Ultimate7e tutorial: Processor upgrade

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17 Apr 2016 16:11 #46706 by SeByDocKy
Replied by SeByDocKy on topic Ultimate7e tutorial: Processor upgrade

PhracturedBlue wrote:

SeByDocKy wrote: or maybe it's better choice to take a Devo 6S in second hand market ?
Is the Devo6S as light as the devo 7E ?

The devo6s is basically the same weight as the 7e. It also has upgraded sticks compared to the 7e, I don't know what it costs on the used market though, it probably won't be so easy to find.


I found one for brand new 170 euros :( ... it's a lot ... but the price to continue with deviationTX maybe ...

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17 Apr 2016 19:19 #46716 by HappyHarry
Replied by HappyHarry on topic Ultimate7e tutorial: Processor upgrade
ouch, that's taranis x9d+ money! and you probably could build an ultimate 7e, with a 3in1, and 2x 3x2 switch mod, and a range mod, even paying someone to do the soldering of the range mod and stm swap for that kind of money

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17 Apr 2016 19:51 #46718 by SeByDocKy
Replied by SeByDocKy on topic Ultimate7e tutorial: Processor upgrade

HappyHarry wrote: ouch, that's taranis x9d+ money! and you probably could build an ultimate 7e, with a 3in1, and 2x 3x2 switch mod, and a range mod, even paying someone to do the soldering of the range mod and stm swap for that kind of money


I got one already with the diode mod + 2x3 + C2500+nRF24L01 .... but you are right ... I should grab a new 7E to do this new challange....

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17 Apr 2016 21:30 #46721 by HappyHarry
Replied by HappyHarry on topic Ultimate7e tutorial: Processor upgrade
i know, i'm subscribed to your youtube bud, have been for a good while lol. i was just making the point that for the price of a stock devo6 you could have an x9d+ or a fully modded ult7e :)

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17 Apr 2016 23:31 #46724 by HappyHarry
Replied by HappyHarry on topic Ultimate7e tutorial: Processor upgrade
sorry I missed these earlier

PhracturedBlue wrote: I'd recommend using mwm's docker images ( or making some new ones if those don't work I haven't tested them myself). I think it is probably the easiest way to get a build done on any platform.


yeah they are really nicely done, and very handy for people to use, though I have several full time linux machines and I use those when building stuff

silpstream wrote: Sounds good. We could possibly have it downloadable from the wiki if that's allowed. If not I assume you've forked the Git repository and we could possibly use the "releases" section. Also, any chance I could get a look at that bash script you have? Thanks


sure I'll get into the garage space some time this week and grab the old laptop that they are on (it's at the garage as it's dual boot with debian and xp, i still need xp as the ecu tools I use to talk to the cars electronics only work on xp :/ ) and post them, but just to be clear it's nothing elegant, just a bash script that calls mercurial, then patch, then make etc that was fired weekly using cron. as my coding skills are very minimal putting it politely lol.

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18 Apr 2016 00:23 - 18 Apr 2016 00:23 #46727 by PhracturedBlue
Replied by PhracturedBlue on topic Ultimate7e tutorial: Processor upgrade
I looked at the docker images a bit, and I think I'd do it a little differently. I know it isn't really the docker way, but I think the easiest way would be a unified image that includes everything needed to build the emulator (including the x-compiled variant), the dfu and the repo. That would make it look more like a VM than a typical docker image, but it would make it easier to setup. We could then do a tiny curses based interface to allow quickly updating and building and have a nearly push-button solution. I think even for linux users this would be easiest, since getting the right versions of the cross-compiler can be tough. I'm not sure if there is a way to x-compile for mac on linux, but if so, we could add that too. That would basically just leave mwm out in the cold (since I think he uses BSD), but I also think he is likely the only one :)

I have never actually built a docker image, so I need to look into it a bit to understand how to go about it.
Last edit: 18 Apr 2016 00:23 by PhracturedBlue.

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18 Apr 2016 06:33 #46731 by mwm
Replied by mwm on topic Ultimate7e tutorial: Processor upgrade
I actually did a version with the repo in the image, and then dropped it for a couple of reasons. Most important, a docker image isn't like a VM, it's more like a snapshot of a VM. In particular, it can't run code. To run code on an image, you start a "container", which is like a VM. It has a private layer of changes to the VM, so you can have multiple containers running the same image but doing different things - like having one build a nightly for the 7E and one building a release of everything, at least once we move the build artifacts into the container. But when you shut down a container you lose it's private file system layer. So if you update your repository to do a build, you either have to throw away the updates, or create a new image based on that container. Neither of those seemed like a very good option, which is why I moved the repository out of the image.

If I ever get back to these, the plan is to add a simple web server to the image that will let you pick a revision and build target and launch a build, and then provide a status page to watch it build. Adding a download option would let us provide a could-based demand build service,which has been requested a time or two. But for this to be really useful, we need to tweak the build so you can pick features to include/exclude at build time.

Do not ask me questions via PM. Ask in the forums, where I'll answer if I can.

My remotely piloted vehicle ("drone") is a yacht.

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20 Apr 2016 03:24 #46831 by phantom8
Replied by phantom8 on topic Ultimate7e tutorial: Processor upgrade
I was planning to do the processor upgrade for 2 Devo 7e and had bought all necessary tools for quite some time, but was afraid to actually do it. Last week, one of my LCD monitors was broken and searching the net revealed the problem was most likely to be a bad AF15-F chip on a Tcon board. The AF15-F is a 48pin QFP package and I tried to replace it with hot air gun (don't have a proper hot air rework station) and cheap solder paste. Before starting, I watched a few videos on the net to see how the process is done and thought I was well prepared. What I can say is, the actual process is extremely difficult. After a lot of struggle, like solder paste didn't seem to stick to the pad when heated, bridging everywhere, I thought I had destroyed the board. At the end, I managed to replaced the QFP chip. I was thinking the board probably wouldn't work after all that abuses. When finally putting everything back together, I was surprised it worked. I guess I was lucky. For the record, I've experience with soldering and have no problem in doing the range mod. However, replacing a QFP chip is another story.

Below photo shows the replaced chip. You can see the solder paste has somehow got on other pads and components circled in red. I had applied kapton tape (4 layers) and hot air gun set to lowest air flow.
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20 Apr 2016 03:53 #46832 by PhracturedBlue
Replied by PhracturedBlue on topic Ultimate7e tutorial: Processor upgrade
did you use aluminum foil too? kapton tape is very heat resistant, but is not a good insulator. Whe you say you don't have a hot-air rework station, what kind of hot-air gun did you use? Something like this: www.dickblick.com/products/r-and-f-hot-air-gun/ ? Do you have a nozzle for it?

I am aware of a couple ways to rework QFP parts.
Removing the old chip:
1) cut the chip off using sharp wire cutters, then use a fine-point iron to heat each terminal and tweezers to remove them. Then use solder wick to cleanup
2) melt Chip-Quick over all terminals, then use iron to go around and around until everything is hot enough and remove. Use wick to clean up. Be careful not to get chip-quick on anything, it can be messy
3)use a hot-air rework station with an appropriate tip and air-flow to heat up the old chip and tweezers to remove. make sure not to overheat the board or to blow away any adjacent parts

To install the new chip:
1) place the chip, solder 2 opposing terminals to the board, then use drag soldering with a chisel or drag tip to connect all terminals. use solder wick to un-bridge everything
2) use solder paste and a hot-air rework station to solder all pins. use wick to cleanup any bridges. don't use too much paste.

Note that I've only used method (3) for removal, and while I've tried both (1) and (2) for installation, I've only ever had success with (2) and solder-wick is the bane of my existence and I can never get it to work the way it is supposed to, so I often sit there for way to long under a microscope with an X-acto and hot-air gun to clear bridges.

I'm sure it is trivial for an expert, but this really is not a mod for someone without experience. I have nearly every piece of equipment you could want to do rework, and I still generally dread having to do it. I'm glad you were successful with your 48pin replacement though

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20 Apr 2016 04:49 #46835 by phantom8
Replied by phantom8 on topic Ultimate7e tutorial: Processor upgrade
Below photos are the hot air gun that I've. It has temperature control from 50 to 450 degrees Celcius. For removing SMD components, I set it to 350. For melting solder paste, I set it to 380. The air gun only has low & high air flow control. BTW, I didn't have any problem in removing SMD components with hot air gun. I had done it for about 5 times already. The only problem for me is to get it to work with solder paste.

I didn't use aluminium foil, only 4 layers of kapton tape. Next time, I'll add another layer of aluminium foil. For the 48pin QFP chip, I did soldered 2 opposite corner pins to hold it in position before applying solder paste. I kept thinking the difficulty that I had encountered was caused by the cheap solder paste. For some reason, it didn't melt well onto the pad. Most of the paste had moved up and melted to the pins of the chip. Here is the paste that I used.

www.banggood.com/XG-Z40-10cc-Syringe-Sol...5-45um-p-973158.html
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20 Apr 2016 04:50 #46836 by Arakon
Replied by Arakon on topic Ultimate7e tutorial: Processor upgrade
Too strong airflow. That thing is a paint stripper, not a soldering tool..

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20 Apr 2016 05:35 - 20 Apr 2016 05:35 #46837 by PhracturedBlue
Replied by PhracturedBlue on topic Ultimate7e tutorial: Processor upgrade
That looks like the paste I use. I've never had an issue with it (other than that paste tends to go all over the place if not applied with syringe)
Last edit: 20 Apr 2016 05:35 by PhracturedBlue.

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20 Apr 2016 05:59 #46839 by victzh
Replied by victzh on topic Ultimate7e tutorial: Processor upgrade
I have great results with solder wick but it can be tricky. It should be as thin as possible because copper wick is very good heat conductor so it cools down the area you try to clean up very effectively :-) You can even cut a piece of wick to limit cooling factor, not to use it from the spool. Then I dip it into rosin flux (Radio Shack, I use it all the time) - it enhances solder flow to the wick. Also you should not drag it along the chip side - you can move and bend pins. Yesterday I removed solder bridge from the FPC connector with the distance between pins 0.3mm. No way I could do it with exacto-knife.

Admittedly, I never tried hot air - I don't have hot air desoldering station, and I wouldn't dare to use the builders gun (like the above one) on SMDs - it blows stuff away.

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20 Apr 2016 06:25 - 20 Apr 2016 06:27 #46842 by phantom8
Replied by phantom8 on topic Ultimate7e tutorial: Processor upgrade

Arakon wrote: Too strong airflow. That thing is a paint stripper, not a soldering tool..

That would explain why my solder paste got onto other pads & components.

PhracturedBlue wrote: That looks like the paste I use. I've never had an issue with it (other than that paste tends to go all over the place if not applied with syringe)

The paste that I got seemed to be a little dry. Maybe it's on the the shelf for too long. It's not too sticky and I had to add some flux into the mix.


BTW, I had bridges everywhere on all 4 sides of the pins. I followed this video and it's very easy to remove the bridges. All you need is a proper horseshoe shape soldering tip. No need for solder wicks.

Last edit: 20 Apr 2016 06:27 by phantom8.

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20 Apr 2016 12:57 #46867 by PhracturedBlue
Replied by PhracturedBlue on topic Ultimate7e tutorial: Processor upgrade
yes, that is the 'drag tip' I mentioned. If you already had one, then drag soldering was probably a better option for soldering down the new MCU

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20 Apr 2016 16:25 #46879 by silpstream
Replied by silpstream on topic Ultimate7e tutorial: Processor upgrade

phantom8 wrote: Below photo shows the replaced chip. You can see the solder paste has somehow got on other pads and components circled in red. I had applied kapton tape (4 layers) and hot air gun set to lowest air flow.

From the looks of it you were careful not to leave any solder bridges. A bit of excess solder onto empty pads doesn't really hurt. It's happened to me before. Basically you can prevent that by making sure that you apply kapton tape right to the edge of the processor, thus covering areas you don't want the paste to get to.

Given that it's a larger QFP, and you already tacked 2 pins down, PhracturedBlue is right, and I would have dragged soldered instead of using the hotter gun. You can also drag solder using paste.

phantom8 wrote: For some reason, it didn't melt well onto the pad. Most of the paste had moved up and melted to the pins of the chip. Here is the paste that I used.

This is probably because the paste you have is a bit dry. I use the same one. It basically needs to be stored in a ziplock bag in the fridge. I always apply liquid flux to the area to be soldered first, followed by applying the paste with a toothpick as a syringe still gives to much. The syringes are really designed for down to 0803 pads, anything smaller and the toothpick is best.

Lots of flux never hurts, and that's why I prefer "no clean" liquid flux applied with a small dispenser brush like the BON-102 . victzh is probably right that the air from your gun is a bit too strong. I use a similar gun, just hold it higher up. I've seen people do it up to 20cm away. 10cm was just what worked for me.

Overall, from the looks of the pictures you posted, I'd say GOOD JOB! It was your first time, you definitely did much better than I did my first time round. Grab some old boards from discarded junk and practice a bit before attempting it on the 7e. I'm sure you'll do well. :cheer:

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21 Apr 2016 09:00 - 21 Apr 2016 09:02 #46927 by Fernandez
Replied by Fernandez on topic Ultimate7e tutorial: Processor upgrade
My recommendations would be,

-kapton and alutape all around the chip, protect all other smd from heating.
-Heat the chip with hotair, remove with tweezers. try heat first with some solder etc, if not sure about the temp.
-Use a flux pen, or thin flux wetten the residues, also wetten the copper wick with the flux pen.
-Use soldering iron with a flat tip, and slightly more heat than normal soldering, drag wick around the pads remove solder. Not push hard, should be easly sucked in.
-Clean the area with paint thinner I use normally an ear stick.
-Use fresh solder paste, with thin syringe, use only small amount and drag a line of solder, but important, try to draw the solder line a bit more at the outersides of the solder pads, (should just be under/touch outsides of the chip pins) it will flow from the outside better to the inside, than vice/versa.
-Place the mcu with tweezers, try to put directly aligned, the ends of pins of mcu schould just pushed inside the line of solder paste.
-Check alignment, and correct with tweezers.
-Use hotair, take some time to warm up heat and let the flux do the job. once it is solder has melted and shiny, stop heating.
-Check for bridges, and correct as above, normally bridges happen when to much solder is applied. Really you need very little paste.......
Last edit: 21 Apr 2016 09:02 by Fernandez.

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28 Apr 2016 22:35 #47388 by HappyHarry
Replied by HappyHarry on topic Ultimate7e tutorial: Processor upgrade
ok i replaced the processor in the first of the 7e's i'm doing and all went well up to a point, the chip swap went ok, i have no solder bridges, i then followed slipstreams bootloader flashing process (which differs slightly from others re pins connected to the programmer etc) and the chip seems to have been flashed ok. here's the log from the stm software
23:27:54 : ST-LINK SN : 56FF71064965565045310487
23:27:54 : ST-LINK Firmware version : V2J24S4
23:27:54 : Connected via SWD.
23:27:54 : SWD Frequency = 1,8 MHz.
23:27:54 : Connection mode : Normal.
23:27:54 : Debug in Low Power mode enabled.
23:27:54 : Device ID:0x414 
23:27:54 : Device flash Size : 256KBytes
23:27:54 : Device family :STM32F10xx High-density
23:28:02 : Flash memory erased.
23:28:17 : [devo7ebootloader_256.bin] opened successfully.
23:28:17 : [devo7ebootloader_256.bin] checksum : 0x9585D497 
23:28:27 : Memory programmed in 3s and 417ms.
23:28:27 : Verification...OK
23:28:41 : No difference found.
                   This file is already downloaded.
23:28:46 : Disconnected from device.

that shows an erase, flash of the 7e256 bootloader and then a compare of the device memory to the file and all passes ok.

but now i can't get the tx to come up at all, turning on the power button does nothing, no lights etc, it wont boot into flash mode or usb mode either.

my method is as slipsreams site, is there something i'm missing? is there any way to debug this?

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28 Apr 2016 22:49 #47389 by PhracturedBlue
Replied by PhracturedBlue on topic Ultimate7e tutorial: Processor upgrade
did you leave the chip in boot mode? it sounds like it is booting directly to the internal bootloader. you can debug with the stlink, to see what address is running in theory

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29 Apr 2016 00:24 #47393 by HappyHarry
Replied by HappyHarry on topic Ultimate7e tutorial: Processor upgrade
well first time round I didn't jumper the boot pins or the power bypass pins (forgot to do it tbh), also the battery (and back half of the tx) was disconnected, and yet I was still able to connect to and flash the chip ok, I presume this is because the stlink was providing 3.3v, but this left me unable to boot etc.

I then reread the process and began again, so I jumped the boot pins, connected 3.3v, gnd, clk, and sdio to tls, tck, gnd and vcc pins, booted the stlink software as an admin and then plugged in the stlink, I then jumped the power bypass pins and clicked connect to device. once connected I erased the chip, flashed the bootloader and then checked the system memory against the file and all was ok. then I disconnected the decice from the software, pulled the stlink from the pc, removed the 2 jumpers and the stlink wires from the tx. then reassembled and tried to boot to flash deviation. but I was in the same situation as the first time, no power up, no connection to the pc, no lights etc.

is this the correct process? do I need to remove the boot and or power jumpers at a different point, or keep them connected whilst trying to flash deviation?

my stlink in only a 10pin version so is there some site I can go read that will give me some info on how to debug this using it?

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