JP2007310783A - Updating method of firmware in image forming device, program and recording medium - Google Patents

Updating method of firmware in image forming device, program and recording medium Download PDF

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JP2007310783A
JP2007310783A JP2006141344A JP2006141344A JP2007310783A JP 2007310783 A JP2007310783 A JP 2007310783A JP 2006141344 A JP2006141344 A JP 2006141344A JP 2006141344 A JP2006141344 A JP 2006141344A JP 2007310783 A JP2007310783 A JP 2007310783A
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firmware
update
image forming
storage
executed
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Naoyuki Kamei
直幸 亀井
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Sharp Corp
シャープ株式会社
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Abstract

<P>PROBLEM TO BE SOLVED: To surely update firmware in an image forming device, without reducing the rate of operation of the device. <P>SOLUTION: After new firmware is wholly copied on a hard disk in the device from an external storage means, rewriting to a flash memory of storing existing firmware is executed (updated). When selecting a mode of executing restarting in a nonoperating state (an electric power saving mode and a slip mode) of the device after finishing the rewriting (F1=1, and F2=1), when becoming the electric power saving mode when a timer value (t) of a time reaches time T1 (S44/Y), updating is executed (S50). Afterwards, when further becoming the slip mode when the timer value (t) of the timer reaches time T2 (S43/Y), the restarting is executed (S59). <P>COPYRIGHT: (C)2008,JPO&INPIT

Description

  The present invention relates to a firmware update method, a program, and a storage medium in an image forming apparatus.

In general, in a device that implements device operation control by firmware, rewriting (updating) of firmware is performed in order to expand the function and solve the malfunction of the device.
As a technique for simplifying the rewriting work accompanying firmware version upgrade and improving the work efficiency, for example, whether or not the existing version of the firmware of the currently used device has been checked, as seen in Patent Document 1, for example. If the confirmation is not completed, read the existing version from the device and compare whether the existing version matches the latest version. If not, use the latest version for output control. Transfer the firmware to the device, determine whether the transferred latest version has been correctly rewritten in place of the existing version, select either the latest version or the existing version according to the determination result, and perform the predetermined output processing There is something to do.

In addition, as in Patent Document 2, the memory for storing firmware is divided into a plurality of areas so that the time required for downloading and rewriting new firmware can be reduced when the firmware is upgraded, and divided into a plurality of module groups for each area. It has also been proposed to arrange the firmware main body so as to rewrite only the area storing the module group that has been changed when the firmware is upgraded.
JP 2002-35809 A JP 2002-342100 A

By the way, in recent years, along with the widespread use of USB memories having excellent portability and security functions, they are beginning to be used as external storage means for supplying setting software to devices in the field of business devices. However, when a USB memory is used as an external storage means to supply a new version of firmware from the outside, it is inserted in a state where it can be pulled out from the plug even during data reading / writing. If it is pulled out while copying, there is a problem that the firmware cannot be updated correctly.
Firmware is usually stored in flash memory, which is an EEPROM, but it takes a long time to update because of its slow read / write speed, and it is during working hours when business that frequently uses image forming devices is performed. If you perform a firmware upgrade, the work will be hindered. In addition, new functions added by version upgrade are restarted after the update is completed, but if you restart, various setting values etc. that the user has done so far will be cleared. However, there is a problem in that other processes operating in conjunction with each other are stopped, which also impedes business operations. However, the above-described conventional technology does not consider these problems.

  The present invention provides a firmware update method, a program, and a storage medium in an image forming apparatus that can perform a firmware upgrade operation reliably and without lowering the operating rate of the apparatus in view of the current situation as described above. It is intended.

In order to solve the above-described problems, the present invention is constituted by the following technical means.
The first technical means is a first storage means for storing firmware, a copy of the firmware from the first storage means, a second storage means used for executing the firmware, and a supply from the external storage means A firmware update method in an image forming apparatus comprising a third storage means for temporarily storing firmware to be stored, wherein new firmware stored in the external storage means is temporarily stored in the third storage means The firmware is stored in the first storage means after all the data is copied, and the firmware is rewritten.

  According to a second technical means, in the first technical means, the rewriting process to the first storage means is performed when the apparatus is in an inoperative state.

  According to a third technical means, in the second technical means, the non-operating state of the device is a power saving mode.

  According to a fourth technical means, in any one of the first to third technical means, the restart of the apparatus performed in accordance with the rewriting of the firmware of the first storage means is performed after the rewriting process is executed. It is performed when is in a non-operating state.

  According to a fifth technical means, in the fourth technical means, the restart of the device performed in accordance with the firmware rewriting process of the first storage unit is performed after the rewriting process is executed. It is performed at the time of.

  A sixth technical means is any one of the first to sixth technical means, wherein the first storage means is a flash memory, the second storage means is a RAM, and the third storage means is a hard disk. It is characterized by being.

  According to a seventh technical means, in any one of the first to sixth technical means, the new firmware is supplied from a USB memory.

  The eighth technical means is a program for causing a computer to execute a firmware update method as one of the first to seventh technical means.

  The ninth technical means is a recording medium in which a program as the eighth technical means is stored so as to be readable by a computer.

  According to the present invention, since the update is performed after the copying from the external storage means such as the USB memory to the hard disk is completed, an incomplete firmware upgrade process is executed in a state where data necessary for the update is insufficient. Such things can be eliminated. In addition, it is possible to rewrite firmware to a flash memory (EEPROM), which takes a long time to process, in a situation where the device is not being used, and to perform a firmware upgrade operation with a minimum of business problems. Can do.

  FIG. 1 is a block diagram for explaining an embodiment when a firmware update method in an image forming apparatus according to the present invention is applied to a digital multifunction peripheral. The digital multifunction peripheral 1 includes a facsimile apparatus, a network scanner apparatus, The printer has functions such as a printer device and a mail transmission device. In this embodiment, a USB connector (not shown) for mounting a USB memory 2 for supplying firmware for firmware upgrade from the outside is provided. In FIG. 1, reference numeral 10 denotes a device control unit that controls the operation of the entire apparatus, and includes a firmware 10a of a section “ICU MIN” (main control unit) and a firmware 10b of a section “ICU BOOT” (startup control unit). Reference numeral 20 denotes an image reading unit having a CCD 21 for capturing a document image as image data, a document detection sensor 22 for detecting the presence or absence of a document, and the like, and includes a firmware 10a for a section “SCU” (scanner control unit). 30 is a memory 31 that temporarily stores image data generated by the image reading unit 20 and image data sent from an external device via a network, and an image is formed from the image data stored in the memory 31. An image forming unit having a printing unit (LSU) 32 for recording on a recording sheet, and includes a firmware 30a of a section “PCU” (printer control unit). Reference numeral 40 denotes an image processing unit 40 that performs various kinds of image processing such as editing, enlargement / reduction, and the like on the digital image data captured in the memory, and includes a firmware 40a of a section “IMG ASIC” (image processing unit).

  Reference numeral 50 denotes an operation display unit, which includes a touch panel for inputting various designations, mode selections, and other information by a user's operation, and a liquid crystal panel for displaying information necessary for the operation and other various information. It is configured. Reference numeral 60 denotes a hard disk for storing various types of information including image data related to image processing such as image data generated by the image processing unit 40. When firmware upgrade is performed, data from the USB memory 2 is captured and temporarily stored. Sometimes used. A management unit 70 stores management information (various control information) for managing various processes executed by the digital multi-function peripheral 1.

  The above configuration is the same as that of a conventional digital multi-function peripheral, and can transmit image data generated by the image reading unit 20 from a communication unit (NIC) to a personal computer (PC), and functions as a network scanner device. To do. When the generated image data is stored in the hard disk 60, the digital multi-function peripheral 1 functions as a simple scanner device. Further, the digital multi-function peripheral 1 can receive image data transmitted from a personal computer (PC) via a network by a communication unit (NIC), and can form an image by the image forming unit 30 from the received image data. Functions as a printer device.

  In the digital multifunction peripheral as described above, in order to update the firmware, this embodiment employs a USB memory as an external storage memory that supplies new firmware from the outside, and supplies the latest firmware from the outside. The USB interface 80 that enables data transmission / reception to / from the USB memory 2 is provided.

  A firmware upgrade management unit 90 having a program for executing the firmware update method according to the present invention includes a version information acquisition unit 91, a version upgrade determination unit 92, and a version upgrade processing unit 93. In the up mode, a function for executing a process related to firmware up in accordance with various input operations in the operation display unit 50 is provided.

  The version information acquisition unit 91 includes the version information of the existing firmware (10a, 10b, 20a, 30a, 40a) provided in each section described above and the latest version of firmware supplied from the USB memory 2 that is an external storage medium. It has a function to acquire version information.

  The upgrade determination unit 92 determines firmware that can be upgraded based on version information acquired by the version information acquisition unit 91, firmware upgrade history information of each section, information related to firmware of other sections, and the like. It has functions for determining the suitability of firmware upgrade combinations, determining the priority order of updates, and the like.

  Based on the determination result of the version upgrade determination unit 92, the version upgrade processing unit 93 selects firmware that can be upgraded, automatically selects firmware to be updated, selects firmware that needs to be updated, and performs update. It has a function to perform processing such as order determination.

  Further, the firmware upgrade management unit 90 has a control function for transmitting the version information of the selected firmware and other display information at each stage during the firmware upgrade process via the device control unit 10.

FIG. 2 is a detailed block diagram of the device control unit 10 in the digital multi-function peripheral shown in FIG. 1, and includes a control unit 11 having a CPU, a ROM 12 in which a control program and the like are stored, and a firmware 10a at the time of startup. Including a RAM 13 for temporarily storing various data during the operation of the apparatus, and obtaining firmware version information stored in the USB memory 2 and controlling the copying of firmware to the hard disk when performing a firmware upgrade I do.
FIG. 3 is a diagram illustrating an example of the operation display unit 50 in FIG. 1. The display unit 51 including a liquid crystal panel is integrated with the touch panel as described above, and touches items and keys displayed on the screen. Various settings and designations, mode selection, etc. can be performed.

  Next, a firmware update method according to an embodiment of the present invention applied to a digital multifunction peripheral will be described using an example of an operation procedure and a display screen in the operation display unit. In order to perform firmware upgrade, first, the USB memory 2 storing the latest firmware for firmware upgrade is inserted into the USB connector (not shown) on the main body side, and the user setting key 52 is displayed as shown in FIG. touch. Then, since the display screen is switched to the user setting screen shown in FIG. 4, if “service program” is selected and the service code corresponding to the firmware upgrade is input from the numeric keypad 53 (FIG. 3) of the input unit on the screen of FIG. When the screen is switched to the screen of FIG. 5 and a key operator code is further input (FIG. 6), the display screen of FIG. 7 is displayed.

  When the simulation code “55-01”, for example, is input on the display screen of FIG. 7 and is OK, the firmware up mode is set, the latest version firmware information stored in the USB memory 2 is read, and the latest version is read. Based on the version information, it is determined to which section the firmware that can be upgraded for the existing firmware, and the version name and release date of the corresponding firmware are displayed for each section as shown in FIG.

  For limited firmware upgrades where the firmware to be updated has been decided due to the support contract with the client or other reasons, specify the corresponding firmware from the list displayed on the display screen in Fig. 8. By doing so, it is possible to proceed to the display screen (FIG. 11) for determining the update execution start with the shortest processing and operation.

If the firmware update operation is not limited as described above, if the firmware is not specified on the display screen of FIG. 8 and is left as it is, a message prompting attention not to remove the USB memory as shown in FIG. 9 is displayed. A message indicating that the system has recognized the presence of firmware stored in the USB memory 2 is also displayed.
When the specified time has passed or OK, the screen shown in FIG. 10 is displayed, and the version name and release date of both the latest firmware supplied from the USB memory 2 and the corresponding existing firmware are displayed for each section. The

  For the sections “ICU (MAIN)”, “ICU (BOOT)”, “IMAGE ASIC”, and “SCU” highlighted in FIG. 10, the version upgrade information supplied from the USB memory 2 and the firmware upgrade management unit 90 are displayed. This indicates that the update status is determined based on the stored version upgrade information and is automatically selected.

  In the display screen of FIG. 10, the firmware upgrade operator sequentially displays the screens on and after the next page by using the arrow keys, and continuously designates the firmware to be updated while viewing the firmware upgrade manual and materials and the display screen. Some firmware supplied from the outside has already been upgraded by, for example, another worker. In such a case, the same version name and release date are displayed and are excluded from the update target. As described above, it is possible to efficiently and surely specify the firmware to be updated using the display screen of FIG. 10, and it is possible to avoid useless updates. When the confirmation and designation work up to the fourth page is completed and it is confirmed that there is no mistake, the screen is displayed as shown in FIG. In the display example of FIG. 11, there are six firmwares that are designated and automatically selected by the operator. When the update is executed, the firmware in the displayed section is updated to the displayed release date version. Represents.

  The present invention does not update immediately after copying all new firmware from the USB memory 2 as the external storage means to the hard disk 60 as the third storage means, but updates it when the device becomes inoperative. As a specific implementation method, for example, the function executed when the update enters the power saving mode is described as a program in the control program of the firmware update management unit 90, and FIG. It is also possible to prepare a key for selecting the function on the display screen. This embodiment will be described later with reference to a flowchart.

When the update is executed immediately on the display screen of FIG. 11, the firmware displayed for each section is confirmed, OK is clicked, and the start key 54 (FIG. 3) is pressed to start the update.
FIG. 12 shows a screen displaying the progress of the update. Updating of the sections “ICU (BOOT)”, “PCU”, “ICU (MAIN)” is finished, and the section “IMAGE ASIC” is being updated. It is shown that. When all the updates of the selected firmware are completed, the screen shown in FIG. 13 is displayed and a message prompting to restart the apparatus is displayed.

The present invention includes a function of not restarting immediately after executing an update but restarting when the apparatus is in an operating state. As a specific implementation method thereof, for example, a device For example, an automatic startup program that can be automatically started is described in the startup program provided in the control unit 10, and a program that is restarted using the automatic startup program when the apparatus enters the sleep mode, for example, Alternatively, it may be described in the control program of the firmware upgrade management unit 90, and a key for selecting the function may be prepared on the display screen of FIG.
Note that it is natural that the display screen of FIG. 13 may be restarted manually as long as it can be restarted immediately.

  Next, firmware up processing in the above-described digital multi-function peripheral will be described with reference to the flowcharts of FIGS. As described above, “User Setting” is selected on the screen of FIG. 3 and operations are sequentially performed. When the firmware upgrade service code is input and OK is entered on the screen of FIG. 7, the firmware upgrade mode of step S1 is entered. In step S2, it is checked whether or not the firmware up USB memory 2 is inserted into the USB connector of the main body. If it is confirmed that the USB memory 2 is inserted, the process proceeds to step S3, where the firmware up management unit The version information acquisition unit 91 in 90 acquires the version information of the latest version of the firmware supplied from the USB memory 2, and the version information acquisition unit 91 acquires the version information of the existing firmware in the same manner in step S4. Is displayed on the display unit 52 (FIG. 8).

  On the display screen of FIG. 8, in the case of a limited firmware upgrade operation in which the firmware upgrade section is determined in advance, only the corresponding firmware is designated (step S5 / Y). If the specific firmware is not designated on the display screen of FIG. 8 and it is OK as it is (step S5 / N), a warning message is displayed as described above (FIG. 9), and the process proceeds to step S6, where the existing firmware and The version name and release date of the new firmware version are compared and displayed (FIG. 10). If the displayed firmware is to be upgraded, all the keys are selected with the ALL key, and the process proceeds to step S8. Then, the displayed firmware that can be updated is selected.

  If specific firmware is designated on the screen of FIG. 8, the process proceeds from step S9 to step S10 to determine whether or not the designated combination of firmware upgrades is appropriate. If appropriate, the process proceeds to step S11 to select the designated firmware. Processing is performed, and the process proceeds to step S14. If it is determined that the combination of firmware upgrades specified in step S10 is not appropriate, an error message is displayed (step S12). In this case, the process returns to step 5 and the specification can be performed again (step S13 / Y).

  In step S8 or step S11, the firmware selection process designated by the operator is executed. In step S14, the relevant firmware that needs to be updated is selected. In step S15, the update priority order is determined, and the process proceeds to step S16. 11 is displayed, and a confirmation message is displayed asking whether the displayed firmware can be updated. When the operator finally confirms the firmware to be updated and is OK, the update execution process is started. The

  The above is a description of a normal method for updating the firmware after the new version of firmware has been copied from the USB memory 2 to the hard disk as a firmware upgrade operation.

Next, an embodiment of the present invention to be updated later will be described based on the flowcharts of FIGS.
In FIG. 16, steps S20 to S26 are the same as those in FIGS.
In the present embodiment, when the version information of the new firmware copied to the hard disk 60 in step S26 and the version information of the existing firmware corresponding to the section is displayed on the display screen of FIG. Is displayed (not shown), and when execution in the power saving mode is selected, the flag F1 is set to “1” (step S27), and the firmware up mode is terminated (step S29). ).
If execution of the update is selected immediately in step S27, steps S30, 31, 32 and the same processing as in the case of FIGS. 14 and 15 described above are performed, and the firmware update operation is terminated.

Next, a case where the update is executed when the power saving mode is entered and a case where the restart after the update is executed in the sleep mode will be described with reference to the flowchart of FIG.
When the power of the apparatus is turned on in step S40, a timer for measuring the time for setting the apparatus to “power saving mode” and “sleep mode” is started under a predetermined condition (step S41), and the time measurement value t is set to “0”. Set. Step S43 is a step for monitoring whether or not the time count t of the timer has reached the time T2 for setting the device to the sleep mode. For example, T2 is set to “2 hours” as the elapsed time from the event that occurred last. ing. Step S44 is also a step S for monitoring the time T1 in the power saving mode. For example, T1 is set to “1 hour”.

  Immediately after the power of the apparatus is turned on, the time count t has not reached T1 and T2, so the process proceeds to step S45, and the menu selection screen of FIG. 3 is displayed. If there is no selection operation, the process returns from step S46 to step S43, and the steps in this period are repeated until the time count t of the timer reaches T1 or T2. When the selection operation is performed in step S46, the process proceeds to step S47, and the process by the selected function is executed. When the process is completed (step S48), the process returns to step S42, and the timer value t is reset.

  If the timer value t has reached T1 in step S44, the process proceeds to step S49, and if the flag F1 is “1”, that is, if the update is selected to be executed in the power saving mode, the process proceeds to step S50 and the update is performed. Executed. When the update is completed (step S52), an end message (see FIG. 13) is displayed (step S53), the flag F1 is returned to “0”, and the process proceeds to step S54. This step is realized, for example, by preparing a display screen that can be selected to be executed when the sleep mode is entered instead of immediately executing the restart after the OK on the display screen of FIG.

  If it is selected to restart when the device enters the sleep mode, the process proceeds to step S55, the flag F2 is set to “1”, and the device enters the power saving mode in step S56. Even after entering the power saving mode, the timer continues to count, and when the timer value t reaches T2 in step S43, the process proceeds to step S58, where the flag F2 is “1”, that is, the sleep mode is restarted in step S54. Is selected, the apparatus is automatically restarted in step S59.

  In the embodiment described above, the example in which the timer output is used to detect that the device is in the power saving mode or the sleep mode, which is in the inactive state, is shown. As a detection method, for example, a voltage at a portion where power is not supplied in the power saving mode or the sleep mode may be monitored.

  Further, when the update is executed in the power saving mode, the apparatus may not be returned to the normal mode, but power may be supplied only to a portion necessary for the update process, and the power saving mode may be set again when the update process is completed. In the above-described embodiment, an example is shown in which the update is executed when the power saving mode is entered. However, the update may be executed in the sleep mode. If only electric power is supplied, further energy saving will be achieved. Further, when the restart is automatically performed in the sleep mode, the wasteful power consumption can be greatly reduced by switching to the sleep mode as soon as the startup with the new firmware is completed.

1 is a block configuration diagram of a digital multifunction peripheral according to an embodiment of the present invention. FIG. It is a detailed block diagram of the apparatus control part in FIG. It is a figure which shows an example of the operation display part. It is a figure which shows the display screen which selects a service program on a user setting screen. It is a figure which shows the display screen which inputs a key operator code on a user setting screen. It is a figure which shows the display screen which input the key operator code on the user setting screen. It is a figure which shows the display screen which inputs a simulation code | cord | chord on a user setting screen. It is a figure which shows the display screen on which the version information of the firmware which can be upgraded is displayed. It is a figure which shows the display screen which is displaying the message which shows having recognized new firmware. It is a figure which shows the display screen which contrasted and displayed the version information of the existing firmware and new firmware. It is a figure which shows the display screen which prompts confirmation of the firmware to update. It is a figure which shows the display screen showing the progress of an update. It is a figure which shows the display screen which displayed the message which notifies that the update was complete | finished. It is a flowchart for demonstrating the update method of the firmware in the embodiment of this invention. FIG. 15 is a continuation of FIG. 14. FIG. 10 is a flowchart for explaining processing in a firmware upgrade mode in the firmware update method according to the embodiment of the present invention. FIG. 10 is a flowchart for explaining processing in update and restart in the firmware update method according to the embodiment of the present invention.

Explanation of symbols

DESCRIPTION OF SYMBOLS 1 ... Digital multifunction device, 2 ... USB memory, 10 ... Device control part, 20 ... Image reading part, 30 ... Image formation part, 40 ... Image processing part, 50 ... Operation display part, 60 ... Hard disk, 70 ... Management part, 80: USB interface, 90: Firmware upgrade management unit, 10a, 10b, 20a, 30a, 40a ... Firmware.

Claims (9)

  1. First storage means for storing firmware, firmware copied from the first storage means, second storage means used to execute the firmware, and firmware supplied from the external storage means temporarily A firmware update method in an image forming apparatus comprising a third storage means for storing,
    An image forming apparatus, wherein after the new firmware stored in the external storage unit is copied to the third storage unit, the firmware stored in the first storage unit is rewritten. Firmware update method.
  2.   The firmware update method according to claim 1, wherein the rewriting process to the first storage unit is performed when the apparatus is in an inoperative state.
  3.   The firmware update method for an image forming apparatus according to claim 2, wherein the non-operating state of the apparatus is a power saving mode.
  4.   4. The restart of the apparatus that is performed when the firmware of the first storage unit is rewritten is performed when the apparatus is in an inoperative state after the rewriting process is executed. 5. A firmware update method in the image forming apparatus according to any one of the above.
  5.   The firmware update method for an image forming apparatus according to claim 4, wherein the non-operating state of the apparatus is a sleep mode.
  6.   6. The image according to claim 1, wherein the first storage unit is a flash memory, the second storage unit is a RAM, and the third storage unit is a hard disk. A method for updating firmware in a forming apparatus.
  7.   7. The firmware update method for an image forming apparatus according to claim 1, wherein the new firmware is supplied from a USB memory.
  8.   A computer program for causing a computer to execute the firmware update method according to claim 1.
  9.   A recording medium in which the program according to claim 8 is stored so as to be readable by a computer.
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