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Rigol DS1052E Hack to 100MHz [message #1770] Wed, 02 January 2013 05:37
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Registered: December 2004
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The Rigol DS1052E 50MHz scope arrived and it has been sitting for about a year (I guess maybe it is out of the warranty now anyway, so time for the HACK!) We finally got around to hacking the 50MHz beast to 100MHz. The unit came shipped with 00.02.05 SP1 firmware. This was tricky because RIGOL knew about all of the hacking going on. They put a stop to downgrading the firmware with the 00.02.05 firmware version.

The only way to hack this unit is to downgrade it to the firmware. This firmware allowed you to change the serial number and model number which changes the scope to 100MHz. To do this, you need to use a USB or Serial port with special commands. Any newer firmware than supposedly removed this feature. The trick was to take the firmware and change the header on the file to reflect a larger firmware version. RIGOL also obscured the firmware version in their new firmware (02.05) so it isn't as easy as changing the numbers intuitively. With the right combination and a hex editor, the firmware was patched to make the scope think that the firmware was newer, but in fact, it was the old firmware! Nice hack that actually works!

Linux was not playing well with the serial port and USB port, so Windows was used to make the serial/model number changes. After wondering why Windows was only recognizing it as a hard drive, the option for "Computer" was found in the "I/O Setup" for "USB Device". Once that was changed to "Computer", Windows recognized the RIGOL unit and the numbers were able to be changed. I bet this was the only problem with Linux also. But the job is done and there is no need to go back to try Linux at this point.

I wonder if the hack actually increased their sales or lost them money due to everyone purchasing the same unit for half the price? I know the purchase of this particular unit was because it could be hacked to 100MHz so my opinion is they gained more business and publicity from it.


[Updated on: Thu, 03 January 2013 02:53]

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