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Saasbaum

Asus laptop BIOS for flashing with a flash programmer

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Posted · Original PosterOP

Hi everyone,

 

I've got an Asus A53SK laptop (it's about 8 years old I think) and it recently stopped working - it didn't event get to the BIOS. After some troubleshooting I came to the conclusion that either
a) the BIOS chip is broken or

b) the BIOS is corrupted or

c) something else is wrong with the mainboard.

Since I'm no board repair specialist, I decided to look after the BIOS chip (which is a MX25L3206E btw).

I connected a Raspberry Pi to the chip via a SOIC8 clamp. The chip got recognized by the flashrom software. I read the data on the chip multiple times and compared their md5sums to confirm that I had a proper connection.

Since the md5sums did match, I'm guessing that the chip itself is still working - right?

 

So anyway, I wanted to flash a new BIOS to it. The problem is just that I dont have a proper BIOS file. On the Asus website, you can only download two different BIOS files called "K53SKAS.205" and "K53SKAS.204".

These files can only be flashed through a working BIOS or with their "winflash" software.

 

So my question is: Is there any way for me to get a BIOS file that I can flash to the chip directly with a flash programmer (like the RPi that I've got)?

 

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I dont see why not....

@Beerzerker is very famiar with flashing bioses with a programmer. I'd like him to advice you instead of myself though.


 

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9 hours ago, Saasbaum said:

Hi everyone,

 

I've got an Asus A53SK laptop (it's about 8 years old I think) and it recently stopped working - it didn't event get to the BIOS. After some troubleshooting I came to the conclusion that either
a) the BIOS chip is broken or

b) the BIOS is corrupted or

c) something else is wrong with the mainboard.

Since I'm no board repair specialist, I decided to look after the BIOS chip (which is a MX25L3206E btw).

I connected a Raspberry Pi to the chip via a SOIC8 clamp. The chip got recognized by the flashrom software. I read the data on the chip multiple times and compared their md5sums to confirm that I had a proper connection.

Since the md5sums did match, I'm guessing that the chip itself is still working - right?

 

So anyway, I wanted to flash a new BIOS to it. The problem is just that I dont have a proper BIOS file. On the Asus website, you can only download two different BIOS files called "K53SKAS.205" and "K53SKAS.204".

These files can only be flashed through a working BIOS or with their "winflash" software.

 

So my question is: Is there any way for me to get a BIOS file that I can flash to the chip directly with a flash programmer (like the RPi that I've got)?

 

Yes, the chip should be fine and the BIOS file within should be good too. 


At least there seems to be no need to reflash it to make the lappy work - However what shape is the battery itself in?
A bad battery can make one do absolutely jack since it won't get power/enough power to actually work.

 

Typically power from an external source has to pass through the battery's connections for anything else to get power, that's why I'm suggesting to check the battery and it's connections first here.

 

I'd look into that first and once you get the power issues (If any fixed) then worry about the BIOS. Don't have to be a specialist to fix any battery connection/battery problems, it's like anything else that uses one.

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Posted · Original PosterOP
7 hours ago, Beerzerker said:

Yes, the chip should be fine and the BIOS file within should be good too. 


At least there seems to be no need to reflash it to make the lappy work - However what shape is the battery itself in?
A bad battery can make one do absolutely jack since it won't get power/enough power to actually work.

 

Typically power from an external source has to pass through the battery's connections for anything else to get power, that's why I'm suggesting to check the battery and it's connections first here.

 

I'd look into that first and once you get the power issues (If any fixed) then worry about the BIOS. Don't have to be a specialist to fix any battery connection/battery problems, it's like anything else that uses one.

The battery on this laptop is removable from the outside (without disassembling the rest of the laptop) and the laptop has worked perfectly fine without the battery and just external power in the past. Also, when I power on the laptop, the power button and some other LEDs light up (doesn't matter if just the battery, just external power or both) - so that's still working fine, I guess. Or is there something else I need to check?

 

Since we're now doing more general troubleshooting, I guess imma start from the ground up with the problem I have.

The laptop was running normally before. But when I turned it on a couple of days ago, all that happened was the fan turning on, some LEDs lighting up and a blinking white cursor immediately appearing in the top left of the otherwise completely black screen - before it got to windows or even the BIOS. I opened the laptop to look at the mainboard but couldn't find anything that looked bad. While I was at it, I also repasted the GPU and CPU. Then I put isopropyl alcohol on the entire board and turned it on, because the alcohol should evaporate quickly if there was a short anywhere - nothing unexpected happened though. After that, everything was still as before.

Then I connected to the BIOS chip, read the BIOS off of the chip and saved it on the RPi. I downloaded the BIOS from the Asus website and wanted to flash it. I got an error because the file was not the same size as the chip. I looked around in the internet but couldn't find anything useful. Thinking I could just flash the old BIOS back to the laptop if anything goes wrong, I decided to just create an empty file the size of the chip and put the downloaded BIOS at the beginning of it and then flash that file. Turns out that thats not the way to do it - when I turned the laptop on, it was again just some LEDs lighting up, but this time the fan and the screen stayed off. So I flashed the old BIOS back, but nothing changed... still just the LEDs lighting up, no fan spin or image on the screen. So if the BIOS didn't have a problem before, it might now have one...

 

Any help would be appreciated, though I would definitely understand if you dont want to anymore 😅

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Oooooh.... It's possible the chip got borked somehow. 
When you flash it, what does the flashing util say during the flashing progress?

 

It should give an indication of how it's doing as it goes.

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Posted · Original PosterOP
12 minutes ago, Beerzerker said:

Oooooh.... It's possible the chip got borked somehow. 
When you flash it, what does the flashing util say during the flashing progress?

 

It should give an indication of how it's doing as it goes.

When I flash something onto the chip, flashrom only says

1. it recognized the chip

2. it is reading the data on the chip (to confirm that the data you want to flash is different, I think)

3. that it writes the data onto the chip and erases the old data

4. it validates that the flash was successful by reading the data off of the chip and comparing it against the file you just flashed

5. done

 

I think that there is also a "verbose" option which gives more info for debugging, I will do that now and then post the result.

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Posted · Original PosterOP
1 hour ago, Saasbaum said:

When I flash something onto the chip, flashrom only says

1. it recognized the chip

2. it is reading the data on the chip (to confirm that the data you want to flash is different, I think)

3. that it writes the data onto the chip and erases the old data

4. it validates that the flash was successful by reading the data off of the chip and comparing it against the file you just flashed

5. done

 

I think that there is also a "verbose" option which gives more info for debugging, I will do that now and then post the result.

Ok, I made the logs now. You can enter different levels of extra detail, so I did the lowest level (V) and the highest level (VVV). Both times, I first erased the data that was on the chip and then flashed the BIOS which was originally on the laptop.

flashrom-log-V.txt flashrom-log-VVV.txt

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I too saw what you are seeing in the logs.

 

You say the BIOS file from Asus is too large for your lappy's BIOS chip, that doesn't sound right to me.


I'd first get into some details about what you have and do the same at the Asus site. I'd be willing to bet you'll find something if you dig deep and long enough.

May even want to shoot Asus support a message and just ask about it to see if the difference in BIOS size with the model you have is a known issue or if they could shed some light on that for you.

 

Be sure to know how large the BIOS file is vs how large the util says your BIOS chip is itself and so on.

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Posted · Original PosterOP
5 hours ago, Beerzerker said:

I too saw what you are seeing in the logs.

 

You say the BIOS file from Asus is too large for your lappy's BIOS chip, that doesn't sound right to me.


I'd first get into some details about what you have and do the same at the Asus site. I'd be willing to bet you'll find something if you dig deep and long enough.

May even want to shoot Asus support a message and just ask about it to see if the difference in BIOS size with the model you have is a known issue or if they could shed some light on that for you.

 

Be sure to know how large the BIOS file is vs how large the util says your BIOS chip is itself and so on.

The problem with their BIOS file is not that it is too large, but it is too small. The chip is 4 MB big and the file only around 1 MB or so. Anyway, I will see what I can find. I also found a website selling the BIOS chip I need, even with the BIOS installed on it already, so if I don't find anything, I might buy it there. Thanks a lot for your help!

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Posted · Original PosterOP

Ok, I couldnt find the BIOS file anywhere, so I just bought a pre-flashed BIOS chip for my laptop. It didnt fix it so there must be some other damage to the board. I doubt that I will find that fault, I just wanted to tell you how it went.

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