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Foxconn NT-A3500

Discussion in 'Home Entertainment Computers' started by mlk1, Jun 29, 2011.

  1. 2010

    2010 Member

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    Has anyone who owns an A3500 also had an Atom/Ion system & if so, how does this compare?

    I have a Revo 3610 & W7 MCE is very sluggish (particularly the guide) & basically ruins an otherwise decent system, if the Fusion is capable I would pick one of these Foxconn's up otherwise I'm going to DIY an i3.
  2. eduardoq

    eduardoq New Member

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    I found a solution to the black screen after upgrading to bios v3 (in my case it worked):

    Symptoms:
    After updating to v3, the screen is completely black and the fan spins full speed.

    Reason:
    Incorrect update of the bios. I used the "AFUWINGUI" in Windows 7 64 bits. The problem was that only select the "Main BIOS image" (tab "setup").
    The right choices are in: http://www.foxconnsupport.com/faq.a...gory=C000000005&series=en-us0000003&keywords=

    Solution:
    1. Download the version that was previously installed on your computer (B11F1P01 in my case) from http://www.foxconnsupport.com/downl...00003&Series=en-us0000003&keywords=&sort=bios
    2. Create a bootable USB drive in MS-DOS mode. Follow the steps DOS USB boot drive - Vista Forums
    3. Test on a computer to boot from the USB drive created to verify it is correct.
    4. Copy the contents of the bios file downloaded in step 1 (AFUDOS.EXE, autoexec.bat, B11F1P01.ROM and B11F1.txt in my case) to the root of the USB drive created in step 2
    5. Put the USB drive in the nettop (on USB 2.0 not USB 3.0)
    6. Start the nettop and wait a few minutes (I think it only takes a few seconds, but it is best to wait about 5 minutes, just in case)
    7. Turn off the nettop, remove the usb and turn it back on. MY NETTOP IS ALIVE with bios v1!
    8. If it works, you can now upgrade to version 3 correctly. I repeat step 4 but with files downloaded from the bios 3

    Good luck!!!
  3. eduardoq

    eduardoq New Member

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    See post #32
  4. eduardoq

    eduardoq New Member

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    See post #32
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  5. onlineaddy

    onlineaddy Member

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    @mlk1 How did you get the BD Remote Power Manager to see your PS3 remote?

    I cannot get it to locate my PS3 remote. Populate Items shows on the display "Populating... (Please wait.)" but doesn't populate the two drop-down lists. Is it possible for me to locate the values for those two fields (Bluetooth Address and HID Device) manually somehow?
  6. onlineaddy

    onlineaddy Member

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    Thanks for your note. Wished it was available before I had to get a replacement. I'm sure it will help others. :smashin:
  7. onlineaddy

    onlineaddy Member

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    BTW, I'm pretty sure you can skip the step on flashing to v1. You should just flash directly to v3 using AFUDOS with all the needed Block Options.
  8. -BA-

    -BA- Member

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    Quite interested in one of these as a possible replacement for my TViX. I am curious to know about what audio support it has. I note it has a line out, is this an optical out of merely 2 channel? Is the only multi-channel sound via HDMI? If this is the case can it do DTS-HD and TrueHD?

    Another question is how well the graphics cope for basic gaming. I note from one of the reviews that it coped ok with L4D2 at 720p but I would like to know if it could handle something like Eve Online (again at basic graphics levels).

    Lastly is noise levels: I note from one of the comments in this thread that it can be heard when it is getting intesive use. This is a machine that I intend to have "always on". Is the noise from it quite intrusive? It will be in my bedroom.

    Thanks guys. Failing this, I am looking pretty seriously at a Tranquil PC but would prefer to use a low profile PCI-e card with that. My only worry would be that using the card would end up generating noise.
  9. vmk

    vmk Member

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    Back to bios: Removing battery helped me. If you wanna do it like me, read "update" at the end of this posting.

    Just shoot my bios. I downloaded Firmware B11F1P03 from Foxconn and flashed it in Windows. Rebooted, loaded defaults, changed boot sequence to HD only. Bam! System dead. Recovery from #32 was'nt successfull. 4h laters, system is running again.

    There is an official guide for recovery amibios: AMIBIOS8_Flash_Recovery_Whitepaper_v10.pdf. Summed up: Bios consists of 3 stages. Boot block, storage and Main Bios Image. The boot block is first loaded and checks the main bios. If the main bios is corrupt, it will fail back to recovery mode. This means: Searching on all media for AMIBOOT.ROM for reflashing. All media per default are disabled. Vendor has to enable it.

    Recovery was not active, because the bios is not corrupt. There has to be something other gone bad. No media was accepted. So i opened the case again and searched for a flash eeprom, a reset pin or the battery. I found 2 debug connectors and 1 battery on the downside. Removing the battery and powering on again - System runs and directly goes into bios. Boot sequence has been changed to CD/DVD. I thing Foxconn has messed up with some preconfigured bios settings, so you has to wipe it out by the updater (which afudos generally does, but not the buggy windows flasher).

    Sometimes you could save lot of time by just remembering the good old days. On some intel boards, you are attended to remove the battery and do a hard reset of the bios after flashing it. Nothing has changed these days.

    update: After removing battery, don't go into bios. If you change there the boot sequence, you will get stucked again. If you do it, you have to reset the bios settings with shorting. Connect a simple CD-Drive, boot up there a Win7 (or something like this). Connect a usb stick with bios B11F1P03 and the windows flasher. Advance in Windows Setup to the command prompt and call the windows command line bios updater with the same parameters like the dos version. :)

    PS: Funny day.
    Last edited: Oct 8, 2011
  10. tomcoleman

    tomcoleman Member

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    thank you so much for this post!!!

    I had the same problem flashed my BIOS to latest not using the switches in the autoexec.bat and just got a black screen

    confirmed the above works!!!


    my box is now alive!!!!!! :clap:
  11. krasaee

    krasaee Member

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    Brilliant it worked for me as well; thanks!
  12. DHR

    DHR Member

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    I just got one of these.

    I'm not going to run Windows on it. I don't want to and I don't have a license.

    I tried to boot FreeDOS from a USB flash memory stick. I created it like this:FreeDOS 1.0 USB Boot Image. I cannot get it to boot on the nT-A3500.

    The same stick boots on another random PC that I have here.

    The Foxconn BIOS sees it and says
    My BIOS is B11F1P01. I was hoping to boot FreeDOS and flash a fresher one.

    Any ideas?

    The BIOS setup boot source options are complex. I tried several combinations. In the end, I tried to turn off anything with UEFI. This is DOS, after all. The boot options do refer to my USB device by name, so it must see it.
  13. lca

    lca Member

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    very interested in one of these for myself have a few questions tho

    how much memory is enough to run xbmc for mainly 720p
    does xbmc run smoothly
    is this model better than the 330i
    anyone try a harmony remote on this
    also you do leave these running 24/7 is there an easy way to turn them off with a remote?
    thanks
    Last edited: Dec 12, 2011
  14. VLife

    VLife Active Member

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    Hi lca,

    I've got one of these boxes running OpenElec XBMC and I've just put a 1Gb stick in it and allocated 512Mb of the 1Gb to the video side of things in the BIOS.

    720p and 1080p files play perfectly either locally or from my remote server (over Ethernet).

    HTH

    Paul
  15. lca

    lca Member

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    thanks for the information m8 is openelc easy to install ? And do you leave the box running 24/7
  16. VLife

    VLife Active Member

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    Hi,

    OpenElec is dead easy, just plug a blank USB stick and and run the software. Plug the stick in to your box and set the BIOS to boot from it. It then gives you a menu to install the software and you just choose where you want it installed to i.e. SD card, other USB stick or internal HDD. After installation just unplug to boot USB stick and hit reboot! Job done.

    I would go for the nightly build of OpenElec Eden as well because it is dead stable.

    Yes I leave the box running 24/7 - runs like a dream and is very very quiet.

    HTH

    PH
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  17. lca

    lca Member

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    thanks for the info lads its just a straight choose between the foxconn or R3700 running openelec just cant decide what to buy lol
  18. DHR

    DHR Member

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    I put a 1G SODIMM because I had it laying around. But I found 4G SODIMMs for Canadian $20 (actually, less is possible, but I wanted to buy them from the vendor who sold be the nT-A3500 to avoid finger-pointing) so I bought that. RAM is so cheap you might as well maximize.

    I worked around my problem booting from the USB flash memory sticks. I had installed a hard drive and didn't want it booted from. Somehow turning off the HD booting must have impaired the USB booting (makes no sense, but that's my observation). I removed the HD, reset the BIOS to factory defaults, and then succeeded in booting from USB sticks.

    I booted FreeDOS and updated to the latest BIOS. Then I reinstalled the hard drive.

    I've installed Ubuntu 11.10 AMD64 via a live USB version. Before I installed, I ran Memtest86+ from the Ubuntu stick for about a day just to be confident of the RAM.

    I've learned that sound-over-HDMI isn't yet supported on the Radeon HD 6000 and 7000 by the open source Linux drivers. So this means I need to use the AMD/ATI proprietary drivers. You can get more of this story starting here [Phoronix] New Radeon HDMI Audio Patches Published
  19. VLife

    VLife Active Member

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    The BIOS boot settings are a little bit strange. Basically you can choose to either boot from HDD or ODD. If you choose to boot from HDD you can then under another menu select (if present) the boot order of a HDD, SD card or USB stick.

    Sound over HDMI in OpenElec works fine....

    HTH
  20. VLife

    VLife Active Member

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    Personally I would go for the Foxconn unit as it runs OpenElec beautifully and as a hardware platform is seems to use very little power compared to the Intel based boxes.

    HTH
  21. lca

    lca Member

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    Hi yea i went for the foxconn should be delivered tomorrow also added 4gb ram 500gb hdd sd card to install openelec to and a remote altho i hope to get my harmony working with it :)
  22. VLife

    VLife Active Member

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    Excellent stuff! I've not tried any of my MS Home IR recivers with it as I use the Andorid XBMC app which seems to work really well with it. Let us know how you get on.....

    Also, I can't remember if I mentioned this but don't for get to go in to the BIOS and assign 512Mb of the system RAM to the graphics or 1080p won't play correctly.

    All the best

    Paul
  23. lca

    lca Member

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    ill try the BIOS memory thingy lol not to great with all that tho maybe ill assign 1gb of RAM so it runs perfect.
  24. VLife

    VLife Active Member

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    Let us know how you get on. I've ordered some 4Gb sticks so I'm going to try the same when they arrive.

    PH
  25. VLife

    VLife Active Member

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    Help! Picked up another one of these ace boxes and the bios update failed. Ive created the usb boot disc as per the instructions and i dont seem to be getting it sorted.

    Im using an 8gb stick and the only files that are on the stick are the files from the bios update download from Foxconn - is this correct?

    Cheers

    Paul
  26. lca

    lca Member

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    Big thanks to VLife for helping me with a few problems with my 3500 i have it all up and running now just need to work out now to turn it on with the remote and im done :)
  27. mlk1

    mlk1 Member

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    Today, I was attempting to install OpenELEC and prior to that, I wanted to do a BIOS update. I was still running P01 and the latest version is now up to P07. What I done was downloaded the P07 bios from the Foxconn site, installed FreeDOS onto a USB stick using UNetbootin and put the flash files onto there. Stupidly, I ran the bios update manually and forgot to put in the flags that are present in the autoexec.bat. The bios did flash and I restarted the box and went into the BIOS. I set the boot device to USB to install OpenELEC, restarted and all I got was a black screen and the fans running on full. The exact same problem described by eduardoq in post #32 of this thread.

    This was briefly mentioned in a previous thread but I thought I would make this as obvious as possible for people:

    WHEN UPDATING THE BIOS, DO IT FROM DOS AND MAKE SURE YOU RUN THE AUTOEXEC.BAT FILE - YOU NEED TO HAVE THOSE FLAGS SET DURING FLASHING OR YOU WILL MESS UP YOUR NT-A3500 AS SOON AS YOU CHANGE ANY BIOS SETTINGS

    I tried to fix mine by following the steps in post #32. The crucial difference is that I had the P07 bios still on there and it didn't work. To cut a long story short, I ended up following those exact same steps with the P01 bios on the usb stick and it fixed my box. After I rolled back to P01, I installed P07, this time using the autoexec.bat to effectively run the following command:

    afudos B11F1P07.ROM /p /b /n /x /r

    This time, it flashed correctly and the BIOS works fine. They seem to have added some new options and I have no complaints.

    As a sidenote to this, when I had been trying eduardoq's recovery method with the P07 bios, when that didn't work, I decided to try vmk's recover method from post #39. Just in case anyone does end up having to try that, I thought I would elaborate on his post a little. The steps you need to do are as follows:

    1. Unscrew the 4 screws of your box and take the lid off
    2. Unscrew the screw holding in the Wi-fi antenna (see attached pic)
    3. Unscrew the screw going through the moterboard (see attached pic)
    4. Pull the wi-fi antenna through the hole in towards the motherboard
    5. Prise the back of the case away from the connectors there and pop the back of the motherboard out
    6. Now pull at it to pop the front out
    7. Note there will be a white wire which will keep the motherboard connected to the case
    8. On the back of the moterboard, there is a yellow battery sleeve connected with 3 pins to the motherboard. Pull out the 3-pin connector to reset CMOS (see attached pic)
    I had to muck around with taking out the battery a couple of times then I got back into the P07 bios but, since I didn't have an external CD/DVD drive which is the default P07 boot option, I tried to save again with the USB drive as the default boot device and it died again. That's when I tried eduardoq's method again with the P01 bios and it fixed it.


    Just to clarify - the P07 bios works fine as long as you install it using all of the relevant flags specified in the autoexec.bat that's bundled in the zip file along with the flash utility and .ROM file.

    Attached Files:

  28. mlk1

    mlk1 Member

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    The specs for my box and extra hardware I'm using are outlined in post #1 of this thread. I decided that instead of running Windows 7 on the box for XBMC, I'd try OpenELEC. There are builds specifically designed for fusion platforms such as the NT-A3500. The latest stable build is here which is running XBMC Dharma:

    http://releases.openelec.tv/OpenELEC-Fusion.i386-1.0.2.tar.bz2

    I decided to go for one of the nightly builds which is using Eden:

    http://sources.openelec.tv/tmp/imag...usion.i386-devel-20120120182419-r9589.tar.bz2

    Note that if you want to run Eden, you should check if there's a stable Eden build out yet and if not, find the latest fusion build in this folder:

    Index of /tmp/image/openelec-eden

    Installing OpenELEC was pretty simple. You download the .tar.bz2 file, unzip it and you'll have a .tar file. Unzip that and you'll end up with the actual contents you're after. Then:


    1. Format your USB stick as FAT32
    2. Run create_installstick.bat
    3. Put in your drive letter followed by a colon then press enter
    4. It will take about 20 seconds to install to USB
    5. Put the USB drive into your NT-A3500
    6. Set BIOS to but from USB drive (I think in the P07 firmware you can just press F6 or something on the POST screen to change boot device on the fly)
    7. Boot the USB drive and install using the automatic install option
    8. It took under a minute for OpenELEC to install to my hard drive then restart and you should go straight into XBMC
    I'm using an old 160gb hard drive I had lying around. To boot into windows would take me a good minute or so. To boot straight into XBMC using OpenELEC takes 12 seconds once the computer is past the POST screen. Pretty impressive.


    The only thing that didn't work for me out the box was my PS3 remote. I was using the same Edimax ED-MDC1 dongle. I had to install the xbmc-ps3d addon by doing the following:

    System -> Addons -> Get Add-ons -> All add-ons -> Services -> xbmc-ps3d


    I then rebooted and once into XBMC, I held Start+Enter on the PS3 remote for about 15 seconds and nothing happened. I went back into addons, navigated to xbmc-ps3d and it wasn't installed. Weird, so I installed again, went up to the main menu then rebooted the box from there. This time, when I got into XBMC, I held Start+Enter on the remote and a box popped up in XBMC saying the PS3 remote was successfully paired. I tested it with a couple of restarts and it was still paired so that seems to be working nicely. The default button configuration for the remote isn't really to my liking so I'll muck around with editing the config file for that and post it up here when I'm done.


    Next thing I done was installed the AEON MQ3 skin. I put it on Lite mode, made sure it was set to the Eden build and put it through its paces. It is far more responsive going through the menus than it was on Windows 7. Running MQ3 on Eden on Windows, I would get stuttering when moving left/right on the main menu and sometimes when scrolling through movies. With the OpenELEC build, it runs perfectly smooth. Managed to get the audio outputting properly to my Onkyo TX-SR608 which was always a bit of a problem with the Windows build.


    As for playback, I tried a few films but one of them was showing pixellation so I'm going to do a bit more testing with this tomorrow. If I can get that sorted, I'll definiteyl be keeping OpenELEC on there.
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  29. mlk1

    mlk1 Member

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    I've reverted back to using Windows. I tried OpenELEC and I was having problems where over 50% of the videos I tried would show artifacts to the point of being completely unwatchable. It's a pity as everything else other than that just seemed to work fine out the box.

    I'd have to do a bit more testing but it seemed to be movies with reference frames of 6 and 8 that were causing me problems (they were level 4.1 videos). I've got a few level 5.1 videos which were also messed up but that's a known limitation of the AMD display drivers in linux.

    I had tried the nightly build mentioned in my earlier post then I also tried to revert back to the 1.0.2 fusion release but it was still exhibiting the same problem.

    On a side-note, after I restored my Clonezilla image of my previous windows build, I installed the Aeon Nox skin. Looks great and I don't get any slowdowns like I was getting using Aeon MQ3.
  30. coryjac0b

    coryjac0b Member

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    Sorry for digging up an older thread.

    but i seem to be having the same problem everyone else did with the bios update.

    I have tried pulling the cmos battery and tried the dos boot through usb method but still have the same problem. Any other suggestions?

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