Flashed SP97-V BIOS - Now won't boot

Discussion in 'Asus' started by mdp, Aug 20, 2006.

  1. mdp

    mdp Guest

    I bought an Asus SP97-V motherboard that came with its BIOS dated 10/3/97.
    I downloaded the latest BIOS from Asus' site, 0109.005 which is dated
    03/18/99 and used Asus' utility, Aflash.exe, to flash the BIOS. Aflash gave
    me two choices;

    1) Save current BIOS
    2) Flash BIOS without Including Boot Block and ESCD

    First I saved the old BIOS (selected 1) and wondered why it wouldn't allow
    me to update the Boot Block and ESCD. I decided to go for it and selected
    2. Now it won't boot. Lucky me. Am I hosed and have to buy another chip
    or is there a way to recover? Any help will be greatly appreciated.
     
    mdp, Aug 20, 2006
    #1
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  2. mdp

    Paul Guest

    If you have a floppy drive in the machine, insert the floppy
    and turn on the machine. If there are attempts to boot from
    the floppy, then the boot block may still be intact. If
    there is no attempt, the boot block is probably erased.

    I'm not even sure a boot block recovery is possible, unless
    the flashing program is capable of operating in a
    non-interactive mode. It really depends on whether the
    boot block is able to provide video support. On more modern
    machines, there is no video support for AGP in the boot block,
    so people end up trying to use an autoexec.bat file on their
    DOS boot floppy, to call the flasher program and flash the
    computer blindly. I don't think I've even run into a user
    who managed to make this kind of recovery work.

    Your best bet is to contact badflash.com and arrange to
    have your chip flashed by them. In some countries Asus
    also offers BIOS chip services, but I don't think they
    are any cheaper than badflash.com. Options may include
    sending the original chip, for a slight discount, or
    having then send a brand new chip which is flashed to
    your specifications. The person doing the flashing
    needs to know what BIOS file you want flashed, in order
    to do the job.

    There is also a vanishingly small possibility that a computer
    store in your town owns an EEPROM programmer. A good one
    that can flash everything (universal) costs a fortune, and
    cheap ones that only handle specific types means they cannot
    handle every request that comes into the store. I don't know
    if I'd waste my time on the phone, trying to find someone
    to do that in town.

    Hot-flashing is another alternative, but then you need a similar
    vintage motherboard, and the corrupted BIOS chip is
    hot-inserted into the BIOS chip socket of a working machine.
    This is easier to do with the old DIP flash chips, since you
    can bend the leads and shape them in preparation for easy
    insertion. The more modern flash chips fly all over the place
    when you handle them, so there is more risk of the chip making
    an inappropriate contact with the hot, powered socket.

    Paul
     
    Paul, Aug 20, 2006
    #2
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  3. Friedrich Wuelfing, Aug 20, 2006
    #3
  4. Besides using Aflash instead of Pflash, as pointed out by Friedrich, where exactly
    did you get that Bios 0109.005 from?

    At http://support.asus.com/download/download.aspx?SLanguage=en-us ,
    on the right side, picking motherboard, socket 7, SP97-V only shows
    "Description SP97-V BIOS 0108"

    The FTP site, ftp://ftp.asus.com.tw/pub/ASUS/mb/sock7/sis5598/sp97-v/ also
    shows 108 as the newest.

    The only 109 I can see is for a sp97*X*v
    ftp://ftp.asus.com.tw/pub/ASUS/mb/sock7/sis5598/sp97-xv/
    which I presume is not the same board.

    Are you telling us you used the wrong flasher, AND the wrong Bios????
     
    MasterBlaster, Aug 20, 2006
    #4
  5. Friedrich Wuelfing, Aug 20, 2006
    #5
  6. mdp

    mdp Guest

    Thanks to everyone that responded. The BIOS I flashed I obtained from Asus'
    site: 0109v.005. Got it here

    http://support.asus.com/download/download_item.aspx?model=SP97-V&type=Map&SLanguage=en-us

    I also downloaded the latest non-beta, S97V0108.AWD, from the above site and
    older versions from here:

    ftp://ftp.asus.com.tw/pub/ASUS/mb/sock7/sis5598/sp97-v/

    Lastly, I also am aware of and have download the one from
    http://web.inter.nl.net/hcc/J.Steunebrink/k6plus.htm, 0109V_J2.BIN, as I am
    planning to run a K6-III 400 and perhaps a K6-3+ and also want larger HD
    support.

    I ordered another SP97-V motherboard to perform a hot flash (for this
    motherboard it turns out to be cheaper than buying another programmed chip).
    I've successfully done this before and understand it is not for the faint of
    heart or someone without a steady hand.

    I will use pflash this time (didn't do my homework thoroughly enough) but
    would like to ask about another method. How 'similar' does the MB have to
    be to properly flash the chip? For example, does it have to be an Asus
    SP97-V, a 'similar' Asus, or will another motherboard using a 128B Award
    BIOS get me there? I have other MBs laying around and could experiment.
    Since my chip is already corrupted, I'm not worried about corrupting it
    further however are there other downsides such as permanent damage? Thanks.
     
    mdp, Aug 20, 2006
    #6
  7. mdp

    mdp Guest

    No luck with floppy drive activity. Interestingly enough, the keyboard
    flashes but that's all the activity there is.
     
    mdp, Aug 20, 2006
    #7
  8. I ordered another SP97-V motherboard to perform a hot flash (for this
    Very good! :eek:)
    I've also done this before, even with plcc.
    I think as long as you are sure that the eeprom socket really has
    the same operating and programming voltages etc. it should work
    when you flash including the bootblock.
    Take care, the proms types often have different voltage specifications.
    If the eeprom in the other board is of the same type and manufacturer
    it should be possible.
     
    Friedrich Wuelfing, Aug 20, 2006
    #8
  9. mdp

    Paul Guest

    Using the same board would be the lowest risk. The BIOS flashing tools
    rely on a "BIOS hook". That is a subroutine in the current flash
    image (shadowed to RAM one would hope), that when called, can flash
    parts of the BIOS chip. Using an AMI flasher on an Award board, or
    vice versa probably would not work. You would think as well,
    that if there was a large age difference between the boards,
    that the support device types or flashing algorithm might be
    different.

    If the flashing tool was known to do the flash algorithm itself,
    rather than look for and call the BIOS hook of the current BIOS,
    then matching the device socket type would be all that is necessary.
    So the BIOS hook issue is the reason I would shop for the same board.

    Using a hex editor and a copy of pflash.exe from the Asus site,
    I can see this error message inside the executable:

    ERROR! Can't Find System BIOS' Hook

    HTH,
    Paul
     
    Paul, Aug 21, 2006
    #9
  10. mdp

    mdp Guest

    Thanks. I may be onto something. I no longer have the bootblock from the
    SP97-V. If I did, I think I could hotflash it into the BIOS chip using
    Uniflash

    (available here)
    http://www.uniflash.org/download.htm

    and another motherboard. I have SP97-V BIOS files but I read they normally
    don't contain the bootblock code since the MB doesn't change with BIOS revs.
    The error messages about bootblocks not matching are leading me to believe
    the bootblock information programmed into the chip using Uniflash are taken
    from the motherboard I'm using to flash, not the SP97-V BIOS ROM file.

    To test this theory, if someone has an Asus SP97-V and you have time to
    help, please download Uniflash v1.40, load it onto a DOS bootable floppy,
    run it and go to the advanced menu and save the bootblock. It uses the
    default filename Backup.boo. You can email me backup.boo by 'despamming' my
    email address. I'm very curious if this will work.
     
    mdp, Aug 21, 2006
    #10
  11. mdp

    Paul Guest

    No, every BIOS image you download from Asus is complete. In your
    case the downloaded file, once you unzip it, is 128KB. It is
    the same size as the physical flash chip. I believe if you had
    an EEPROM programmer machine, you could just take the file as it
    stands, and blast it into the chip verbatim.

    When the flashing program offers options like DMI/ESCD, boot block,
    or main code, it is offering to only use portions of the file. I
    tried using a search engine, to see if I could find any articles on
    the layout used inside the chips, but didn't find anything useful.
    So I have to rely on what I can see with my trusty hex editor.
    In the SP97-V BIOS file, I see 0x00000-0x1B000 is the main code,
    at 0x1B000 is the decompression code (used to decompress the main
    code modules), the boot block is at 0x1E000, and the DMI/ESCD is
    somewhere between 0x1B000 and 0x1FFFF (I didn't bother trying to
    figure out where it is). So the BIOS file is complete, and the
    flashing tools offer options that limit how much of the file gets
    used.

    The purpose of preserving the boot block (i.e. not flashing from
    0x1E000 to 0x1FFFF), is so if the flash fails, you could try a
    boot block recovery. It assumes that either the video screen will
    be rendered, in which case it would be possible to use an
    interactive flashing tool. Or it assumes the video screen cannot
    be seen (as ISA video card support was what was traditionally
    provided), and in that case an autoexec.bat method would be
    required. Not all flash tools have good command line support,
    for use in an autoexec.bat. And that is one reason the boot
    block method is not used more often.

    If you are hot flashing, you will be burning the _entire_ file.
    Turn on all the options, as when the blank EEPROM goes in there,
    you have nothing to lose. No need for .boo files or the like.
    And if it says the boot block doesn't match, the likely reason
    is the boot block in your duff chip is erased and will be
    all ones (0xFF in each location).

    HTH,
    Paul
     
    Paul, Aug 21, 2006
    #11
  12. For some reason Uniflash couldn't detect what kind of flash ROM was on the
    SP97-V rev 1.02 in my "spare boards" box, but Aflash and 2 versions of Pflash did.
    Mine has an Atmel AT29C010A, which *is* in Uniflash's list of supported chips,
    so who knows.

    I used "uniflash -force 1fd5" to get in, as the advanced menu wasn't available in
    "unknown chip" mode. I just sent backup.boo and backup.bin (from Hotmail),
    so who knows if they'll even get there.
     
    MasterBlaster, Aug 21, 2006
    #12
  13. mdp

    mdp Guest

    This is great info. I've always wanted to learn more about the BIOS. Using
    a MB instead of buying an EEPROM programmer would certainly be useful. I'll
    keep trying and let you know how far I get. To make sure I succeed, I have
    two chips and an extra MB on the way.
     
    mdp, Aug 21, 2006
    #13
  14. mdp

    mdp Guest

    Got them. Thanks very much. From Paul's reply, the entire BIOS should have
    the bootblock but perhaps Uniflash is not getting it in there or in the
    right place. In my MB, Uniflash correctly identifies my EEPROM. The force
    command may do the trick now that I know where to put things. I'll see if
    these files work and report back.
     
    mdp, Aug 21, 2006
    #14
  15. mdp

    mdp Guest

    Well Paul was right. I managed to hotflash the BIOS chip using a PCChips
    M767V motherboard and Uniflash, Flash ROM with Bootblock. Everything loaded
    and it's up and running now. I used the full ROM image MasterBlaster sent.
    Version 1.06. BTW, just to show how universal this was, the M767V uses an
    AMI 2Mb BIOS (256KB) and the Asus SP97-V is an Award 1Mb BIOS (128KB).
    Uniflash handled it fine. I also burned a couple PCChips/Amptron
    M537/PM8600a ROM BIOSes, Award 1Mb also. Now I have three boards up and
    running. Thanks to everyone.
     
    mdp, Aug 22, 2006
    #15
  16. mdp

    Paul Guest

    I guess that means Uniflash isn't looking for the "BIOS hook" :)
    Good work. Now you can start your own local business hotflashing
    BIOS chips.

    Paul
     
    Paul, Aug 22, 2006
    #16
  17. mdp

    mdp Guest

    The binary reader I use is called Tiny Hexer, available free here:

    http://www.mirkes.de/en/freeware/tinyhex.php

    It has a 'compare' feature which was very useful. I pflashed the J2 file
    recommended by Friedrich at

    http://web.inter.nl.net/hcc/J.Steunebrink/k6plus.htm

    for the features "Apart from K6plus support, this "patch J.2" BIOS has a fix
    for the 32GB harddisk limit and supports IDE drives upto 128GB!"

    Given the M767V MB cost me $5 (came with an old case), I'd say I have a
    pretty cheap ROM flasher. All in all, little out of my pocket but a fair
    amount of time, NRE well spent I'd say.
     
    mdp, Aug 22, 2006
    #17
  18. mdp

    KenP Guest

    Somebody sells a board that goes in your original chip carrier. It
    holds two bios chips and can be switched between. looks like a great
    way to go if you have clients or do pc work.

    can't remember the site though. think Tom's mentioned it about the time
    the A7N8 were just out.
     
    KenP, Aug 24, 2006
    #18
  19. mdp

    mdp Guest

    You mean BIOS Savior?

    http://www.ioss.com.tw/web/English/RD1BIOSSavior.html

    Haven't tried it but I may now.
     
    mdp, Aug 24, 2006
    #19
  20. mdp

    KenP Guest

    That looks like it.
     
    KenP, Aug 25, 2006
    #20
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