Tech Note 1051 Detail

SPARK SLS Firmware Update

Affected Products:

PS-2008 SPARK Science Learning System
PS-2008A SPARK Science Learning System

SPARK Science Learning System Firmware Update Procedure

PASCO Solution:


  • The current version of the SPARK Science Learning System firmware is 1.4.1. To determine the version of firmware currently running on the SPARK SLS, tap on the date in the top blue toolbar and select About SPARK.
  • If the current version is 1.2 or lower, please contact Teacher Support before attempting to update your SPARK.
  • This firmware update process will take ~10 minutes to complete, depending on the firmware version that is already on the SPARK SLS.
  • The SPARK SLS firmware update requires a USB Mass Storage Class device with at least 256 MB of free space.


  1. Turn on the SPARK SLS, and use a paper clip to press the recessed, reset button on the back on the SPARK (located toward the bottom, close to the centerline). This will turn the SPARK off again.

  2. Obtain a blank, quality USB Mass Storage Class device that has at least 256 MB of free capacity.

  3. Reformat the storage device in FAT16 format. (Warning: This will erase any information on the device.)
  4. Download the appropriate firmware update for your SPARK SLS.
  5. Mac users: If the downloaded file appears as spark.upd.gz, double-click on the file to unpack it. (You should see a file name"spark.upd" appear in the same location as the "spark.upd.gz".)
  6. Copy spark.upd to the top level of the file structure (i.e., not inside a folder) of the USB storage device.
  7. Make sure that all of the data has been written to the storage device:
    • Windows Users: Right-click the small icon with the image of a computer chip and a green arrow that appears in the lower right corner of your screen and select Safely Remove Hardware.
    • Mac Users: Click on the device’s icon on the computer's desktop and either hit the eject button on your keyboard, or press the CMD + E keys.
  8. Disconnect the storage device from your computer's USB port and connect it to the SPARK SLS.
  9. If the SPARK SLS does not have a full charge, connect it to an external power adapter.
  10. Reboot the SPARK SLS.
    1. Hold down the power button for several seconds to turn off the SPARK SLS.
    2. Press the power button again to turn it back on.
  11. The firmware update process should begin automatically. Remove the flash drive when directed on screen.
  12. If the firmware update process fails, please contact Teacher Support.

Below is a movie showing the standard update process for the SPARK SLS.

Related Technotes:
TechNote 1134 SPARK SLS Firmware Update Troubleshooting
TechNote 1049 Reformat a USB Mass Storage Device

Creation Date: 10/15/2009
Last Modified: 08/29/2017
Mod Summary: