RC210 Alternate Firmware

The RC210 Alternate firmware is replacement firmware written by VE7IHL and only implements a subset of the original ARCOM firmware functionality. The RC210 is a popular repeater controller used by many amateur radio organizations.

Current RC210 Alternate Firmware Version Release Notes:

RC210 vA1.1.15 firmware, RTC V1.04 firmware, RC210_CFG program v1.1.15
RC210 FW: Added support to control ID Triggering (sending out of configured port IDs) when using linked ports. Added support for RC210 CFG tool to read/write the new global parameter: “Linked ports ID Trigger On/Off”. Now have the following configuration options for this On/Off setting: from the RC210CFG tool, from the RC210 internal firmware Macro numbers: 719 (Turn ON), and 720 (Turn OFF), and from the unlocked state: DTMF codes: *20911 (Turn ON) and *20912 (Turn OFF).
RC210 vA1.1.14 firmware, RTC V1.04 firmware, RC210_CFG program v1.1.14
RC210 FW: Added support to read any/all configured digital temperature sensors every 10 minutes. This is used to keep a running track of a digital temperature sensor’s HIGHEST and LOWEST values. Added support to read/save digital temperature HIGHEST and LOWEST values into ram. Added new MACROS: 704-707, 715-718, 570-585. Now have unlocked DTMF command support (and the higher-level macro support) to read all analog & digital temperature values: Current, Highest, and Lowest values. The HIGHEST and LOWEST values are only saved in ram and will be reset on a power-up or firmware reset. Added port unlocked DTMF command: 1555, 2555, and 3555 that will key up a single Port’s (1, 2, or 3) transmit and leave it keyed up. This is for testing transmit timeout timers (hardware timers) that are present in DE/Codan electronics. Any COS activate (key-up) on any port will cancel and turn off the Tx.
RC210 vA1.1.13 firmware, RTC V1.04 firmware, RC210_CFG program v1.1.13
RC210 FW: Fixed problem where if a Initial ID was playing in CW, and the user keys up, no audio would get transmitted (over-top of the CW). This applied to a linked port keying up too. Additional attempts to fix stuck Transmit problem. Interrupt protection added to some areas of the code to ensure integrity of the operation. The radio state machine’s code used to stop transmit has been changed to better support operation from a linked radio port. Fixed a problem where the Initial ID when using CW mode instigated from a linked port would sometimes play at a lower audio volume. Fixed a problem where when the Initial ID (played in CW) started from a linked port would sometimes get 2 sets of Courtesy Tones played. Changed the (MCU) Fatal error handler to always/eventually reset the CPU after displaying the fatal error code on the LEDs. Changed stuck Transmit monitor detection code to delay 5 seconds instead of the previous 10 seconds. Fine tuning of the stuck transmit monitoring code. Attempting to fix problem where a repeater’s transmit was shut off when it should have been left on.
RC210 vA1.1.12 firmware, RTC V1.04 firmware, RC210_CFG program v1.1.12
RC210 FW: Minor fix, COS/PLIN de-bounce code may not have worked on radio port 3.
Fixes for “stuck transmitter” problem: The stuck tx watchdog code is now enabled by default on start-up. (Can still be controlled ON/OFF via macro functions 710/711). When starting to stop a linked port’s tx, if it cannot be stopped right away, it will be delay stopped (always). This will add a typical .5 second in turning off the linked port’s tx. Found cause of stuck tx, was missing turning off an internal software flag that was indicating an Initial/pending ID was being sent.
RC210 vA1.1.11 firmware, RTC V1.04 firmware, RC210_CFG program v1.1.11
RC210_FW: Added new DTMF (when unlocked) commands:
*2050 xxx yyyyyyy . Used to write in MACRO DTMF command code.
*4002 * MacroFunc#> * …
*4008x. Reads back the contents of a command MACRO.
*4003x. Erase a command macro.
*2103 … up to 9 words. Message macro write command. Ensure each vocab word uses full 3 digits.
*31CT, *32CT, *33CT, and *34CT. Supports programming the Courtesy Tones (1-10)
*1017xy and *2092xy. Support for General Timers
Added support to track the number of hours the RC210 has been running (without a reboot). The number of hours running is only valid as long as the RC210 does not get reset, or a power failure occurs. Added unlocked diagnostic DTMF command: *22222 that will report the number of hours it has been running. Added new Macro function: 714 that will say/report the number of hours the RC210 has been running. Changed stuck Transmit watchdog code to wait up to 60 seconds (was previously 2 seconds) before trying to turn off a radio port’s transmit.
RC210_CFG: Added new Macro function: 714 to speak the elapsed number of hours Rc210 has been running without a power outage..
RC210 vA1.1.10 firmware, RTC V1.04 firmware, RC210_CFG program v1.1.10
RC210 FW: Added new MACRO commands: 712 and 713. 712 can be used to enable the Tx Fan operation, and 713 can be used to disable the Tx Fan operation. When using these macro commands, ensure they are placed at the start of MACRO definition (put them first). Fixed some logic problems with activating the Tx Fan, when audio is played from a macro and not from a COS started repeater operation. This change has been done to support the ability of disabling the tx fan when a low power, and/or AC power failure condition has been detected by the RC210 firmware. (via another RC210 input). Removed the previously added code that tried to compensate for the analog channel inline 470 ohm resistor on the analog temperature channel.
RC210_CFG: Added support for new Macro functions: 712 and 713.
RC210 Alternate Firmware Release Notes

Download Current Version and User Manual – Installer Zip Files and User Manual ZIP/PDF:

The zip file below should be downloaded to your PC, and then un-zipped to create the RC210 Alternate Firmware installer exe file. You will then run the installer to install the files onto your PC.

Previous Releases:

Why was this developed?

This firmware was developed by VE7IHL to be used on the RC210 controllers used on mountain-top repeaters owned/managed by the West Kootenay Amateur Radio Club (WKARC) located in Nelson, BC, Canada. It is not meant to be a fully functional replacement of the original ARCON RC210 firmware, only to have sufficient features to provide basic repeater operations.

The design of the firmware has been done to make the RC210 firmware robust in operation, and more robust in configuring it using the replacement Windows RCP Configuration program. This firmware has redundant non-volatile parameters copies (with an internal recovery procedure) of all the programming parameters stored in additional eeprom space located on the (optional) RTC board.

Internally the firmware uses Event-Driven real-time design concepts to maintain accurate internal timing. A Real-Time-Operating-System (RTOS) is used as the basis of the firmware design.

One of the design goals was to be able to reduce standby power consumption by putting the 2561/2560 MCU, the DVR voice recorder chip, and the optional RTC board MCU to sleep when no repeater activity is present. As of firmware vA1.08 a reduction of about 50% has been achieved. This will make the RC210 more suitable for solar power repeater systems. An example of the stand-by current 12V DC consumption for the Mount Lavina repeater is under .5 amp. This is powering two Daniels MT-3 radios (one of them is the VHF repeater, and the other is the UHF simplex link radios) and also the RC210 controller.

Functional Compatibility with Original ARCOM RC210 Firmware

The alternate RC210 firmware is compatible with the (a limited sub-set is supported) DTMF commands. The alternate firmware can be loaded into the RC210 board using the RS232 serial port and the ARCOM supplied Windows tool: Arcom 2561 Updater.

Hardware Compatibility

This firmware has been developed and tested on a RC210 Rev 3.5(a) board. Starting with firmware version 1.1.2, there is a firmware binary file for the RC210 Rev 4.0 board. The firmware starting with v1.03 has been written so it will run on RC210 boards that do not have the three DS2433 eeprom devices installed.

RC210 Hardware RevisionFirmware File to use
4.0RC210V40_FW_AvX.X.X.Bin replace X.X.X with the current Alternate firmware version file in use
3.5xRC210V35_FW_AvX.X.X.Bin replace X.X.X with the current Alternate firmware version file in use

Current State of the Firmware

As of May 21, 2024, vA1.1.15 of the alternate RC210 firmware can be used on an RC210 controller board in a bench testing environment, and on a live repeater.

This firmware is not yet complete and will only ever contain a subset of the functionality of the ARCOM written RC210 firmware. It is meant to have a reduced functional set of features, while containing robustness and error detection features.

More information

For a quick overview of the alternate RC210 firmware: