How to update the boot loader


Making the KICK firmware update Mac compatible

Here is a description of the one-time process required to enable firmware updates from a Mac running OSX.


The KICK has two pieces of software installed. One is the boot loader the other is the firmware. When the KICK is turned on it starts up the boot loader. The boot loader first checks if you are holding down the WB+ button. If you are not, it checks that a valid firmware is present. If everything looks OK, it fires up the firmware and the KICK is ready to run. The firmware is the main program, the boot loader is a little helper program that runs once every time the KICK starts up.

If you are holding down the WB+ button when you turn on the KICK – or if the boot loader can’t find a valid firmware is installed – the boot loader assumes that you want to do a firmware update. It sets itself up as a USB drive, and you can plug the KICK into a computer using the USB cable.

The advantage of this clever scheme is that you can easily update the firmware of the KICK. It is safe, if the update fails, the KICK is not “bricked”. The boot-loader is still there and you can just try the update again.

The original KICK boot loader emulated just enough of a FAT-12 file system that an attached computer would think it was a USB stick.  This works well with Windows, Linux and older versions of OSX. Newer versions of OSX gave a “disk full” error message. We have rewritten the boot loader in order to support OSX. You will find an updater program that installs a new boot loader further down. Ironically and logically, you need a PC to install the updater that makes the KICK firmware update process “Mac compatible”.

How to do it

This is a two-step process. First you update the boot loader, then you copy in the new firmware. If you have done a firmware update before, you will find the process very similar. You connect the Kick to your PC, delete the old firmware.bin and copy in the updater. Press the ON/OFF button and let the update process run. You now have the  new boot loader installed, but no firmware. Wait for the KICK to reconnect to the computer, copy in the new firmware, eject, and you are done.

Before you start:
– Make sure the KICK is charged up. You don’t want it to run out of battery during this process. I’m going to repeat this in case you dozed off. It is important. Make sure the KICK is charged up.
– Download the updater and the firmware and have them handy:

Date Version Location Comments
October 27 2013 Updater 1.0 file The updater that installs the new boot loader (kick_bl_upd.bin)
October 07 2013 Firmware 1.04 file Firmware (Kick_firmware_1_04_RANK_0.bin)

Note again: You WILL need a Windows PC to do the first step!


Here are the detailed step-by-step instructions:

Part One: Update the boot loader

  1. Turn off the KICK by pressing the ON/OFF button
  2. Connect the KICK to a Windows PC with a USB cable (a Mac will not work for this step).
  3. Turn on the KICK while you hold down the WB+ button. Both the ON/OFF button and the Connect button will show a green light.
    Windows will now automatically install the right drivers for the Kick and this may take a minute or two. Do not disconnect the KICK or turn it off while Windows is getting the drivers ready.
  4. The KICK will now appear as a removable flashdrive or USB stick on your desktop. (It if does not appear by itself, look for it in Windows Explorer).
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  5. Open the folder. You will see a single file named firmware.bin. Delete this file. (If you don’t see “firmware.bin, but you see a file starting with with Kick_firmware… , you already have the latest boot loader installed)
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  6. After deleting the old firmware.bin, drag the updater file (kick_bl_upd.bin) into the KICK folder.
  7. Do not disconnect the USB cable. Press the power button. You will see green power and connect lights doing a little dance while the update process is running. It takes less than 10 seconds. When the lights stop blinking you have the new Mac compatible boot loader installed. The update process deletes the old firmware on the KICK, so we need to copy in the actual firmware:
  8. Copy or drag the new firmware file into the KICK folder.
  9. Remove the USB cable. Turn the KICK off and on and you are done.

If you try a firmware update and it fails, try again. A failed firmware update does not brick the Kick. A failed boot loader update does brick the Kick.



You connect the KICK but Windows does not seem to do anything

  • Make sure you connect to a USB 2.0 port. Connecting KICK to a USB 1.0 port may or may not work.
  • Make sure you hold down the WB+ button when you turn on the KICK. The WB+ button is the adjustment button nearest to the ON/OFF button. It is marked with a + symbol. Both the ON/OFF button and the Connect button will show a green light when the KICK is in firmware update mode.

Windows reports that it can’t install the drivers

  • You may have to be connected to the internet in order for Windows to locate the right USB drivers. If the problem persists, email us at

After updating the firmware, the Kick can’t be turned off or it can’t be turned on

  • Press the reset button using a paperclip through the small holes between the USB connector and the charging light on the KICK. More about this on the troubleshooting page.

You don’t have a PC

The firmware did not update, or the KICK is does not work after updating

  • The old firmware must be deleted; it is not enough to copy new firmware over the old one.
  • Make sure the battery on the KICK is not completely depleted.
  • Try it again.
  • It you’re stuck, email us at

Any other issues:


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