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How to "unbrick" a Meegopad T01

posted 20 May 2015, 18:08 by Ian MORRISON   [ updated 5 Dec 2015, 17:09 ]
A couple of weeks ago I was experimenting with the new dual boot BIOS firmware and I managed to "brick" my Meegopad T01 when installing Windows 10 (64-bit). So after posting a warning to others I mentioned that if I could scrape together enough from donations I'd buy a new 'old' model and continue developing. Having fallen well short of the required $100 I decided to investigate how I could "fix" my device instead and these are my findings. 

Theoretically all that is needed is an SPI Flash programmer and some test clips to connect to the BIOS chip on the device. However researching the BIOS chip reveals that it is a low-power version and runs at 1.8v. Most USB EEPROM programmers run at 3.3V and 5V and there is the real risk of frying the BIOS chip when re-programming it if you don't combine with a logic level converter (see http://ao2.it/en/blog/2014/12/30/teclast-x98-air-3g-unbricking-bay-trail-tablet). Given that I'd probably be needing to reprogram the BIOS chip more than once and also wanting a simple approach I searched for alternatives.

The solution I chose was to purchase a EZP_XPro USB Flash Writer together with some SOIC8 Test Clips. First you need to download and install the v1.4 software from here (http://www.dream-e.com/Pshow.asp?Pid=45) but don't select the default path as there is a permissions bug so create and use a local folder. Next take your Meegopad board out from the case and disconnect the battery by unplugging it. Then assemble the test clips with the socket adapter and plug into the programmer, connect the programmer's power USB cable to your PC and attach the test clips to the BIOS chip making sure pin 1 is aligned along the way (see https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B99O3A0dDe67NVI5SlZoaW1QVms) and run the "EZ" software. The type of BIOS chip should automatically be detected but confirm by selecting "Test" from the "Operation" menu boxes. Now load the BIOS file you want to reprogram by clicking the "Brower" (sic) box and selecting the required file. Then simply run "Erase" followed by "Program" and then "Verify" from the "Operation" menus to complete the reprogramming making sure no errors were encountered. I've made a stunning video showing exactly these steps here https://youtu.be/S4kR4zK6E20. Finally disconnect the test clips, re-plug the battery, connect up your Meegopad device and boot to check everything is working. Happy BIOS programming!
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