A solution to the NEX-6 firmware 1.02 upgrade fail on Mavericks
Maarten | On 06, Nov 2013
A cautionary tale. I hope this helps you, if not, please comment.
This afternoon I borrowed an NEX-6 from Sony to take on a trip next week. You can see my video review here.
The NEX-6 is a “smart” camera. It has Wi-Fi and the Sony Entertainment portal has apps you can download. So cool – although it’s been around for a while, this is my first time to try it out. Some apps are free, the rest cost $5 to $10. I’ll start with the free ones.
When I got home, I initialized the NEX-6 back to factory settings so that I’m not undoing what someone else has done and also to get the full configuration and setup experience. I suppose all camera reviewers do this. I go to the camera’s apps menu, log the camera into my Wi-Fi network and connect to the Sony apps portal. Entering your password on a camera with a navigation dial to get around a virtual keyboard isn’t much fun.
I’m confronted by a message telling me to upgrade the firmware. “Of course”, I say to myself, “should have thought of that.” I login to the Sony website (my tip here: use the sony.com site) and download the version 1.02 firmware to my Mac, which is running OSX 10.9 (Mavericks). You see where this is going, right?
I follow instructions, connecting the camera to my Mac with USB and everything goes smoothly. The upgrade is in progress with the screen prompt “don’t unplug the camera from USB”. About one-third complete, another prompt appears indicating that the update has failed. It instructs me to remove the battery, relaunch the updater app and try again. I panic, I think – the battery wasn’t charged enough! I change to another charged battery.
But at this point, the camera is frozen. No response to any activity. It doesn’t turn on. “What the heck”, I say and follow the instructions and try again. To no avail. The camera is a brick.
Google is my friend, so I type in “nex-6 firmware 1.02 fail”, there are several links to Sony, which are just the links to the download, and then a link to a thread on a dpreview.com forum which echoes my experience. Apparently the firmware upgrade app is not compatible with Mavericks unless you’re in 32 bit mode. Someone describes how to get into 32-bit mode, but it’s not clear that will resolve a bricked camera.
In a few minutes I’ve found a better solution in another thread, where they did unbrick an NEX-5. Use Windows 8 or 7. Easier said than done for this Mac devotee, and I’m hoping that my Windows 8 Parallels instance will do a good enough job of pretending to be a Windows PC.
Sadly, no. I download the firmware upgrade and start the upgrade app, but it crashes the entire Parallels Windows 8 VM. Maybe I was supposed to use the Windows 8 32-bit version? I download that and try again. Sadly, no. Another Parallels crash. Onto a Windows 7 instance in VMWare – my last hope before trying to find a friend who has a real Windows PC. No need to ask why I have both Parallels and VMWare instances …
Luckily, as promised in the thread, the camera somehow responds to the Windows 7 connection, the upgrade initializes and performs the upgrade successfully.
Phew. I’m downloading apps now. More to come …