Reprograming a Chip using a USB CH341A EEPROM Programmer (Hercules DJ Console 4-Mx)

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On this post, I’ll share my own experience programming an EEPROM Chip using a USB EEPROM Writer.  Just to mention, I’m not a pro but found myself looking into this after a new controller, Hercules Dj Console 4-Mx died on me as the update process was interrupted, thanks to my impatience.  

Incase you’re going through this same issue, quickly, here was the problem. My controller’s USB recognition on any computer suddenly stopped so the device would no longer be discovered. This was after I had tinkered a little too much with the controller’s firmware upgrade process. Hercules have a clear procedure on their website to follow when manually upgrading the Dj Console Series firmware for use. But since instructions are for simps…

 A thorough Google search of similar issues showed that I had bricked the firmware, later confirmed by the Hercules User Experience Team on the HerculesDj Mixroom Forum. You can check my initial posting here. To fix this, one has to dismantle the controller, take out the chip, reprogram it and get it back onto the board to bring the 4-Mx back to life. 

I’ll go through the entire process, hoping this will save you some time and a migraine! 

Dismantling the 4-Mx

This link points to PDF file provided to me by the UX Team from Hercules with instructions on how to dismantle the 4-Mx. You’ll only need a screw driver to open up the controller. 

Opening up the Console should leave you with what is shown on the image below. Further, open the screws circled in bright red to gain access to the board boxed in green. The chip is located beneath this board. 

The Chip is easily distinguishable as a removable IC mounted on a socked at the middle of the board. It’s coded HT24LC64. Gently get the chip out… gently, like the lady she is.

REPROGRAMMING THE CHIP

1. Getting the USB Programmer

You’ll need a USB EEPROM Programmer CH341A Series. You can cheaply get the device online for as little as Ksh. 800 (Less than $10). Any shop selling items related to Robotics or Electrical Engineering will most likely have these as well. I got mine from Pixel Electric (Nakuru, Kenya)

2. Installing The Drivers

Download the USB Writer Driver and the Application we’ll use to program from the link below. I scanned the  files and didn’t see any alarming issue. Still, I’m not responsible for any harm that may be experienced

Extract Files and install drivers by running the highlighted files below. You can now plug in the USB Writer to ensure drivers were successfully installed. If so, you’re ready to get to the fun part!

3. Reprogramming the Chip

CH341A.exe is the application we’ll use to reprogram the chip. Should the application open in Chinese, create a new folder in the same directory and name it ‘Languages’. Copy the ‘english.ini’ file into this folder and relaunch the application.

Mount the Chip onto the USB Programmer. Chips are always mounted in a specific way and have an indicator to help you do this. In this case, is a small dot marker • on the first ‘leg’ or you can also lookout for a recognizable groove on the chip. This side should face the lock lever on your USB Programmer.  Lock the chip in place by moving the lever and Plug in the USB Programmer.
 Mounting the chip wrongly will give you a ‘Not Connected’ Error. Note that the model animation on the application is also wrong. 

 

Select your chip Type, Manufacturer and Name as indicated below

To reprogram the chip, you will need a .bin file which contains the data that the EEPROM should contain. The Bin file was provided to me by the UX Team and is accessible via the link below.

Extract the file to and locate the .bin file. On the CH341 Programmer, Go to ‘Open’ and Locate the ‘4MX_TUSB_V16.bin’ file and select it. 

Write the data from the file by selecting ‘Program’

Click on ‘Verify’ to ensure the process was successful. 

You can now remove the USB Programmer and mount the chip back to the controller. A basic assembly is advisable so you can test out your device. Hoping your device is back to life, piece it back together and use the use the instructions (From Hercules) available here to manually update your firmware.

If you need help with this same issue, let me know here and I will be glad to help.