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dead bios

Discussion in 'Electronic Components' started by Matthijs Blaas, Oct 4, 2003.

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  1. hi all,

    I tried to flash my (award) bios using an award flash program with the
    appropiate bios image file, but it crashed(???) while writing the image, and
    now the system won't boot anymore. I can't use the bootblock wich the bios
    offers cause it requires an isa video card and the board doesn't have any
    isa slots. Can I use an eprom programmer to reprogram the bios? (it's an
    plcc type bios)
    And what type of eprom programmer do I need for that?

  2. mike

    mike Guest

    Yes, you can...but

    If the BIOS is not socketed, you have to figure out how to get it off
    and back on without breaking it.
    Unless you have a binary form of the BIOS contents, you have nothing to
    give to the EPROM programmer. My experience has been that the file you
    got from the vendor is NOT straight binary ROM contents. Even if it
    were, you'd probably have to convert it to Intel-hex or some such to
    feed the programmer.
    But I'd be delighted to be wrong. Comment, anybody??
    almost any, just make sure the number on the chip is in the
    compatibility list.

    If you have access to an ISA motherboard with a hardware jumper to
    prevent programming the bios, you can sometimes learn which keys to push
    and do it blind on your non-isa system.
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  3. Dave Platt

    Dave Platt Guest

    Last year I frotzed the flash BIOS in an Epox KHA8+ motherboard, by
    attempting to upgrade using a DOS boot floppy which wasn't
    sufficiently bare-bones (the config.sys file had loaded a memory
    manager... a definite no-no). I popped out the (socketed) flash BIOS
    chip, took the Epox AWARD BIOS update file (binary) in to work, and
    used a standard EEPROM/flash programmer our engineering guys keep
    around. Popped it back in, powered up, and the machine went through
    POST and complained about a CMOS checksum error (not unexpected when
    first POSTing a new BIOS version). Reset the CMOS parameters to the
    BIOS defaults, re-customized a few, saved the changes, and the system
    booted just fine.

    So, yeah, it's sometimes possible. You do need to have a binary
    version of the BIOS file (which is what you get in at least some
    cases, but perhaps not others) and a programmer which understands the
    programming protocols for the specific EEPROM or flash chip used on
    your motherboard.
  4. Chaos Master

    Chaos Master Guest

    Dave Platt engraved with a +2 athame:

    And with some mobos you can update the bios in a "blind" way:

    From a working PC, create a boot disk with:

    - an EMPTY config.sys
    - an 1-line autoexec.bat with the command for the BIOS updater
    - the updater and the ROM file itself.

    Put the disk in the A: drive, then turn on the BIOS-less computer and wait until
    there's no activity of floppy drive.

    I've done this 2 or 3 times. It worked.
  5. Guest

    Some bios ram chips used on motherboards these days are effectively
    split in two, one section used for use as current bios, the other as a
    back-up copy.
    The back-up copy being in a "write protected" area of the memory
    This was introduced to attempt to combat bios virus attacks. With a
    prom programmer, even a home built one, a little patience and the
    correct pin-out etc from the device datasheet you should be able to
    restore the original contents. Or find out from the board manufacturer
    how to restore the bios from the back-up area. The alternative, which
    I don't recommend unless as a last resort, is to obtain an identical
    or nearest motherboard model bios chip, fit that to your board, then
    boot the machine into the bios set-up. Swap the chips back over to
    your own one and set-up the bios the way you would like it then save
    the contents and exit the bios set-up. I have used this method a few
    times for friends etc and had 100% success with it, however, I must
    stress it's risky to the chips and motherboard.

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