How to: Upload RF Explorer firmware from MacOS X computer

MacIcon

RF Explorer device firmware can be upgraded under MacOS X.

The how-to instructions below are tested in MacOS X 10.7 Lion and 10.11 El Capitan, and is expected to work in any version between these two. 

Installing Mono Libraries

From a software perspective, the RF Explorer Firmware Uploader tool has been modified to run in MacOS X using a special set of libraries called Mono. Installing Mono libraries is very simple step, and you must complete this step only once (not every time you upgrade RF Explorer firmware).

  1. Download Mono libraries from this link: Mono 4.8.0 (other versions may not work correctly, please make sure you install this specific version) - If you are unsure which version do you have, if any, just reinstall this version (there is no harm on installing it multiple times, nor will take more HD space)
  2. Install Mono from downloaded package as shown in brief video below.
  3. After installation, make sure to allow the software to run in System Preferences > Security & Privacy > General if you are using MacOS Sierra.

Installing USB drivers

RF Explorer requires special USB drivers to communicate with the Mac computer. You may already have these drivers installed if you are using RFVenue Vantage software, or iRF Explorer Mac software, or if you followed this upgrade process in the past. Otherwise, you need to install these drivers following these simple steps:

  1. Download USB drivers from this link: USB drivers - If you are unsure if the drivers are already installed, just reinstall the version (there is no harm on installing it multiple times, nor will take more HD space)
  2. Install USB drivers as shown in this brief video below.
  3. After installation, make sure to allow the software to run in System Preferences > Security & Privacy > General if you are using MacOS Sierra.

Download the Firmware Uploader tool

IMPORTANT: Please make sure you use the right firmware and options for your device:

You should NOT upload Signal Generator firmware into a Spectrum Analyzer device!

You should NOT upload Spectrum Analyzer firmware into a Signal Generator device!

 

Hardware Chip icon Large

Latest Firmware for RF Explorer Spectrum Analyzer standard

Version 1.20

RF Explorer Spectrum Analyzer firmware for standard models (not PLUS models).

For Vantage users, please contact www.RFVenue.com to confirm the specific firmware upgrade version is supported.

Only for Handheld Spectrum Analyzer - DO NOT INSTALL THIS IN SIGNAL GENERATOR

Firmware Upgrade Instructions included in the downloaded package

Hardware Chip icon Large

Legacy Firmware for RF Explorer Spectrum Analyzer standard

Version 1.18

RF Explorer Spectrum Analyzer firmware for standard models (not PLUS models).

Version recommended for Vantage users. Please contact www.RFVenue.com to confirm the specific firmware upgrade version is supported.

Only for Handheld Spectrum Analyzer - DO NOT INSTALL THIS IN SIGNAL GENERATOR

Firmware Upgrade Instructions included in the downloaded package

Hardware Chip icon Large

Latest Firmware for RF Explorer Spectrum Analyzer PLUS

Version 3.06

RF Explorer Spectrum Analyzer WSUB1G PLUS firmware.

Only for Handheld Spectrum Analyzer - DO NOT INSTALL THIS IN SIGNAL GENERATOR

Firmware Upgrade Instructions included in the downloaded package

Hardware Chip icon Large

Latest Firmware for RF Explorer Signal Generator

Version 1.19

RF Explorer Signal Generator firmware.

Only for Handheld Signal Generator - DO NOT INSTALL THIS IN SPECTRUM ANALYZER models

Firmware Upgrade Instructions included in the downloaded package

Running the Firmware Uploader tool

Download the firmware file and uploader from above links and open the dmg contents.

  • Before connecting the RF Explorer device to your Mac computer, make sure the baudrate in the device is set to 500kbps in the RF Explorer internal CONFIG MENU. 
  • Make sure you do not have any RF Explorer device connected to your Mac computer
  • Follow instructions described in this video below to install the Firmware Uploader tool.
  • Note: Make sure to drag the application to the desktop or to the dock before using it, otherwise it will appear to be hung, depending on permissions.
  • Note: You may need to authorize the application explicitly in your system, reported by MacOS Sierra users. To do so, go to Security & Privacy panel in System Preferences, then hit the ALLOW button after completing installation.

Important troubleshooting comments contributed by users:

  • If the application does not work as expected, hung and force-quit, drag the app to the desktop and relaunch it from there.
  • For Sierra users, you may need to authorize it by going to Security & Privacy panel in System Preferences, then hit the ALLOW button after completing installation. This may be required for Mono, USB drivers and the Uploader tool. If the software is not running correctly, please visit Security & Privacy panel in System Preferences and make sure to ALLOW everything that may be pending.

Comments   

# andy 2017-07-07 12:27
can't upgrade to 1.20 Spectrum analyzer with a Mac using OS Sierra.
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# Webmaster 2017-07-11 19:44
Please make sure the correct Mono version from this page link above is used in your system. Using different Mono version from somewhere else will not work with Sierra or other recent OS versions.
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# mike 2017-09-01 17:30
I'm running mac OS 10.11.6 El Capitan when ever I open the up app I get the pinwheel of death and it says not responding in the Force Quit window???
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# Webmaster 2017-09-01 17:38
The most likely cause is Mono not installed as per instructions above. Can you confirm?
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# mike 2017-09-01 21:46
Nope, I had done that. I had to drag the app from the mounted installer to the dock (A step you should mention.) It worked fine after I figured that out.
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# chandler 2017-09-15 01:15
using osx 10.12.5 - firmware updater won't connect to rf explorer. ERROR: no com ports available

Mono is installed, all usb drivers installed. Vantage is not seeing RF explorer either.
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# Webmaster 2017-09-15 12:46
It looks like drivers were not installed correctly for some reason - please check troubleshooting article:

http://j3.rf-explorer.com/62-rfe/troubleshooting/178-troubleshooting-usb-drivers-3
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# Bob 2017-10-27 22:16
Description says "RF Explorer device firmware can be upgraded under MacOS X, starting with firmware version v1.12 and higher." - Does this mean that the device need FW v1.12 or higher to be updated on a Mac, or that FW v1.12 or higher can be updated, even if the device is running an older FW?
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# webmaster 2018-02-02 10:23
That is not a problem. The description is relevant to the firmware you are upgrading to, not upgrading from.
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# Paul 2017-11-20 22:02
The link to the driver is out of date. There's a newer driver from Silicon Labs for MacOS 10.11 and higher:
https://www.silabs.com/documents/public/software/Mac_OSX_VCP_Driver.zip
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# Webmaster 2017-11-23 01:51
Thanks for your feedback, we will update it based on your link.
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# Douglas Pfeiffer 2017-11-29 18:42
The updater just hangs when I start it. The icon is in the toolbar, but no window appears. Only option is to force quit.
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# Webmaster 2017-11-29 18:50
Please make sure the correct Mono version from this page link above is used in your system. Using different Mono version from somewhere else will not work with Sierra or other recent OS versions.
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# Jason 2018-01-04 02:03
I have a RF Explorer ISM combo Device with current version 01.15. I have a Mac 10.10.5 Yosemite.
I have installed all of the above links. Firmware Update Loader opens fine, followed all steps, and I'm hung up on the third step... and it does not see my "Com" port. I have tried 3 separate USB cables, USB Bauds rate is at 500 Kbps. I've made sure the correct Mono version from this page in the above link was used. Any help out there?
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# webmaster 2018-01-07 18:28
Hi, please check article http://j3.rf-explorer.com/62-rfe/troubleshooting/178-troubleshooting-usb-drivers-3
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# Terence Gray 2018-01-24 22:58
Tried running from the .dmg image and the app hung up so had to force-quit. Dragged the app to my desktop and relaunched it from there. Worked like a charm.
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# webmaster 2018-02-02 10:24
Thanks, we added this comment.
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# Curtis 2018-03-17 02:17
Trying to install 1.18 and the updated keeps hanging. Have tried on high sierra and yosemite computers. Tried using the mono version above. Tried copying the installer to the desk top and applications folder. What am I missing?
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# Webmaster 2018-03-19 00:05
Hi, please check no Antivirus is preventing the software from running.
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# Curtis 2018-04-06 05:22
I gave up on Vantage and the 1.18 roll back on Mac. Used windows to put 1.23 on my RFE and decided get a copy of Touchstone-Pro for Mac. Working nicely. Still would be nice to get the updater situation figured for mac when the next firmware release comes out.
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# Webmaster 2018-04-06 10:29
We are diagnosing the connectivity problem with other users, hopefully can find the problem and offer a solution soon.
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# Josh 2018-04-03 19:52
I can't get the updater to launch and I have followed all the above instructions for sierra. Mono installed, silicon labs installed, and I have moved it to the desktop. It keeps getting hung. There is no antivirus software stopping it.
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# Webmaster 2018-04-04 18:35
Hi Josh, sorry to hear the software is not working. We were not able to reproduce that problem here yet.
Please open a ticket in support.rf-explorer.com so we can follow up HW and SW details from your computer.
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# Micah 2018-04-05 06:42
I cant get the RF Explorer to talk at all to my mac running High Sierra (10.13.3). It has no problems if I boot into windows, but need to use this with Vantage. I have followed all instructions above. I have also tried it with iRFExplorer, and the firmware update. Neither will talk. Are the USB drivers updated to run on OSX 10.13? Thanks!
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# Webmaster 2018-04-05 12:17
The drivers are compatible with OS version 10.11 and higher, according to the manufacturer.
Do you get any error while installing the drivers?
Also please try the very latest from the manufacturer website: https://www.silabs.com/documents/public/software/Mac_OSX_VCP_Driver.zip
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# Micah 2018-05-08 03:31
I finally did figure out what was holding back the driver installation in High Sierra 10.13.4. If anyone else is having this problem they should install the driver then go to System Preferences > Security & Privacy > General. Then click allow for the Silicon Labs Driver to install. Apparently this is a new thing for High Sierra.
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# Webmaster 2018-05-08 12:19
Thanks, we will add this in the documentation above. Generally speaking the latest versions of MacOS requires to pretty much approve everything being installed.
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# Borja Gringo 2018-05-02 04:54
[quote name="chandler"]using osx 10.13.4 Sierra - firmware updater won't connect to rf explorer. ERROR: no com ports available

Mono is installed, all usb drivers installed. Vantage is not seeing RF explorer either
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# Webmaster 2018-05-04 17:02
Please open a ticket at support.rf-explorer.com
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