ThinkPad X60 Recovery guide

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This section documents how to recover from a bad flash that prevents your ThinkPad X60 from booting.

Brick type 1: bucts not reset.

You still have Lenovo BIOS, or you had libreboot/retroboot running and you flashed another ROM; and you had bucts 1 set and the ROM wasn’t dd’d.* or if Lenovo BIOS was present and libreboot/retroboot wasn’t flashed.
In this case, unbricking is easy: reset BUC.TS to 0 by removing that yellow cmos coin (it’s a battery) and putting it back after a minute or two:

*Those dd commands should be applied to all newly compiled X60 ROM images (the ROM images in libreboot/retroboot binary archives already have this applied!):

dd if=coreboot.rom of=top64k.bin bs=1 skip=$[$(stat -c %s coreboot.rom) - 0x10000] count=64k
dd if=coreboot.rom bs=1 skip=$[$(stat -c %s coreboot.rom) - 0x20000] count=64k | hexdump
dd if=top64k.bin of=coreboot.rom bs=1 seek=$[$(stat -c %s coreboot.rom) - 0x20000] count=64k conv=notrunc

(doing this makes the ROM suitable for use when flashing a system that still has Lenovo BIOS running, using those instructions: http://www.coreboot.org/Board:lenovo/x60/Installation.

bad rom (or user error), system won’t boot

In this scenario, you compiled a ROM that had an incorrect configuration, or there is an actual bug preventing your system from booting. Or, maybe, you set BUC.TS to 0 and shut down after first flash while Lenovo BIOS was running. In any case, your system is bricked and will not boot at all.

“Unbricking” means flashing a known-good (working) ROM. The problem: you can’t boot the system, making this difficult. In this situation, external hardware (see hardware requirements above) is needed which can flash the SPI chip (where libreboot/retroboot resides).

Remove those screws:

Push the keyboard forward (carefully):

Lift the keyboard up and disconnect it from the board:

Grab the right-hand side of the chassis and force it off (gently) and pry up the rest of the chassis:

You should now have this:

Disconnect the wifi antenna cables, the modem cable and the speaker:

Unroute the cables along their path, carefully lifting the tape that holds them in place. Then, disconnect the modem cable (other end) and power connection and unroute all the cables so that they dangle by the monitor hinge on the right-hand side:

Disconnect the monitor from the motherboard, and unroute the grey antenna cable, carefully lifting the tape that holds it into place:

Carefully lift the remaining tape and unroute the left antenna cable so that it is loose:

Remove the screw that is highlighted (do NOT remove the other one; it holds part of the heatsink (other side) into place):

Remove those screws:

Carefully remove the plate, like so:

Remove the SATA connector:

Now remove the motherboard (gently) and cast the lcd/chassis aside:

Lift back that tape and hold it with something. Highlighted is the SPI flash chip:

Now wire up the SPI flasher and the Pomona with your PSU.
Refer to rpi_setup.html for how to setup the RPi for flashing.
Note, the guide mentions a 3.3v DC PSU but you don’t need this on the X60: if you don’t have or don’t want to use an external PSU, then make sure not to connect the 3.3v leads mentioned in the guide; instead, connect the AC adapter (the one that normally charges your battery) so that the board has power (but don’t boot it up)
Correlate the pins numbered above with the RPi guide.

Connecting the RPi and SOIC8 test clip (in this image, an external 3.3v DC PSU was used and this isn’t an RPi, but it will look something like this):

Flashrom binaries for ARM (tested on a RPi) are distributed in libreboot_util. Alternatively, libreboot also distributes flashrom source code which can be built.

YES, Libreboot. Retroboot does not currently (as of 3 January 2020) have integrated utilities pre-compiled (in release archives), but you can flash Retroboot ROMs using the util archives from Libreboot.

SSH’d into the (in this example) RPi:

sudo ./flashrom -p linux_spi:dev=/dev/spidev0.0,spispeed=4096 -w yourrom.rom

You might try a lower speed if the above doesn’t work well. Make sure the wires are the same length, within 10cm.

It should be Verifying flash... VERIFIED at the end. If flashrom complains about multiple flash chip definitions detected, then choose one of them following the instructions in the output.

Remove the programmer and put it away somewhere. Put back the tape and press firmly over it:

Your empty chassis:

Put the motherboard back in:

Reconnect SATA:

Put the plate back and re-insert those screws:

Re-route that antenna cable around the fan and apply the tape:

Route the cable here and then (not shown, due to error on my part) reconnect the monitor cable to the motherboard and re-insert the screws:

Re-insert that screw:

Route the black antenna cable like so:

Tuck it in neatly like so:

Route the modem cable like so:

Connect modem cable to board and tuck it in neatly like so:

Route the power connection and connect it to the board like so:

Route the antenna and modem cables neatly like so:

Connect the wifi antenna cables. At the start of the tutorial, this system had an Intel wifi chip. Here you see I’ve replaced it with an Atheros AR5B95 (supports 802.11n and can be used without blobs):

Connect the modem cable:

Connect the speaker:

You should now have this:

Re-connect the upper chassis:

Re-connect the keyboard:

Re-insert the screws that you removed earlier:

Power on!

Operating system:

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