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2015/02/12 - Adventures in upgrading software

posted Feb 11, 2015, 10:06 PM by Jeff Balderson   [ updated Feb 11, 2015, 10:30 PM ]
The other day I sat down at my workbench, fired up my CNC control program to start running the first of two jobs I'm working on.  A prompt that there was a newer version of the software greeted me and I figured, "Sure, why not?"  The upgrade went smoothly, as well as the controller firmware update.   Little did I know that was the last thing to go smoothly that evening.

I started running the job and it was acting a little funny the entire time.  The movement was jerky and it actually missed a few steps while doing the final outer profile cut for the piece, but I was able to shave a little off the sides to square them back up.  Fortunately, no harm done and the finished piece came out very nice.

So, why not?  How about the fact that my second job has to be ready in a week?  

Long story short: Start second job; catastrophic problems with tons of lost steps, much worse than the previous job; check job and hardware, find nothing; eventually roll back to previous version of software to find problems mysteriously gone.  Fortunately, I have enough extra stock it shouldn't set me back anything more than time, but it's too late in the evening to re-run that part.   Next day, research an inordinately long time to find an obscured mention of a checkbox that should be checked when using my controller, reinstall new version, check checkbox and voila, it works perfectly.

So all my problems and frustration turned out to be a simple checkbox that apparently was benign in its previous setting on the older version of the software, but is now troublesome.

Moral:  Upgrade only when you don't have something with a deadline looming.  

It's a nice moral. It's simple and makes sense.  It'll probably fail entirely to cross my mind the next time I'm presented with a similar situation.