Electronically Updating / Upgrading the Argus 

The Argus color and enhanced monochrome units can have new software installed electronically. Taking advantage of electronic data transfer eliminates the necessity of disassembling the unit to exchange electronic modules or chips. It is even possible to perform these transfers in your aircraft if you have a laptop or similar computer, in which case you needn't remove the Argus from the panel.

Transferring software to the Argus is done for two reasons:

UPDATING: The Argus database is effective for 56 days (international: 28 days.) To rely on the Argus database for IFR flight, your database must be current. Whether or not you use the Argus for IFR flight, it is a good idea to update it from time to time to keep your information accurate.

UPGRADING: The Argus software (operating system) can be upgraded to enable new features to be supported. The initial release version is 5.00. The current version as of 05 Jan 2000 is 5.09. If your Argus doesn't have the current version, you can upgrade if you desire. Click here to see a summary of the changes incorporated in each version. 

New Information January 2006

Please see this important notice regarding the continued availability of hardware exchange databases.

Information 22 July 2003

For technical reasons we have expanded our international database offerings.  If you use the international database or receive your updates on floppy disk, be sure to read this important new information.

Transfer Overview

If your new computer does not have an RS-232 connector, a USB to RS-232 converter cable may be used to provide the RS-232 data the Argus requires.  There are many models available inexpensively.  The Radio Shack #26-183, for example, lists for around $40.

Here is an overview of the transfer process:

1: Get the update or upgrade data file into your computer. This can be done by download over the internet with your authorization code or by obtaining a CD-ROM with the data from Eventide.

2: Obtain an "authorization code" from Eventide. This will be provided automatically by email if you have an electronic "subscription" or sent with the floppy disk. You can also request an authorization code by telephone or fax, and receive it by email when processing is complete.

3: Go to the Argus AMEND page and hold down the DEP key until the DATA TRANSFER page is displayed. Select the correct baud rate and "Y," and press RTN on the Argus to activate the transfer.

4: Connect your computer to the Argus using the cable provided when you obtained your first update. Using a "terminal program," transfer the data to the Argus. When the transfer is complete, the Argus will restart with the new database or software.



Getting the File

Get the update or upgrade data file into your computer. This section assumes you are using a "Wintel" computer running "Windows 95/NT/2000/XP" or "Windows 3.1x." Click here for instructions for Macintosh and PowerBook variants.


If you wish to download the file from the Internet, click on the link at the end of this section. Select the file using the corresponding suffix on your USER ID.  (The "password" is used only when transferring the expanded file into the Argus unit.) Your browser will ask where you want to store the file. Again, we recommend C:\ARGUS, but any location is satisfactory. All files are of type "EXE" to reduce transfer time and assure complete transfer.  

Important Note

EXE Files are "executable" and cannot be transferred to the Argus as is!  You must RUN the "program" by double clicking on it or running it in a DOS window.  This will create a BIN file that you can send to the Argus.  You CANNOT send an EXE file to the Argus as is!

Because of the need for complete accuracy in transferring files into the Argus, several checks are incorporated to make certain that the data hasn't been corrupted. The first of these checks is incorporated in the uncompression of the file. When you run the EXE program, the data is checked and if an error has occurred, the computer will say so on the screen. We recommend that you watch the running of the program (it only takes a few seconds). If any error is reported, get a new copy of the "EXE" file. It is very unusual for actual data corruption to occur, but if the file transfer is terminated before completion, the data will be truncated. There is no danger of damaging or corrupting the Argus by loading bad data since the Argus itself performs a further check of the data before accepting it, but it will be an inconvenience to you.


Because there is plenty of room on the CD, we provide all files in both compressed and uncompressed form.  You need only copy the file(s) for which you received authorization codes.  Create a C:\ARGUS directory on you hard drive, and copy the appropriate .BIN (uncompressed) file from the CD ROM to this directory.  This file will then be directly stored in the Argus as described below.

Floppy Disk

NOTE:  We now provide data on CD-ROM.  This paragraph is for reference only, and will eventually be removed. If you have received a floppy disk from Eventide, it will contain a file of the form  "ARGUS_XX.EXE."  The file has been sent to you compressed because it's too large to fit on a single floppy disk. (If you receive an international update, it will come on TWO floppy disks, with unpacking instructions included.) We suggest you create directory C:\ARGUS and copy it there, but any location will do.  The EXE file is an executable program which you must run. (From a DOS window, type the name of the file and press ENTER. From windows, either select RUN from the File menu and enter the file name or double click on it in file manager or Windows Explorer.)  When run, the file will expand to a BIN file, and the EXE file can be erased.

Obtaining an Authorization Code

The authorization code is keyed to your Argus serial number and the database cycle, and so changes for each cycle. It is our way of making sure we get paid for database subscriptions. There is no charge for the data itself, other than perhaps your telephone line and internet provider charges for the connect time involved. There is a higher subscription charge for receiving data on diskette than there is for downloading, and some Argus dealers have disk subscriptions and can perform the data download for you. In any case, you will need to obtain an authorization code from Eventide before you can use the data you receive.

When you turn the Argus on, it will go through selftest and display an informational page on which is shown the Argus serial number (six digits), program version (x.xx), database configuration (xx) and effective and expiration dates of the database. All these numbers except the Serial Number are subject to change depending upon new data loaded into the Argus. Before you call for the authorization number, you should have this information available. To make sure you send us complete information, you can print this form and fill it out.

By telephone: Call (201) 641-1200 between 08:00 and 16:00 Eastern time and ask for Argus Database Update info. Be prepared to provide your credit card number and expiration date, and your email address.

By fax: include all the Argus information, including your credit card number and expiration date, along with your name, address, phone, fax number, and email address. Note that many letterheads and fax forms are almost illegible when received due to the tiny print that is unaccountably used on these documents. If yours is like that, please use BIG PRINT for the vital information! In particular, your email address MUST be legible so we can send the code to you.

By email: You can email the required information. Note that email is not necessarily secure, and if you worry more about sending your credit card number to us via email than you do about giving it to the guy at the gas station, we understand.

By letter: Anything you can fax you can mail. If you would prefer to pay by check, this is the best bet. We will forward your authorization code by email or by return post if you order a disk.


Preparing the Argus for Data Transfer

When you have your authorization code and the upgrade data on your hard drive, you are ready to proceed. The Argus can receive data at most common baud rates between 300 and 38400. We recommend using 19200 or 38400 for the color units and a maximum of 19200 for enhanced monochrome, as the files are fairly large and both the Argus and your computer are likely to be running on battery power. Here are some estimated transfer times:
Transfer Times 38400 baud 19200 baud 9600 baud
Operating System 4 minutes 8 minutes 15 minutes 
US Data Base 8 minutes 15 minutes half hour
International Database 15 minutes half hour hour
If you are updating from battery power in the aircraft, be sure that the batteries will last as long as necessary. (Turn other avionics equipment OFF. Make sure that your GPS or other equipment sending data to the Argus is OFF to prevent possible interference between its output and the data transfer.) If you are updating from AC line power and you are not using a UPS, try not to perform updates during brownouts or other periods of line instability (e.g., thunderstorms). If power is interrupted to either the computer or the Argus during an operating system (program version) upgrade, the transfer will have to be restarted. If power is interrupted during a database update, the old Argus database version will have been erased and the map functions of the Argus will be unusable until the database is reloaded.

To prepare the Argus, power it up and wait for selftest to complete. Press AUX four times quickly to enter the AMEND mode, and HOLD the DEP button down until the DATA TRANSFER page is displayed, at which time immediately release the button. Select 38400 baud if possible, or a lower rate if your computer can't handle that speed. (Hint: for color units, the FIRST time you do this, if you have changed the baud rate, exit and re-enter AMEND. The new baud rate will then become the default for future updates.) Once you have selected the correct baud rate, press LINE until the cursor is at the top of the page and select "Y" followed by RTN on the Argus to ready the Argus to receive data.

Perform the Data Transfer

The Argus is now waiting for data. Sending it data requires a terminal program capable of an "XMODEM" transfer. Windows 3.1x has a program called "Terminal" that can be used, Windows 95/NT has a terminal called Hyper Terminal. There is no need to use any third-party software, and Eventide does not offer any PC or Mac software for this purpose. Instructions for using these programs are contained on your PC "Help" files. Regardless of computer, you must set your terminal program as follows:
Baud Rate Word Length Parity Stop Bits Flow Control Binary Transfer Mode
You must also set the "connection" type to "direct" (i.e., no modem) and select the correct "COM" (communications) port to the one to which you plan to connect the supplied cable. This is usually "COM1" or "COM2."

Connect the 9-pin end of the cable to the appropriate COM port. (If you only have 25-pin COM ports, adapters are available at Radio Shack and many computer shops.) The miniplug connects to the front panel of the Argus. It will be necessary to remove the hole plug next to the AUX button (Argus 5000) or the DEP button (Argus 7000). You can do this easily if you don't chew your nails, otherwise use a non-metallic tool to avoid scratching the Argus panel. Insert the miniplug with a satisfying thunk to make sure it is fully connected.

If you have set the Terminal parameters correctly and the cable is properly connected, you should now be in communication with the Argus. Press the RETURN KEY on the computer and a message should appear on the computer screen giving the Argus serial number and free database memory. There is a prompt after this message saying:


Enter the code you obtained from Eventide and press RETURN. Next you will see:


Press the D or S key on the computer as appropriate. Finally you will see:



Depending upon the protocol you have selected or is available from your terminal program, press 1, 2, or 3. (Hint: XMODEM-1K is modestly faster than the others if you have it available.) The computer will now show "BEGIN <protocol> TRANSFER." This means that the Argus is waiting for data.

Now use the terminal program to initiate the data transfer. Usually this involves clicking on an icon, finding the appropriate .BIN file (e.g. C:\ARGUS\XXXXXXXX.BIN) and double clicking on its name. If all has gone well so far, the transfer will complete without further attention and the Argus will recycle, after which the new software will be available.

What Can Go Wrong

If you encounter any problems, click here for troubleshooting hints.

If you have lost your cable and can't wait for one from Eventide, you can make your own.

You are now ready to begin. You might want to create a directory for your Argus files before continuing.  You can also "bookmark" both links below.  We put the files on servers in different locations so that in the case of temporary internet difficulties one failure shouldn't affect the other, and by "bookmarking" the alternate link you won't need this page to find it. 

Download Files
(Alternate link)


page created 05 May 1996, updated 05 January 2005
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