MCA graphicsboard bricked after update

Ford FX, NX and MCA headunits
Post Reply
Go4IT
Posts: 255
Joined: 08 Feb 2019, 12:25

MCA graphicsboard bricked after update

Post by Go4IT » 14 May 2019, 15:40

A while ago i did update an MCA with ServicePack 2015 and after done, it won't turn on the display anymore. The mainboard unit runs well, and if i swap the graphicsboard everything works. It seems the update bricked the graphicsboard.

Any ideas here?

I would try to desolder the flash (for heavens sake this one is TSOP-48 and not BGA...) and put a flash chip of s working device onto it, in case only the content is damaged.

DGAlexandru
Posts: 15
Joined: 04 Aug 2019, 22:47

Re: MCA graphicsboard bricked after update

Post by DGAlexandru » 18 Aug 2019, 09:40

Start the update with the good Screen then still during the update of the main board (OMAP CPU), swap the screens and let it finish the update process.

I did this in the past with a DVD NX - I was playing around with FW versions - with or W/O camera and flashed a camera FW to a screen without it, so the screen was bricked (Altera I - no camera vs Altera II with camera - for old NX - those with DVD) and I was able to recover it using this "trick".

Go4IT
Posts: 255
Joined: 08 Feb 2019, 12:25

Re: MCA graphicsboard bricked after update

Post by Go4IT » 18 Aug 2019, 09:58

Pretty cool tip, @dgalexandru, i'll try that!
This may heal the firmware in the graphicsboard flash without desoldering it. Because of the massive mass layers around the flash, it's really a pain to unsolder and resolder them. I did this once on a spare board and found that the pads will loose up because of the heat impact needed to melt the tin.

Therefore i was looking for an approach to do this via the JTAG-Interface of the graphicsboard. Unfortunately i did not came very far. I managed to identify the pins and also could see the JTAG-ID (the Altera Cyclone) but could not do anything. The reason is that a FPGA does not have a common interface for the Flash, it is made by the "structure" of the FPGA and this is hidden. So you need to know what the FPGA forms (usually some kind of CPU) and how to bring software into the RAM and let the CPU execute it which then accesses the Flash chip and sends it's data over the JTAG wire to the interface. This is not a trivial task because you need to write the software yourself...

Oh, by the way, one thing about the camera stuff. The NX is different from the MCA since there are specialised boards having the Video ADC. On the MCA the boards are the same but only the parts are missing. But for all of them (even the FX) the software is the same on devices with or without Video.
You can plug a video enabled graphics board onto a non-video mainboard and still get video if you apply the signal on the pads of the mainboard.

The Altera I (EP1...) was used on the FX devices only. The NX uses Altera Cyclone II (EP2...) and the MCA Cyclone III (EP3...).

I know that the firmware on the graphicsboard needs to "match" the firmware of the mainboard somehow. If not you get strange text messages and screen layouts, but everything works. But they will always show a picture. So for the boards not showing a picture anymore i expect the firmware was not completly written, as they worked before the update.

Go4IT
Posts: 255
Joined: 08 Feb 2019, 12:25

Re: MCA graphicsboard bricked after update

Post by Go4IT » 30 Sep 2019, 11:07

DGAlexandru wrote:
18 Aug 2019, 09:40
Start the update with the good Screen then still during the update of the main board (OMAP CPU), swap the screens and let it finish the update process.
I've tested this yesterday with an FX, which had the same problem but could not successfully follow your suggestion. After i removed the working front and put on the defective one, the unit seem to run for a minute or so and then CD stops. I've waited half an hour but it does not change.

DGAlexandru
Posts: 15
Joined: 04 Aug 2019, 22:47

Re: MCA graphicsboard bricked after update

Post by DGAlexandru » 05 Oct 2019, 08:31

Maybe my trick works only on NX... or my bad screen was still working on the BUS side with the WatchDog and OMAP, but not giving anything on the display.

We should test and see what happens with a FX unit when it is ON and you remove and put back the screen and then the same with a NX unit... and try to understand if there are diferences.
Last edited by DGAlexandru on 05 Oct 2019, 20:49, edited 1 time in total.

Go4IT
Posts: 255
Joined: 08 Feb 2019, 12:25

Re: MCA graphicsboard bricked after update

Post by Go4IT » 05 Oct 2019, 10:00

I'll try. On an FX i can tell that it won't automatically start up after putting it back, but if you push the ON-Tipper it seems to start without issues.

Post Reply