[GUIDE] Reflash the Linx Tablet Firmware (BIOS)

If you're gonna create a guide... stick it in here!
Deleted User 1605

April 7th, 2015, 7:38 pm

Reflashing The Linx Firmware (aka BIOS) With The Raspberry Pi.

Hello All.

For those who have managed to brick their tablet.. Easily done when playing with the firmware settings!
How do I know this?? Yes, been there, done that!!

Models that have been reflashed: Linx 7, Linx 10. (Linx 8 to be confirmed shortly, but I don't expect any problems.)

I've written this guide so that this problem can be fixed without having to pay a technician (at technician rates) with easy to acquire equipment.
Cheap USB programmers can be bought for around £30 upwards... but these are "single purpose". You may know someone that may be prepared to lend you their Pi or assist with the task. I've now allocated a Raspberry Pi as one of my chip flashing tools.

I haven't opened my Linx 8 yet (busy, busy, busy), but I assume that a similar chip is fitted in these model. If anyone has information then I would be grateful for confirmation. Please confirm the exact chip fitted **BEFORE** you attempt to start flashing it. {Edit due here}

EDIT:08/04/15. The firmware files (the actual binary file) for the Linx 7 and 8 are the same size as for the Linx 10. This implies a flash chip of the same capacity. I wouldn't be at all surprised if the chips are identical in all of the models.


Raspberry Pi model B (B+ or Pi 2).
USB keyboard and mouse/trackball etc.
8Gb SD card (or 8GB microSD card for the Pi 2)
SD/microSD card reader/writer See an example http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/ALL-IN-1-MULT ... 46319f6892
Chip test clip (Pomona 5250 test clip recommended) See an example here. http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/5250-POMONA-T ... 5b0874e06f
A few jumper wires. 7 female to female, 7 male to female. 20cm long or thereabouts. Examples here. http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/20cm-male-to- ... 4630166892

Software: All free.
Firmware file.
Raspian. (http://www.raspberrypi.org plus other updates etc.)
Flashrom (http://www.flashrom.org)


Hardware Setup Overview.

The Raspberry Pi is connected up as normal. The only extras required are 6 jumper wires which are connected to the GPIO pins. Details below.

The test clip has 8 connections (4 per side).
3 of these connections will be joined together, making 1 connection to the Pi.
The remaining 5 test clip connections connect to the Pi.

I've used a simplified pin notation below. This makes things easier to follow.

Pi GPIO pin numbering.
See the pin numbering at the top of http://www.raspberrypi-spy.co.uk/2014/0 ... nd-pinout/
The later Pi's have more pins (40 for the Pi 2). The numbering for all of the models is the same. e.g. pin 25 is ground on all models.
Referring to the top picture of http://www.treehugger.com/slideshows/ga ... computers/
Pin 1 can be seen marked. The odd numbered pins are on the lower row. Even numbered pins are above.

Required pins.
Pin 17 +3.3V
Pin 19 DI (data in)
Pin 21 DO (data out)
Pin 23 CLK (clock)
Pin 24 CS (chip select)
Pin 25 GND

Flash Chip
Pin 1 CS
Pin 2 DO
Pin 3 WP (write protect) *
Pin 4 GND
Pin 5 DI
Pin 6 CLK
Pin 7 HOLD *
Pin 8 +3.3V *

* Pin 3, Write Protect and pin 7 Hold, are connected to pin 8, +3.3V (and then to the Pi).

The pin numbering for this type of chip can be seen here http://www.dz863.com/datasheet-83321575 ... ma-8-soic/
This is just an example to indicate how to find pin 1 and show how the pins are numbered. Look at the diagram for the 8 pin SOIC (small outline integrated circuit). Pin 1 is marked by a circle (an indentation or paint mark on an actual chip). Numbering is anticlockwise from here.

Next: Part 2 - Connecting up.
Last edited by Deleted User 1605 on April 24th, 2015, 9:19 am, edited 9 times in total.
Deleted User 1605

April 7th, 2015, 7:54 pm

Part 2.
Connecting Up.
I've described a procedure that will work with minimal financial outlay.. For those who wish to use a patch board, decoupling etc, feel free..

Take 6 female to female jumper wires. I'd recommend using different colours for each connection. Red and black wires might be a good idea for the power connections.
I also recommend that you write down what each colour jumper wire connects to.

Pin 17 +3.3V {Red} **IMPORTANT!! Don't connect to 5V**
Pin 19 DI {colour1}
Pin 21 DO {colour2}
Pin 23 CLK {colour3}
Pin 24 CS {colour4} (Yes, this one is on the other side!)
Pin 25 GND {Black}

At this stage you will have the Raspberry Pi ready to connect to the test clip. The 6 wires here have an insulated female end. I connect this way so that there is no danger of short circuits.

Prepare the test clip.
Decide which specific pin shall be pin 1. Hold the clip between thumb and forefinger (like a clothes peg) with the jaws away from you and the spring vertical. The bottom left pin is pin 1. Mark the clip case with a marker.. This is now pin 1... stick with this selection.

Take a red female to female jumper wire and cut it into 2 equal lengths. Take a red male to female jumper wire and do the same. Now strip off a couple of cm or so of insulation and join the 4 wires together. However you make the connection (twist joint, soldered or whatever) ensure that you insulate the connection.
(I have seen sellotape used).

Connect up the test clip.
Take 5 coloured male to female jumper wires. It helps if you can use the same colours as those you connected to the Pi.

Pin 1 {colour4}, CS
Pin 2 {colour2}, DO
Pin 3 Red, +3.3V
Pin 4 Black, GND
Pin 5 {colour1}, DI
Pin 6 {colour3}, CLK
Pin 7 Red, +3.3V
Pin 8 Red, +3.3V

When you are ready to read/program the flash chip, all you have to do is connect the Pi wires to the clip wires.. As the colours are the same (or at least very similar) then this part is easy.

Now to part 3.
Software preparation.

Feedback appreciated..


I'm still writing part 3. I'll post this soon.
Deleted User 1605

April 8th, 2015, 9:36 pm

Part 3.

Internet access is only required on the Pi for the initial setup. A USB wireless adapter can be used if required (most types work O.K.).
Be aware that, as the Raspberry Pi 1 has only 2 USB sockets, a USB hub may be required.

Rufus. This is a windows program to create bootable SD cards etc. from image files.
See https://rufus.akeo.ie/ Download and run the file rufus-2.1.exe directly. No installation required.

Raspbian (Debian Wheezy). http://www.raspberrypi.org/downloads/
This is for all Raspberry Pi versions.

Flashrom. See http://flashrom.org/Downloads. Download this from the section "Manual installation from source:"
Clickable link can be found within the line "If you just want to use the latest stable release, download flashrom 0.9.8 (source) here".
Download this later onto the Raspberry Pi SD card.

Linx Firmware file. (I can supply firmware files for the 7, 8 and 10.)
Or download the relevant bios archive from this website later on.

Preparing the SD card.:

This is described performed on a windows machine. Linux users can use the standard tools for this.

Download Raspbian and write the image to the SD card:

The current archive name is 2015-02-16-raspbian-wheezy.zip
Download Raspian and extract 2015-02-16-raspbian-wheezy.img from the archive.

Write it to your SD card using Rufus:
Download and run Rufus.

In "Device" select your SD card.
In the "Format Options" section, click the disk button to the right of the drop down box which is displaying "FreeDOS".
In the "Open" dialogue box, change the dropdown "Files of Type" from "ISO Image (*.iso)" to "All files (*.*)".

Browse to the extracted 2015-02-16-raspbian-wheezy.img and double click on the image filename. You will then be returned to Rufus.
The text box will have changed to "DD Image". Click "Start" and OK the warning message.
The image will now be written to your SD card. This will take about 5 minutes or so, depending on the speed rating of your card and
your card reader/writer.

When the status text at the bottom of the Rufus window states "READY", your image has been written.
"Safely Remove" the SD card, unplug the card reader (if an external device) and insert the SD card into your Pi SD socket.

Next: Part 4. Booting the Pi.
Last edited by Deleted User 1605 on April 11th, 2015, 10:47 am, edited 3 times in total.
Deleted User 1605

April 8th, 2015, 9:54 pm

Part 4: Booting the Pi.

{EDIT 11/04/15. TIP: If you are having any problems deciding "what's that character/symbol?" or "is there a space there?" in any of the
text that I ask you to type in then try this. Highlight the relevant line, copy it (normally right click to allow a copy) and paste the line into a basic text editor. Wordpad/notepad will do. You could then, if it is still unclear, highlight the pasted line and change the font to Courier or some other mono-spaced font. All will then be obvious.}

Connect the external hardware to the Pi (or USB hub, if required) keyboard, mouse and HDMI video (or composite video), the network cable (or USB wifi card) and PSU. Don't powerup just yet.

One small potential **gotcha** here. If you are connecting your Pi to a VGA monitor through an HDMI to VGA converter
(Pi HDMI > HDMI-VGA converter > monitor vga) then you might have to make a small change to a configuration file on the SD card.
This depends on exactly what hardware is connected. I'll explain why first and then give the fix.

When the PI boots, it is set to try and detect if a TV or monitor is connected directly to its HDMI port.
If it cannot detect this, it switches its output to composite video (The yellow RCA socket on the Pi). The Pi cannot output video
on both connections at the same time, so the monitor will remain blank.

The only way to find out is to try it.. Power up (this boots the Pi) and see if an image appears on your monitor.
If you see an image, then continue with the NEXT SECTION below.

If not, the power down the Pi. (Actually this is bad practice... not shutting down properly. You have no alternative at this time.)
There is a risk of file corruption with any operating system if it is not shut down cleanly.

Return the SD card to the reader, reconnect and access the card through "My computer", "Computer" etc.. depends on which version of windows you have.

Windows text editors are generally "brain dead", so download and install Notepad++ from http://notepad-plus-plus.org/

Find the drive letter Windows has assigned to your SD card (I'll use E: for this example.)
Open a command window (For XP: Start, Run, enter "cmd" (no quotes) into the run box and click OK.)
You will now see a black text box with white writing.
Type the following and press enter after each line. Text in {} is for information only.

E: {change to the SD card}
attrib config.txt {You should see "SH E:\config.txt" returned, (with no quotes) }
attrib -s -h config.txt {remove the System and Hidden attributes from the named file}

Now run notepad++ and open e:\config.txt

Go to the line "# uncomment if hdmi display is not detected and composite is being output"
Remove the # from the next line (the # makes the complete line a comment. It is therefore ignored by the Pi during startup).
Change the line {FROM} #hdmi_force_hotplug=1 {TO} hdmi_force_hotplug=1

Now press enter and add this:


Save the file and quit Notepad++

Return to the command window. Type the following:

attrib +s +h config.txt {This restores the original file attributes}
exit {This closes the window}

Insert the SD card into the Pi and switch on your monitor/tv etc. Allow to it to boot.

After the Pi has booted, you should see the initial configuration screen titled: Raspberry Pi Software Configuration Tool (Raspi-config)

You navigate this screen with the cursor keys and the tab key.

Next: Part 5. Configuring the Pi, updating and installing software.
Last edited by Deleted User 1605 on April 11th, 2015, 3:24 pm, edited 8 times in total.
Deleted User 1605

April 8th, 2015, 10:15 pm

Part 5. Configuring the Pi, updating and installing software.

You should now be looking at the initial configuration screen.

Only minimum configuration is required:

"1 Expand Filesystem".
Cursor up/down to this and press enter.
Press enter to OK the confirmation screen.

Cursor down to "8 Advanced Options" and press enter.
Cursor down to "A6 SPI" and press enter.
Cursor left to highlight <Yes> and press enter.
Press enter on the next screen.
Highlight Yes in the next "Would you like the SPI kernel module to be loaded by default?". Press enter.
Press enter on the next screen
Finally, press tab twice and press enter to "Finish"

To rerun this configuration, type
sudo raspi-config {and press enter}

Now to reboot the Pi. Type
sudo reboot
If you wish to shutdown and power off to have a break (configuration changes have been saved) type the following instead.
sudo poweroff {and switch off the PSU when the Pi has closed down}

When restarted you will be at the text login screen.
Default user is "pi" with password "raspberry".

Login. If you wish to change your password, type
sudo raspi-config {and press enter.}
You will see the required entry here.

Now to update the installation and add a file utility and some further requirements:

At the command prompt, enter the following exactly, followed by pressing enter.
Wait for the updates and/or installations to finish before continuing.

I'll give the first command and briefly explain what each bit means.

sudo apt-get install mc

User pi (you, as you are logged in now) are a "normal" user. You are deliberately restricted from performing some low level
actions which might compromise the system. All low-level "under the hood" stuff is performed with administrator rights..
This is the" Super User" (also known as "root"). {All Hail MING!!... Errr... sorry... wrong film!!}

"sudo" stands for Super User DO. This means run the subsequent command with temporary elevated privileges.

"apt-get" This is a command line package management tool. Packages are specific programs or collections of programs
that are installed in one "lump".

"install" We are telling apt-get to install something..

"mc" This is the Midnight Commander package. A visual file manager.


Type the following at the prompt.. press enter and wait for the command and generated actions to complete.
Press Y as the response to any requested confirmations.

TIP: cursor up/down to get previously entered commands.. these can then be altered to save a little typing.

sudo apt-get install mc {install Midnight Commander}
sudo apt-get update {See if there are any system updates available, there will be!}
sudo apt-get upgrade {Perform the systemwide upgrade. This takes a few minutes, depending on the speed of your internet connection.}

This is a one time action... You only need to update if newer software versions are available and/or required.

Your system has now been updated and upgraded. Reboot now.
sudo reboot

When the system has restarted, login as before.

Now to install some packages required for flashrom, running the GUI and downloading flashrom and the Linx firmware (BIOS) files.

As before:

sudo apt-get install libpci-dev
sudo apt-get install libusb-dev
sudo apt-get install libftdi-dev


sudo apt-get install libpci-dev libusb-dev libftdi-dev

This performs the same actions, with a little less typing.

Type the following, followed by pressing enter. Again, any text in {} is for information and not to be entered.

cd {move to your home directory, in case you have moved away from here..}
mkdir chipfiles {create a directory within your home directory. This will be used when flashing/reading the firmware chip }

cd chipfiles {move to this directory}

pwd {This command shows where you are... "Present Working Directory"}

Next: Part 6. Running the GUI and downloading external software.

More tomorrow.. I'm tired and have a rush laptop to fix.
Last edited by Deleted User 1605 on April 9th, 2015, 1:15 pm, edited 2 times in total.
Deleted User 1605

April 9th, 2015, 12:14 pm

Hello All...

I've just applied a few edits to the above posts.. just to remove typos and clarify some things a little.

How does this read so far? Too much?? Not enough??

I will add some pictures in a final post. I've written the guide assuming that any local pictures are not available for some reason.
Pictures are always useful, but they do have a habit of disappearing from websites over time.

Which specific pictures would be useful??

I'll post the final parts later..

Deleted User 1605

April 9th, 2015, 7:49 pm

Part 6: Running the GUI and downloading external software.

Now to obtain the required firmware files and the flashrom package.

Start the GUI. Type
startx {and press enter.}

At the top of the screen you will see the following:
From left to right.
Menu, a browser, a file manager, a terminal, Mathematica and Wolfram.
On the right hand side you will find a system percentage load meter and time (click on this for a calendar).

The terminal is essentially a windowed terminal emulation. i.e. similar to the text screen used earlier.

Now click on the browser.
This is a basic web browser.. Sufficient for our needs here.

In the address bar, type in
http://www.google.co.uk and press enter. Just a test to show the browser works.

Now type in
http://www.flashrom.org {and press enter.}

Click on Downloads in the left hand column. In the section "Manual installation from source", click on
"download flashrom 0.9.8 (source) here". The file will download. By default, the archive manager will now run.

Click on "Action" and "Extract".
Click on the "Extract" button, keeping "Extract to" as /home/pi/Downloads
Close the archive manager.

In the browser address bar, type in
http://www.linxtablet.co.uk {and press enter.}

Click on the Drivers & Downloads section of All Devices.
Select your required tablet section, navigate to the required driver link post and click to download the bios.zip archive.

The file will be downloaded to /home/pi/Downloads
When the archive manager (Xarchiver) runs, don't bother extracting anything. Just close it when it has loaded the downloaded file.
You can now close the browser.

At this stage, you have downloaded and extracted Flashrom. You have also downloaded the firmware file (contained within the bios.zip archive).

Next: Part 7. Extracting the firmware file and compiling Flashrom.
Last edited by Deleted User 1605 on April 17th, 2015, 2:31 pm, edited 2 times in total.
Deleted User 1605

April 9th, 2015, 8:44 pm

Part 7. Extracting the firmware file and compiling Flashrom.

Now to extract the specific firmware flash file. This file will be placed in the "chipfiles" directory you created earlier.

Now click on the terminal icon. Type this into the terminal window.
pwd {and enter.}
The response should be /home/pi/chipfiles
If not type
cd ~/chipfiles {enter} The ~ symbol represents the users home directory. In this instance /home/pi/

EDIT 10/04/15 Just to clarify. The 3rd symbol in "cd ~/chipfiles" is a tilde. This is typed with "shift-hash" (next to the enter key) on a UK keyboard.
I've seen this post displayed in IE on an XP machine, where it was displayed as a "-".

mc {press enter. Midnight Commander will run.}
You will see two panes. Both show the same location ~/chipfiles . The ~ symbol represents the users home directory.
Think of the two panes as "from" and "to". e.g. copy a file from X to Y.

Press tab to move from one pane to the other. Press tab to return to the LHS pane (if required).
Keep the RHS pane as it is. Press enter. The left hand pane will then show a representation of the directory structure "above" the "chipfiles" directory.
You cursor up and down the "directory tree". Directories are shown in bold white with a preceding forward slash. Files in the current directory are shown below the directory structure.

Now to extract the required firmware files:

Cursor to "Downloads" and press enter to enter the directory.
The pane will change to show the flashrom-0.9.8 directory here. Below this you should see the file BIOS.ZIP , previously downloaded from http://www.linxtablet.co.uk

Now cursor to the file "BIOS.ZIP". Press enter to access the contents of the archive.

There are differences between the archives for each tablet. So, taking each tablet in turn:

For the Linx 7:
Cursor down to "/BIOS" and press enter.
Cursor down to "/linx7 BIOS" and press enter.
Cursor down to the "I8270MI{long name here}.bin" file. The file size is 8388608 (bytes).
Now press F5 (on your keyboard). A popup window will ask if you wish to copy this file to "/home/pi/chipfiles"
Cursor down until <OK> is highlighted and press enter. The file will be extracted to the desired location.
End of Linx 7 section.
Now go to NEXT below.

For the Linx 8:
Cursor down to "/BIOS" and press enter.
Cursor down to the file "ExertisBIOS.zip" and press enter. Yes, this is another archive.
Cursor down to "LINX*.RL221{long name}.zip" and press enter. Yes, yet another archive!
Cursor down to the "/LINX8.R""!.{another long name}" directory and press enter. (NEARLY THERE!!)
Cursor down to the "BIOS_8MB.BIN" file. The file size is 8388608 (bytes).
Now press F5 (on your keyboard). A popup window will ask if you wish to copy this file to /home/pi/chipfiles
Cursor down until <OK> is highlighted and press enter. The file will be extracted to the desired location.
End of Linx 8 section.
Now go to NEXT below.

For the Linx 10:
Cursor down to "/BIOS" and press enter.
Cursor down to "/linx10 BIOS" and press enter.
Cursor down to the "I8011V6{long name here}.bin" file. The file size is 8388608 (bytes).
Now press F5 (on your keyboard). A popup window will ask if you wish to copy this file to /home/pi/chipfiles
Cursor down until <OK> is highlighted and press enter. The file will be extracted to the desired location.
End of Linx 10 section.


The extracted file probably has some irrelevant long name (we know that this is the correct file.).
So we'll rename the extracted file to something easier to type in or recognise.
Press tab to move to the RHS pane.
Cursor down to the file here.
Press F6 (on your keyboard).

You will now see a "Move file "{filename}.bin" with source mask"
The cursor will be at the end of the "to:" text dialogue box.
Press (and hold) the keyboard backspace key to delete the text here (actually the current directory of the left hand pane.)
Type in this
linx.bin {and press enter}.

You have now successfully renamed your first file. Midnight commander can be used to move/rename/open/edit/delete/run just about
anything on a linux system. Well done.

Now press F10 on the keyboard and cursor down to "Quit" to close Midnight Commander (the underlying terminal also closes...)

Compiling Flashrom

We've finished with the GUI, so now close it. Everything else will be done from the command line.
Actually, you can perform everything from within the GUI using a terminal, but I'm writing this... so tough! ;>)

The real reason is this. Sometimes it is a good idea to perform processor intensive tasks "outside" of XWindows (the historical name for one of the first UNIX GUIs)
The GUI uses system resources to run. We want as much performance on a low power system as possible. This allows shorter software compilation times.

So.. click on "Menu", "Shutdown". Select "Logout" and click "OK" to shut down the graphical user interface.

You will now be back at the "chipfiles" directory. We wish to be elsewhere in order to compile Flashrom.

So... type this. A little tip is included.

cd .. {There is a space between cd and .. Press enter}
ls {Press enter. This shows a directory listing of the location where you are. ls stands for "list"}
cd Dow {and press tab. This is an example of command completion. Press enter.}
cd fla {press tab and enter.}
ls {press enter. You will see a number of files, many ending in .c}
There is normally a README file or something similar. This gives information required for successful compilation.

Now for the actual compilation:
Type the following:-

make {and wait a short while}
sudo make install {You have to install software with elevated privileges. i.e. as Root)

That's it! All done. Very well done for reaching this point.

You are now ready to actually connect to your tablet and bring it back to life!!

Next: Part 8. Opening the tablet, locating the flash chip. Programming the chip.

More soon.

Last edited by Deleted User 1605 on April 17th, 2015, 2:36 pm, edited 4 times in total.
Posts: 6
Joined: April 5th, 2015, 12:12 pm
Linx Tablet: Linx 7
Retailer: Tweakers.net

April 10th, 2015, 2:28 pm

Thanks Bob! :D
Can't wait to get the tab back to life!

It's a bit technical, but on the first look it seems the instructions are clear. :)
Deleted User 1605

April 10th, 2015, 9:12 pm


Linux seems a little "technical" if you have never seen or used an operating system command line before.
As with everything, it's easy when you know how.

If you have the time and interest, try downloading on of the Linux Live iso's (One I use is Linux Mint http://www.linuxmint.com)
You can create a bootable DVD or a flashdrive from this. This allows you to boot your computer from this disk or drive, so allowing you to try it out without altering anything on your system at all.

If you don't want to, you never need to see a terminal program ever again... Modern Linux distributions are very capable.
After all, how often does the typical windows user need to use a command shell (aka command prompt window)? This is the windows equivalent of a Linux Terminal.

It's all free... with a shedload of free stuff available.

If you have an older computer (perhaps an old XP one) that won't run Windows 7 or 8 then why not consider installing Linux onto it??

I've tried to write this guide assuming that the reader has only a typical skill level. The desire to fix your own tablet and the willingness to "have a go" can literally "pay dividends".

I've written everything "with a 'painful' amount of detail". The idea is that anyone can perform the job with some help and "hand holding" from me.
Some readers will be aware of some or all of this material.. That's perfectly fine.. Not everyone is!

My maxim is that nobody is born knowing this stuff. A little help from me may help someone save money.. This I like!!

Anyway, I post some more parts shortly.. Nearly done... honest!!

Post Reply