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Firmware update - risk of bricking ?

Discussion in 'Inspire 1 Help' started by Mr Phantom, Sep 8, 2015.

  1. Mr Phantom

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    I read all the time about how scared people are about updating the Inspire 1, and also i have read about more than one person that has actually bricked their aircraft from firmware updates.

    My question is how big is the risk that the drone gets bricked on a firmware update?

    I have got the impression that it´s not so uncommon that i would want it to be?
    Should one be scared and worried about doing firmware updates?

    And also is it wise to wait a week or two after the firmware update has been released before updating the aircraft, just to see that the firmware is stable and so on?
     
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  2. Andrew Woodward

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    Yup. It's true. I just attempted the 1.4 update to my Inspire today and completely locked it up. Bricked. Done.
    I called Tech Support in California and was instructed to send it to them for repair. The update instructions from DJI are confusing at best. I don't think I did anything wrong, but even if I did - it should NOT result in a bricked $3,800 drone. That's utterly absurd. Unacceptable, DJI.
    So... having tried absolutely every trick in the book, it's off to California for at least a MONTH. Ugh.
    All I can say is, if you do the update, know that you're doing it at your own risk. I don't think the incremental update is worth the update risk, imho. Good luck.
     
  3. Mactab

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    Last night I started the latest v 1.4 firmware update and for some reason it just wouldn't work. I'm totally up to date otherwise and never had a problem before, in fact the last two updates with batteries were completed in less then an hour so I know what I'm supposed to be doing and how to do it.
    I have decided not to try again until next Tuesday after I have completed (hopefully) my Flight assessment - I do not want to risk making the Inspire unusable.
    So staying on V1.3 for now.
     
  4. Mr Phantom

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    Thats crazy that we need to be afraid of firmware updates, is this the norm with firmware updates from other brands as well? I haven't been worried when i have updated other items, its only DJI products I'm worried.

    It would be interesting to know what percentage of all inspire 1 updates fails, 1 in 10, 1 in 100, 1 in 1000 etc.?

    But it could also be that we don´t hear as much about the successful updates on the forums? But it still feels as there are more failed updates than what could be considered normal?

    So now its the question if one should update or not? If it were some other update i shouldn't risk it, but this particular update has the new waypoint functions so i would like to have them even if i dont know how much i would actually use them.

    I wonder if DJI would give me an honest answer about how common firmware update fails are on the inspire 1, i guess not?
     
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  5. Andrew Woodward

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    Well... let me say this: My profession is marketing and I've been working in the high-tech sector for about ten years. Many of the products that my employers sold have required periodic firmware updates - from solar-powered highway traffic signs to fiber optic testing equipment. Sure, occasionally there were minor glitches, but NEVER did those glitches completely disable the equipment. Also, we (as the manufacturer) always dealt very closely with the customers, keeping them in the loop and getting them back up and running as quickly as possible. Part of my job as the Director of Marketing was to explain the problem, offer timelines for repair and to handle public opinion in a responsible, proactive and honest way. You know... "damage control." LOL

    This morning, I sent my Inspire back to California for repair. All I know for sure is that it was working perfectly last time I used it (about a week ago) and prior to the latest 1.4 update. Whatever happened, undoubtedly happened because of the most recent update. After all, I store it in an airtight, watertight, padded Pelican Case, with foam and desiccant packs!! I know... overkill.

    I think you're right about the updates that have "gone bad" are either not being reported, or that it's simply to early to tell. Under-reporting of problems is pretty typical, unless you're a huge company like Apple (remember "Antenna-Gate" and "Pocket-Gate")? So, although problems are to be expected, a company's reaction to the problem is what matters. In my opinion, DJI just doesn't have any idea how to handle their public relations. They're a Chinese manufacturer, not a well-run, well-oiled company with a marketing department, PR manager, etc., etc..

    What they do in the coming days will be quite revealing. And hey... DJI... if you're listening - I'd be more than happy to help you with your public image, here in the United States and elsewhere. Call me! :)

    I'll keep everybody posted about how they handle my particular situation. I can only hope that mine is an isolated incident. It's possible. Happy flying, everybody!!
     
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  6. Andrew Woodward

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    Update: So, this morning I sent the Inspire off to California for repair. I had no sooner gotten back home when I received an email from DJI Support. They offered to escalate my repair time, with an approximate 7 day turnaround time, and have already paid for the shipping!! We'll see what happens, but so far I am VERY impressed with how DJI has handled my situation. Very impressed - and I'm not easily or often impressed by customer service. So far, so good!! Stay tuned...
     
  7. Mr Phantom

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    Do you have an idea why they escalated your case? Have you complained to them or something else, or did they offer you the escalated turnaround time out of the blue?
    Interesting to know if something can be done to get a faster repair time?
    I wish 1 week was the DJI norm for all customer repairs.
     
  8. Andrew Woodward

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    That's a good question! All I can say for sure is that I posted in a LOT of places online, following my meltdown from the 1.4 update. I was fit to be tied. I have seen many places where the DJI customer service has been criticized, but so far my experience has been good. Maybe they're simply responding to customer demand, which would be the behavior of a healthy company. We can hope!

    So, I'll definitely keep everybody posted on my progress and see if it all pans out as promised.
     
  9. Scotflieger

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    Your question has elicited reports from a few who have had unfortunate experiences performing the firmware updates. I have performed all the updates (and various beta updates) following the DJI published update procedure without any difficulty. I admit I have mistakenly put a MicroSD card in the camera with the older firmware on it and got a warning tone. However, inserting the correct .bin file again the aircraft has corrected itself.

    The process is easy to do. Simply download the update .zip file, UNZIP it, copy the enclosed .bin file to the root directory of the MicroSD card, insert in the camera, ensure the RC is OFF, power up the aircraft with a fully charged battery, wait for the DDDD tones and keep going until you hear DD-D tone (after 5-6 mins). Ignore all other beeps, flashes and other noises - and most importantly don't panic or get bored. Afterwards check the .txt status report to confirm all is well. If you have an entry with the firmware ident number followed by success. Repeat the process for each battery (<2 mins).

    The only difference with this update is DJI late reminder to install FW 1.3.0.0 first before trying 1.4.0.10. This is to ensure that the RC is correctly updated.

    My advice is to keep your aircraft up-to-date with the latest firmware to avoid any problems and to ignore many of the doomsayers.
     
  10. Andrew Woodward

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    Scotflieger - I understand what you're saying, as well as the process. Actually, I had already updated to 1.3 when it was released earlier in August. My process was as follows:

    1) Wiped the SD card that I use most often
    2) Reformatted the card (just to be sure)
    3) Dropped the 1.4 .bin file onto the card
    4) Inserted the card and turned on the bird
    5) Waited for about 30 min. as it created a variety of strange (and unfamiliar) beeping patterns
    6) Turned off the bird
    7) Repeated steps 1-5 (extending the upload time with every cycle - up to 180 mins.)
    8) Gave up trying to use the 1.4 file and attempted all of the above steps with 1.3
    ** Attempted all of the above steps with various SD cards
    9) Wasted a day of my life trying every trick in the book and heating up the camera enough to fry an egg on it
    10) Flailed my arms and threw a temper tantrum like a little girl

    Yeah, that's about how it went. :)

    I should also mention that the .txt file revealed errors along the way, along with an indication that the "cable from main board to camera" was loose, or something to that effect. I read in various threads that that's a common error (and not necessarily a hardware issue). The other errors, however, seemed like they might be hardware-related, for sure. The hardware by that point, however, may have been rendered inoperable, resulting in the error messages. Difficult to say which came first, the chicken or the egg - if you know what I mean.
     
    #10 Andrew Woodward, Sep 10, 2015
    Last edited: Sep 10, 2015
  11. Mr Phantom

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    I have read that the new firmware detects more errors than the older firmware's, so it might be that one has had an error earlier that hasn't been reported by the aircraft but is reported with these later firmwares?
    My question is, was it the 1.3 firmware or this 1.4 firmware that detects more errors than earlier firmwares?
     
  12. Andrew Woodward

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    Wow!! Now THAT'S an angle I hadn't considered. I'm not sure, to be honest. I don't remember ever having errors while running on the 1.3 version, so I'd have to say that the errors started with 1.4.

    The other possibility is that the bird went into a kind of "feedback loop" whereby it generated an error with a critical piece of the software, which was needed to update itself. I know that sounds really twisted, but I've seen it happen with other types of equipment that required firmware updates. It's a bit of a delicate procedure. The thing is, even in the WORST case scenario the bird has (I would assume) built-in (hardware-based) code that simply recognizes, extracts and executes .bin files. In my case, however, it didn't seem to be doing that part properly. Whatever happened, happened in the first few moments I attempted the 1.4 update. I say that because the beeps were immediately different than those I remember from previous updates. Nevertheless, I let it run (so it wasn't a lack of patience - believe me).
     
  13. Scotflieger

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    Turning off the aircraft and restarting may be the source of your problem. The 1.3.0.0 updates multiple subsystems including the ESC (motor controllers) which produced a number of unexpected beep and flashing lights. It may be worth considering 'downgrading' the aircraft to 1.2.0.6 (I think) and then starting with 1.3.0.0 again. One additional method I use (because my memory is awful) is to set up a DSLR camera on a tripod and film the whole update. This helps determine the time it takes and see any other issues. I also set it off updating and go and make a coffee.
     
  14. Andrew Woodward

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    Scotflieger - that's yet another interesting perspective, pertaining to the error problem. Actually, the bird is en route to California for repair as we speak, but I never actually attempted an even earlier version than 1.3. That would have been my next move - had I thought of it. D'oh!! LOL. But, alas, I didn't.

    Like you, I am also a professional photographer. That's a really good idea to record yourself. Again, something I didn't think to do (with my Mark III and a Canon camcorder sitting right next to me the entire time). You're just FULL of good ideas! Like they say, "two heads are better than one."

    I think I will do exactly THAT in future updates!! Good advice! Thank you!! :)
     
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  15. Scotflieger

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    Before I turned professional as a photographer, I was an aerosystems and software engineer for 34 years. It helps to have that mindset.
     
  16. Andrew Woodward

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    Yeah, I would say that more than qualifies you! Yikes!
     
  17. Mr Phantom

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    I just did the update while biting my nails, as far as i can see it works in the simulator, haven't obviously tried it outside yet, thats the real test.
    What i recognized is that my IOC button is gray and i can't enable IOC no matter what i try?
    But i can say that when i did the update it started with very fast beeps for about 5 seconds then it started with the usual 4 beeps, but after about 5 minutes the camera started rotating and the 4 beeps was beeping with a slower rate and not as loud as usual, then it went back to the normal 4 beeps again and after a total of about only 8 minutes it was finished.
    The aircraft light was blinking fast yellow all the time, even after the update was finished.
     
  18. Andrew Woodward

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    8 Minutes. Yes - that's what I would expect. I'm not sure what's going on with the IOC. That's a bit disturbing. The only thing I can think of (without one in-hand) is that the new waypoint navigation somehow supersedes the functionality of the IOC. Maybe the IOC is now obsolete??
     
  19. Mr Phantom

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    Thats what i thought of as well. I saw somebody else complaining about that as well but can't find the thread or even remember if it was this forum.
    But i think more people should have asked about it if it was like that for everybody?

    Well i have started a thread with that question, i hope somebody has a answer to the question.
     
  20. Andrew Woodward

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    Agreed - that IOC issue needs to be clarified. Actually, the reason I jumped on the 1.4 update so quickly was specifically because I intend on using the Inspire for precision agriculture, IR surveying, and 3D Mapping. Waypoint navigation is the only way to accomplish that. From what I've been reading, however, the waypoint navigation a'int all that great in DJI GO. At least not compared to Ground Station. It's just weird to me that GS hasn't been updated for the Inspire yet. That's extremely important to many Inspire owners - and, in fact, the motivation for the initial purchase, in many cases.

    I hope DJI gets GS up and running soon. Spring planting and construction projects are just around the corner. You listening, DJI??