How can we Check and Update the NXT Computer Brick's Firmware?
"Firmware" is the "operating system software" that goes inside your LEGO Computer Brick to enable it to function. Your computer brick will come with a version of this software pre-installed. Periodically, maybe once or twice a year, LEGO releases improved versions of firmware for your LEGO computer brick. It is worth checking before the start of each school term, if the version you are using is the current one.
What version of firmware does my LEGO computer brick use now?
Start up your LEGO MindStorms software; click on the top "Go" button, click on the "Tools" menu, select the "Update NXT Firmware..." option; and you will see at least one "LEGO_MINDSTORMS_NXT_Firmware_V1.xx" where "xx" are two numbers. In my case, I can see LEGO_MINDSTORMS_NXT_Firmware_V1.29.
What is the latest firmware version offered by LEGO for download?
You can find out which is the latest version of firmware offered by LEGO by clicking here. At the time of writing this paragraph (September 2011) the latest version available for download to my computer was "Firmware 1.31". Thus, my firmware version was out of date. This is probably not serious, my old programs will continue to run OK, but I may have some problems if I purchase some of the more modern LEGO peripherals. Since I use several of the more recently released sensors, it is probably best for me to update my computer brick's firmware.
Updating my LEGO Firmware
My next step was to download version 1.31 of the LEGO firmware, and to install it in my computer brick. Since updating involves placing a file in your operating system, you may like to get your school technician to do this for you. If you are at home, you can follow the procedure below which is quite safe if you are careful. This whole process is illustrated in the videos below; note that the videos can be expanded to a full screen by clicking on or in the lower right-hand corner of the movie screens: The usual rule applies, always make sure you have a backup before you start...
You can see from the videos above that I now have the latest LEGO firmware version (1.31) available for my use - and if there is any problem with the new version, I can still fall back to using my previous version of LEGO's firmware (1.29). Having both now available, I end up with the best of both worlds...
Free tutorial - Updating the LEGO Computer Brick's Firmware - copyright Dr. Graeme Faulkner 2011 - www.DrGraeme.net