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Motortronics Mvc3 Revisions


valancelectron
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Is it just me or has Motortronics gone crazy with all the different firmware revisions in their MVC series softstarts? Everytime I order parts from Motortronics I get a new revision . . . Version 005 .0.32 to .036 to Version 006 .0.22 to .0.56 to .0.64 etc etc.

 

Then with every revision a new version of DS1 software is also released because none of their software is forward or backwards compatable. You can't back up your parameters with one version of DS1 and then download the parameters to the new MVC3 you just pulled from the store room and installed becasue the firmware revisions do not match.

 

I can't believe a company in this day and time can be so barbaric with their programming software. :blink:

 

 

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I no longer work for Motortronics, but I was around when a lot of this was happening and I concur with GGOSS that it has become very commonplace with manufactures of digital electronics. From my experience there are several problems that cause this;

 

1) They find new special case situations where some feature they have does not work correctly in some specific situation, so they make a correction and decide they had better incorporate that into all future products to avoid that issue in the future. You could make the argument that they should only make that correction for the special case they find it in, but try to justify that to the 2nd person who runs into it.

 

2) Similarly, some customer suggests that they add a new feature to get a big order, or they insist on a feature previously found only in a competitor's product. To do the engineering once is enough, so they add it in for all future products.

 

3) There is a surprisingly short life cycle on a lot of components and digital products now, meaning that all of a sudden, working systems must be changed to accommodate a replacement device, which often works slightly differently than before. This usually necessitates a new firmware and or software change as well and is the usual reason why backwards compatibility is usually impossible.

 

4) Long term failures of component parts. As a system matures, like the MVC3 controller, they find that some small component is beginning to fail too early. A classic for Motortronics during my tenure was DC/DC converters used in their PC board level power supplies. They went through almost every supplier in the universe before they finally gave up on finding a reliable one and started making their own from scratch. Every time they went to a new one, it worked ever so slightly differently and needed new firmware to accommodate its idiosyncrasies. It was maddening for quite a while on that issue; one brand worked like we wanted it to, but couldn't stand the elevated heat. Another lived in the heat but required repeated tweaking of the crowbar circuit for orderly shutdown on power loss. Then it started failing from voltage spikes so we switched again, and again, and again. Each time, the new firmware made the new software versions incompatible with old hardware.

 

 

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Often it is just a philosophical thing. The gurus writing the software have never done any field work and just do not understand the importance of portability, upwards and downwards compatibility.

As an ex design engineer, I always put this very high on the priority list and any enhancements or changes to a model were always a superset of the previous revision. It may have extra parameters or functions, but these always occurred in a manner that the previous set up worked with extras.

 

- It can be done, but so often, top level design spec is done by sales oriented brochure jockeys and no one considers the real world.

 

Best regards,

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It comes down to balance between being able to claim everything that is in every one else’s brochures, usability(including serviceability), manufacturability, uniqueness and commercial viability.

 

The top level design spec needs to be done by a balanced group of people who represent all facets of the business, the spec needs to be unilaterally agreed to, otherwise you get shifting specs and a frustrated partner or two from some aspect of the business.

 

I prefer to design for serviceability rather than manufacturability. If you design for serviceability, it will be easy to manufacture and to service. If you design for manufacturability only, it may be unserviceable, and you can be sure that if it is unserviceable, you will need to service it.

 

Best regards,

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  • 2 years later...
This is common place. I've used abb, control techniques, saftronics (now emerson) & motortronics. They all have frequent firmware revisions.

 

:lol:

If you are referring to Medium Voltage soft starters, ABB and Saftronics / Emerson ARE the Motortronics MV soft starters brand labeled!

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