Hacking the ORiNOCO Silver into an ORiNOCO Gold

mob-netstum_goldThe ORiNOCO Classic Gold PC Card is the radio of choice for Wardrivers and Netstumblers worldwide, and its massive internal antenna and external antenna jack make it an extremely versatile radio for both portable and mobile applications. Distributed under many different monikers, the PC Card may sport a decal for WaveLAN, ORiNOCO, Lucent, Agere, Avaya, or Proxim. To make things even more confusing, a 64-bit WEP Silver version of the card exists in addition to its 128-bit WEP Gold big brother.

Physically, it turns out that there’s little difference between the Silver and Gold versions except for a different label, a hefty price increase, and a few flipped bits in flash. After doing a search I found that it was indeed possible to easily hack the ORiNOCO Silver into an ORiNOCO Gold. Alchemy v1.01 by Lincomatic automates the process by detecting the card, dumping the PDA from flash, patching the PDA, then re-flashing the modified PDA. 128-bit WEP Gold capability can then be enabled by upgrading the firmware to the latest version.

This afternoon I ran Alchemy on a first generation WaveLAN Silver PC Card and successfully upgraded the firmware to 128-bit WEP Gold 8.72, and will try to upgrade a pile of old ORiNOCO Silver PC Cards this evening.

16 thoughts on “Hacking the ORiNOCO Silver into an ORiNOCO Gold”

  1. I tried the alchemy flash and it seems to have worked- at lleast now the orinoco wLAN tool reports a Gold card- unfortunately now I cannot establish any connections anymore- I also updated the drivers to the latest (2002)- maybe this has broken something?
    Any advice is more than welcome!!!

  2. I just used your advice and tried Alchemy 1.01 on WinXP to change 4 Orinoco Silvers to Gold, and the tool worked perfectly. The only trouble I had was with WinXP — since I’d already used the cards (in their Silver state) Windows needed some prodding to get it to load the Gold driver. This may not be a problem if you change the SN or MAC of the card… I had to muck around in the registry and delete the SUIDs for the cards – there’s probably a more elegant solution – I was poking in the dark 😉

  3. It works great!!!

    thank you much

    PS. It works not on my first notebook, but on a second one.


  4. As a follow-up to Spot’s comment above – I tried changing the MAC address (which Alchemy can do) and suddenly WinXP did indeed figure out that that card could handle 128-bit WEP now.

    I ended up changing the MAC *after* reflashing the card, so I’m not sure if that’s an important step or not. Still, it’s working now, so I am happy. 🙂

  5. Just wondering if there is anywhere that i could download a copy – it seems as though the link is broken…..

  6. Might it be possible to use Alchemy 1.01 to hack the Silver card into a Gold card on a PC and then use the Gold card on a Mac?

    My Mac already recognises the Silver card and the OS and router both prefer 128-bit encryption.

  7. I can confirm that doing the silver -> gold upgrade on a PC and then using the card on a Mac works fine.

    I’m using a G3 PowerBook with the ioXperts 802.11b driver – http://www.ioxperts.com/products/80211b_X.html and a Lucent WaveLAN card.

    I had some problems finding a Gold firmware updater (you need to run this on the PC after using Alchemy to make the changes permanent from memory) but hunted down v8.72 here : http://processlist.com/info/wsu10872.html

    I’ve got no idea if there’s anything later / better than v8.72

    Cheers, Antony.

  8. Well the links for firmware provided suggest this is ONLY for 8410WD Gold card … which is the classic model. I think the latest GOLD is 8470WD … and Silver 8471WD … they both support 64/128bit WEP, WPA, WPA2 … any idea what’s diff between the gold and silver ? I can’t find any diff in the specs…

  9. Hopefully one of you guys can help.
    I’m having a problem with this and need some help in using Alchemy to change the mac address.
    Apreciate any help.


  10. Can someone please walk me through the process (step by step in details, please!)of using the Alchemy application? I was not sure how to enter when it asked “read PDA from binary file” and “enter PDA path”.

    Thanks much!

  11. hi, is there any way i can get a soft that can generated credit card or e gold account pls i will be intrested i ready to pay any offer

  12. Hi, I have an orinoco silver (CE0122). I ran the Alchemy application in WinXP, it did ask me whether I would like to change the serial number, Mac address, channels and manufacture code, but never the encryption. I need to change encryption from 64 to 128 wep. Could anyone tell me how to get alchemy change it for me?

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