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Flash gone bad & Repair Ideas


egrath
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Hi,

i'm new to the scene and got my first chipped box a few weeks ago. Because i'm interested in tinkering around it happend that my Flashchip somehow got corrupted in the process of trying out another BIOS ... i'm kinda stuck now and absolutely want to recover from this situation by myself, so there have a few ideas risen and i may ask more veteran people about them:

Ideas:

1. Boot the XBox of a friend of mine, remove the Flash with power on and flash mine. Did this years ago regulary on PC Mainboards but also know that these devices aren't built for hotswapping them and so i'm a little bit afraid of killing the circuitry with voltage spikes.

2. Softmod the Box and Flash the Modchip then. Question 1: Possible in general? Question 2: Is it possible to Softmod "externally" on a PC. I have a eeprom backup of my box and the key isn't nulled.

3. Invest a few bucks and buy a USB Flasher which is compatible with PLCC32 chips - mine is a SST 49lf020a. Question: Can i use other Chips with similar specification too? I'm thinking of ordering a SST 39SF02070-4C-N which has very similar specifications compared to the original one, which is no longer produced or available.

Just a sidenote: The Modchip i use is a Alladin XT

Thanks,

Egon

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You cant use the SST 39SF02070-4C-N because you could not flash it.

So 49lf020a, 49lf020, 49lf020b, 49lf002a, 49lf002b will work but most likely only the chip which was on is flashable. I have tried to change a 49lf020 with an 49lf002b and was not able to flash it. How ever with an external flasher the chip was usable.

The hotswap should work, no problem.

You could softmod your XBox HDD on your HDD since you have the eeprom backup. XBoxHDM is the way to go.

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8 hours ago, egrath said:

Ideas:

1. Boot the XBox of a friend of mine, remove the Flash with power on and flash mine. Did this years ago regulary on PC Mainboards but also know that these devices aren't built for hotswapping them and so i'm a little bit afraid of killing the circuitry with voltage spikes.

No need to hotswap the flash chips.  Simply install a different working modchip in your Xbox. After booted, swap modchips and reflash yours using Evoxdash or the XBE version of XBlastOS.

The main problem here is the connection of the D0 wire from the working modchip to your Xbox's motherboard.

Which modchip is installed in your console? Edit: Missed it first readthrough of your original post.  Aladdin XT.

Will require disconnecting/unsoldering the D0 wire from the modchip then reconnecting it to the working modchip.

Which version is your Xbox?

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8 hours ago, egrath said:

2. Softmod the Box and Flash the Modchip then. Question 1: Possible in general? Question 2: Is it possible to Softmod "externally" on a PC. I have a eeprom backup of my box and the key isn't nulled.

You can't do this. Once the BIOS/kernel boots from the TSOP flash memory chip from the motherboard, the content of the flash memory chip connected to the LPC bus on the modchip is not accessible.  It cannot be reflashed.

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9 hours ago, egrath said:

3. Invest a few bucks and buy a USB Flasher which is compatible with PLCC32 chips - mine is a SST 49lf020a.

This will work as long as the USB Flasher can flash the SST 49LF020A.

Quote

Question: Can i use other Chips with similar specification too? I'm thinking of ordering a SST 39SF02070-4C-N which has very similar specifications compared to the original one, which is no longer produced or available.

I don't believe this will work.  The coding of the Lattice LC4032V CPLD on the Aladdin XT limits the flash memory chip to the LPCbus connected SST49LF020A.

I could be wrong.  I need to look at the datasheet for the SST39SF020-70-4C-N (edit: corrected part number).  More later...

The flashing routines in Evoxdash or XBlastOS may not be able to flash this chip.

 

Edit: I see that XBlast OS's source, flashtypes.h, mentions the SST39SF020A.

Edit2: A-ha, the SST39 series are parallel access flash memory chips not LPCbus capable.  Won't work!

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17 minutes ago, KaosEngineer said:

You can't do this. Once the BIOS/kernel boots from the TSOP flash memory chip from the motherboard, the content of the flash memory chip connected to the LPC bus on the modchip is not accessible.  It cannot be reflashed.

But he has an alddin chip. So he could softmod and then flash re-flash the chip.

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7 minutes ago, sweetdarkdestiny said:

But he has an alddin chip. So he could softmod and then flash re-flash the chip.

Which flash memory chip has been programmed incorrectly - the one on the Aladdin XT modchip or the TSOP on the motherboard?

I understood it to be the flash memory chip on the modchip.

Edit: Remove the modchip completely from the equation, softmod the console then flash the TSOP flash on the motherboard with a modified Xbox BIOS.

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9 hours ago, egrath said:

Just a sidenote: The Modchip i use is a Alladin XT

You could replace the SST49LF020A with an SST49LF080A (8Mbit - 1M x 8-bit) [still in production and available to purchase: SST49LF080A | Microchip Technology] and reprogram the CPLD chip on the Aladdin XT modchip with a JTAG programmer to make it an XBlast-Aladdin modchip. This XBlast Aladdin modchip has multiple BIOS bank support. One 256KB bank holds the modchip's controlling OS/BIOS - the 256KByte XBlast OS v0.56 and 2 user programmable banks - 1-256KBytes and 1-512KBytes in size.

An external flash programmer and a JTAG programmer are needed to upgrade the Aladdin XT.

 

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4 hours ago, KaosEngineer said:

You could replace the SST49LF020A with an SST49LF080A (8Mbit - 1M x 8-bit) [still in production and available to purchase: SST49LF080A | Microchip Technology] and reprogram the CPLD chip on the Aladdin XT modchip with a JTAG programmer to make it an XBlast-Aladdin modchip. This XBlast Aladdin modchip has multiple BIOS bank support. One 256KB bank holds the modchip's controlling OS/BIOS - the 256KByte XBlast OS v0.56 and 2 user programmable banks - 1-256KBytes and 1-512KBytes in size.

An external flash programmer and a JTAG programmer are needed to upgrade the Aladdin XT.

 

I'm comfortable with using a JTAG programmer, have an Altera USB Blaster here. Do you have a link to the needed bitstream for programming the CPLD? Maybe i will try this out too.

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13 hours ago, egrath said:

I'm comfortable with using a JTAG programmer, have an Altera USB Blaster here. Do you have a link to the needed bitstream for programming the CPLD? Maybe i will try this out too.

I believe the file here is it: psyko_chewbacca / aladdin_xt_cpld / Downloads — Bitbucket

Although it has some 2MB flash versions I've not seen before.  The SST49LF080A is a 1MB flash memory chip.

The main site link with information about the Aladdin XT mod: psyko_chewbacca / aladdin_xt_cpld — Bitbucket

 

edit: Looks like that site only provides the source to build the bitstream, not the actual SVF file to program to the chip.  I need to look at the old links I have to see if they include links to download the dot svf file compiled from the VHDL source.

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This archive includes the SVF file and info on how to connect the JTAG programmer to the Aladdin XT chip:

aladdinxt_newcode_v2-zip 

It's an attachment from a post to the old defunct assemblergames.com website's forum:

And the Aladdin XT became a decent modchip! | ASSEMbler - Home of the obscure (archive.org)

 

Edit: There's also this forum thread: [MOD] Aladdin XBlast | ASSEMbler - Home of the obscure (archive.org) 

Looking at a different date's capture may have the images that are missing from the particular date's capture linked above.

Yes, it does. Like this one from 30 June 2017 - [MOD] Aladdin XBlast | ASSEMbler - Home of the obscure (archive.org)

 

Edit 2: The original Aladdin XT plus 2 CPLD to Aladdin_XBlast upgrade archive at mega.nz - Aladdin_XBlast.zip

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