Updating Launchpad S Firmware by dumping .syx file to midi port

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Pistor's picture
Updating Launchpad S Firmware by dumping .syx file to midi port

Hi :)

I just bought a Launchpad S and want to update its Firmware (without having to install MidiOx).

I think there's a high change that the programs that I already have installed can do it.

E.g. I have BC-Manager and Behringer's Firmware Update Utility (for the BCR2000/BCF2000).


Is it true that Behringer's Firmware update utility only sends the contents (sysex messages) of the given .syx file to the given midi port verbatim without modification?

If yes, that means I can use it to also update my Launchpad S with the given .syx firmware file, right? (By choosing that port)

Or is there ANYTHING bcr-specific in that update utility that makes it NOT work with other devices?


Or can BC-Manager also dump .syx files to a given midi port?

Thanks :)

Mark van den Berg
Mark van den Berg's picture

Behringer's Update Utility

You don't have to install it: you can simply unzip Update_Utility.zip to any folder, then run BCUPDATE.exe from there.

However, that's about all you can do with BCUPDATE.exe sad:

In the first place, BCUPDATE.exe only accepts syx files containing BCF2000 or BCR2000 firmware.
This is what its log panel looked like after I tried to open a "random" syx file just now:

Welcome to the BC-Update Utility
Please select a file to upload.
Checking file: S:\Test.syx
Sorry, unknown Controller file selected.
ERROR incorrect file

Secondly, in my (and many other people's) experience BCUPDATE.exe doesn't even upload BCF2000 and BCR2000 firmware correctly. (I can't remember the details.)

To summarize: you can forget about BCUPDATE.exe.

MIDI Tools

MIDI Tools allows you to send any sequence of syx messages to any MIDI output device:

  • From the main window, open the "MIDI System Exclusive messages" window, either via View -> "System Exclusive messages" or the white "SYX" button on the toolbar.
  • Open your syx file via File -> Insert or the corresponding yellow button on the toolbar (far left).
  • Select the correct MIDI output device. (If it's still disabled, enable it via the "MIDI devices" dialog box, accessible from the main window.)
  • Depending on the receiving MIDI hardware device, it may be advisable to set "Delay/message" to something like 60 msec. To be on the safe side, you might choose 100 msec.
  • Crucial: if your syx file consists of more than one SysEx message (thus occupying multiple rows in the window), you have to select all these messages for sending, by pressing Ctrl+A or the rightmost (blue) button on the toolbar. (If you forget this, only one (the currently selected) SysEx message will be sent!)
  • Press the Play button. The messages should now get sent, and you should be able to follow this process via a pop-up dialog box.

BC Manager

BC Manager has exactly the same "MIDI System Exclusive messages" window as MIDI Tools.
The only difference is that in BC Manager this window is accessible from the "MIDI" submenu in the View pull-down menu.
(BC Manager also has a sophisticated BCF/R2000 firmware update routine (accessible from the B-Controls window via MIDI -> Maintenance), but obviously that's not what you're interested here.)

Hope this helps,

Pistor's picture

Thanks so much! I found all the menus :)

Btw, if this firmware update procedure works for all midi devices, why does the BCR/BCF need to have a more sophisticated firmware update routine?

Mark van den Berg
Mark van den Berg's picture

The BCF/R doesn't actually need a special firmware update routine: the generic method should work too. (Actually I'm not sure whether the generic method works if "Delay/message" has a very low value, like the default 0 msec.)

However, a BCF/R accepts the firmware in sections, so if the upload is interrupted somehow, its firmware can be left in an invalid state. Then, the next time you start it up, its display will just say "noOS". And the most galling thing about this: since the BCF/R's USB driver resides in its firmware (which you have just trashed), the USB connection is no longer functional, so you can only re-upload the firmware via the BCF/R's MIDI IN socket. Obviously this is impossible if you don't have a USB-to-MIDI device at hand.

So it's essential that a BCF/R firmware upload succeeds.
Therefore BC Manager's dedicated BCF/R upload routine first performs a thorough data check of the syx file you want to upload: if there's a checksum error or whatever, it flatly refuses to upload any data.
Secondly, the upload works via a bidirectional connection: BC Manager monitors the BCF/R's acknowledgement messages returned after each section has been received. This is very informative: if an error occurs, you get notified immediately, so then you know you have to re-do the upload, which is possible as long as you don't restart the BCF/R.

Another point: a bidirectional firmware upload to a device usually goes somewhat faster than a unidirectional one, because the bidirectional upload routine doesn't have to wait (say) 60 msec before sending the next message: the routine can send the next message immediately after receiving the device's acknowledgement.
And of course a unidirectional upload routine always runs the theoretical risk that the device can't handle the data fast enough and therefore skips one or more messages, which (as discussed above) is rather disastrous in the case of the BCF/R.

So whenever possible you should use BC Manager's dedicated firmware upload routine for the BCF/R rather than the generic one.

However, it is hardly ever necessary to upload BCF/R firmware:
On startup a BCF/R always performs a firmware check (comparing the data to a checksum), and its display only shows "1.10" briefly if the firmware is 100% OK.
In other words: if "1.10" appears, it is totally pointless to upload the 1.10 firmware.
But over the years I've read reports from quite a few people who had fruitlessly flashed the firmware out of desperation about some totally unrelated problem. "Don't do it!" I always want to shout, but it's already too late... crying


Pistor's picture

Thanks! Btw, when I got my BCR2000 it had an older firmware and I used the official Update Utility to update to 1.10 (and it worked). I only found BcManager a bit later.. :)

After some email communication with Novation, I'm not sure if I should really do the Launchpad S firmware update though:
They deny that there is a firmware update available for the Launchpad S, even though there is one here:
And someone on youtube did the update from the same version I have now (127) to version 24. I guess version 24 means r24 here?
Before (127): https://youtu.be/YTRvAGYxavo?t=40
After (24): https://youtu.be/YTRvAGYxavo?t=106

But Novation support said: "As it turns out, the videos you send over are not authorized Novationmusic.com videos. This is a 3rd party and the information they provided is not clear as to what firmware they used, why they decided to update, what issues they were having, how exactly they administer this update and a lot of other unanswered questions. Please do not administer any recommendations from videos like these to avoid any incidental damage to your products."
But I bought my Launchpad S second hand, and so it's unlikely that it has the latest firmware..
It's weird that no other .sys files for the Launchpad S can be found online. Only a few mentions of "Launchpad S 139.sys" can be found on some German Novation sites (e.g. here https://support.novationmusic.com/hc/de/articles/207557705-Wie-kann-ich-... ), but no links to it: https://www.google.de/search?q=Launchpad+S+139.sys
And the support says no firmware update is available "As our technician Ed explained earlier there is no firmware update for the Launchpad S available and development will not be releasing anything new for this product as it has been discontinued fro some time.", but a lot of people said this firmware solved their glitches: http://forum.launchpad-pro.com/viewtopic.php?id=1078
I also had some glitches when finger drumming: Pad buttons were sending CC msgs (CC 64) and other note msgs that were from other unrelated pad buttons.
But the question is, why is this firmware version (1.1b1 r24) in beta since 2013, and is it really the latest one?
Or is 139 the latest? Or the one I have installed (version 127, like the guy in the video before the update)?
If I do the update but it makes things worse, I can't go back, because I have no other firmware file.
So that's why I haven't done the firmware update yet..
(Btw, I don't expect you to know the answer to any of the above questions :)

The midi tools are very useful, also for midi learning params to CCs in Reaper (sending CC messages from the midi tools).
Btw, is it possible to rescan the midi ports while the Midi Tools program is running, without restarting it (and having to reopen all its windows)? :)

Mark van den Berg
Mark van den Berg's picture

Indeed I can't give you any specific advice concerning the firmware of your Launchpad.
Just a few things that occurred to me reading your story:
Can't you contact "the guy in the video" for more information?
And if there are multiple firmware versions, can't you get these versions? The more versions you can lay your hands on, the less risk that you'll get stuck with a dysfunctional Launchpad.
Get as much info from all sides as you can before deciding whether the potential benefits from upgrading outweigh the risk of "bricking" your Launchpad.

When you connect or disconnect any MIDI devices while MIDI Tools is running, you need to restart MIDI Tools to make it aware of these changes. (This limitation is discussed in a bit more detail in section 14 of the manual.)
You can perform a restart most easily via Restart in the main window's File menu.
But after any restart (either via File -> Restart or via File -> Exit followed by a "manual" restart), MIDI Tools automatically reopens all open windows in the same positions, and it restores many other settings related to the windows too. However, you will lose all "temporary" states. For instance, after a restart the "MIDI input messages" window retains its message filters ("Note", "Note Aftertouch" etc.), but the "Record" status always becomes "off".

Hope this helps,