What is the software version?
Although COBRA is technically hardware, each COBRA product (18R, 18R2, 18M) has a small computer which contains software. As usability and feature enhancements are performed to each unit, COBRA releases new software versions. This is one of the benefits of COBRA as most systems never improve where COBRA does.
How can I tell what software version my system is running?
When you turn on a COBRA product (18R, 18R2, 18M), the first information displayed is the software version. For example, 1.4.5, 1.4.6, 2.0.0, etc... The higher the number, the more recent the software.
How can I upgrade my systems to the latest software?
COBRA provides two options for upgrading software.
Option 1: Ship your systems to COBRA headquarters. Once received, COBRA will perform the software upgrade for free. You are only required to pay for shipping both ways.
Option 2: Purchase a wireless software re-programmer. Using this device, you can upgrade the software on your own. All you need is a PC, no disassembly of the units is required to perform the upgrade, everything is 100% wireless.
In order to perform a software upgrade, you'll need to install the Synapse Portal software on your PC.
COBRA is in the final stages of releasing a new 4.0 beta firmware (formerly 3.1). This version is not yet released. We thank everyone for their patience as we are committed to the highest level of quality and time to do things right.
The new release will include a handful of new features including the following:
Deadman button - The optional script confirmation button has changed to a "deadman" button. Specifying this arugment will require the deadman button to be pressed to fire the show. Releasing the button temporarily stops the show until re-pressed and held. A hand-held hardware version will be released in a later phase.
Multiple audio files - Define a different audio file for each script. This does not remove the 2 channel limit for any script beyond the 1st, however it sets the stage for the removal of this limit. In addition, this feature can support SPFX sound bytes where a small audio sample is pressed for mini-script effects.
Adjusted battery level range and warning - The 18M battery level ranges have been adjusted to more accurately represent the life of the battery. These changes will represent a 30% increase in battery life. In addition, the low battery warning will now trigger at 1P2 vs. 1P3. Both these changes will provide a more accurate and longer representation of operational battery life on the 18M module.
Low signal warning - If an 18M has a low signal (beyond -70), the 18R2 will proactively warn the operator. In addition to the 18M address, the signal level and 18M channel will display. For example, "Lo", "Ant", "-75", "A01", "C02". This allows the operator to know the exact module address, channel and associated signal level.
Channel and battery level displayed for low battery warning - In addition to displaying the 18M address, the low battery level warning will display the 18M channel. This allows for easier identification of an 18M in the field.
Low battery level warning - The low 18M battery level warning now displays the actual 1P value vs. a simple "Lo" warning. For example, "Lo", "bAt", "P3", "A01", "C02". This allows the operator to know the exact module address, channel and associated battery level. With the battery level (P0-P3) displayed, the user can now determine whether a battery change is required.
18R2 default channel now c00 - The 18R2 default channel is now c00. This was changed from c01.
Force unsync functionality removed from 18M - The force unsync functionality has been removed from the 18M. Previously, a user would force unsync the 18M from the synced remote by holding the SYNC button for 15+ seconds. This was causing users to inadvertantly force unsync their 18M modules. This functionality was removed.
Force unsync time extended from 15 to 30 seconds on 18R and 18R2 - The force unsync time has been extended from 15 seconds to 30 seconds on the 18R2. Previously, a user would hold the SYNC button for 15+ seconds to force unsync the 18R or 18R2 from all modules. This was causing users to inadvertantly force unsync their 18M modules. This functionality was kept, but the 15 second time-frame was extended to 30+ seconds.
Disable firing button - An optional "disable firing" button was added to the script header. You can specify a button 1-18. If pressed while a script is running, all 18M modules will disable firing, but the script will continue. By pressing the disable firing button again, the 18M modules will resume firing, but not fire previously unfired cues. If the audio box is playing audio, the audio continue playing even if firing is disabled. While firing is disabled, the 18R2 will rotate display of "no" + "Fir" to indicate the 18M firing modules are not firing.
Auto-fire functionality now displays count-down - When using the on-the-fly AUTO-FIRE functionality, the bottom two 7-segment displays now display a countdown to the next cue firing. Previously, no countdown would display.
Thumb drive must be in 18R2 prior to power on to load a script - To support COBRA Control Panel integration, the USB thumb drive containing the cobra.csv script file must be placed into the 18R prior to power on. This is because the 18R2 first looks for the USB thumb drive containing a script. Then, after 2 seconds of not finding a script, the 18R2 will attempt to connect to the COBRA Control Panel.
Device names changed in Portal when using the wireless reprogrammer - Using the Wireless Reprogrammer, the device names shown in the Node Views tab have been re-named to be more intuitive. For example, CFS18WiR has been re-named to COBRA_18R. Other devices are now COBRA_18R, COBRA_18R2, COBRA18M, and COBRA_AB respectively.
In addition to the above minor enhancements, we are proud to release a new product called the COBRA Control Panel. This product is a stand-alone accessory to the 18R2. Using the Control Panel, the operator can have a large UI display for viewing modules and script execution.
Stable Release Candidate v3.0.3, April 2014
[ download 3.0.3 release pack
[ download updated reprogramming instructions
synchronization process change:
- The remote / module synchronization process has changed slightly in 3.0.3. To sync, press SYNC on both the remote and module at the same time. Before the units sync, "P" will display on the devices. Once synced, you need to re-start the 18R or 18R2. If you are syncing multiple 18M modules, you don't need to re-start the 18R or 18R2 each time you sync an 18M.
- Audio accuracy - Audio now plays in perfect sync to 18M firing modules. The 350ms manual alignment is no longer required.
- 320k MP3 audio quality - Audio box now supports the highest quality 320k audio compression. The 128k audio compression is still supported.
- Manually fire cues while script is running - You can now manually fire cues while a script is running.
- Fire multiple scripts without disarming - You can now fire multple scripts without disarming and re-arming the 18R2.
- Syncing process changed - When syncing, the 18R, 18R2 and 18M now display "P" before syncing. Once synced, you are required to re-start the 18R or 18R2. You can sync as many 18M modules to the remote while "P" is displayed on the remote.
- Sleep mode no longer displays backlight - The 18M sleep mode will last about 25% longer in sleep mode.
- Sleep mode efficiency improved 25% - The 18M sleep mode will last about 25% longer in sleep mode compared to version 2.1. When asleep, the TEST LED now double blinks vs. the 7-segment --- bars.
- Manual AUTO-FIRE works past 12 seconds - For manual AUTO-FIRE fixed delay sequences, you can now fire sequences greater than 12 seconds.
- Reinforced wireless security - General reinforcements in data encryption, data storage, and integrity of wireless communications.
- Some older 18M hardware versions, specifically those with a STRYKE18 label may require a special hard-wired re-programming process. If you have one of these units, please email email@example.com as we'll ship you a free hard wired reprogrammer.
BETA v3.0.0, April 2013
[ download beta 3.0.1 release pack
18M will update as 3.0.1, 18R2 will update as 3.0.0
- Unlimited channel firing - Fire unlimited channels at the same time, down to a 1/10th second resolution
- Improved STEP scripting - Easily embed timed events into STEP scripts for manually fired scripts
- Audio box integration - The brand new COBRA Audio Box, limited production release early June 2013. Keep tuned!
- Backlight stays on in sleep mode
- Manual firing of cues while a script is running has been disabled (will re-enabled after July 4th)
- In some cases, testing continuity locally from the 18M will cause the 18M to re-start
Note: This release is for the 18M only. The 18R and 18R2 will remain as 2.1.0.
- Sleep mode wake fix - Improved efficiencies / in some cases modules would not wake up from sleep mode and require manual re-boot
v2.1.0, May 2012
- Universal compatibility - The 18R, 18R2 and 18M all function together and are now interoperable.
- 18M 1P low battery level warning - The 18M will alert the 18R or 18R2 if the 1P operational battery is at a power level of 1P3 (30%) or lower. The 18R or 18R2 will display "Lo" followed by the unique module address (e.g. "Lo" followed by "A01").
v1.4.8 / v2.0.1, January 2012
- Bump-proof channel change protection - When accidentally bumping or pressing the CH+ or CH- buttons on the module, the channel won't change. Instead, the user must press and hold the CH+ or CH- buttons momentarily before the channel changes.
- Remote arm confirmation - The 18R remote's ARM LED will flash red when in FIRE / ARM mode if any synced module in the field has the key left in the test position. Otherwise, the LED will display solid red. This is a warning to the remote operator that someone did not arm a module in preparation for firing the show.
v1.4.7, August 2011
- Power up in day mode - The remote and module now power up in day mode, then turn to night mode. This allows for better power viewing in day conditions upon startup.
- LED display confirmation - Upon start-up, all LEDs blink green, then red. This allows quick confirmation of all LED function.
- Improved wake-up timing - Modules now wake up quicker from sleep mode when using more than 5-10+ modules in the field. Previously modules could take up to 5+ seconds to wake up. This timing has been improved with more efficient network traffic settings.
v1.4.5 / 1.4.6, April 2011
- Sub-sequence support - The remote now supports the ability to perform a sub-sequence, which is an automatically sequence between a starting cue and an ending cue. For example, you can sequence between cues 1 and 6, or cues 7 and 12, or cues 1 and 18. You can also sequence backwards from cues 6 to 1. To perform the sub-sequence, simply press SEQ, press the starting cue, then ending cue, then press SEQ again. By holding the SEQ button down, the channel will either auto-increment up or auto-increment down depending on the direction of the sequence. You can continue to hold the SEQ button across multiple channels if desired.
v1.4.4, March 2011
- E-match and consumer igniter clip mode - The firing module now has a setting to toggle between e-match and consumer igniter clip mode. In e-match mode, 100ms of current is provided to each cue. In consumer igniter mode, 2s of current is provided to each cue. The reason for these modes is to avoid a shorted cue to draw current from an active cue. Therefore, when using e-matches, we recommend using the e-match mode vs. consumer igniter clip mode.
To toggle to e-match mode, press and hold SYNC and CH-. 0.1 is displayed on the channel display.
To toggle to consumer igniter clip mode, press and hold SYNC and CH+. 2.0 is displayed on the channel display.
v1.4.3, February 2011
- Hold firing buttons send continual firing commands - The remote now sends the firing command continually when holding any of the firing buttons including the individual 1-18 cue buttons, STEP, and SEQ buttons. Previously, the firing command was sent for 480ms and then stopped. Now, the firing command will be sent until the bottom is released. This will support firing at extreme ranges up to 4,000m beyond the advertised 500m range.
- Sleep mode displays "---" vs. "-" - When in sleep mode, the firing mode and remote now displays "---" vs. "-". This makes sleep mode more obvious to the user vs. thinking the unit is turned off.
- Quicker response when testing cues from firing module - Pressing TEST on the firing module now displays cue continuity faster, commonly under 0.5 seconds. Previously the system would wait up to 1 second before continuity was displayed.
- Holding down CH+/- and SEQ +/- buttons auto-increment improvements - The CH+, CH-, SEQ+, and SEQ- buttons auto increment by 5 when held for more than 2 seconds. This allows users to go quickly from Channel 1 to Channel 99, or from 0.1s to 99 seconds.
- Firing module signal strength - By pressing SYNC on the firing module, the signal strength from only the remote is displayed. Previously, the firing module would display signal strength of any other units including other firing modules. This allows you to test signal strength from firing modules without having to turn off other firing modules.
- Remote signal strength - By pressing SYNC on the remote, the signal strength from the firing module(s) only on the selected channel is displayed. This allows you to check signal strength for individual channels. If multiple modules are on the same channel, a random signal strength is displayed. The functionality does not yet support toggling between individual modules on the same channel.
- Auto sequence between channels - You can now perform automatic sequences from across multiple channels. For example, you can execute a 0.1s sequence from channel 1 to channel 3 by holding down the SEQ button while executing the sequence. Once cue #18 is reached, the channel is automatically incremented and a new sequence begins on channel 2. You can perform this function across as many channels as desired.
- SEQ stop controls - By pressing SEQ after starting an auto-sequence, the remote sends a SEQ stop command to stop any currently running sequence for safety purposes. When pressing the SEQ button to stop, "StP" displays on the remote and the 18-cue LEDs stop sequencing and turn off. By re-pressing SEQ the sequence will start again at 1.
- Software version displayed when system is powered-on - When powering on either the remote or firing module, the software version is displayed. For example, 1.4.0. COBRA will offer a re-programming unit to customers to upgrade their own software. This will allow the user to know what current version they are running and what features exist for that version.
- Wake up on any button press - The remote and firing module will wake up on any button press. Previously this was only when pressing the SYNC button.
- Time to sleep extended to 60 seconds - The remote and firing module will fall asleep after 60 seconds of inactivity in TEST mode only. They will continue to never fall asleep in FIRE mode. Previously the firing module fell asleep after 5 seconds and the remote after 15 seconds.