Bricked My Camera

Sigh, I loaded my first altered firmware on my trusty D5100 on the 25th November 2011, and my last on 22nd May 2013.

Strangely enough we are not sure what was wrong with the patch, weather the area we put the code in was not truly free space,  or if the area we were putting data in was not spare, if the jump to the new code was wrong, was the return wrong, was there an error in the code, or did we take to long and a watchdog triggered.

[Edit 7 July 2013] Hi Nikonrumor people, the problem with the patch was an incorrect sequence of assembly instructions used, and it was a development test patch. So “released” patches are much more “safer” but there is still a real albeit small risk.[Edit]

It’s hard to know but the camera doesn’t boot anymore. The led doesn’t even flash when you put batteries in/out.

So now I get to buy myself a new camera, it’s a little frustrating, as the project had been getting donations, but we had not gotten enough for a D5100 body yet and my plan was to get one for one of the other developers, so we could speed up testing time, and spread the risk. The other guys have different models so are not directly applicable at this “but how does it all work’ stage. And because I started the project we were focusing on the D5100 model as it was the most understood.

If my camera was damaged and I could claim insurance, I wouldn’t get a replacement D5100, I’d likely step up a model, not because I’d out grown the D5100, it’s a fantastic camera, it’s just I’m prepared to spend a little more to get more, compared to when I brought my first DSLR. But getting a D5100 makes the most sense as that’s the model we know the most about from a team perspective.

I rang the Nikon Service centre and it will cost 50% of the new camera price to replace the mainboard. And you can buy replacement off ebay for half that again, but I’m not a hardware guy. They plan is to send the body to a team member and see if they can get the JTAG link working to force reprogram it.

Michaela joked that I should dump Nikon and go with Canon, because of ‘disgust with a camera that’s so easy to break’. She took the news better than I expected.

So ignoring the Canon joke, I’m torn between personal camera needs/wants, and project team needs, and I’m wondering if there’s any community opinion, and if the community is willing to help fund that opinion in anyway?

I’ve previously not directly asked for money for camera bodies, as I didn’t want to ask before having something to show, and I felt we could stop at anytime without feeling a huge sense of dept to the community. So I’m keen to understand what people think.

By the way, we have been able to partially dump the D7100 and it’s ARM based verse Fujitsu FR based and uses a different OS. So the newest camera’s are a whole different kettle of fish, but should be easier to work with, as there is more ARM based disassembly tools.


Goran 2013-05-23 21:32:47

Damn, sorry to hear that. JTAG forced flashing could be the option. Several forum members have quite knowledge in that area.

Best regards,

Porrada 2013-05-31 13:08:46

I was hoping to apply the battery patch using your v1.15 on my D5100 tonight - given your experience would you suggest not using it at this time, or was this an as yet unreleased version?

Thanks for your efforts and your honesty!

Simeon 2013-05-31 13:20:07

That patch is tested and works.

I was running new code to debug stuff freshly written by a team member, and it appears the issue was that he put a type B instruction followed a type C instruction when only type A are allowed (simplified answer). Until we find a way to recover the unit (an activity we are undertaking) we will not know 100% if this was the issue. or something else, but we not trying that type of change until we have recovery methods in place. This is all made harder by having two processor to edit that are different.

Simeon 2013-05-31 13:22:18

Goran, the plan is to send it to coderat to try JTAG recovery.

Porrada 2013-05-31 16:00:27

I appreciate your efforts, but I tried multiple times and the Wasabi Power battery simply is not recognized as valid. Thanks again for working to help users!