non-volatile-memory (where settings are saved) is used — new settings are needed, and previously settings are rearranged to make the best use of available space.

If you update and then encounter odd behavior, which can include unusual LED displays and incorrect or absence of dimmer output, restore factory defaults.

After you restore factory defaults you will need to reconfigure the dimmer for your application.  This can be inconvenient when updating a device in a running show.  For this reason we recommend updating before starting a new project, unless you need the update to correct an anomaly or add a new feature.

LumenDim and W-DIM Devices

When CodeLoading W-DIM and LumenDim devices, the RF card must be functionally disconnected (not physically disconnected).  The easiest way to accomplish this is to turn off the transmitter it is paired to.  When no transmitter is present, the RF card disconnects.

Alternatively, you can un-pair the device from the transmitter:
Press and hold the RF button for several seconds, until the blue RF LED goes off.

No other special precautions or additional steps are required when bootloading RC4Magic Series 3 LumenDim and W-DIM devices.  Download firmware for the RC4 device you are updating, and proceed to the CodeLoading steps outlined below.

 

RC4Magic Series 3 and RC4Magic-900

Before CodeLoading an RC4Magic device, it is recommended that RC4MagicPC software is installed and configured, and has learned your unique system ID codes.  The software can either learn your IDs by reading them from one of your RC4Magic devices, or you can request an encrypted RC4 System ID file from RC4 Wireless.

Failure to restore factory defaults after updating firmware can result in error messages when reading the device with RC4MagicPC configuration software.  Restore factory defaults to resolve this problem.

If the CodeLoading process causes your unique system IDs to be lost or corrupted, it is easy to restore them using RC4Magic PC, but ONLY if your RC4MagicPC software installation has already learned them and you have a working RC4Magic Dongle or other device in Dongle Mode.

After ensuring your RC4MagicPC installation is fully functional, download firmware for the RC4 device you are updating, and proceed to the CodeLoading steps outlined below.

RC4 CodeLoading Steps

The CodeLoader in every RC4 Series 3 Harmonized Design device is invoked with a power-up hidden function: Hold the Func button while applying power.  The green COP indicator will illuminate without blinking, indicating the CodeLoader is active.  If no CodeLoading beings within 5 seconds, the device stops waiting and starts up normally.

In most cases it is necessary to restore factory default settings after updating firmware.  After you restore factory defaults you will need to reconfigure the dimmer for your application.

  1. Be sure the RC4 CodeLoader cable is connected to one of your PC USB ports and the drivers are installed.
  2. Connect the other end of the CodeLoader cable to the device being updated by inserting the 3.5mm miniplug into the the small receptacle on the RC4 device.
  3. Open the RC4 CodeLoader program, select the correct COM port (for the CodeLoader cable), and choose the .rc4 encrypted firmware file that you are loading into the device.
  4. On the RC4 device, hold the Func button down and apply power to the device.  See that the COP light is on, not blinking.  You have 5 seconds to being CodeLoading.
  5. Click the Update button at the lower right of the CodeLoader program window.

Alternatively, you can reverse steps 4 and 5: Click the Update button on the software, then hold the Func button on the device while applying power.

If you miss the 5 second timeout, try again.  No harm is done, and no code in the device has been changed.

When the CodeLoading process first begins, the green progress bar in the PC program window will crawl from right to left.  During this time it is looking for an active RC4 device.  If the bar crawls all the way to the left then no device was found.  The most likely causes of this are:

  • The wrong COM port is selected.
  • The Func button was not held at the moment power was applied.  A second person or a small vice can be helpful.
  • CodeLoader cable drivers are not installed or are incorrectly installed.

When the device is found, the progress bar jumps to the left and immediately crawls left to right as code is loaded into the device.  When the bar reaches the the far right the process is complete and the RC4 device should restart, running the new firmware.  A programming success or fail message is displayed in the PC program window below the progress bar.

If incompatible firmware is loaded into a device, it will indicate this with a repeating LED pattern of two blinks of the RFdata LED then two blinks of the COP LED.  The only way to correct this is to load a firmware file that is intended for the device.  For example, you will see this LED pattern if you try to load DMX2dim firmware into a DMX4dim device.  To recover, repeat the steps using the .rc4 file for a DMX4dim.

In most cases it is necessary to restore factory default settings after updating firmware.  After you restore factory defaults you will need to reconfigure the dimmer for your application.

 

 

 

 

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