Do not forget about your Crosscable when updating an EZControl XS1

No SEO friendly title in my mind, there was nothing better to describe tonight’s uproar while upgrading some part of my home automation environment.

I don’t always change a running system. But when I do, I break it for sure. And of course, when I change something, I always change literally everything at once.

While following some rules strictly during my work day, such as

  • never change a running system ,
  • change one thing at a time and
  • don’t use beta software in a production environment

I definitely forget about those rules once I am at home. Therefore, I fiddle around with my home WiFi for days, upgrading everything to IEEE 802.11n including a new full duplex repeater and new access points with exotic chipsets requiring very specific build of DD-WRT.

Still debugging slow pings, lags and randomly missing segments of my network, I also decided to upgrade my EZControl XS1 to the very latest available (beta) firmware.

Once I shut down the device in its bootloader mode, and tried to uploaded the latest firmware (via browser), the HTTP request failed and every single browser on any OS told me the page wasn’t able to be displayed. Once back to the bootloader, it told me the uploaded firmware check failed. Hitting the browsers refresh button did not help a lot either. That’s the way how you brick a $300 gadget in seconds like a boss.

Crossover CableAs anybody would do in such a moment, I dug into my box with long forgotten network cables and picked the very only crossover cable probably exiting within the range of two hours driving. Hail to me, still owning one.

No kidding, most of todays kids won’t even know such a thing did exist. Actually, it’s the sort of cable one used long time before wireless. Before the age of switches, routers and hubs at a time when one tried to connect to machines via ethernet directly.

Connected to the XS1 via the crossover cable, there is absolutely no problem uploading the firmware. When performing the same operation via wireless, there goes something wrong in layer 2 or 3 or maybe 4 – or not. We eventually will never know.
Next time you are going to upgrade the firmware of any device via network, keep your crosscable in reach, you are probably going to need it.
Next time, I won’t change a running system, always change one thing at a time and I will never use betas in production environment… I don’t think so.

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