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Password protection of QSPI NOR Flash Chip
Murdo M. Jul 5, 2019 at 10:48 AM (10:48 hours)
Staff: Gilbert Y.

  • Hello,

    My firmware colleagues want to password protect the contents of the QSPI NOR flash chip where our application code is stored. Erase and program only are to be restricted - read is still by default enabled, so the system can boot happily but not be hijacked.

    We currently have a test rig with Cyclone FX programmer, which we control from a PC and use Unit Library and the Cyclone Control package.

    Our test rig's workflow is:
    1 - Download test firmware to the microprocessor's on-chip RAM,
    2 - Run tests (for processor and the other chips - eg DRAM, etc) and report results to the PC test application,
    3 - Configure assorted things (eg program EEPROM, RTC, etc)
    4 - Final application is then downloaded to NOR flash by the Cyclone (using Spansion_S25FL164K_1x8x8Meg_spifi_lpc43xx.arp)

    If we program the erase+program password in the NOR flash during stage 2, can we still program the NOR flash in stage 4 (and if so, how)?

    Processor is NXCP LPC4330 and NOR flash is now Spansion S25FL064L (see section 6.5).

    Kind regards,


  • Hi Murdo,

    In the order that you listed, it would not be possible to program the flash once the erase and program operations are password locked. We currently do not support any of the password functionality, but we could add support for these.

    Could you please outline which operations you would need to enable the password protection and which registers need to be modified?

    Thank you,
    Gilbert Y.

  • Thank you Gilbert,
    The consensus here is that it would be easier to add a 5th stage to the test rig sequence, where we can configure the QSPI NOR flash etc after the Cyclone has finished programming the flash chip.
    Many thanks for your help.
    Best wishes,

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