[Jeremy] had an ASUS EEE PC 1000HE netbook on his hands which had succumbed to a corrupted BIOS. In most situations, people replace a motherboard when the BIOS is damaged beyond repair, but considering the price of motherboards, especially those built for portable devices, he simply refused to go that route.
Instead, he took it apart and did a little investigation to find out what SPI flash chip ASUS used in the netbook. With that information in hand, he put together an SPI flash programmer using a breadboard and a DLP-USB1232H USB to UART module. He couldnt program the flash chip in-circuit, so he had to desolder it and deadbugged it onto his programmer. Using a few Linux-based flashing tools, he was able to reprogram the chip with a functioning BIOS in short order, saving him from a costly motherboard replacement.
While some motherboard manufacturers have built in secondary BIOS chips to prevent the need for this sort of recovery, its nice to know that the process is relatively straightforward, provided you have some basic soldering and Linux skills.
This also isn’t the first time we’ve seen someone recover an EEE PC from the brink – if you’re looking for an Arduino-based alternative, be sure to check this out.