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Michael Pfeiffer
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Enabling Olympus Panorama Feature on Smartmedia Cards with MEDION MD9781 resp. PoGo! RipFlash Plus

If you want to take panaorama pictures with Olympus cameras you have to use Olympus smartmedia cards which contain a bit of magic so that the panorama feature of the camera is enabled. But you probably know it's no magic it's a godawful trick to bind customers to Olympus products.

I own a Olympus C-4040 and the only card with which I could take panorama picutres was the original 16MB Olympus card which came with my camera. But as I had used that card in a MP3 player the panorama feature was gone. So I started to search the net for solutions for my problem, to reactivate that card, and I've found an article from Konstantin Aleshin. But the solution described on that page works only if you use Windows98. Nevertheless the link above is very informative about what to do on the card to get the panorama feature enabled.

I've bought a digital MP3 player where you can use smartmedia cards for expansion. It's a MEDION MD9781 distributed by ALDI in germany and it's identical in construction with the RipFlash Plus player of PoGo! Products, Inc.. There I've found a firmware update for the player. I analyzed that firmware file and I've noticed that there is a CIS (Card Information Structure) in like thatone in smprep.exe file which was described by Konstantin Aleshin.
The firmware update file is easy to patch because it's a text file containing the code in Intel Hex Format. The Medion player has the firmware version 2.37 installed in contrast to the version 2.38 distributed by PoGo!. I did not want to change the whole installation to the PoGo! software and so I've unpacked the update intstallation of the MD9781 and got the firmware file (german version) of the Medion player. This file I have patched and now it's able to set the panorama feature on the card. You can download the file here!
I have updloaded that file to my player with the download manager and formated several smartmedia cards (16MB, 64MB and 128MB) with the intensive format function (not the fast format function). The panorama feature is now enabled on all my smartmedia cards.
If you decide to install my patched file or a file patched by your own make shure that you install the firmware version which is already installed on your player to avoid any risk that the player get problems to talk to the download manager.
Although I am shure that my patched version works fine I have to say this: "Use the patched firmware file above on your own risk! The file is distributed "AS IS" without warranty of any kind!"

Patching a firmware file

The Intel Hex Format
If you decide to patch a file by your own open the file with a text editor of your choice. The file is produced by a linker in the Intel Hex Format.

The lines are strucutred as follows:

LLRecord length2 Bytes
AAAAAddress 4 Bytes
TTRecord type (see below) 2 Bytes
DD..DDRecord data depends on record length
CCChecksum must be determined so that the sum of all
bytes of a record is a multiple of 100h
2 Bytes

The record types:

00Data record
01End of file record
02Extended segment address record
03Start segment address record
04Extended linear address record
05Start linear address record

The Patching Procedure
The following table shows the lines 2876 to 2879 of the patched firmware file. The red block represents the start sequence of the Card Information Structure. This is the block you have to find in the firmware file. The blue marked part is the manufacturer's name. Originally there are spaces (20h) in that block. You have to change the information as shown to "OLYMPUS". The second block to patch is the Product's name printed in green color. This block ist four bytes long and has to be set to "PAN " (don't forget the space at the end of the string). The last entry to change is the product's version (initially set to "0.0") indicated by the orange background. In my patched version it is set to "1.1". I don't know if there are some cameras which want to read "1.0" here. This is up to you to check! With my C-4040 the here provided version is working fine. Finally you have to recalculate the checksum bytes at the end of the changed record lines marked in pink. Recalculate very carefully because I don't know if the player checks the checksums. I don't like to check if the player stops the upload and enter an invalid state in the case of an corrupt record checksum.

: 20 B1DA 00   01 03 D9 01 FF 18 02 DF 01 20 04 00 00 00 00 21 02 04 01 22 02 01 01 22 03 02 04 07 1A 05 01 03   B7
: 20 B1FA 00   00 02 0F 1B 08 C0 C0 A1 01 55 08 00 20 1B 0A C1 41 99 01 55 64 F0 FF FF 20 1B 0C 82 41 18 EA 61   8D
: 20 B21A 00   F0 01 07 F6 03 01 EE 1B 0C 83 41 18 EA 61 70 01 07 76 03 01 EE 15 14 05 00 4F 4C 59 4D 50 55 53   9F
: 20 B23A 00   00 50 41 4E 20 00 31 2E 31 00 FF 14 00 FF 00 FA 00 04 00 08 1F 40 00 00 02 00 02 00 01 F4 00 10   E5

Good Luck!