1.29 October 2016

Kurt Lingohr -

Its been a while since our last update. Since June, a substantial amount of work has been done on the firmware to reduce errors and improve the user experience.

Coding work has now moved "in house" with our own developer, Gaurang. This affords us more control over issues and greatly improves turnaround times for testing, troubleshooting and fixes.

After much dialogue with customers, we have identified three main issues, which we have now coded patches for. These are described below and can be solved by upgrading the firmware on your cabinet(s).

If you have not done so already, we strongly recommend upgrading to at least version 1.29.7

Please note that there is a good chance we have already upgraded your firmware for you. You can verify the version you have by going to Setup menu > System > Upgrade Firmware. This page will display the current version number.

 

1. Key is OUT Error

We had reports of users receiving an error message "Key is OUT" when departing, whereas a visual inspection of the key slots showed the key was in fact inside the cabinet. The underlying issue was that in some instances, the internal database status was not being updated to reflect the key status as being "IN" after the previous user returned the key. The solution we implemented was to do a hardware-read of the key slot sensor at the Departing step to get the actual physical status of the key (In/Out), as opposed to relying on the database status. 

 

2. System Freezing

Some users were reporting random instances of the cabinet touchscreen freezing or locking up after being instructed to open the door. After some investigation we tracked this issue down to how internal memory was being managed by the computer module. Or in more technical terms, operating system "threads". We have now implemented a better memory management layer, specifically the ability to detect when the available thread count is running low. Whilst a reboot fixes this issue, we would prefer the user not encounter the issue in the first place ;)

 

3. "Booking Not Found" errors

The Departing step works by a user entering a booking number. We had reports that some users were receiving a "Booking Not Found" error even though they were entering the correct booking number. The underlying issue was identified as a booking-data synchronisation issue. Every 30 seconds the cabinet downloads booking data from PoolCar. We identified that many customer cabinets were logging "server timeout" errors, meaning the booking data frequently failed to download. To solve this issue, we completely redesigned and rewrote booking data synchronisation process, to reduce (a) the data payload size, and (b) the frequency with which synchronisation is required by only fetching booking data when booking data has changed in PoolCar. For instance a new booking, an edited booking or a cancelled booking.

 

Other Enhancements and Bug Fixes

  • Work has commenced on uploading photographs taken by the cabinet to the customer's PoolCar server
  • We can now remotely upgrade and reboot cabinets from our master control panel
  • An audible short beep plays when a key has been inserted correctly (and when removed). This audio feedback will help ensure the key is inserted fully when returning a key - a common issue.
  • Bug fix with an alphanumeric keyboard now appearing for the Check In prompt 'Parking Location' 
  • Photograph is now captured when the mechanical key is used to open the door
  • Log files and databases are now backed up to our control panel server, for better disaster recovery and troubleshooting.

 

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