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[HOWTO] Recover from a "soft brick" on your Vibrant


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66 replies to this topic

#1 dasunsrule32

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Posted 17 September 2010 - 07:53 PM

NOTE: This is for the Phone ! PC error primarily. You can try this with other issues that have to do with boot, it may work there as well. I have used this for boot looping and also hangs at the Vibrant screen to flash a fresh kernel, etc. Give it a try and leave some feedback on where/how you used it. :)

Thanks to Tr0jAn for getting me started in the right direction. Ended up finding a combo that should work most of the time on the Vibrant, it may work on other variants also.


Things to gather:


1. Odin
2. A proper .pit file
3. Stock firmware image.
4. A Windows based PC.
5. Your USB cable.
6. Kies app or driver package

* Download ver 1.3 of Odin, grab that here. grab JI6 here, which is Odin flashable. Grab the pit file here. Haven't had a change to test it yet, but version 1.7 of Odin is available here.

NOTE: Download the Kies app from here, it will give you ALL the drivers needed. Click the 'Software' link in the middle, then download it.

* You can try the drivers here, it's a smaller package, no guarantee it will work.

NOTE: Follow these directions precisely, or you will not get access to the Download mode and Odin WILL NOT FLASH AT ALL, it will simply hang!!!! If Odin is hanging for more than a couple of minutes, you are doing something wrong or the phone is borked beyond repair with this method.

KEEP TRYING, THIS METHOD WORKS! *Trial and error baby!


Getting the environment setup: (Steps 1-10)


NOTE: If you already have the Samsung drivers installed correctly, you can skip steps 1-8.

1. Install Kies app or the above driver package.
2. Power off the Phone.
3. Pull the Battery.
4. Plug USB cable into Phone.
5. Plug USB cable into PC.
6. Press and Hold: Volume UP + Volume DOWN + Power, all at the same time.
7. Re-insert the battery.
8. The phone will power now, when the screen starts a cycle of going to a BLACK screen, release ONLY the POWER button.

NOTE: POWER button must be released while the screen is BLACK, or it won't work. If done correctly, you will now be back at the 'Download' screen. If this still doesn't work, make sure to have ADB setup on your environment and press all three buttons at the same time again, wait for the phone to reboot, when the Vibrant screen comes back up again, release all three buttons at the same time and type: adb reboot download or adb reboot recovery if you so desire. If you made a backup with your recovery image, then nandroid it back, it will also probably require you to flash a working kernel, since Koush's recovery doesn't currently backup the /boot partition, where the kernel resides.

NOTE: If you are still having trouble accessing the download mode by the key combo, you may have a hardware locked phone, read here for how to unlock your phone. Chances are it's too late at this point to apply this fix if you can't access ADB with root, but it doesn't hurt to try. Reference this fix for your replacement phone and test it immediately upon arrival. Make sure to follow the directions precisely, as this "could" potentially result in a permanently disabled phone. :(

NOTE: Your phone should now have all the drivers installed that are needed, the BIG ones are: Samsung Mobile Modem and Samsung USB Composite Device.

NOTE: Get the phone to recognize with Odin, which will show a Yellow COM port when opening it, you may have to unplug the USB cable, close Odin, open Odin, replug the phone into your PC, even if you get the Yellow COM box, it doesn't guarantee it will work.

9. Extract the RAR file, you can use a utility such as WinRAR or 7zip (I recommend).
10. Go into the folder you extracted, and double-click Odin3_v1.3.exe or Odin3_v1.7.exe.


Time to flash: (Steps 11-16)


NOTE: You need to perform steps 2-8 again after opening Odin, if you don't, then Odin probably will not flash correctly.

11. Click the 'PIT' button and browse to where you downloaded s1_odin_20100512 and select it.

NOTE: If you don't want to format the phone, exclude the .pit file. Your data should remain intact.

12. Click the 'PDA' button and browse to where you downloaded T959UVJI6.tar, select that.

NOTE: Odin should now show a Yellow Com(number) port, if you have setup your environment correctly and followed the steps correctly.

13. Leave everything else the same, and click 'Start'.
14. It will start downloading on the phone and show a progress bar on screen and Odin will also show a progress bar.

NOTE: Again, if Odin is not showing that is flashing and no progress bar is on the phone AND Odin, then it isn't working, start with the 'Time to flash' section again, including the first note to repeat steps 2-8.

15. When completed successfully, the phone will reboot and Odin will say Success.

You should now be back to stock and successfully "soft unbricked". :)

Hope this helps! If it did, give me a positive rating on this post. :)


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#2 Krylon360

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Posted 18 September 2010 - 04:13 PM

easier way bud:

when at the "phone ! computer" screen, hold down vol up + vol down + power, phone will flash, then you'll see the screen again, keep holding down the buttons, phone will flash again, when the screen goes black, let go of the power button.

i've been able to get it to go to download when it flashes the 1st time, but the 2nd time always works.

Oh, and that screen doesn't mean Brick. :P

#3 Viralblack

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Posted 18 September 2010 - 05:38 PM

View PostKrylon360, on 18 September 2010 - 04:13 PM, said:

Oh, and that screen doesn't mean Brick. :P

The droid experts ive talked to have called this screen the "Android version of the Blue Screen of Death" . A brick can be termed as any time the phone becomes unusable or unresponsive, and I have had the phone at this point once where this was a brick and it was unable to load the kernel enough to engage USB or listen for the keys to get into download mode. So hes not incorrect in calling it a brick, because in a lot of ways at that point it is.

Hes posting something useful, being analytical of his terminology isnt a fun way to make someone want to continue to post.

#4 Reyland

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Posted 19 September 2010 - 03:20 AM

View Postdasunsrule32, on 17 September 2010 - 07:53 PM, said:

NOTE: This is for the Phone ! PC error.

Thanks to Tr0jAn for getting me started in the right direction. Ended up finding a combo that should work most of the time on the Vibrant, it may work on other variants also.

You will need a couple of things

1. Odin
2. A proper .pit file
3. Stock firmware image.
4. A Windows based PC.
5. Your USB cable.

Download this package, it will have all the flash files and Odin in it.

NOTE: You may need to d/l the drivers for the SGH-T959, download them here, scroll down to 'Download USB Drivers.'

Accessing the 'Emergency Recovery Mode':

NOTE: Follow these directions precisely, or you will not get access to the Download mode.

1. Power off the Phone.
2. Pull the Battery.
3. Plug USB cable into PC.
4. Plug USB cable into Phone.
5. Press and Hold: Volume UP + Volume DOWN + Power, all at the same time.
6. Re-insert the battery.
7. The phone will power now, when the screen starts a cycle of going to a BLACK screen, release ONLY the POWER button.
8. If done correctly, you will now be back at the 'Download' screen.
9. Install all Windows drivers, Windows Vista/7 will install everything automatically.
10. Extract the RAR file, you can use a utility such as UnRAR or 7zip (I recommend).
11. Go into the folder you extracted, and double-click Odin3_v1.0.exe.
12. Click the 'PIT' button and you should see the folder, s1_odin_20100512, select the s1_odin_20100512.pit
13. Click the 'PDA' button, go up a folder and you should see, T959UVJFD.tar, select that.
13. Leave everything else the same, and click 'Start'.
14. It will start downloading on the phone with a progress bar.
15. When completed successfully, the phone will reboot and Odin will say Success.

You will now be back to stock and successfully "unbricked". :)

Hope this helps!

i've trying to get it out of that screen but so far no succes!

#5 takato23

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Posted 19 September 2010 - 03:24 AM

hey i have this problem:

My problem is even worse as I explained in a different thread before. I don't even see the charging battery when I plug in the USB cable. All I see is the depleted looking grey color battery that doesn't charge. ADB commands don't work - device is not found. So it's a brick and none of the methods worked.

I heard from someone who has 3 different Vibrants, was always able to get into download mode on one of them and never on the other 2. Sounds like some phones got this feature internally blocked and some did not. I guess those that easily enter into the recovery/download modes are the lucky ones.

I can't slve it :S. Now i'm tryng to update with the Kies soft. When i plug the phone recognizes J and F memorys (both says 0mb of 0mb) but when I touch update firmware i can't activate test mode :S

#6 Viralblack

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Posted 19 September 2010 - 03:33 AM

View Posttakato23, on 19 September 2010 - 03:24 AM, said:

hey i have this problem:

My problem is even worse as I explained in a different thread before. I don't even see the charging battery when I plug in the USB cable. All I see is the depleted looking grey color battery that doesn't charge. ADB commands don't work - device is not found. So it's a brick and none of the methods worked.

I heard from someone who has 3 different Vibrants, was always able to get into download mode on one of them and never on the other 2. Sounds like some phones got this feature internally blocked and some did not. I guess those that easily enter into the recovery/download modes are the lucky ones.

I can't slve it :S. Now i'm tryng to update with the Kies soft. When i plug the phone recognizes J and F memorys (both says 0mb of 0mb) but when I touch update firmware i can't activate test mode :S

I feel your pain, im on my third Vibrant lol.

Unfortunately, ive noticed that everything points to a quite brickable phone while everyone claims its impossible and easy to get out of. Most phones once rendered unresponsive are just that, dispite 10+ hours of testing on two different bricked phones, I replaced them in the end.

THE GOOD NEWS IS if you play it off like you dont know what happened, you can have Tmo cross-ship you a new one under warrenty. Doesnt even cost you shipping, I just got my third Vibrant that way, still have my two accident protected ones left lol.

Just go to the TMo store near you, theyll check it for water and physical dammage, then they talk to the rep and have a new one shipped out, all you do is put the old one in the box and be done with it. THAT in my opinion is the true universal way out of a brick ;)

#7 takato23

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Posted 19 September 2010 - 03:47 AM

but.. i'm from argentina... now i have to see how can i send it to usa :S

#8 Viralblack

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Posted 19 September 2010 - 07:32 AM

View Posttakato23, on 19 September 2010 - 03:47 AM, said:

but.. i'm from argentina... now i have to see how can i send it to usa :S

Touche ;) lol

#9 takato23

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Posted 19 September 2010 - 06:36 PM

there's no way to fix this T_T"?

#10 dasunsrule32

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Posted 19 September 2010 - 10:10 PM

View PostKrylon360, on 18 September 2010 - 04:13 PM, said:

easier way bud:

when at the "phone ! computer" screen, hold down vol up + vol down + power, phone will flash, then you'll see the screen again, keep holding down the buttons, phone will flash again, when the screen goes black, let go of the power button.

i've been able to get it to go to download when it flashes the 1st time, but the 2nd time always works.

Oh, and that screen doesn't mean Brick. :P

It's not easier when your phone doesn't respond to it. As far as it being bricked, it Is a soft brick or partial brick, thus the reasons for my quotation marks. This is a deeper way to access the download screen when the easy way won't work.

#11 dasunsrule32

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Posted 19 September 2010 - 10:15 PM

View Posttakato23, on 19 September 2010 - 03:24 AM, said:

hey i have this problem:

My problem is even worse as I explained in a different thread before. I don't even see the charging battery when I plug in the USB cable. All I see is the depleted looking grey color battery that doesn't charge. ADB commands don't work - device is not found. So it's a brick and none of the methods worked.

I heard from someone who has 3 different Vibrants, was always able to get into download mode on one of them and never on the other 2. Sounds like some phones got this feature internally blocked and some did not. I guess those that easily enter into the recovery/download modes are the lucky ones.

I can't slve it :S. Now i'm tryng to update with the Kies soft. When i plug the phone recognizes J and F memorys (both says 0mb of 0mb) but when I touch update firmware i can't activate test mode :S

I was in the same situation, this method worked for me. Keep trying, hope it will help you out of a tight situation. Also, if you happened to apply a lag fix, make sure to always undo the fix before upgrading roms or any major system changes. I've noticed that your phone will run into this problem easily.

#12 takato23

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Posted 20 September 2010 - 04:46 AM

nope, it's not working... i've tried every posible combination.. the last version of kies software shows me an error when i connect it, it says "cannot manage ext partition connection terminated"..  the Kies_1.5.0.10024_74  only take the 2 flash memories of the phone (J,F). There is any way to make it work with this?

#13 Viralblack

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Posted 20 September 2010 - 04:56 AM

View Posttakato23, on 20 September 2010 - 04:46 AM, said:

nope, it's not working... i've tried every posible combination.. the last version of kies software shows me an error when i connect it, it says "cannot manage ext partition connection terminated"..  the Kies_1.5.0.10024_74  only take the 2 flash memories of the phone (J,F). There is any way to make it work with this?

If it wont boot, and you cant get into recovery to nandroid, and you cant get to download mode to odin, youre screwed.

There are just some bricks that you cant come back from, unfortunately.

Button combinations are option one
ADB is option two via adb reboot recovery or adb reboot download
last option is whats shown in this thread, thats really about it.

Ive bricked twice, once to kernel and once to flashing wrong with odin. So Im just being honest saying you cant always come back lol

#14 takato23

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Posted 20 September 2010 - 05:37 AM

so there is nothing i can do... can i change it for a new one? what do i need? if i send it by international mail, they'd change it? :'(

#15 Viralblack

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Posted 20 September 2010 - 06:18 AM

View Posttakato23, on 20 September 2010 - 05:37 AM, said:

so there is nothing i can do... can i change it for a new one? what do i need? if i send it by international mail, they'd change it? :'(

Well, being international I have no idea. I exchanged mine the first time in store within the first 15 days, the second one I took to the store and then requested a new one be shipped to me under warrenty and then once it arrived I shipped the old one back. I also have the warrenty replacement that I can use twice per calendar year that covers loss or theft, so if I brick again I would just request another one via replacement and pay the 130 deductible.

Internationally, I dont know if youll be able to get a warrenty done on the phone, TMobile just has really good service when it comes to their customers, call them if they are your provider and they may be able to offer the same cross shipped replacement.

Keep in mind that this brick, while I empathize and understand what happened, will be viewed and should fairly be viewed as YOUR FAULT and not the fault of the company or manufacturer, so they can easily turn around and say no.

Hope for the best, prepare for the worst.

#16 takato23

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Posted 20 September 2010 - 06:38 AM

oh i see... i can send it to a friend so he can change it.. but it has already bein a month (more or less) from the bought. There is a chance that the new phone (in case that they exchange me) have this same HW lock? if it has, i can change it just for that? or it's not a fabrication problem?

#17 Viralblack

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  • Recovery Image:
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Posted 20 September 2010 - 07:39 AM

View Posttakato23, on 20 September 2010 - 06:38 AM, said:

oh i see... i can send it to a friend so he can change it.. but it has already bein a month (more or less) from the bought. There is a chance that the new phone (in case that they exchange me) have this same HW lock? if it has, i can change it just for that? or it's not a fabrication problem?

The cause is still unknown, I do know that of the three that Ive had personally all three have had the same issue getting into recovery/download. I dont know if its a hardware flaw or an intentional lockout, but I have yet to personally handle a phone that was able to boot to either without ADB.

#18 takato23

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Posted 20 September 2010 - 07:57 AM

i couldn't enter to downloading mode even using adb reboot download.. only to recovery with the clockwork recovery....

Edited by takato23, 20 September 2010 - 08:27 AM.


#19 dasunsrule32

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Posted 20 September 2010 - 01:27 PM

View Posttakato23, on 20 September 2010 - 07:57 AM, said:

i couldn't enter to downloading mode even using adb reboot download.. only to recovery with the clockwork recovery....

Try it again with my new note for the button combo, for some reason, I neglected to put this note in the tutorial, sorry about that. Hope it works this time. Timing is everything with this.

#20 takato23

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Posted 20 September 2010 - 04:42 PM

how time i have to exchange it for a new one?

well i have recently spoken with t-mobile customer care and they told me that if i have bought the phone by a third people (i purchased it in ebay) they will not change it for a new one... so i will have to talk with ebay seller.. anyone here buy a vibrant on ebay too?

Edited by takato23, 20 September 2010 - 05:55 PM.