Unbricking a MacBook with the Bus Pirate

Unbricking a Mac Book with the Bus Pirate. He documented the entire process on his blog, with step by step instructions.

In my tinkering with EFI I attempted to flash some backdoored firmware to a test MacBook that was kindly donated to science by a friend of mine. This resulted in the bastard doing the S.O.S. beeps and not booting, and it didn’t seem to be recoverable using the Firmware Restore CDs from Apple. I decided that since it was dead anyway I might as well try and recover it by re-flashing the firmware manually using the nifty Bus Pirate that I impulse-bought not long ago, and a copy of flashrom.

Thanks Russm! Via the contact form.

Get an assembled Bus Pirate for $30, including world-wide shipping. Also available from our friendly distributors.

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  1. Wow, good job :) I would have looked at the computer and my Bus Pirate and thought: “I bet someone could do this… oh well.”

  2. I’ve had trouble doing this in-circuit. I suspect that when you power up the
    flash chip with the BP, it powers up other parts on the board which then
    interfere with the SPI bus. I guess it doesn’t happen on the mac book.

    I usually end up unsoldering the flash but it occured to me that you might
    be able to clip either Vss, gnd or maybe SI and it might work. I’ve never had
    it work in-circuit on a flash chip on a HD interface board.

  3. nice.

    i just repaired the same macbook inverter issue last week:

    remove the 4-wire inverter cable (the one going through the left hinge. One of more of the 4 wires is probably bad.
    On mine, only one bad contact in the angle of the hinge. I cut the wire, soldered a fresh one to both ends of the connectors, and light came back. cheap and easy.

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