Batteryless BIOS Upgrade for ThinkPad A30

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warnergt
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Batteryless BIOS Upgrade for ThinkPad A30

#1 Post by warnergt » Thu Jun 24, 2004 10:12 pm

I just got caught in a situation where I needed to
downgrade the BIOS in an IBM ThinkPad A30
that (incorrectly) appeared to have a battery
that was not charged. The standard IBM BIOS
utility will NOT let you modify the BIOS unless
it detects a fully charged battery. It is a safety
feature but it can be a major problem if your
computer cannot correctly check the battery
charge (what happens when you install embedded
controller BIOS version 1EHJ18WW(1.06) in a
ThinkPad A30).

The A30 actually has two BIOSes: a regular BIOS
and an embedded controller BIOS. I will describe
the update for both. There are some "batteryless
update" instructions floating around on the web.
You will find that they are unhelpful for an A30
which is different. I will describe my approach
which worked on a ThinkPad A30 in June of 2004.

Regular BIOS update/downgrade:
1) Make a BIOS update floppy disk.
IBM provides utilities which will create these. For example:
http://www-307.ibm.com/pc/support/site. ... MIGR-39861
2) Create a clean bootable disk with DOS 6.22 or lower.
Any DOS version above 6.22 automatically loads HIMEM.SYS
which is not compatible with the updater utility.
3) Remove all the files from the boot floppy EXCEPT:
IO.SYS
MSDOS.SYS
COMMAND.COM
(your IO and DOS files may have different names if you
use a different type of DOS).
4) Copy all the files (with the exceptions below) from the
BIOS update disk to the boot disk. Do NOT copy:
IBMBIO.COM
IBMDOS.COM
COMMAND.COM
5) Boot from your new boot disk.
6) Execute "QKFLASH.EXE" and it should update.

Embedded Controller BIOS update:
1) Make a BIOS update floppy disk.
IBM provides utilities which will create these. For example:
http://www-307.ibm.com/pc/support/site. ... MIGR-40847
2) Create a clean bootable disk with DOS 6.22 or lower.
Any DOS version above 6.22 automatically loads HIMEM.SYS
which is not compatible with the updater utility.
3) Remove all the files from the boot floppy EXCEPT:
IO.SYS
MSDOS.SYS
COMMAND.COM
(your IO and DOS files may have different names if you
use a different type of DOS).
4) Copy all the files (with the exceptions below) from the
BIOS update disk to the boot disk. Do NOT copy:
IBMBIO.COM
IBMDOS.COM
COMMAND.COM
5) Boot from your new boot disk.
6) Execute "ECFLASH2.EXE -f filename.FL2" and it should update.
(filename.FL2 is the name of the provided data file
e.g. $0182000.FL2)

Note: the "-f" switch will force it to allow a version downgrade.
Normally, it will not allow you to downgrade a BIOS version.
I don't know if there is a similar switch for the regular BIOS
flashing utility. I didn't have to downgrade that one; I merely
upgraded it.

I hope this helps some others out there. Today (6-24-2004), you
will not find this info anywhere else on the web. I just figured
it out tonight in my basement.
Last edited by warnergt on Fri Jun 25, 2004 10:05 am, edited 1 time in total.

hausman
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#2 Post by hausman » Fri Jun 25, 2004 8:43 am

For clarity and the benefit of future readers, you can go back and edit the first post, then blank out the second one. Look for the Image icon to the right of the Quote icon.
Dorian Hausman
SL500 (2746-CTO) • X61s (7666-34U) • T60p (2007-93U) • A21p (2629-HWU) • eXThinkpad (5160-087)

Zeitgeist
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#3 Post by Zeitgeist » Sat Jun 26, 2004 3:52 am

Thanks, warnergt, for the feedback!
Regards, Zeitgeist

Drez
Posts: 1
Joined: Sun Jan 30, 2005 2:41 am

A21p Bios upgrade power mgmt failure

#4 Post by Drez » Mon Jan 31, 2005 12:18 am

THANKS!!

I recently had the same problem with my A21p. After upgrading to the current BIOS, I had the battery charging system stop working and the charging light was always flashing yellow. After following the first of your repair solutions, the machine sprang back to life. This unit does not offer two different controller updates. I did down grade back to the previous BIOS. As you mentioned, I also had an aftermarket battery and also wasted alot of time talking to IBM. Thanks again for all your help!

Drez

david9
Posts: 6
Joined: Sun Feb 06, 2005 2:22 pm

#5 Post by david9 » Sun Feb 06, 2005 2:26 pm

Why does ibm do this???

Sorry but, tried this and it does not work...please understand you do this at your own peril :cry: :cry: :cry:
Last edited by david9 on Mon Feb 27, 2006 2:54 am, edited 1 time in total.

Dark
Posts: 1
Joined: Sat Apr 02, 2005 3:14 am

#6 Post by Dark » Sat Apr 02, 2005 3:39 am

I have my R40 with the same problem (battery brand new not charging) but the battery led remains green. Is it the same problem ? Any help would be great !
Regards
Dark

snife
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#7 Post by snife » Sun Jun 26, 2005 5:39 pm

david9 wrote:Why does ibm do this???
Well if you have a power loss or surge during BIOS upgrade with no battery power your mother board would be most likely ruined and then you would phone them and probably want it fixed under warranty.

didiode
Posts: 7
Joined: Wed Mar 02, 2005 3:36 pm

#8 Post by didiode » Mon Jun 27, 2005 3:00 pm

I have a similar problem with Thinkpad R51. I did a BIOS update .Now when i start windows with battery, it wouldn't boot at all.

But with Power supply ON, it would reboot successfully.

Not sure if this is a related issue, but i have this problem currently after i updated the BIOS.

david9
Posts: 6
Joined: Sun Feb 06, 2005 2:22 pm

#9 Post by david9 » Tue Mar 14, 2006 12:58 am

I have an A31 Battery going cheap ($40.00us) plus ($16.00us shipping)
please email: therealcableguy@hotmail.com

This WILL solve your BIOS problems permanently!!! :lol: :lol: :lol:

Upgrade or back flash it does not matter with a GENUINE battery! :lol:

Alfred E. Newman
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Joined: Sun Oct 15, 2006 6:25 am
Location: CAMBRIDGESHIRE PE19 1SE

#10 Post by Alfred E. Newman » Sun Oct 15, 2006 2:46 pm

Greetings All

Which cretin at IBM insisted on a battery/fully charged battery be present to upgrade bios? Usually after a given period of time(variable) the battery becomes deceased like Monty Python's parrot. So many people run off the mains. So why ,other than pure greed does one have to have a battery to update the bios?

regards :?: :twisted:
"What me worry!"

christopher_wolf
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Contact:

#11 Post by christopher_wolf » Sun Oct 15, 2006 4:36 pm

Alfred E. Newman wrote:Greetings All

Which cretin at IBM insisted on a battery/fully charged battery be present to upgrade bios? Usually after a given period of time(variable) the battery becomes deceased like Monty Python's parrot. So many people run off the mains. So why ,other than pure greed does one have to have a battery to update the bios?

regards :?: :twisted:
A more practical reason is that it is there in case of a failure of the AC line power. When reflashing the BIOS, a power outage is a serious problem, and can cause corruption to the image on the BIOS.

It isn't impossible to re-flash the BIOS of a Thinkpad without the battery, but it is there as a safety net for the most part, much like a UPS.
IBM ThinkPad T43 Model 2668-72U 14.1" SXGA+ 1GB |IBM 701c

~o/
I met someone who looks a lot like you.
She does the things you do.
But she is an IBM.
/~o ---ELO from "Yours Truly 2059"

blizardnl
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Location: Netherlands

#12 Post by blizardnl » Tue Dec 19, 2006 6:25 am

quote="christopher_wolf"]
Alfred E. Newman wrote:Greetings

A more practical reason is that it is there in case of a failure of the AC line power. When reflashing the BIOS, a power outage is a serious problem, and can cause corruption to the image on the BIOS.

It isn't impossible to re-flash the BIOS of a Thinkpad without the battery, but it is there as a safety net for the most part, much like a UPS.
I find it weird IBM creates such a solution.
I don't have a battery in my normal PC, do I?
Personelly I upgraded my battery by putting new 1.2V cells in the origional holder (from a HP batterypack) It works fine.

ghollaba
Posts: 1
Joined: Sat Jul 29, 2006 1:53 pm
Location: oklahoma

A30 batteries not charging, Batteryless BIOS? HELP

#13 Post by ghollaba » Sat Dec 23, 2006 12:10 am

Hi,, I have 2 batteries for my A30 neither of which will charge, always shows 0%, I have read that maybe a BIOS upgrade will help but how the heck do I do it???
I read about creating a diskette which I tried but I only hace cd drives Burner,,, Any suggestions very helpfull
Glyn Hollabaugh

Argonaught
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Bios UPGRADE A30

#14 Post by Argonaught » Sat Jun 21, 2008 4:18 pm

I followed the posted proceedure and it worked like a charm thank goodness I was around before Windows became the norm and in a drawer with old junk I found 3 disks still in cellophane labeled Dos 5.5 ... :shock: Bless my soul I felt like Methusala but never the less I diligently followed step for step and hey presto I have an upgraded bios, why? I dont know......... I was bored and wanted to use the old DOS disks I found........ Normally I'm a "If its not broken dont mess with it person".. :?
As for the necessity of having a charged battery in your TP when doing an upgrade, think of the consequences if after the the boot or during the actual flash......the power went out.............. YEAH!!! Hello NO BIOS AT ALL and trust me there aint no way to fix it, then...EVER!! :cry:
T42P 2373-HSG~1.8Ghz~1.0GB~60Gig~XP Pro SP3Stolen
A31P 2653-XX9~2.5GHz~0.0GB~0Gig~
Toshiba 210Pro~1.9GHzX2~2.5GB~160Gig~Vista SP1Stolen

Canada wasn't always a scary place

HoldMyBeerAndWatchThis
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Location: Vermont, USA

Re: Batteryless BIOS Upgrade for ThinkPad A30

#15 Post by HoldMyBeerAndWatchThis » Fri May 25, 2012 4:07 pm

Thanks warnergt, your procedure worked almost perfectly for me to upgrade the BIOS and EC firmware on my beloved Thinkpad A30.

I faced one additional hurdle, though. There's no floppy available so I had to create the bootable floppy diskettes then convert them to a bootable CD. This took extra steps but went fairly smoothly.

Here are ISO images of the DOS bootable CD's I created and used to flash my A30. These will save anyone a great deal of work in re-creating them. If you think you may need to upgrade the BIOS or Embedded Controller firmware in a Thinkpad A30, best grab a copy of them now. The file hosting service I uploaded them to only keeps inactive files around for a matter of days before deleting them. The file size for each is around 1 MB.

Thinkpad A30 BIOS v1.19 Flasher Disc
http://www.filedropper.com/thinkpada30b ... lasherdisc

Thinkpad A30 EC v1.08 Flasher Disc
http://www.filedropper.com/thinkpada30ecv108flasherdisc

To use either CD image, burn it to a physical CD with your choice of burning software. I favor free software and either CDBurnerXP or ImgBurn works well. When burning the CD, have the software verify the physical CD after burning and close (finalize) the disc.

Set your Thinkpad BIOS to boot from the CD drive first. Boot from the CD. The display should read something like "Starting MS-DOS." Let the system boot from the CD. Next you'll receive the standard DOS prompts to enter the current time and date. Skip those as they're unnecessary. Just hit the "Enter" key at both prompts. When you're at the DOS prompt, just enter "QKFLASH.EXE" and hit the "Enter" key. The flashing will start immediately without prompting or warnings then the laptop with turn itself off. My flashing took less than a minute each.

Both discs work the same. Just enter the command "QKFLASH.EXE" and hit the "Enter" key. The charge state of your battery won't matter. Just make sure to have your AC adapter plugged in to the wall outlet and in to the laptop.

BTW, you don't need to sign up or pay anything at the file hosting service. The download should be hassle-free and totally free.

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