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2 Posts

09-12-2018

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How to force programming of Embedded Controller Firmware on ThinkCentre Tiny PC?

2018-09-12, 5:12 AM

I have applied the latest (8/29/2018 version) of the ThinkCentre BIOS Update for M93p Tiny PCs to ten machines.
On three of the machines, the BIOS update attempted to first update the Embedded Controller Firmware.
Two of those Embedded Controller Firmware updates failed the 'Verify' step after firmware programming, and then got stuck in a loop re-trying. I killed the process while it was in a 5 second wait state and restarted the BIOS update. This time, it bypassed the Embedded Controller Firmware update thinking that was okay, and proceeded to successfully update the BIOS.

 

However, those machines that had the 'verfy' issue when flashing the Embedded Controller Firmware now suffer from a 25-30 second pause/delay during the Windows 10 boot up process, and also when shutting down. Even worse, coming out of 'Sleep' also has a 25-30 second pause/delay!

 

Looking at the Autoexec.bat file on the USB drive used to perform the BIOS updates, it executes the following to update the Embedded Controller Firmware:

 

SPI042 FBCT32A.bin /V 32A

 

This step does nothing if it determines that the Embedded Controller Firmware does not need updating.

 

QUESTION: Is there anyway to force a re-flashing of the Embedded Controller Firmware, such as a '-force' switch for SPI042?

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12 Posts

11-26-2018

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Re: How to force the programming of Embedded Controller Firmware on ThinkCentre Tiny PC?

2018-11-26, 4:20 AM

Hey,

 

I want to add that I'm having the same issue on two out of 3 comptuers that I have just attempted to update. At first I thought I did something wrong, but it appears that the update package Lenovo has on the website is corrupt.

 

I got the same error as you, failed to verify and then got stuck in a loop after flashing the Embedded Controller Firmware.

 

After a reboot, I also should add that any system with this installed causes the Generic USB Hub to report an "invalid device descriptor" and shows Code 43 attempting to start.

 

I'm pretty appalled that Lenovo has not replied to your issue, but I'm hoping that now after duplicating it multiple times, they will finally be able to chime in and escalate it.

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12 Posts

11-26-2018

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Re: How to force the programming of Embedded Controller Firmware on ThinkCentre Tiny PC?

2018-11-28, 18:20 PM

Hey, I just wanted to give you an update on something I did to solve the issue of the Embedded Controller flashing.

 

Because Lenovo support is completely incompetent and won't even take the time to reply, the only solution was to modify the flashing exe to skip the version check, because there was no override to force a flash of a lesser or equal version.

 

Here is a link to download the modified flashing exe: https://www20.zippyshare.com/v/wETP0pD9/file.html

 

  1. Download the BIOS for FLASHING FROM INSIDE THE OS (not USB or CD version)
  2. Extract the BIOS package on Lenovo's website to YOUR C DRIVE (DO NOT RUN FROM USB)
  3. Drop this downloaded file into the folder where you extracted the BIOS and overwrite the existing file.
  4. Then run Flash.cmd as Administrator and the EC will flash. It should verify successfully.
    • Alternatively you can run only the command SPIW0323.exe FBCT32A.bin /V 32A to not reflash the whole BIOS.

 

Afterwards you can reboot and your boot should be instant again.

 

For the record, this is the last time I will ever buy a Lenovo product. Their support has proven themselves to be ineffective and incompetent. I've had BIOS issues with Dell in the past, and within a few hours a firmware engineer will respond on their forum to replicate your issue. Additionally, in my experience a Dell engineer will contact you directly by phone to work with you to resolve a firmware issue. Your post has gone months with no response, and I think this is unacceptable for any professional business product. I have attempted to contact Lenovo, but so far my tickets have been unanswered, even for such a serious issue affecting the M93 platform. I strongly encourage you to do the same and never buy from Lenovo again, until they step up their support and quality of releases.

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1 Posts

12-07-2018

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Re: How to force the programming of Embedded Controller Firmware on ThinkCentre Tiny PC?

2018-12-07, 12:19 PM

Thank You! Thank You! and Thank You!

 

You are are really saved my ass!

The factory one from win 8.1 on m93p tiny didn't work for me.

I have downloaded your modified file. Under win 8.1 command line, it went to a neverending loop.

Then I copied it to a bootable usb stick, what I made before for updating a bios. SPIW0323.exe FBCT32A.bin (without /V 32A), hit enter and voila! 

I have and updated firmware now and all of my USB ports are working again.

Happiness!!!

 

Thank you!

 

 

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03-12-2019

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  • Message 5 of 9

Re: How to force the programming of Embedded Controller Firmware on ThinkCentre Tiny PC?

2019-03-12, 11:26 AM

Hi bundies522, could you please re-upload the file (SPIW0323.exe)? I'm facing the same problem here. Thank you so much! 

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31 Posts

01-27-2017

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Re: How to force the programming of Embedded Controller Firmware on ThinkCentre Tiny PC?

2019-06-09, 22:16 PM

Bump again. bundies522,  can you upload this modified executable one more time?

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4358 Posts

01-01-2012

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  • Message 7 of 9

Re: How to force the programming of Embedded Controller Firmware on ThinkCentre Tiny PC?

2019-06-12, 15:36 PM

 

Could you upload this modified executable again, please?

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08-01-2020

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  • Message 8 of 9

Re:How to force the programming of Embedded Controller Firmware on ThinkCentre Tiny PC?

2020-08-01, 8:06 AM

Hi i have a thinkcentre e32 motherboard and after flashing to the latest bios, my computer hangs on boot as well as takes forever to resume from sleep. I see that my EC version is stil at FBCT13A. I have a feeling it is corrupted but I cannot get the tool to write again. no matter what I do it says the version number does not need flashing.

 

You mentioned you hacked the flashing tool to bypass verification, can you share the file?

 

Since my board is on fbct13A I cannot flash to an older version. If I flash 29 or 32. My system gets bricked. I tried 32 and it flashed and hung saying Waiting 1 sec. I rebooted and it was dead. I had to unsolder the flash ship and flahs it back with the 74 bios. Now its showing that the embedded controller is FBCT13a but i think its corrupted due to the resume from sleep hanging and also booting causing a temporary freeze.

 

 

 

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07-22-2020

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  • Message 9 of 9

Re:How to force the programming of Embedded Controller Firmware on ThinkCentre Tiny PC?

2020-08-10, 20:54 PM

I FINALLY FIGURED OUT A WORKAROUND!!!!!!! But it is tricky to do! 

 

So if you feed spiw0323.exe the fbct32a.bin file, it will obviously flash, but will lock up the system. However, if you are quick, you can run spiw0323.exe and update to fbct32a.bin and it will begin to erase. RIGHT after the erase is done, and it says 'checking' you can cntrl-c and break out of the flashing program.

 

Then you can just run the FBCT13A.bin update and since the EC firmware is blank, it'll happily flash it

 

so the commands I ran were

 

Spiw0323.exe fbct32a.bin /V 29A

 

as soon as it says 'checking' ctrl-c out and go back to prompt

 

 

then run

 

SPIW0323.exe FBC13A.bin /V 29A and it will flash. As soon as I did this, my sleep started working normally and my computer no longer hangs when booting

 

I have a thinkcenter e32 motherboard.

 

Mod note:  I believe this owner means ThinkStation E32, which uses the same BIOS as:  ThinkCentre E93, M73p, M83, M93, M93p, ThinkStation P300  -Al

 

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