The first task of my project is a working development board. A development board means that I have serial communication and I can flash new firmwares the chip and whole mainboard isn’t booting. The chip is a H8S 16-bit microcontroller with 64kb to 128kb EEPROM and is available in different packages. BGA and TQFP. BGA means the pins are under the chip, TQFP has pins on the side. TQFP is nice to hack, but most modern Thinkpads use the BGAs. But a T40 or T42 use a TQFP package. A friend donated his old T42 to me! Thanks a lot! Now with a hackable T42 I can start to create a development board out of the T42 mainboard. Like most other microcontroller this chip has a programmable bootloader in a ROM (called rom loader). The bootloader can boot to different states, configurable via 5 pins (MD0 MD1 P90 P91 P92).
P90 to P92 are only read when MD0 and MD1 are in a special bootstate.
After reading the documentation I found that the pins must match the following volatage levels to select the flash boot mode:
MD0-MD1 = 0V, P90-P92 = 3.3V.
Besides these configuration pins we need some additional wires to the following pins:
/RES – reset active low
UART RX – serial communication
UART TX –
Now it gets interesting. The MCU (microcontroller unit) can use a pin for different purposes depending on the PCB designer. Those pins called multifunction pins. Hopefully we don’t get blocked by unaccessible pins. After reading more documentation and using a Multimeter on the board I found out that /RES, RX, TX, MD1 require soldering, but are easy accessible. MD0 is already in a good state.
P90 is connected via a resistor to ground, but we need it to 3.3V.
Let’s find the resistor to solder 3.3V to it… Mhh. tricky! 3h later I found it on the
board hidden under the PMH4 (2nd EC/GPIO expander). Very uncommon.
P91 is named /SUS. Suspended active low, but can be driven by multiple controllers (chipset + h8s).
Because we want to boot linux on the main cpu later in the project we should not kill the chipset. I added a pin connector to this pin.
And the last pin P92 was connected to the SuperIO UART’s level shifter (MAX3242). I had to desolder the chip because P92 was driven by the level shifter.
Near the EC are 2 testpoints which are connected to an I2C bus. I soldered these too, because an I2C could be useful.
7 I2C SDA
8 I2C SCL
1 patch cable with a 3.3V + 1k Resistor (for P91).
So far so good. But somehow it doesn’t work. Some pins doesn’t have the right level. P92 doesnt have 3.3V. Why not?
P92 is pulled up via a resistor to VCC of the TTL shifter. The VCC isn’t powered. I need to resolder it to another 3.3V pin somewhere and take another look
on the other levels too.
PS. Some work was already done before GSoC started. I posted the first part of soldering on my blog