This short article refers to the 2021 model of the HASE Pino Steps fitted with the Shimano DU-E6100 motor and the Shimano SC-E6100 head unit. I purchased this bike secondhand not long ago and have been getting to know the ins and outs of it and of the Pino in general.
One aspect of this was that I had no idea, the bike having been bought maybe 10 months ago by the original owner, whether any of the firmware had been updated. I knew that the bike hadn't even had it's first service, having done only 68 miles from new, so I suspected that no updates had been done.
I knew from the Pino Owner's Group on Facebook that the firmware on this bike could be updated by the user and I had been advised in good faith that this was possible using the Shimano E-TUBE application which is available for various platforms. I understood that the updates could be done if I installed the application on my iPhone so I downloaded it and installed it. I checked from various sources exactly what the process was and I went ahead.
In short this was a disaster! The application installed and connected perfectly well to the bike and the installed components were recognised, so far so good. The application indicated that the firmware of the E-6100 was out of date and needed updating which I'd expected and so I elected to go ahead, all good so far.
About 30% of the way into the firmware update the system became non-functional and the application indicated that this was a "Network/Bluetooth" issue and suggested that I should try again. To clarify, I had an excellent WiFi connection, a good Internet connection and no prior issues with Bluetooth on the device whatsoever.
As instructed I tried to repeat the process a number of times with exactly the same result. The end result of the firmware update was a HASE Pino Steps that could not be ridden, cosmic.
Clearly this needed to be resolved, and quickly. I knew that by going to a bike shop I would in all likelihood end up with a hefty bill. I determined that the "professional" way to update these things, which also allows access to other tools, is to use a Shimano PC Linkage Device, these come in an older version (SM-PCE1) and a newer version (SM-PCE02). Depressingly, along with many other things, these units are at the time of writing in very short supply and on top of that they are not cheap, around £170 for a black box and some wires.
To my great relief I managed to source one of the older units, here it is, not much to see:
I downloaded the E-TUBE application for Windows (v4.0) and installed it on a nearby PC, I then connected up the PC, SM-PCE1 device and The Pino and hoped for the best. The process from there was quick, faultless and simple.
The E-TUBE software recognised the components on the HASE Pino and identified that the E-6100 firmware needed to be overwritten. I agreed to this and the overwriting process started immediately, the entire overwrite took about 4 minutes.
Once the firmware had been overwritten (the correct software is automatically downloaded from Shimano via the Internet connection of the PC) I was advised to reconnect, which I did. This was again completely straightforward, one click of the mouse. Once reconnected a screen showed me the current status of the Steps system components.
As you can see it is confirmed by the E-TUBE software that the latest software versions are now installed , hopefully this will ensure that as time goes on things will continue to work smoothly, at least I know that the bike systems are now all up to date.
My conclusion from this is that, as I have often found to be the case, a hard wired system will often be less trouble, quicker and more reliable that a Wireless/Bluetooth option. The black box is a costly item but when I was confronted yesterday with a very expensive non-functioning bike I would happily have paid the price if I had at that point known that it would fix the problem.
Based on this experience I do not intend at any point in the future to try to update my system using the E-TUBE mobile application, I will use the Windows Version and either the (SM-PCE1) or the (SM-PCE02). I just hope this helps someone avoid the hassle and anxiety I experienced!