RCLightSystems Bootloader

Updated: Dec 1, 2020

All of the 'accessory' devices that we sell have user updateable firmware. Over time we will migrate the lighting products to support user updateable firmware, but in many cases this requires hardware changes on our side.

The bootloader on the devices communicates with a Windows PC based application that allows you to change / update the firmware on the device and to access/modify configuration details of the device.

The Windows software uses a USB dongle to talk to the device. This a fairly standard USB to serial (half duplex) dongle. We provide one, but many others will work (for example the JETI dongle).

This article guides you through using the application to update firmware and configure your device. Note that the detail of the firmware or the specifics of the configuration will depend upon the device, but the process is identical for all.

Grab the software

First you need to download the software from our website. You can find the latest version HERE. Once downloaded, unzip the file to a folder on your machine. It is important that you preserve the folder structure in the zip file as you extract the contents.

Determine the correct serial port

You need to tell the software which serial port to use to speak to the device. When you plug in the USB dongle your computer will create a serial port for that dongle. You might be lucky and have this as the only port, or you might have several.

The simplest way to determine the correct port is to look at the list of ports without the dongle plugged in, then plug it in and look again.

Start the downloaded application (called RCLSBootloader.exe) and click the down arrow to the left of 'Open'. A box will drop down and will be empty or list some detected serial ports:

Remember the list and click in the blank space to the left of the down arrow - the box will hide. Now plug in the USB dongle and then click the down arrow again. You should get one extra entry in the list:

Click this entry as it is the serial port for your dongle.

If no extra entry appears it is possible you do not have the drivers installed for the dongle. If you are using our dongle you can find the drivers HERE. Please download and install them, restart your computer and try again.

Start looking for a device

For various reasons the device will not wait very long to see if it is connected to a computer, so the program must be ready and waiting for the device BEFORE it is connected.

Click on the 'Open' button (you must have a serial port selected for this to work). If you are using our dongle you will see lights appear. The program screen will show the following:

Now plug the main device 'rx' side cable into the dongle cable. The program should detect the device very quickly and change the display. If there is an error the program will ask you to reconnect the device. If you see any light on the device other than solid green disconnect and reconnect the device.

Once detected the screen will display information relevant to the device itself, the following is taken from our ESC Telemetry Converter device:

The screen will display the current firmware (or blank if for some reason the current version cannot be matched to the set available to the program).

Updating the firmware

To update the firmware, simply select a firmware version from the drop down list and click 'Write'. The program will place the device into programming mode and download the new firmware. This process takes about a minute for current devices. Once complete the device is taken out of programming mode and back to bootloader mode.

Should the download be interrupted (for example power failure on the PC or disconnection of the device) the device will remain locked in programming mode and will not provide its normal functions. This situation can be simply fixed by repeating the process and completing the download.

Once the firmware is downloaded you can reboot the device, or simply disconnect. Using the Reboot device is preferable if you want to update several devices as it cleanly closes the link to the device and takes the program back to idle state.

Managing the device

You can use the PC program to manage the device. Once connected to the program the 'Manage' button will be enabled for any device that supports management capability. Clicking this button will take you to a screen for managing the device. The contents of that screen is dependent upon both the device and the installed firmware on the device.

The example below is from our ESC Telemetry Converter:

You should consult the user guide for the device for details of what each item does. Some fields may be dependent upon others containing a certain value and will remain greyed out until needed.

When you are finished click the 'Close' button. If you have made changes you will be prompted to either save the changes (yes), abandon the changes (no) or stay in the configuration screen (cancel).

If you save changes the device will be put into programming mode, the changes downloaded and then the device returned to operational mode. This takes a second or two, and the device LED will briefly flash red as the changes are written.

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