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Minor hardware change

Firmware upgrade

Our sensor hardware is highly configurable. By preparing customer adapted programs for the built in microcontroller, so called firmware, many new application requirements can be fulfilled. A firmware change is somewhat different compared to a minor adaptation. The minor adaptation only allows for customer specific changes of settings within the already specified and tested range of operation.

A firmware change always includes involvement of the firmware programmer as well as other experts that can validate the overall risks and consequences on a system level. For instance, hardware designers will judge if the hardware will operate in a reliable mode. Further on, it is normal that the calibration engineers have to be involved in order to re-design the calibration to fit the new firmware.

Depending on the risks involved in the firmware change, tests will be performed and sufficient documentation provided in order to guarantee the proper quality level.  

 

Example

A globally active customer with a Chinese development office contacted the local Senseair sales office in China with a request for a carbon dioxide sensor. It was found that the Senseair standard sensors did not fully comply with their power constraints. 

The solution was to increase the time interval between the measurement cycles from 2 seconds to 10 seconds. This should reduce the power consumption almost 5 times.

The project management communicated with the customer mainly through e-mail and phone conference since we were spread out in three countries on two continents. The sensor expert team at Senseair identified that the change also affected the automatic drift compensation algorithm and the calibration behavior since the IR light source operate in a different mode. A firmware engineer implemented the changes of the sensor microcontroller program. The calibration procedure was adjusted and tests were performed in order to guarantee full performance within the specified operating conditions.

At the end of the project, representatives from the European office performed a quality audit at Senseair in Sweden in order to qualify us as a supplier. The time from the contact with our Chinese office to start of production was 12 months. Since the goal of this development was in perfect agreement with the strategic plan, it was fully financed by Senseair.