I am trying to Flash, Skulls on Lenovo X230

I thought I would ask if anyone has done this recently? I notice a web page from Chuck Nemeth on this, where he spent every evening for a week working on the details to do this successfully.

I have duckduckgo ed the subject. Problem with that being search engine can lead to old links, which have most clicks.

I wanted to dialogue with someone who has done this same project recently.

I started on Discourse - Qubes. and Moderator suggested, while interesting, it was not really about Qubes. I should try elsewhere.

One of the certified Qubes suggested laptops is Insurgo, who generously explains on what he does to convert a basic Lenovo X230 into a laptop approved by Qubes, which includes Neutering the Intel ME. That part of Intel ME which phones home to the Intel Mothership and accepts programming changes clandestinely. Insurgo does more than just sell these products, but encourages folks to do this same conversion project locally, and provides that how to information.

Just doing the Skulls portion…

I am working from:
https://github.com/merge/skulls/blob/master/x230/README.md#preparation-required-hardware

As someone else said. One of the biggest problems is finding all the right bits and pieces of hardware to do the flash.

On github, skulls, the write up seems quite good. I am always looking for someone who might say. Well, what was not said is----?

I am also having difficulties in getting the correct power supply for a programmer. I have to order from China. I do not want to wait for three weeks, or maybe more because of Corona delays. Or weather -whatever.

Second Alternative. I might try to buy a PI, Still, that is not cool as I only need it for this one project. I also have problems trying to figure out which is the correct one to buy. Anyone knowledgeable in Raspberry PIs who could point at an exact product on say; Amazon-US, or Newegg?

Given I could hard brick the laptop to get rid of the part of ME that allows Intel to slip in the back door and change the basic processing of the Intel chip.

I have limited income as I am 71 and on Social Security. Also I do not have at home cable internet. I hope to do this by using HotSpot Iphone connection. I can not afford the real product from Insurgo, or the 14 inch Librem laptop from those guys in California. This project makes me appreciate they deserve the amount of dollars they are charging.

I thought I would ask if anyone has done this Bios Skulls flash project recently?

1 Like

I havent done any custom flashing of anything apart from cellphones so maybe someone else knows here.

I am actually more curious why you decided to go with the Lenovo laptop. You have a local laptop maker (modder?) System76 that runs linux out of the box with a pre-disabled Intel ME.

hauntsanctuary
February 5

I havent done any custom flashing of anything apart from cellphones so maybe someone else knows here.

I am actually more curious why you decided to go with the Lenovo laptop. You have a local laptop maker (modder?) System76 that runs linux out of the box with a pre-disabled Intel ME.

A good question. Honestly never thought about System 76.

You bring up a good point that pre-disabled Intel ME. I was unaware of System 76 having done that.

I admit to not having read a lot about System 76.

The reason being I am a very limited budget. I receive a thousand dollars a month. In the US. Medicare. The health care plan for seniors does not pay for everything. So that thousand becomes a lot less.

Once I saw the base price of a System 76. I was only kicking tires.

I can not foresee buying the modded up Lenovo X230 which becomes the Insurgo that is now $1200.00 US or so. I more frequently look at the pricing on a Librem 14 plus anti interdiction. Of course my pricing includes 64 GB of Ram. Drool.

I will be watching. As people buy the Librem 14 they might start offering their older 13 inch Librems for an interesting price.

The plain Lenovo X230 I am trying to mod cost $248.00 US to get to my door. Plus a bit over a hundred for 16 GB of RAM. I don’t recall what I paid for the SSD I swapped into it. Surely less than seventy.

Poverty is with me constantly.

My whining about my being poor is relevant. My poverty directs a lot of my decisions.

i’m also interested in this topic I will be positng some links in the future.
You might be succesful in buying a secondhand laptop in the spectrum you’re talking about for cheap on some soft / hardware forum with a looking to buy + looking to sell message board.

First off: I have not done this to hardware. I don’t own a x230 and have not tried any of that.

With that said, the instructions on Github a pretty straight forward, if you get your Hands on the hardware required. If i where you, i’d seriously wait for the powersuply. Even if it takes 2-3 weeks, that’s certainly better than bricking the chip.

Also, on the pi: I’d highly recommend getting one. If you’re on a limited budget it really is one of the cheapest options to have a machine around to “play” with. Trust me, once you have it, you’ll find a use for it. You could, for example, repurpose it into a pi-hole after using it to flash the laptop. For flashing any pi should work, but i’d recommend the pi 3B+. the 2 isnt any cheaper and the pi 4 is way more power than you need. Plus the 3B+ is more or less the standard at the moment. The 4 hasn’t been out for too long and while they should be compatible, 99% of stuff out there is for the pi 3.

Just make sure you realize that there is a non-zero chance of bricking your Laptop. Power Fluctuations, a wrong command or a bad contact could all lead to a bricked device. The 1200 bucks you pay for a pre-flashed laptop take that into account. I’m personally not sure if i’d risk a 300$ machine if i where as low income as you are. Please be sure that you are fine with trashing the machine in the worst case. If you depend on the laptop working or 300$ is more money than you want to risk, you are maybe better of finding something that does what you need it to do and isn’t Intel powered…

The Pi 3 B+ lists a voltage of 2.5 volts. I guess that is input volts to describe power supply cube.

I think the recommended voltage for flash is 5 volts. I need to figure out memory, and an SD card. or are they the same thing. There are two options for wires/cables to go to Pomona Clip. is one superior to the other. If I follow the other fellows advice. I will have to get a soldering iron/solder for this as well. Something to hold the heat off other things.

Thanks for your knowledge.

These things are not always clear.

I have to wait on Stimulus three for money to do anything, which is some weeks away.

As I do not have at home internet, I have a very limited amount of ‘Hot Spot’ off my phone. So having a PI around is not of much use to me. Except for this project.

I’m pretty sure you’ve gotten Voltage and Amperage mixed up here. The Pi needs 5 Volts Input at a minimum of 2.5 Amps. That’s basically the specification of the USB Powersupply you need to power the pi. Most newish Phone Chargers can deliver that though.

Regardless of that, you should provide external Power to the Pomona Clip as the flashing requires stable 5V and the Pi can only output 3.3V.

As for storage: If you don’t plan on permanently running the pi, any basic MicroSD Card will do. Get a 16G one and it’ll be fine. More expensive ones will only matter when it comes to longevity.

From what i’ve seen, the Pomona Clips have varying connectors. The Pi has GPIO Pins. There are very cheap (often some pi kits include them) cables that can connect to those pins. I’d recommend getting a Pomona clip that either also has just pins at the end or one that’s connected to a board that has pins. No need to get anything that you’d have to solder for a single flash.

You are right, it is 2.5 Amps not volts. Do I really need five volts to flash?

The only HDMI screen I have is 27 inches. I have a fourteen inch serial port. Do I need a smaller HDMI screen?

Thanks for talking to me.

Just saw

The Size of your Screen is irrelevant. The Pi has a regular HDMI Output. Anything up to 1080p no matter the size works fine.

For flash will this have five volt output? Any reason this would not work for flash?