Flashing Libreboot on a Thinkpad X200s without soldering


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If you happen to have a Thinkpad X200s and want to libreboot it, the process of flashing the ROM initially is not as straightforward as with (non-s) X200 models. First of all, you have to completely remove the motherboard in order to access the chip, since it is placed on the bottom side. Still easy so far, the bigger challenge comes from the WSON-8 package, for which no clip-connectors are available like for SOIC-8/16 packages. The official guide on the libreboot site recommends to desolder the WSON chip and replace it with a SOIC one, but special tools like a hot-air soldering station are required. Some people just solder their wires directly to the chip as it may seem more feasible with primitive tools. However this still comes with the risk of damaging the board.

In an attempt to find a less invasive way of connecting to the chip, I came up with the following low-cost method after a few hours of trial and error.

Sewing-needles serve as probes contacting the chip, fixated by a piece of hard-foam. It is still very difficult to get a stable connection because the needles tend to slip away quickly.

Also, when using a Raspberry Pi as SPI programmer, an additional power supply is necessary as the PI cannot provide enough current. Therefore extra care has to be taken not to kill your raspi - like I did - when fiddling with the needles while trying to ensure the contacting.

In the end gave up and got a non-s x200 because I could not get a good enough connection, so please don't waste your time trying this except you have a better idea.