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Suggestion for NetPi Update process
#1
I just received the NetPi today, and have already a suggestion for the Update process:
- Generate the USB key from the NetPi itself (format, download firmware onto)
- Use a dual partition (active / standby) method to download & activate the new firmware

Perhaps, you can consider that a USB storage is installed "by default" into the front or top port, there are some very tiny key available today. So via the Control Panel, the user can prepare and reboot the upgrade remotely if you don't want to mess with the internal flash card for such change.

Side remark to the storage, there are lot of discussion around the flash reliability on regular Raspberry Pi. I remember I read that your product has a soldered flash. Perhaps it would be a good idea to have an indication of the internal card "health" into the control panel (like we have with SMART disk stats). Don't know if such stats is possible for a flash, but perhaps have an idea of amount of read/write or IOPS,... so we have a clue about how it behaves.
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#2
Well about the update process ... in any future release we will have a server a netPI can get in touch with a server to download the latest software automatically or triggered manually from this server in future. In this case there is no necessity any more for a USB stick. This is why it does not make sense today to include a USB media if it is not necessary in future. But basically I like the idea to prepare a USB media from the Control Panel so you do not have to do it manually.

In the forum you see that I have made tests with the media. Have a closer look here https://www.netiot.com/forum/?tx_typo3fo...52ae66708a

Of course this is no stat, but gives you a better feeling.

netPI is available to OEMs also with any SD card that have a demand for durability. We can change to any media since we use an SD card slot. But with Amazon netPI's (till january 2019) the card cannot be removed without destroying the device. The SD card we use has stat information, but we can't evalute the status today. Let me check with the manufacturer if we get source code to read it out.
You never fail until you stop trying.“, Albert Einstein (1879 - 1955)

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#3
The reason of my remark was due to my first attempt to update it.
I'm a macOS user (lazy , heh), and I took my fastest USB stick, did the erase/format to FAT32 then followed the procedure ... and failed. I think this was due to the fact that by default, macOS create an EFI partition, then a FAT32... not mentioning that we must be careful to have a FDisk partition scheme and not a GUID partition scheme I think.

So I took my Debian into a VM ... parted / mkdos FAT32... then copy the content of the firmware zip, and rebooted the NetPi with the stick. I saw more blinking on the key led, waited it stops and reboot.

New firmware is loaded. Btw, I haven't noticed the "APL" led blinking during the process, only the "ACT".
Just did it a second time because I wasn't sure I didn't reboot too early. So yes, only "ACT" is blinking... so I waited until I see no activity on the stick and ACT led for 5mins to be sure.
Perhaps an indication that the flash copy is done would be good (something with Led 1 & Led 2?), and then it is safe to unplug the power and reboot.


So now, I'm back to a fresh installation and have a second suggestion Smile
- would be great to not wipe the docker volumes ... they are supposed to be persistent across reboot ...

If I have to update again , I'm wondering how I will save the content of my docker volumes.

There also, perhaps the Control Panel could have :
- A backup to local USB or download Zipped Volumes, that you can select
- Have the ability to create a partition which will not be wiped during firmware update. For instance, on resin.os (can I mention it?) , you have the /data partition which is persistent.

For the first choice, the question exists also into Portainer here : https://github.com/portainer/portainer/issues/935
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#4
It is indeed the ACT LED, not APL. Typo, will be corrected tomorrow.

I agree that the FAQ describes the LED handling not in all details. netPI indicates the end of update by stopping to flash the LED and then bringing it to "on" state for a second and then goes "off" forever. Detailed procedure will be published tomorrow.

Today we just have published "recovery" images for bringing back netPI to factory default. But we have also "upgrade" images that are able to update just all needed files only while keeping the rest untouched. In this case all Docker images and containers are not affected. We will make them public at later times.

We have the drive backup as you requested it available for other gateway devices we manufacture. Not so with netPI cause we feel that on netPI there is no value to be backuped cause the real values are in the container that you usually have anyway on a Docker registry.
You never fail until you stop trying.“, Albert Einstein (1879 - 1955)

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