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flash failure + boot block error: need a flashing device!!!!

Posted: Wed Feb 26, 2003 7:34 am
by Unrealll
I own a AOpen AX64 Mobo with bios rel 1.10 (4.5PG)
I recently flashed my MB bios to a "customized" one. I forgot to unlock
access to my peripherals menu so I flashed back the bios with the original
one. Something went wrong and my PC had the classical behaviour resulting
after a bad flash.

I tryed to use the "safe bios" method (ie a keyboard, a floppy and a ISA
graphic controler, NOTHING more installed) and I was able to access
Bootblock bios for recovery. But I had this screen printed:

Award Bootlock Bios v1.0
Copywright (c) 1998, Award Software, Inc.

Bios Rom Checksum Error

Detecting Floppy Drive A Media
Drive A error. System Halt.

(add the beep beeps comming after ;) )


I remarked that the computer doesn't seem to try to access the floppy (led not active on the floppy)

What could cause that??

So I was lucky and found another Mobo, identical to the one I have "broken"
(AX64 in both cases)
In both cases, the bios chip is soldered onboard.

Is there a way to use the "shadow Bios to ram, swap good chip with the bad
one then flash" method to flash my old chip with the correct bios WITHOUT
having to remove the chips on both boards (remember they are soldered on
board. I want to avoid the risks to destroy my new Mobo because of such a
delicate operation)

I would really appreciate an answer to these questions.
where can I buy a bios flasher device (eprom or eeprom burner, such as c't flasher for example but that is documented in english instead of german AND that is not too expensive)



Posted: Mon Mar 03, 2003 12:02 pm
by NickS
I thought c'tflasher was also documented in English; it looked straight-forward to me although I have not built it.
IIRC, a recent poster used c'tflasher successfully with a socket or clip on a cable but followed Rainbow's advice to disconnect the flash ROM's power pin from the board (to prevent powering up the whole board from the flasher).
Did you clear CMOS after the flash ?
Does this board have an ISA slot ? if so, try an ISA floppy or multifunction board. It may recognise the floppy then.

Posted: Thu Mar 06, 2003 11:51 pm
by Unrealll
The CMOS was cleared and I tryed with an ISA display adapter. Not more succesful

Posted: Fri Mar 07, 2003 12:02 am
by NickS
I see you were able to see the message, but I seem to recall recovering a PC-Chips M577 motherboard from bad flash using an ISA *floppy controller*. Can you find one ?

Posted: Fri Mar 07, 2003 12:11 am
by edwin
and hope the onboard isn't active with the bios in this state. Had that on one occasion -> RMA time. Never told them what had happened...

Posted: Sat Mar 08, 2003 2:18 am
by Unrealll
ISA floppy controler: nope. but perhaps I can find a PCI one. This would work?

Posted: Sat Mar 08, 2003 2:55 am
by Unrealll
Anyone knows where I can BUY the c't flasher board? (I mean just the board with nothing soldered on) I intended to build my own c't flasher with an old isa modem board but I realize this will be quite a challenge to do a precise work and a flasher working reliably using this method.

Thanks in advance!!

Posted: Sat Mar 08, 2003 1:32 pm
by Rainbow
I don't think that PCI controller does exist :?
I would also like the c't flasher (the PCB is enough) - to add support for it into UniFlash.

Posted: Sat Mar 08, 2003 2:02 pm
by ajzchips
Rainbow, Thomas "th" might be able to help. He bought a couple of CTFlasher kits a while back.

Posted: Sat Mar 08, 2003 4:42 pm
by Denniss

Posted: Sat Mar 08, 2003 5:05 pm
by NickS
Unrealll wrote:ISA floppy controler: nope. but perhaps I can find a PCI one. This would work?
I suspect not. If the bootblock is using ISA for video and the on-board floppy is not working it *may* be using ISA for floppy, but I would be surprised if PCI worked. You will lose nothing by trying, though.
nico - where do you live ?

Posted: Sat Mar 08, 2003 5:37 pm
by Rainbow
60 euro plus 16 shipping :? Maybe they should send me one free if they want some decent software for it :lol:
And PLCC adapter for 30 euro? I made it from PLCC and DIP socket for less than 1 euro...

Posted: Sat Mar 08, 2003 10:25 pm
by ajzchips
I have 2 CTFlashers, one of them with the original PLCC adapter... I know, expensive. I've had them for almost two years now. They are "lifesavers".

Posted: Sun Mar 09, 2003 2:53 am
by Unrealll
NickS: I live in Canada

Someone knows where I can find docs on how to build my own home made PLCC adapter?

I have checked for several ("...professionnal...") flashing devices and some of them are using dip sockets and are almost the price (just a bit higher) of the c't flasher. For all of them, software is included. Some other devices are more, verry more expensive too...

I also heard about an IDE flashing device. See (you'll need to translate this page, it's in german) but it seems that the shopping option is disabled on their webpage (this is a cool IDE device inspired from the great c't flasher)

except the c't flasher, which "flashing device" would you recommend? (for around lets say 60 to 100$ max (us dollars or euros)? And which one offers the best software included?

My budget is limited considering I will buy a flasher only for testing purposes (I have no fear with computer hardware ;) ) and not for commercial use but I want a polyvalent flasher.

Last question: do you think I can build a c't flasher COMPLETELY by myself (without having to buy the full pre-fab kit) from an old ISA board I will convert (I'll use an old ISA board to have the right thickness for the board but EVERYTHING was removed from this board, except the contacts for the ISA slot, I will need them, of course)? There are some schemas on their website that apperently shows the conception of the board. Are they complete?

P.S. sorry if my english is not fully elegant, this isn't my native language...

Posted: Sun Mar 09, 2003 7:09 pm
by joegib
There's a DIL32 --> PLCC32 PCB fret here:

http:/ / se-ed. net / mpu51/eprom/pdf/

I had to make an adapter when I had a bad flash on a PLCC32 BIOS motherboard and only had DIL32 boards to hotflash with. The PCB fret linked above is a little large so you can use a stack of DIL32 sockets to raise it above nearby obstructions.

I also had a bad flash on a Samsung SD-612B DVD drive, opened it up and flashed its PLCC32 firmware chip on the mobo I use for hotflashing using the PLCC adapter. So, it's worth considering a spare mobo + PLCC adapter as an emergency EEPROM programmer. I use an old Abit BX-6 which I got from a bargain bin for £5 for hotflashing -- it loses its CMOS settings constantly but it's good enough for hotflashing.

If you want something more ambitious you might have a look at: ... mshop.html

-- and the related site here: ... eprom.html