How to Upgrade a Mach II to APEX Firmware
This article will guide you through the process to upgrade your Mach II controller to run APEX firmware. Please read the article in full before initiating the upgrade process.
Upgrading a Mach II to APEX firmware will work for any controller within warranty.
You can attempt to upgrade older units to APEX but you may find your unit is incompatible due to a variety of technical factors. We encourage you to try upgrading all of your units.
You should have received a link to a location where you can download the APEX upgrade files. Contact our Support team if you were not provided with a link.
You will load these files onto a USB to use in your Mach II, following the technical requirements and steps in this guide.
If you’re unsure about any aspect of upgrading your Mach II to APEX firmware, you can arrange a time with our Support team to assist you with the upgrade process.
How will my billing be affected by APEX migration?
Upgrading your Mach II to APEX will also migrate the attached installation to the new Cloud Services Plans, which offer a variety of powerful features. There are four plans available, letting you choose the feature-set that best matches your project needs.
Cloud Services requires a monthly, prepaid credit card subscription, and so you will be required to register your credit card information the next time you login to Control Hub after upgrade.
With Cloud Services, you are in control of when your subscription starts and ends. When you finish your shoot, simply follow the steps to deactivate your installation, and your subscription and subscription fees billing will cease.
As a result of migration to the new Cloud Services plans, you will notice these other changes:
- Installations on your Classic monthly plan will remain on post-pay billing. Your first invoice after upgrading a unit will show two months for the installation you have upgraded (i.e. post-pay current month + pre-pay next month).
- For APEX installations, charges for additional Photo Forwarding is now data-based, allowing you to spend that data between as many additional locations as your like.
- For APEX installations, The Time-lapse Generator tiered monthly plans have been replaced with the automated Progress Reporter and pay-per-use AI Time-lapse Composer.
For more information about Cloud Services Plans and Photo Forwarding and timelapse features, see the Cloud Services page.
Minor interface and controller changes
After you migrate, you will notice that the Capture Config page is the home of the new Scheduling feature, as well as some other minor changes:
- Your controller will automatically check-in every 5 hours to detect and apply new settings.
- If no schedules are detected, your controller will check in every 5 minutes until it detects a schedule.
- Installation notes have moved to the Gallery Settings > Edit page.
- The Don’t start taking photos until feature has been integrated into the new Scheduling feature.
- You may notice slightly different photo capture and upload behaviour. Occasionally, if photo capture takes longer than usual, you may need to wait for the next upload session to get the latest photo.
When is the best time to upgrade?
Because installing APEX is a major upgrade requiring careful attention and physical proximity to the unit, the best time to upgrade is between jobs to ensure you don’t miss any photos.
Below are instructions for upgrading between jobs and upgrading mid-job. Follow whichever instructions apply to your circumstances.
Upgrading between jobs
If you are upgrading between jobs, make sure to conclude your old installation before installing APEX on the hardware. Select Re-deploy Later,
You cannot downgrade cloud service plans, but you can upgrade at any time. Starting on the basic Image Capture plan gives you the option to upgrade your plan later to match your job needs.
If you are upgrading an existing installation mid-job, your installation will be auto-migrated to the new Cloud Services plans that best matches your current usage.
If you do not currently use the Time-lapse Generator (i.e. your Time-lapse Generator plan is set to “Free” on the Services page), then you will be automatically migrated over to the entry-level plan, Image Capture.
- TLG Free becomes Image Capture
- TLG Basic/Advanced becomes Progress Reporter
- TLG Professional becomes Film Studio
You cannot downgrade Cloud Services plans, but you can upgrade at any time.
We recommend you migrate over to the basic Image Capture plan, as this will give you the option to upgrade your plan later to match your job needs.
To migrate to Image Capture, set your Time-lapse Generator plan to ‘Free’ on the Services page before installing the APEX firmware on your controller.
Performing the upgrade: Step-by-step process
For the upgrade process to work correctly, your USB must meet the following technical requirements:
- The USB you load the firmware upgrade onto should have at least 2GB of storage available.
- The USB must be formatted in exFAT, fat32, or ext4. NTFS is not supported.
- The USB should only have firmware files on it and nothing else
Carefully follow the steps below. It’s recommended you read them in full before beginning. Performing the steps incorrectly can render the Mach II unresponsive or inoperable, requiring it to be returned to photoSentinel for repairs:
- Plug your controller into AC or charge the battery to 20% or higher. This is to ensure steady power during the whole upgrade process.
- Download the firmware upgrade ZIP file to your PC.
- Extract the ZIP file contents. You should now have a folder.
- Copy the files inside the folder to your USB. Your USB root directory should now contain three files and nothing else: a .sh, a .img.xz, and a .config file.
- Turn off the Mach II controller and wait 60 seconds for it to completely power down.
- Disconnect any local storage devices (SSDs or USB thumbdrives).
- Insert the USB into the front port of the Mach II controller.
- Switch the controller mode to ON. Do not remove the USB until the firmware upgrade has completed. Do not turn off the controller unless instructed. The system will then do the following, in order (may vary slightly across firmware versions):
- Display ‘Updating recovery system from USB’.
- Display ‘Verifying updated recovery system’.
- Display ‘Recovering... do not turn off. Wait 15 mins.'
- Display ‘Recovery successful… please wait.'
- Display 'Recovery complete. Power off and remove USB drive’.
- After the above message displays, switch the controller mode to OFF and wait 60 seconds for it to completely power down.
- Remove the USB.
- Reconnect any local storage devices you disconnected in step three.
- Turn the controller back on into Setup Mode. It will display UPDATING FIRMWARE. DO NOT SWITCH OFF OR DISCONNECT BATTERY. It will then reboot into Setup Mode.
- Once the screen has gone blank or shows the battery is being charged, turn OFF the controller and wait 60 seconds for it to completely power down.
- Turn it back on to Setup Mode. Navigate to Controller details. It should now show the controller is on APEX firmware.
- If the info is instead blank, turn the controller OFF to power down, then ON, letting it complete first-time setup operations, then turn it OFF to power down, then back to Setup Mode: Controller details. It should now populate with APEX version information.
In the event that any complications arise during the upgrade process, get in contact with our Support team.