What is Firmware in almost every electronic product, what is it for?
Firmware is a small piece of software that keeps our devices running. Just as our computer needs an operating system to work, a software is required for the hardware to work, and this software is called Firmware. Most electronic devices today are controlled by a Firmware.
For example, there is a firmware inside the boxes that control the traffic lights and the traffic lights can do their job properly thanks to this software. If there was no firmware in the traffic lights, the lights would not work functionally. In less complex devices such as traffic lights, washing machines, security cameras, firmware is the only software and contains functions related to the operation of the device by acting as an operating system.
Whichever device you are reading this article from, it also has a Firmware. Take the desktop computer, for example. A chip on the motherboard contains Firmware (the software I call UEFI / BIOS) and the motherboard can communicate with other components thanks to this software. A computer without firmware will not be able to see the hardware inside and cannot communicate with them. That is why, if the BIOS is deleted, most of the time the motherboard becomes unusable and it is necessary to rewrite Firmware to CMOS. Again, if it were not for the firmware inside the HDD, he would not know how fast it would spin and hurt himself.
For some devices, the firmware is in the “man in the middle” role, that is, it contains the codes required to start the operating system on the device. The BIOS is a prime example of this. In order for the operating system installed in our computer to communicate correctly with the hardware, it opens some features such as interrupts to the operating systems.
Where is firmware stored on devices?
Firmware is usually stored in Read-Only Memory (ROM), which is a special type and is only available for data reading. ROM is required to store the firmware because the data in our device should not be erased when the power is cut off. For example, it would be a bad situation to delete the BIOS when we shut down our computer.
ROMs can usually only be programmed by the hardware manufacturer, but now most of the ROMs are EEPROM, ie electronically programmable and erasable, so they can also be reprogrammed by users. Otherwise it would not be possible to update the BIOS anyway.
Can firmware be updated?
Firmware (FW) updates can be released. These updates may include security updates for the device, more features, or more hardware support. For example, when we update the BIOS, features such as more processor support can be added to our motherboard.
One thing to be aware of when updating the firmware is that the electricity supplied to the device is not interrupted since our ROM chip is reprogrammed during the update process. If the supplied power fails, my device may become unusable because the Firmware is corrupted. This is called “bricking” the device, but nowadays, this problem can also be solved thanks to motherboards with dual BIOS. There is a solid Firmware in the second BIOS. Or, with features such as USB BIOS Flashback, Firmware can be written to the chip even if your computer is not turned on.
What should I do in case of FW corruption?
In case your firmware becomes corrupted, the first thing you should do is to check the user manual of the device. For example, LG Blu-ray player had problems during firmware update. As a result of some operations performed by pressing the button of the device, the recovery mode was activated and the device became operable again. There are such recovery modes available for many devices. If these do not work, you can contact a service authorized by the manufacturer. In these services, the firmware will be rewritten to the ROM chip in your device by a ROM programmer and your product will be repaired.
In this article, we tried to explain what the concept of firmware is, what firmware does and its usage areas. You can ask the questions in your mind on Technopat Sosyal, and indicate what you want to add to the article and your ideas in the comments.