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Thread: How to fix "dead" dual BIOS motherboard if flashing failed

  1. #1
    tgun is offline Junior Member
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    Default BIOS flashing: A "How to fix dead dual BIOS motherboard if flashing failed".

    I just wanted to share my experience and suggestions for fixing MB that may appear to be dead due to BIOS flashing failure or after an incorrect BIOS was flashed. I hope this procedure will help other people who thought their MB was bricked. I'm pretty sure that similar procedure can be used for most dual BIOS motherboards.

    Assumptions:

    1. This is a dual BIOS MB (mine was Gigabyte EP45-UD3P v1.1).
    2. You have good eyes and steady hands (good soldering skills may help but aren't necessary).
    3. Your second (backup) BIOS is still correct (this is usually the case).
    4. You have miniature tweezers that can be used to connect two small pins (any other suitable tool will do).
    5. You agree not to hold me responsible for any damage and/or loss.


    My problem with EP45-UD3P occured after I flashed the F9 BIOS. The flashing process appeared to finish fine however it did stuck in the middle for a few seconds while writing one of the blocks (I wonder if that was the root cause of the problem). After reboot the system would never detect any RAM, no matter what I did. I tried everything suggested in these forums and elsewhere but nothing worked.

    The MB supposes to detect defective main BIOS and fall back to the previous version of the BIOS preserved in the second backup chip. However for some reason my MB would not do it.

    Microelectronics is one of my hobbies so finally I decided to look for the spec of the BIOS chip in order to try disabling the main BIOS chip temporarily so it would become "invisible" and allow the backup BIOS to be loaded.

    EP45-UD3P uses two identical MX25L8005 serial flash memory chips: one for each BIOS. Here is the datasheet.

    According to the datasheet it is possible to prohibit reading from and writing to the chip by connecting pins 4 (GND) and 7 (#HOLD). The trick I was going to play was to disable the main chip and re-enabling it as soon as the backup BIOS loaded.

    The chips are rather small and connecting wrong pins may damage the MB. I soldered a small button between pins 4 and 7 of the main BIOS chip so that I could connect and disconnect them easily. The distance between the pins is about 8 millimeters. If you have steady hands then you can use micro tweezers or similar tool instead.

    Here is the picture of the right lower corner of the EP45-UD3P that shows location of both BIOSes (M_BIOS is the main one and B_BIOS is the backup).



    Each BIOS chip has 8 pins. Pin 1 is marked with blue dot in the left lower corner of each chip. The pins are numbered in circle going counterclockwise. The red line shows connection between pins 4 (the rightmost at the bottom) and 7 (the second left at the top) of the main BIOS chip.

    Once the button has been soldered the procedure is very simple:

    1. Hold the button (connect pins 4 and 7 of the main BIOS) and power up the system.
    2. Wait few seconds until the old BIOS shows up in any way (memory test, welcome screen,...).
    3. Release the button immediately (disconnect pins 4 and 7).
    4. The backup BIOS shall detect that the main BIOS does not match the backup and will re-flash the main BIOS with the backup BIOS automatically.
    5. If (4) does not happen you can still try to flash the old proven version of the BIOS to main chip manually by using QFlash.
    6. The system will be rebooted with the main BIOS.

    IMPORTANT:
    Always disconnect power before soldering, use grounding and protect you system from static electricity.
    Last edited by tgun; 08-26-2009 at 01:31 PM.

  2. #2
    Lsdmeasap's Avatar
    Lsdmeasap is offline GIGABYTE Guru
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    Default Re: How to fix "dead" dual BIOS motherboard if flashing failed

    You may also just manually short pins 5-6 on the MAIN BIOS, this way no solder is needed

    Info posted here, I have sent this to many users and it has saved their boards. Also tested personally a few times.

    XtremeSystems Forums - View Single Post - Official Gigabyte X48T-DQ6 Info Thread - UnBricked It

    Direct Pic from PDF I made and use to give to others >>



    PDF in case anyone needs sometime. This is for the 8Mbit BIOS Dual chip boards ONLY, if you only have one chip you CANNOT use these methods and will need to try other fixes, and if you have no luck you will have to RMA. This WILL NOT Work for boards with a Single BIOS chip

    BIOS CHIP mx25l8005.pdf

    I am posting this more for you personally than anything, as I often only send info such as this via PM as a last resort because there is many ways to fix things before taking anything this far. And most users do not want to try those things first, or have not fully/properly tried. So I always tend to PM this kind of info so people don't jump the gun and make things worse.

    Anyhow, if you posted your guide anywhere else you may also want to add this info as well. Thanks for your guide, I am sure people will look it up down the road, those that use search anyway :)

  3. #3
    tgun is offline Junior Member
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    Default Re: How to fix "dead" dual BIOS motherboard if flashing failed

    Lsdmeasap,

    I assume that your method relies on SI being in low state thus overriding the SCLK, hmmm..., interesting idea. However setting #HOLD to low is more "accurate" ;-).

  4. #4
    Lsdmeasap's Avatar
    Lsdmeasap is offline GIGABYTE Guru
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    Default Re: How to fix "dead" dual BIOS motherboard if flashing failed

    I am not as electrically knowledgeable as you are, so I am not exactly sure about what you ask sorry... Maybe I just never read the PDF that much, just glanced into it a few times.

    All I know about this method is that when you short those pins when powering up the system it then tells the board that the MAIN BIOS is corrupt and then begins the copy over from backup procedure to recover the MAIN BIOS from the Backup BIOS.

    I do like your method too though so thanks for posting it!

    I will do some thinking about this and may add a link to this post in the Qflash guide recovery section.

    I just always liked to have users PM me for last resort methods, that way they always tried all other options first. But I guess maybe it should be added/linked anyway, just for those who may give up or never PM me about their options. Just hate to see users jump to methods such as this when often a clear CMOS or loading their driver CD only with no hard drives at bootup will correct things
    Last edited by Lsdmeasap; 08-26-2009 at 01:51 PM.

  5. #5
    ziddiri is offline Junior Member
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    Default Re: How to fix "dead" dual BIOS motherboard if flashing failed

    I've post this info also in another thread. But this info is relevant with this thread too. I've found this information did work on me. I've found this at "http://www.tomshardware.com/forum/260048-30-gigabyte-ep43-with-dual-bios-black-screen-bios-update". This isn't my solution, so don't ask me details:

    I don't know have somebody ever find this, but I've found a new and quick solution for loading backup bios :) I've tried a lot of solutions for loading backup bios over main bios, but none of them is a quick solution. Every solution was taken hours. But I've found a qucik way.
    I must mod bios with gpxe, so I'm updating bios regularly. Sometimes, modding bios with gpxe is failed, so my machine doesn't start because of dead bios. So everytime I must recover bios with backup bios. But it is interesting thing that gigabyte's dual bios algortihm can't detect sometimes that main bios is started or not. So, we should disable the main bios awhile for loading the backup bios. I tried a lot of things, connecting VSS and HOLD# pins(previous post), shortening 5-6 pins, floppy, usb, etc.. I've been success with 5-6 pins method two times. But this method takes one hour or more, and it is some tiring. So I decided to examine the diagram of the flash spi chip that @Phaeilo gives the link (http://www.sst.com/dotAsset/40504). After I examine it, I've realized that if I connect CE(Chip enable) and SCK(Clock), the main bios's CE cycle will be broken. If you look at the document you'll see that the chip starts working when the CE cycle goes to low from high state. If I connect to SCK with CE, then every cycle(beat) of the clock the CE's state change low to high then high to low, etc.. So backup bios can see that the main bios is not enable.


    I'm not responsible if your mb is dead, I don't give any guaranty. if you want to fix your dead bios which has a backup bios and if the backup bios is not loading, then you can try this method. In Brief, you should have steady hands, a piece of wire(maybe paper clip). Power off the machine. Connect CE and SCK pins(1 and 6 pins). Then turn on the machine, but you should remove the wire after a second. I don't know excatly when you should remove the wire, but wou shouldn't wait long than 2 second. After that you should hear a beep sound. And you should see that backup bios wirtes on the main bios. Wait until the process is finished. After that the machine will restart.


    My mb is Gigabyte GA-MA785GMT-UD2H(rev 1.0). A final notice is that don't touch VDD pin never(I was shocked :) ).


    Regards.

  6. #6
    osxfr33k is offline Junior Member
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    Default Re: How to fix "dead" dual BIOS motherboard if flashing failed

    This is a great guide and thank you for sharing it.

    My issue is somewhat different. I have a board that does post fine with some ACPI/DMI issues as reported by my OS Ubuntu but it still posts and boots but very slow.

    I had to update my Bios from FB to FD then to beta Bios FFB so I could extract my ACPI DSDT table from each BIos. Once I did that I went back to FD then tried to go back to FB and from that point on is where everything went wrong. I cannot flash any Bios nor re-flash the same bios anymore. Qflash starts the flashing procedure but the verification fails each time but not rendering the bios dead at the end.

    What tells me for sure something is wrong is I cannot save my User profiles F11 to cmos, only to USB flash. The profiles remain empty. I rename it and hit enter and it remains empty.

    Neither Qflash nor flashspi from a dos booted USB flash drive method works. It almost like something got locked permanently inside the CMOS/Bios chip or possible a bit got corrupted but not enough to render the board from either posting or Booting to my Linux Operating System.

    Is there some other pin(s) I can jump other than #4 and #7, to wipe the main bios? The backup bios is FB.

    I have also tired the award flasher AWD863, one of the last ones made but it did not seem to work either.

    My board is not bricked but permanently stuck on Bios FD and unable flash a new bios nor save user profiles. I can save changes in the Bios but cannot save to user profiles in the CMOS, and have the ACPI/DMI issue when the bootstrap I guess you would call it, is handed off to the OS. Linux still does boot but during the boot but complains about ACPI/DMI.

    It looks like it is going to have to go back to Gigabyte?

    Model

    GA-EP45-UD3P v1.6

    Thanks for reading and trying to help.
    Last edited by osxfr33k; 11-04-2010 at 01:03 PM.

  7. #7
    profJim's Avatar
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    Default Re: How to fix "dead" dual BIOS motherboard if flashing failed

    When using Qflash, have you set Keep DMI Data = Disabled? Enabled is the default value.
    Have you tried clearing your CMOS by placing a jumper block on the CLR_CMOS pins?
    You might need to leave the jumper block on the pins for 20 minutes or longer.

    Check out DSDT: Differentiated System Description Table and see if this helps with booting.
    Last edited by profJim; 11-04-2010 at 07:22 PM. Reason: spelling
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  8. #8
    Lsdmeasap's Avatar
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    Default Re: How to fix "dead" dual BIOS motherboard if flashing failed

    Did you try flashing from a FAT32 partition on a hard drive, try that next.

    Shorting Pins 4+7 will work fine and allow you to boot from the backup BIOS, why did you not want to do that? Don't solder, just short.

    Other than that, did you try several times shorting pins 5-6?

    So you currently have flashed a modified BIOS for Linux or what?

  9. #9
    osxfr33k is offline Junior Member
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    Default Re: How to fix "dead" dual BIOS motherboard if flashing failed

    Some confusion I suppose. I have not tried shorting pins 5 and 6. What does that do compared to shoring pins 4 and 7? Do I need to power the machine while shorting pins #5 and # 6?

    On Qflash menu there is no options for DMI?

    I used flashspi on a USB flash drive. I don't have windows running at all.

    I did not leave the jumper in for 20 minutes just a few minutes. I removed the battery and all the memory per gigabyte tech support.

    I did the the resets in the Bios. Defaults and Optimized settings per gigabyte tech support.

    I did initiate the the Bios backup pins #4 and #7 and it did say it recovered successfully on the monitor but the Bios is still FD even though it boot into the backup saying it was FB and recovered successfully.

    I flashed FD, FFb bios with Qflash initially successfully.

  10. #10
    Lsdmeasap's Avatar
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    Default Re: How to fix "dead" dual BIOS motherboard if flashing failed

    Pins 4+7 is a a bit different than the first post here, and much easier for users to do.

    Power must be on for both shorting methods, and you must be turning on the machine while doing so.

    Qflash menu does have Keep DMI Data option, should be in all versions of Qflash for your motherboard. Check again and you'll see it.

    I don't think you need to short anything really, I only suggested you try 4+7 to bypass the main BIOS, so you could flash while you were running from the backup BIOS.

    Running from the backup BIOS and recovering from it are two different things. I suggested running from the backup so you could manually flash the BIOS you want to from entering Qflash from within the BIOS.

    This is how you would do that.

    1. Short and hold pins 4+7
    2. Power up the board and keep holding 4+7 shorted
    3. The board will shut down, then repost (Keep holding 4+7 still)
    4. On second or third reboot the board will successfully post from the backup BIOS (Once it does, remove the short)
    5. Immediately hit the DEL key to Enter the BIOS as soon as you see the initial post screen.
    6. On the MAIN page of the BIOS press F8 to Enter Qlfash.
    7. Flash BIOS from Qflash, Disable Keep DMI Data.

    Reboot and apply optimized defaults. If recovery happens automatically (Sometimes will) let it go, if the backup BIOS is FB, that will be what is flashed into the MAIN BIOS during recovery.

    If FB is not recovered do it all again, but instead of hitting Del key to enter BIOS of first sight of the POST screen, hit END instead to enter Qflash, one of those methods will not auto recover and will allow you to manually flash via Qflash.

    You never said, are you trying to use modified BIOSes or what?

    If BIOS verification is failing are you sure your memory is stable? You may want to try flashing again, with a new BIOS download, saved in a new location (preferably a spare hard drive you have, formatted to FAT32)
    Last edited by Lsdmeasap; 01-29-2012 at 01:30 PM.

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