V2 firmware updating instructions

Overview #

Updating your V2/V2.1 preamp’s firmware requires the use of a PC based bootloader program together with the latest firmware “hex” file. The short version of the procedure is as follows:

  1. Download both the bootloader and the firmware file from our website.
  2. Connect your PC to your preamp via a USB cable.
  3. Start the PC bootloader program which then waits in standby.
  4. Apply power to your preamp
  5. The bootloader program will only “see” the preamp for 5 seconds after power is applied during  which time you must lock in the connection.
  6. With the preamp actively connected to the bootloader application, select the firmware file, and execute the upload.

Once set up, the above firmware upload/update process typically takes less than 15 seconds.

More detailed instructions on the firmware update process are provided herein.

What is the bootloader? #

The (mikro)Bootloader  is a small PC based software application that you use to establish USB communications with, and upload new firmware into, the V2/V25 preamp.

Unfortunately the Bootloader is a PC/Windows only application. There’s no MAC version currently available. We are not anti-MAC, but the supplier of our programming tools stubbornly refuses to provide a MAC version of the Bootloader program while providing no reasons for not doing so.

The Bootloader program is a simple executable file (mikroBootloaderUSBHID.exe). Unlike conventional software, it does not have to be formally installed/registered into your PC. The program file simply has to reside somewhere on your PC. We suggest you download to your PC desktop. The first time your run this program (by double clicking on it) it will create a small text file named “settings.ini” in the same directory. No special drivers are needed. It doesn’t install or change anything in your PC. If your PC has a USB port, you should be good to go.  We know the Bootloader works with Windows 7, 8 and 10. It may also work with  older versions of Windows but we haven’t tested that. To remove the Bootloader program from your PC simply erase both the  mikroBootloaderUSBHID.exe and settings.ini files from whatever directory you put them in.

Please not that simply connecting the USB cable between your PC and preamp and then starting the bootloader program DOES NOTHING! Please read on.

Download the bootloader here #


About USB cables – important! #

The #1 problem that people encounter when trying to update their firmware is the inability to make a connection after carefully following  the instructions below. In most cases this is caused by their USB cable.

Most of us have several USB cables laying around because we have cell/smartphones and other devices that use USB cables for charging. Unfortunately, many of these USB cables are for charging only and lack the ability to transmit data.

“Charging only” USB cables will not work with the bootloader and firmware update system!

You need to use a proper USB “data” cable that has the conductors for the D+ and D- USB data signals.

Firmware updating will not work without a proper USB data cable.

Step 1 – preparation #

Remove power from your preamp #

This is key and often confuses people so read carefully. The Bootloader is only able to connect to your preamp during the 5 seconds after power is applied. Therefore you must first remove power from the preamp.

Download firmware file & bootloader program #

The latest firmware file and the Bootloader program can both be found here [link to be added].

The firmware file is referred to as a “hex” file because it’s a text file wherein the code is formatted using a specific hexadecimal protocol and that file type uses a .hex suffix.

The Bootloader program is a small Windows executable (.exe) application file. You only need to download it once and keep it handy somewhere on your PC. The bootloader program is very non-intrusive. It doesn’t install itself on your PC. It doesn’t change any settings on your PC.

Connect the USB cable #

Finished Preamps – All finished Tortuga preamps require a USB cable with type A male connectors on both ends. The cable is supplied with all finished Tortuga Audio preamps. Connecting the cable does nothing by itself. Your PC should not react.

DIY Boards – Micro-B Socket – If you have an older V2 LDR3x DIY board with a micro-B socket board soldered to the J8 header on the board you’ll need a cable with a male A end and male micro-B USB end. An LED light on the micro USB connector breakout board on the V2 will light up once it’s connected to your PC.

DIY Board – Tortuga USB Connector – If you are using a Tortuga USB connector cable with the female end connected to the J8 header make sure you have the female end connected such that the red wire is next to microcontroller end of J8 header and not the end with the white dot.

Step 2 – Start the bootloader program #

When the Bootloader program starts it will look more or less like the pic below. At this point it won’t be doing anything except waiting.


Step 3 – Establish the USB link to the preamp #

Connecting power to your preamp starts the 5 second bootloader connect window.

You should notice the following changes to the mikroBootloader program once power is applied to your preamp:

  1. The little USB symbol to the right of “1 Wait for USB link” should turn red
  2. The Device window should display “LR3x.V2 Board” or “LDR.V25” or similar
  3. The MCU Type window should display “PIC18” or “STM32F” or similar
  4. The History Window should say “Waiting MCU response…”

At this point you will have 5 seconds to establish a USB link between your PC and preamp by pressing the “Connect” button next to “2 Connect to MCU”. If all goes well, the “Connect” button text will change to “Disconnect” and the History Window will now say “Connected” as shown in the pic below. If you run out of time, don’t panic, just remove power again, wait a few seconds and then reapply power to the preamp which restarts the 5 second Bootloader timer.

Step 4 – Choose the firmware (.hex) file #

Select your firmware file by pressing the “Browse for Hex” button next to “3 Choose HEX file”.  This will open a file dialog box. Find your downloaded .hex file stored on your PC and click the “Open” button. At this point the firmware is ready to be uploaded into the preamp board.

Step 5 – Upload firmware to preamp #

Press the “Begin uploading” button next to “4 Start bootloader” to upload the firmware file into the preamp. The previous firmware build will first be erased and then the updated software build will be written to the preamp’s microcontroller chip. This erase/write operation is very fast and should take less than 5 seconds to complete.

You should get a “Success” message. Click the  “OK” button to close the message box. Note the new messages in the History Window. Upon a successful write, the Bootloader program will automatically disconnect from preamp and the preamp will reboot which takes an additional 5 seconds.

You are now done and can close the Bootloader program, disconnect the USB cable, and enjoy your updated preamp.


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2 thoughts on “V2 firmware updating instructions”

    1. I’m sympathetic but our current development toolchain provider has stubbornly refused to support a MAC/Linux version of the Bootloader application notwithstanding countless requests to do do. We are taking steps to move towards a more flexible and universal set of development tools but that is a big move that must be taken in small steps and we’re not there yet.

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