Nissin Di866 Update Available
As of July 29, 2010, there is a firmware update for the Nissin Di866 on Nissin's download page. I have downloaded it and tried to install it on the oldest and most buggy of my two Nissin Di866 units. It installs fine, but so far, I haven't noticed any improvements. The bug that has been fixed on my newest Nissin Di866 is still present in the old one after installing the upgrade.
What follows is a detailed report from my upgrade session. Since the process is quite elaborate, you may want to read through all of it before you try to upgrade.
Caution: If the “sleep” bug has been fixed in your flash, installing this software may re-introduce it. However, I am not sure about this. For obvious reasons have I not tried to find out.
Downloading and Installing
When you visit download page. You'll find no date or version number for the upgrade, and the instructions are pretty skimpy. This is what it says:
Please download the following application and execute it on your PC for Firmware Update.
Di866 firmware: Setup.exe
Cable: USB cable (A:miniB type)
OS: Windows XP, Windows Vista
Ram: 1G or above
Internet connection needed
Remarks: some of Firewall and anti-virus software may block the firmware execution.
I think they at least could have supplied some release notes that told us about what this release is supposed to fix, but – no.
My configuration and equipment meet all their requirements, so I download Setup.exe to my own computer. What follow is a screen-by-screen description of what I did, and the outcome.
When I start Setup.exe, Windows XP has the good sense to warn me about the hazards of running software of unknown origin:
Since I downloaded it from Nissin's official website, I believe it is the genuine article, so I permit it to run. The next screen looks like this:
I press Install. This prompts the setup program to download the actual Download Manager (DM) that I assume will handle the update process. This is how the download screen looks like:
I also get this little message.
And this message.
I leave the destination folder unchanged, as requested, and press Extract. After a short while, I get the following status update:
Now installation of the Download Manager is almost done, and the system is ready to run the thing. This is communicated with the following screen:
I make sure “Run Di866 DM Startup 1.0” is ticked, and press Finish. This results in the following security warning from Windows XP.
Well, I still trust Nissin, so I press Install, and this completes, I think, the installation process. Now, the Download Manager is going to run.
Running the Nissin Di866 Download Manager
The Download Manager (DM) starts up with a screen presenting itself that will look like this if all is well:
Notice the little box Connect Status at the bottom of the panel above, where it says “Network Connected” next to a green square. Some people report that they instead see “No Network” with a red square, even if their computer is connected to the Internet. I am not able to reproduce this error. If you know what causes this, and/or how to fix it, please leave a comment below.
Since I have the required Connect Status, I proceed by pressing the Software tab. This brings me to the following, rather mysterious page:
It says that the “Current Firmware” is “Di866_N_Nissin_firmware_1”. The “Di866” is obviously the model name and “N” probably stands for ”Nikon”. But where does this information come from? At this point, the Nissin flash unit is not physically connected to the PC, so it can't refer to the current firmware in the flash?
Anyway, I want updated firmware, so I make sure that “Nikon” is selected and press the button that says Update Firmware. This produces the following notice, hinting that English is not the first language of whoever writes Nissin's software.
In this note, Nissin explains: “This means the Di866 firmware has currently updated from Nissin official website”. which probably is some some sort of confirmation that the updated firmware has been downloaded.
The Software tab now looks like this. Notice that the field labelled “Updated Firmware” is now filled in with the same string as the field labelled “Current Firmware”.
I am not sure what happened, but my best guess is that the DM has downloaded the latest and greatest firmware from Nissin's site, and that this version is the same version as the firmware that came with the DM.
I am now ready to proceed to the last tab, labelled Download. The DM comes with an embedded tutorial of download mode. I ran through this tutorial a couple of times before I tried anything. Below, I record the steps I took, along with screen captures from the tutorial.
At this point, I grabbed one of my Di866 flash units, and turned it on.
You have to take this literally, press the [On/Off] switch, hold it, and then press the [Pilot] switch. It is easy to turn the unit off instead, but it becomes simpler with a bit of practice. Doing this displays a table on the Nissin's display with two columns of numbers and letters.
According to this note on Nissin's website, row “C” indicates firmware version. The latest versions as of July 2010 are:
- Canon: 2
- Nikon: 4
I currently hold two Nissin units (both for Nikon). Below I've reproduced the data that appear in the table that is displayed when you press these two buttons, along with the serial numbers of the units and the month and year I received them.
From this, I can see that my oldes unit is running version 2 of the firmware, while my newest unit is already running the latest version of the firmware.
After completing step two, I see a white screen that indicates that the Di866 is in download mode.
I now connect my oldest Di866 (serial # 980432068) to the PC with the USB-cable. When I do this, the operating system tells me that I need to install a driver for a device named “AT90USB162 DFU”, otherwise, the device will not function.
(I botched installing the device driver when installing on Windows XP. I then switched to another computer running Windows Vista for a fresh start. This is why the screen shots from the last part are from Windows Vista. However, botching the device driver installation was my fault and has nothing to do with the upgrade.)
To install the driver, you must select Locate and install driver software.
Here you must pick: I don't have the disc. Show me the other optons. One if these options is to browse computer for driver. Select this one, and search the directory where the Di866 DM-software is located.
Again, Window warns me about the harms of unknown software. However, I trust the good people of Atmel Norway (they are in Trondheim.)
After I press Install, transferring the new software to the flash unit takes some time, but after I while, I get the message “Download complete”:
After I press OK, focus returns to the DM. It also tells me “Download success”:
I remove the USB-cable, and then remove the batteries to exit download mode. I also go back to the software page in the DM, to check firmware version. It still says: “Di866_N_Nissin_firmware_1”.
I also repeat step 1 to re-examine the table with letters and numbers. The value in the C-line (firmware version) has changed from 2 to 4, confirming that my oldest unit is now running the lastest version of the firmware (version 4).
|Old unit||New unit|
As for the other three lines, the numbers in the B- and M-line are different that those numbers in the newer unit I own.
As noted in my review, my two Di866 units work different. The following software bug is present in the older unit, but not in the new:
- It sometimes goes to sleep in plain slave mode.
When I test the updated unit, I find no change. I.e.: the bug is still there.
This also means that I shall not attempt to install this software on my latest unit. Doing so may actually reintroduce the bug that have been fixed!
I am interested in hearing from others that have used the DM to upgrade their Nissin. Is anything changed by the upgrade? Please use comment field below.