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[TUT] Flashing your first A500 custom ROM

OP drkalo

6th August 2011, 07:54 AM   |  #1  
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Well, flashing a custom ROM on our beloved Iconias became quite easy now thanks to developers on xda. Most of you are quite familiar with the procedure but there are still people that ask basic things all over the ROM developement threads. This is just a beginner's guide, an attempt to collect all the procedures and tools in one thread. Nothing of this is my work and I would like to say THANK YOU to sc2k, thor2002ro, Euclid's Brother, Chainfire, monki-magic, drellisdee, ezterry, Skrilax_CZ, gersma and all A500 developers for making this possible.

You will need the following: external SD card, root rights, unlocked bootloader (if you're on stock ICS), custom recovery and a custom ROM of your choice.

Well lets start by placing an SD card in the SD card expansion slot. Its file system should be FAT32!
*This is optional: To be sure it is recognized later in CWM, format it first with SD Formatter - a tool that can be downloaded from here. Use your home computer / notebook with a card reader for this procedure. Alternatively you can do this using an ANDROID phone.


1.ROOT

Root for Honeycomb 3.0.1 by monki-magic
original thread by Slowie911 here

1. Make sure usb debugging is turned on and unknown sources is selected in Applications settings.
2. Have a micro sd card inserted and turn the tablet on portrait mode and lock it with the switch to fix it in portrait.
3. Download and execute the attached apk. (i had to download from my comp and transfer to the tablet for it to work).
4. Once the apk is installed run the root procedure within the app which was installed
5. Wait and you will receive full root access.

Download Gingerbreak 1.20

Root for Honeycomb 3.1 by sc2k thread here
1. Goto Settings->Applications and enable "Unkown sources"
2. Download the attached APK file
3. Copy the file to your Iconia
4. Install the APK & start the tool
5. Click "root"
6. Enjoy

/IconiaRoot should work on both 3.0.x and 3.1/

Download Iconiaroot 1.3

Root for Honeycomb 3.2.x OTA
Unfortunately there's no dedicated rooting app yet developed for HC3.2. It also comes with a new bootloader. In order to get root you need to revert to an older version of Honeycomb first where Iconiaroot works. How to do that is explained in details in this thread
UPDATE: if you're on OTA HC 3.2.x then you can just update to ICS and use the method for rooting ICS - links posted below

Root for ICS 4.x.x OTA
Stock ICS Leak One-Click Root Tool by blackthund3r
or
Full root for A500 ICS 4.0.3 - Simple method, posted by ZeroNull

2. Bootloader
Since there are many new ICS custom ROMs and custom recoveries, please read in their dedicated threads if they require ICS bootloader. Some of the ROMs can recognize the version of your bootloader and load the proper boot.img during boot. In general - if you're on Honeycomb - you have HC bootloader. If you've updated OTA to ICS, then you have stock ICS bootloader, that is unusable for flashing custom ROMs and therefore you need the unlocked bootloader. A guide on how to install it read here - thanks civato. This thread links to a nice little piece of software (option 1) by gersma that can automatically do all the job for you - install ICS unlocked bootloader and custom recovery. Read and download here - AfterOTA by gersma


3.Custom recovery

original thread with clockworkmod recovery by thor2002ro here

1. Open Market app with your tablet and search for Acer Recovery Installer.
Acer recovery installer
2. Install it and then open it. It has ClockworkMod Recovery by thor2002ro rev1.3.4 built-in.
3. Select "ClockworkMod Recovery rev.1.3.4 by thor2002ro". Tap on install Recovery Image. A popup offering to backup current recovery image will appear. Surely, buckup! Thus you can restore your original recovery image in case of need. Then CWM will be installed. Once it is installed you can remove Acer Recovery Installer tool from your system if you want.

thor2002ro updated CWM to 1.7.3. You can download the zip from tegraowners.com. Later versions of his recovery does not meet GPL because of the "mini" kernel of his - sources not being released. It supports flashing both from internal memory and the external SD card. In order to update your CWM to this latest version, place the downloaded ZIP on your external sd card and update from your CWM by choosing install zip from sd card. Alternatively you can extract the recovery.img from the zip, place it on your external sd card and install it through Acer Recovery Installer by choosing Custom or Stock recovery.img from micro sdcard.

GPL compliant recoveries
RA Revamped for Iconia
TeamWin Recovery Project (twrp) - needs ICS bootloader
A500 Public Recovery
Since the creation of AfterOTA by gersma, you can use his software to install both the bootloader and CWM before flashing the ROM. Get it HERE


4. Flashing custom ROM
Download the ROM of your choice which should be a zip file. Place the zip on your EXTERNAL SD card. Power off your device. Now hold volume down and power buttons together until you see text appearing on the top left corner of the screen - you can release both buttons now. Wait until CWM loads. Volume keys (Up and Down) are used to navigate the CWM menu. Power button is uded as "Enter" i.e. to proceed with your selection. Before going on to install your ROM do a full backup of your system first. Navigate to "backup and restore" and then select Full Backup. Wait untill the operation completes.

Now do the following:
Wipe menu:
- wipe data/factory reset -> navigate to "Yes - delete all user data"
this should format you data partition and cache partition (dalvik cache is gone as well)
Mounts and storage menu
- Format System
this should format your system partition

The above commands are presented in thor's CWM. There are slightly different menus and sub-menus in the other custom recoveries but if you dig a little you'll find that they do the same things and you'll get the idea of what you're doing.

Now you're ready to install your ROM. Get back to the main CWM menu and select
- Install zip from sdcard -> choose zip from sdcard.
Navigate to your zip on the SD card and install it - choose "Yes" again to install. Wait untill installation is complete, return to the main CWM menu and choose "reboot system now".
You're done, enjoy your first custom ROM. Take time for its initial configuration.

5. Flashing custom KERNEL

Flashing custom kernel is as same as custom ROM. You place the zip (Kernels come in zip files as well) on your external SD card and:
- Install zip from sdcard -> choose zip from sdcard.
It is recommended before flashing a new kernel to wipe cache partition and dalvik cache. And of course first you flash the ROM and then the desired Kernel



6. UNBRICKING by flashing a stock ROM

thanks to vache we have full packages shared in his topic

Quote:
Originally Posted by vache

Once the desired file downloaded, you have to use Acer Update Decryter by thor2002ro to decrypt them.
After decrypting the file, you have to extract the update.zip from it, put it on an external SDCard (does not work on internal memory) and boot your tablet with Vol- & Power. The update will launch automatically.



p.s. Feel free to add stuff to this tutorial - video, pistures or anything you find useful or to correct me if I've made a mistake.
Last edited by drkalo; 26th August 2012 at 10:01 PM.
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6th August 2011, 08:43 AM   |  #2  
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This is fantastic. Thank you. I have had my iconia for a month now and been looking at flashing a custom rom but kept backing out. Just a couple of questions for clarification:
(1). Does wiping data erase the internal sd?
(2). If by some stroke of bad luck a flash is unsuccessful and a boot loop or similar occurs, am I right in my understanding that you can just go straight back into recovery and re-flash?
(3). What are the chances of bricking the tablet?

Sorry for noon questions, please just wanna certain because my gf bought me this tablet under the condition I don't do anything risky like on my x10 that I flash almost daily haha

Thanks for replies

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6th August 2011, 09:05 AM   |  #3  
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kylec

This is fantastic. Thank you. I have had my iconia for a month now and been looking at flashing a custom rom but kept backing out. Just a couple of questions for clarification:
(1). Does wiping data erase the internal sd?
(2). If by some stroke of bad luck a flash is unsuccessful and a boot loop or similar occurs, am I right in my understanding that you can just go straight back into recovery and re-flash?
(3). What are the chances of bricking the tablet?

Sorry for noon questions, please just wanna certain because my gf bought me this tablet under the condition I don't do anything risky like on my x10 that I flash almost daily haha

Thanks for replies



Sent from my A500 using XDA Premium App

1. No, it doesn't.
2. Yes. You can do that. There's another option in mounts and storage -> format system - that will format even your system partition and leave your device bare with no ROM files on it. That would be a really clean install I guess
EDIT: I just saw that system is formatted during ROM installation. So no need to do that
3. Always read first what option you've selected and be sure you understand what it does. If you have CWM successfully installed, you have a powerfull tool to restore reflash, wipe, format etc. I've flashed my HD2 hundreds of times and now my Iconia is on the run Never ever had a boot failiure.
Last edited by drkalo; 6th August 2011 at 04:34 PM.
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6th August 2011, 01:52 PM   |  #4  
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Quote:
Originally Posted by drkalo

1. No, it doesn't.
2. Yes. You can do that. There's another option in mounts and storage -> format system - that will format even your system partition and leave your device bare with no ROM files on it. That would be a really clean install I guess
3. Always read first what option you've selected and be sure you understand what it does. If you have CWM successfully installed, you have a powerfull tool to restore reflash, wipe, format etc. I've flashed my HD2 hundreds of times and now my Iconia is on the run Never ever had a boot failiure.

Thank you very much. :) I will click thanks when I'm on my computer :D

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6th August 2011, 01:55 PM   |  #5  
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VERY good information here. Thank you very much for taking the time.

I've flashed ROMS on my last two "chinatabs" but haven't gotten into it with my A500 yet. (To be frank, I'm still thrilled with the prospect of OTA updates from a manufacturer after my last experiences.)

It looks like the process is very similar to my Rena3 tablet.
6th August 2011, 02:04 PM   |  #6  
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Quote:
Originally Posted by strider_mt2k

VERY good information here. Thank you very much for taking the time.

I've flashed ROMS on my last two "chinatabs" but haven't gotten into it with my A500 yet. (To be frank, I'm still thrilled with the prospect of OTA updates from a manufacturer after my last experiences.)

It looks like the process is very similar to my Rena3 tablet.

Thank you, that lays it out all nice and precise for us all. Like strider_mt2k, I have been holdng off on the custom ROMs, because my first tablet was a Gtab, and while it became a pretty awesome tablet, it had to be flashed with a custom ROM to be really usable. The OTA thing was holding me back. But I think that I may try to flash the thing this weekend if I get the chance.
6th August 2011, 03:02 PM   |  #7  
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Smile
Thanks. Glad it could be of use.
6th August 2011, 04:23 PM   |  #8  
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nice tutorial dude! thanks!!
could you please make another tutorial to return back to stock?
specially to return back to stock te kernel.

thanks!!!
6th August 2011, 05:57 PM   |  #9  
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As mentioned, best case is if you've backed up your device before flashing any ROM or Kernel. Thus you can restore to your country specific version.

Otherwise its pretty simple - its just like flashing any other ROM following the steps described.
Download the stock one that dr1337 shared from here:
http://forum.xda-developers.com/show....php?t=1154492

or choose the right full package - shared by vache:

decript it with Acer update decripter by thor2002ro

Of course they come with stock kernel
Last edited by drkalo; 7th August 2011 at 06:22 PM.
9th August 2011, 01:29 PM   |  #10  
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I am new in this with flashing and that kind of stuff.

Now is my question, how is it with updates from acer?

Greetz

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