Modem Firmware Update

This article is only related to GPy, FiPy, and G01 boards

Important: When upgrading your modem for the first time, even if you have updated it in the past with the old firmware update method, you MUST use the "recovery" upgrade method described below. Otherwise you will risk breaking your module.

Please also use the file upgdiff_33080-to-39529.dup (1.2M) from the archive.

import sqnsupgrade
sqnsupgrade.run('upgdiff_33080-to-39529.dup', 'updater.elf')

Please read the following instructions carefully as there are some significant changes compared to the previous updater version.

Most importantly, the updater is now integrated in the latest stable firmware release (we will also publish a new development and pybytes firmware in the coming days), so you no longer need to upload any scripts to your module. The built-in updater will take precedence over any scripts uploaded.

Please start with the following steps:

  1. Upgrade the Pycom Firmware Updater tool to latest version
  2. Select Firmware Type stable in the communication window to upgrade to version v1.18.1.r1

You can find the different versions of firmwares available here: http://software.pycom.io/downloads/sequans2.html​

These files are password protected, to download them you should be a forum.pycom.io member and access to: Announcements & News --> Announcements only for members --> Firmware Files for Sequans LTE modem now are secured, or clicking Here.

We are using CATM1-39529.zip and NB1-37781.zip as examples in this tutorial.

After unpacking the zip archive, you will find each firmware packages contains two files, one being the firmware file (e.g. CATM1-39529.dup or NB1-37781.dup) and the updater.elf file, which is required when using the "recovery" firmware update method or if a previous upgrade failed and the modem is in recovery mode.

Please note that the updater.elf file is only around 300K so you can also store it inside the flash file system of the module. The firmware dup files will NOT fit into the available /flash file system on the module, so you either need to use an SD card or upload it directly from your computer.

To upgrade from the previous CAT-M1 firmware 38638 you can simply upload the upgdiff_38638-to-39529.dup file (452K) from the CATM1-39529.zip archive into the /flash directory on your module and run:

import sqnsupgrade
sqnsupgrade.run('upgdiff_38638-to-39529.dup')

If you are updating the Sequans firmware on your module for the first time, please use instead the file upgdiff_33080-to-39529.dup (1.2M) from the same archive. Similar upgrade packages are available for the NB-IoT firmwares.

Via SD card

To transfer the firmware files onto the SD card you have two options:

  1. Format your SD card as with the FAT file system and then copy the files onto the card using your computer
  2. Make sure your SD card has an MBR and a single primary partition, the format it directly on the module, mount it and transfer the firmware files onto the SD card using FTP. Please ensure the transfer is successful and that each file on the module has the same size as the original file on your PC.
from machine import SD

sd = SD()
os.mkfs(sd)            # format SD card
os.mount(sd, '/sd')    # mount it
os.listdir('/sd')      # list its content

Once you copied/uploaded the firmware files on to the SD card you can flash the LTE modem using the following command:

To flash the CAT-M1 firmware onto your device using the recovery method:

import sqnsupgrade
sqnsupgrade.run('/sd/CATM1-39529.dup', '/sd/updater.elf')

To flash the NB-IoT firmware onto your device using the recovery method:

import sqnsupgrade
sqnsupgrade.run('/sd/NB1-37781.dup', '/sd/updater.elf')

Please note you can directly flash the desired firmware onto your module, it is not necessary to upgrade to the latest CAT-M1 firmware before switching to NB-IoT.

If you have already mounted the SD card, please use the path you used when mounting it. Otherwise, if an absolute path other than /flash is specified, the script will automatically mount the SD card using the path specified.

Once update is finished successfully you will have a summary of new updated versions. The full output from the upgrade will looks similar to this:

<<< Welcome to the SQN3330 firmware updater >>>
Attempting AT wakeup...
Starting STP (DO NOT DISCONNECT POWER!!!)
Session opened: version 1, max transfer 8192 bytes
Sending 54854 bytes: [########################################] 100%
Bootrom updated successfully, switching to upgrade mode
Attempting AT auto-negotiation...
Session opened: version 1, max transfer 2048 bytes
Sending 306076 bytes: [########################################] 100%
Attempting AT wakeup...
Upgrader loaded successfully, modem is in upgrade mode
Attempting AT wakeup...
Starting STP ON_THE_FLY
Session opened: version 1, max transfer 8192 bytes
Sending 5996938 bytes: [########################################] 100%
Code download done, returning to user mode
Resetting (DO NOT DISCONNECT POWER!!!)................
Upgrade completed!
Here's the current firmware version:

SYSTEM VERSION
==============
  FIRMWARE VERSION
    Bootloader0  : 5.1.1.0 [33080]
    Bootloader1  : 5.1.1.0 [38638]
    Bootloader2* : 5.1.1.0 [38638]
    NV Info      : 1.1,0,0
    Software     : 5.1.1.0 [38638] by robot-soft at 2018-08-20 09:51:46
    UE           : 5.0.0.0d
  COMPONENTS
    ZSP0         : 1.0.99-13604
    ZSP1         : 1.0.99-12341

Please note that the firmware update may seem to "stall" around 7-10% and again at 99%. This is not an indication of a failure but the fact that the modem has to do some tasks during and the updater will wait for these tasks to be completed. Unless the upgrade process is hanging for more than 5 minutes, do not interrupt the process as you will have to start again if you don't finish it. It may also take several minutes for the updater to load before responding to the AT wakeup command.

After you have updated your modem once using the recovery method, you can now flash your modem again using just the CATM1-38638.dup or NB1-37781.dup file without specifying the updater.elf file. However, should the upgrade fail, your modem may end up in recovery mode and you will need the updater.elf file again. The updater will check for this and prompt you if using the updater.elf file is necessary.

Example output using just the firmware file:

<<< Welcome to the SQN3330 firmware updater >>>
Attempting AT wakeup...

Starting STP ON_THE_FLY
Session opened: version 1, max transfer 8192 bytes
Sending 5996938 bytes: [########################################] 100%
Code download done, returning to user mode
Resetting (DO NOT DISCONNECT POWER!!!)............................................................................
Upgrade completed!
Here's the current firmware version:

SYSTEM VERSION
==============
  FIRMWARE VERSION
    Bootloader0  : 5.1.1.0 [33080]
    Bootloader1* : 5.1.1.0 [38638]
    Bootloader2  : 5.1.1.0 [38638]
    NV Info      : 1.1,0,0
    Software     : 5.1.1.0 [38638] by robot-soft at 2018-08-20 09:51:46
    UE           : 5.0.0.0d
  COMPONENTS
    ZSP0         : 1.0.99-13604
    ZSP1         : 1.0.99-12341

Via UART Serial Interface

If you can't use an SD card to hold the firmware images, you can use the existing UART interface you have with the board to load these firmware files from your Computer.

You will need the following software installed on your computer:

  1. Python 3, if it's not directly available through your OS distributor
  2. PySerial

You will also need to download the following Python scripts: https://github.com/pycom/pycom-libraries/tree/master/lib/sqnsupgrade

Important: When upgrading your modem for the first time, even if you have updated it in the past with the old firmware update method, you MUST use the "recovery" upgrade method described below. Otherwise, you will risk breaking your module.

You can upload the updater.elf file to the module's flash file system rather than uploading it via UART directly to the modem, which will slightly increase the speed of the upgrade.

First, you need to prepare your modem for upgrade mode by using the following commands.

Commands to run on the Pycom module

To use the recovery method:

import sqnsupgrade
sqnsupgrade.uart(True)

To use the recovery method using the updater.elf file on the module:

 import sqnsupgrade
 sqnsupgrade.uart(True,'/flash/updater.elf')

To use the normal method:

 import sqnsupgrade
 sqnsupgrade.uart()

After this command is executed a message will be displayed asking you to close the port.

Going into MIRROR mode... please close this terminal to resume the upgrade via UART

Commands to be run on your computer

You must close the terminal/Atom or Visual Studio Code console to run the following commands from your computer:

Go to the directory where you saved the sqnsupgrade scripts and run the following commands in terminal:

When using the recovery method:

$ python3
Python 3.6.5 (default, Apr 25 2018, 14:23:58)
[GCC 4.2.1 Compatible Apple LLVM 9.1.0 (clang-902.0.39.1)] on darwin
Type "help", "copyright", "credits" or "license" for more information.
>>>
>>> import sqnsupgrade
>>> sqnsupgrade.run('Serial_Port', '/path/to/CATM1-39529.dup', '/path/to/updater.elf')

When using the standard method (or if the updater.elf was loaded on the module):

 $ python3
 Python 3.6.5 (default, Apr 25 2018, 14:23:58)
 [GCC 4.2.1 Compatible Apple LLVM 9.1.0 (clang-902.0.39.1)] on darwin
 Type "help", "copyright", "credits" or "license" for more information.
 >>>
 >>> import sqnsupgrade
 >>> sqnsupgrade.run('Serial_Port', '/path/to/CATM1-39529.dup')

Please note that the firmware update may seem to "stall" around 7-10% and again at 99%. This is not an indication of a failure but the fact that the modem has to do some tasks during and the updater will wait for these tasks to be completed. Unless the upgrade process is hanging for more than 5 minutes, do not interrupt the process as you will have to start again if you don't finish it. It may also take several minutes for the updater to load before responding to the AT wakeup command.

Retrying process

In case of any failure or interruption to the process of LTE modem upgrade you can repeat the same steps after doing a hard reset to the board (i.e disconnecting and reconnecting power), pressing the reset button is not enough.

Sqnsupgrade class

The latest version of the sqnsupgrade class has a few additional features that help with debugging or modem update.

sqnsupgrade.info()

 If the modem is in application mode, the current firmware version is displayed. This behaviour replaces the version() command which now is only available in uart() mode. Optional parameters are sqnsupgrade.info(verbose=False, debug=False)

sqnsupgrade.run(load_fff=True)

New optional command line option load_fff for the sqnsupgrade.run() command. This is designed to be an internal flag. And should only applied when advised by pycom support.

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