Alienware Area51m - lost AlienFX in command center

Discussion in '2015+ Alienware 13 / 15 / 17' started by gpc, Mar 22, 2020.

  1. gpc

    gpc Notebook Consultant

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    Hi all,
    I need some help here. Customer service has done a good job, but the only option they propose is still sending the PC back for motherboard replacement while I don´t think that is the problem, so maybe someone here can give some suggestion.
    Some background...
    I got my new Area51m last December, great PC, I'm really happy. In February the command center gets the automatic update and, since then, the AlienFX is not recognised any more. It works with the last settings, I still have the lights on and working, but I can't do anything to it any more.
    I have contacted the customer service and we had a couple of remote session and a few tests, but they are always going back to, you need to change the mother board.
    First, I can't understand why the motherboard would get broken with a command center update, since before it was working... Second, they made me try to reload the .hex on the controller and there is something really strange there. It looks like the platform name they want me to program is called "SerenityR1", while my PC apparently only supports "Serenity". I'll post later what happens when I try to program the firmware, now I'm on my desktop.
    Anyway, obvious steps of uninstalling and reinstalling command center doesn't fix the problem. Reloading the previous version doesn't work either. They were really surprised that my computer had BIOS 1.8.2, because they said it wasn't supported any more and the good one was 1.7.something. Thanks to the help I have got from here, I managed to reload the previous version, but I still have the same issue.

    So, before I give back my computer to them for an unknown number of weeks (by the way, they claim that, due to the current situation, the time to have the PC back is 2 weeks, normally it is one week, does anyone have experience of the real time for service in Germany?), does anyone have something else that I could test to recover the AlienFX functionalities?

    Thanks!
     
  2. gpc

    gpc Notebook Consultant

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    So, as promised... These are the operations that I have been asked to do.


    Code:
    C:\Dell\AWCC\ELCU>ElcUpdate -f elc-iar-v1.0.10.hex
    Alienware ELC Firmware Update
    Hex file Version: 1.0.10
    Bin file Version: 1.0.10
    Firmware is up to date.
    1 Device(s) found :
    Device [1]: ELC, having [1] alternate targets
    [0:0:01] Target 00: Upgrading - Erase Phase (100%)...
    [0:0:06] Target 00: Upgrading - Download Phase (100%)...44 KB(45365 Bytes) of 44 KB(45365 Bytes)
    Launching verify...
    [0:0:07] Target 00: Uploading 100%...44 KB(45365 Bytes) of 44 KB(45365 Bytes)
    Verify upload
    
    Verify successful !
    Operation: UPLOAD
    TransferSize: 1024
    DFU State: STATE_DFU_IDLE
    DFU Status: STATUS_OK
    Request: Get Status Request.
    CurrentNBlock: 0x002E
    CurrentLength: 0x0135
    Percent: 100%
    Error Code: no error (!)
    
    Total duration: 0:0:08
    Update complete.
    this one went ok. Then

    Code:
    C:\Dell\AWCC\ELCU>ElcUpdate -f SerenityR1.hex
    Alienware ELC Firmware Update
    Hex file Version: 0.0.0
    Bin file Version: 1.0.10
    Firmware is up to date.
    1 Device(s) found :
    Device [1]: ELC, having [1] alternate targets
    [0:0:00] Target 00: Upgrading - Erase Phase (100%)...
    [0:0:01] Target 00: Upgrading - Download Phase (100%)...0 KB(14 Bytes) of 0 KB(14 Bytes)
    Launching verify...
    [0:0:02] Target 00: Uploading 100%...0 KB(14 Bytes) of 0 KB(14 Bytes)
    Verify upload
    
    Verify successful !
    Operation: UPLOAD
    TransferSize: 1024
    DFU State: STATE_DFU_IDLE
    DFU Status: STATUS_OK
    Request: Get Status Request.
    CurrentNBlock: 0x0002
    CurrentLength: 0x000E
    Percent: 100%
    Error Code: no error (!)
    
    Total duration: 0:0:03
    Update complete.
    Note that here, for some reason, the hex file version is indicated as 0.0.0. I told them, but... they didn't say anything about it.

    Now the odd bits:

    Code:
    C:\Dell\AWCC\ELCU>DesktopDiagTool --prep Serenity
    Found Alienware ELC.  Firmware v1.0.10
    GetSystemConfig
    GenericAnimationCreate
    Serenity
    ID: 0x8|Dur: 0|Loop: Yes|Save: True
    Added animation 8
    SetStartupAnimation 0x8 6000
    GenericAnimationCreate
    Serenity
    ID: 0x81|Dur: 0|Loop: Yes|Save: True
    Added animation 129
    SetDefaultAnimation 0x81
    CreateMobile_AcSleep : 919 : true
    ID: 0x5b|Dur: 0|Loop: Yes|Save: True
    Error 726
    CreateSingleSeriesAnimation attempt 1 failed
    Added animation 91
    CreatePowerAnimations : 1175 : true
    ID: 0x5d|Dur: 0|Loop: Yes|Save: True
    Added animation 93
    CreateMobile_AcCharging : 1017 : true
    CreatePowerAnimations : 1175 : true
    CreateMobile_AcCharged : 884 : true
    ID: 0x5c|Dur: 0|Loop: Yes|Save: True
    Added animation 92
    CreatePowerAnimations : 1175 : true
    ID: 0x5f|Dur: 0|Loop: Yes|Save: True
    Added animation 95
    CreateMobile_BatteryOk : 1052 : true
    CreatePowerAnimations : 1175 : true
    ID: 0x60|Dur: 0|Loop: Yes|Save: True
    Added animation 96
    CreateMobile_BatteryLow : 1087 : true
    CreatePowerAnimations : 1175 : true
    ID: 0x5e|Dur: 0|Loop: Yes|Save: True
    Added animation 94
    CreateMobile_BatterySleep : 1123 : true
    CreatePowerAnimations : 1175 : true
    ELC reports incorrect animation count 9, failing
    Note that this is specifying the platform "Serenity", while when I specify "SerenityR1":

    Code:
    C:\Dell\AWCC\ELCU>DesktopDiagTool --prep SerenityR1
    Found Alienware ELC.  Firmware v1.0.10
    GetSystemConfig
    Platform 'SerenityR1' is not currently supported.
    And, this should be the final step to verify that everything went ok...

    Code:
    C:\Dell\AWCC\ELCU>DesktopDiagTool -f
    Found Alienware ELC.  Firmware v1.0.10
    GetSystemConfig
    9 Animations defined in SPI flash
    System config:
      System ID: 0x0501
      LED Count: 6
    Serenity
    Success
    I can't see that any of this means broken MB. To me, this sounds like, I have the wrong files...
     
  3. Spartan@HIDevolution

    Spartan@HIDevolution Company Representative

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    I have seen many problems like this on the Reddit forums. The solution was uninstalling Command Center and all of its remnants that are scattered all over the system like in Program Files and Program Files (x86) and ProgramData (hidden folder) then rebooting.

    Then download the latest Command Center but before you run it, you need to right click on the file you just downloaded, go to Properties, and make sure at the bottom it doesn't say BLOCKED because this file came from the internet, if it did, that is the reason the Command Center is not properly installing. you simply need to hit the checkbox which says UNBLOCK then hit APPLY then OK.

    Try that and let me know how it goes.
     
  4. gpc

    gpc Notebook Consultant

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    Thank you Spartan, just to make sure I understand exactly what you mean, when you say "blocked", what do you mean? I have only read only and hidden as possible options. Should I try to run it in compatibility mode?
     
  5. Spartan@HIDevolution

    Spartan@HIDevolution Company Representative

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    If you don't see an option to unblock to the right of where it says hidden then you're good to go. Sometimes files when you download files from the internet they are automatically blocked so you need to unblock them first to have them install correctly
     
  6. gpc

    gpc Notebook Consultant

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    Ahmm... no. Nothing different. I have just redone the uninstall, cleaning, reinstall and everything is still the same.

    I have these in the register, if it is of any help:

    reg1.jpg reg2.jpg
     
  7. Spartan@HIDevolution

    Spartan@HIDevolution Company Representative

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    Want me to have a look over TeamViewer to see if I can solve this?
     
  8. gpc

    gpc Notebook Consultant

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    Oh, that would be really nice of you, thanks!
     
  9. Spartan@HIDevolution

    Spartan@HIDevolution Company Representative

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    I just saw this because you didn't quote me or tag me so I didn't get notified.

    I will PM you tomorrow when I get online.
     
  10. gpc

    gpc Notebook Consultant

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    It's ok, no rush. Work is a telecon madness and email nightmare these days and I try to stay off the PC as much as I can afterwards.
    I'm in UK time, just for you to know.
    Thanks again!
     
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