Learn how to update your Di2 component firmware
Do you know how to update Di2 firmware? Have you ever updated your bike’s firmware or software before? In this post I’ll explain how you can check for firmware updates and install them.
Before you get all excited, make sure you are actually able to update the firmware yourself. The items you need are:
- Windows computer / laptop
- PC interface device. Either the charger(SM-BCR2) or the more expensive SM-PCE1 / SM-PCE02
If your bike is equipped with a recent Information Display or Junction A that lets you plug in the SM-BCR2 charger then this is by far the easiest way. For those of you using an external battery mount combined with the older SM-EW67 junction, I'm sorry - you can only update the firmware using the SM-PCE1 / SM-PCE02. These are expensive and you will probably need to ask your local bike shop to perform any updates for you.
And yeah, Windows. Unfortunately the Shimano E-Tube Project software is not available for OS X or Linux. The alternative would be Wireless updates, but you can only do this with a Wireless Unit / Display installed and it tends to fail a lot. I strongly recommend you use a Windows computer.
But why update? What does it do?
Let’s talk about why you would want to update your firmware. While up-to-date drivers for your Windows PC are likely to increase performance slightly, updating your di2 firmware will not make you ride faster. Also, if things go wrong you could end up with an unresponsive bike!
So, a word of caution: if you are not sure about the process and are not having any problems with the bike, leave it the way it is – or find a local bike shop to do the updates for you when your bike is in for maintenance.
Also, updating firmware using the SM-BCR2 charger is not 100% guaranteed to work. It works fine 95% of the time, but sometimes it fails. See the section at the bottom of this page for more information.
That said, there are a couple of cases when updating firmware makes perfect sense or is even required:
- Update (older) components to enable compatibility with new components
- Apply bug fixes or improve usability
- Sometimes firmware will add new features – synchronized shifting for example
Updating external battery mounts
About those external battery mounts... you are supposed to remove the battery when updating them. Leaving the battery in can cause the update process to fail, even though things seem OK at first.
Also some readers have reported that their battery mounts can only be updated and restored using the SM-PCE1 (not the SM-PCE02). I haven't been able to test this yet as I only own the SM-PCE02, but it's something to keep in mind. If your external battery mount is working fine and there is no new functionality I recommend you do not update it.
How do you know there is an update?
There are two ways to check for updates. The easiest is to visit Shimano’s E-Tube Project website: e-tubeproject.shimano.com. You simply click ‘Firmware Update Information‘ at the top and you’ll be presented with a list of recent updates.
If you prefer to search by model number you can click the ‘Sort by Model No.‘ button and then find the model number you are interested in.
Or connect the bike to a computer
The other method to check for updates is to connect your bike to a computer.
Plug in the charger, run E-Tube Project, select your bike type and Connect‘. After the connection check is complete the application will let you know about any components that have outdated firmware.
The update process
So it’s time to run the update. You may have noticed the red ‘Update Available‘ text on the DU-E8000 in the image above. That means the component can be updated. You can now either click the Select All button or just click the single component. Then click the blue Update (Enter) button to start the update process. Just make sure your laptop charger is plugged in so it doesn’t switch off or go into standby during the firmware update.
Once you select a component for updating E-Tube will display an "Estimated Time" - indicating how long the firmware update will take (approximately).
Also, while the update is in progress:
- Do not unplug the USB cable, charger or electric wires
- Make sure your bike’s battery is sufficiently charged – I’d say 50% or more
- You cannot shut down the E-Tube Project while the firmware update is in progress
After you click the ‘Update (Enter)‘ button it'll tell you not to switch off the machine and start the process. At the top of the screen you'll see the elapsed time and you can also see each component's progress.
Note that if you press ‘Cancel‘ or ‘Back‘ the update process will stop, but only after it has completed updating the current unit.
When the update has completed successfully the application will show each updated component name and new firmware version. You can now click around the app and use its other functions to customise your component functions for example.
New in E-Tube Project version 4 is the ability to rewrite firmware to components. This can be useful when components are misbehaving - like a D-fly that's not switching off for example. To do this you just click the component you want to rewrite the firmware to and then E-Tube will simply ask you.
Rewriting the firmware should be relatively safe. All it does is run the update process again, but with the current firmware version instead of upgrading it. However, when I tested this the firmware rewrite failed and my EW-SM90 stopped responding until I disconnected it for 30 seconds. Use at your own risk. I recommend not rewriting the firmware to components just because you can.
Problems..? Failed update?
While these cases are rare, firmware updates can fail. If the update process is interrupted or unsuccessful an error message will be displayed on the screen. It will also display the steps you can take to restore the affected unit.
The initial firmware update of the Wireless Unit or D-Fly is especially prone to failure. If this happens to you, have a look at my page on recovering from a failed wireless firmware update.
If you are experiencing problems or have a feedback regarding this post, don’t hesitate to get in touch and let me know.