Initial flashing instructions for T500.
This guide is for those who want libreboot on their ThinkPad T500 while they still have the original Lenovo BIOS present. This guide can also be followed (adapted) if you brick your T500, to know how to recover.
W500 is also mostly compatible with this guide.
You may also be interested in the smaller, more portable Libreboot T400.
EHCI debug might not be needed. It has been reported that the docking station for this laptop has a serial port, so it might be possible to use that instead.
ThinkWiki has a list of CPUs for this system. The Core 2 Duo P8400, P8600 and P8700 are believed to work in libreboot. The T9600 was also tested on the T400 and confirmed working.
T9550 and T9900 was tested by a user, and is compatible as reported in the IRC channel. T9500 and T9400 may also work, but YMMV.
Very likely to be compatible, but requires hardware modification. Based on info from German forum post about installing Core Quad CPU on T500 found in coreboot mailing list. Currently work in progress and no guide available.
Q9100 is compatible and confirmed working (after hw mod), as reported by users in the IRC channel
This video from FrostKiwi (Libera IRC) does a nice illustration and explains everything nicely:
Some models have an Intel GPU, while others have both an ATI and an Intel GPU; this is referred to as “switchable graphics”. In the BIOS setup program for lenovobios, you can specify that the system will use one or the other (but not both).
Libreboot is known to work on systems with only the Intel GPU, using native graphics initialization. On systems with switchable graphics, the Intel GPU is used and the ATI GPU is disabled, so native graphics initialization works all the same.
Use this to find out:
flashrom -p internal
Refer to mac_address.html.
Refer to spi.html as a guide for external re-flashing.
The following shows how to connect clip to the BBB (on the P9 header), for SOIC-16 (clip: Pomona 5252):
POMONA 5252 (correlate with the BBB guide) === ethernet jack and VGA port ==== NC - - 21 1 - - 17 NC - - NC NC - - NC NC - - NC NC - - NC 18 - - 3.3V (PSU) 22 - - NC - this is pin 1 on the flash chip === SATA port === This is how you will connect. Numbers refer to pin numbers on the BBB, on the plugs near the DC jack.
The following shows how to connect clip to the BBB (on the P9 header), for SOIC-8 (clip: Pomona 5250):
POMONA 5250 (correlate with the BBB guide) === RAM slots ==== 18 - - 1 22 - - NC NC - - 21 3.3V (PSU) - - 17 - this is pin 1 on the flash chip === slot where the AC jack is connected === This is how you will connect. Numbers refer to pin numbers on the BBB, on the plugs near the DC jack.
Remove all screws:
It is also advisable to, throughout the disassembly, place any screws and/or components that you removed in the same layout or arrangement. The follow photos demonstrate this:
Remove the HDD/SSD and optical drive:
Remove the palm rest:
Remove the keyboard and rear bezel:
If you have a WWAN/3G card and/or sim card reader, remove them permanently. The WWAN-3G card has proprietary firmware inside; the technology is identical to what is used in mobile phones, so it can also track your movements:
Remove this frame, and then remove the wifi chip:
Remove the speakers:
Remove the NVRAM battery (already removed in this photo):
When you re-assemble, you will be replacing the wifi chip with another. These two screws don’t hold anything together, but they are included in your system because the screw holes for half-height cards are a different size, so use these if you will be installing a half-height card:
Unroute the antenna wires:
Disconnect the LCD cable from the motherboard:
Remove the LCD assembly hinge screws, and then remove the LCD assembly:
Remove the fan and heatsink:
Remove this screw:
Remove these cables, keeping note of how and in what arrangement they are connected:
Disconnect the power jack:
Remove the motherboard and cage from the base (the marked hole is where those cables were routed through):
Remove all screws, arranging them in the same layout when placing the screws on a surface and marking each screw hole (this is to reduce the possibility of putting them back in the wrong holes):
Also remove this:
Separate the motherboard from the cage:
The flash chip is next to the memory slots. On this system, it was a SOIC-8 (4MiB or 32Mb) flash chip:
Connect your programmer, then connect GND and 3.3V
A dedicated 3.3V PSU was used to create this guide, but at ATX PSU is also fine:
Of course, make sure to turn on your PSU:
Now, you should be ready to install libreboot.
Flashrom binaries for ARM (tested on a BBB) are distributed in libreboot_util. Alternatively, libreboot also distributes flashrom source code which can be built.
Log in as root on your BBB, using the instructions in bbb_setup.html#bbb_access.
Test that flashrom works:
./flashrom -p linux_spi:dev=/dev/spidev1.0,spispeed=512
In this case, the output was:
flashrom v0.9.7-r1854 on Linux 3.8.13-bone47 (armv7l) flashrom is free software, get the source code at http://www.flashrom.org Calibrating delay loop... OK. Found Macronix flash chip "MX25L6405(D)" (8192 kB, SPI) on linux_spi. Found Macronix flash chip "MX25L6406E/MX25L6436E" (8192 kB, SPI) on linux_spi. Found Macronix flash chip "MX25L6445E/MX25L6473E" (8192 kB, SPI) on linux_spi. Multiple flash chip definitions match the detected chip(s): "MX25L6405(D)", "MX25L6406E/MX25L6436E", "MX25L6445E/MX25L6473E" Please specify which chip definition to use with the -c <chipname> option.
How to backup factory.rom (change the -c option as neeed, for your flash chip):
./flashrom -p linux_spi:dev=/dev/spidev1.0,spispeed=512 -r factory.rom ./flashrom -p linux_spi:dev=/dev/spidev1.0,spispeed=512 -r factory1.rom ./flashrom -p linux_spi:dev=/dev/spidev1.0,spispeed=512 -r factory2.rom
-c option is not required in libreboot’s patched flashrom, because the redundant flash chip definitions in flashchips.c have been removed.
Now compare the 3 images:
If the hashes match, then just copy one of them (the factory.rom) to a safe place (on a drive connected to another system, not the BBB). This is useful for reverse engineering work, if there is a desirable behaviour in the original firmware that could be replicated in coreboot and libreboot.
While there is a default MAC address inside the gbe region of flash image, it is not one you want to use. Make sure to change the MAC address to the one that is correct for your system, for later internal flash, but always remember to flash unmodfied txtmode image first as it is known to work and only this variant provides memtest. You can follow instructions at ich9utils.html#ich9gen to change the MAC address inside the libreboot image.
Now flash it:
./flashrom -p linux_spi:dev=/dev/spidev1.0,spispeed=512 -w path/to/libreboot/rom/image.rom -V
You might see errors, but if it says
Verifying flash... VERIFIED at the end, then it’s flashed and should boot. If you see errors, try again (and again, and again); the message
Chip content is identical to the requested image is also an indication of a successful installation.
Example output from running the command (see above):
flashrom v0.9.7-r1854 on Linux 3.8.13-bone47 (armv7l) flashrom is free software, get the source code at http://www.flashrom.org Calibrating delay loop... OK. Found Macronix flash chip "MX25L6405(D)" (8192 kB, SPI) on linux_spi. Reading old flash chip contents... done. Erasing and writing flash chip... FAILED at 0x00001000! Expected=0xff, Found=0x00, failed byte count from 0x00000000-0x0000ffff: 0xd716 ERASE FAILED! Reading current flash chip contents... done. Looking for another erase function. Erase/write done. Verifying flash... VERIFIED.
Because part of this procedure involved removing the heatsink, you will need to apply new paste. Arctic MX-4 is ok. You will also need isopropyl alcohol and an anti-static cloth to clean with.
When re-installing the heatsink, you must first clean off all old paste with the alcohol/cloth. Then apply new paste. Arctic MX-4 is also much better than the default paste used on these systems.
NOTE: the photo above is for illustration purposes only, and does not show how to properly apply the thermal paste. Other guides online detail the proper application procedure.
The T500 typically comes with an Intel wifi chipset, which does not work without proprietary software. For a list of wifi chipsets that work without proprietary software, see ../hardware/#recommended_wifi.
Some T500 laptops might come with an Atheros chipset, but this is 802.11g only.
It is recommended that you install a new wifi chipset. This can only be done after installing libreboot, because the original firmware has a whitelist of approved chips, and it will refuse to boot if you use an ‘unauthorized’ wifi card.
The following photos show an Atheros AR5B95 being installed, to replace the Intel chip that this T500 came with:
If you have a WWAN/3G card and/or sim card reader, remove them permanently. The WWAN-3G card has DMA, and proprietary firmware inside; the technology is identical to what is used in mobile phones, so it can also track your movements.
Not to be confused with wifi (wifi is fine).
In DDR3 machines with Cantiga (GM45/GS45/PM45), northbridge requires sticks that will work as PC3-8500 (faster PC3/PC3L sticks can work as PC3-8500). Non-matching pairs may not work. Single module (meaning, one of the slots will be empty) will currently only work in slot 0.
NOTE: according to users reports, non matching pairs (e.g. 1+2 GiB) might work in some cases.
Make sure that the RAM you buy is the 2Rx8 configuration when buying 4GiB sticks (In other words: maximum of 2GiB per rank, 2 ranks per card).
This page might be useful for RAM compatibility info (note: coreboot raminit is different, so this page might be BS)
The following photo shows 8GiB (2x4GiB) of RAM installed:
You should see something like this:
Now install GNU+Linux.
Markdown file for this page: https://libreboot.at/docs/install/t500_external.md
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