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Downgrade UHD drives to "friendly" the easy and safe way

Discussion in 'CD/DVD/BD Drives' started by coopervid, Feb 11, 2019.

  1. coopervid

    coopervid Moderator

    Edit September 18th, 2019:

    Please use the ASUS flasher since some firmwares block the LG flasher. Updates for firmwares are also available. Read my #696 post over here:


    Billycar11 over at Makemkv posted the easy and safe way.

    Download here:


    Look at this Polish forum how to do it. You don't need to download anything there since Billycar11's files are more recent. Just for you to see how it works.


    I made my LG BH16NS55 1.02 an ASUS BW16D1HT 3.02 w/o any hassle and fumbling wit EEPROM calibration data since all is preserved that way. Works also with USB drives!

    You need to reboot after this!
    Last edited: Sep 18, 2019
    Jeff R 1, theosch and tectpro like this.
  2. theosch

    theosch Well-Known Member

    Interesting that this works downgrading an UHD-friendly drive even from UHD-(un)friendly firmware according "MartyMcNuts" and you. Because the tool "BH14NS40_N1.00-A4_patched.exe", you and user "MartyMcNuts" (within "NEW UHD Friendly FW Flashing Tool + Firmware.zip )" provided have identical checksum to the tool "BH14NS40_N1.00-A4_patched.exe" within "UP_cross.rar", which Terramax provided (identical file) in another thread (linked + quoted below). And Terramax said that this tool would only be able to downgrade when downgrading with only still from an already (UHD-friendly-firmware), so that the tool would (not) be suitable on higher firmware-versions when the downgrade was from an UHD-(un)friendly-firmware. So now I'm confused.

    But in the bottom three quotes it is confirmed that the downgrade from (un)friendly firmware would work. Yet it is not said clearly imo that UHD-rippings works fine too, or just appears downgraded (but maybe not correctly downgraded).

    So this actually "BH14NS40_N1.00-A4_patched.exe" goes on unfriendly-FWs as well? If yes, actually that would be cool, + working also in SATA-AHCI-mode and also in USB enclosures.
    Well I first expected also as it is called "BH14NS40_N1.00-A4_patched.exe, so that it was "hacked" and that patch would remove also that restriction, so you can use the tool on downgrades from UHD-(un)friendly firmwares. But I'm not sure which of you, either "MartyMcNuts said" + "coopervid" or if Terramax were right.


    Last edited: Feb 12, 2019
  3. SamuriHL

    SamuriHL Moderator

    Because they're editing the firmware bin files to make it downgrade enabled, that's why it works. And it does work. I used it to downgrade my NS50 1.01 to 1.00.
    whatever_gong82 and theosch like this.
  4. TheEmpathicEar

    TheEmpathicEar Well-Known Member

    What about LG WH16NS40 Firmware v1.03?
  5. SamuriHL

    SamuriHL Moderator

    What about it? If that one is not UHD friendly (I've not kept up on versions for drives I don't own) then downgrade to 1.02, as an example. It's simply a matter of making a one byte change to the firmware you want to downgrade to. Hell, I wrote a tool to do it yesterday to make it easier for people. LOL
    whatever_gong82 and theosch like this.
  6. theosch

    theosch Well-Known Member

    Keep in mind this tool can't backup your original unit's firmware.

    Also I had erased the EEPROM's content with Dosflash 1.7, and had left it erased temporarily and booted back to Windows.
    To others, KEEP in mind do NOT do that. I have backup firmware dump stored savely elsewhere. This was here for testing, if "BH14NS40_N1.00-A4_patched.exe" still detects the UHD-unit allowing flashing back an original firmare-dump, the comfort way, from an already made original-firmware dump, made with Dosflash (original Backup dump very important, not to leave out), especially with this normally very risky step to erase the unit EEPROM or flashing other firmwares, without backuping firmware first!!!

    BH14NS40_N1.00-A4_patched.exe was unable to detect the unit with an erased EEPROM.
    Only with Dosflash_1.7 or Dosflash 2.0 for example (which still requires SATA-IDE mode), together with the original unit's firmware-dump-backup, was able to reanimate the drive. ;)

    So at might still be wise to still make a original firmware backup dump with Dosflash, and in case of failure have an SATA-IDE-capable computer in stock. ;)
    But on the other hand it is also a risk that people FALSELY press "E" (erase), directly next to "R" (read =backuping), so beware to have selected ONLY "R" when pressing return!!

    Thx for helping. You're certainly right. Did a few own tests and got to the same result, you described.

    EEPROM content's with an (UN)friendly firmware:
    "BH14NS40_N1.00-A4_patched.exe" rejects flashing both, an friendly-original-firmware dump.

    EEPROM content's with an (UN)friendly firmware:
    As well prohibits to flash "flash_HL-DT-ST_BD-RE_BH16NS55_1.02.bin" (= NOT-specially adapted Clean-friendly firmware).

    EEPROM content's with an (UN)friendly firmware:
    Flashing an adapted special firmware, eg. "DE_flash_HL-DT-ST_BD-RE_BH16NS55_1.02.bin" for downgrade , gotten from other site linked here, worked successfully.

    EEPROM content's with an UHD-friendly firmware:
    Flashing a NOT-specially adapted original-firmware-dump from friendly to other firnedly-fw (e.g. lower version) or to a higher version (e.g. UHD-(UN)-friendly) anyway (in such a case) with success

    Also tested if BH14NS40_N1.00-A4_patched.exe is working properly:
    Flashed temporarily into a 1st BH16NS55 with fw 1.02 friendly, an 1.03 firmware-dump (Un)friendly-firmware from a 2nd BH16NS55 unit, using BH14NS40_N1.00-A4_patched.exe: and I want to test if "BH14NS40_N1.00-A4_patched.exe" works properly.
    Then made EEPROM-firmware dump of this with this Dosflash 1.7: Then extracted Teddy's three hexranges into a test-file 1 for comparison.

    Then flashed back 1.02 firmware from 1.03 (UN)Friendly, but couldn't take 1.02 original firmware dump, taking "DE_flash_HL-DT-ST_BD-RE_BH16NS55_1.02.bin" instead, which "BH14NS40_N1.00-A4_patched.exe" just works successfully, and I want to test if "BH14NS40_N1.00-A4_patched.exe" works properly.
    Then made EEPROM-firmware dump of this with this Dosflash 1.7
    Then extracted Teddy's three hexranges into a test-file 2 for comparison.

    File comparison check between test-file 1 and test-file 2 (the three Teddy's hex-ranges), checksums identical.

    + File comparison between:
    Original-firmware-1.02-dump of 1st BH16NS55 unit with Dosflash 1.7

    from flashed "back" 1.02 (<= using "BH14NS40_N1.00-A4_patched.exe") with "DE_flash_HL-DT-ST_BD-RE_BH16NS55_1.02.bin", from 1.03 back to 1.02 , +EEPROM-dumped with Dosflash 1.7 - checksums identical.

    => BH14NS40_N1.00-A4_patched.exe has done its job properly

    Flashing with "BH14NS40_N1.00-A4_patched.exe" confirmed working with UHD-unit connected via USB with an Asmedia ASM1153E SATA<->eSATA + USB 3.0 bridge-adapter), and also via SATA/eSATA (in AHCI mode).
    Last edited: Apr 5, 2019
    SamuriHL likes this.
  7. SamuriHL

    SamuriHL Moderator

    Yea, the information on how to edit the firmware bin files came from Mike because he was tired of watching people potentially brick or mess up drives using dosflash. dosflash is inherently dangerous because it flashes the ENTIRE flash memory including digital signature and calibration data. Using this method it's only flashing the EEPROM parts of the firmware using the drive self update mechanism. MUCH safer and nearly impossible to brick. The tool I wrote will extract firmware from LG and ASUS firmware executable updaters and then if you pass in a firmware bin file it'll ensure it's downgrade enabled.
    whatever_gong82 and theosch like this.
  8. coopervid

    coopervid Moderator

    @SamuriHL and @theosch,

    great discussion! Great tool "FirmwareExtractor" kudos to SamuriHL.

    Great work in total that drives sold these days can be converted to "friendly" so easily. I have only one point: Please don't confuse people who stumble on this thread. Everything works as easy as 1-2-3 like outlined in my first post. Let people use it and be happy and not pay outrageous amounts of money for the same functionality as advertised by e.g. the competition based in China.
    theosch and whatever_gong82 like this.
  9. SamuriHL

    SamuriHL Moderator

    The discussion isn't meant to confuse people it's meant to warn them. That flashing a drive with this method might be "easy" it's simply lucky we have this option right now. We may eventually see new firmware that disable this little loophole at which time people will revert back to the dosflash method which is, as was pointed out, not nearly as safe. Also, backing up a firmware is probably a good idea before flashing but the method used here doesn't require it as it doesn't mess with the digital signature or calibration data.

    So yes, in short, the method is easy and works....for now.
  10. coopervid

    coopervid Moderator


    point taken - but don't be negative. There are always creative people who help to circumvent such stuff like prevent drives from being "friendly", AACS, bus encryption etc. It will be an endless battle. It always was from the very beginning.
  11. theosch

    theosch Well-Known Member

    Yes - like the cat-and-mouse game" (Katz-und-Maus-Spiel) :rockingchair:
  12. coopervid

    coopervid Moderator

    When the cat is away the mice will play....:ROFLMAO:
  13. TheEmpathicEar

    TheEmpathicEar Well-Known Member

    Well, U have folks like me who are still intimidated by all this. It would be nice to have a YouTube video or some other way to visualize the entire process from start to finish [and be reassured that their drive will not be bricked].
  14. coopervid

    coopervid Moderator

    If you look at the pictures of the link of the Polish forum in my first post you don't need a video. Just do it like it's outlined there. Be assured it's safe. Warranty is a different story.
    whatever_gong82 likes this.
  15. SamuriHL

    SamuriHL Moderator

    It's not being "negative" it's repeating what Mike told us when he showed us how to do this. This is directly what he said about it:

    "p.p.s. SPI bus access via vendor ATA is a firmware-controlled feature, not a hardware interface. There is no doubt that in response to mainstream usage of this interface, it will be disabled in upcoming firmware versions, making life significanty difficult for everyone. Just because greed is greed and $109 is still $109... icon_sad.gif "

    My point in bringing this up isn't to be "negative"...it's to make people aware that while this works now, it may not in the future. IOW, jump on it now and *DO NOT* update your firmware. If you buy a new drive, downgrade it and then leave it alone. THAT was the point.
  16. theosch

    theosch Well-Known Member

    Hm when I left EEPROM erased for a short period with Dosflash, (of course having a backup dump) that means there was no firmware present to EEPROM.
    It's interesting that Dosflash 1.7 (principially) still allowed writing back safety backup firmware dump (+ or other versions etc).

    You mean, even your easy safer method with"BH14NS40_N1.00-A4_patched.exe" to access certain areas of SPI flash only with your specially modified Clean firmwares for "BH14NS40_N1.00-A4_patched.exe" allowing to downgrade from UHD-(un)friendly to friendly might no longer work in the future, if the UHD unit was updated with a newer firmware release.

    (So "SPI bus access via vendor ATA firmware-controlled feature" would be firmware controlled, but depending on which flash program you're using?)
    Last edited: Feb 13, 2019
  17. SamuriHL

    SamuriHL Moderator

    I'm not entirely sure. Mike made the comment so you may want to ask for clarification over there. But it sounded like to me they could disable SPI bus access altogether and eliminate ANY firmware modification including their own updates. At least, that's how I read it. But these are questions for people who know far more than I do.
  18. theosch

    theosch Well-Known Member

    Because "BH14NS40_N1.00-A4_patched.exe" didn't allow downgrade to lower versions, also no standard Clean firmware helping,
    but with specialised adapted modified Clean firmwares the downgrade for now works,
    or denied any flashing with erased EEPROM,
    but in the future with newer Fw-releases installed even that downgrade trick from (UHD-)unfirendly with special modified fw might not work for e.g. "BH14NS40_N1.00-A4_patched.exe" any longer,
    and Dosflash for now appeared independent from the current tricks, and independent from erased EEPROM to attempt to downgrade,
    and if there was no firmware to EEPROM to manage flashability,
    and Dosflash allows writing erased EEPROMs anyways,
    I concluded Dosflash still would be able to flash any firmware also with future UHD releases, at least for currently sold drives;)

    But maybe I had an error in thinking. Dosflash allowing a downgrade from UHD-(UN)friendly to UHD-friendly without any trick necessary, and Dosflash still detecting the unit to allow to write back any firmware to an erased EEPROM, doesn't exclude the possibility of a newer fw-version release of an UHD-(UN)friendly firmware installed, to block access to EEPROM, even to block Dosflash.
    Maybe because there's some other part of storage in the drive, when it is "updated" eg. by LG utitily, together with the firmware which itself goes into EEPROM, that would prevent the SPI access.

    Or other explanation.
    If that's still was not that like, they still might build newer BH16NS55, BH16NS60, BU50N, etc. revisions, which are slightly different in hardware, or with new models, to add s.th. that could block SPI-bus access when certain firmware installed, etc. E.g. some signing checksum code, or s.th. in a new UHD-firmware is s.th enabled, similar like with Dell "BIOSe", where you can activate a setting "signed firmware update" or "computrace" setting, which can't be switched back per software flash tools (afaik) once enabled, but here mattering the entire firmware, just a hardware external programmer helping.
    That sounds bad if Mike is right.
    Otherwise if that really happens with SPI bus blocking, by certain firmwares, the bad news will spread, and that is worse for business. ;)
    Last edited: Feb 14, 2019
  19. SamuriHL

    SamuriHL Moderator

    Yea, I think that's exactly what Mike is alluding to. Shutting off access to SPI in future firmware and/or drive revisions. For now, we're good and we should take advantage of this while we can. I flashed my ASUS drive natively to 3.02 (it came friendly and has always remained friendly) and my NS60 I downgraded with a DE enabled 1.00 cleaned firmware. I also dumped a full 1.01 bin using dosflash on the NS60 and a 3.02 bin on my ASUS just to have them. I'm not screwing around. My drives will stay as they are forever at this point. Once you have a friendly drive, you should leave it that way.
    whatever_gong82 and theosch like this.
  20. theosch

    theosch Well-Known Member

    Yes absolutely to understand. The damn is that you can't take "updated" firmwares, which block UHD-ripping, so you also don't get improved readability+error correction (but anyway only for playback for AACS 2x UHDs, where especially with 4 layers and improved error correction would be important, + for DVD and Blu-ray, and not advanced writing capabilities with new brands of blanc media.
    Anyway I just use those UHD drives for reading out the discs, writing stuff I find rather (un)reliable in the long run. For reading out UHD an improved error correction by firmware update might be good.
    If you ask me. In the long run those optical stuff will die for those reasons. The manufactures now this, but still can make money. (I hope that's wrong.)
    That ripping makes fun. For me it's not a kick to upload those to internet etc., and I don't want to harm the film industry and rent shops in any way.

    Simple I don't want pay a flatrate to netflix every month. Just buy and pay for rent a video when wanted. Paying for a rent for two days, when watching actually one day, 4-5€ price is OK ;) or going to cinema when can't wait.

    Paying a flatrate to Netflix for a month e.g. is OK, when having more time for wanting to watch a series of seasons etc.
    Last edited: Feb 14, 2019