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#1 Asus N550JV shutdown every 30 minutes by jeanphil 14.01.2018 16:23

Hi guys,
my laptop is shutting down every 30 min exactly and after months of research on what was wrong (started a month after the warranty expired, was quite angry) I finally found this beautiful forum.

Now I know it is linked to IME probably missing after a BIOS update.
So I tried to get MEInfo on my bios file but ASUS doesn't provide anything on it. I know however that it is IME 9.0.

Then when trying "fptw -d spi.bin" under windows it gives me Error 26.

So I now need your help to know what to do.
Would trying to dump under DOS change anything ?
If not I understood that I need a spi programmer, is there a specific model that I should buy ? Any recommendation on which one is the best/easiest ?

Thank you for your time and I hope we can do something here.

EDIT: tried under DOS and still ERROR 26

#2 RE: Asus N550JV shutdown every 30 minutes by plutomaniac 14.01.2018 20:36

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There are two things you can try in order to allow read/write access to the ME firmware region of the SPI chip, before resorting into using a programmer.

a) Follow these steps but at step 3 run "setup_var 0x3A5 0x01".
b) If the above does not help, try this (example picture) which requires shorting two audio chip pins while the system boots.

Hopefully one of the two will allow you to dump/reflash the ME firmware without getting Error 26. Both usually apply for one boot only (definitely the 2nd), so you'll need to redo them after any reboot.

#3 RE: Asus N550JV shutdown every 30 minutes by jeanphil 15.01.2018 01:31

Thank for your quick answer plutomaniac,

So I tried both methods without success.

a) tells me: "GUID does not match expected GUID taking it nevertheless..."
[...]
and then "setting offset 0x3A5 to 0x01"
still got ERROR 26 when trying to dump


b) is really difficult but i tried many times without success, is there a way to see if I short the pins correctly ?
the chip is ALC668 D7G35H1 GD36A3
It also got 12 pins on each sides.
After shorting 1 and 5 like in the picture I still got ERROR 26 but it is so small I'm not sure I am doing this correctly.

#4 RE: Asus N550JV shutdown every 30 minutes by plutomaniac 15.01.2018 14:20

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Yes it is hard to do the pin shorting as they're very small. The only solution is to use a programmer. I am not knowledgeable when it comes to programmers so I can't help you there. You can get a cheap one with a clip (depending on what BIOS chip your system has) and you may need to disolder the SPI chip to reflash and then solder it back.

#5 RE: Asus N550JV shutdown every 30 minutes by jeanphil 16.01.2018 16:36

Thanks, so I will turn to the programmer you linked with a clip.
I think i found the bios chip, could you confirm this is this one ?
It says on it : "Winbond 25064FVS** 1345" can't read the 2 *
If yes then how do i know if need to disolder it or not ?

EDIT: programmer ordered, should arrive around the 22nd

#6 RE: Asus N550JV shutdown every 30 minutes by jeanphil 23.01.2018 19:37

So I finally receive the programmer and could successfully dump the bios.
Lucky I didn't have to disolder.

When passing the file though MEAnalyser I got this result

Family: ME
Version: 9.0.3.1347
Release: Production
Type: Region, Extracted
SKU: 1.5MB
SVN: 1
VCN: 2
PV: Yes
Date: 2013-04-11
FITC Ver: 9.0.3.1347
Size: 0x17D000
Platform: LPT
Latest: No

So I am lost now, what I should do ?
Could you point me to the right direction please.

Thank you

EDIT : I will try this

#7 RE: Asus N550JV shutdown every 30 minutes by plutomaniac 23.01.2018 21:41

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Yes you need to follow the CleanUp Guide. Due to the old FITc version that built your dump and ME settings, you'll see one warning about SMBus Address (ignore) and another setting (BootGuard profile) needs to be set to its default option instead of "Unknown". Download the attached fixed SPI image and flash it back via the programmer. Once the system boots up, make sure to do a "fptw -greset" as well. After the reboot, everything should be back to normal.

#8 RE: Asus N550JV shutdown every 30 minutes by jeanphil 23.01.2018 22:50

So I tried flashing your firmware and now the laptop powers on for a second then shutdowns.

Nothing else I can on it apparently.

Will try to clean following the guide myself, I'll keep updated

#9 RE: Asus N550JV shutdown every 30 minutes by jeanphil 23.01.2018 23:44

Ok so the system is now booting with the spi I cleaned.
I didn't know what BootGuard Profile I should use so I just put the first one : 0 - No_FVME
Did the fptw -greset and I am now waiting to see if the laptop pass the 30 min deadline.

#10 RE: Asus N550JV shutdown every 30 minutes by jeanphil 24.01.2018 00:40

The spi I cleaned is still shutting down after 30 min so I tried to reflash yours and I still got the shutdown after a second or so.
What are my options now ?

#11 RE: Asus N550JV shutdown every 30 minutes by plutomaniac 24.01.2018 00:46

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Did you make any hardware change before the problem occurred? I don't see how my spi would cause such an issue. It's the same guide and we both set BootGuard to No_FVME. Can you attach your own spi after following the cleanup guide?

#12 RE: Asus N550JV shutdown every 30 minutes by jeanphil 24.01.2018 00:50

Here it is.
I did change the harddrive for a ssd. Shall I put back the old HDD ?
I am now trying to flash with the 1.29 version of the programmer software.

#13 RE: Asus N550JV shutdown every 30 minutes by plutomaniac 24.01.2018 01:13

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Maybe the EOL Anti-Theft Technology kicked in although reflashing the ME firmware should have fixed that, if true. Yes try to put the old HDD back just to see if it turns off after 30 minutes (shouldn't be the cause but it's worth a try). Also, make sure that the software you're using for the programmer works because it seems unlikely that my spi fails in such a way compared to yours. The settings are the same (checked). The only difference is that I also updated the ME firmware to the latest but, once again, that does not merit an unbootable system. For CH341A programmers, you can find a few things in this thread. Make sure to Verify the written data or manually re-dump and compare with the input image.

#14 RE: Asus N550JV shutdown every 30 minutes by jeanphil 24.01.2018 03:24

Can't find the old disk, I'll look for it again tomorrow.

The programmer works much better with 1.29, I think it's all good on this side now.
But it seems that the spi is changing after being flashed, looking with WinMerge there is many parts differents, being data, I don't know what they are.
The dump attached is after flashing with your image and trying to turn on.

When plugged after a bios flash the computer get a light on for a second (it's not really turning on just the power button lights up) then it's turns off. I then need to push the button for it to really turn on for a secon like i said.
When flashing with the non updated meFW image the light turn on for a few seconds more then turn off. Then when I push the power button the laptop can run for 30min.

I also tried without the battery and cmos battery without success.

More backstory:
If I recall well it started happen after a Linux installation, the ssd was added after that, thinking it would change something.
I also tried at the time to unplugged everything and keep only the motherboard running and staying in the bios and it still shuts down after 30min


EDIT : Using MEanalyser I see that you have updated the firmware to 9.1.37.1002 whereas the original was 9.0.3.1347. Is there no problem updating from 9.0 to 9.1 ?

#15 RE: Asus N550JV shutdown every 30 minutes by plutomaniac 24.01.2018 14:24

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ME 9.1 firmware supersedes 9.0. It is normal for the Engine region to have different data after the first system boot because its DATA section is now initialized, as explained at Section A of the CleanUp Guide. Also, make sure that you disable any Anti-Theft option at the BIOS, if such a thing exists of course.

Indeed the best way to check if the problem is ME/Firmware/Hardware-related is to stay at the BIOS (no OS) and wait. The 30-minute shutdown is known to happen when a) the ME firmware is corrupted, b) Anti-Theft (EOL) has detected a "stolen" platform or c) the CPU got replaced with one not supported by the PCH. Since you only changed the HDD and HM86 PCH does not have CPU restrictions either way, I believe it's either a or b. We can certainly fix both of these via the CleanUp Guide. Attached is a "conservative" cleaned-up SPI image in which I used 9.0.3.1347 1.5MB RGN and the equivalent old FITC v9.0.3.1347 with only Anti-Theft disabled.

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