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[calcs] Is my Nspire CX semi-bricked?

Started by DJ Omnimaga, September 10, 2015, 03:26:27 am

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DJ Omnimaga

September 10, 2015, 03:26:27 am Last Edit: December 31, 2015, 09:17:18 am by DJ Omnimaga
Hardware revision: P-0411B
OSes tested: 3.1 and 3.6 (current OS is 3.6. I upgraded a few days ago)

So I am definitively thinking that my Nspire CX calculator have been in a partial bricked state for the last four years or so. I wasn't so sure back then because I rarely use Nspire calcs compared to the other models and I figured that sometimes my Ndless version was just outdated, but now with Picodrive not running only on my calc and working fine on everything else, I think this pretty much confirms it. Here are the symptoms I witnessed in the last three years:

-In many occasions, when rebooting my calc, it remained stuck on the clock screen, frozen (or sometimes the backlight would eventually dim but the calc would stay stuck there). It happens with Ndless installed or not. In one occasion, recently, it happened immediately after I went in the Nspire diagnostic menu then quit (going to the diagnostic menu again showed a GPIO error then fixed it, but only temporarily, since it still randomly happens sometimes). It started happening somewhere in late 2011, but I forgot when. The first time it happened was on OS 3.0.1

-There are many Ndless programs I was unable to run (reboot on launch) or that would crash all the time. At first I figured that my Ndless build was just outdated, but now it happened with Picodrive, even with the latest Ndless version.

-A few days ago, Ndless 3.1 stopped working entirely on my Nspire CX. Going to the diagnostic menu, formating the entire calc (reinstalling the OS as well) wouldn't fix it: Ndless simply stopped wanting to install at all anymore. The only way to make my calc Ndlessable again was to upgrade to OS 3.6, hoping that it would let Ndless 3.6 install, and it did. However, in one occasion, trying to install Ndless 3.6 rebooted my calc.

In summary, it often gets stuck on the clock screen and there are Ndless programs such as Picodrive that only my calc cannot run. Everyone else can run it fine. The most recent instance where I think I could have accidentally bricked my calc was around when Nover came out. I overclocked my calc around 242 MHz and made sure that the AHB was set to a valid, non-dangerous level. However, my calc was rendered into a non-functioning state, and only reformating the entire calc could fix it. So the two possible scenarios I am thinking of are the following:

-Either Nover in 2011 or so had a bug that caused invalid AHB values to be marked as valid even if they weren't, misleading me into overclocking my calc to unsafe levels.

-Or that Nover issue was really my calc being broken in the first place and that the crash was only one of my many crashes/issues at running programs.

-Or it's something else.

But basically, my calc functions erratically in the ways I described above. What I am wondering is:

1) Can my calc be fixed? Can it be fixed without extra hardware/tools?

2) What exactly is the problem?


Hmmm, I still didn't read this, but keep poking me on Telegram so that we spend some time diagnosing your problems together. I want to make sure that your issues were not simply your own mistake (and I don't mean that negatively or anything, it's human to make mistakes).

DJ Omnimaga

Ok, I'll do so. Keep in mind, though, that I lack hardware such as an RS232/TTL interface or arduino.


Yeah we shouldn't need any of that. Otherwise it's probably better if you give the calc to Juju so that I can check stuff with him instead.

DJ Omnimaga

September 12, 2015, 05:46:09 am #4 Last Edit: September 12, 2015, 05:49:15 am by DJ Omnimaga
That could work, although at first I would like to get it fixed at my home if that's actually possible.

It's weird, though, because the only other calc I have that ever had troubles running certain programs even though everyone else, including the same hardware revision, could, was my old TI-83 Plus, which was unable to generate APPS from Axe. With the Nspire, TI not only made it hard for third-party programs to not render the calc unstable, but even without ever installing Ndless they made it ultra easy to brick the calc (eg I remember seeing a post saying that if you press the reset button during the first three seconds where the clock appears, it could damage the calc.)


Try to install 3.6 with ndless and run nsNandMgr to dump your manuf. If the manuf is exactly like it should be, it's a hardware fault which is, sadly, impossible to fix without the right tools.
It is virtually impossible to be a corrupt OS or boot2 as it is signed and any modification would result in boot failures. You could try to clean the connectors (esp. the dock connector) when the battery is taken out, in case some dirt between the contacts causes a connection.

Quote(eg I remember seeing a post saying that if you press the reset button during the first three seconds where the clock appears, it could damage the calc.)

That's a misunderstanding, the first time a new OS is installed, it tries to upgrade the boot2. If you reset the calc during that time, there's no valid boot2 and it won't boot anymore until it's reflashed with RS232.

DJ Omnimaga

If I already have Ndless 3.6 and OS 3.6 installed, do I need to reinstall them again before running nsNandMgr?


Nope, if you can run nsNandMgr, it should be fine.

DJ Omnimaga

Ok, I'll try that when I get back home.

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