Upgrade Firmware


The RemotePi Board for Pi 3, Pi 2 and B+ and the RemotePi Board for Pi Model B support user-upgradable firmware (The firmware is the same for the RemotePi Board for Pi 3, Pi 2 and B+ and for the RemotePi Board for Pi Model B). This means that the application running on the microcontroller of the RemotePi Board which is handling the IR signal decoding and controls the power of the Raspberry Pi will be replaced with a (usually) newer version, allowing for new features and bugfixes. To achieve this, the RemotePi Board includes a factory-programmed boot loader which handles the upload of the new firmware. The process principle is similar to the firmware upgrade of a smartphone.

The firmware is uploaded to the RemotePi Board using a serial link to the Raspberry Pi, an application downloaded to the Raspberry Pi is controlling and verifying the upgrade process. 

Downloading the Firmware Upgrade Tool

The recommended way to get the Firmware Upgrade Tool (and the Configuration Tool) is to use our customized Minibian image which is pre-configured with the newest version of our tools.

The image can be used with any Raspberry Pi, i.e. Raspberry Pi Model A, A+, B, B+, Pi 2 or Pi 3.

The process is the same as with any other OS image for the Raspberry Pi, you will need a spare SD card (1GB or larger) and software to write an image to the SD card, for Windows you can use Win32DiskImager. More detailed instructions on how to write an image to the SD card can be found here.

Download the image file from here (external MediaFire link, the image size is about 260 MB), unzip the file and write it on the SD card.
Insert the SD card into your Raspberry Pi with the RemotePi Board mounted.

The RemotePi Board needs to be put into firmware upgrade mode, disconnect the USB power cable from the RemotePi Board, then hold down the pushbutton on the RemotePi Board and reconnect power to the RemotePi Board while the button is still pressed. You will see the LED lighting orange (green and red on at the same time), this indicates that the RemotePi Board is ready to upload new firmware.

After Minibian has booted, you can proceed with the firmware upgrade. A network connection using the LAN cable is not required. After booting either use a connected keyboard, or start an SSH session from another computer, if the Pi is connected to the LAN (the IP address of the Pi is assigned by DHCP and is shown as part of the boot messages).

Log on to Minibian on the Raspberry Pi (user is 'root', password is 'raspberry').

Then start the firmware upgrade program :

./mslfwXX

(where XX is the version of the firmware you want to use, see list below)

The firmware upload utility will show the progress and after a successful firmware upgrade the LED of the RemotePi Board will light green.

Shut down the Raspberry Pi by using :

poweroff

After Minibian has shut down, disconnect and re-connect the USB power cable from the RemotePi Board, this completes the firmware upgrade.

Preparing and installing the Firmware Upgrade Tool manually

If you do not want to download and use the Minibian image above, you can also manually configure your OS to run the Firmware Upgrade Tool, although this is a rather complex task, especially on the Pi 3. The instructions for the manual setup are here.

Firmware history and download

Version 1.0

  • Initial release version of the firmware for the RemotePi Board for Pi 2

Version 1.5  (9-Dec-2014)

  • Pushbutton illumination enabled, pushbutton glows red on standby and lights up when pressed
  • Software debouncing of the pushbutton improved
  • Fixed an issue in IRMP where the received IR command would return 0 after re-connect power in rare cases
  • Shutdown behaviour changed, if there is no feedback from shutdown script the new firmware now re-tries for 4 min and then shuts down the power 

Version 1.6  (1-Mar-2015)

  • Shutdown by script / program is now possible, even during startup period when the LED flashes green
  • New feature : If the RPi OS hangs and the shutdown is not completed normally, power cut can be forced by a long press of the pushbutton during shutdown period, while the LED blinks red (hard shutdown)
Download link : http://bit.ly/mslfw16 

    Version 2.0  (18-Oct-2015)

    • New feature : The new configuration tool allows to customize the RemotePi Board. The following customizations are supported in this firmware release :
      • Brightness of the pushbutton illumination LED
      • Brightness of the green power-on indicator LED
      • Time the green LED blinks during boot (during which a shutdown is blocked)
      • Power-on state after the power is (re)-connected to the RemotePi Board
      • Power-on timer to automatically power on after a the predefined time
    • For more information about the configuration tool and instructions, please see this page

      Download link : http://bit.ly/mslfw20 
      Download link for the configuration tool : http://bit.ly/mslconfigtool 


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      Firmware FAQ

      How do I identify which version of the firmware my RemotePi Board has ?

      • If the pushbutton has no illumination in standby then you have firmware ver. 1.0
      • If you push the button while the RemotePi Board is shutting down during the period when the LED is flashing, and the pushbutton is then not illuminated, then you have firmware ver. 1.5
      • If you push the button while the RemotePi Board is shutting down during the period when the LED is flashing, and the pushbutton illumination lights up, then you have firmware ver. 1.6. All RemotePi Board 2015 and Plus 2015 shipped after March 1st, 2015 have firmware ver. 1.6 already installed.
      • If the LED flashes red - orange - green once, when the power cable is connected, then you have firmware 2.0. The config tool will also show the firmware version for all firmware versions of 2.0 and above.
        All RemotePi Boards shipped after October 18, 2015, have firmware 2.0 already installed.

      Can I downgrade the firmware ?

      Although not recommended, it is possible to downgrade the firmware to an earlier version.

      Will the firmware upgrade delete / reset the current configuration of the RemotePi Board ?

      No, all configuration (i.e learned IR commands, etc.) will be retained.

      Which RemotePi Board model is user firmware-upgradable ?

      The RemotePi Board for Pi 3, Pi 2 and B+ and the RemotePi Board for Pi Model B are user firmware-upgradable. The older discontinued RemotePi Board 2013 version does not contain a bootloader and the hardware is not connected to the Raspberry Pi serial port (UART), preventing user upgrade functionality.

      What technology is used for the firmware upgrade ?

      The RemotePi Board bootloader is based on Tiny PIC Bootloader, modified for the requirements of the RemotePi Board.

      Is a failed or interrupted firmware upgrade rendering the RemotePi Board unusable ?

      No, the bootloader on the microcontroller is protected from being overwritten, so a failed or incomplete upload of firmware will not 'brick' the RemotePi Board. In case the RemotePi Board does not start after a firmware upgrade the upgrade can simply be repeated. If the RemotePi Board does not enter firmware upgrade mode after holding the pushbutton and connecting power, please do the following to hard-reset the RemotePi Board :

      Use a paperclip or small cable to carefully short the two pads on the PCB as shown in the following picture. Make sure you do not short any other connections on the RemotePi Board or Raspberry Pi !

      This will force the RemotePi Board into firmware upgrade mode and allow for a new firmware upload. You will see the LED lighting orange (green and red on at the same time), this indicates that the RemotePi Board is ready to upload the firmware.


      This page was last updated 05-Dec-2016