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ptool:ptool-faq
What is PTool, and what does hacking do?
  • PTool is a Windows application written by Vitaliy Kiselev that can modify certain Panasonic Lumix camera firmware images. The modifications remove firmware restrictions and let you change video encoding parameters. Modifying to increase the video recording bit rate can significantly improve video quality.
Where can I learn more and get help?
What camera firmware images can PTool modify?
Where can I download PTool?
How do I use PTool?
  1. Please see the camera-specific FAQ pages for more information about hacking certain cameras.
  2. Download an original Panasonic firmware image for your camera, and unzip it to get the .bin file. (see the download links, above)
  3. Run PTool.
  4. Click “load firmware” and load an original Panasonic firmware .bin file.
  5. Make you settings in the PTool window. If you want to load stored settings, see below.
  6. Click “Save Firmware”. Choose a filename that is the same as the original firmware .bin file, except with a different number. (e.g. GH2__V12.bin instead of GH2__V11.bin) Note that the filename has two underscores.
What is testing? Who are testers?
  • Vitaliy did a tremendous amount of work in reverse engineering the firmware images and figuring out what many of the parameters do. But there's too much for one person to figure out alone. The process of testing different parameter settings and figuring out what they do has been delegated to any willing tester.
How do I load or save PTool settings?
  • PTool can load or save settings in an .ini file, letter A - J. (seta.ini, setb.ini, etc.)
  • Run PTool and load an original Panasonic firmware .bin file.
  • To load settings in .ini or .zip file, click on a round letter button.
  • If a corresponding .ini file is not already in the PTool folder, the round button will be red and PTool will prompt you for a file location, and will read the settings and store them in an .ini file in the PTool folder.
  • The round button becomes green when there is a corresponding .ini file in the PTool folder. Simply click the button to load the settings.
  • To save settings, shift-click a letter button at the bottom of the PTool window. Enter descriptions, and then click “store settings”. An .ini file will be written in the PTool folder.
How to flash your camera with a firmware image
  1. Copy the firmware .bin file to root of your SD card.
  2. Fully charge your battery. Do not attempt to flash with an AC coupler or 3rd-party battery!
  3. Power off your camera if it was on.
  4. Power on your camera.
  5. Press the green play button. You'll see an hourglass and a prompt to update.
  6. Press the up arrow button, and then press Menu/set.
  7. Wait for the update to complete. Do not touch your camera while the update is in progress.
  8. When the update completes, the camera restarts itself.
  9. If anything unexplained happens after flashing, try resetting all of the camera's settings and parameters. (Menu, Setup, Reset) Usually a reset is not necessary.
How to restore the camera's stock (unhacked) firmware
  • Usually you can just flash an original Panasonic .bin file.
  • If that fails for any reason, use PTool to create a firmware image file with no modifications selected:
  1. Run PTool.
  2. Load the original Panasonic firmware .bin file.
  3. Don't touch any of the check boxes in the PTool window: leave them as they are.
  4. Save a new firmware .bin file.
How to use PTool on a Macintosh

Small tips

1. Remember that Testers section settings are for testers. Use simple bitrate settings.
2. How can I make encoder hold better in low detailed scenes? Use Auto Quantizer settings

Useful tools

StreamParser by Chris Brandin as help tool to analyse AVCHD streams - http://www.gh1-hack.info/StreamParser.zip

Other good idea is also use trial version of Elecard StreamEye - http://www.elecard.com/en/download/products.html

ptool/ptool-faq.txt · Last modified: 2013/03/10 18:13 by balazer