HP 30b bricked when repurposing



I recently tried to repurpose my HP 30b using Gene's cable (using windows Vista + SAM-BA 2.10). In the middle of the flashing process the calculator stopped to respond, display is now off.
I removed the batteries and inserted new ones, used the reset switch, tried self-test... but every attempt was unsuccessful.
Is there anyone having the same problem or is the calc definitively bricked ?


I have never seen a calculator end up totally bricked when doing this.

My suggestions that seem to work (some obvious - no offense intended) :-)

1) Make sure to reboot the PC
2) Go through the steps in the flashing a 20b document carefully point by point.
3) Make sure you do not have Samba open or running until the appropriate point in the instructions.

I had one that I thought was totally dead which I have to Tim Wessman at an HHC meeting and it flashed right away. I had messed up on the procedure.

Best suggestions I can give you. Sorry. Good news is I really have never seen one that was killed


For the flashing process, does the calculator require something valid in the ROM before flashing to let it work, or could the ROM chip contain complete random garbage, all zeros, a half-interrupted combination of old and new data, and would the flashing still work?

Is the processor of the calculator itself involved in the flashing, or is it only the cable and the ROM chip doing stuff?

If flashing the BIOS of a computer fails, you're screwed, since to be able to flash it you need to have a PC that's able to boot up as far as needed for flashing it. How does flashing a calculator compare to this?



a half-interrupted combination of old and new data

I have had SAMBA lock up in the middle of a flash and had to kill the process via Task Manager. When I restarted it, I used the "Erase all Flash" script within SAMBA to clear out whatever may have been written before, and I started the procedure from the beginning. I followed the steps where you turn the calculator on and off while going through the button presses, even if the calculator didn't show anything on the display. I just went through the steps anyway. I have always been able to recover from a bad flash that way, and get back to a calculator that will boot.


It is impossible to "brick" the unit while flashing.

The chip has the serial built in the hardware (does not require firmware to work) and the first step of the flahing process is to upload a tiny program that pulls the input from the serial and writes it to flash.

All you need to do to get up an going once the flash has been erased is use the RESET button on the cable, then press ON. I like to hold RESET for 5 seconds, release, then ON for 5 seconds(sometimes the chips doesn't see it fora second or two).



Thanks for your answers. I've already tried to redo the flashing steps carefully with no luck. But i missed the "erase all flash" script in sam-ba. I a few days i'll have access to a windows XP box that seems to be more stable (i already successfully flashed another hp 30b with it).
Is it also possible that a wrong voltage has been sent to the calc during the flashing process, burning the electronics inside it ?


As previous posters, I've never heard of a 20b or 30b "bricked" in flashing. I had, however, a similar experience here employing a suboptimal USB/serial converter and Windows 7. Please note - if you didn't yet - you need Windows XP for flawless flashing. AFAIK, Vista won't do it. Don't ask me why d:-)



The SAM-BA boot loader is in ROM, not in flash and cannot be bricked except when you really fry the complete device. SAM-BA eats the batteries. You should check if the voltage is still near 3 V.


It is impossible to "brick" the unit while flashing...

If you have a bad flashing cable, The 20b/30b will appear "bricked" even though you follow the directions by letter to the millisecond.

Don't spend too much time and money like I did replacing computers/USB adapters/drivers until you have a tested cable!

Not that this happened to me or anything. :)


There is a point during the process that the calculator screen remains blank (step 8 of the PDF guide), just continue with the process.


A soon as the flash is erased and SAM-BA takes over the chip, it has no notion of the display connected and therefore cannot show anything. The boot loader just waits for serial data and only talks to the serial connection (SAMBA-BA software) and not to the user. There isn't even a way to turn the unit off except by a battery pull.


I guessed as much and I suspect that this is the state the calculator had entered as mentioned in the original post.

Edited: 21 Aug 2011, 4:45 p.m.


Well the calc finally revived !
It was the batteries fault, drained by the first flashing.

Inserting new ones and carefully redoing the flashing steps solved the thing.
A great thank for your invaluable help, all of you in this forum !


My guess is, that the original batteries are not necessarily dead but that it was only the taking-out and inserting batteries again that did the trick. Try the old ones on the flashed machine, they might still be good. I think after a corrupt flashing process the calc needs some kind of reset which is done by taking out the batteries and putting them back in. I had the very same unresponsive state in my 30b when I tried switching (!) between WP34s and the original firmware. SAM-BA wouldn't connect to the calc and taking out the batteries was the last resort - that worked. I suspected them to be dead, but they weren't. Marcus and Bart hinted at that above.

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