This posting about Lectro firmware has taken a while and has engendered a lot of discussion here at Lectro. The firmware version and update issue is rather confusing. Unlike computer software, where the latest version is always better, "it ain't necessarily so" when it comes to our products. The simple reason is this: the firmware is very secondary to the hardware. Most firmware "updates" are made because of hardware changes, some of which are forced on us by outside suppliers. Here is just one example of many. For the UM400 we have 3 branches of the firmware. The 2.x branch is for units using a Philips 7026 phase locked loop, the 3.x branch is for units with the Texas Instruments TI2050 PLL and the 4.x branch is for units with the National LMX2353 branch. Obviously the 3.x branch is not better than the 2.x branch and the 4.x branch is not twice as good as the 2.x branch. Almost all of our firmware revisions have to do with hardware changes and not improvements in the product. We have to do revisions when sometimes the only change is that a company has discarded one IC package for a different one that has more or fewer pins and more or fewer functions. Just as often, we are informed that a part is being dropped from production by an IC manufacturer because the 100 thousand a year that they sell to 4 or 5 companies is not enough to keep the part in production. So we find a similar part, change the PC board and revise the firmware to handle a new command set for the new part. We also do many revisions to make our manufacturing and testing simpler or simply better. It may be easier to put a correction factor for modulation at different frequencies into the firmware than to select varactors and resonators to make deviation uniform across a block. That doesn't mean that older firmware with select parts is better for the customer than standard parts and newer firmware with a correction factor. All this is to say, we've pared down the hundreds of firmware revisions to those that truly affect the end user. Some of these listed changes are the fixing of firmware bugs and some are added features. If the bug has never affected your system and/or if you never need the feature then it may not be worth your effort to "upgrade" the firmware. Further, adding new features may also require hardware changes that may not be possible or may be more expensive than it is worth.
To summarize, a higher firmware number by itself is meaningless. It does not mean a better product. We have listed changes by date of manufacture since serial numbers are not reliable indicators of firmware version. This is because our products are manufactured on many frequency blocks and serial numbers are assigned to units months before actual shipping. Our service department can help you with specific questions about your unit. Please have your serial numbers available so they can check the date of manufacture.
Here's an internal email from DT (David Thomas) that describes this situatiuon and its fix
I just got a Venue master that apparently wouldn't power up for a dealer. On examining it, I found it to be intact, hardware-wise, but it had corrupted firmware, such as might happen during a botched upgrade attempt.
The wonderful thing is: THIS PROBLEM IS 100% FIELD RECOVERABLE!
It is easy to think that a unit that "won't power on" certainly isn't failing due to firmware, and even if it were, how can you upgrade if it "won't power on"? Well, actually, you can and I just did!
The way the Venue's power supply works, the micro always gets power, and it is in charge of turning the rest of the circuits on or off. If an upgrade attempt fails, it is possible that the program firmware won't work correctly, which can mean that the unit doesn't power on when the power button is pressed. Nonetheless, the micro has power.
The bootloader portion of the firmware is code protected at the factory, so that in theory, it will always be possible to recover from a botched upgrade. This case was no exception. I held down the two buttons to the left of the LCD and applied power, and the display lit up happily, displaying the word UPDATE. I was then able to load the correct firmware in from the PC, and the unit is now working!
So, word to the wise (and perhaps for the troubleshooting guide and FAQ list): a Venue that appears to have power supply problems may in fact just have bad firmware loaded. The way to check is to attempt a firmware update.