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10-12-2009, 12:23 PM   #1
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ist DS Failed Firmware Install

Hi all,
I recently attempted to upgrade the firmware from v2.0 to the latest v2.02 using the download ds_e202w.exe from the support site.

I used an AC power adaptor to ensure no power interruptions. However after approximately a minute or so the install showed it had progressed to half way through 'Phase 2/2.'. The display then went blank with no 'Complete' displayed. I waited several more minutes but nothing happened.

Switching the power off and on now results in the main monitor LCD never working. The upper LCD seems to work and the shutter does release. However, the camera is now unusable as it won't write or read files to SD or SDHC cards and the LCD monitor doesn't work at all. I've tried removing battery power completely and also reinstalling blindly with no LCD monitor but alas no joy.

I assume that the attempted firmware install failed so the internal BIOS was not successfully flash programmed and now refuses re-install attempts.

The official line of resolution is to send the camera into Pentax Repairs in AZ. No estimate as yet to get the BIOS reflashed or replaced.

I was just wondering if anyone else had the same issue of a failed firmware install? Did Pentax do a repair, and if so how much $?

Is there a known remedy for a handy DIYer to fix at home? I have no fear in opeing the body up. I also have electronic equipment including Oscilloscopes, tools and the like so know my way around a circuit board. Maybe the BIOS PROM chip can be removed easily and/or flashed by a back door route?

Any suggestions or information around this would be most appreciated.

Many thanks.

10-12-2009, 02:27 PM   #2
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Firmware updates are quite a risk, but in your case it was needed just for the SDHC support.

Is it possible to get into debug mode?
10-12-2009, 03:27 PM   #3
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QuoteOriginally posted by tomwil Quote
Firmware updates are quite a risk, but in your case it was needed just for the SDHC support.

Is it possible to get into debug mode?
Yes, I wanted to used my new SDHC card.

I did find the debug mode mentioned somewhere and tried the combination of buttons including pressing the INFO ( I think that was button needed for debug) while switching ON but nothing happened and the LCD was still blank.

Can you confirm how debug mode is correctly accessed for the ist DS and I'll try it again?

As aside I performed a previous install some time ago from ver1.0 to v2.0. I distinctly remember the camera did the same thing at the end of the install by simply blanking the LCD with no 'Complete' status displayed at the end. When I powered OFF/ON, nothing worked initially. I remember I had to remove the batteries, wait a bit, then put the batteries back and it all finally worked without anymore issues.

This install to v2.02 seemed to follow suit by not showing 'Complete'. However, this time the camera won't work at all. I'm wondering whether there's always been an issue lurking in my camera and this time it's shown up.
10-12-2009, 05:52 PM   #4
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It is not the same camera, but I recently updated an istD (1st Pentax DSLR) from 1.00 to 1.12 and it went through normal the process to the "Complete" message. I'm now using it with a 4 GB CF card. I avoid unnecessary firmware updates (two K100s are at 1.00) but needed the extra capacity for astronomy.

10-12-2009, 07:24 PM   #5
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I'm boxing it up and sending it off to Pentax service dept in AZ tmrw. I'll see what they say and quote to fix. If it's a lot more than $100 to repair then I'll probably sell as is on ebay and get the new K-7 which I'm waiting to drop under $1000.

Maybe I'm just unlucky so far. The first ist DS I bought from a local retailer was DOA. They replaced it and then that 2nd body went bad with overly compressed jpeg pictures after 3 months of use...the pics were intermittently blotchy as if crude 256 colors only. Pentax fixed it under warranty and said it just needed a cleaning. I'm guessing a bad connection on the circuit board was the issue and they simply messed with a connector to get it working again.

And now I have a firmware install issue.

I never had any issues with my ME Super & MZ-5 with a total of 23 years of reliable service!
10-13-2009, 05:57 AM   #6
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Just curious what size SD card you had used to do the firmware update?

There was one recent thread here where someone had tried using a SDHC card to update the firmware on a non-SDHC capable Pentax DSLR.
10-13-2009, 09:47 AM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by tomwil Quote
Just curious what size SD card you had used to do the firmware update?

There was one recent thread here where someone had tried using a SDHC card to update the firmware on a non-SDHC capable Pentax DSLR.
It was a 1GB SD 66X card. The card is very reliable and has never given me any problems.
Pentax asked me the same question on their live support.

An SDHC card is not even recognizable with v2.0 firmware so anyone trying to install the firmware from an SDHC card is not going to get very far.
10-13-2009, 12:56 PM   #8
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Has happpened before

QuoteOriginally posted by MSsuper Quote
Hi all,
I recently attempted to upgrade the firmware from v2.0 to the latest v2.02 using the download ds_e202w.exe from the support site.................
Any suggestions or information around this would be most appreciated.

Many thanks.
HELP - DS dead after firmware upgrade: Pentax SLR Talk Forum: Digital Photography Review
http://forums.dpreview.com/forums/read.asp?forum=1036&message=19933274
Hi Ken:
Others have had simular problems and Pentax wants them to send the camera to service. what are the simptoms. or is the camera just dead?


You MAY be able to get this fixed for free, tell Pentax it is a hidden defect........

10-13-2009, 04:19 PM   #9
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Thanks, this might prove useful when Pentax contacts me with an estimate.
If this has happened to many owners previously I would like to know what Pentax actually charged for those past repairs?

Does anyone know if the BIOS ROM is removable or is it soldered directly on the board? It might be cheaper to just swap out the badly flashed BIOS with a new working one if that's possible.
11-09-2009, 02:11 PM   #10
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I am interested in how much the repairs cost you. I have a K100D that has the same problem and would like to know if it is worthwile sending for repair. I am thinking that the repairs will be more than it is worth.
11-14-2009, 06:44 AM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by rodneya Quote
I am interested in how much the repairs cost you. I have a K100D that has the same problem and would like to know if it is worthwile sending for repair. I am thinking that the repairs will be more than it is worth.
According to this post, MSsuper says the Pentax service center wanted over $350 to fix the failed firmware flashing on his istDS.
11-14-2009, 10:42 AM   #12
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When I purchased my first *ist DS back in the summer, it had the original firmware which I did upgrade successfully to the same level (2.02 I think) of firmware without any issues, but I did make sure to use an older 32 MB SD card for doing the upgrade itself. Once the firmware was successful, I started using my SDHC hards without any problems.

I just purchased another *ist DS and waiting to recieve it. I am not even sure what level of firmware is currently installed on it so I'll be watching this thread closely. I will provide updates if and when I upgrade the firmware, or whether I run into any issues.
11-14-2009, 12:53 PM   #13
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CRIS called me 2 weeks after sending and quoted $350+. With shipping there and back it would be close to $380 all in. Outrageous don't you think?
The camera was perfect before the install attempt so I can't believe there's any hardware damage. Surely they have the know how to reflash the corrupt PROM. Worse case solder in a new PROM on the main board.

If they could sell me the part, preflashed I could do the job with little effort myself.

I told them to just send it back as is as I could get a refurb K200* from Best Buy for that quote. Unbelievable.

Took over 3 weeks to get it back with no repair. Slow service. Not impressed.
11-14-2009, 08:10 PM   #14
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$350 seems awfully high. A few years back I sent in a K110D which I damaged by opening it to removing the filter. I definitely totaled the main board and a ribbon cable or two. Pentax Colorado charged me $212. I doubt they replace a part on a surface mount board, I believe I got back a new board, new cables, and had new firmware (which I regret because Remote Assistant stopped working).

Apparently the cameras lack any way to recover from a bad upgrade, even at the factory. I wish there was a permanent boot loader that did not depend on the programmable memory.

I upgraded my classic istD recently because I wanted to use a 4 GB memory card. The upgrade went fine but I used AC power as well as fresh Eneloops. There are many warnings about having solid power when doing a firmware upgrade.
11-17-2009, 01:55 PM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by EsBee Quote
I will provide updates if and when I upgrade the firmware, or whether I run into any issues.
Well I received my *ist DS yesterday afternoon with stock (v1.00) firmware.

I then followed the instructions on the upgrade package from the Pentax website, and was able to successfully apply 2.02 last night, using a 2GB SD card that I had. It now uses SDHC cards just fine.
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