Jan 24

Resurecting the Dead (Vypyr DSP Board)

Vypyr DSP BoardThere have been a couple of posters this month who seem to have a solution for ‘bricked’ Peavey Vypyr amplifiers that are dead as a result of memory error flashes (firmware upgrades) gone wrong.  This happens way too often when Vypyr users try to upgrade or change the firmware in their amplifiers.

The flash memory used on the DSP board is an M25PE40 4Mbit Flash.  It is shown as U2 on the DSP board schematicsHenrik Thuvander took the approach of removing the flash memory chip and replacing it with a new one that he purchased from Farnell   He programmed the chip using a Batronix BX40 chip programmer.  If you have one of these you might be set.  However, the economics of purchasing a $300 US chip programmer to replace a $125 US component is questionable.  Additionally, this involves unsoldering and soldering in a new chip (not a task for the timid in these days of surface mount technology).

Stephen Teves also looked into this problem and came out with a solution that works much better for me.  There is an electronics prototyping kit (geek’s erector set) called the Arduino Uno.  Unos are just cool little kits that allow bread boarding experimentation where you can program the hardware from your computer.  The Uno is about 20 euros, but I was fortunate enough that my son-in-law bought me an Uno kit for Christmas.  One of the things that you can do with an Uno is program it to be a flash memory programmer (like the Batronix mentioned above).

Stephen had a bricked Vypyr 75.  He located and loaded the software to turn his Uno into a flash programmer.  He then bought a good Vypyr 15 and used his Uno with the serprog program to read the firmware from the flash memory on it.  Then, using a chip Test Clip Adapter (as opposed to unsoldering the chip) was able to connect the Uno to the chip in his Vypyr 75 and resurrect its flash memory from that copied from the Vypyr 15 (All of the First Generation Vypyrs use the same firmware).  This was done with the flash memory chip still on the DSP board, so the burn was able to be made without having to solder or unsolder anything.  He now has a very usable 75 and is looking to sell a Vypyr 15 that he no longer needs.

I’m in the process of following Steven’s approach.  More to come on this later.  My Uno is all set up, but I’m waiting on the test clip socket adapter to arrive.


UPDATE: 1/15/2014

I have my Arduino Uno all set up to reflash the serial memory chip, but I’m still waiting on the clip that will allow me to program the chip in-circuit. Ordered it on Amazon. They indicated three day delivery when checking out, but on the third day the delivery status was changed to weeks out. I hope they aren’t looking for a good supplier review from me.


UPDATE: 1/24/2014

Well, the test clip came in.  I reconfigured my Arduino to run sprog.  Got everything working.  Once I clipped it to the DSP board I got a message that said:

Error: cannot read from device: Success

Looking things over, I noticed that I had the VCC connected to the 5 volt supply on the Arduino instead of the 3.3 volt supply.  I probably fried the memory chip.  Guess I’ll have to solder on the board anyway.  SAD FACE!!  More to come later once I can source and procure a new serial memory chip.

UPDATE: 1/26/2014

Everything is wonderful, Life is good.  I didn’t let the ‘blue smoke’ out of the chip.  I did learn (after about 20 hours of banging my head against the keyboard) that this does not work properly if you are using Ubuntu in a VM environment.  I guess that the flashrom program needs to have tighter control of the USB port.  After doing a dual boot install of Ubuntu re-flashing the Vypyr worked like a dream.  The little Vypyr is putting on its little light show now and everything is working like new.  Details in my next blog post.