The thread is pretty old and some pictures was missing, but as you can read the flash rom containing the firmware of these GP32 consoles seems to go bad over the ages and the code inside became corrupted and the unit didn’t work anymore.
The suggested fix looks in line with the console simptoms so we should check it and give it a try.
It’s quite easy to open the GP32 standard screws and connectors so no special tools needed. You should start removing the 6 screws on the back.
and go on, removing the frame, the LCD flat cable and the speakers wires and connectors.
Now the firmware flash rom is exposed so we can take care of it.
It’s an Atmel AT49BV040 a low voltage 4Mbit Flash in TSOP32 package.
It should be replaced with the same flash or a compatible one even full length because the PCB seems to have enough room for it .
I have some spare SST 39VF040 pin to pin compatible flash roms so we need to program a new one and switch the bad flash with the new one.
Now we need a good firmware/BIOS image for the new chip. In the forum thread linked above the unofficial GPBIOS is suggested because it offers some interesting additional features.
So i removed the old flash …
I read the flash on my Eprom programmer with it’s special adapter to check it was really damaged and its contents corrupted:
Looking at the dump we can spot some repetitive data pattern and usually this is not a good thing to found in a dump:
Looking at the dump the assuption the flash was damaged was probably right so my one cent bet goes in that way … easy win?
The Atmel AT49BV040 fails the verify phase once reprogrammed again, so it should be irremediably bad.
So I programmed the SST 39VF040 with the GPBIOS as suggested in the forum thread.
You should look for the file called fw.bin through the folders.
Once programmed and verified i solder back the flash on the GP32 PCB.
Now it’s time for the smoke test, fingers crossed!
I powered up the console and …
GOTCHA !!! It works again !!!
The guy on darius-saturn.com forum was right, these flash Roms goes bad over the ages and they need to be replaced.
I have some boards getting older in the cellar from ages, they come from my friend Daniele and now it’s time to check them up. The first pick is The Combatribes by Technos.
“The Combatribes (ザ・コンバットライブス) is a 1990 beat ’em-up game released for the arcades by Technos Japan Corp (the developers of Renegade and Double Dragon). The game centers on three vigilantes (identified as cyborgs in the SNES port) who must fight against numerous street gangs in futuristic New York City.”