Follow the steps below to update the firmware on older pre-WiFi SuperSting ™ systems.
This article is applicable if the WiFi system has an older firmware than .65E. If you have a newer SuperSting™ WiFi, please use this article instead. If an older system does need update, the serial type firmware update will be needed before moving to the WiFi firmware method later. The first 2 digits of the serial number are the year of manufacture. Unlike consumer electronics, firmware updates are rarely needed and especially on pre 2013 built systems. Older pre-WiFi systems likely will not need a firmware update unless there is a missing menu feature needed. A reset and default should fix other concerns which are assumed to require a firmware update such as a scrambled menu or file name. This can occur when the system was allowed to run with a battery below specifications and a voltage drop occurred, etc. Check here first on this type of concern: Reset and Default to avoid system down time from stalled firmware update.
We suggest that the firmware is checked from the office between projects to avoid any possible downtime—which may include performing firmware recovery procedures that involve opening the SuperSting™ after serial port adapter issues, network errors, or low battery.
The most reliable solution for older system firmware updates is to use a built-in serial port. Please contact AGI if you have an older system to check if a firmware update is needed.
On older systems, firmware changes were used to allow marine streaming mode vs land mode. These older systems needed a land firmware which had more features for land surveys and handled both Dual-Mode and Switchbox roll along with modes of automatic switching, skip electrode list, etc. The marine firmware was primarily for boat towed surveys, but it could handle Switchbox and Dual-Mode surveys if roll-along is not needed. The WiFi systems built-in 2013 onward have a new receiver board that can handle a larger firmware memory that adds additional features such as PoweSting functions without the need for a firmware swap.
From time to time, new firmware for the SuperSting™ is available at the AGI SuperSting™ UserGroup with updates focused mostly on the new WiFi model App functions.
Please register as a SuperSting™ owner to receive a password to access this site. This way you can download the new firmware and load it into the SuperSting™ flash memory and also receive notifications of updates from time to time. By doing this, your SuperSting™ will always be up to the latest firmware standard. To find out which model you have, look at the firmware version number on the SuperSting™ menu 7. If it ends with a letter "E" then you have the Model E type and you then need to make sure only to load firmware of “E” type. If you have any questions regarding the firmware version to download, please contact AGI support.
The full procedure to perform a firmware update using a serial port:
Make sure you download and install the SuperSting™ Administrator software version 220.127.116.11 or newer. Use the special cable for loading firmware into the SuperSting™ (do not mix up this cable with the data upload/download cable). The firmware cable connects to the SuperSting™ in the port labeled "Ext. TX. COM" or "Firmware" as shown in the picture below. The SuperSting™ R1 has this port marked (PC SERIAL COM2).
The type of communication used for firmware will not work properly with USB/Serial adapters unless they have absolute/strict serial port emulation. For uploading firmware, it is best to use a computer with a built-in serial port as shown in the two images below or an approved adapter.
Do not use other USB to serial adapters or the firmware will likely fail during the step where it is writing new firmware after erasing the old firmware. This will cause the SuperSting™ to be non-operational until it can be opened for a more involved procedure. This USB adapter has stalled rarely on some systems due to firewall blocking the needed communication ports or an AV program blocking file access. If the stall occurs during the firmware erase step, AGI Technical Support will need to send special instructions that require opening and resetting the SuperSting™ with an internal switch and then loading several different files in a more complex procedure.
To avoid this possibility, please make sure to find a computer with a built-in serial port and stable power supply/fully charged battery or use an approved adapter. Typically these are desktop systems now. AGI has tested numerous serial port adapters and recommends these two serial port emulation devices if that is the only option. The Brainboxes model US-101 for USB worked on many laptops for firmware updates. The XC-235 for laptops with an ExpressCard (PCIe) slot was the most stable device found.
• Make sure your computer can operate for at least 30 minutes without shutting down. Do not use a laptop with a low battery or computer connected to unstable power.
• Turn on the SuperSting™ and go to the main menu.
•Start the Administrator for SuperSting™ software.
•Select the AGI SuperSting™ Firmware Updater under the Window option on the Administrator for SuperSting™ menu bar.
• Make sure to select the correct com port by looking at the Windows Device Manager as shown in this screenshot:
•Click on the “Load firmware” button and select the firmware update file (xxxxx.agi) you want to load.
•In the Administrator Transfer progress window will now be displayed “Successfully loaded image file version x.x.x. Transferring start program to SuperSting™. Start SuperSting™ in boot mode.”
•At this point, on the SuperSting™, go to Menu 6 and select 4. General settings. Then press 2. Start firmware update.
•The software is now being transferred to the SuperSting™. This is a sensitive process, therefore make sure to leave the instrument and computer alone and make sure to not interrupt the power until the process is finished. This may take up to 15 minutes. The blue transfer progress bar will move to the right during this step.
•When the uploading process is finished the progress window will display “Firmware transfer complete, restart SuperSting™!”
•Restart the SuperSting™.
• From the Main Menu:
-Format the memory (Menu 5/4)
-Delete all command files (Menu 5/6)
-Reset the SuperSting™ to the factory defaults (Menu 6/4/4)
-Clear any skip electrodes (Menu 6/6/2)
-Clear the Address Table: (Menu 6/2/2)
•Upload the command files again and set the address tables as needed for a switchbox and cable.
The firmware update is now completed.