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How to take your Graphite ABS through a complete reset

A number of users have reported problems with their base stations not taking their settings after fixing their power supplies. Usually, ABS' start right back up again after their power supplies have been fixed. That is why you want to test them with a multimeter prior to reassembling them. A functional test after the multimeter test serves to confirm that the software running the ABS is fine. After all, there is a chance that the FlashROM in your ABS was corrupted and needs a reset. Usually, the below instructions will allow you to reset a ABS while it is still apart. Furthermore, it avoids the possibility of not lining up the reset hole on the underside of the ABS with the "finger" in the black frame surrounding the carrier. If you're really unlucky, there is something else that is amiss. Regardless, try this first if your ABS does not come back up after a successful power supply fix.

The reset required to wipe out the firmware goes beyond the usual "paper-clip" reset. It must be timed carefully and depending on how you want to do it, it requires several hands (the Apple way). However, if your ABS is already apart, it is quite simple to do by yourself. See the repair article on how to take the ABS apart.

Now plug the cross-over cable or ethernet cable into the carrier as shown below. A cross-over cable should be attached directly to the computer you want to update the ABS with. This computer must have the Airport Admin Utility software installed on it, as you will need to reinstall the ABS firmware.

Note: crossover cables may look the same as the regular ones but have the pins switched (hence the term cross-over). I'd label the cross-over cable as such so you know in the future what cable it is and don't try to use it like a "regular" ethernet cable and then cannot figure out why it isn't working (don't ask how I know).

The Reset Button on the base station

According to the Apple instructions, you are supposed to hit the reset button as the base station starts up and all three lights shine amber.

First Steps after a Firmware reset

VERY IMPORTANT: NEVER INTERRUPT A FIRMWARE OR SETTINGS UPLOAD. If you do, your firmware might corrupt. Reviving the ABS afterwards depends on luck and persistence... (see below and troubleshooting at end of this page).

However, assuming you have a steady amber center light, it is time to upload new firmware and reconfigure the ABS, as all settings and previous firmware updates will have been wiped from its memory.

Here is Apple's page on forced firmware reloads
Here is Apple's page on how to upload new firmware

However, the automatic setup did not work for me. An error message came up stating that the automatic setup could not find the ABS on the same subnet, causing it to abort.


If you inadvertently disconnected the ABS while updating the firmware or the ABS profile, your ABS is likely to be very unhappy and uncooperative. In my case, I managed to scramble the internal settings once after I didn't wait for the entire reboot cycle to finish (after a mere configuration change no less).

The ABS would start up a bit, then crash with a steady amber light and a infrequent blink on the right LED. Configuring the ABS wirelessly was no longer an option, so I pulled out a ethernet hub and attached the ABS and the Powerbook to it. A complete reset did not do the trick, as afterwards, the ABS would show up in the admin utility but would not configure. Every firmware upload would abort with an error message. Updates to the location profile (if I got that far) also aborted. Thus, neither the firmware nor the location profile could be updated at this point.

I took the ABS apart and tried using another WaveLAN card I had lying around. This didn't do the trick either. Rebooting the ABS without the WaveLAN card in the carrier worked - the ABS would complete the boot process, but wasn't of much use without a transmitter. I had to reset and try to upload the new firmware several times before it took root.

After I had managed to update the firmware and the location settings, I re-inserted the WaveLAN card and the ABS became fully functional again. Unfortunately, it was a long and somewhat arbitrary process - reset, look, reset, upload firmware, etc. Perhaps the ABS needs to go through several cycles to purge the old settings... who knows. Now my original ABS is fully functional again and I won't make the same mistake twice that caused it to go in the first place.

Click on this link to take you to the ABS configuration page.

Once you are done configuring the ABS,