How to Brick Your MōVI and Then How to Restore Its Life

How to Brick Your MōVI and Then How to Restore Its Life

Last week FreeFly Systems sent out a rather critical announcement stating the new firmware (version 3.08) had been released with a new Configuration App, and it was imperative to update your devices by August 1st, 2014 because..."If you do not upgrade by the specified date your MōVI could cease to function." What follows is how despite my best efforts, I still managed to brick it.

Naturally, the tech-junkie in me jumped to the call and fired up my MōVI to be updated immediately after getting the alert from FreeFly. Using my laptop, I followed the instructions line by line for the update procedure. I would like to point out that I did everything in my efforts to follow the instructions to the letter. Here is their instruction sheet as well as the process I took.  

  1. Download Zip File Containing New App and Firmware
  2. Install new app and confirm version (1.552 on Macs)
  3. Power Up MōVI and Connect to FreeFly App
  4. Update Firmware using the 3.08 Bin file and wait for completion
  5. Confirm Update Success in the app and wait for the MōVI to reboot.

Seems simple enough... however, this is where things got a little tricky. At this moment, instead of the soothing and calming colors of the solid green lights one would normally see on their wonderful stabilizer rigs, I instead started seeing the blinking red lights of doom shining out of places that I didn't even know there were LED's to begin with! 

After a confirming nothing but ERROR messages across the App and with no other option than a hard reboot was required on the rig. Unfortunately after doing so, it would power up, flash the power lights one and then go dark...and even more sadly....LIMP! Frustrated, I headed to the FreeFly Forums and noticed that, to my relief, I wasn't the only one who managed to turn their $5000+ stabalizer system into a carbon fiber paperweight! There were a lot of similar (and some scarier) problems to my own being posted and the Support Staff at Freefly were quick to respond asking the people to email them directly on the but no answers were being given through the forums.....

On to the next step, emailing the support team with complete problem details, and then a little back & forth for some Q&A to clarify the models, computer, os, version numbers etc... pretty standard tech support routine i'm sure we've all dealt with at least once. At this point, I was told the it was my fault! Or rather, my computers fault as any power saving modes (screensavers, dimming, video card switching etc), could break the connection to the Movi while updating, and since it was now bricked, they needed to FedEx me a "Jumpstart" cable with instructions to kickstart my M5 and start the process over again.  

Now, this all sounded way too fishy to me, since I did get the "Update Complete" message from my configuration app, and I'm fairly certain no power saving modes were on or at least enabled, (as i was using the computer at the time), so i've no clue how the connection could have been broken during the process. The batteries were even brand-spanking-newly charged! Much to my chagrin I decided there really wasn't anything else to do but wait for the Jumpstart to arrive the next day.

The FreeFly Systems JUMPSTART cable. This thing was less than 2 inches long!

While this whole incident was clearly a problem on the engineering side, I do have to give major Kudos to the Support team at FreeFly Systems for their quick, (albeit some what vague), responses at tackling these problems! Especially for the money sink it must have been to Fedex OVERNIGHT the jumpstart kit! with a set of instructions, while clearly put together in a major rush, explaining the steps need to disasseble the GDU box and set things right again. 

Screen-grab from the Jumpstart Instruction PDF from FreeFly Systems

The good news is, after managing to disassemble, reset the system, reconnect and reassemble the CGU box, and FINALLY properly update the firmware... my M5 is up and running like a dream again!  For those of you out there with a MōVI system and you have not done the update yet, I have a few recommendations.  

  • Make sure you have absolutely NO powersaving modes on or enabled during your update (it can take a few minutes).  
  • Ensure you are running the proper version of the Configuration App on your computer or mobile device (1.552 on Macs).
  • If you do fall in to the category of users who get a brick, be sure to contact promptly, give them your full details and problem report, and request the jumpstart cable.
  • When you get said jumpstart kit, be sure you have a 1.5mm Hex tool so that you can open the CGU box to get everything running again! The tools that come with your MōVI's are 2mm and 2.5mm, so save yourself the frustration I had and be prepared!


The opened "CGU" box!

Have any of you had similar issues or success stories with your recent Firmware Updates? Let us know in the comments below. 

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Bryan Dockett's picture

hahaha love the graphic!

David J. Crewe's picture

I KNOW right?!

Philip Aarseth's picture

Hah, I'm glad my frustrations could help someone.