Revival from 'Bricked' & 'disabled flasher'?

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Ton_vN
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Revival from 'Bricked' & 'disabled flasher'?

#1 Post by Ton_vN » 26 Sep 2021, 13:17

;) Quiet weekend, decided to use it to prepare for the winter-season .....

One planned activity: update of ESPEasy-firmware for my ESP8266/WEMOS_miniPro's from mega-20200310 to latest version [ESP8266 ... normal ... 4M1M].
One reason = get access to extended settings for PCF8591.
Never used OTA, but for processors at the back of the garden selected to go for the easy/lazy way with OTA-upgrade.
Used the functions at the processor's remote web-menu under tab Tools/Update Firmware: select file & update firmware.
All went well, finishing with report 'upload successful, rebooting .....'
:( And then silence and no response to any url-call.
[Should have been wiser than first-try at 'production-setup']
To check, tried the same procedure on another ESP8266 not yet part of the configuration, with same result.
Apparently 'bricked' both processors as result of the OTA-updates .....

:( This kind of 'accidents' never pops-up alone:
directly attached the 2nd WEMOS_Pro to my PC's USB, but Easy_flasher does not find any active com-port, although at least one related port (com7) well visible in the Windows10 Configuration, and applied before to flash a WEMOS.
That port com7 is seen by FlashESP8266.exe, but that software via it's menu does not allow selection of a firmware-file.
Esptool.exe does not show at all when called.

Any hint how to recover from these problems?
Last edited by Ton_vN on 26 Sep 2021, 18:54, edited 2 times in total.

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Ath
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Re: Revival from 'Bricked' & 'disabled flasher'?

#2 Post by Ath » 26 Sep 2021, 13:43

Things you can try:
- Use another USB port on your computer
- Restart the computer, assuming the USB device has been detected by Windows (and assuming you are on Windows...) it may actually need a reboot to get it working
- Use another USB cable, maybe there's a connection issue
- If available: Try using VSCode & PlatformIO or Arduino IDE (though they might also rely on Windows to recognize the USB COM port)

NB: After an OTA flash, do not reboot the unit manually. It can take up to 30 seconds after it reports it is rebooting for the reboot to actually happen. Has to do with (optionally) unpacking the compressed .bin file (when using the .bin.gz file), and moving (flashing-writing) the received image in the correct location. If you reset it during that time-window, it won't boot until properly re-flashed :o
/Ton

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Re: Revival from 'Bricked' & 'disabled flasher'?

#3 Post by Ton_vN » 26 Sep 2021, 13:47

Have used the bin-file (not the compressed file): does that make any difference, except time required?
In hindsight, was application of the 4M1M-fileversion appropriate? Because of the text for OTA telling that only 1Mb allowed for OTA.

Perhaps also been to eager to see result, and calling too early, while the ESP8266 was still busy reconfiguring.
As you describe then a reflash needed, but ;-( without operational flasher that's a problem .....

;-) Better now enjoy the sun and have another look tomorrow ......
Last edited by Ton_vN on 27 Sep 2021, 14:21, edited 2 times in total.

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Re: Revival from 'Bricked' & 'disabled flasher'?

#4 Post by Ath » 26 Sep 2021, 14:00

Well, the flasher is operational, usually, it is just the way the USB COM ports are not always properly recognized/registered by Windows that is causing issues, from time to time (but: user-dependent, for me it has worked all the time, and I have tried quite a few ESPs 8-))
/Ton

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Re: Revival from 'Bricked' & 'disabled flasher'?

#5 Post by Ath » 26 Sep 2021, 14:53

You can also download the official Espressif flasher from here: https://www.espressif.com/en/support/do ... ther-tools
That should recognize the COM port, even if the ESP.Easy.Flasher doesn't recognize them.
/Ton

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Re: Revival from 'Bricked' & 'disabled flasher'?

#6 Post by TD-er » 26 Sep 2021, 15:05

Yep, the Windows ESPEasyFlasher does not always recognize the com ports.
Depends on the USB to serial chip present on the board.
I do have several that will not be recognized by the flasher, while others work just fine (and the chips do look the same)

The Espressif flasher does recognize all.

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Re: Revival from 'Bricked' & 'disabled flasher'?

#7 Post by Ton_vN » 26 Sep 2021, 18:58

That all flashers at this PC went on strike was unexpected surprise, because never seen before.

Perhaps also worthwile to install&try those flashers & files on a laptop, as 'different PC'.
After indoor-test, then ;-) on a dry day I might try to reflash that 'bricked' ESP-in-the-garden at location.
[Saving the effort to move that ESP from/to it's setup for reflashing]
Last edited by Ton_vN on 26 Sep 2021, 20:25, edited 3 times in total.

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Re: Revival from 'Bricked' & 'disabled flasher'?

#8 Post by ThomasB » 26 Sep 2021, 19:24

directly attached the 2nd WEMOS_Pro to my PC's USB, but Easy_flasher does not find any active com-port, although at least one related port (com7) well visible in the Windows10 Configuration, and applied before to flash a WEMOS.
The Wemos D1 Mini Pro does not work with Easy_Flasher. When I tried it found the com port, but flashing failed. Besides the reported issue of it not finding all ports, I suspect the app is also missing the GPIO control line dance that sets the proper flash pin state.
That port com7 is seen by FlashESP8266.exe, but that software via it's menu does not allow selection of a firmware-file.
When I flash a Wemos Mini Pro I use FlashESP8266.exe. The bin file MUST be installed in the sub folder named bin. If not there the file will not be found.

- Thomas

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Re: Revival from 'Bricked' & 'disabled flasher'?

#9 Post by Ton_vN » 26 Sep 2021, 20:23

The bin file MUST be installed in the sub folder named bin. If not there the file will not be found.
Those conditions met, but no files showing for selection ...........

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Re: Revival from 'Bricked' & 'disabled flasher'?

#10 Post by Ath » 26 Sep 2021, 20:45

Well, the FlashESP8266.exe on my computer doesn't show any .bin files, though I have a filled .\bin folder. When copying that .exe to the bin folder and starting it, that flash tool does show the list of files I'd expect. :shock:
/Ton

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Re: Revival from 'Bricked' & 'disabled flasher'?

#11 Post by TD-er » 26 Sep 2021, 21:17

Try this one to get you started again: https://td-er.nl/ESPEasy/

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Re: Revival from 'Bricked' & 'disabled flasher'?

#12 Post by Ton_vN » 26 Sep 2021, 21:52

TD-er

Thanks for this really quick&easy solution!
Indoor 'bricked' WEMOS_Pro now revived, and (as check) another WEMOS_Pro updated:
both to [ESP8266 ... Normal ... 4M1M].
If tomorrow a dry period, then also chance to revive the outdoor 'bricked' WEMOS_Pro, trying laptop as testvehicle with all flashers.

Careful conclusion that com-ports of this PC are OK, but that the 'usual' flasher-software in some way at this moment no longer compatible .....
Still wondering why & where the OTA-update-process went wrong.
Last edited by Ton_vN on 27 Sep 2021, 14:24, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Revival from 'Bricked' & 'disabled flasher'?

#13 Post by Ton_vN » 26 Sep 2021, 22:01

Ath (and ThomasB),

After copying FlashESP8266.exe into the bin-folder indeed the whole list of files can be shown when running FlashESP8266.exe from that location.
But that is not as the ESPEasy-package is coming, and nowhere an instruction to make that move.
Anyway, will try to test this week on another WEMOS with latest ESPEasy-package.
Last edited by Ton_vN on 27 Sep 2021, 14:19, edited 4 times in total.

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Re: Revival from 'Bricked' & 'disabled flasher'?

#14 Post by Ath » 26 Sep 2021, 22:06

Ton_vN wrote: 26 Sep 2021, 21:52 Still wondering why & where the OTA-update-process went wrong.
There have been changes to the base Arduino libraries (just over a year ago ~June 2020, IIRC), that seem to not work well with OTA updates on some types of Flash chips ('Flash Chip ID: Vendor: 0x20 Device: 0x4016' seems to be sensitive to this), requiring a serial Flash once to fix it. And you just succeeded with that, so the next update it should be possible to use OTA :)
/Ton

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Re: Revival from 'Bricked' & 'disabled flasher'?

#15 Post by TD-er » 26 Sep 2021, 22:39

Yep, there have been some issues with modules using XMC flash memory.
In the Arduino code there have been some really low level changes in how the flash memory is addressed when writing (changes of writing voltage, etc.)
This has changed in the boot loader and in the code we compile.
However, if you perform an OTA update, the boot loader is not updated, so there may be a discrepancy between the way how flash memory is addressed in the running program and during the move of the new bin file from where you stored it during OTA and the first boot after this OTA (then the new binary is moved to the front of the flash, right after the bootloader)

If you flash those modules again (even with the failed bin file) via serial, it will probably work just fine.

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Re: Revival from 'Bricked' & 'disabled flasher'?

#16 Post by ThomasB » 26 Sep 2021, 23:04

When copying that .exe to the bin folder and starting it, that flash tool does show the list of files I'd expect.
Oops, my mistake. The .bin firmware does indeed need to go in the same folder as the flash tool.

- Thomas

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Re: Revival from 'Bricked' & 'disabled flasher'?

#17 Post by Ton_vN » 03 Oct 2021, 14:58

Have tried the flashing-software with another PC(= laptop-workstation) linked to the ESP8266_WEMOS 'at outdoor-location', but results were mixed and not steady:
bad recognition of the USB-port.
Pragmatically solved:
ESP8266_WEMOS taken from the outdoor setup, flashed at the indoor desktop-PC and re-installed in the outdoor setup.

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