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Alienware M15x and M17x R1/R2 - GUIDE - How to reflash the AlienFX chip and get your lights back!


Maxware79
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Big thanks to @ssj92 for guidance on how to get this fix done. 

This guide is to help anyone that fell prey to Dell's corrupted Alienware Command Center Application that was sent out on many M15x and M17x R1/R2 Resource CD's. Installing this Application from the CD would brick the AlienFX chip on the board so the lights went permanently dark. Dell's only out of warranty advice was to replace the board at the users expense. 

You will need:

C8051F MCU Emulator USB Debugger

Connector cable (for connection between Debugger and M15x or M17x port)

M15x HEX File or M17x HEX File (See below for link)

Silicon Labs Flash Utility

To locate the hidden Service Port on the M15x and M17x R1/R2

Second Laptop or Desktop for flashing

 

C8051F MCU Emulator USB Debugger

https://www.ebay.com.au/itm/313304447036

Debugger.thumb.jpg.9846840aebc4c506a986fb78da8c3f02.jpg

 

Connector cable (4 pin connector for connection between Debugger and M15x port)

Cable.jpg.d2b90839429de48374e08e3230d46530.jpg

I managed to find this cable on an old broken laptop. I just removed the connector from one end and stripped some insulation from each wire so they could be inserted into the debugger connector. You may have to search eBay for something suitable

Cable2.jpg.d383d8021c1ea800a6495c5b74a00979.jpg

Make sure the cable is wired correctly into the debugger connector. See below.

585325009_Cablepinout.png.ad1f57087ae905d40ab4879e094f9140.png

 

M15x HEX File

https://www.dropbox.com/s/mb0vfnp24uq0giy/code_m15x_r1.hex?dl=0

 

M17x R1/R2 HEX File

https://www.dropbox.com/s/hd7dwdfouq5tupu/code_m17x_r1.hex?dl=0

 

Silicon Labs Flash Utility

https://getwinpcsoft.com/Silicon-Laboratories-FLASH-Programming-Utilities-238798/download/

 

Locate the hidden Service Port on M15x

To access this connector you will need to remove the palmrest tray. I used a Dremel tool to cut an opening in the tray for easy access. Be careful not to damage the board if you decide to cut this hole without removing the palmrest tray first

1749246504_ServicePort.jpg.d922f37c524af2583503b5f971f6ec91.jpg

 

Locate the hidden Service Port on M17x R1/R2

 

TBA

 

Process

1. Uninstall any traces of Alienware Command Center, if still installed.

2. Turn on the laptop and enter the BIOS

3. Using the secondary computer, download and save the HEX file (link above), Download and install the Flash Utility (link above)

4. Plug the USB Debugger into the secondary laptop

5. Plug the connector cable into the Service Port on the M15x (location shown above)

6. Run the Flash Utility. In the Connect/Disconnect tab, press Connect. If it doesn't connect then select the USB Debugger option and try again

7. Go to the Download Hex File/Go/Stop tab and browse your system for the HEX file you saved earlier. 

8. Enter 000000 in the Hex File Start Address field

9. Check the Erase All Code Space Before Download

10. Press Download (the download should begin)

11. Press the Verify Download button

12. Press Go

You should now have fully functioning AlienFX lighting again and you can reinstall the Alienware Command Center Application. Only use the version from the Dell Support website and not from the Resource CD.

 

Alienware M18x R2 - i7-3920XM - GTX 970M - 16GB 1866Mhz DDR3L - Samsung 970 Evo with MXM to NVMe Adapter - Custom Delft Blue

Alienware M18x R2 - i7-3840QM - GTX 680M - 16GB 1600Mhz - Custom Yellow     Alienware M17x R3 - i7-2760QM - GTX 580M - 16GB 1600Mhz DDR3

Alienware M17x R2 - i7-720MQ - GTX 460M - 8GB 1600Mhz DDR3 - 1920x1200 RGBLED   Alienware X51 - i7-3770 - NO GPU - 16GB 1600Mhz DDR3

Alienware Area 51 ALX - i7-975 Extreme - GTX 980 - 16GB 1600Mhz DDR3   Alienware Aurora R2 - i7-3770K - GTX 670FTW - 16GB 1600Mhz DDR3 

Alienware Aurora R4 ALX - i7-3930K - GTX 1060 - 16GB 1600Mhz DDR3        Alienware Aurora R4 ALX - i7-3930K - GTX 670FTW - 16GB 1600Mhz DDR3

 

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Thanks for making the tutorial. I should have taken pics when I did mine lol 

Alienware Area-51M : Intel Core i9-9900K @ 5.3Ghz    | nVidia GeForce RTX 2080    | AX210 | Samsung 970 Evo+ 
Alienware X14 R1 :       Intel Core i7 12700H 12th-Gen   | nVidia GeForce RTX 3060    | AX411 | SK Hynix 2TB PCIe4 
Alienware M18x R2 :    Intel Core i7 3920XM @ 4.7Ghz | nVidia Quadro RTX 3000     | AX210 | Samsung 980 PRO   
Alienware 18 R1 :          Intel Core i7 4930MX @ 4.0Ghz | nVidia Quadro RTX 3000     | AX210 | SK Hynix 1TB NVMe 
Clevo X170SM-G:         Intel Core i7 10700K @ Stock     | nVidia GeForce RTX 2070S | AX210 | 256GB+2x512GB 


CS Studios YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/c/CSStudiosYT 

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I forgot to take pics of the flash utility while I was using it. I guess I could set it all again though.

 

Alienware M18x R2 - i7-3920XM - GTX 970M - 16GB 1866Mhz DDR3L - Samsung 970 Evo with MXM to NVMe Adapter - Custom Delft Blue

Alienware M18x R2 - i7-3840QM - GTX 680M - 16GB 1600Mhz - Custom Yellow     Alienware M17x R3 - i7-2760QM - GTX 580M - 16GB 1600Mhz DDR3

Alienware M17x R2 - i7-720MQ - GTX 460M - 8GB 1600Mhz DDR3 - 1920x1200 RGBLED   Alienware X51 - i7-3770 - NO GPU - 16GB 1600Mhz DDR3

Alienware Area 51 ALX - i7-975 Extreme - GTX 980 - 16GB 1600Mhz DDR3   Alienware Aurora R2 - i7-3770K - GTX 670FTW - 16GB 1600Mhz DDR3 

Alienware Aurora R4 ALX - i7-3930K - GTX 1060 - 16GB 1600Mhz DDR3        Alienware Aurora R4 ALX - i7-3930K - GTX 670FTW - 16GB 1600Mhz DDR3

 

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  • Maxware79 changed the title to Alienware M15x and M17x R1/R2 - GUIDE - How to reflash the AlienFX chip and get your lights back!

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