Sierra MC8355 WWAN in FZ-G1 stuck in device reboot loop

Discussion in 'Panasonic' started by ortho7, May 14, 2016.

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  1. ortho7

    ortho7 Notebook Enthusiast

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    Unfortunately, I may have damaged the firmware of the MC8355 WWAN module in my FZ-G1. (I quickly setup a temporary installation of Win 7 x64 on a second partition to test something for another thread. In the process, I might have installed a mismatching WWAN driver. If I had known that this driver can modify the firmware during installation, I had been more careful...)

    Anyway, my MC8355 is now stuck in a device reboot cycle and constantly disappears/reappears every 2-3 seconds in device manager. This happens not only in the Win 7 x64 test installation, but also in my Win 10 x64 main installation. So it is the device and not just a driver issue.
    I googled the symptoms and found someone who managed to revive a Sierra EM7345 from a similar reboot cycle, but the flash tools from there do not work in my case, unfortunately.
    I have already tried to manually flash the Gobi firmware image of the correct driver from "\Program Files (x64)\Sierra Wireless Inc\Gobi\Images\3000\6" using "fdt.exe amss.mbn". This call starts promising with "Checking modem mode...", but either immediately stops with "... No serial port is available" or stays at "Checking modem mode ..." for a while and then fails with "... Failed in initializing comport." If I could only stop the reboot cycle, then, maybe, the comport could be initialized for firmware flashing...

    Any hints would be much appreciated.
     
  2. BaRRmaley

    BaRRmaley Notebook Deity

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    Try to disable Qualcomm Gobi Download service in Computer management.
     
  3. ortho7

    ortho7 Notebook Enthusiast

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    Thanks for your hint. In Win 7 x64, I do not have any Qualcomm service (checked both in computer management and with process explorer). I currently have the Sierra driver installed from this official Panasonic package.
    In Win 10 x64, I went back to before driver installations with system restore. Device manager refreshes every few secs. With an USB utility I can see that the device "MC8355" briefly appears on port 6 of hub 7. Its Windows description is "USB Mobile Broadband Network Adapter Module" and another device appears at the same port described as "Generic mobile Broadband Adapter". Both constantly disconnect and reappear on USB... I remember that right after first installing Win 10, there was also a device named "MC8355" (displayed normally/continuously in device manager, without disconnects every few secs).
     
  4. Shawn

    Shawn Crackpot Search Ninja and Options Whore

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    Does this matter? From the linked W7 driver package

    Note
    MC8355 (USA) model only.
    Don't install "System Interface Device Drivers" and "System
    Interface Manager" and "Panasonic Notification" after running
    this software.
     
  5. Shawn

    Shawn Crackpot Search Ninja and Options Whore

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    I would work with W7 only for the moment.

    Uninstall ALL of the MC8355//GOBI etc drivers and software. Make SURE all registry entries are gone also.
    Reboot.
    Reinstall the Panasonic drivers and software FOLLOWING the instructions exactly.
    See what happens.

    My next choice would be to restore the entire drive using a recovery disk.
    Then try the drivers with the exact install instructions.

    Try to flash the card from safe mode.
     
    Last edited: May 15, 2016
  6. Shawn

    Shawn Crackpot Search Ninja and Options Whore

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  7. ortho7

    ortho7 Notebook Enthusiast

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    Hi Shawn, thanks for your hints; I processed them as follows:
    • First I restored Win 7 x64 to a state before the system had seen any WWAN drivers via system restore. (Already in this driver-less state, device manager is constantly refreshing.)
    • Downloaded the USB driver 4277 from Sierra that you linked.
    • Installed it. In every refresh cycle you can now briefly see a "Sierra Wireless USB Composite Device" as parent device under an USB hub, when viewing devices by connection in device manager. It has four child devices.
    • Then I tried "fdt ..\Gobi\Images\3000\Generic\6\amss.mbn". Depending on the current "refresh state":
      • it either quits directly with "Neither NDIS adapter nor serial port is available"
      • or it stays a while at "Checking modem mode ..." and then quits with "Failed in initializing COM port"
    • The same happens when starting fdt in safe mode.
    So, unfortunately, no progress.
    I have also found out that if I set WWAN to disabled in BIOS, then device manager does no longer refresh every 3secs and looks normal again, but no WWAN device is present in this case, of course. The problem really seems to be that the MC8355 device disconnects or reboots itself every 3 secs so that flashing by fdt has no chance to even properly initialize... :(
     
  8. BaRRmaley

    BaRRmaley Notebook Deity

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    I had Gobi 2000 with a similar problem and I've just thrown it away. It even worked sometimes, but I don't use unstable parts :)
     
  9. Shawn

    Shawn Crackpot Search Ninja and Options Whore

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    Right after blue Panasonic boot screen, press F8 key repeatedly until a black screen with white text appears.
    Boot into safe mode.
    Attempt to install //flash wwan then.
     
  10. ortho7

    ortho7 Notebook Enthusiast

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    @Shawn: Okay, I uninstalled the Sierra driver, once again booted into W7 safe mode and installed it again in safe mode (several times, also with FWUPDATE=FORCE in configuration.ini). It installs fine, but this didn't solve the problem, unfortunately. I also ran fdt again in safe mode. Most of the time it quits with messages posted above, but one time it continued a bit further and then "Failed to switch device to BOOT&HOLD mode." This seems to be an unsolvable timing issue, as long as the device disconnects itself every 2-3secs...

    @BaRRmaley: I am beginning to think that you are right and that I must solve this problem on hardware level. After watching this video and seeing these images I feel confident that I can open my FZ-G1 and replace its WWAN card. When I do this, I want to use the opportunity to also upgrade from 3G to 4G.

    I have found a promising LTE module over at eBay. It is a Quectel EC20 with a mini PCIe interface that supports worldwide LTE bands. It has even VoLTE "in development" which might be fun to try out later. And, it is not too expensive. However, I have two questions and hope you can help me:
    1. Is it really just replacing the WWAN module in the mini PCIe slot and installing the driver?
      (In optional kit, I see a config named WAN ID. I do not really understand the meaning of this setting, but I guess that it must somehow match the built-in module? Or is it just a complicated way of configuring "pass on to OS" versus "hide from OS"?)
    2. Is it safe to assume that the built-in UMTS/MC8355 antenna is compatible with the new 4G/LTE card?
      (I see only two antenna cables in this image of a Sierra MC7710 in an opened FZ-G1. Like this MC7710, the EC20 WWAN card has also three antenna ports, the additional in the center being labelled GPS. Will the GPS still work if I only attach two antenna cables and nothing to the center port like in this image?)
    Thanks for your time!
     
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