Wood Heating
System Design
Control Logic
Software Design
Electrical Schematic
Simple system w/ storage
Domestic Hot Water
Heat Storage
Solar Hot Water
System Components
User Guide
Programming Guide
Failsafe Design
Sample Application
LM35 Sensor Assembly
Pinout Info
Poor Man's VS Circ
Plastic Pipe Collector
Forum Solar-TodayWood-TodayBurn Planner
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Manual Software Update

Recent NFCS units can install minor updates with a couple of clicks on the 'System' tab. However, older units and/or version updates require a manual process that involves the command line on both the PC and the NFCS. This chapter describes the step-by-step process for performing a manual update. The example used here is an update to version 1.3, but the basic process is the same for any update. Any comments specific to version 1.3 are identified as such.


Before doing anything, back up your current rule set. In the NFCS web interface, go to the 'System' tab. To back up all configuration and rule settings, Put a name in the 'Backup' field and click the 'Backup' button. Names must not contain spaces, punctuation, or special characters with the exception of '-' and '_'. A descriptive name is good, perhaps including a date. Backed up configurations appear as choices in the 'Restore' section.

Version 1.3 Specific Issue: After installing the 1.3 upgrade, old log files will not be readable. If you have logged data that you want to retain, download it to your PC before installing the upgrade.

Download and save the update

Obtain the location of the update. For version 1.3, it's at http://www.nofossil.org/armsw/nfcs_1.3/update_image. Right-click on the link and save the update file to your PC's disk. Suggestion: In Windows, create a folder named 'nfcs' in 'My Documents' and save the file there. Make a note of the file name and location.

Copy the update to the NFCS

(The dreaded Windows Command Line)

Before starting, make sure that you have the IP address of your NFCS as well as the password. Both are on the inside of the front cover.

The NFCS is an FTP (File Transfer Protocol) server and FTP is used to copy files to and from the NFCS. You can use any FTP client to do this, but there is a simple command-line FTP client that's included with Windows that we will use in this example.

Open a command prompt window. In Windows, one way is to click 'Start', then choose 'Run...', and in the popup type 'cmd'.

In the command prompt window type the following commands ('Enter' key after each command line):

cd "My Documents\nfcs" (or the path to whatever directory you chose above)

ftp (Use your controllers IP address here.)

When prompted, enter 'root' for user name (without the quotes). Enter the password for your system.

We want to copy the update to the highest (root) level on the NFCS. To choose this destination, use this command:

cd /

We want binary file transfer:


Copy the update file to the NFCS by typing

put filename where filename is the name of the update package that you originally downloaded.

Exit ftp:


Don't close the command prompt window - we'll need it in the next step.

Install the update on the NFCS

(The dreaded Linux Command Line)

For this step, we'll use Telnet. This protocol allows us to enter command on the NFCS from the PC. The screenshot at the right shows the basic steps with two exceptions: The first step of creating the Telnet session isn't shown because Microsoft clears the screen when the session is established. In order to get the rest of the steps on the screen, the 'v' option was omitted in the 'tar -xzvf' command. As a result,the files that were installed aren't shown in the screenshot.

In your command prompt window, start a Telnet session:

telnet (use the actual IP address of your controller).

Log in using 'root' as the user name and using your system password.

Enter the following commands, exactly as written:

cd /

/etc/init.d/io stop

tar -xzvf filename (where filename is the actual name of your update file)

You should see a long list of files scroll by as the update is installed. The screenshot at the right doesn't show these.

Version 1.3 Specific Step: Delete old log files:

rm /www/apache/htdocs/logs/*.log

You're done with the update. The NFCS needs to reboot:

shutdown -r now

Close the command prompt window on your PC. You're done. Your controller will reboot and it should then be running the new release.

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