PortaPack H2+ HackRF One

Did you brick your PortaPack H2+ HackRF One when you went to update It to the latest firmware?

Yeah.  Me too.

It's not my normal electronics workbench...that's how screwed I am.

The reason Is probably kinda silly:  I bought one off of AliExpress (Option 10 for those who are Interested):  when I checked, most of the US suppliers that I trusted were out of stock and I wasn't about to buy one on Walmart of questionable origin when I can just by one from China and put It together myself.  

Unfortunately, It looks like the ones that are being currently shipped from China have a different chipset than what GreatScottGadgets and eried are expecting when they're building the firmware for their device.  Unfortunately, It took a bit for me to figure out what the best path forward was, but, with some help from Google Translate, I was able to figure it out:

  1. Take the four Philips-head screws holding the top of the case off.  
  2. Take the knob off
  3. Gently remove the top of the case.  You'll need to be gentle clearing the buttons, but, you can remove the top without needing to replace the buttons.  When you clear the buttons, pull the top of the case up 45 degrees from the bottom of the case...this will clear the little tab above the USB micro jack below It on the HackRF board.
  4. Disconnect the battery connector from the board with a pair of tweezers or small pliers (or a precision flathead screwdriver...whatever works
  5. Plug a USB Cable Into the HackRF.  Press and hold the reset button and the DFU button.  Release the release button first, then release the DFU button.
  6. Download this totally not sketchy file with an updated firmware that's patched.
  7. using the hackrf_spiflash utility, run: hackrf_spiflash -w portapack-h1_h2-mayhem_1_5_1.bin
  8. wait three seconds
  9. disconnect the USB
  10. Reassemble the top case– I had to snap my cover back over the headphone jack on the bottom.
  11. Put the knob back on.
  12. Put the screws back on

That's It...you should be working again!

Ian Wilson

Ian Wilson