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Xecuter 2.6 without bios


MadMartigan
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Just picked up a really clean console from Goodwill with a well installed xecuter 2.6. Unfortunately I can’t get anywhere with it. Stock dash will not load when chip is off. Throws an error 16. I’ve tried locked and unlocked. Neither get passed error screen. With the chip on and in bank 2, it will boot in flashbios 3.0.3, but will not accept a bios in any way. There are two that appear to be saved on the HDD also. Every way I’ve tried so far either fails or says “bios update found… Halting!” And then nothing. Chip protection is off during all of this also  

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521B947B-FD14-4EA1-A007-10056D6B3A3A.jpeg

Edited by MadMartigan
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Flashing from DVD-ROM isn't going to work unless you have a disc inserted with known BIOS image names present on it

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and if part of the screen wasn't cut off you could see that the flash from HDD/HTTP is failing because the erase command is failing

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My guess is the chip thinks flash protect is enabled - could be caused by the switch being wired backwards (seen it before), bad connection on dip switch board, bad dip switch cable, or something faulty on the chip itself

Try the flash protect in the opposite direction, boot into FlashBIOS, switch the bank switch to bank1, and then write an 256K image from HDD or over HTTP. If that doesn't work, you can try booting into FlashBIOS and then unplugging the dip switch board - although, I have no idea what the default behavior of that chip is when the board is unplugged. Good luck

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4 hours ago, MadMartigan said:

Just picked up a really clean console from Goodwill with a well installed xecuter 2.6. Unfortunately I can’t get anywhere with it. Stock dash will not load when chip is off. Throws an error 16. I’ve tried locked and unlocked. Neither get passed error screen. With the chip on and in bank 2, it will boot in flashbios 3.0.3, but will not accept a bios in any way. There are two that appear to be saved on the HDD also. Every way I’ve tried so far either fails or says “bios update found… Halting!” And then nothing. Chip protection is off during all of this also  

<2 images removed - KaosEngineer>

521B947B-FD14-4EA1-A007-10056D6B3A3A.jpeg

The video output to your screen is shifted to the left cutting off part of the message.  What is being displayed is actually:

No Bios Update found... Halting!

 

 Edit: I suggest moving the switches back and forth several times to clean the wiper inside.  They are most likely covered with dust and oxidation making the switches not function properly.  If you have some electrical contact cleaner, spray a small amount inside the switch to help clean the contacts.

 

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7 hours ago, feudalnate said:

Flashing from DVD-ROM isn't going to work unless you have a disc inserted with known BIOS image names present on it

I’ve tried the bios listed on the HDD as well as M8, M8plus, x2 v1.0. I’m not sure if you’re suggesting the bios’ listed in your pic or not. The reply is informative, but a bit vague still. 

 

 

7 hours ago, feudalnate said:

and if part of the screen wasn't cut off you could see that the flash from HDD/HTTP is failing because the erase command is failing

spacer.png

 

My guess is the chip thinks flash protect is enabled - could be caused by the switch being wired backwards (seen it before), bad connection on dip switch board, bad dip switch cable, or something faulty on the chip itself

Try the flash protect in the opposite direction, boot into FlashBIOS, switch the bank switch to bank1, and then write an 256K image from HDD or over HTTP. If that doesn't work, you can try booting into FlashBIOS and then unplugging the dip switch board - although, I have no idea what the default behavior of that chip is when the board is unplugged. Good luck

I’ve tried in both on/off protection with dip switch to be sure wiring isn’t backwards as well as testing the switches and each mode works as intended aside from not having a bios. 

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5 hours ago, KaosEngineer said:

The video output to your screen is shifted to the left cutting off part of the message.  What is being displayed is actually:

No Bios Update found... Halting!

No clue how to fix this. It’s only with this Xbox. 

5 hours ago, KaosEngineer said:

 

 Edit: I suggest moving the switches back and forth several times to clean the wiper inside.  They are most likely covered with dust and oxidation making the switches not function properly.  If you have some electrical contact cleaner, spray a small amount inside the switch to help clean the contacts.

 

This is probably the cleanest Xbox I have ever opened. The inside was immaculate with little to no dust at all. It was definitely a well maintained console or sat in a box for most of it’s life. The switches seem to work fine as the behavior of the Xbox changes with each switch so I don’t think that’s the issue here.  

Edited by MadMartigan
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12 hours ago, MadMartigan said:

I’ve tried the bios listed on the HDD as well as M8, M8plus, x2 v1.0. I’m not sure if you’re suggesting the bios’ listed in your pic or not. The reply is informative, but a bit vague still. 

It was to explain (code-wise) why when you select 'flash from CD-ROM' it errors out, not a suggestion to use that method

 

There can be any number of reasons why the chip won't write properly. Bad flash chip, something wrong with the CPLD or the code it's running, bad connection somewhere/fatigued solder joint, bad cable, bad switch, one of the pins/wires to the LPC port is bad, or even that FlashBIOS 3.0.3 doesn't support X2 chips because I was under the impression that FlashBIOS 2.6 was for X2 and FlashBIOS 3.X was for the X3 chips but I'm unsure

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14 hours ago, MadMartigan said:

No clue how to fix this. It’s only with this Xbox. 

This is probably the cleanest Xbox I have ever opened. The inside was immaculate with little to no dust at all. It was definitely a well maintained console or sat in a box for most of it’s life. The switches seem to work fine as the behavior of the Xbox changes with each switch so I don’t think that’s the issue here.  

Have you tried to use the Network Flash (HTTP) option.

FlashBIOS v3.03 Tutorial (archive.org)

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It does work with both chips. So far I’ve tried all available methods(protection on and off) within FlashBios with a couple of different bios. Im only allowed to boot from bank 2 so I do switch to bank 1 when trying to flash also. I’m having a hard time tracking down the two that are supposedly on the HDD already. Still digging through some very old downloads I’m finding. I will try to reflow the connections when I have some extra time.  My most recent attempt seemed to be taking longer to respond so I had my hopes up. Nevertheless it failed with this error. Im assuming it says Unknown flash!

32587912-EC3D-4AC6-8294-93D87D09FAC6.jpeg
 

Edit: That was when I tried Slayers again just to see. 

Edited by MadMartigan
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You won't be able to use Slayers with FlashBIOS booting the Xbox (see point e. below).  It will not boot a standard XISO burned installer or game disc.

From the archived web page linked in my previous post. It states:

a. You can update your bios via HTTP / Hard Drive OR Disc (All optional)

b. FlashBIOS will work on both Xecuter 2.6 and Xecuter 3 Modchips

c. If you cannot navigate the FlashBIOS menu - have only one controller plugged in, unplug any DVD dongles or memory cards, try to use an original MS controller.

d. FlashBIOS v3.03 may not work on v1.6 in some cases (works great on v1.6b) - at time of press this is being investigated and we recommend you use v3.01 for v1.6 - this tutorial is exactly the same for that version.

e. FlashBIOS is a utility to update your modchip with any other bios. You cannot play games or run unsigned software with this bios. If you want to run unsigned software you must download a hacked bios like X3 Bios, X2 Bios or Evox Bios. These are illegal and we do not provide direct links. Read this page for info where to find hacked bios's http://www.xbox-scene.com/articles/xbins.php

f. Make sure you know what you are doing when unlocking your hard drive. If you drive is unlocked, you will NOT be able to boot to the MS dashboard. You will get a service screen with an error code - so BE CAREFUL.

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There are three methods to flash a modified Xbox BIOS to the X2.6 modchip using FlashBIOS 3.0.x (x=1 or 3).   After FlashBIOS boots, change the bank select switch to the bank you want to update.

Select one of the FlashBIOS's flashing options from its main menu. See: Team Xecuter's FlashBIOS Tutorial:

  1. Flash via HTTP - Network Flashing - connect to the FlashBIOS's web server running at the IP address displayed on the Xbox's video output using a web browser on your computer.  Follow the on-screen instructions.  Click the Browse button to access the BIOS's dot bin file stored on your computer that you wish to flash to the selected bank. (I find it is best to reflash the other bank, not the bank that boots FlashBIOS, of the modchip.  Leave FlashBIOS on one of the banks until you have a working modified Xbox BIOS installed and replacement dashboard running.  Doing so is not required after one of the banks boots a modified Xbox BIOS and a replacement dashboard is running. From it, you can install and run Evoxdash to flash other modified Xbox BIOSes to the X2.6 modchip.)
  2. Flash via Hard drive - BIOS files stored on the hard drive.  This method only works after one of the other two methods was used to flash a modified BIOS to the modchip which allowed you to boot an Xbox installer disc to install a replacement dashboard. THe BIOSes listed have had their dot bin files FTP'd the C:\BIOS folder on the Xbox's hard drive.  Set the modchip's Bank Select switch to the bank number you want to reflash.
  3. Flash via Disc - create a CD or DVD-R BIOS update disc.   Add a dummy filler file to the disc's content to burn so the Xbox's DVD drive will read the disc.  I suggest making the dummy file at least 1/2 of the blank media's size.  Team Xecuter recommends creating a 100MB dummy file.  If the disc is not readable, burn a new disc with the larger filler file.

Edit: The instructions from Team Xecuter are not too clear on how flashing works with an X2.6 modchip.  Can one 512KB bank at a time be flashed or does it flash the X2's entire 1MB flash memory chip. They only mention flashing of an X3 modchip in the tutorial and state that it flashes 1MB, so I'm leaning towards the later. The entire flash chip on the X2.6 modchip will be flashed.  You will need to create a 1MB dot bin file that contains a combined 512KB resized BIOS for Bank 1 and a 512KB resized BIOS for bank 2 of the X2.6 modchip. Run Xecuter2 BIOS Manager (X2BM) v2.3 to create such a dot bin file to flash to the X2.6 modchip. 

Set the bank select switch to bank 1 and flash protect to OFF before flashing this dot bin file to the modchip.

Edit 2: The Flash via HTTP section states, "FIRST STEP IS TO MAKE SURE THE MOD IS IN 1MB FLASHING MODE."  Thus, for an X2.6 modchip, set the Bank Select switch to bank 1 and create a 1MB dot bin file for flashing to work.

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I've created a simple imgur.com album to help with creation of a 1MB bios.bin file:

You can also use Windows' copy command with the /b option from a cmd.exe window to create a 1MB bios.bin file:

  • CD to the folder that contains all of the BIOS dot bin files you wish to add to the 1MB dot bin file.
  • copy /b evox.m8plus.fc.137.bin + evox.m8plus.fc.137.bin + flashbios_v303.bin + flashbios_v303.bin 1MB.bin

Do not forget the /b (binary) option in the command line for the copy operation.  This new 1MB.bin file contains two BIOSes that have been resized to 512KBs.

The 512KB Bank 1 = 2 copies of the 256KB evox.m8plus.fc.137 BIOS and 512KB Bank 2 = 2 copies of the 256KB flashbios_v303 BIOS.

The X2.6 modchip supports 2 512KB BIOS banks.  However, FlashBIOS v3.0.x flashes the entire 1MB flash chip on the modchip, not separate 512KB BIOS banks.

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52 minutes ago, MadMartigan said:

I'll go over all of this after work and reflow the connections. The end game here is taking this chip out and performing a TSOP. I should have stayed that to begin with. Is there an easier or different way to rove this thing and restore the MS bios? 

Is the BIOS stored in the TSOP corrupt? 

When you attempt to boot it with the modchip disabled, the console FRAGs (flashes the eject red and green after the 3rd reboot cycle).

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Yes. HDD works fine on a different console. Loads up dash perfectly as intended. I went ahead and copied over some more bios.bin files and still no change. Tells me Erase failed with the new ones I added. Just reflowed all chip connections and will check progress when I get back home. 
 

Edit: Also moved the dip switch to its proper place. My god it gets annoying tampering with it under the controller port. 

Edited by MadMartigan
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Ok so I have reflowed the chip connections and made 100% sure all cables are connected properly. I’ve been creating dummy files for every iso image I make. I used the exact bios file as in your pic Kaos and http, disc, nor HDD install worked. No matter what I do I either get “no bios update found” or “erase failed”. Once again, I try this on both on and off protection mode just in case the wires are crossed. Wonderful information above that I had also found throughout my searching. Can I just remove this damn chip and convert to a regular TSOP somehow? Im really getting tired of messing with this thing. It just refuses to take an update in any shape form or fashion. One more thing I’ve mentioned before. With the chip off, I cannot get passed splash screen. However, HDD works just fine on other consoles. 

Edited by MadMartigan
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UPDATE: I decided to use some old fashioned tactics and physically press the protection switch as far as it would possibly go to the right, while attempting a flash one of the original files on the HDD. Miraculously, this actually got me the furthest so far. The “yellow” Erasing bar went full green, BUT programming failed this timeAt least some sort of progress has been made. Now I’m searching all I can to find anyone with this issue previously. 

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The switches on the bank select PCB are not the best.  I still believe that using electrical contact cleaner and moving them from the left and right position several times will clean the wiper contacts inside these inexpensive switches will make them work better. 

As for why flashing is failing with FlashBIOS 3.0.3, you have to always have the bank select switch set to Bank 1, Flash Protect to OFF and use a 1MB dot bin file that contains multiple copies of the BIOSes to fill both 512KB banks of the modchip.

Most modified Xbox BIOSes are 256 KBs in size. Therefore, 2 copies of each 256KB BIOS must be combined for each 512KB bank to create a 1 MB dot bin file for flashing to the X2.6.

Modified Xbox BIOS size exceptions are:

  1. X2 5035 (base size = 512 KBs) and
  2. X3 Builds (base size = 1 MB)
    Note: The X3 BIOS is only for use on an X3 modchip.

Edit: Reworded content.

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I have used the contact cleaner twice so far. I've used the previous flashbios tutorial I had found and then followed your guide also on creating the bios.bin files and proper burning yada yada. 

Now that I know it will at least Erase properly holding the protection switch all the way, I feel a little better. I'll have tonight and this weekend to actually fiddle around with it more. 

Do you recommend using the bios files that were on the HDD already or a more updated bios? 

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Nope, everything is intact. No crimps or anything. Like I said I'll have much more time today and this weekend to try and troubleshoot. I've seen in several places that removing the dip switch put the chip into a proper flash state, but I have not tried that after powering on. Doing so before powering on disables the chip entirely.

Is it not possible that it is trying to erase and being that it can't program successfully, the erase just gets reset? I guess I'm asking do we know for sure the erase isn't working. 

Edit: I'm booting from bank 2 which houses flashbios and then attempting to flash bank 1. So if the erase did indeed work I'd still be booting into flashbios through bank 1. Right? 

Edited by MadMartigan
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Finally got this POS to flash. It was nothing I was doing wrong the entire time. It was the damn switch. Once I figured out the little trick, it took maybe 5-6 times and a very sore fingertip. Nevertheless, it has accepted M8plus and now I just need to get a dash back on there and all that good stuff. Sorry for the headache and thanks tremendously for the support. I bet you guys were thinking I'm an idiot and not performing the instructed tasks.

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