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[INFO][GENERAL]What causes hard-bricks and can you recover from them? (Device-neutral)

Discussion in 'Android Rooting' started by KingOfTheNet, Jun 13, 2017.

  1. KingOfTheNet

    KingOfTheNet Well-Known Member
    Thread Starter

    Most of us have asked ourselves the question before, "What causes a hard-brick?", "Can I recover from it?" Well I am going to try to the best of my ability to answer these questions for you. But before I do, there's one thing we need to get straight. Many people use the word "bricked" improperly, so let me clarify that for you. If your phone is bricked, that means it will not turn on in any way, shape or form, no matter how hard you try, and is completely unresponsive to all input (Charging, button pushes, touch, etc). Nothing shows up on the screen, no lights are on or flashing, and no vibration or sounds are coming from the device. For all intents and purposes, as useful as a brick. Remember, If it turns on, it's not bricked.

    There are a number of different factors that can lead to a hard-brick, which are listed down below. These are all of the factors I know of, so there could be more.

    -Excessive CPU or GPU overclocking ("As long as GTA works, we're good!")
    -Rooting (Not all the time, but more common then you may think)
    -Water (Very common, especially if you have slippery hands)
    -Bootloader corruption (The base code needed to power on your device is incorrectly overwritten or replaced.)
    -Malware (Remember, not every app requires root to completely destroy your device)
    -Flashing incorrect bootloaders, kernels, or partition information table (.PIT) files. (Very common among users who are new to flashing firmware or are unaware of how it works and what it can do if you're not careful.)
    -Excessive screen, frame, motherboard, battery, or button damage (In other words, you drop it alot)
    -Excessively hot/cold temperatures (Most phones will shut themselves down or give some other warning that it's abnormally hot or cold, but still very common.)
    -Short circuiting (This can also be attributed to water or liquid damage, but there are more things you can do to short circuit it.)
    -Power surges (Lightning strikes near a power box/transformer or electrical wire of some kind near your home, or the power inexplicably goes out without warning. This shouldn't happen if you keep a good eye on your phones battery percentage before a really bad storm or an expected power outage.)
    -Overcharging (Keeping your phone on the charger for an incredibly long time. Doing this can kill your battery or severely weaken it to the point that it only lasts 5 minutes without a charge. This happens a lot to laptops, but I've never seen it happen to a phone or tablet.)
    Overvoltage (Too much electrical current is flowing through the device and it's too much to handle.)


    Here are some tips on how to avoid most of these issues, as a few of them are almost inevitable.

    -Do you like fried processor? Not really, it kinda tastes bitter. Well don't have your CPU overclocked to its max all the time and this won't happen.
    -While a device can get bricked after being rooted, it's not very common, but it does happen, more than you think. It mainly depends on the method you used to root the device. For instance, flashing a eng-boot to obtain root has a possibility of bricking.
    -It's almost a 99% chance that we're gonna drop our devices in some water at some point. There's almost no way to completely avoid it. But if you do drop it in the water, pick it up! Don't sit there and admire it! It doesn't matter how water-proofed your phone maybe, that water damage will come back to bite you where it hurts at some point.
    -Bootloader corruption happens after a piece of malware or some other external source incorrectly modifies, overrides, or replaces your bootloader files (i.e, software update gone wrong). So be careful with what you flash or run on your device, especially if it messes with this sensitive piece of software.
    -Flashing the wrong firmware can be catastrophic to your head and your phone. Flashing the wrong bootloaders and/or kernel and/or partition layout file can leave you with a very expensive brick in your hands.
    -If you drop your phone 200 times a day, have fun with the repair or replacement costs later. It is almost inevitable that we're gonna drop our phone on the ground at some point, just don't drop it so much to the point that someone thinks you have butter or lube on your hands. And try not to drop it from incredibly tall buildings, unless you're drop testing it :p Most of the time, this type of brick is easy to recover from, but only if it's just the battery that needs to be replaced. The average user will most of the time try to replace the battery and if they can't they'll just get it replaced.
    -The only way to avoid having your phone brick on you because of excessively hot/cold temperatures is to not leave them sitting in 100 degree heat or in the middle of a blizzard.
    -I don't know who's gonna go in their phone and short circuit the mother board, but if you plan on it, it'll certainly "spark" a conversation.
    -Like I said, power surges definitely shouldn't happen if you keep a really good eye on your phones battery and plug it in when it gets low or before a bad storm, but still very possible.

    If your device is hard-bricked, it's very unlikely that you'll be able to pinpoint the source of the problem and be able to recover from it, but there are 2 options that can, if done correctly, recover your device, even in it's most bricked state.

    1)USB Jig (Very easy): Without a doubt the easiest and cheapest way to recover your phone in a bricked state is a USB-jig. A USB-jig consists of a few resistors and a few other electrical components that will force your phone to boot into download mode so you can flash the files needed to get it back up and running. This method will definitely not work if your phone has been water damaged or if the bootloaders / kernel have been incorrectly overwritten or wiped.This method does not work all the time, but if you're lucky, this method will work for you.

    2) JTAG (Extremely complicated): This is usually the "last-resort" for the most desperate users that will do nearly anything to revive their dead phone. While most people would just save themselves the headaches and have their phone replaced by now, some users have and will go to the lengths of JTAG to fix their phone. Keep in mind this method will not always work either, but will only if you've software-bricked your phone. If your phone has water or other physical hardware damage, it's very unlikely that this will work, which if that's case, you might have no choice but to get it replaced. JTAG is not for novice or inexperienced users, as it does involve digging around your phones motherboard and some technical/engineering skills. The most basic way to think of how a JTAG works is when you connect your phones eMMC storage (the brain of your device) to your computer and reflash everything from a debrick image made for your device (NOT USING ODIN). You must use the metal JTAG pins on your motherboard, buy a JTAG kit, and do research on your phones motherboard to find out where the pins are, as they are not always in the same places, or you may have to figure this out yourself. Keep in mind that if you use the wrong pins on the motherboard, you can kill it for good, so be extremely careful. If you can't do this yourself, you can take your phone to a third-party repair shop, or that one friend that has JTAG experience and might be able to revive it for you. If all else fails, take it into the store and play dumb.

    Some terminology:

    Debrick image - A file that contains your phones bootloaders, kernel, partition layout, modem, recovery, and all other partitions that exist on your device, usually in the ".img" format. You might be able to make one for your device yourself, but be extremely careful and do your research before doing anything.

    Hardware-bricked: If your phone or its internals are physically damaged or beaten-up. A trained eye will usually spot hardware damage if your phone begins behaving erratically or if it slowly deteriorates in performance or begins to lose key features (WiFi, cell data, etc.). Another sign of hardware damage is if your phone struggles to keep itself powered on, even when plugged in (random shutdowns or reboots).

    Software-bricked: If your phone is missing its relevant bootloaders, kernel, or correct partition layout. If you are experienced, you can recover from this using the JTAG method, but be extremely careful. I have had to recover an old tablet from this type of brick with JTAG and it is not fun, especially if you screw it up.

    Well, the moral of the story is... Take great care of what you have, (or) it won't last forever.

    Edited on 6/21/2017 to change some of the wording and further explain some stuff.

    Cheers!
     


    #1 KingOfTheNet, Jun 13, 2017
    Last edited: Jun 21, 2017
  2. Max Gokue

    Max Gokue Lurker

    thanks 4 precious information
     
  3. I thought i could do any nonsense if i had a nandroid backup. Later i realised i can't recovery from a hardbrick.
     
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