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Thread: [Guide] EEPROM Programming

  1. #1
    I am Xtreme Ket's Avatar
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    Post [Guide] EEPROM Programming

    Introduction

    We all get those times where a BIOS \ UEFI update fails, while most people may just opt to buy a new EEPROM chip this short guide is for those among us who are more knowledgeable and choose to reprogram the chip ourselves. The latter has its advantages and disadvantages just like the former but the only real "disadvantage" is that you learn something new while the advantages mean never again will you need to spend out on a new EEPROM, you can just reprogram it yourself making the investment in a ROM programmer both convenient as you won't have to go days without a working system and should such a problem arise again you'll save some cash.


    The Basics

    There are many different EEPROM programmers out there, Willem make extremely good hardware programmers but I haven't seen any updated software for their programmers since about 2008. If you can find updated compatible programmer software for a Willem 5.0C or 5.5 based PCB programmer, you will be unstoppable in the face of a BIOS \ UEFI update that went wrong or in the face of any other such EEPROM challenge. Even though my preferred programmer of all time is a Willem 5.0C the lack of updated software and drivers for it make it a somewhat unreliable choice now - unless you can decompile, modify, then recompile software and drivers for it in which case I'd still consider it the best programmer out there.

    A much simpler alternative however is to buy a cheap and cheerful CH341A EEPROM programmer. It won't let you do anything outside of erase, reprogram or copy your EEPROM chip but that's probably all you want it to do anyway.

    For reviving borked mainboard EEPROM chips my programmer of choice is a EZP2010 V3, its USB operated, can be found with adapters for different kinds of ROM chips, and software for it is certainly easier to find compared to many other programmers. The EZP2010 even has Windows 8 / 8.1 drivers available for it so there's no messing around required to get the programmer working on Windows 10. A word of warning though, many ROM programmers, particularly cheap ones, do not come with the drivers or software to use them. Thankfully though the EZP2010 and CH341A do typically come with the software and drivers you need but may be outdated so it is very much worth asking where you buy from if they have a link to the drivers and software the programmer needs - if not, ask other suppliers selling the programmer you want or find another programmer.


    Most Common ROM Chips

    So, lets have a quick look at the 2 most commonly used EEPROMs;



    Above is a EEPROM SOIC variant, in a nutshell they are a soldered ROM chip most commonly used on laptops and graphics cards. If you screw one of these up you will most likely have to desolder it from the board, overall my advice would be to make absolutely sure you do everything in your power to make sure the update goes smoothly when it involves one of these. The only saving grace should a flash on one of these go wrong is if there is a backup you can just flip a switch, then it’s just a case of flipping back to the "bad" chip and flashing it again.



    This is a EEPROM in a DIP case, you will likely recognise it as that little doodad on your mainboard next to a "CMOS Clear" jumper or button. These EEPROMs are generally easy to recover, just gently wiggle it out of its socket. Sometimes these things can be really tight in the socket so do NOT force it, be gentle as if you aren't you may end up breaking one of the legs.


    Time To Reprogram

    Ok, so now you know the most common types of ROMs it's time to walk you through the absolute simplest way possible to get your system back up and running. This process will assume you have a EZP2010 but the process for a CH341A programmer isn't much different.

    1. With the DIP ROM removed place it in the ZIF socket of the programmer and flip the lever to hold it in place.
    2. If you have bought a CH341A or EZP2010 programmer now just connect it to the USB port.
    3. Open the software for your programmer, again if you have a CH341A or EZP2010 there should be a "Detect" button in the software, click it and it will automatically select the right ROM chip from the programmers database.
    4. Now click "Erase", as you would expect, this erases the "bad" data from the ROM chip.
    5. Now click "Open" > Select the BIOS \ UEFI you want to program > Click "OK". I'd recommend flashing the last BIOS \ UEFI version that worked with your system.
    6. All you have to do now is click the "Write" button and wait for the programmer.
    7. With the write process complete click "Verify", this is just to ensure there's no obvious problems.
    8. That's it, your EEPROM should now be good to go again.

    That wasn't so scary was it? There are some things you need to be aware of so be sure to read the notes below.

    ? In some cases mainboard manufacturers use their own kind of file extensions, you will need to change the BIOS \ UEFI file extension to .rom or .bin in such cases.
    ? If the "Verify" step fails it may be necessary for you to do the below step, the ROM chip itself may be damaged, or it may simply just be a false positive.
    ? It may be necessary to restore the MAC code, this is easily done with the "full fat" (read: not stripped down version from the manufacturer of your mainboard) update utility via a command line switch from DOS.

    The MAC code you will be able to find on a sticker somewhere on your mainboard. Alternatively the manufacturer of your mainboard should be able to provide you with a simple to use DOS based utility to fix any MAC problems.

    Lastly, in addition to making sure the programmer you buy comes with software and drivers also make sure you aren't going to have problems updating the programmer software in the future as new EEPROMs are released on a pretty regular basis. This likely means you will have to trawl Chinese websites looking for a regularly updated source, because of how much of a pain this can be I've done some of the legwork for you all, below are links of the latest software and drivers I could find for both the EZP2010 and CH341A programmers. As this software becomes outdated it would naturally be nice for anyone that finds newer software and drivers to post a link where people can get it from, or at least drop me a email with the newer software and drivers as a attachment where I will upload it somewhere it will FOREVER be available barring anything stupid like the FBI takedown of Megaupload but I don't think anything like that will be a problem again.


    Downloads

    EZP2010 Programmer Software, CH341A Programmer Software
    Last edited by Ket; 07-18-2017 at 09:48 AM.

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  2. #2
    I am Xtreme Ket's Avatar
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    Hey cool, I got all stickied up for this

    "Prowler"
    Asrock Z77 Extreme6 | i5 3570k @ 4.5GHz 1.18v | 2x4GB PC12800 Ripjaws @ 1866MHz 10-10-10-15 1T 1.55v | Gigabyte GTX980, custom cooler @ 1.5GHz / 7.6GHz | Xonar DX 7.1 | 2TB Barracuda | 2x Sony Optiarc | Corsair 850w HX

    Cooling:

    3x Coolermaster Sickleflow 120mm 70CFM fans | Modified CoolIT ECO sealed loop CPU cooler | Custom made "The Judge" VGA VRM heatsink

    Asrock Z77 thread! | Asrock Z77 Extreme6 Review | Asrock P67 Extreme4 Review | Asrock P67 Extreme4/6 Pro3 thread | Asrock Z68 Extreme4 thread | Asrock Z68 Extreme4 Review | Asrock Z68 Gen3 Thread | 8GB G-Skill review | TK 2.ZERO homepage | P5Q series mBIOS thread

    (\_/) This is Bunny.
    (+.+) Bunny is dead.
    (^ ^) Copy and paste Bunny into your sig to create an army of BUNNY ZOMBIE MINIONS!!!

  3. #3
    I am Xtreme Ket's Avatar
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    Fixed images.

    "Prowler"
    Asrock Z77 Extreme6 | i5 3570k @ 4.5GHz 1.18v | 2x4GB PC12800 Ripjaws @ 1866MHz 10-10-10-15 1T 1.55v | Gigabyte GTX980, custom cooler @ 1.5GHz / 7.6GHz | Xonar DX 7.1 | 2TB Barracuda | 2x Sony Optiarc | Corsair 850w HX

    Cooling:

    3x Coolermaster Sickleflow 120mm 70CFM fans | Modified CoolIT ECO sealed loop CPU cooler | Custom made "The Judge" VGA VRM heatsink

    Asrock Z77 thread! | Asrock Z77 Extreme6 Review | Asrock P67 Extreme4 Review | Asrock P67 Extreme4/6 Pro3 thread | Asrock Z68 Extreme4 thread | Asrock Z68 Extreme4 Review | Asrock Z68 Gen3 Thread | 8GB G-Skill review | TK 2.ZERO homepage | P5Q series mBIOS thread

    (\_/) This is Bunny.
    (+.+) Bunny is dead.
    (^ ^) Copy and paste Bunny into your sig to create an army of BUNNY ZOMBIE MINIONS!!!

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