coreboot external flashing
Currently, the only supported method of external flashing is with a
programmer and a Pomona SOIC-8 clip. Other external programmers are currently
- ch341a SPI programmer
- Pomona SOIC-8 clip with ribbon connecting cable
- Computer running Linux with flashrom
Ensure that the EC is running updated firmware. Follow the steps outlined in EC firmware update
Install Flashrom from your distribution's repositories.
For Ubuntu, Debian and derivatives:
sudo apt install flashrom
sudo dnf install flashrom
For Arch Linux:
sudo pacman -S flashrom
Create a file
layout.txt with the following contents:
00000000:00000fff fd 00500000:00ffffff bios 00001000:004fffff me
Connect the Pomona clip to the programmmer. The red wire should be connected towards the rear of the programmer (away from the USB port).
Remove the bottom cover from the laptop. Disconnect the internal battery and
CMOS battery. Locate the BIOS chip - the square chip located next to the Wi-Fi
card, with the text
AJ2001 25B127DSIG written on top of it.
Attach the clip to the BIOS chip. The clip should be attached so that the red wire is aligned with the identifying dot on the in one of the corners of the chip.
Once the clip is connected, connect the programmer to a computer. To test if the programmer is detected properly, run the following command:
flashrom -p ch341a_spi
The output should contain the following text:
Found GigaDevice flash chip "GD25Q128B" (16384 kB, SPI) on linux_spi. Found GigaDevice flash chip "GD25Q128C" (16384 kB, SPI) on linux_spi. Multiple flash chip definitions match the detected chip(s): "GD25Q128B", "GD25Q128C"
If it doesn't, disconnect the programmer from the PC, detach the clip and re-attach everything again.
The final setup should look like in the picture below:
Reading from the flash
Before writing anything to the flash, it's important to always make a backup. Read the flash 3 times and ensure the backup is correct:
flashrom -p ch341a_spi -c GD25B128B/GD25Q128B -r backup1.rom flashrom -p ch341a_spi -c GD25B128B/GD25Q128B -r backup2.rom flashrom -p ch341a_spi -c GD25B128B/GD25Q128B -r backup3.rom md5sum backup1.rom backup2.rom backup3.rom
The output of the last command should contain 3 identical hashes.
6e5599d95ad03eb9ead7390bd1be4146 backup1.rom 6e5599d95ad03eb9ead7390bd1be4146 backup2.rom 6e5599d95ad03eb9ead7390bd1be4146 backup3.rom
Your hashes may be different to these depending on the current flash contents, but they must be identical to each other. If they're not identical, reseat the Pomona clip and try again.
Once the backups are verified, save and store one of the backup*.rom files securely.
Writing to the flash
Once you have the backups saved, proceed to flashing the chip - replace
[path] with the path to the binary you want to write - e.g.
flashrom -p ch341a_spi -c GD25B128B/GD25Q128B -w [path] -l layout.txt -i bios
flashrom will read the flash, erase it, write the new image and verify that
it's written correctly. If the flash was successful, the output will contain the