What happens when you drop your laptop in the pool? Well, yes, you buy a new laptop. But what about your data. You do have backups, right? No, of course, you don’t. But if you can solder like [TheRasteri] you could wire into the flash memory on the motherboard and read it one last time. You can see the whole exploit in the video below.
There’s really three tasks involved. First is finding the schematic and board layout for motherboard. Apparently, these aren’t usually available from the manufacturer but can be acquired in some of the seedier parts of the Internet for a small fee. Once you have the layout, you have to arrange to solder wires to the parts of the flash memory you need to access.
The final task is to interface the flash memory. Turns out, that’s easy. You simply buy a cheap SD card reader and gut it, soldering wires where the flash memory connector used to be. You can often get these for free after rebate or just pay a few bucks for one. It doesn’t have to last very long.
The video shows some good tips for isolating the chip by removing resistors or cutting into the motherboard. There are also a few things you might not think about at first, like holding the chip’s reset pin high for the operation.
Did it completely work? We won’t give it away, but we will say that since he was doing this for a friend, it is good to have a friend like [TheRasteri]. Surprisingly, we’ve seen this done before with a wet cell phone. While it does take a bit of soldering skill, it isn’t like you have to solder to every ball on a BGA or anything.