[GUIDE] All-in-One Defy Beginner's guide

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By Zephyrot, Senior Member on 13th August 2011, 10:59 PM
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About this guide

In this guide you will find all the information regarding the Motorola Defy. I’ll try to explain as best as I can how this phone works, how to root, install SBFs, and most important: how this stuff actually works so you don’t screw up your phone installing incorrect versions of Roms.
I’ll try to cover the eFuse system found in this phone as well as other Moto phones and how it actually works, this is fundamental to understand why you can’t go back to old stock Roms once updated.

**NOTE** I AM NOT responsible for any kind of damage your phone can suffer**NOTE**

  • I just bought a Defy, now what?!
  • Red, Green, Plus. What can I and can not do
  • Facts
  • Custom Recovery
  • eFuse
  • SBFs
  • Fixed SBFs
  • CG Versions
  • Official SBFs
  • RSD Lite
  • Rooting
  • How to flash
  • CM7, MIUI, Various Custom Roms and going back to Stock
  • Common Problems
I just bought a Defy, now what?!
Congratulations on your new phone! Now you need to know what kind of Defy you have!
If you've got a Defy+ then this part doesn’t apply to you, so you can jump to the next one. If not, keep reading.

If you got a new Defy, you could have a SOC or Bayer Defy, the difference between both Defy's is pretty much only the Camera Module, there is really no other difference.

At first it was easy to determine which Defy model you had by just checking the Lens color, RED color meant Bayer module, Green Lens meant SOC Defy; sadly it's not so easy to know which one you have now, since there are SOC Defys with Red Lenses.

The Camera Module is the responsible for receiving the "information" from the lens and then translating that into machine data.

The Bayer module is capable of 720p video Recording and can take better pictures than the SOC module. At the moment is not known if the SOC module is actually capable of making 720p Recordings or if it is just a Driver issue; but for the time being there is no 720p recording for SOC Module.

Almost all SOC Defys will have a Green lens; therefore you will find almost all ROM threads labeled compatible or not compatible with Green Lens. Usually a different installation or a patch is needed to make these roms work on Green Defys.

The are a few ways to check which Module your Defy has, the best one and more accurate one though, is installing Catlog, starting it up and then start the camera. After starting the camera, go back to Catlog app, pause the logging, and search for "camera". There should be a couple entries, one of them should say either SOC or Bayer.
Red, Green, Plus. What can I and cannot do
With the 3 versions on the market, there is some extra caution to be taken.
Green Defy users have to be careful when installing custom Roms since it may not be compatible without doing extra steps like patching or installing extra files. Defy+ must be very careful to what they flash on the phone.

As of today there is no a full SBF** for the Defy+ (found here).
This full SBF is a new CG Version**, with Android 2.3.6. You wont be able to go back to your Stock Defy+ Rom, but at least you wont kill it if something goes wrong.

Most of this Guide is made only for the Defy, either Green or Red lens, and although the Defy+ is pretty much a Red lens Defy, a few things are NOT made for Defy+ users:
  • CM7, MIUI, Various Custom Roms and going back to Stock***
  • Common Problems*
Stuff in this list should be read even for Defy+ owners, but they cannot be applied yet to the Defy+s.

*Not all of them apply to the Defy+
**explained later in the Guide.
*** You CAN install CM7 and other Android Versions, the basics explained on this guide just do not apply to Defy+, as well as Downgrade to Stock.
So, let’s start doing a small sum up of what this phone can do.
At first the Defy was presented as a low /med end phone. With 800 MHz CPU, no GPU, 2 Points hardware limited screen. It is well known nowadays that the Defy actually has a PowerVR 530 GPU, TI OMAP 3630 CPU and a screen supporting 10 Point multitouch.

The Defy+ is basically a rebranded Defy, with Gingerbread, 1700mah Battery (instead of 1540mah) and its default CPU speed is 1GHz. It has the same internals as the original: Same CPU/GPU, Memory, Screen and so on.
Defy+ comes always with a Bayer camera module, and so far there are no Defy+ variations.

LOCKED Bootloader, what does this means?
For some people is hell, for others (normally non advanced users) is a pretty cool insurance for their phone. This locked Bootloader thing means there is no (so far) way to rewrite the Stock Bootloader or the Stock Recovery.

When the phone turns on the Bootloader basically starts all the hardware and make your phone come alive.

Then we have the Stock Recovery, this little part of your phone is also locked and cannot be removed or changed from your phone, it will allow you to make Recovery stuff like Full Wipe (Data and Cache) and install files.
At first this became a problem, because with a locked Bootloader there is no way to install a Custom Recovery like ClockworkMod or install a new Rom.

Here is where 2nd Init comes to play, this little awesome app kicks in right after the Bootloader and allows the Defy to load a different, non-Stock Android.
With this, you can also install a Custom Recovery, which runs from the Internal Memory, and is not ran from the Recovery Partition (remember: locked, not accessible) what does this means? That even screwing up your phone, deleting all your stuff, or screwing /system partition the phone can still get into Recovery, be recognized by RSD Lite in Bootloader Mode and be flashed with a Stock or modified Rom (more on this later) and it will come back to live normally.

Thanks to this locked Bootloader, is really, really hard to Brick your Defy. Most of the issues seen on the Forums are NOT Bricks, just incorrectly flashed SBFs (more on this later ). With brick one mean the phone has no access to the Bootloader or can’t initialize its hardware, requiring you to use a JTAG to directly reprogram the phone (which I’m not sure is possible on the Defy).
Custom Recovery
A custom recovery is a special "App"** that comes in a separate partition in your phone. This "App"** allows Android Phones to do recovery tasks, like deleting data, installing recovery Zips and so on; The tasks you are allowed to do with Stock Recovery are pretty basic. Here is where Clockwork Mod comes into play.
CWM is a Recovery that allows you to not only do basic tasks but also create Nandroid Backups, Restore Them, Fix Permissions and quite a lot of other useful stuff.

Normally a Custom Recovery is installed by flashing the Recovery Partition in your Android Phone with a Custom Image, but since our Defy comes with a Locked Bootloader, this is not possible. Leaving us without many options to proceed.
And that's why we have 2nd Init, this application is what actually installs CWM in the Defy, it does it by installing it in your internal memory and not in your Recovery Partition and then pointing the Android system to it right after the Stock Recovery boots.

**Is not actually an App, is more like a Linux Console with UI so you can recover.
Here comes a really important part on how the flashing works and why is problematic for some people, it is not explained anywhere.
It actually took me more than a month before I started modifying my Defy because this information is really scattered around the web and I don’t like to do things I do not understand

So, to the eFuses; this Technology was developed by IBM, is a really cool tech that allows some chips to actually change their internal wiring, and reprogram themselves.

How is this used on the Defy (and the Droid too)?
Well, see this system as a bridge, each time you flash a new update to your phone you burn a bridge, the information went to the other side, but there is no coming back.
Here comes most of the issues we have with the Defy, once you update to a higher version of your Android, there is no way to come back. (There are some tricks, explained later).
This lead us to the next part of the Guide, where I will explain you WHY you can’t go back and how this actually works.
SBF is how Motorola packs all the information to be Flashed on your phone. Inside this package are a lot of other files, each of these files named with CGXX where XX is a number.
So when you Flash a Full SBF, it takes the phone memory, format it, create the partitions and then copy the information inside these partitions. Each partition corresponds to a CGXX file. Here is where the eFuse thing kicks in.
There are a couple of CG files containing the version number of the Android you are flashing. So let’s say you are on Éclair Stock, first version, no updates no nothing. This version has a Version 1 number. When the phone gets updated, this version changes to Version 2 for example.
Each Android version has each own ID, once you go up, you CAN NOT go back, and this version is in CG31 AND CG39 files inside the SBF.

Is a modified SBF without the CG31 and CG39 files, thus allowing to move between Android Versions freely.
Since the Fixed SBF creates all partitions but /System (CG39) and CDT (CG31), we need to copy System data using a Nandroid Backup or the phone will probably not work using the existing /System.

Nandroid Backup
This is just a .zip file flasheable with a Custom Recovery, this will Delete/Copy all the files in the /System and other partitions (depending on the Nandroid) without formatting or remaking the partition thus not modifying the system layout, eFuse or stuff; this is almost harmless, meaning you CANT brick your phone doing it, though you can make Android not boot and a new SBF or Nandroid would need to be installed.
CG Versions
With that explained let’s get to business with versions:

CG Version 2: SBF 2.21 / 2.34 / Chinese (Éclair) (Defy)
CG Version 3: SBF 2.51 (Éclair) (Defy)
CG Version 4: SBF 3.4.2 (Froyo) (Defy)
CG Version 5: SBF 4.5.0 / 4.5.1 (Gingerbread) (Defy)
CG Version 6: SBF 4.5.1 (Gingerbread, 2.3.5, (Red lens Defy/Defy+) )
CG Version 7: SBF 4.5.1 (Latests Gingerbreads, 2.3.6, (Red lens Defy/Defy+) )

If you try to flash a lower ID version than the one already on your phone, you will just get a Black screen after booting or a screen telling you to flash an official rom.
So, with this in mind, you can now hop between Android versions without screwing up your phone.
If you have an Éclair Defy and would like to keep the ability to downgrade to it, you should ONLY install FIXED SBFs of the Android Version you want to install, and then use the corresponding Nandroid Backup for that Fixed SBF.

For a full list of Roms and their respective CGs go here
Official SBFs
Here is a list of all the Defy Official SBFs and Defy+ Official SBFs that means that they come with ALL CGs, these SBFs put your phone like Motorola sold it to you, just need to keep in mind that going UP in versions with FULL SBFS <WONT> I repeat, <WONT> allow you to go back to an older version.
Knowing this you should be able to test every single Android version out there and being able to go to Stock without issues. Just be sure to understand how CG versioning works and you should be fine.
RSD Lite
RSD Lite is an App used by Motorola to Flash Smartphones. It can revive mismatched Nandroid/Fixed SBFs, Black Screens, failed flashes etc.
Even though is really, really hard to completely brick a Defy, it is possible; a corrupted SBF, power failure on a critical part of the formatting, or some weird issues while creating partitions can lead to a Bricked Defy. If you can, always flash your Defy from a laptop so the power is not an issue, use good cables, and be sure the PC doesn’t go to sleep when is not being used.
Also, when flashing SBFs, is normally advised to put your SBF in your PC Root directory (C:/ ) or whatever it is in your PC and rename it to a short name like Defy.sbf, why? Because sometimes the Path name is just too long and RSD Lite throws errors not allowing the phone to be Flashed.
So, what’s rooting and why everyone talks about it.
Phones come “locked” , this means users can only do basic usage of their phones, installing/uninstalling apps, wallpapers and basic stuff. You can see but not touch any System file, or change the actual behavior of Android. Rooting just means you have access to your phone like an Adinistrator, meaning you can access and change system files, delete/create files and folders and so on.
To be able to install Apps like 2nd Init that need to access Android System files your phone needs to be able to write and acess these files.

Thankfully, rooting the Defy is a rather simply and usually harmless task.

How to Root: (NOT for BL7)
  1. Get SuperOneClickRoot
  2. Get and Install Motorola [Drivers ]
  3. Reboot your PC
  4. Turn USB Debugging ON (Settings -> Applications -> Development on your Defy)
  5. Connect your Defy to the PC
  6. Wait for the PC to install any missing Drivers
  7. Click on Root
  8. Let it work, then it will ask if you want to install BusyBox, hit YES
  9. After it finished it will ask to make a test, click cancel and just Reboot your Defy
  10. Done, Defy rooted

How to Root BL7:
  1. Enter Recovery, Wipe Data/Cache
  2. Download this SBF and Flash it
  3. Enter Recovery, Wipe Data/Cache
  4. Download Part1 and Part2 SBF and Flash it
  5. Enter Recovery, Wipe Data/Cache

Recommended ->> New Method to root the Defy: (Thanks TJKV for the tip):
Now there is one method for rooting all Defy and Defy+ devices irrespective of CG signature versions, simply use the Framaroot app to root:

How to Flash
Ok! Now that we understand how a lot of stuff works, it’s rather easy to get a new Android version installed on your phone.
For any full SBF the same steps must be always done, just be sure to know what SBF are you flashing and keep always in mind your CG Version to keep the possibility to downgrade in case you need your warranty.

  • Get the SBF you want to flash
    - Full SBF: No Nandroid backup needed, always keep CG versioning in mind.
    - Fixed SBF: You might need a matching Nandroid Backup.
  • Get and Install RSD Lite v4.9: There are reports of other versions working, but this one is what I have used.
  • Get and Install Motorola [Drivers ]
Now to Business:
To Flash full SBFs, here is the standard procedure:
  1. Open RSD Lite: Click on [ … ] Button and select your .SBF (Remember to rename to a short name and put it on root of your PC) and click Open.
  2. Boot your phone into Bootloader Mode (check last section if you don’t know how to do it).
  3. Now connect your Defy to your PC
  4. The START button on RSD Lite should be available now, click and wait.
For Fixed SBFs a slightly different method is needed, it's basically the same but you need to Wipe Dalvik Cache and Data before flashing. Then after flashing you need to enter immediately to Recovery and restore the matching Nandroid Backup. I won’t write a specific way to do it here, since most of these versions require different steps (for Example CM7 or MIUI), so is better to check a specific guide for your Custom ROM or Android version.
CM7, MIUI, Various Custom Roms and going back to Stock.
Now, if you want to go to CM7 or MIUI Roms, there are good tutorials on how to do it. I will just explain here how the procedure works so you know what you are doing and not only follow step 1, 2 and 3, which usually leads to issues if anything goes not exactly as written.

There is no way to flash a full SBF with CM7 or another rom. What is being done in these cases, is just use a base Android, be it CEE, Localized EU, Éclair, whatever.
Quarx recommends using JRDNEM_U3_3.4.3-11_BLUR_SIGN (not anymore, old) 3.4.2-179 CEE Deblur SBF. But this is not NEEDED; I’m running CM7 with German and is running perfectly.

Then, restore a Nandroid Backup of a CM7; it will copy all the new stuff into your partitions and won’t remake them, keeping all the signatures, security and stuff intact.
Here is a good Guide to install CM7: How to Flash CM7

To downgrade from any of these Roms all you need to do is install a Full Stock SBF (remember to check CG Versions!) and done, phone back to Stock.
There is another way to install a lower version of Android without using a full SBF, and it is installing a Fixed SBF of a lower Android version, then restoring its matched Nandroid Backup.
Common Problems/Questions

Black Screens when booting up: (!) Tried to install a version of Android with a lower CG Version than the one currently on the phone.

Weird behavior after installing a Fixed SBF: Install a matching Nandroid backup with your SBF, and remember to clear Cache/Dalvik Cache using Recovery.

Installed full Gingerbread SBF and can’t go back to another rom: (!) aha! We have a issue here!, latest Stock Gingerbread full SBFs comes with a Version 5 of the CG, meaning until not long ago you were pretty much screwed. But wait, there is hope! A one kind Éclair has been found in China Defys that comes with Version 5 CG!.
How to fix it:
Method 1:
  1. Download this SBF and Flash it
  2. Root your Phone
  3. Download 2nd Init 1.4.2 and Install ClockworkMod Recovery
  4. Download and install this Nandroid Backup << File is Back, thanks Ichibanme again!>>
  5. Enter Recovery, Wipe Data/Cache
  6. After wiping, turn off your phone
  7. Turn it on and get immediately into Bootloader mode
  8. Flash this Fixed SBF
  9. Delete Data/Cache again and reboot.
**NOTE*: I just rephrased the original post since it can be a bit confusing, it is linked as source below.
**NOTE2**: If you are using a non-Chinese defy, DO NOT USE THE CAMERA FLASH while on the Chinese rom, it WILL kill your LED.
Source: ((Original post here))[

Method 2: (BIG thanks to Jebrew again for this one)
NOTE: You are going to need CM7 for this one. CM7 Stable version recommended.

  1. Download this SBF and Flash it.
  2. Root your phone.
  3. Download 2nd Init 1.4.2 and Install ClockworkMod Recovery.
  4. Reboot to CMW recovery, and wipe Data/Cache.
  5. Install CM7 then install Google Apps.
  6. Reboot an go into Stock Recovery (using the vol- button, not from Bootmenu).
  7. Do a Data/Cache Wipe or you won't have any space when you're done.
  8. Flash this Fixed SBF
  9. Reboot into your nice new rom.
  10. Do not Wipe Data anymore or you will have to start again.

You WONT be able to install full SBFs of any Éclair or Froyo since these Androids have lower CG Versions.
How to Install CM7 after Installing a Full Gingerbread SBF: (!) Ok, first of all do all the steps above on "Installed full Gingerbread SBF and can’t go back to another rom"
  1. Root your Defy (Using SuperOneClick 1.7 and not 1.9).
  2. Install SystemRecovery from GoAPK. If you install 2nd init, you'll just get into a boot loop and have to start over.
  3. Reboot to recovery. Do a factory wipe, then do the cache wipe.
  4. Install CM7 .Zip and then gapps zip file. DO NOT wipe again, you'll just go back to 2.2.2 CEE (if you accidentally do this, you can pick up again from step 3).
  5. profit!
Thanks jebrew for the info.

I installed a Full SBF/installed CM7/other Android version and need my warranty: (!) Ok, this pretty much depends what have you installed and on which zone you are. Try to keep ALWAYS your phone ability to downgrade to whatever version is supported in your region.

For example I have a German Defy, we have SBF 3.4.2 (Froyo) officially deployed, this means all I need to do to go back to Stock and claim my warranty is download the Stock version and Flash the full SBF. If your zone only has Éclair officially deployed then you should never ever flash Full SBFs with anything higher than Éclair, only Fixed SBFs, then in case you need your warranty, just Flash your zone full SBF and done, back to Stock and hi2u Warranty.

Full Stock SBFs will put your phone to the state Motorola sells that Android Version. If you install the same SBF you had, it will be like new.

How do I enter Recovery Mode?!: With the Phone off press VOLUME DOWN then, while still pressed, power up the phone and leave VOL key pressed until you see a Yellow triangle, once you see this you are in Recovery now press Vol Up and Vol Down at the same time (if you are in Froyo) and the menu will appear, if you are on Éclair the menu should appear without having to press anything.

How do I enter Bootloader Mode: With the Phone off press VOLUME UP, then while still pressed power up the phone. Keep the Vol key pressed until a black screen with some white letters appear. This is the Bootloader.

After Upgrading to Froyo my Defy is laggy, slow or reboots: (!) This is a common issue when coming from Eclair to Froyo. If this happens to you, just do a full wipe (Delete Data/Delete Cache on Stock Recovery), after that your phone should work correctly.

Stock Froyo sometimes lags and/or freezes the phone: (!) Its caused by the VM consuming all memory, all you need to do is adjust the amount of MB the VM should leave free.
There are a few ways to do it:
  • Use a terminal emulator, or use GScript Lite to run this:
    (Not permanent, need to be ran every time you reboot)
  • Get Sysctl and change vm.min_free_kbytes to 8192.
  • Get SetVSel and tap on increase vm.min_free_kbytes to 4096.
How do I make/restore these Nandroid Backups everyone is talking about?: Nandroid backups are made using Clockworkmod (CWM). Enter the Custom Recovery, go to Backup and Restore and create your Backup. To restore use the same method but Restore instead of Backup :P

I downgraded from CM7 to Stock / Installed a new SBF but I'm having bootlops: (!) If this is happening to you, after flashing the Stock SBF, enter in Stock Recovery and do a full wipe (Data/Cache) and reboot.

I have issues with my Battery Readings / Battery charge suddenly Drops: This issue is caused by a cheap battery reading implementation. If you want to know more about it, and how to get more accurate readings on your Defy, please go to: Defy Battery Drops Explained. Thanks jusid for the detailed explanation!

(!) NOT for Defy+

If you find this Guide useful, please remember to click the Thanks button
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13th August 2011, 11:27 PM |#2  
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Thank you for putting all this useful information together. It should be made sticky .
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14th August 2011, 03:53 AM |#3  
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Wish I would've found this post three days ago. But you learn from trial and error. Made alot of errors but looking good now.

Sent from my MB525 using XDA App
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14th August 2011, 08:48 AM |#4  
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This made a very good read thanks for compiling all this information.

14th August 2011, 11:13 AM |#5  
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great guide,i agree it should be "sticky".
14th August 2011, 12:59 PM |#6  
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yeah, it definitely needs to be a sticky, would make a lot of defy newbies' life easier
15th August 2011, 02:35 AM |#7  
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Thanks!!! (button pressed)

Sticky +1
15th August 2011, 03:38 AM |#8  
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Great Guide, wish it would have been around when I decided to flash my Defy. Sure it will help those is the future. Thanks for taking the time to put all this information is one place.

I to would say +1 for Sticky
15th August 2011, 04:17 AM |#9  
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This's the great work,
it's easier for the beginner

15th August 2011, 07:06 PM |#10  
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Nice to see people has found usefull my Guide, would be awesome if it became Sticky ><

If you have suggestions, more important information to add, send me a PM and I'll fit the info in there.

Sorry I didn't post it before hehe, took me like 5 days to write everything and make it as simply and understandeable as possible.
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15th August 2011, 08:14 PM |#11  
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Awesome post man!!
If any post deserves to be a sticky,this is it!!

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