Thanks to you guys for writing this up. For those not familiar with this discussion, Flashing the ROM on Think Pads is well known, but the documentation was written when the easily available hardware was different.
Right now I am obsessing which things to buy to attempt another Flash.
In my previous attempt I used a black CH 341A which uses 5 volts or so on the Flash, which is predicted to burn the ROM. One can use a Green PC Board model which uses 3.3 Volts, but that needs the voltage to be stabilized… . . Well that is explained in the notes. Just I miss perceived what it said.
I now read a website where someone said they damaged a resistor on the edge of an Lenovo Thinkpad X230 board, which they finally replaced with a wire, and the computer worked.
Yes, i will post my results back. But it may be awhile. Right now I am obsessing which bits and pieces I should buy to attempt the Flash. (I presume the black CH 341A might be damaged in some hidden way, and so I should replace bits for Flashing. Not sure which ones I want. Using a PI looks more natural. Finding a blue PC base for the CH341A looks difficult. I can modify a black one. Everyone seems to use a SOIC clip. I broke two Pomonoa Clips, where the blue material that makes it up crumbled. Likely a counterfeit Pomona. The cheap clip that was supplied with the black CH341A was solid in feel. But does not clip on in the same way. Likely whatever I order comes on 'slow boat from China." Has anyone tried the hooks instead of the Clip?
I expect the coming recession may bring some prices of some things down. I purchased a "Microsoft Approved Refurbished Thinkpad T430"for $132.00 plus tax. They promised they replaced capacitors on Mother Board as needed. Things like that. Then I did something odd, I purchased a two year insurance for forty dollars. My thought being that whoever was selling these things would be more likely to send me the one out of the stack he thought was likely to hold up. So it was like nearly two hundred. I would not return a laptop I damaged in messing with the BIOS/EFI, but if I break it, the sting is not so bad.
My general sense is that it is a bad idea to pay for Extended Warranty insurance for Electronics.
The recession might make a PI kit purchase more comfortable.
Re the flashing, i have always used ch341a on x220, x230, t430, w530 repeatedly over many years and never had a single issue. The only time I ever had an issue with the ch341a voltage was trying to modify the rom on a AsrockJ4500 based board, so I bought a cheap voltage converter i think for like 5 EUR. it piggybacks into the rom clip on the ch341a, steps everything to 3.3v and then has its own rom clip on the top.
While i have never had an issue using 5v ch341a on the lenovo laptops, that does not mean others do not. I always just saw it as an acceptable risk as im comfortable using a heat gun to replace a one of the roms if they break. They just never broke when using ch341a at 5v for me yet. and i cant even count how many times ive flashed lenovos now. thousands probably?
@sven write-up is good.
Here is another one from tlaurion. Explains how to start from scratch to build heads. (Need to replace board with t430, not x230 as in write up but otherwise same).
I used this Tigard flasher, with a Pomonda soic clip. It works well out of the box and doesn’t require any modifications. The Pomona soic clips are more expensive but better quality than the cheap ones you get from China. I have used both.
There are two chips u49 and u99 that need flashing. The write up on skulls isn’t too bad for this part of the process. If you follow the skulls writeup and use a raspberry pi make sure you check your pinout, don’t just use the one they have. Pinouts change between raspberry pi versions. Also double check the flashrom pinout as per manufactures datasheet once you have identified which ones you have.
Unfortunately with the T430 you need to pull the whole system apart to get access to them. unlike the x230 they are easier to access. There is a good service manual that guides you through each step. My suggestion is to take photos along the way and to have a good method to sort and remember which screws went where.
@Sven I’ve read that you have two T430 each with the i7-3840qm.
In 1vyrain there’s the option to limit the TDP of the T430. Have you, or anyone else, tried something similar in Heads (like underclocking) to reduce the heat that’s coming from the CPU?
Definitely looking forward to your post!
Thinking about upgrading my T430 (fhd upgrade + i7 = ~$300), but I came to the conclusion that maybe a Lenovo P50 would be a better investment in terms of CPU and especially memory…Not to forget the incredibly fast NVMe drive slots! Most importantly it seems to work well with Qubes too.
But I’ll never give up my T430