FrSKY X-Series receiver bricked (X8R no leds - bootloader corrupted?)

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Philipp
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FrSKY X-Series receiver bricked (X8R no leds - bootloader corrupted?)

Post by Philipp » Thu Nov 16, 2017 2:15 pm

Today I managed to brick two X8R receivers by trying to upgrade them to the latest firmware (XJT_NONEU_V20_build170317.hex.frk).
I was using openTX 2.2.0 (BUILD 85863358, 2017-05-13) and followed the instructions given in Frsky's latest YouTube tutorial.
The upgrade seemed to work on first glance („WRITING EEPROM….“) but failed in the process. Now the X8R’s leds don’t light up anymore and it is not recognized when I try to flash it again. I've made a short video.

I am certain that I've made all the connections right, and although I am not using the standard NIMH battery but a 3S LiFe i am also certain that this is not the problem. The Taranis is supplying 9.8V to the receiver, this beeing barely inside its voltage range of 4-10V. The builtin regulator is working fine, providing the STM32 with 3.3V.

Both X8Rs are well out of warranty (built 20/12/2013), but nevertheless I’d like to make them work again.

I'm aware that there is a similar topic on these forums, but this is a bit different, since I’ve most likely managed to corrupt the Frsky bootloader on the STM chip of the X8R.

I know that the STM chip has an internal bootloader and that i should be able to flash it via an USB-serial-cable (e.g. FTDI) and an STM Tool (this or this). I've already traced out the necessary connections:
Image
Kilrah wrote:
Fri Apr 04, 2014 7:01 am
The problem is less the programmer than the fact that you would need the unencrypted firmware image that is installed at the factory, which FrSky will obviously not release to the public.
At this point nobody has access to them, but we are working with FrSky to establish trusted "service centers" who have the knowledge and equipment to handle that kind of issues :)
I should know in a few days if I can take care of yours.
As Kilrah stated in the other topic, Frsky most likely won't provide a full unencrypted firmware image. What I'd like to see them do is provide their bootloader in unencrypted form, so that one can flash it via the builtin, "unbrickable" STM bootloader. Then one can use the established methods ("Flash external device" in the SD-Card menu on OpenTX, FUC-3 and smartPort update tool, etc.) to flash the encrypted firmware.
I've already contacted Ray from FrSKY about this.

EDIT: I've just realized that this makes no sense, assuming that the bootloader has the key to decrypt the .frk firmware images.
If FrSky does not provide unencrypted firmware, they can't / won't hand me the key to decrypt their firmware. Thoughts on this?


Are there other options to get my two dead X8Rs back to working condition?
Do you have an idea how and why this happened?
I know that I’m not the only one encountering this problem:
https://fpv-community.de/archive/index.php/t-61170.html and https://www.rcgroups.com/forums/showthr ... ked-X4R-SB .
Last edited by Philipp on Thu Nov 16, 2017 3:43 pm, edited 2 times in total.


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bob195558
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Re: FrSKY X-Series receiver bricked (X8R no leds - bootloader corrupt?)

Post by bob195558 » Thu Nov 16, 2017 3:12 pm

Try erSky9x / eePSkye maybe .
Last edited by bob195558 on Thu Nov 16, 2017 3:47 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: FrSKY X-Series receiver bricked (X8R no leds - bootloader corrupt?)

Post by jhsa » Thu Nov 16, 2017 3:33 pm

bob195558 wrote:
Thu Nov 16, 2017 3:12 pm
Try erSky9x / eePSkye maybe .
eepskye has nothing to do with flashing the receiver :o

Ersky9x can be used for the job..

João
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Kilrah
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Re: FrSKY X-Series receiver bricked (X8R no leds - bootloader corrupted?)

Post by Kilrah » Thu Nov 16, 2017 7:05 pm

The whole reason for encrypted firmware files (and thus a bootloader that decrypts them) is to prevent 1:1 copies. That fully relies on nobody else than them having access to the bootloader file so it's obvious they won't give it to you.

You can send them back to them or to one of their premium dealers who I believe do have access.

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Philipp
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Re: FrSKY X-Series receiver bricked (X8R no leds - bootloader corrupted?)

Post by Philipp » Thu Nov 16, 2017 8:04 pm

Kilrah wrote:
Thu Nov 16, 2017 7:05 pm
The whole reason for encrypted firmware files (and thus a bootloader that decrypts them) is to prevent 1:1 copies. That fully relies on nobody else than them having access to the bootloader file so it's obvious they won't give it to you.
Yes, that's what came to my mind later this afternoon. I also thought about buying an extra X8R / X6R and trying to read its bootloader and firmware, but if FrSky put the extra effort in encrypting their firmware files they sure have read out protection enabled, too.

I'll try to find one of their premium dealers who is willing to 'repair' them.

Is there a way to manually trigger the FrSky bootloader and get a response from it? Like a version info, or an "I'm alive!"?
I'll try erSky9x next, and maybe buy one of the FrSky USB dongles.

I'd like to further investigate the reason why I bricked the receivers, mainly to avoid these kind of issues in the future.
I guess there are a lot of possibilities, but do you have an idea what most likely went wrong?


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Kilrah
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Re: FrSKY X-Series receiver bricked (X8R no leds - bootloader corrupted?)

Post by Kilrah » Thu Nov 16, 2017 9:43 pm

No idea really. Could simply be that such old receivers have a buggy bootloader that manages to trash itself.

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Philipp
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Re: FrSKY X-Series receiver bricked (X8R no leds - bootloader corrupted?)

Post by Philipp » Sun Dec 24, 2017 11:08 am

Well, today I tried binding the X6R that I ordered as a replacement (from Hobbyking as well).
I wasn't able to get it into Bind-Mode. When powering it up in any of the documented Bind-Modes instead of a solid green and a flashing red LED I've got both solid, which isn't even mentioned in the manual.
When trying to flash it via Smart Port as done above for the X8Rs I've got the same result: Another bricked/dead receiver.

My only takeaway so far is that I'll only order FrSky gear from 'local' shops from now on. Haven't heard anything back from FrSky / Ray.

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Kilrah
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Re: FrSKY X-Series receiver bricked (X8R no leds - bootloader corrupted?)

Post by Kilrah » Sun Dec 24, 2017 2:56 pm

2 solid lights is exactly how it should be in binding mode until you put the transmitter in bind mode. The flashing confirms the binding.

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Re: FrSKY X-Series receiver bricked (X8R no leds - bootloader corrupted?)

Post by CatRovacer » Fri Mar 23, 2018 9:49 am

If I read the Bootloadeer from another receiver/module via the STLink connected to the SWD and write to same another receiver/module.
Will this Bootloadeer work correctly?
And if i will grab Bootloadeer from other FrSky device (based on same STM32)?

If I was an honest paranoid, then when I wrote the Bootloader in the factory to the virgin receiver, I would apply a patch from the values MCU-ID readed from the stm32.
I hope FrySky has not caught me yet?

My module R9M, but same problems.

it is difficult to communicate with the FrSky support service. May be pigeon post help me?
good food & warm summer


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