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#31 RE: Lenovo P50 Bricked by BIOS update. by IanP50 26.09.2020 15:44

@lfb6 - I'm using AsProgrammer 1.41 with a CH341 programmer now (was previously using a Raspbeery Pi running flashrom). I ran the verify routine in AsProgrammer, as I assumed this effectively read the chip content and compared it with what it had just flashed. Is that not the case? I didn't re-check after soldering the chip back on the motherboard.

Zitat von lfb6 im Beitrag #29
If I understand you right then you put together p50_desc_gbe_me_fd.zip from #17 and the bios 86_with_nvram_pch00.zip from #13.


Correct.

Zitat von lfb6 im Beitrag #29
One possibility would be to try 86_stock.zip as bios region (put together with FD/GbE/ME again) as a first step since your NVRAM could also be compromised.


I can try that. I've tried flashing the chip while soldered to the board, and it appears to flash correctly. I'll need to make sure I verify the flash, but it appears I won't need to remove the chip again.

Zitat von lfb6 im Beitrag #29
But the fact that absolutely nothing happens doesn\'t seem right. If I remember right you did hear some beeps after the bad flash, but didn\'t hear them with the reconneted bios chip and everything was dead, right?


Correct. I could try flashing my original 'bricked' file back to the chip and see what that does.

Zitat von lfb6 im Beitrag #29
Did you put everything together again? My old Samsung laptops reject to work if the harddisk isn\'t connected for example. A desktop PC would show you a normal boot and give you bios access without harddisk, the old SNB/IVB laptops (Phoenix bios, too) are dead without hd.


Yes, it was a complete rebuild. SSD, screen, keyboard etc.

Zitat von Lost_N_BIOS im Beitrag #30
Did you manually verify? Do this by closing app after write verify, then open again, read then verify, then save, then compare that with what you wrote. This can only be done directly after a write, without powering on system
If incompatible software is used, a false verify can and will happen.


As above, I just used the verify function in AsProgrammer. Sounds like that maybe wasn't sufficient.

Zitat von Lost_N_BIOS im Beitrag #30
If it is a good write, which you\'ll have to do again to confirm manually if you did not before, then new BIOS will need to be made. I\'ll make you one.


I'll read the chip while soldered on the motherboard and compare with the code I flashed. What's the best way to compare two BIOS files? I'm happy to flash as many different BIOS files as it takes. Apart from the pain of dismantling the laptop each time, it's not such an issue now.

Zitat von Lost_N_BIOS im Beitrag #30
Nothing happening is not good sign! Are you sure BIOS is soldered on correct position? If you are not, feel it while you try to power on, if HOT, then it\'s backwards.I can\'t tell by your two images above, but it doesn\'t look like there is a pin1 indicator on the PCB, so if you have an image pre-removal look at the chip\'s orientation and make sure you put back same wayAlso, looking at the images now, your first one, last pin under U5 side, are you sure pad was not removed there? I can\'t tell for sure in that image due to it\'s too small, and even zoomed in it\'s hard to tell, but looks like maybe pad was lifted and is gone. And now that I look again, 1, 2 on that side look that way too If you remove chip again, clean pads/area and let me see pads


I'm 100% happy with the chip orientation, and it doesn't get hot. I'm also 100% sure that there's no lifted or damaged pads. It's proving hard to get a really nice close up photo with my phone camera, but here's a decent shot just after the chip was removed. I've hand soldered many surface mount components in the past. Some much smaller than a SOIC8. Nothing was damaged when I soldered the wires.



I think the white rectangle and the bump in the top line of the component outline indicate where pin 1 would be.

This was before it was removed. Focus isn't great, but you can clearly see the orientation.



While the motherboard is exposed, I've just checked the eeprom supply pins, and it does rise to 3.3v just after pressing the power button. It only stays at 3.3v for a couple of seconds, but it appears things are happening on the motherboard, even though nothing obviously happens. I'm sure if I hooked up the logic analyser, I would also see some communication, much like I did previously, but hopefully with a more stable clock frequency.

Thanks,
Ian.

#32 RE: Lenovo P50 Bricked by BIOS update. by lfb6 26.09.2020 17:19

@IanP50 Asprogrammer 1.41 should work. I always restart the program, read the chip again, save to a different file and compare. Mostly at a command prompt fc /b file1 file2, HxD also has a compare function (Ctrl K, or 'Analysis', 'Data comparison') and there are countless other tools. Files should be 100% bitwise identical!

Regarding your old bios end the error beeps you could hear: Something might've happened between last boot try with error beeps and disassembling/ cable soldering what prevents system generally from beginning to check bios.

Could you reproduce these error beeps before disassembling when trying to reboot? Were they still there after a power off/ disconnect battery/ mains? Flashing your corrupt bios would only make much sense if you had reproducable error- beeps before disassembling. It then could make sure that communiction with bios chip works as before.

Orientation looks good, there are marks for orientation in the rectangle, too.(D4 on the right side looks as if it had been touched recently?) Regarding soldering pads, they look OK to me, but almost all pads do have a SMD compenent connected very closely, so one could check connection quite easily.

Socketed CPU? Re-seat RAM?

#33 RE: Lenovo P50 Bricked by BIOS update. by IanP50 26.09.2020 18:14

Zitat von lfb6 im Beitrag #32
Asprogrammer 1.41 should work. I always restart the program, read the chip again, save to a different file and compare. Mostly at a command prompt fc /b file1 file2, HxD also has a compare function (Ctrl K, or \'Analysis\', \'Data comparison\') and there are countless other tools. Files should be 100% bitwise identical!


I'll read the chip and compare with the original.

Zitat von lfb6 im Beitrag #32
Could you reproduce these error beeps before disassembling when trying to reboot? Were they still there after a power off/ disconnect battery/ mains? Flashing your corrupt bios would only make much sense if you had reproducable error- beeps before disassembling. It then could make sure that communiction with bios chip works as before.


Yes, it was very repeatable. Didn't matter what I did with battery, AC power, CMOS battery etc. Every time I pressed the power button, I got the two sets of five beeps.

Zitat von lfb6 im Beitrag #32
Orientation looks good, there are marks for orientation in the rectangle, too.(D4 on the right side looks as if it had been touched recently?) Regarding soldering pads, they look OK to me, but almost all pads do have a SMD compenent connected very closely, so one could check connection quite easily.


All pins have good continuity to surrounding components, so connections are all good. I didn't get anywhere near D4 with the soldering iron. I think it's just how it looks on the photo. Looks fine under magnification.


Zitat von lfb6 im Beitrag #32
Socketed CPU? Re-seat RAM?


No sockets for CPU I'm afraid. I'm not sure you do very much on a laptop. I did try re-seating the RAM.

I'll try a bitwise compare of the eeprom and see if it matches. If it does, Ill try the original 'bricked' bios and see if I can get it beeping again.

Thanks,
Ian.

#34 RE: Lenovo P50 Bricked by BIOS update. by IanP50 26.09.2020 18:57

@lfb6 - Fresh read of chip compared to original file was 100% identical, so flash was good. I used HxD to compare.

Just re-flashing my original BIOS to see if I can get any beeps.

Thanks,
Ian.

#35 RE: Lenovo P50 Bricked by BIOS update. by IanP50 26.09.2020 19:30

@lfb6 - Progress has been made. Flashed my orignal broken BIOS back to the chip. Re-read and compared. All checked out fine. Powered up, and no beeps, just three flashes of the power LED. Had a quick Google of the three flashes, and people suggested disconnecting the CMOS battery for a few seconds. Tried this, and when I plugged the power back in, I was happy to hear my five beep sequence again.

Just flashing the p50_desc_gbe_me_fd.zip from #17 and the bios 86_with_nvram_pch00.zip from #13 back onto the chip to see what happens. Fingers crossed.

Thanks,
Ian.

#36 RE: Lenovo P50 Bricked by BIOS update. by IanP50 26.09.2020 19:49

@lfb6 - More progress. Flashed rebuilt code, plugged power in, three flashes again. Pulled the CMOS battery, and this time I have the power LED staying on, fans cycling, and after a while, heard the sort of beep you hear when presented with a boot message. I need to put the screen back on to see what's going on, but we're not dead anymore.

Thanks,
Ian.

#37 RE: Lenovo P50 Bricked by BIOS update. by lfb6 26.09.2020 21:02

@IanP50 Congratulations, nice work! I hope you get a picture when reconnecting the screen! But the beep means normally 'Post finished', so that should be a good sign!

Read the/a ThinkPad P50 Hardware Maintenance Manual and there's only mentioned 3 blinks when connecting to power, nothing more. (For "Five short beeps, pause, five more short beeps, and
pause" it says "Replace the system board"). But clearing CMOS

Zitat von IanP50 im Beitrag #33
.... No sockets for CPU I'm afraid. I'm not sure you do very much on a laptop. ....
Your stuff's too new All my Samsung (2 Sandy Bridge, 2 Ivy bridge) and my Fujitsu laptop (Merom) were socketed.

#38 RE: Lenovo P50 Bricked by BIOS update. by IanP50 26.09.2020 21:24

@lfb6 - It's not all good news I'm afraid. Connected everything back up, and not getting anything on the screen. I get a quick double beep after approx 30 seconds. Power light remains on. After about 1.5 mins, the backlight on the display comes on, but still nothing on the screen. After about 2 mins, I get another double beep with a slightly longer gap between beeps.

It looks like the keyboard works to a point, as num lock and Fn lock LED's go on and off when the keys are pressed.

I can hear the fans speeding up and slowing down, and occasionally see the disk activity light flash, although that appears to have stopped now.

Only things not connected are the WiFi card and the second storage HDD. Windows OS is on the SSD which is fitted. I wouldn't expect either of these to stop the display working though.

Could we still have a funky BIOS?

Thanks,
Ian.

#39 RE: Lenovo P50 Bricked by BIOS update. by lfb6 26.09.2020 22:08

@IanP50 Well, would've been too good to be true. But I'm pretty sure we get i up and running again!

There are some possibilities here.

- Transplanting the NVRAM of the old bios was kinda optimistic, but would'v been the easiest solution if it'd have worked out.
- Your ME might have som corruption.

I'd propose as next step taking a clean stockbios region and combine it with the FD/GbE/ME region with open flash descriptor:

- Unpack 86_stock.zip from #9 as bios region and put together with same FD/GbE/ME as before (p50_desc_gbe_me_fd.zip from #17) and program it into the SPI. Should have same size and same look/messages in UEFItoolNE as the version you did try now.


If this doesn't work we'd try stock bios with a cleaned ME (you don't have that yet).

(And if that doesn't work we'll ask @Lost_N_BIOS who really knows a lot more about this stuff!)

#40 RE: Lenovo P50 Bricked by BIOS update. by Lost_N_BIOS 26.09.2020 22:50

avatar

@IanP50 - Ahh, great to see those clean and nicely tinned pads all still in place Those previous (tiny) images had me worried, but as I mentioned I couldn't see it all very well, glad to see all is OK
Yes, looks like the white block is, or can be used as, pin1 indicator, since that before image has pin1 there
Wow oh wow, that is a lot of quotes taking up a lot of space, very hard to consume like that, especially while having scroll up/down past 7-8 posts to type out my reply

You cannot always rely on programmer software verification, unless/until you already know for sure via previous bootable success of flashing of this exact chip with that exact software, or manual verification
Manually confirm via >> after writing in BIOS, without powering on, close program, open program Read, verify, save, then compare with what you wrote in hex editor.
You only need to do that once, then you know the software is writing to this chip correctly, and you can then rely on the software verification routine.
This needs to be done directly after write, without power on attempt, otherwise data changes (Sounds like you've already done all this, but I didn't read on until I'd already typed it all out, so there is lies )

Is this a new LCD, or the original? If a new LCD, test external display connected, if there is external connectors, to rule out faulty/incompatible LCD. Plug those in, one by one as you test, with system off, before you power on (don't live switch them while testing like this)
Yes, may need cleaned ME FW. I will make you some BIOS if you guys don't end up getting it sorted out.

#41 RE: Lenovo P50 Bricked by BIOS update. by lfb6 26.09.2020 23:09

Attached first part of complete bios (FD, GbE, ME) with cleaned ME.

There's in fact a warning when opening the backed up bios:
"Warning: The ME FW image loaded has been pulled from a previously booted system. Some FW settings will not be allowed to be changed.
Warning: Could not set "Redirection Privacy / Security Level" to: 0x00000000000000000000000000000000000000987E9633A42B60E004F28647EC777C680EF6EE533E5494F6091DFF853E76A8F8C801, reverting to previous/default value: Default"

But this is regarding AMT redirection configuration:
"Redirection Privacy / Security Level - This setting allows customers to configure the Privacy and Security level for redirection operations. Default enables all redirection ports (User consent is configurable). Enhanced - Enables all redirection ports. (User consent is required and cannot be disabled). Extreme - Disables Redirection and Remote Configuration / Client Control Mode"

I don't think this should prevent the system from boot.

Anyway- there are two possibilities now- try everything as 'native' as possible and use the attached FD_GbE_Me with cleaned ME together with the empty stock bios now or- as proposed in my last post- go one by one: First stock bios, old/own ME, if that doesn't work: Stock bios with cleaned ME.

#42 RE: Lenovo P50 Bricked by BIOS update. by IanP50 26.09.2020 23:50

@lfb6 - I'll try the various configurations and report back.

@Lost_N_BIOS - Sorry about the excessive quoting. I'll stop that

LCD is original. I've had the machine from new, and it's never had anything replaced. Until this failed BIOS update, it's never missed a beat. It does have an HDMI connector which I've tried, but nothing on the external monitor. P50's have discrete graphics chips, and I assume the BIOS needs to fire this up.

Thanks,
Ian.

#43 RE: Lenovo P50 Bricked by BIOS update. by IanP50 27.09.2020 01:41

@lfb6 & @Lost_N_BIOS - Progress. Before assembling anymore BIOS files, I thought I'd try the BIOS image that I gave a link to in post #10. After briefly disconnecting the CMOS battery, I pressed the power button, and it all looks to be working. I initially got this screen:



Date & Time is understandable, as is the mouse, because I hadn't connected the keyboard or track pad yet. Not sure about the bad CRC though. After going into the BIOS to set the date & time and re-booting, I don't get the CRC error any more.

Interestingly, when in the BIOS, it appears to have the correct serial, machine type, and what I assume is the correct UUID. No idea where it picked those up from. Here's the BIOS screen you previously requested:



It's obviously running an older version of the BIOS, and I assume I can just update to the latest version using the Lenovo updater. How do I know if this BIOS has all the security features enabled?

Even if we don't stay with this BIOS flash, it does prove the hardware is all good.

Thanks again,
Ian.

#44 RE: Lenovo P50 Bricked by BIOS update. by lfb6 27.09.2020 12:02

OK, I didn't have doubts about your hardware, but maybe worth a try. If the owner of the machine this is bios is backuped from (and you) both use the Windows OEM license there's a slight chance that this could give a little trouble with activation. Some of the data you see in this screen might be stored other places.

What security features do you mean? Only difference in ME configuration is (despite AMT configuration) "Intel(R) PTT initial power-up state", enabled for the foreign dump, disabled in your ME. (PTT= Intel Platform Trust Technology)

(Hidden) bios settings/ changes in NVRAM like the one Lost_N_BIOS proposed will be almost impossible to find out of.

I'd prefer starting with own config, or- if this isn't possible- with a clean/ stock base. Said that it doesn't matter if you try clean ME or stock bios or both first. I'd start with both: 'clean ME' and 'stock bios'.

Anyway, you might try to use Intel ME11 tools (fptx.exe) for flashing puposes now, but I assume that the bios area has protected ranges or is completely locked for flashing and since the foreign bios dump still has a locked FD also ME won't be flashable this way.

#45 RE: Lenovo P50 Bricked by BIOS update. by IanP50 27.09.2020 13:06

Zitat von lfb6 im Beitrag #44
I didn't have doubts about your hardware


I did

I also just noticed that Windows isn't activated anymore, so it would be nice to use as much of my original bios as possible. Now I've proven hardware is all good, and can flash new bios quickly/safely, we can try as many configurations as we like.

When I asked about security features, it was kind of referencing some of the previous comments about the FD being unlocked. I don't know much about the structure of a bios file, and not sure if this is a bad thing. Can anything we do to my bios leave me vulnerable to hacking in the future?

I'm going to try clean ME and stock bios next.

Thanks,
Ian.

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