ATMed – FFFFFF – NVRAM is Broken
For today’s ATMed, I’d like to take a closer look at FFFFFF – NVRAM is Broken. It’s an odd error code and seems to somewhat befuddle those who are newer to owning ATMs. In our tech department it pops up with enough frequency that it merits discussion.
A bit of background and clarification on the problem should help shed some light, provide the opportunity to reach a resolution more quickly and effectively, and overall help reduce some of the FFFFFFrustration (get it?!) the error causes.
Where it’s seen:
Typically this error code is only going to be seen in Hyosung model machines, though occasionally will pop up on E4000s and 1700 standard machines. This error code is pretty much a non-issue with GenMega and Hantle machines, but with all the Hyosung ATMs for sale and number we ship out the door, it’s worth bringing up.
What is NVRAM, anyway?
You may be familiar with RAM on a computer—random access memory. Similarly, on an ATM the RAM provides your memory for the machine—it stores your passwords, terminal ID receipt headers, telephone numbers, etc…
The NV in NVRAM stands for non-volatile—non-volatile meaning when the ATM is powered off or unplugged the memory doesn’t disappear (hence you can power-cycle your machine and not have to reprogram the ATM every time).
The NVRAM is contained in a little chip on the main board. The NVRAM chip does require electricity to it to keep your programming. What makes it non-volatile—what makes it remember your programming when the machine is powered off—is a battery connected to your electronics assembly. This battery provides the needed power to the NVRAM chip and hence the machine is able to remember your programming when the ATM is powered off or unplugged.
Why does it say NVRAM is broken?
So the NVRAM chip is a memory chip. If at some point the chip is cleared out and has nothing to remember, the machine thinks it’s broken—feels empty, life has no purpose, throws up all Fs in defeat. Typically the chip isn’t “broken”; the NVRAM has lost all of its memory, usually as a result of a loss of power to the main board or a successful bootloader software installation.
How to resolve FFFFFF – NVRAM is Broken
In order to resolve this, we want the NVRAM to be happy again—essentially we want to give the NVRAM chip purpose in life once again—give it something to remember. At this point, the only way we can give the machine something to remember is by resetting the default passwords for the machine. We reset the default passwords, the NVRAM has something to remember and the error should clear. Voilà! The machine can now be programmed and should be back in business.
What if that didn’t that fix it?
In some instances the error code will persist even after resetting the default passwords—drat. Remember the NVRAM needs that electricity to store its programming? If a successful reset of the default passwords doesn’t resolve the issue, that battery is likely dead and will need to be replaced.
Most of the time we see a password reset not clearing the error is on CE machines (1800CEs, 5000CEs, 5300CEs, etc…). With these machines, the battery is a little three volt barrel-style battery connected to the I/O board. A replacement battery can typically be found at a battery or electronics store, but won’t be sold with the correct connectors attached (or any, for that matter). If bought from there, that may take a tiny bit of soldering or creativity. ATMequipment.com sells the batteries all ready to go—that can be found HERE.
We don’t see it as frequently, but the battery on SE generation machines can go out as well and cause password resets to not resolve the error. On SE machines, the battery that provides power to the NVRAM is a little coin battery on the main board. ATMequipment.com sells that battery as well, and it can be found HERE.
After dissecting a bit, the error is pretty straightforward, huh? It’s a bit of a hassle as it requires completely reprogramming a machine, but a battery going out is much better than a broken component or main board that needs to be replaced. Any questions, concerns or comments, please reach out to us at 800-498-5795 or firstname.lastname@example.org.