Note on archived topics.
02-11-2019 02:17 PM
Just for reference, the board is a version 1.02 with a 12/28/2011 boot block
I spent 2 hours this afternoon just trying all that everyone else has tried and failed at .... and .... it will be no surprise that I also failed. but I had to see it for myself.
This evening, time permitting, i'll pull the board and do the read edit and flash.
Already have the tools installed on a raspberry pi as my Linux system, and all set with a bus pirate and a Pomona soj/soic test clip.
02-11-2019 04:13 PM
Scoobis, please keep us updated.....
After all is said and done I'd appreciate your input on whether a version 2 used motherboard transplant would have been easier/cheaper. Regardless.... mastering such a technical challenge has its own rewards and we wish you good luck.
02-11-2019 05:08 PM
Do remember to lift the 5V pin of the flash from the board trace or else the BusPirate will be feeding the (or try to) the whole board. I was able to do a couple boards without lifting the 5V pin but failed on about a dozen more so I had to lift the pin on those.
Some delicate desoldering skills are needed to lift a single pin so on some boards I lifted all the pins on the right side (5v side) by insertind a very small (like 28 gauge wire wrap type wire) below the flash between the pins and the plastic then using the wire to put upward pressure (lifting) the one side of the flash while heating all the pins on that side of the flash. Careful pulling up if not sufficiently hot (solded melted) or else you may pull up the board traces. Gentle upward pressure, the flash will lift when sufficiently hot. This leaves the flash unattached from one side maybe 1/8 up from the board. Once reprogramed, push the flash backk down (the traces and legs of the flash still have solder on them) and reheat the pins while holding the flash down (with something other than your finger since it gets hot). That is it.
BTW - I was never able to successfuly upgrade a revision 1.00 board. Reprogramed the flash but it just did not work.
02-12-2019 01:26 PM
I am Fighting getting a clean read of the bios using bus pirate. i have the VCC pin lifted but the verify always fail.
i updated the FW of the bus pirate, hopefully, that's it, and not something wrong with the flash post my lifting the pin.
02-12-2019 01:54 PM
To read the flash I did not use Buspirate because it is slow as a snail. I use to read the flash while the computer was operational. I would boot with a live RescueCD into Linux. That live CD has built in Flashrom which can read but not write the flash. It takes less than 2 seconds to read and verify.
I am traveling through Sunday but then I can give you more help with Flashrom. In the meantime look at this Flashrom video that uses the Pi.
02-12-2019 02:01 PM
It has been a few years since I did the mod so my memory refresh is slow at times. Forgot say about how to read the flash (not with bus pirate). Years later it seems the Pi can be used to read the flash with Flashrom.
02-12-2019 04:56 PM
after the update of the bus pirate to firmware v7.11 it read fine. The version it came with was ... 5.3? well, 5.x anyway. I think 6.3 was the last official version and the 7.x are all community versions. So heads up to anyone planning in using a bus pirate, check your firmware version, make sure it isn't ancient.
I did the edit of the firmware image, but, since I only need to write ff0000-ffffff i figured id only write over that portion. Mostly because I still don't trust the bus pirate, and if I mess up that region, it is something I can likely recover from.
02-12-2019 08:47 PM - edited 02-12-2019 10:07 PM
@SalSimp Thanks for your help! Your method worked flawlessly. my tools were the only issue 🙂
Only thing i altered in the method was to just write to the ff0000-ffffff area of the flash. that went pretty quick relatively speaking.
It was the firmware of the darn bus pirate causing me grief! It is all good now. I'll Chalk it up to the learning curve on a new piece of hardware.
boot block shows up as 2013 now. and now off to putting v2 CPU's in it and see how it works.
To answer your question:
"After all is said and done I'd appreciate your input on whether a version 2 used motherboard transplant would have been easier/cheaper. Regardless.... mastering such a technical challenge has its own rewards and we wish you good luck."
well.. the answer isn't that simple I guess. for the most part not worth it, but.. yea it was worth it to me.
1. If this was for someone I worked for, instead of for my personal use, it would be a last resort, and id never recommend it.
2. If I were charging hourly, it would be cheaper to buy and swap a motherboard. Knowing what I know now, I could probably get the timing down so it might be even cost wise.
3. The other factors cost and risk factors make it unattractive from a buisness perspective. You have risks of bricking the motherboard, risks of unknown effects of using this method. You could put all the time into it and fail and still need to replace the motherboard plus system time lost. so now your cost just doubled or more if it has a buisness impact.
4. for someone gaining knowledge. well, I would not recommend making this your first project in doing a flash, SMD re-working, merging binaries etc. the learning curve is not insurmountable but could steep if you don't already have some base knowledge.
5. if you have the basic knowledge, skills, and tools, find it an adventure, and wanna save a few bucks, then yea perfect project. Especially if you already have the attitude that, if you brick it, that you would have to have bought a motherboard anyway so nothing to lose.
Obviously, this was 1/2 for fun 1/2 to save 200-300 bucks. Only thing I sprung for was the bus pirate, and frankly, I could have flashed it other ways but wanted to use hardware i knew had worked, and plus, it was an excuse to get a bus pirate. (he who dies with the most tools wins)
I'm still not 100% out of the woods, I have 2 x e5-2667 v2's to put in the box and 128gb of memory 🙂