Tuesday, 28 January 2014

Technology: The Ultimate Guide To Unbrick 16 Gb International Samsung Galaxy Note 3 (SM-N9005) And Upgrade To KitKat 4.4.2 Through Custom ROM

Want 4.4.2 KitKat on your Note 3? Gotta be very careful!
Image from Locky English Playground

And I was going to make a good old demonstration of "how to install Stock KitKat ROM on your SM-N9005", until the whole thing got so out-of-hand... here are my failed attempts compressed into a real short video...

My Note 3 was soft-bricked, meaning that a failure in flashing software has caused my phone to become a 'brick', a not-dead-but-unusable condition.

Reminder from a fellow XDA member
Image from XDA-Developers

After asking, I got a reply above.

It was a bummer! But it is one that can hardly avoid having all those upgrade tutorials on YouTube which didn't mention the uniqueness of 16Gb Hong Kong Note 3. Why should they mention anyway? They don't have 16Gb Hong Kong Note 3 in the first place.

Thanks Samsung for making the Hong Kong Note 3 so special, such that it is the Note 3 with the smallest storage in the world (16Gb) when the rest of the world are getting at least 32Gb! For this and for the trouble you have caused Samsung, I hate you!

Initial Failed Attempt
Image from Locky English Playground

After 2 days of research, I have finally arrived at a completely, perfectly usable state!!! And it is functioning with speed!!

However, from soft-bricked to success, the road had not been smooth. There was about a day or so that my phone was able to boot and use the internet, but had no in/outgoing call, no sound, no Google Now, no S-Voice, no camera, slow lockscreen and slow settings.

I have followed all the instructions given by several XDA members, but I still could not get it to work. Why?

That's because all those instructions are inaccurate. The thing is, minor details that are missing can be real serious, and for that, I want to write a very very detailed descriptions on how to solve this soft-brick issue specifically for 16 Gb International Samsung Galaxy Note 3 (SM-N9005) when upgrading to KitKat 4.4.2.

Before you start, you'll need,
  1. a Custom ROM, eg. Sweet ROM v7.01 4.4.2 NA6                         Download here
  2. a leaked N9005XXUENA6 4.4.2 KitKat ROM for Note 3              Download here
  3. a Hong Kong N9005ZHUBMI7 Rescue ROM                                 Download here
  4. the latest CWM Recovery, eg                                               Download here
  5. Odin 3.07                                                                                         Download here
  6. the latest Samsung USB Driver                                                          Download here
  7. Samsung Kies                                                                                   Download here
  8. Note 3 16Gb SM-N9005 from Hong Kong at 50% battery level
  9. a Note 3 USB 3.0 cable 

Installation Instructions:

  1. Install Samsung Kies
  2. Install Samsung USB Driver
  3. Connect USB into PC and Note 3, then copy Custom ROM onto the SD card
  4. Download Mode
    Image from androidayos
    Put Note 3 into Download mode by holding Power + Volume down + Home buttons at the same time until you see "Warning!!", then press Volume up
  5. When you see "Downloading..." and Android logo, plug in the USB into the PC and Note 3
  6. Run Odin 3.07 (See my video)
  7. When you see a blue 0:[COM4], in the Bootloader put leaked KitKat's BL file, and in PIT, PDA, PHONE, CSC put Hong Kong N9005ZHUBMI7 Rescue ROM's PIT, AP, CP and CS respectively and then press Start to flash.
  8. When Note 3 restarts, it will keep rebooting and it will only show Samsung boot screen, at this time, remove the battery and then put it back.
  9. Repeat Step 4, 5 and 6
  10. In Odin 3.07, go to PDA and choose CWM Recovery, eg, and press Start to flash, it will reboot automatically when complete. Unplug the USB.
  11. When the phone reboots, it will boot into CWM Recovery. If it asks you to root phone, just say no. Otherwise, select Wipe data/factory rest --> yesWipe Cache --> yesadvance --> Wipe Dalvik Cache --> yes. This will erase the unwanted files and prepare your phone for the good stuff.
  12. Image from GalaxyNote3Root.com
  13. Go to install zip --> choose zip from /external_sd and select the Custom ROM you have chosen, then choose yes to flash. This will take about 3 minutes, press reboot after it is completed.
  14. This reboot will be slow, and most likely there will be no sound at boot and errors at setup, be extremely patient and wait for the screen asking you to choose Language to appear. Choose the language you want, press Next, then do nothing else!!!!
  15. Without doing anything else, repeat step 4, 5 and 6.
  16. In Odin 3.07, go to CP, choose leaked KitKat's CP file and then press Start to flash.
  17. When the phone reboots, you should hear the Samsung bootup music and then everything will be functioning perfectly!
Finally! KitKat 4.4.2 on my Note 3!!
Image from Locky English Playground

The moral of the story is, you have got to have brain and perseverance to work with KitKat 4.4.2.

bummer -- (n)[S] informal a disappointing or unpleasant situation or experience.
soft-brick -- (vb) The word "brick", when used in reference to consumer electronics, describes an electronic device such as a smart phone, game console, router, or tablet computer that, due to a serious misconfiguration, corrupted firmware, or a hardware problem, can no longer function. Soft brick = recoverable without professional repair; hard brick = not recoverable, it's basically a paper weight

[ROM][N9005] Sweet ROM V7 NA6 4.4.2 KIT KAT [Jan 14th][Super Quick, Snappy & Smooth] - Page 65 @ XDA-developers

How To Get Into Download Mode @ YouTube

How I Soft-Bricked My Note 3 (SM-N9005) With The Wrong Upgrade Instructions @ YouTube

Technology: The Ultimate Guide To Unbrick 16 Gb International Samsung Galaxy Note 3 (SM-N9005) And Upgrade To KitKat 4.4.2 Through Custom ROM @ XDA-Developers