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#16 RE: Unlock N970TF InsydeH20 Hidden options by rlkd82 09.10.2019 11:46

In the process of flashing the ch341a burned up on erase. Hence the 0's, no manufacturer name/model.

The part that worries me the most is ec. From what I gather, when the board will not respond to ac input/charging of battery/power button you have ec problems.

Looking at the system block in the service manual, shows the bios spi as an individual chip, and thermal sensor, batt/ac, fan, and ec residing on the ITE chip.

My question, would a blanked out bios chip disallow the ec from functioning? Or should I also be ordering a replacement chip for ec as well?

Buspirate can be interfaced via windows/linux as it has its own command prompt, or utilize flashrom. Tbh though, the steep learning curve involved in writing a script is both annoying, or in my case very welcome. Ch341a's for simple jobs I see the value. In my case I wish I never touched my system with one. Im one of the extremely unlucky ones it seems. Just my luck.

#17 RE: Unlock N970TF InsydeH20 Hidden options by Lost_N_BIOS 09.10.2019 11:57

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So the CH341A shorted out, may also shorted the board/BIOS too? Did it spark or smoke, or just get hot?
I still doubt chip is blank or 0'd If it just got hot, you could probably still use it and it's fine, unless there was sparks or smoke, usually if you connect a cable backwards the chip or BIOS can get hot but it doesn't short/smoke/spark, unless it's a hard short or some internal short on the programmer itself.

Usually, EC FW is not on same chip as BIOS, as you mentioned. Since you didn't write there, EC should be untouched, if BIOS is correct when replaced or programmed back in and board is not shorted all will be OK.

Blanked out BIOS, shorted BIOS, FF'd or 00'd BIOS would not allow anything to happen, thus nothing reacts almost always

How are you connecting the buspirate? As I mentioned I have no clue what this is, but your final comments make me wonder why you are less worried about this than a CH341A, both can short the board if you move the cable while in use or connect something wrong
This assumes buspirate is something you connect to the board in some similar way, other than a USB Port?

Everything may be fine, and your chip just needs programmed again, with a new CH341A << Seems like the easier way to me, since you are fighting a loosing battle with current items and can't even tell what is error or what is actual.
CH341A connected properly, with known working software version per your chip, your read and dump would not be in question as to if it's a valid dump of zero's or not and you could write in a working BIOS in less than 2 minutes without wondering if it wrote it in properly or not before you rebooted.

I suggest you get another CH341A, they only cost $2, maybe you didn't even short anything last time, maybe the $2 CH341A just happened to be a bad sample and you were unlucky. Hopefully everything is OK on the board itself

#18 RE: Unlock N970TF InsydeH20 Hidden options by rlkd82 09.10.2019 13:32

I had tried the clip, but the legs on the chip are extremely small so never got a good steady hold. Used these clips instead ensuring no clip leads were touching nearby legs or other clips.

Followed chip spec sheets connecting cs/clk/si/so utilizing board ac/ground for power. VCC being opposite side of CS Im 100% It nor VSS were touched. I believe it was 1.29 ver iirc that would see the chip.

Everything was looking great, until I started smelling the frying smell of electrical component. Instantly pulled programmer, and burned myself in the process. Heres a pic of the programmer.

Bus Pirate is a usb/serial programmer for multiple devices. Spi flashing is normally handled via flashrom, but offers a terminal as well that you can really manipulate with.

Im sure any fool can also destroy things with the bus pirate or ch341a alike. I personally, will never touch a ch341a again. I never cared about cost savings, just everyone used it. So to keep it simple and not have to learn all about deep level bios editing I cheaped out and grabbed one.

This situation sucks, but in the last week I've learned quite a bit about spi nor chips. How to send individual commands to change chip status, what order to do said commands in, to actually sending the bytes over. Not just running said software having no idea how it does it.

Thanks for answering my questions, its appreciated.

#19 RE: Unlock N970TF InsydeH20 Hidden options by Lost_N_BIOS 09.10.2019 21:54

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Those look MUCH easier to cause a short than the standard clips, so I suspect that's what happened if those were used during the time this happened. But yes, clip can cause it too, or it may just have been a faulty CH341A
Your smell of ozone (magic smoke) and burned programmer is sure sign something shorted. Do you see blown trace or resistor near the BIOS chip?

Hope you can sort this out with bus pirate, if you end up never getting anywhere and are not sure the board is damaged, I'd get another CH341A and try again before tossing it all out to the bin

#20 RE: Unlock N970TF InsydeH20 Hidden options by rlkd82 10.10.2019 05:59

Inspection of the board, front back reveals no damage whatsoever. Actually the clips, if attention is paid, are leaps and bounds more secure then any test clip.

I have been using Pc's since before 386 days. I'm no stranger to damaged hardware. Especially when overclocking with liquid nitrogen. If you are not savy, it's gonna be quite the expensive venture considering the amount of sources of damage that presents to a system. I don't know how many times my reflow station has saved the day during a bench session.

Have since, flashed and replaced the chip. Am writing from it as we speak ;). Thanks for following along on the adventure.

#21 RE: Unlock N970TF InsydeH20 Hidden options by Lost_N_BIOS 10.10.2019 08:58

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@rlkd82 - It may be OK then, hopefully so! Sometimes resistor blown you can't tell, but usually if the board shorts during something like this, you'd see a blown or lifted trace near the BIOS chip, so good chance it's OK
Sounds like you know all about this, soldering, repairing stuff, so I'm sure you know how to spot the easily damaged stuff.

Ahh great to hear you've revived the system, very nice no damage was done!!
So now, do we need to unlock BIOS or what? If yes, send me new FPT dump of entire BIOS

#22 RE: Unlock N970TF InsydeH20 Hidden options by rlkd82 10.10.2019 10:30

Was curious about the programmer. Applied 5 volts to it, and sure enough its something with it. Both lights light up and instantly unit starts to heat up.

I had the bios/nvbios/ec modded by Prema. Fantastic work.

Was always curious as to why you've never wrote up a guide? I see a bit of info here and there but no one stop guide. Should think on it, hell I'd toss you a donation if you ever took the time to write one.

Have a good one.

#23 RE: Unlock N970TF InsydeH20 Hidden options by Lost_N_BIOS 10.10.2019 10:43

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Must be shorted programmer then, or maybe it was bad sample from the get-go and just happened to go bad on that last time you used it

I've written a few guides/methods on how to do certain BIOS edits, but BIOS vary too much for any all encompassing guide about modifying.
Even for simple stuff like microcode there is many methods and ways to do it and not all apply to all BIOS brands/series etc

Here's stuff I've written out here in past year, mainly none of this is for Insyde though except maybe microcodes and or FIT if present.

Setup_var/Grub guide
[GUIDE] Grub Fix Intel FPT Error 280 or 368 - BIOS Lock Asus/Other Mod BIOS Flash
Alt boot to grub when no boot to EFI on exit page - [Help needed] Hidden Advanced menu Bios HP Z1 J52_0274.BIN (2)

ME Re-Flash BIOS edit guide (in spoiler at post 4068)
Intel Management Engine: Drivers, Firmware & System Tools (272)

Update Microcode (little) + Fix FIT Table guide << Need to update, much simpler now, but haven't had time to do yet
[GUIDE] Update CPU Microcode + Fix FIT Using UEFITool / Hex

Magic String shown/explained a little bit, this often used in older BIOS, like Aptio IV - Magic string often before > EE 2E 20 71 53 5F D9 40 AB 3D 9E 0C 26 D9 66 57
[Request] How to Access Locked/Hidden BIOS Menu Settings (16)
Also here, shorter - [Request] How to Access Locked/Hidden BIOS Menu Settings (12)

Overpowered - AMITSE (AMI Aptio V) unlock guide - see spoiler for general edit method, simple edit (does not cover all possible Aptio V "things")
OverPowered TONGFANG CyberPower Machrevo MACHENIKE - Unlocked BIOS Guide W/ Files

#24 RE: Unlock N970TF InsydeH20 Hidden options by rlkd82 10.10.2019 11:09

Thanks for taking the time to link these. I've also sent you a pm, I hope you dont mind

#25 RE: Unlock N970TF InsydeH20 Hidden options by Lost_N_BIOS 10.10.2019 20:17

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You're welcome! Sorry there's nothing exciting there for Insyde PM is fine, I just can't keep track of stuff in PM to help with a BIOS mod is all

#26 RE: Unlock N970TF InsydeH20 Hidden options by JJK505 30.08.2021 05:21

I have the same laptop and I am looking for the same hidden options unlock.

How did you get Prema to do it? Their website seems to be dead.

#27 RE: Unlock N970TF InsydeH20 Hidden options by Sweet Kitten 30.08.2021 09:14

Zitat von JJK505 im Beitrag #26
I am looking for the same hidden options unlock.
So let's get started.
I need your BIOS dump.

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