Root Practically Impossible to brick

Discussion in 'Android Devices' started by andrizoid, Sep 9, 2010.

  1. andrizoid

    andrizoid Well-Known Member
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    Everyone always posting the disclaimers "If this bricks your phone...yadda yadda yadda"

    Well the truth is, the Eris is nigh impossible to brick. I DID NOT say that it is impossible, only just about. I was messing around with my other refurb that im sending back (its already messed up, ghost apps launching on their own and the mic didnt work), and i wanted to see what it would take to actually brick a phone. Though I didnt try a whole lot of things, my results may still surprise you.


    First off, dont try these just to see if you get the same results, im clearly not responsible, results may vary. And to clarify, by brick I mean BRICK. Totally fubar. Not a bootloop, not something you can fix by flashing a different rom, but totally bricked.

    1. I flashed an EVO radio. You would think that would brick it all on its own, but nope. It flashed and installed and booted and worked just fine.

    2. I pulled the battery while flashing the EVO radio. Also brick-less

    3. Pulled battery during PB00IMG.zip install. No brick

    4. Flashed various roms for different phones. No bricks

    5. I compiled a "special" kernel, one that I knew wouldnt work (I basically just went in and removed stuff at random before compiling). No brick after flashing.


    In my case, the Eris is insanely resilient. Dont go out and start trying all kinds of crazy BS on your phone now, but you can feel more confident when fashing roms and applying themes.
     

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  2. scary alien

    scary alien not really so scary
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    Dude, that's pretty interesting, scary, enlightening, and good-to-know stuff!

    I think a lot of the things that I've read, especially around XDA, regarding what might brick your phone, are things that have bricked other phones. So, its good to know that there are at least some safety-measures that have been implemented by HTC (and Google and VZW, I would assume that they had at least some input) to keep things from being unrecoverabled.

    Can't wait to hear eu1's thoughts re. this...
     
  3. crandroid

    crandroid Well-Known Member
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    Wow, that radio stuff is really surprising! Cool find!
     
  4. DDustiNN

    DDustiNN Well-Known Member
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    Do you think that's Android, HTC, or just the Eris? Anyone know of any other Android phones bricking?
     
  5. scary alien

    scary alien not really so scary
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    Does overclock "melting" count? :eek:

    I know of at least one AF member (whose avatar is a fetching red-headed girl) "probably" :)rolleyes:) burned his phone out by overclocking too high and too long.
     
  6. thrawn86

    thrawn86 Well-Known Member
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    makes me nervous for some of my Droid X friends. I can't even imagine not having a noob-proof root method.
     
  7. Frisco

    Frisco =Luceat Lux Vestra=
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    Did you try a live battery pull during the radio flash?
     
  8. gruss

    gruss Well-Known Member
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    he did, and it didnt brick! that really really shocks me, as there have been a couple reports of DI's (confirmed as much as the internet will allow ;)) that bricked during radio updates when someone got antsy and yanked the battery or something. I might have to light the Eris up and rock it for a couple days now.
     
  9. Frisco

    Frisco =Luceat Lux Vestra=
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    I think doing a live battery pull during the radio flash will brick the device.

    I left out the word, "really," in my question to him, but that's what I meant: "Did you really try a live battery pull ...?" ;)
     
  10. Peter123

    Peter123 Well-Known Member
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    Andrizoid, here is a 100% sure way to brick the Eris:





    (1) Start flashing (any) ROM.
    (2) Pull the battery.
    (3) Take a deep breath.
    (4) Put it down on the pavement.
    (5) Step on it.
    (6) Drive over it.
    (6) Sweep up the debris to clean up after yourself.

    :D
     
  11. Podivin

    Podivin VIP Member
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    Nope, that's not a brick, those are crumbles - a completely different thing...
     
  12. doogald

    doogald  
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    It's very possible that the flash process does not commit the radio until it reaches the end of the file and verifies that the flash took. The danger with flashing a radio may be with flashing an incomplete file download that you have not MD5 verified, having it committed to flash, and then restarting the phone.
     
  13. Frisco

    Frisco =Luceat Lux Vestra=
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    Peter left out the "gather and mix with masonry mortar," "place into mold" and "cure in kiln at 3,500 degrees" steps.

    Quite an oversight on his part.
     
  14. cstone1991

    cstone1991 Member
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    This is good to know! Thanks for taking the time to try out a few things on a phone that didn't matter to you.

    I had a little scare the other day when I rooted my girlfriend's Eris. When I did mine I used the universal root for dummies method and had no problems at all, but when I rooted hers I used the 1-click method since it sounded faster. When I tried to go into recovery on hers it gave me some error, and on top of that the phone wouldn't boot. After a battery pull these problems were resolved and she is now using EE3 (We both had problems with EE4 on our phones) This probably doesn't sound that scary to more advanced users here but I will admit I am still a bit of a noob to rooting.
     
  15. Peter123

    Peter123 Well-Known Member
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    Frisco, turns out you are a professiona brick-maker!
    :)
     
  16. xx_bishop_xx

    xx_bishop_xx Well-Known Member
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    Wow, just add:

    (7) Burry in endzone at Giants Stadium.
     
  17. Peter123

    Peter123 Well-Known Member
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    You are right. Please see Friscos competent professional instructions on brick-making.
    Peter
     
  18. Hypo Luxa

    Hypo Luxa Well-Known Member
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    Right next to Jimmy Hoffa...
     
  19. xx_bishop_xx

    xx_bishop_xx Well-Known Member
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    Sacly.
     
  20. andrizoid

    andrizoid Well-Known Member
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    im not sure what to say :p

    but yes frisco, i had every intention of bricking the shit out of that phone, i tried doing a live battery pull while flashing an evo radio 4 times at various points in the process. i was completely unable to get the phone to brick
     
  21. roscuthiii

    roscuthiii Well-Known Member
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    Hmm... sometimes the best way to build something up is to try to smash the dog snot out of it to test it's intestinal fortitude.

    I'm completely in the dark about the development process so this may be a moot point but I'm hoping this kind of information can be found useful by developers to really test the eris's boundaries.

    To reassert my noobiness; will flashing the EVO radio allow access to Sprint's network (for anyone that may be in an area with Sprint but now VZW coverage for some reason). I'm already assuming that the 4G (isn't that more of a wifi thing anyhow?) aspect is hardware not software, but what if...
    Also, how about trying to fuse/confuse the radio(s) to allow simultaneous voice and data or close to it? I'm sure people have at least tried this before but if you're not worried about killing the phone maybe you can trick it into thinking it's only using one at a time when in fact both are being used on the same app/service/function/whatever.
     
  22. Stonent

    Stonent New Member
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    How about doing a battery pull while flashing amon ra?
     
  23. andrizoid

    andrizoid Well-Known Member
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    i didnt try a pull during an hboot or recovery change. when my inc comes on monday ill have an eris to mess around with a bit, so ill give that a shot along with pulling the battery while flashing a new hboot.
     
  24. erisuser1

    erisuser1 Well-Known Member
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    Very interesting.

    As doogald mentions, a lot of devices that have flashable firmware areas play a sort of "leapfrog" game when it comes to flashing: internally, there is enough flash memory storage for two (sometimes 3) identically sized areas, and then there is a flag byte (or memory offset) which is inspected by the hardware which chooses which one of those areas to load during booting. That way, the flashing of a file to NAND/NOR flash memory can go to 100% completion, and then the file is read back out of the just-flashed area to perform a checksum calculation. If everything is kosher, the flag (or memory offset) is toggled over to the "new" ROM, and the prior ROM storage area will become the "old" ROM storage area - so that the next time flashing occurs, the original ROM actually gets overwritten. That process insures that there is always a working firmware image present in the device.

    Not saying that is what happens with the radio, but it is a possibility (esp. because the radio firmware is "sort of" small.)

    All of the reports of "brickings" that I saw either here or on XDA typically involved a user that was a newb, and it really was not clear what they had attempted on their device.

    There are a number of things about the Eris that we have not really figured out yet: there is about 43MB of space in the system flash device which is not accounted for by the partitioning of the device. Is the radio firmware stored in that unused portion of the MTD device? What about the so-called "NVRAM" area? What are the critical areas in the undocumented "misc" partition used for?

    Andrizoid:

    Try the following: create a file containing nothing but nulls and of exactly the same length as a "normal" misc partition (655360 bytes = 640 kB)

    Code (Text):
    1.  
    2. dd if=/dev/zero of=null_misc.img bs=512 count=1280
    3.  
    and then flash it to the misc partition and see if HBOOT will still come alive.

    Or, if you have enough time, use a hex editor, and start with your current misc.img file, and slowly fill in different fields with zeros, and experiment to see if any of the areas in the misc image affect the bootloader (we already know from jcase's work that the "Main Version is Older" behavior is controlled by the misc partition)

    Get your starting misc.img by booting into Amon_RA and then

    Code (Text):
    1.  
    2. C:\foobar> adb shell
    3. # mount /sdcard
    4. # dump_image misc /sdcard/original_misc.img
    5. # exit
    6. C:\foobar> adb pull /sdcard/original_misc.img original_misc.img
    7. 1523 KB/s (655360 bytes in 0.420s)
    8. C:\foobar> adb shell umount /sdcard
    9.  
    Hexdump of my misc.img partition right now looks like it is mostly empty, except a few places:


    Code (Text):
    1.  
    2. $ hexdump -C dump_image_misc.img | less
    3. 00000000  56 5a 57 5f 5f 30 30 31  00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00  |VZW__001........|
    4. 00000010  00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00  00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00  |................|
    5. 00000020  44 65 76 69 63 65 57 61  72 6d 42 6f 6f 74 00 00  |DeviceWarmBoot..|
    6. 00000030  ff ff ff ff ff ff ff ff  ff ff ff ff ff ff ff ff  |................|
    7. *
    8. 00000050  43 45 20 53 65 72 69 61  6c 20 49 6e 55 73 65 00  |CE Serial InUse.|
    9. 00000060  44 65 62 75 67 20 43 61  62 6c 65 20 45 6e 61 00  |Debug Cable Ena.|
    10. 00000070  43 45 20 20 20 55 53 42  20 20 49 6e 55 73 65 00  |CE   USB  InUse.|
    11. 00000080  00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00  00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00  |................|
    12. 00000090  43 6c 65 61 72 41 75 74  6f 49 6d 61 67 65 00 00  |ClearAutoImage..|
    13. 000000a0  32 2e 31 39 2e 36 30 35  2e 31 00 00 00 00 00 00  |2.19.605.1......|
    14. 000000b0  00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00  00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00  |................|
    15. *
    16. 00020000  ff ff ff ff ff ff ff ff  ff ff ff ff ff ff ff ff  |................|
    17. *
    18. 000a0000
    19.  
     
  25. erisuser1

    erisuser1 Well-Known Member
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    PS.

    From time to time, I considered buying an Eris for "dangerous" dev work, but every time I went and looked at prices on eBay, Eris units with completely smashed screens or bad ESNs were selling for north of $80.

    I might by one with a cracked screen for dev work - but only if I could pick it up for $30-$40 (with a working battery), but that doesn't seem likely any time soon.

    eu1
     

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