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Wyse Winterm 9150SE


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#1 Aghaster

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Posted 24 March 2009 - 10:53 PM

I recently got a non-working Wyse Winterm 9150SE thin client that was being thrown away by my university. When asking for details about what kind of problem it had the IT guy simply said it would not boot any more. I took it anyway, to try to give it a shot, maybe I could fix this unit: in a working state this makes a really nice thing to play with. From what I understood if I wire the device to a screen, monitor and mouse, I should at least be able to boot it in order to access the BIOS. But nah, when I power it and press the on/off switch, I get absolutely no reaction. The LED right next to the power button turns yellow, but that's it. If I maintain the power button pressed for a couple of seconds, the LED with turn and and turn on again, but will remain yellow, probably indicating a state where it has power but fails to boot. As I do not even get access to the BIOS, I think that if the problem is software related it will be related to a corrupt BIOS. I have no idea how it would have been physically damaged otherwise, these units used to be solidly attached to the tables where they were in use so that they could not move. Something makes me think it hasn't been damaged electrically either, as if something major killed this unit it would have probably killed other units wired on the same power bar (unless it really got unlucky). So yeah, I think it probably has a corrupt BIOS, or that there is enough chance that the problem is a corrupt BIOS so that I spend time trying to fix it. The problem is that I can't find a lot of information on the hardware. I checked freewysemonkeys.com, and they give various methods of re-installing the OS, which is stored in a different place from the BIOS. They also say that if my BIOS is corrupt I should get to a Wyse service center to get it reprogrammed. I couldn't find a place on the forums that would tell me more about this BIOS reprogramming process, and if it can be done at home. I disassembled the machine carefully, and took pictures of the hardware in the hope that I might find more information:

Posted Image

On the very right, the small detachable part is an ATA flash disk controller along with 4 x 128MB flash memory chips. In other words, that's where the OS is installed (512MB total). If anybody recognizes the white connector on the picture, I'd be interested in knowing if it is anything somehow standard or if it has a special name.

On the top of the motherboard, a bit hidden by the gray cable is a 49LF020A chip, a small flash memory chip (256K) that seems to be holding the BIOS. It is put in a socket, so I could probably take it out. I have no idea if there is a way to reprogram it if I take it out.

What I find intriguing and which I need more information about are the two rows of 7 pins on the bottom right of the motherboard. I looks like it could be used by an external device for some purpose. For some reason while I was googling something different (the WRT54g router on eBay) I found pictures of what seem to be very close to it: a JTAG connector. Is that it? I can't find any more information on it. Thanks for your help, any hint would be appreciated.

#2 systems_glitch

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Posted 24 March 2009 - 11:35 PM

Since the small removable chip is a Flash-type chip (probably really an EEPROM) you can almost certainly reprogram it outside of the Wyse board. You'll need a programmer for it, but those are usually not too hard to build yourself. You can then dump BIOS images to it, or at least read its contents and see if it's valid or not.

If the small Flash disk board has an ATA translation chip, the connector is most likely a reduced-size IDE interface.

Have you checked the power supply, to make sure it provides adequate voltage and current? It may be failing, or it's possible one of the converters on the mainboard has failed.

#3 Aghaster

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Posted 24 March 2009 - 11:51 PM

Since the small removable chip is a Flash-type chip (probably really an EEPROM) you can almost certainly reprogram it outside of the Wyse board. You'll need a programmer for it, but those are usually not too hard to build yourself. You can then dump BIOS images to it, or at least read its contents and see if it's valid or not.

If the small Flash disk board has an ATA translation chip, the connector is most likely a reduced-size IDE interface.

Have you checked the power supply, to make sure it provides adequate voltage and current? It may be failing, or it's possible one of the converters on the mainboard has failed.


The unit did not come with its power supply, however, it was written 12V on the case, and I happened to have a 12V power supply. I'll check to see if the connector is a reduced-size IDE interface, I'll try to count the number of pins and see if it matches IDE. For the EEPROM programmer, I don't know where I should start looking? Any guides on how to build one by myself?

Edit: I counted them, the white connector has 36 pins, and it corresponds to what is written on the board. Wikipedia says that ATA/IDE connecters have 40 pins. No idea what that is, but it does not seem to be ATA/IDE. The ATA Flash Disk Controller is a 55LD017B.

Datasheets:
55LD017B
49LF020A

#4 chaostic

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Posted 25 March 2009 - 01:10 AM

The flash board is most likely a special order version of most ide-flash boards. 36 pins sounds like they reduced some unneeded pins, like for a second channel ata device.

You say you have a 12v power supply for it? How many Amps? Some of these thinclients can take up to 5 amps (The Neowares I have ask for 5a, use 3.5a).

Can you look at the power supply for a working one at school? It really does sound like you are underpowering it. Same thing happened when I tried to run a 1.5a HP thinclient on 1amp powersupply, and the 3.5a neoware one on 2amp.

(A cheap source for 12v power supplies is gamecube/wii adaptors. 12v 4A+)

As for the 14 pin connector, it might be for jtag, but I've never seen any thinclient that has it brought out to a header. The freewyse people might know more.

#5 systems_glitch

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Posted 25 March 2009 - 06:01 AM

An even cheaper solution to your +12v problem is to pull power from an old AT power supply, if you have one. Even a 200 Watt supply should provide you with plenty of amperage.

Yes, 36 pins is most likely reduced-size IDE -- pins 20, 21, 29, and 34 don't connect to anything at all in the standard IDE 40-pin connector, and omitting one of the ground lines or one of the drive select lines would give you a spare pin for power.

For the EEPROM, you may be better off finding a company that will burn it for you. There are many companies that provide this service, as most hobbyists don't have their own EPROM/EEPROM burner -- you send them a dump of the ROM you want burned, and either send them an empty EEPROM or have them provide you with one. They're usually very cheap.

#6 Aghaster

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Posted 25 March 2009 - 06:31 AM

The flash board is most likely a special order version of most ide-flash boards. 36 pins sounds like they reduced some unneeded pins, like for a second channel ata device.

You say you have a 12v power supply for it? How many Amps? Some of these thinclients can take up to 5 amps (The Neowares I have ask for 5a, use 3.5a).

Can you look at the power supply for a working one at school? It really does sound like you are underpowering it. Same thing happened when I tried to run a 1.5a HP thinclient on 1amp powersupply, and the 3.5a neoware one on 2amp.

(A cheap source for 12v power supplies is gamecube/wii adaptors. 12v 4A+)

As for the 14 pin connector, it might be for jtag, but I've never seen any thinclient that has it brought out to a header. The freewyse people might know more.


Hum... you might be right, then. My 12V power supply is 1A, so it might not be enough. When they threw away the thin client they did not throw away the power supply that comes with it, and all these units have been removed from the school's lab since then so I can't go and see how many amps the original ones had. However, they threw away old 100W power supply from old computers, so I will try system_glitch's advice and try to use that as a power source.

system_glitch: For reduced size IDE, is there anything I could find in an electronics store that would help me convert that to regular-size IDE and connect that to my computer?

#7 systems_glitch

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Posted 25 March 2009 - 08:05 AM

You'd probably have to find a mating connector and build one yourself. I'd imagine that would be no easy feat, judging by the size of the connector. You probably won't need to plug it into your desktop once you get the machine running -- the 9150se looks to support booting from USB and PXE, so you can install a different OS that way.

#8 Aghaster

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Posted 25 March 2009 - 08:24 AM

You'd probably have to find a mating connector and build one yourself. I'd imagine that would be no easy feat, judging by the size of the connector. You probably won't need to plug it into your desktop once you get the machine running -- the 9150se looks to support booting from USB and PXE, so you can install a different OS that way.


I'm at school right now, I took one of the 100W power supply I've hidden in the stash of old hardware me and my friends have saved from the trash (we found an almost unused class). I also took a bunch of old IDE cables which I can cut without any problem. The biggest problem is the tiny size of the connector, there seem to be a spacing of about 1mm between the pins. I've been googling for a matching connector without success, so I guess it is something non-standard. It does not seem to be a necessary task considering there are problems that come first such as improper powering or a corrupt BIOS (there's no use in installing a new OS if the BIOS is corrupt, it still won't boot). What I'll do first is short the correct wires of the power supply so that it can turn on without a computer, and then when I'll come back home I'll try to power my thin client again. However, I have a problem: I do not have a proper connector for power for my thin client. I need to find one first and solder that to the end of one of the power cables that comes out of my power supply. It is a round connector, just like the one you'd have with the power supply from your router or switch (round end). If it supports booting from USB, then maybe I could even buy a USB memory stick and get a much larger space for the OS. Anyway, I need to get this booting first!

#9 Aghaster

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Posted 25 March 2009 - 07:02 PM

I soldered the proper power connector to the 12V output of the power supply, and shorted the "PowerGood" wire with a ground cable to get the power supply working without being connected to a motherboard. However, all I get is a brighter yellow LED, it still won't do anything. The BIOS is probably corrupt, or the hardware has been damaged.

EDIT: I can say that the power supply I've modified works fine with my WRT54G router, so the problem is no good power supply again (this one should be powerful enough).

#10 Aghaster

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Posted 26 March 2009 - 02:29 PM

I'm trying to figure out the correct pinouts for the JTAG connector if it is one, but I can't find anything on wyse + jtag on google. It has two rows of 7 pins, which seems to be common in MIPS based systems, but this one is not. Any idea on where the find the good pinouts? There are various non-standard ways of doing it, it seems.

#11 R4p1d

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Posted 27 March 2009 - 02:38 PM

I'm trying to figure out the correct pinouts for the JTAG connector if it is one, but I can't find anything on wyse + jtag on google. It has two rows of 7 pins, which seems to be common in MIPS based systems, but this one is not. Any idea on where the find the good pinouts? There are various non-standard ways of doing it, it seems.


Can you take a picture of the connector?

#12 Aghaster

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Posted 27 March 2009 - 04:37 PM

I'm trying to figure out the correct pinouts for the JTAG connector if it is one, but I can't find anything on wyse + jtag on google. It has two rows of 7 pins, which seems to be common in MIPS based systems, but this one is not. Any idea on where the find the good pinouts? There are various non-standard ways of doing it, it seems.


Can you take a picture of the connector?


Look the picture in the first post, it is on the right of the heat sink on the motherboard (part in the middle). It has two rows of 7 pins.

#13 xc325

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Posted 27 March 2009 - 08:11 PM

I have a bunch of this working if i can be of any assistance... Haven't tried hacking this model but have a few XP v50s that i'm trying to load with linux..

Edited by xc325, 27 March 2009 - 08:11 PM.


#14 R4p1d

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Posted 29 March 2009 - 03:31 AM

Did you ever find out what style connector it was?
You could always try soldering to the traces.

#15 Aghaster

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Posted 29 March 2009 - 10:28 AM

Did you ever find out what style connector it was?
You could always try soldering to the traces.


I found out that IDE cables fit the supposed JTAG connector, but only one row at a time. The problem is that the IDE cable has too much space in between its two rows, the one on the board is too close together. I could also go to an electronics store and try to find something which fits it perfectly, but there is none near my home or somewhere I often go to.

#16 spiderbait

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Posted 20 April 2009 - 10:49 AM

Hi Aghaster.

My father gave me a Wsye 9150SE that he said was damaged from a power surge at the office. The amber light would come on for a few seconds then off, then nothing. I found by holding the DELETE key down on the keyboard first, then powering on the WYSE it booted to the BIOS. CONTROL ALT DELETE to get to XP. I need to do this every time. Guess BIOS corrupt. Note the default password for BIOS is Fireport (capital F)....IAN

#17 Aghaster

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Posted 20 April 2009 - 04:10 PM

Hi Aghaster.

My father gave me a Wsye 9150SE that he said was damaged from a power surge at the office. The amber light would come on for a few seconds then off, then nothing. I found by holding the DELETE key down on the keyboard first, then powering on the WYSE it booted to the BIOS. CONTROL ALT DELETE to get to XP. I need to do this every time. Guess BIOS corrupt. Note the default password for BIOS is Fireport (capital F)....IAN


That's quite cool, I'm not home right now but I'll definitely give it a shot when I can. It would be fun if it works :)

#18 Aghaster

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Posted 20 April 2009 - 10:03 PM

Hi Aghaster.

My father gave me a Wsye 9150SE that he said was damaged from a power surge at the office. The amber light would come on for a few seconds then off, then nothing. I found by holding the DELETE key down on the keyboard first, then powering on the WYSE it booted to the BIOS. CONTROL ALT DELETE to get to XP. I need to do this every time. Guess BIOS corrupt. Note the default password for BIOS is Fireport (capital F)....IAN


That's quite cool, I'm not home right now but I'll definitely give it a shot when I can. It would be fun if it works :)


Nope, I'm out of luck :( it doesn't get me to the BIOS

#19 chaostic

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Posted 21 April 2009 - 12:32 AM

Time to break out the multimeter, and IC datasheets. Trace where the 12v leads to, and see if there a dc-dc regulator or ic that might bring it completely down to 5v (or whatever), or might bring part of it down to 5v (or whatever), and make sure that the voltage out you see is what it should be, according to the datasheet docs. Check the various ICs V+ pin and compare what it is to what it should be. If it's not, its a power issue. Easiest thing (relatively speaking) to trace. Otherwise, it would be fried logic chips. Good luck on that.




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