Obtaining EEprom Bios Firmware For Deadflashed LG GDR8163B DVD-ROM Drive
A few months ago my friend Marco brought me two LG GDR8163B DVD-ROM drives. One still working and the other one he had deadflashed over the Pata/IDE port with a wrong turning out upgrade attempt. With the secondhand bought still working LG drive he hoped I would be able to reflash the now defect first LG drive back to a working DVD-ROM drive. Since using the Pata/IDE afterwards no longer is possible. There is a software Flasher program from Devil’s Claw that apparently was designed to repair those older wrong flashed drives on older computer operating systems. But that will only fail on our defect flashed drives when tried. And that program also should help to first make a backup of the original Firmware that is stored in the drive’s eeprom but that also failed on the still working LG GDR8163B DVD-ROM when tried. And there also exists cross FW flashing software. And everything also depended on which IDE/Pata controller board was used.
What also didn’t help are the LG flasher programs, and other programs, that do not save the old firmware before upgrading the firmware. And those same LG flasher programs killed my friend’s drive to oblivion! Which makes it worse is that the firmware bin file in the LG program that is supposed to program the eeprom over Pata/IDE is packed into the boot flash exe file. And so isn’t available and can’t be used to flash the eeprom on an external used programmer when we desolder that deadflashed eeprom from those defect drives. Although I also tried asking the LG helpdesk for that bin file, they simply couldn’t provide it. And nowhere on the entire internet that correct firmware eeprom bin file was shared!
These drives are much wanted for replacing the original defect Xbox DVD drives with. After some additional changes to the internal drive board it is said that they even work better than the original Thomson Xbox drives do (being more compatible with running most if not all Xbox games).
Previous photo showed the Panasonic MN103S89FDA processor with the TSOP32 SST39SF020A eeprom on its right in the secondhand bought still working drive. And looking for a datasheet for the MN103S89FDA processor will fail too sadly.
What made it more difficult was that the deadflashed LG drive used another TSOP32 eeprom type MX29F002NB that was larger than the much smaller 8 x 14 mm that was used in the still working drive. And I only was able to read those larger eeproms because I had not yet such a special smaller tsop32 socket to read the SST39SF020A in our good working drive. Luckily I found the right TSOP32 to DIP adapter and it was ordered on Amazon for 30,99 Euro.
But Before I bought this adapter that took over a month to arrive, I also had bought a third used (probably one of the last drives still available) LG GDR8163B drive on eBay. Hoping that one would also use the larger MX29F002NB eeprom which I already had a matching TSOP32 to DIP adapter for. Sadly when the drive arrived it had the same smaller 8 x 14mm eeprom on its board. And also my supposedly good TSOP32 to DIL adapter had too wide DIP pin rows to fit in my TL866II or in my GQ4x4 programmers! So I also needed new adapter sockets for these eeproms too! Which I found on Grandado consisting out of a set of below shown 7 adapter sockets for TSOP32/40 and 48 pins 8/16 bits!
I only needed the TSOP32 Base board with the TSOP32/40/48 Top board.
And although the seller said that it was only for the TL866II, this set also worked perfectly on the GQ4x4 programmer too! Reading the TSOP SST39SF020A this way was in fact exactly the same like reading the No Adapter DIP SST39SF020A eeprom type version. (The same resulting parallel pin configuration!)
Next PC screen snapshots proved that reading the good FW containing SST39SF020 eeprom verified okay on both programmers in multiple setup ways! Here first on my GQ4x4 as No Adapter version (which in a way the TSOP32/40/48 Top board inserted on the TSOP32 Base board just is!)
But it also verified fine when read as PLCC32 Adapter board on my GQ4x4 universal programmer. On the GQ4x4 programmer the SST39SF020 chip also verified fine with the saved FW bin file when read as ADP-022 TSOP32-DIP32 adapter board!
Which also was confirmed because both my programmers also checked for the right inserted Chip type name during verifying the inserted chip! Next screencopies also show that the TSOP32 Top to DIP Base board also worked fine on the TL866II.
And of course I already was sure that the saved firmware bin file read from the good working third eBay bought LG GDR-8163B drive was correctly read. Because after I flashed the SST39SF020A eeprom in the second drive with it and had placed it back that drive still worked fine afterwards!
Previous screen shots again showed that all TSOP32 chip verify setups worked exactly the same as if a DIP32 SST39SF020A chip was read. And the single (waveshare) 8x14mm TSOP32 to DIP 32 socket worked the same as the 8x20mm Top and Base board adapter did. Making it a DIP32 pin eeprom.
And now that I finally knew for sure that I extracted the right FW bin file from my third eBay bought drive, I still had the first defect drive that needed to be fixed too!
Next photo shows the cover of one of the LG drives. The FW version was the same version 0L23 on all 3 LG Pata/IDE drives.
And my conclusion that all programmer setups resulted in the same good read FW file by using the PC program ANTI-TWIN confirmed that indeed that all saved bin files were identical, no matter what socket setup was chosen! So the TSOP32 Top and Base boards plus the 8x14mm adapter socket made in fact in all setups just a DIP chip pin configuration from my original TSOP32 SST39SF020A chip.
Next screen copy shows the adapter setup screen on my TL866II when the same Top and Base TSOP32 to DIP adapter boards were used. Here the third LG drive eeprom was successfully read and verified! Followed by a photo after the eeprom was soldered back into the eBay LG drive.
When I use my hot air station to desolder or solder back components, I use Kapton tape to protect the other parts from overheating and from floating from their board positions.
On next photo it shows the soldered back 8 x 20mm MX29F002NB TSOP32 eeprom after it was successfully flashed and verified with the firmware file extracted from the SST39SF020A eeprom.
Previous screen copy showed the successfully flashed MX29F020NB eeprom on my GQ4x4 programmer. Again the TL866II TSOP32 Top and Base to DIP boards was used without any problem!
Conclusion: Sadly the manufacturers do not leave us any choice when we want to fix our dead flashed DVD-ROM devices. By their evil crippling software resulting in useless devices from useless upgrading software! And sadly only after finding a still good working DVD-ROM Player we can try to
extract the necessary Bin file. Afterwards only desoldering the corrupted eeprom, and re-flashing the corrupted chip externally on a universal programmer is the only way!
Sadly the first defect drive with the MX29F002NB eeprom didn’t work with the from the SST39SF020A copied eeprom file. Reason why is unsolved. 12V, 5V (also feeding the eeprom), and 3.3V voltages were measured fine, and all eeprom pin connections to the Panasonic MN103S89FDA cpu checked out fine too! Maybe the MX29F002NB uses other firmware? And the other difference with the SST39SF020A eeprom is that the MX29F002NB also has 7 Write protection sectors which the SST eeprom lacks.
I also wrote down how the eeprom is connected to the large Panasonic cpu in these drives. Because it was the only way to check if all eeprom pins were correctly connected after it was soldered back.
Below picture shows how all TSOP32 eeprom pins are connected to the Panasonic cpu/controller.
Luckily I didn’t destroy the 2 afterwards still perfectly working LG GDR8162B drives. And the still defect drive maybe already suffered from other issues because the turn table motor also made some sound from its internal rolling ball bearing balls. And the rather expensive ordered eeprom adapter sockets (The 7 Board adapter set was about 70 Euro, and the special 8x14mm TSOP32 socket adapter was about 31 Euro!) surely will come in handy a next time my programmers are needed to extract firmware again!
Anyway I now have a tested working Bin file for all the LG GDR 8163B DVD-ROM drives (B stands for the black front plate) that was very hard to get and most LG DVD-ROM users that also deadflashed their LG drives probably also never had! And this bin file couldn’t be found anywhere on the entire internet!
Albert van Bemmelen, Weert, The Netherlands
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Note: You can read his previous article on Recovery Of A Defect Unreadable HDD