Updating NXT Firmware

Have you ever needed to update your NXT firmware, and didn’t know exactly how?  I’ve just uploaded a video to YouTube that shows, step-by-step, how to download the newest version of the NXT firmware.

Why should you even bother updating your firmware?  I touch on this at the very end of the video, but it bears restating.  Essentially, firmware is like the NXT’s operating system.  The first version of the firmware had some undiscovered problems lurking in the background.  However, either through user reports or through their own testing, LEGO found these errors and wrote a firmware update.  This has happened many times since then, resulting in many firmware updates.  Oftentimes, firmware updates will make memory usage more efficient, or fix some problem relating to how the NXT reads a sensor value.

When should you look for firmware updates?  Firmware updates are most common whenever something changes in the hardware.  For example, when the NXT 2.0 color sensor came out, a firmware update was released that enabled the NXT to communicate with the color sensor.  However, firmware updates can be released at any time; it is a good idea to check for updates at least at the start of each FLL season.  If a newer version is available, download it.

I will mention one exception to the “always update” idea: If it is right before a tournament, don’t update unless you are actively experiencing the issues the update is supposed to fix.  This is because updates can sometimes break things (although this is rare).  If the update does cause some error in your programs, you want to have time to correct for this problem.  Thus, only update if you know you have time to test your programs thoroughly.

Posted in NXT, Robot Programming, Tutorial, video