Thursday, 14 September 2023

Recovering a Dell XPS 13 9310 BIOS (3 amber 6 white error)

Recovering a faulty Dell XPS 13 9310 Bios

A friend gave me an extremely nice 13" Dell XPS machine with all the bells and whistles: i7 / 16G / 1T. Super cool machine. The catch: It was a troublemaker from day one.
Apparently the machine had intermittent problems recognizing it's SSD. But what was more: It appeared very dead when I got it.
Sometimes the screen would cycle RGB colours, and the little light bar at the front would signal 3 amber and 6 white flashes.

Bios recovery

Here's what I did to get it back:

  • Downloaded BIOS_IMG.rcv version of the 3.18.0 Bios (use the service tag to find the right version)
  • Copied that to a FAT32 formatted USB-Drive
  • Plugged the drive in (in my case via a USB-C mobile adapter, but that is irrelevant)
  • While holding down CTRL and ESC, plugged in the power cable

I was toally amazed when the Bios recovery dialog came up! It apparently updated quite a few ROMs and left me with a responsive system.

Semi-fixed :-(

Only trouble: It still does not recognize the SSD. I swapped it out for another one, but no luck.
With the new Bios, I can change the boot order to start from an external drive, which makes the system sort-of useable as a desktop-laptop. A 16G i7 machine is nothig to sneeze at, but I am not prefectly happy with that.
From what I read on the net, my XPS 13 machine is not the only one suffering from that very same SSD-Problem. Obviously the bios upgrade was not the fix for it.
So: If anyone knows a solution to the SSD-problem, please let me know.

Friday, 10 March 2023

My Raspi setup routine

How I set up my Raspberry PI

This time I try the SanDisk Max Endurance 32GByte card (claims 100MB/40MB R/W-rate)

Other cards lasted 2 to 5 years. I wonder if this one will be more durable. My Pi is a model 2b that has been running more or less non-stop since 2015 and ate a couple of microSDs in the process.


Download Imager (in my case windows) and choose Raspbian

Set hostname, activate ssh (as I'm running headless), set credentials (not user "pi") - pretty easy these days.

Getting started

insert card and boot

connect via ssh (always the same Addressm as my router has a fixed dhcp entry for the Raspberry pi's MAC

sudo apt-get update

sudo apt-get upgrade

sudo apt autoremove

sudo reboot


Install as outlined here:

I needed to set the size to 80M.


And as I care about a free (like in "free speech", not "free beer") Internet, I install a snowflake proxy:


sudo apt install fail2ban

as described here

check with

sudo service fail2ban status

(I had some syntax-issues in jail.local)

Set timezone with sudo raspi-config

And it makes a lot of sense to run fail2ban. I have SSH open and within a day, I've been attacked from around the planet, with an amazing concentration of taiwanese IP adresses. The map only shows the location of IPs that tried often enough to actually get banned.

Atttackers connecting to my ssh server during one day
This map was created feeding the output of:
grep Ban /var/log/fail2ban.log | cut -d ' ' -f 16 | sort -u