5.0.2 / 5.0.3 Patch Release Notes

Please find a detailed explanation of the current 5.0 MESH technology, issues discovered in the 5.0.0 BETA, and a description of the fixes in 5.0.2 / 5.0.3 along with known issues and resolutions. The 5.0.3 version is for the 36M and 72M only and is compatible with all other equipment running 5.0.2. Any questions, please contact Scott Smith at ssmith@cobrafiringsystems.com or 518-222-7410.

Explanation of MESH Technology

For those unaware of the MESH functionality, it signal enhancement feature which enables all devices, including the 18R, 18R2, 18M and Audio Box, to act as intelligent repeaters for improving signal in situations where direct line of sight is not obtainable. This signal repeating technology is leveraged in both TEST and ARM mode for all communications including the sending and receiving of all data including continuity, battery life, signal, script data, and device mode acknowledgment. Signal values are dramatically improved as they show the best signal within a defined time period from neighboring devices. By having this technology, a device that may not receive data from the remote, may receive data from another device, or vice-versa in sending data back to the remote.

BETA Testing and Discovered Issues

We would like to thank our client base for their active participation in the BETA testing process and the discovery of any issues. The purpose of this email, in addition to notifying our clients of the new 5.0 BETA release, is to release a new patch release that includes several fixes that are important for reliable operation. We estimate the new 5.0.0 firmware release has fired at least 1,000 shows without issue. However, with any BETA, we began to receive some oddities. These included the 18R2 not displaying the full armed module count, or in rare cases, having a module not fire even though it showed as armed. In addition, we received some reports of sleep wake-up issues and modules in an unresponsive state whereby the operator noticed this prior to firing, powered the module off and on, which resolved the issue.

Explanation of Issues

The current MESH technology uses a hybrid design that leverages both the native MESH function within our core Synapse network platform, and a custom secondary application layer designed by COBRA to ensure acknowledgment, timing, and security between devices and other systems. When powering on an 18R2 for the first time, we use the combination of master sessions, sub-sessions, and serialized communication between all devices to ensure "new" information is being processed, and "old" information is not. In any MESH network, it's possible to have both "old" and "new" information overlapping within the repeating infrastructure. Within our manual and automated testing, we tested proper data acknowledgment and response from all devices. However, what we found after client reports and further aggressive testing of the systems changing their "sessions" by either being power cycled, or moving from TEST to ARM on the 18R or 18R2, the "old" information was being confused with "new" information. This caused the 18R2 to become confused in thinking a module was in test mode when it was armed, or vice-versa. This confusion would cause for potential issues in the data reported to the 18R2 or 18M modules. It's important to note that of the thousand+ shows fired with 5.0, that only a few cases of modules not firing was reported. That being said, the situation we discovered is very real, and only until recently replicated through our work with our clients and further aggressive automated testing.

The summary of issues includes:

- 18R2 slow to load the final few modules in ARM mode
- 18M not waking up properly from sleep mode
- 18M becoming stuck in a state of toggling between ARM and TEST mode (test and arm LED blinking back and forth)
- 18M not properly receiving the downloaded script from the 18R2
- 18R not firing channel 00 manually
- 18R in some cases having continuity disappear and re-appear momentarily
- Audio box incorrectly aligning when pressing the + and - buttons on the 18R2
- Minor audio box distortion upon pausing and resuming script
- 18R2 displaying incorrect -99 signal for modules
- 36/72M not displaying continuity in direct sunlight

5.0.2 / 5.0.3 Patch Fixes

We have currently released a new 5.0.2 / 5.0.3 patch release which addresses all of the above issues by employing an important change to our secondary application layer for filtering out and ignoring "old" non-relevant data. These changes were performed across all systems including our 18R, 18R2, 18M and Audio Box across all hardware versions. We have performed extensive testing on this with both low and high module count environments and feel confident that the issues are now resolved with the exception of two items noted below.

5.0.2 Known Issues

We are currently aware of two issues. It is important to state that the issues below are uncommon and only display sometimes with larger module count shows. Please find a description of the issue below, along with how to resolve in the field if encountered.

Issue #1
Symptom: This happens only to the 18M hardware version A. The 18M is in an unresponsive state when armed or being woke up by the remote. If this occurs, the 18R2 will NOT display the module as armed and alert the user of the channel and address of the unit with the issue.
How to Fix: The operator can simply power off and power on the 18M which will allow the module to report back correctly to the 18R2 and fire normally during the show. Once armed, the module has no risk going back into this state.

Issue #2:
Symptom: The 18R2 does not show a module in the ARM count on the 18R2 even though the module ARM LED is lit. In this situation, assuming the module key is in the ARM position, the module WILL fire both manually and also fire a script.
How to Fix: Power off the 18M and power back on. Alternatively, if you disarm the 18R2 and re-arm the 18R2, the modules should refresh to the ARM state assuming you don't see another module not appearing in the module ARM count. Note that even though the module is not showing in the ARM count, it's actually armed and will fire.

Commitment by Scott Smith at COBRA

I wanted to let our clients know that reliability and safety are paramount for our system operations. With over 12,000 customers around the world. I have a very personal commitment to the highest level of quality, and commitment to our clients. If anyone has any questions or concerns, I provide my personal cell phone 518-222-7410 for any client who wants to call day or night. We are incredibly excited for 5.0 to be marked stable. Our 5.0.3 release will be labelled a "release candidate" and will shortly after become marked "stable".