Author Topic: Updated- Lecroy-CATC FireInspector IEEE1394 Analyser - solved by TeledyneLecroy  (Read 662 times)

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Online Fraser

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I own a CATC FireInspector IEEE1394 protocol analyser that I hope to use to inspect data flowing between a host computer and my IEEE1394a equipped thermal cameras.

The short version of my request.....

Does anyone have the PC software for a CATC FireInspector IEEE1394 analyser ? Anything earlier than version 2.01 is of great interest to me. There are NO licencing issues with sharing the software as it was available as a free download and uses the analyser hardware for licencing purposes. I downloaded the last (2004 - V2.01) version from Lecroy, but cannot use it.


The long version of my request with an explanation of the issue that I am facing......

The CATC Fire Inspectror is a very capable IEEE1394 analyser that became part of the Lecroy stable in 2004 and Lecroy still have the required PC software for free download in their software support archive  :-+  Sadly life is rarely so simple when dealing with specialist data analysers and I have discovered that the software version is too recent for my particular FireInspector so it is incompatible. To upgrade the firmware in the FireInspector requires a support licence that is likely no longer available anyway.

The "software maintenance licence" status is dictated by a key file loaded onto the actual analyser hardware and the new firmware is present in the downloaded free software but cannot be loaded into FireInspector hardware if the "Software Maintenance" key is not valid and still current (mine is out of date). Sooooo frustrating !

The kind message from the latest software states that I cannot update the firmware to make it compatible with the software but I can download the older software versions for free from the CATC servers...... except they are long gone  :(

Hence my quest to find a fellow FireInspector owner who has older PC software versions that I can try with my unit. There are no licencing or software piracy issues involved as the actual FireInspector hardware is the licence and permits software version use up to its Engines firmware revision level. I am not trying to enable or circumvent the "Software Maintenance" support licence.

For interest my FireInspector Hardware contains the following firmware:

Firmware = 1.08
BusEngine = 2.01
Hardware Serial number available upon request

PC Software version 2.01 is the last release in 2004 and requires the following firmware versions.

Firmware = 1.14
BusEngine = 2.02

As part of the support contract CATC ensured that you can only upgrade the PC software if you also upgrade the firmware versions  :( That is effectively how they managed their software version licencing. To enable firmware updates, the hardware serial number is used by CATC to create an 'unlock key' that is sent to the hardware to authorise the update routine. Without the key, you remain at the current firmware level but can still use your current PC software. Sadly I do not have the original PC software though  :(

Best Wishes

Fraser
« Last Edit: January 22, 2021, 08:35:57 pm by Fraser »
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Online Fraser

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I wrote to Lecroy earlier today and asked if they could supply an earlier version of the FireInspector software.

I must say that I am impressed to have received a response a few minutes ago. Sadly it was not good news though.......

——————————-

Dear Fraser ,
with reference to: Request for legacy SW link - CATC FireInspector TLC#00279729

Unfortunately we do not have any software older then what you can find on our archive section on the website.

Regards,

———————————

So unless I can source an older version of software from someone, I have a very nicely built and pretty complex piece of kit that is only useful as a paperweight  :'( Such a pity as I actually needed its capabilities rather than buying it purely out of curiosity.

Fraser
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Offline lucatz

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Quote
The "software maintenance licence" status is dictated by a key file loaded onto the actual analyser hardware and the new firmware is present in the downloaded free software but cannot be loaded into FireInspector hardware if the "Software Maintenance" key is not valid and still current (mine is out of date). Sooooo frustrating !

Taking a stab at it. Know absolutely nothing of what your asking but...Setting PC DATE back in time can set your maintenance support license back to valid state?
« Last Edit: January 12, 2021, 01:47:41 am by lucatz »
 

Online Fraser

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Lucatz,

Yours is a good idea. I do not know exactly how the “Software Maintenance” contract details are held and used on the FireInspector but there is no harm in some experimentation to see if a simple date spoof works. I do know that the Software Maintenance detail page in the software usually states a specific date when it expires. Mine says it has not been enabled which seemed odd. By chance I actually had my WinXP laptop set to the year 2000 when I installed the software so hopefully I still have the opportunity to try careful incrementation of that system date. It would not surprise me if as soon as the Software Maintenance contract expiry date is passed, the FireInspector changes a firmware flag to ‘no software maintenance contract’ mode. If that has already happened whilst in the previous owners use, I am stuck.

It is so annoying to have an excellent piece of hardware and the required PC software but not being able to use them together because of a small version difference  :(

If I get anywhere with changing the date on the PC slowly from 2000 through to 2004, I will report back here. I will also open the unit again and check the dates on any IC’s or Firmware labels as that may give me a better date start point. If there are removable flash memory IC’s I may download them to see if there are any options to modify the Software Maintenance date in firmware, but I very much doubt I have the required skills for that sort of activity.

Fraser
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Online Fraser

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I tried the PC host date trick and sadly no good as the unit still states that Software Maintenance was not activated :(

I have written to one of the units development team on Facebook but do not expect that to bring fruit as he will likely ignore me.

For anyone interested, I am attaching some pictures of the FireInspector's internal PCB. There is quite a lot of Silicon in there as this design dates back to the late 1990's. A modern equivalent would likely be far more integrated.

Fraser
« Last Edit: January 13, 2021, 11:45:18 am by Fraser »
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Offline blueskull

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Why not crack it? If it shows something not activated, there must be that string, and that string must have been loaded by a program, find that address, and start disassembling there.

It's been a decade since I cracked anything x86, and when I was doing that the mainstream tool was OllyDbg, but I'm sure there are better ones nowadays.
 

Online Fraser

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Blueskull,

Yes that will be my next move. The EPROM on the board is just screaming at me to download its contents and reverse engineer its code  :) There is a FLASH memory chip as well but I may not need to read that. If I can enable the software maintenance then the required firmware update is ready to be applied within the software that I downloaded from Lecroy :)  I will also see what i can read in the PC software and thank you for the RE software recommendation. Let the fun begin  :-+

Fraser
« Last Edit: January 13, 2021, 12:40:57 pm by Fraser »
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Online Fraser

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On the software maintenance licence topic, both CATC and Lecroy are very open about how it works.

http://cdn.teledynelecroy.com/files/manuals/pcie_license_installation.pdf

1. You pay for the ability to upgrade the units firmware to enable use with the later release of PC software. That is effectively hardware controlled software licensing.

2. You provide your units serial number to CATC or Lecroy.

3. They send you a file that contains encrypted data that either uses the units serial number as part of the seed or contains the serial number in the encrypted data (I do not know which) This prevents the software maintenance file being used on any other unit but the one for which it was purchased.

4. The PC software contains a licence file upload utility that, upon request, will load the encrypted file into the FireInspector. It does not decrypt the file or alter it in any way.

5. The validity of the licence file is checked in the FireInspector and not the PC software so it does no good to try and hack the PC software side of things. The software just acts as an upload ‘agent’ for the file and can report the firmware/licence status of the unit. The PC software cannot influence the ability of the hardware to upload new firmware so this does not appear to be a path that would bear fruit.

6. In order to convince the FireInspector to accept a new firmware the current housekeeping firmware would have to be disassembled and changed. Bearing in mind that CATC, and now Lecroy PSG, went to the trouble of encrypting the licence file, I suspect that modifying the licence file upload routine in these units is not a trivial undertaking :( I may be wrong about that though as I am no hacker and can only apply common sense to the situation. Options and software support licences for these units were expensive so it makes sense to protect the process. The designers were specialists in protocol analysis after all and we know that protocol analyzers are a common reverse engineering/hacking tool  ;)

I think I have a nice red and black coloured paperweight  :-//

Fraser
« Last Edit: January 14, 2021, 12:22:25 pm by Fraser »
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Online Fraser

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I have news.......

TeledyneLecroy saved the day  :-+

The support call placed me in touch with one of the original CATC team who still work at TeledyneLecroy. Matthew was simply superb and phoned me to discuss the way forwards for my elderly FireInspector. After some discussion around the way licensing was introduced by CATC and then removed again in 2004, we were both confused as to why my FireInspector was asking for a Software Maintenance licence key file. It should not ask for that unless I was trying to activate one of the two optional modules, which I was not.
Long story cut short Matthew provided a serial number specific key file that might convince my FireInspector that it could accept a new firmware version. I entered the key file with Matthew still on the phone and it worked perfectly. My FireInspector updated its firmware and is working normally  :-+ :-+

I cannot praise Matthew at TeledyneLecroy enough. He knew that I was not the original buyer of the unit but was still willing to help me. I have no hesitation in recommending TeledyneLecroy for their support. Remember, the FireInspector dates back to 1997 ! My unit is from 1998 and is now fully operational thanks to its 2004 firmware and software update. How many lesser companies would have declared EOL on the unit and deleted all support long before now ? I can tell you from personal experience.... many will not even discuss equipment 10 years after it is declared EOL. Well done TeledyneLecroy for still holding the circa 2004 software and firmware that helped me today  :-+

Fraser
« Last Edit: January 22, 2021, 08:37:31 pm by Fraser »
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