VP2 and Vue Console Firmware
Vantage Console Firmware
The Vantage Pro 2 and Vue consoles are designed with upgradeable firmware (firmware being akin to software built in to the console that controls all aspects of its features and operation). Why should upgradeable firmware be necessary? There are a number of reasons, including:
- To allow new console features to be added;
- To accommodate new VP accessory components (eg wireless repeaters), sensors and stations;
- In response to user feedback, which has, for example, prompted changes to the way in which certain wind speed values are displayed;
- In response to external events, eg changes in the details of the formula NOAA uses to calculate wind chill values or changes in the daylight saving time calendar in the US;
- To correct any bugs and errors. The firmware is a complex piece of coding and inevitably minor errors can creep in, which are sometimes not spotted by anyone for weeks or months after release.
Each firmware update revision was originally denoted by its release date alone, though the version number is more important nowadays. The current revision is v3.15 (released March 27, 2014) for the standard VP2 wireless console, although cabled and envoy consoles may differ in version number. It is also sometimes the case that a later firmware revision is loaded in new production consoles but has not been released as an update version for existing consoles. (NB The definitive place to look for the latest firmware versions is on the Davis website – we’ll try to keep the information here up-to-date, but please let us know if we’ve missed a recent update.)
The firmware version currently installed on your VP2 or Vue console can be seen on the ticker display of the standard console by pressing the Done and cursor ‘+’ keys at the same time. (Envoy consoles must be checked via the Weatherlink software.) Note that up until the firmware version of April 10 2006, the version was referred to by date only. But from the next revision – v1.6 of December 1 2006 – a version number was also introduced alongside the date. NB Be aware that for older versions, the date seems often to have been the compile date rather than the release date – for some versions there was a significant gap between the nominal date and the version’s actual availability, presumably to allow for beta testing.)
The rest of this page focuses on firmware for the VP2 range. Details of firmware for the Vue station are yet to be added.
Would I benefit from a firmware upgrade?
In general, for most users, there will be no pressing need to upgrade at all. As is often the case with firmware updates for all sorts of digital devices, for the great majority of console functions you may notice no difference whatsoever. Certainly there will often be no good reason to upgrade regularly to the latest firmware version just because it’s available. The maxim of ‘if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it’ very much applies here.
However the detailed list further below records the firmware changes that have been made for VP2 consoles since Nov 13th 2004 and you can obviously check through this list and decide whether there is anything of relevance to you personally. But broadly, there might be five circumstances in which to consider an upgrade:
- If you have one of the earlier VP2 consoles then the cumulative firmware changes may be enough for you to consider upgrading, although the chances are still that you’ll notice little difference;
- If you are especially concerned about one of the issues addressed by an upgrade, such as the barometer spiking in the Nov 2005 versions or the revised Daylight Savings Time schedule (US only);
- There are certain newer units, such as the VP2 wireless repeaters, for which a recent firmware revision is essential;
- If you would like to add the capability to update your console firmware Direct From Your PC (see below for details);
- Reasons of software compatibility, where a firmware update has changed the format, even very slightly, in which data is passed to a PC via the Weatherlink data logger then some software packages may require a newer firmware revision in order to function correctly. For example, the introduction of the LOOP2 packet format might be one such reason.
How do I upgrade the firmware?
Originally there was only one way to upgrade VP2 console firmware – using the special 6311VP2 Updater unit. (Note that this is a different part from the previous 6311 updater for the VP1 – unless an updater explicitly says ’6311 VP2’ on its label, it’s not suitable for use with VP2 stations.) This updater is a small separate hardware unit that can be loaded with a firmware revision and used to update the console.
However starting from the Nov 2005 firmware versions, the option to update firmware direct from your PC (via your existing Weatherlink data logger connection) was introduced. This approach uses the ‘Direct from PC’ firmware versions.
If you have a console with firmware dated Nov 2005 or later then you may well be able to update the firmware yourself. (NB The Nov 2005 firmware had to be loaded from an updater configured in a certain way in order to activate the ‘Direct from PC’ updating feature. If an older updater was used then the firmware would still function perfectly well but the ‘Direct from PC’ feature would not be available. In this case a 6311VP2 updater unit would still be required to perform an update. Note also that the ‘Direct from PC’ update feature is not available for VP1 consoles.)
If you do have current firmware that supports the ‘Direct from PC’ feature (ie Nov 2005 or later – and all numbered eg v1.8 firmware versions in principle support Direct from PC updates) then later firmware updates may be downloaded from the Davis support website. Take great care to download only the correct firmware version for your console, being careful also to choose only the ‘Direct from PC’ firmware version. Performing an update in this way should be quite straightforward, but choosing the wrong version to install may cause major problems.
However, if your current firmware is older or you still need to use an updater unit then regrettably you’re going to find this difficult because the updaters are no longer available either to buy or to hire. (Any VP2 console that still hasn’t been updated will now be at least 11 years old now and support for such units has now lapsed.) And indeed the firmware versions for updating via an updater unit are no longer publicly available. The best we can suggest is to look on eg eBay and then, if successful, to contact Davis for a copy of the relevant firmware.
Mac and other non-Windows users
The Direct-from-PC method of updating console firmware can only be used from Windows PCs. There is no comparable mechanism for users of other operating systems, who will need to borrow use of a Windows PC in order to perform the firmware update..
Firmware revision details
Below is a copy of the firmware release notes for the main Vantage Pro Console taken from the PDF document issued by Davis. (There’s a brief section on significant undocumented changes at the foot of the official listings below.) Note that the Envoy console requires different firmware code and may be at a different revision number/date. Use only the correct firmware code for your console type – the main console should not be updated with Envoy code or vice versa.
Version 3.15 (March 27, 2014)
Minor improvements in firmware efficiency.
Version 3.12 (Feb 8, 2013)
Fixed a bug in 3.00 that did not allow the ET alarm to be cleared.
Eliminates occasional WeatherLink communication issue when console is busy receiving a radio packet.
Console timesout of the “Receiving From” setup screen after 15 min using batteries and 30 min using AC power.
Previous versions of firmware allowed a negative ET, now it will clip hourly ET values at 0.
Added leading zero to temp readings between -1.0 and 1.0.
Improved temp and hum index calculations.
Low humidity readings now clipped at 1% and will not show 0%.
Version 1.90 (Feb 18, 2010)
CWOP uploads will now contain 2 min average wind speed, 10 min wind gust and direction of gust, last 15 minutes of rain, last 1 hour of rain and Altimeter. Must also have WeatherLink software v5.9.0 or later to use this feature.
Fixed clearing of yearly ET history data.
Fixed a bug that caused the barometer value to have a large error after updating to firmware version 1.82.
Fixed a bug that when changing units in software caused the console to not reflect the change immediately.
Fixed graph so that zooming to a different span always starts at the first point.
Fixed display of historical yearly rain totals over 813 mm for 0.2 mm rain collectors (highs, lows and graphs).
You can now only get to the Receive Diagnostics Screen from the Current Screen.
Version 1.82 (December 30, 2008) – Wireless Version
Version 1.82 (December 30, 2008) – Cabled Version
Changed “ALL CLEAR” function so that it does not clear any user-set calibration numbers.
Improved wind speed translation algorithm for increased accuracy.
Improved data logging of high wind speed measurements in environments that get poor reception.
Fixed a communication problem where the console output an extra “\n\r” if it received binary data containing a 10 (x0A) or a 13 (x0D). Note: This issue only affects third-party software developers.
Version 1.80 (July 14, 2008)- Wireless Version
Version 1.80 (July 14, 2008)- Cabled Version
Modified wind measurements to accommodate a new version of wind cups.
Fixed a bug dealing with the digital barometer measurements taken at high temperatures.
Version 1.75 (February 12, 2008)- Wireless Version
Version 1.75 (February 12, 2008)- Cabled Version
Fixed a bug that causes the console to display incorrect yearly rain values when the unit of measure for rain is set to millimeters.
Version 1.73 (November 2, 2007)- Wireless Version
Version 1.73 (November 2, 2007)- Cabled Version
Fixed a bug that gave the High Rain Rate an incorrect time stamp.
Fixed a bug that caused an inaccurate barometric reading at high elevation.
Extended the amount of time the lamp stays on from 10 seconds to 15 seconds. If a key is pressed within 15 seconds, the lamp stays on for an additional 60 seconds instead of 20 seconds.
Version 1.7 (June 6, 2007) – Wireless Version
Version 1.7 (June 6, 2007) – Cabled Version
Fixed a bug that caused the barometric data to spike after a firmware upgrade had occurred.
The 2ND key function is now enabled longer after being pressed. The timeout period for pressing the 2ND key and then pressing another 2ND key function was previously 4 seconds but is now 8 seconds.
Wireless Version Only – Fixed an issue in handling temperature data when an extra temperature station signal is lost.
Version 1.6 (December 1, 2006) – Wireless Version
Version 1.6 (January 8, 2007) – Cabled Version
Changed the firmware version information displayed in the ticker tape from revision date to a revision version number.
Fixed a bug that caused the hourly digital barometric data to spike.
Changed the daylight savings bit in the EEPROM to report whether Daylight Savings time is on or off when the Automatic mode in the Daylight Savings Setup screen is selected on the console.
April 10, 2006
Wireless Version Only – Fixed issue with temperature reading not dashing out when the console has lost connection with a Temperature/Humidity station.
November 28, 2005 – Wireless Version
November 30, 2005 – Cabled Version
Added the capability to load future firmware directly from a computer to the console through the data logger without use of a Vantage Pro2 Updater. Note: This capability requires an updater with the latest updater Firmware (dated October 5, 2005). To make sure that your updater is equipped with correct firmware, consult the firmware sticker on the updater for the date. If the updater has an older version of updater firmware, see “Contacting Davis Technical Support” on page 11 for more information.
Included the new Daylight Savings Time change that becomes effective in 2007. Currently, Daylight Savings Time starts on the first Sunday in April and stops on the last Sunday in October. With the new change effective in 2007, Daylight Savings Time starts the second Sunday in March and ends the first Sunday in November.
Wireless Version Only – Modified the keystroke combination for displaying repeater information in Setup Screen 2 of the Setup Mode from pressing WIND to pressing 2ND and WIND. Previously, the keystroke combination for displaying repeater information in Setup Screen 2 required pressing only WIND. The change in keystroke combination makes it harder to turn on the repeater function by accident.
Wireless Version Only – Improved the radio’s gain and made gain an automatic feature. Previously, radio gain was controlled by turning gain on and off in the Diagnostic Screens. The Gain Setting that displayed in the banner of the Diagnostic Screens is replaced with “Background Noise Level,” which is used to determine if the console should turn the gain on and off.
Wireless Version Only – Fixed issue with the temperature reading not dashing out when the console has lost connection with a Temperature/Humidity station.
Cabled Version Only – The default year was changed to display 2005.
May 27, 2005
Wireless Version Only – Added functionality to support use of Vantage Pro2 Wireless Repeaters (# 7626, 7627) and Long- Range Wireless Repeaters (# 7653, 7654) previously not available.
Wireless Version Only – Fixed issue with console not entering sleep mode when the console could not acquire the assigned station signal from an assigned repeater but could hear the station signal itself.
May 13, 2005
Updated the Heat Index formula used in the console to utilize the same formula used in the WeatherLink software.
Modified Wind Chill calculations between 40ºF (4.4ºC) and 93ºF (33.9ºC), giving more intuitive readings for temperatures above the upper limit of the official wind chill formula (40ºF). The result of this modification is lower wind chill values in the above temperature range than using the official formula.
Changed wind component of the THSW Index to reflect changes made to Heat Index and Wind Chill formulas described above.
Improved forecasting techniques by applying the California Inland criteria to the Mediterranean Sea region, which was considered as Latitude South of 45ºN and North of 30ºN; Longitude East of 10ºW and West of 45ºE.
Changed reporting of Due North from 0º to 360º to comply with the National Weather Service reporting standards.
Revised wind direction formula to improve accuracy of readings.
Fixed error regarding the console not reporting a low battery warning for Leaf % Soil Moisture/Temperature stations.
Wireless Version Only – Replaced the unused LOOP packet LEAF 4 field with a low repeater battery status since the Envoy does not support the monitoring of four leaf sensors.
Wireless Versions Only – The way the low battery status is reset in Weather Envoy and displayed WeatherLink now takes place at midnight. The Low Battery status for a station is not cleared once a station’s battery is replaced. Previously, once a station’s battery was replaced, the Low Battery warning would clear. In this version of the firmware, the Low Battery warning does not clear, even after a station’s battery has been replaced until mid- night. During the day, the station runs off solar power and takes a battery reading which can be higher than the reading it takes during the night with- out solar power. The Envoy keeps the low battery warning until midnight or when the console enters Setup Mode.
January 4, 2005
Fixed a graph point that would not flash
Wireless Version Only – The default year was changed to display 2005.
Wireless Version Only – Raised the low console battery threshold to 3.5 volts.
December 21, 2004
Wireless Version Only – Internal watchdog timer now set for 10 minutes instead of 10 hours.
December 16, 2004
Wireless Only – Fixed issue that would not allow the Envoy to receive a station set on Transmitter ID l.
Wireless Only – Retransmit function corrected.
December 10, 2004
Initial Vantage Pro2 Cabled Envoy Firmware Release.
November 13, 2004
Initial Vantage Pro2 Wireless Envoy Firmware Release with new radio protocol support.
Undocumented firmware changes
There are apparently one or two changes in VP2 console firmware that don’t seem to have been officially documented. Please let us know if you spot any more or have any further information on these.
The VP2 barometer update frequency used to be every 15 minutes – as specified eg in the sensor detail table right at the back of the Davis 2006 main catalogue. But in the same table in the 2007 and subsequent catalogues, the pressure entry has been amended to an update frequency of every minute. This change can presumably only have been made in console firmware but there’s no mention of it in the official firmware revision log as shown above. Possibly the change was introduced in the Nov 2005 firmware revisions;