September 2, 2012 By: Adam Outler
Sometimes while engineering a device, a manufacturer misses a small problem. Here at XDA, we take these issues and make revisions to the hardware and the software. That’s one of the reasons why we have a whole forum dedicated to hardware hacking.
In this particular case, XDA Recognized Developer electric bill isolated a problem with a hardware interrupt on the the i500 Samsung Fascinate. The problem is a lack of capacitance on one of the physical buttons of the device. When the button is not pressed, random interference from both inside and outside of the device turns the button into an antenna. While there is a resistor that mostly takes care of the problem, it does not stop all issues from occuring. In the words of the hacker/developer himself:
The problem is that the touchkey chip is located right next to the 3G antenna. When the phone is accessing the 3G network the RF energy gets transferred to the interrupt and i2c clock and data lines causing false interrupts to occur. The processor responds to the interrupt by reading the key value from the cypress chip. The symptoms occur more frequently in low signal areas because the phone outputs a higher RF level in those situations which causes more RF interference on the interrupt line.
Electric bill came up with two solutions: both a software and a hardware filtering solution to this rather annoying problem. The software solution allows the device to ignore random key presses and continue on. This solution, while it works, is not ideal because the device is still reacting and wasting processor cycles every time it sees a change in the pin-state of the button in question. This means the user never sees it, but the hardware may slow down while reacting to and deciphering and filtering the key presses.
The hardware solution provides a filter at the hardware level. The hardware solution counters stray inductance by inserting a small capacitor into the circuit. This capacitor shunts randomness to ground, and provides somewhat of a hardware time-delay to the button press.
By far, the hardware solution is preferable. However, working with hardware means a risk of damage to the device. If you’re having a problem with your Samsung i500 Fascinate buttons, choose the method which is right for you. You can learn more by visiting the original thread.
[Thanks to XDA Elite Recognized Developer Rebellos for the tip.]
June 19, 2012 By: Joseph Hindy
There are a lot of tool kits out there that help users modify their ROM and how it works. They can add scripts, mods and tweaks to boost anything from performance to battery life. One portion that doesn’t get as much attention is the kernel. There are a few kernel tool kits out there, although they tend to be a little more complicated than ROM based ones. Users of kernel tool kits get access to all kinds of system tweaks that you can only get with a kernel. For the Samsung Galaxy S and all of its variants, there’s a kernel tool kit that’ll help users tweak all kinds of settings.
The application is called Devil Kernel Config, and was developed by XDA Forum Member philbring. It does have a few limitations. Users must be rooted, be running ICS, and be running Devil kernel in order to get everything to work correctly. There are also a few settings that do not stay past a reboot. This is a problem that is promised to be fixed before the next release.
A few features of the application include:
Toggle Screen Off – Min/Max Frequency
While some of the features can be found in CPU control applications, a few of the settings are unique. Users of the application have also been requesting features, so there may be more to come.
For screen shots, download links, and more, visit out the application thread.
April 3, 2012 By: Adam Outler
Heimdall Suite, an Open-Source Cross-Platform set of tools designed to flash firmware to Samsung devices, has received an incremental update to version 1.3.2. This latest update supports Galaxy S II GT-I9100, Galaxy Player, Captivate, Vibrant, Fascinate, Mesmerize, Epic 4G, Galaxy S 4G, Infuse 4G, GT-I9000T, Galaxy Tab (7 and 10.1 inches) and of course the Galaxy S GT-i9000. If your Samsung device is not listed here, testing is required.
Heimdall has always been a favorite among kernel developers and those who frequently flash the latest kernels because no flashable update.zip or Odin packaging is required. A Heimdall user can simply put their device into Download Mode, and click a button to flash a new zImage directly. XDA Recognized Developer Benjamin Dobell‘s latest release improves compatibility with Loke (the flash receiver on the device) and expands comparability to several new devices.
In the words of the developer:
Version 1.3.2 addresses some compatibility issues with several devices i.e. the Galaxy Player 5.0 and Galaxy S II. In particular the “Failed to confirm end of file transfer sequence!” error should no longer occur under regular use. This was fixed by mapping a previously unknown protocol parameter, which I’ve now called “chip identifier”, to information in a device’s PIT file. A big thanks goes out to XDA developers user ambrice, who helped identify the cause of the issue.
October 7, 2011 By: egzthunder1
The fantasy of having a device that could be brought back from the dead was only a dream for most people out there (or at least to those who are not in possession of JTAG boxes). At this point in time, you are likely familiar with the work done by XDA Recognized Developer AdamOutler, who has turned this quasi-mythical concept into a very tangible reality. The UnBrickable Mod is, as its name clearly implies, a way to recover your device from a certain death after flashing something that you shouldn’t have like the wrong bootloader on the wrong phone, or an mp3 where the radio is supposed to be (well, the last example may be a bit of an exaggeration, but you get the point). According to Adam, there is literally nothing that you can do to the device software-wise to prevent it from booting with this mod.
The mod, which started on the Samsung Captivate, is moving across the whole Galaxy family as well as a few other devices. The latest addition to this list was the Samsung Fascinate, which is Verizon wireless’ version of the SGS. This one is of particular interest as this device has a different type of radio hardware in it (CDMA) as opposed to the Vibrant and the Captivate, which are both GSM devices. However, this does not seem to stop the progress and success of this mod.
Please remember that you must have decent soldering skills to perform this mod or else you could end up damaging the motherboard altogether. Adam has posted a very nice and concise set of instructions on how to do this, as well as some reading materials for those of you interested in learning about this and the theory behind it. If you attempted this mod, please leave your feedback.
I’m not kidding when I say UnBrickable. Modifying the OM pins means you can boot from USB, UART or MMC. This makes the phone quite UNBRICKABLE. There is nothing you can do software wise to prevent the device from booting into this mode.
You can find more information in the original thread.
Want something published in the Portal? Contact any News Writer.
Thanks AdamOutler for the tip!
If you’ve been lusting over the Sony Xperia Arc Launcher, you can stop now. XDA forum member Syn Ack has found a version of the Launcher that works on all Galaxy S models.
The XDA member has tweaked the file to remove some ‘unimportant’ items and made the launcher transparent. In short the Launcher is lightweight and simple with a minimal theme.
Additionally in comparison to other stock launchers, the modded Xperia Arc Launcher has an option to use ‘folders’ and does not experience lag.
For more information and to download the tweaked Launcher, head on over to the modification thread.
If you’re a car driver and you own a Samsung Fascinate running FroYo, XDA forum member adrynalyne has made a minor modification for the music player and presented the community with a car cradle patch.
The XDA dev states that not only does this have all the functions working, but that the music player also works with the stock AOSP music player or music mod.
You’ll need to flash via ClockworkMod.
For more information, check out the forum thread.
Anyone on a Fascinate can proceed to thanking jt1134, birdman, and many others for working on AOSP for the Fascinate. The ROM is in Alpha at the moment but is making progress. Currently, it is close to a daily driver with the following working features:
This ROM is not fully done, so please don’t report any issues to the developers as they know what is and isn’t working. That is the main reason the thread for the ROM is locked. Use at your own risk as this ROM is in its Alpha stage. We hope you enjoy this ROM in all of its AOSP goodness, be sure to check out the ROM thread!