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EUC World
Knowledge Base

Firmware updates in a nutshell

Sebastian "Seba" Łastowski
·
January 11, 2023

We use our wheels to ride, and by using them we focus on making sure that riding gives us as much satisfaction as possible, while also being safe. That’s why we invest in clothing that protects us from the consequences of falls and other accidents – helmets, protectors or protective jackets and pants. We treat our wheels as if they were a bicycle, motorcycle or car. In doing so, we forget that in fact our wheel is a computer on one wheel. A computer whose operation depends on the program stored in it – the firmware. On this program also depends our safety, but also a number of features of the unicycle. Unfortunately, sometimes the firmware contains errors that can negatively affect our safety or at least how our wheel behaves while riding.

Therefore, it is very important for users to be able to update the wheel’s firmware. This is because we have become accustomed to the fact that, at least for a certain period of time after purchasing an electronic device (phone, computer, TV etc.), the manufacturer provides updates to improve the product and eliminate problems that have already been discovered after the product was launched. It goes without saying that we expect the same from the manufacturers of our wheels.

Firmware updates were until recently only available on wheels from manufacturers such as King Song, Inmotion and Ninebot. Thus, owners of unicycles from these manufacturers were able to enjoy periodic upgrades to their wheels, which was the envy of owners of Gotway/Begode and Veteran wheels. Fortunately, that has changed. With the introduction of new “black” motherboards, Begode made firmware updates possible, and shortly thereafter such a feature was made available to owners of Veteran brand wheels. So at the moment it can be said that every modern unicycle allows firmware updates.

As I mentioned earlier, the ability to update firmware is a very important feature. With firmware updates it is possible to fix problems in the operation of the unicycle, as well as to introduce improvements and new features. Unfortunately, there are also risks associated with updating the firmware, of which every unicycle user should be aware. After all, the whole process involves reprogramming the memory on the uni’s motherboard. It’s like open brain surgery – all it takes is a minor problem for the operation to end badly.

Potential problems when updating firmware

The most common problem with firmware updates is the low quality and issues in operation of the manufacturer’s apps. There is a reason why these apps are often not available on or rejected from Google Play Store. Not only do they not meet Google’s quality and compatibility requirements, but they often do not comply with many countries’ personal data protection laws. For example, the Begode app sends the user’s exact location to third parties without the user’s knowledge or consent. On top of that, it does this over an unencrypted connection, so anyone can intercept the sensitive data sent by the app. That’s why, acting in the interests of users and complying with “fair use” case, the EUC World app is trying to provide firmware updates to owners of King Song unicycles, but not only. Soon owners of Begode and Veteran wheels will be able to enjoy the possibility of updating firmware using EUC World app.

However, even the best app is not enough to avoid all problems. As the data is transmitted using radio waves during the update, it will only take a radio interference or a temporary loss of signal for a problem to appear. That’s why it’s important to keep the phone as close to the unicycle as possible when updating the firmware. This still does not eliminate the possibility of interference with the Bluetooth signal by other devices in the vicinity, but the risk of problems caused by this significantly decreases.

Finally, problems can be caused by the phone itself, on which the application is running. The operation of battery-saving mechanisms can limit the performance of the application, and thus negatively affect data transmission between the application and the unicycle. Therefore, before updating the firmware, make sure the phone’s battery is fully charged and the battery optimization function is disabled for the application used to update the firmware. Bluetooth software bugs in the phone or low-quality components used to build the phone are also not uncommon problems. Therefore, if you are experiencing problems in the application’s communication with the wheel during normal use, do not use this phone to update the firmware of your unicycle.

If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it

Well, and finally, I would like to remind you of a very practical rule – if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. If your wheel is working fine, think about the point of updating the firmware. It’s not just that something can go wrong when trying to update the firmware. Sometimes new firmware versions contain new bugs. In this case, the wheel after the update performs worse than before the update. Fortunately, EUC World users can take advantage of the possibility to restore an older firmware version, however, before proceeding with the update it is worth making sure if there’s an older firmware available.

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