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Sunday, 27 May 2012

Firmware Upgrades - Little Acorn 5210 and 6210

Fig: 1  Windows Explorer screen shot showing saved
location of firmware upgrade file.
A number of people have asked me recently about the availability of upgrades to the Acorn range of cameras and I'm combining this with an upgrade to correct an exposure problem with the 5210A. There will also be more about this issue in my next post.

At the time of writing I'm not aware of any general firmware upgrades for these cameras. Upgrades that are available are for specific issues such as the one detailed below; and as far as I know, the upgrade procedure is always the same for 5210s and (6210s see the post update 29/05 below).

Also read:  Firmware Updates, Upgrades and Software - Little Acorn Trail Cameras

Fig: 2   5210A - shadow under exposed.
Confusingly, the 5210 upgrade files are always named FW5210A.bin and arrive in a zip file which is named for the camera it is specified for. 

Similarly 6210 upgrade files are FW6210.bin 
Read this post.

Caution is required because if you load a file into the wrong camera it will stop the camera functioning which will have to be returned (not under warranty) to be  repaired.

Post Update 09.09.12  The strike through above is not strictly accurate. If a camera is updated with the wrong firmware, it can be corrected by using the right firmware, providing it's available.

Another point worth making is that update files appear to contain the complete binary coding for the camera; which means that when you do a firmware update you are recoding all the camera settings. This means that the update completely resets the camera and once it's done there's no going back, unless you have a file with the old coding; which at the time of writing I don't have.

I am not a programmer and although I have a basic understanding of the principals of binary coding I am completely reliant on the Acorn manufacturer for any changes to the programming of these cameras.
The BIN files I have are genuine factory upgrades, supplied by Acorn.

Fig: 3   Test shot in bright sunshine with 25% shadow
How to Upgrade the 5210:
Format SD Card (in camera)
1) Copy the file FW5210A.bin to the SD card at the top of the hierarchy as in Figure 1 and not in a folder.
2) Insert the SD card in the camera to be upgraded. 
3) Press and hold the OK button
4) Switch the camera to the "TEST" position. 
5) Wait until the start-up splash screen shows and then release the "OK" key.
6) Enter MENU, navigate the marker to DEFAULT SET, and press OK.
Format SD Card (in camera)
Fig: 4  Test shot in bright sunshine with 50% shadow 

The upgrade file will be automatically deleted from the card as the camera starts up.

When you have completed the upgrade you will need to re-enter your preferred menu settings which will have been returned to default.

I currently have two upgrade files. One is to correct underexposure of shadows with the 5210A (request file by email) and the other is a similar correction for the 5210MM after doing the upgrade (v1.83s available here) to increase the size of the file sent to your mobile or email from 320 x 240 pixels to 640 x 480 pixels.

The image data bar also changes with the upgrade. If you look at figure 2, you will see that the bar is broken. This is how it appears before the update. Figures 3, 4 and 5 have a continuous data bar which is how it appears after the update.

Image EXIF file. If you look at the image EXIF information you will see that the camera software version is V1.48 prior to the update and is V1.6 afterwards.

Post Update: 09.09.12  I am embarrassed to discover (thanks Josh) that in the paragraph above I'd referred to this problem as overexposure of shadow when in fact it is underexposure. Still, it only took four months to realise the mistake, so there's hope. Sorry, and I hope it hasn't misled anyone.
Fig: 5  Test shot in bright sunshine with 75% shadow

Test shots in Figures 3, 4 and 5 were taken after the upgrade of a 5210A. I am now going to return the camera to the site where Figure 2 was taken to see if the results are an improvement in practice.

I will be updating this post when I have the results.

The images in Figures 2 to 5 have been resized but are otherwise straight from the camera and were taken on its 5MP setting,

Post Update 29.05.2012 @ 15.50     I've again read through all the info I can find on this subject and changed and added to parts of this post in an attempt to clarify as much as possible.

I can't absolutely guarantee that I have all the information but at least the upgrade procedures seem to be correct. e&oe...

If you think you have a problem with any of the Acorn cameras and are looking for a fix, drop me an email and I'll see if a file is, or can be made available.

How to Upgrade the 6210:

Format SD Card (in camera)
1) Copy the FW6210.bin file to the SD card at the top of the hierarchy as in Figure 1 and not in a folder.
2) Insert the SD card in the camera to be upgraded. 
3) Press and hold the "Back" button (second button down from top right on control panel)
4) Switch the camera to the "TEST" position. 
5) Wait until the start-up splash screen shows and then release the "Back button"
6) Enter MENU, navigate the marker to DEFAULT SET, and press OK.
Format SD Card (in camera)

Some update files available here including a new User Manual for the 6210 post 0.8 second trigger speed factory upgrade.

More Reading
Acorn 5210A exposure tests - Firmware Upgrade - Part 2.
Ltl Acorn 6210 Firmware Upgrade - Night time infra-red lighting and exposure.

Release Notes for 6210MM versions:

Only support China Mobile and China Unicom, the other waiting for test results.
U.S. carrier testing is complete
Support the three mobile phone number and email function changes.
Fixed a wrong URL,Support Sweden.
Ascii code for the phone supports "+"
1.Solve the garbled error
2.Slovenia wait for the test
Slovenia wait for the test
Add "Portugal","Turkey","Switzerland","Spain","Slovakia","Russia","Romania","Poland","Netherlands","Italy","Ireland","Hungary","Greece","France","Australia","Austria","Brazil","Bulgaria","Croatia","Czech Republic","Denmark","Finland","New Zealand","Norway".
South Africa
Sweden --Telia
Czech Republic -- T-Mobile ,Vodafone
Ukraine -- KiyvStar,MTS
Australian operator Telstra parameter correction
Bulgaria -- Vivacom
Finland --- Sonera / Elisa
Slovakia --  Orange / O2
Setup Date Format
Lithuania --Omnitel  //Unkown Result
Ukraine -- LIFE , Beeline UA
Spain -- Orange
Bulgaria -- Globul
New Software,compatible with previous generation style
Australia -- Mic1
Austria A1
Austria A1 //E-mail can not receive MMS
Add language
fix a bug(sms)
German     ---  Deutsch
Switzerland  --- Schweiz
Austria  -- Osterreich 
Spain   -- Telstra
Add language
Modify a cell phone the first number use 
Germany     ---  Deutschland
Australia -- Vodafone Three Virgin
Ireland -- Tesco
India   -- Idea CellOne BPL Airtel VodaFone
Ltl 6210 MMS Menu.
Remove TV Mode Setup
Add Ltl6210 Function.
1.Beep Sound
2.Storage Cycle
Add Latvia MMS Param
South Africa  --MTN
South Africa  --MTN
Modify the Finnish translation
Ltl 5210MG Support Smtp
Update Gprs Param
Update United Kingdom MMS Param
Add Cesky Language
Add Namibia MMS Param
Update Ltl 6210M Gprs Param
Slovenia --Izi Mobil,Si Mobil
This is a test version, if the sending MMS have problems, please go back to the previous version
Estonia MMS Param
Lithuania MMS Param
fix a bug(6210MG)
Estonia Smtp Param
Norway -- Onecall
Croatia-- T-mobile HR
Belgium--Proximus Mobistar Base
Poland MMS Param

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This web site is about the wildlife, particularly the mammals, of the Glen Affric National Nature Reserve area in the north west Highlands of Scotland, UK; and the equipment I use to search for them, which is chiefly trail cameras.

I provide a technical support and parts service for the Ltl Acorn range of cameras and the income from this provides for the upkeep of this site and the purchase of cameras for my own surveying.

I hope you find the site useful and informative; and please contact me if you have any questions that I haven't already covered.