[Poll] Which RD company is most responsive with firmware releases?

Which company is quickest with firmware updates?

  • Escort

    Votes: 1 2.4%
  • Valentine One

    Votes: 13 31.0%
  • Uniden

    Votes: 12 28.6%
  • Radenso

    Votes: 3 7.1%
  • Um, they are all slow...

    Votes: 13 31.0%

  • Total voters
    42

Disco47

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We are talking about the mainstream companies....so I didn't list the smaller manufacturers.
 

midd

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"responsive" is very subjective. Kind of a rough time right now so maybe conduct this poll when things are somewhat back to normal.
 

MASI

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V1 has been making V1 firmware upgrades available for its RDs more than 15 years at a fraction of the cost of a new V1. Not sure Escort could honestly make that claim, unless you define "firmware upgrade" as buying an all new RD. To me, this gives the win to V1.
 
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NorEaster18

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To me, it's not just about releasing firmware updates, but listening to testers and making the updates relevant to what features are needed and bugs that need to be addressed.

Uniden was always fantastic with being responsive with firmware updates. It felt like they really set a new tone in the community with both their beta testing program and constant updates. I mean, how many firmwares have we continued to see for the R1 and R3? They've slowed down lately, and we can connect the dots on how that happened with departure of team members and constant nagging from people here (remember the MRCD firmware for the R3?) But regardless, they have shown the ability to listen to the community and provide firmware updates. Hopefully that continues moving forward.

Radenso has been similar, as can be seen with the firmware revisions for both the XP/SP and the Pro M. Of course, it does seem like they've gone as far as they can with the hardware that they currently have and are going to be focusing on Theia for the foreseeable future, but I believe they will continue to listen to us and keep Theia firmware current.

Valentine was probably much slower back in the days where they required you to send your unit in, but the firmware updates through the app definitely brought them into the 21st century. They have already provided 3 updates in the almost year since the Gen 2 came out, so obviously MV is watching and listening to feedback from some people.

Of the those three, I would feel pretty comfortable that updates will come in due time and be of relevance to what is reported. I think everything has kind of slowed down in the last year due to both everything going on in the world and some unnecessary demanding from some folks, but those three have proven that they can not only competently keep their platforms supported, but listen to what is reported back to them.

To me personally, Escort is on the flip side of this. They are professionals at either not releasing any updates for a platform, or doing needless upgrades without fixing crucial issues. I mean, it took a long time to get AutoJTK support for the jammers. It took a lot of unsuccessful updates to fix the lock ups on the Max360 platform (if it has been fixed). What about the IVT filter fix for the IX? Having members of the company join here felt like a start, and it certainly looked promising with the subsequent updates to the R360c and Max 3. However, it feels like they are trending back towards their old ways.
 

Disco47

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"responsive" is very subjective. Kind of a rough time right now so maybe conduct this poll when things are somewhat back to normal.
There's no excuse for not doing software updates. That sorta thing can be done in your underwear at home.
 

WildOne

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There's no excuse for not doing software updates. That sorta thing can be done in your underwear at home.
Yes, it may be "software", but it still needs to be tested with lab equipment at least. Not every engineer has the required equipment at home because the company may not have enough to send home or the inclination to disperse it's equipment. But that said, it can still be written at home to save some time.
 

Boozehound

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Prior to G2 I'd have definitely voted Uniden. But I voted VR because Uniden slowed down but is still pretty excellent in my view. Glad VR finally took it up a level with remote updating. I wouldn't criticize Radenso at this point either. That might come easy for me since I don't own one.

Then there's Escort. Their updates to R360c are on a different level from anything else from them. Hope that trend continues. I'd vote VR and Escort as most improved.
 

Jon at Radenso

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Yes, it may be "software", but it still needs to be tested with lab equipment at least. Not every engineer has the required equipment at home because the company may not have enough to send home or the inclination to disperse it's equipment. But that said, it can still be written at home to save some time.

Most people have no idea how much money lab equipment costs to do work in the 30-40ghz range. If you are starting from scratch and doing it on the cheap, I would say it costs about $300k to fully outfit a rudimentary high frequency lab, not including software. A single VNA or Specan can be $100k+, depending on your needs. Connectors capable of passing 40ghz cost $100-200 each, and six inch cables are $300. Assortment of X, K, and KA band horns (few grand easy). And you need an assortment of connector types and cable lengths (90 degree, straight through, edge-mount, surface mount, 2.92, 2.4, etc). Signal generators are thousands. Calibrated hybrid dowconverters, same thing. Tem cells, filters, amplifiers, test fixtures, power supplies, scopes, load testers, microscopes, soldering stations, hot air stations, SDRs, reflow ovens, LPKF machines. And you don't need just one of these things, otherwise you will have engineers constantly bumping into each other.

Then, if you want to talk about "nice to haves" which help for making things like text fixtures, backing plates etc:

Dual extrusion 3d printer
CNC machine for precision backing plates in copper and brass
Glowforge laser
Drill press
Full assortment of power and hand tools
Complete hardware assortment (nuts/bolts/washer)
Stock of different thickness copper and brass sheets

Not to mention $150k+ in annual software licenses:

CST Microwave Office
AWR
Altium
PADS
Vivado
Fusion360
Solidworks
Plus a bunch I am forgetting

And, you need multiple seats of each (otherwise only one engineer can use it at a time) and you need multiple operating system licenses (linux and windows).

Low frequency stuff is cheap...but once you start getting above the 18-20ghz range things exponentially increase in price.

"Working from home" can only get engineers so far when you need access to this equipment.
 
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ARkaband

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I think @Boozehound nailed it. A year ago I also would’ve voted for Uniden, but Valentine has shown a lot of promise with the G2 and the ability to update it without sending it in. I believe we’ve had 4 (?) new updates since its release?
 

CarefulDriver

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Most people have no idea how much money lab equipment costs to do work in the 30-40ghz range. If you are starting from scratch and doing it on the cheap, I would say it costs about $300k to fully outfit a rudimentary high frequency lab, not including software. A single VNA or Specan can be $100k+, depending on your needs. Connectors capable of passing 40ghz cost $100-200 each, and six inch cables are $300. Assortment of X, K, and KA band horns (few grand easy). And you need an assortment of connector types and cable lengths (90 degree, straight through, edge-mount, surface mount, 2.92, 2.4, etc). Signal generators are thousands. Calibrated hybrid dowconverters, same thing. Tem cells, filters, amplifiers, test fixtures, power supplies, scopes, load testers, microscopes, soldering stations, hot air stations, SDRs, reflow ovens, LPKF machines. And you don't need just one of these things, otherwise you will have engineers constantly bumping into each other.

Then, if you want to talk about "nice to haves" which help for making things like text fixtures, backing plates etc:

Dual extrusion 3d printer
CNC machine for precision backing plates in copper and brass
Glowforge laser
Drill press
Full assortment of power and hand tools
Complete hardware assortment (nuts/bolts/washer)
Stock of different thickness copper and brass sheets

Not to mention $150k+ in annual software licenses:

CST Microwave Office
AWR
Altium
PADS
Vivado
Fusion360
Solidworks
Plus a bunch I am forgetting

And, you need multiple seats of each (otherwise only one engineer can use it at a time) and you need multiple operating system licenses (linux and windows).

Low frequency stuff is cheap...but once you start getting above the 18-20ghz range things exponentially increase in price.

"Working from home" can only get engineers so far when you need access to this equipment.
I'm curious, how often your software developers need to do the lab tests? Debugging DSP things probably require lab equipment to be available every 30 minutes, but I'm pretty sure everything else can be tested without such a gear.
 

Jon at Radenso

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I'm curious, how often your software developers need to do the lab tests? Debugging DSP things probably require lab equipment to be available every 30 minutes, but I'm pretty sure everything else can be tested without such a gear.

Totally depends on what they are working on. Adding a feature to UI? Can be done easily at home. But "firmware" also includes things like setting gain levels sometimes, and that you may need equipment for.

There is also a difference between detector architectures. With something like the Pro M, the same IC that handles the UI is also handling signal processing. This is why stupid errors could creep into firmware sometimes - engineers at Genevo would go change the laser tone, but screw up false filtering or something.

With Theia, the UI is completely abstracted from the signal processing hardware, so there is zero risk of that happening. It's just linux, and the DSP is contained in the FPGA.

Honestly, with Theia we will stop using the term "firmware" as a catch all. There will be OS updates, and then there will be DSP updates. Theia is the first detector where what the forum calls "firmware" updates will actually be software updates. There are an incredible amount of benefits from this from many standpoints, including reliability and scalability.

The OS we developed for Theia will be the same one in use on all future in-house Radenso detectors, and it will be refined over years and years as opposed to starting from scratch with each new detector like everyone does currently.
 
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CarefulDriver

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Totally depends on what they are working on. Adding a feature to UI? Can be done easily at home. But "firmware" also includes things like setting gain levels sometimes, and that you may need equipment for.

There is also a difference between detector architectures. With something like the Pro M, the same IC that handles the UI is also handling signal processing. This is why stupid errors could creep into firmware sometimes - engineers at Genevo would go change the laser tone, but screw up false filtering or something.

With Theia, the UI is completely abstracted from the signal processing hardware, so there is zero risk of that happening. It's just linux, and the DSP is contained in the FPGA.

Honestly, with Theia we will stop using the term "firmware" as a catch all. There will be OS updates, and then there will be DSP updates. Theia is the first detector where what the forum calls "firmware" updates will actually be software updates. There are an incredible amount of benefits from this from many standpoints, including reliability and scalability.

The OS we developed for Theia will be the same one in use on all future in-house Radenso detectors, and it will be refined over years and years as opposed to starting from scratch with each new detector like everyone does currently.
Yes firmware is low-level software while things like UI are high-level. High-level software is less hardware-dependent. That IC thing was new to me, I thought most detectors have separate DSP chip like Blackfin?
 

LouG

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VR are listening to, and soliciting, user feedback constantly. Good and bad, they're not just relying on feedback from retailers and customer complaints.
But let's not turn this into a venue for a companies self puffery.
 

DC Fluid

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The poll is flawed by the perception of users at a particular moment in time.
When a new detector comes out the pattern appears to be more rapid response to issues and complaints to get rid of the most pressing and easily fixed items.
When Uniden released the R3 and R7 there was many and frequent firmware updates to correct initial issues and complaints. It slows down as each platform stabilizes and either issues become negligent, reached a peak as far as device capabilities, or drop down in importance is the overall picture.

Valentine exhibited the same V1G2 response with hardware and firmware repairs to address initial release items. How long since a major firmware update for the V1? It's reached it's peak and no longer a priority.

Escort and the Redline, same pattern. Max series obviously stabilized to their satisfaction for now.

Of all the above examples, Uniden has been the only one adding significant FEATURES to their updates, adding more functionality, settings, performance, etc.
While everyone wants better BSM filtering and Auto Mute Memory the core items have received plenty of attention.
Showing down is expected as how much is reasonable to keep updating and improving a device for free?
No need to ever buy anything else if your one device is kept modern and current forever.
 

cihkal

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VR seems to have a good amount of incentive to continue supporting the V1G2. Thankfully their efforts will be realized through software upgrades with this unique, compressive receiver design!

I'm looking forward to what comes next; it's cake that I can so easily and directly check/apply through my phone. Makes sense, they did a nice job supporting the G1 in an old-school fashion!

Given VR's long track record and great support with the G2 thus far, it was an easy vote! 🇺🇸
 

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