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X210: Constant BIOS chip corruption?

Old(er) Thinkpads with New(er) Intestines: X62/T50/T70/X210/X330 etc.
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flyingfishfinger
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Joined: Sun Nov 18, 2012 5:42 pm
Location: San Francisco Bay Area

X210: Constant BIOS chip corruption?

#1 Post by flyingfishfinger » Fri Nov 20, 2020 1:49 pm

Hi,
I've been playing with my BIOS a bunch (at least, was, until a few months ago, for coreboot-related stuff) so I have the ability to swap the chip out of my X210 without soldering (yay chip sockets).

However, I've noticed generally that it seems rather easy to corrupt the BIOS with the result that the system is un-bootable half the time, and I need to swap in a spare chip to get it to work again.
The weird part is that mostly I've done nothing in the meantime other than not use the machine for a week or two at a time (it's not currently my daily driver).
At first I thought it had something to do with the RTC battery, but obviously that's not the issue here. To be fair, my shell is pretty hacked up for my Thunderbolt mod, but that card is not even installed at the moment and the problem still happens.

I get a heart attack every time, since I always feel like I've blown up the X210 PCB but so far it's always been the BIOS chip. Once booted, I generally reflash a chip with a copy of the stock BIOS and store it for next time. The non-bootable chips are also always recoverable.

As one might imagine, this is kind of annoying and I'm guessing not normal.

Any ideas why this might be occurring? ESD discharge? Low battery?

Cheers,
R

L29Ah
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Joined: Fri Sep 06, 2013 2:25 pm
Location: Moscow, Russia

Re: X210: Constant BIOS chip corruption?

#2 Post by L29Ah » Fri Nov 20, 2020 2:10 pm

I had some magic problems too but they're long gone (after i put my coreboot plans on hold and flashed the stock bios image back). I suggest you to grab the flash image next time a corruption occurs and see what's different between it and your known-good image.
51nb X210 with community EC mod, me_cleaner and recelled 99W*h battery; X230 with coreboot, me_cleaner and nitrocaster's FHD mod as a backup; R500 for guests; T60 just for the looks.

flyingfishfinger
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Posts: 362
Joined: Sun Nov 18, 2012 5:42 pm
Location: San Francisco Bay Area

Re: X210: Constant BIOS chip corruption?

#3 Post by flyingfishfinger » Fri Nov 20, 2020 2:19 pm

Did you ever figure out what your cause was?

I should add that this happens on stock BIOS, not coreboot (I haven't used that for a while because my Thunderbolt project doesn't currently work with it). I just mentioned it because that's the reason I had the chip socket, which allowed me to recover from this problem.

I'll take a look when I'm home, I'm sure the problem will reproduce quickly...

R

atagunov
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Posts: 496
Joined: Thu Apr 02, 2020 3:11 pm
Location: London, UK

Re: X210: Constant BIOS chip corruption?

#4 Post by atagunov » Fri Nov 20, 2020 2:43 pm

scary!

(-an X2100 hopeful-to-be-owner)
X220, 2 *T520

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