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T430 BIOS recovery?

T430 and later, plus T530 and later series specific matters only
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T i m
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Joined: Mon Sep 10, 2018 3:10 am
Location: Chestnut, UK

T430 BIOS recovery?

#1 Post by T i m » Mon Sep 10, 2018 3:40 am

Hi all,

First post here (re-directed by a kind soul on a Thinkpad newsgroup) but have been a Thinkpad owner for some time. ;-)

I'm not sure if my question breaks any rules re Thinkpad security so if it does I apologise (and accept there will be no solutions offered online here if it does).

Bottom line. New to me T430, all running well but I thought I'd do as I do on most of my machines (and have done for many years), I'd update the BIOS. I did so using the Lenovo utility, fully charged battery, on mains power etc.

It seemed to go ok though the Windows bit, rebooted and seemed to go ok though the terminal screen bit, but after rebooting all I now get is the 5 beeps. ;-(

... Well, not now I don't as I've swapped out the mobo for a second hand one but I thought I might like to get the original board going again if I could. I've also got another T430 board (that's slightly damaged) that I believe to be working (I'll check first of course) that could be a donor for BIOS chips, if it was a solution?

I have some basic reflow kit and have been soldering for ~50 years (not constantly <g>) and I'm quite interested in seeing what can be done, partly for the S&G's etc so any thoughts and suggestions very welcome please. ;-)

Cheers, T i m

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Re: T430 BIOS recovery?

#2 Post by RealBlackStuff » Mon Sep 10, 2018 6:24 am

Welcome to the Forum.

Which BIOS version did you use?
Do you know if the Security Chip in your BIOS is activated or not? (probably is activated)
Do you get 5 beeps only or 5 + 5 beeps?

Remove battery, AC, wifi, wwan, HDD/SSD, (re)attach keyboard and then hold down the Power button for about 20 seconds.
Put only AC in, boot, immediately press Enter a few times and then F1 to try going into BIOS.
If no luck, switch off and reboot, then immediately press F1 a few times.
If you manage to get in, press F9 to load Defaults, then go to Security/Security Chip and set it to Disabled.
Press F10 to save and reboot.
Any luck?

Most common solution with (the numerous) failed T430 BIOS-updates is to replace the mobo (darn you, Lenono).
If you have an SPI flasher, you should be able to read/save a working T430 BIOS from one mobo and flash that onto the 'bricked' one.
Depending on SPI you may have to remove the two BIOS chips (4MB and 8MB) first.

Failing that, replacing those two BIOS chips, OR the whole mobo, might be the only solution left.

But let's see first what you can come up with.
Lovely day for a Guinness! (the Real Black Stuff). And pigs CAN fly! :mrgreen:
Check out The Boardroom for Parts, Mods and Other Services.

T i m
Posts: 3
Joined: Mon Sep 10, 2018 3:10 am
Location: Chestnut, UK

Re: T430 BIOS recovery?

#3 Post by T i m » Mon Sep 10, 2018 3:57 pm

RealBlackStuff wrote:
Mon Sep 10, 2018 6:24 am
Welcome to the Forum.
Why thank you. ;-)
Which BIOS version did you use?
Well, basically whatever version the Lenovo utility downloaded (assuming it was the latest) <checks>, would G1ETB7WW be the version, or g1uj44us?
Do you know if the Security Chip in your BIOS is activated or not? (probably is activated)
No, sorry, I don't. ;-(
Do you get 5 beeps only or 5 + 5 beeps?
Sorry again, it was probably the 5+5 (I couldn't remember if it was just the 5 beeps repeating constantly or 5+5 etc).;-(
Remove battery, AC, wifi, wwan, HDD/SSD, (re)attach keyboard and then hold down the Power button for about 20 seconds.
FWIW, I did remove the battery and AC, pressed the power for a few seconds then re-fitted the battery and re-applied the AC pressing and tried pressing Enter and F1 with no sign of the BIOS screen.
1Put only AC in, boot, immediately press Enter a few times and then F1 to try going into BIOS.
If no luck, switch off and reboot, then immediately press F1 a few times.
I'll have to find myself another CPU chip and some RAM and then I can run the old board up and do these tests.
If you manage to get in, press F9 to load Defaults, then go to Security/Security Chip and set it to Disabled.
Press F10 to save and reboot.
Any luck? ;
You will be the second person to find out RealBlackStuff. ;-)
Most common solution with (the numerous) failed T430 BIOS-updates is to replace the mobo (darn you, Lenono).
Is this specific issue *just* with the T430's? Do we know how / why thy are getting bricked like this?
If you have an SPI flasher, you should be able to read/save a working T430 BIOS from one mobo and flash that onto the 'bricked' one.
Depending on SPI you may have to remove the two BIOS chips (4MB and 8MB) first.
I only have a PicKit2 ATM but I'm happy to get anything that isn't too expensive if it means I can actually 'fix' it.
Failing that, replacing those two BIOS chips,
So, if they were being supplier by one of the BIOS specialists, should they know what each should contain to give me a working mobo again?
OR the whole mobo, might be the only solution left.
As mentioned, that was what I've already done, it just that I have anther board that is physically damaged (but should work) and the one with the (potentially) dead BIOS to play with (and two bases and lids with no screens or keyboards). If it was just a matter of having another board I could repair the damaged one. I was reading around to see if the screen from my T420 would fit the 430 chassis and mobo as then I could borrow that to do some tests?
let's see first what you can come up with.
I'll see what I can rig up re a test chassis as I don't really want to disturb my working machine for now. ;-)

Cheers, T i m

MikalE
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Re: T430 BIOS recovery?

#4 Post by MikalE » Mon Sep 10, 2018 7:49 pm

I have a modified whitelist BIOS and get the 5+5 beeps every time I reboot the machine.
T500 T9600 2055-BE9
T510 i5 4384-DV7
T510 i7 4349-A64
T520 i7 4242-4UU(CTO)


T520: i7-2760QM(2.40GHz),16GB, 500GB SSD/500GB 7200 Drive, 1600x900, 1GB NVIDIA, DVDRW, Smartcard, media card, FPR, Win7 Pro64, whitelist BIOS, N 6300 AGN, German KB, BT 4.0.

Erbsenzähler
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Location: Seattle, WA

Re: T430 BIOS recovery?

#5 Post by Erbsenzähler » Fri Apr 05, 2019 1:58 am

Any luck? My T430 has succumbed to this problem tonight while doing Lenovo System Update. I don't know what BIOS it had before. I just used the system utility and did some updates. I don't want to buy another MOBO since it has nvidia and will cost more than what I've spent on this computer (got it used on ebay from someone who probably didn't realize it had dGPU, had removed the keyboard, and I recognized in the pictures the extra branch on the heat sink)

I have the 5+5 beeps. What does that mean?

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Re: T430 BIOS recovery?

#6 Post by RealBlackStuff » Fri Apr 05, 2019 7:47 am

If the rest is still working, go into BIOS and switch off that Security chip. Beeps gone.
Lovely day for a Guinness! (the Real Black Stuff). And pigs CAN fly! :mrgreen:
Check out The Boardroom for Parts, Mods and Other Services.

Erbsenzähler
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Re: T430 BIOS recovery?

#7 Post by Erbsenzähler » Sat Apr 13, 2019 2:31 pm

It wouldn't boot to bios at all. I fixed it though with an $8 soic clip and programmer, flashed a new bios on the chip and then did the lenovo update utility again to make sure. Can't believe it was so simple. From what I've read on all the forums about this common bios update problem for the T430, I thought my computer was a goner.

T i m
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Re: T430 BIOS recovery?

#8 Post by T i m » Sat Apr 13, 2019 5:52 pm

Erbenzähler wrote:
Sat Apr 13, 2019 2:31 pm
It wouldn't boot to bios at all. I fixed it though with an $8 soic clip and programmer, flashed a new bios on the chip and then did the lenovo update utility again to make sure. Can't believe it was so simple. From what I've read on all the forums about this common bios update problem for the T430, I thought my computer was a goner.
You make it sound so easy! Was it in reality?

Cheers, T i m

Erbsenzähler
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Location: Seattle, WA

Re: T430 BIOS recovery?

#9 Post by Erbsenzähler » Sat Apr 13, 2019 7:53 pm

Super easy. It's a shame so many mobos went to their death. Actually they were probably refurbished the same way I did it.

1. Disassemble T430 and remove motherboard to access the bios chip.
2. Put the clip on bios chip, connect to CH341A
3. Connect the CH341A programmer USB into a working windows computer. Install driver and launch CH341A program.
4. Choose "MX25L3205D" (your bios chip) and click detect. Then you can read, save dump, rewrite, etc. Click verify and then you're done!

You should do this to your working T430 first to dump the bios. Then flash that bin file to your bricked motherboard.

Erbsenzähler
Posts: 8
Joined: Fri Apr 05, 2019 1:52 am
Location: Seattle, WA

Re: T430 BIOS recovery?

#10 Post by Erbsenzähler » Sat Apr 13, 2019 8:09 pm

T i m wrote:
Sat Apr 13, 2019 5:52 pm

You make it sound so easy! Was it in reality?

Cheers, T i m
You can be done in 30 minutes depending on if you know how to disassemble the laptop. I tried to send you a PM but it won't leave my outbox. Feel free to PM me if you want detailed instructions. I don't know if I'm allowed to post links.

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Re: T430 BIOS recovery?

#11 Post by RealBlackStuff » Sat Apr 13, 2019 9:48 pm

PMs will remain in your Outbox until the recipient reads them.
And links are allowed, as long as they do not go to illegal, infected, spyware, spamming or porn websites.
Lovely day for a Guinness! (the Real Black Stuff). And pigs CAN fly! :mrgreen:
Check out The Boardroom for Parts, Mods and Other Services.

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