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[Xperia ZL][INFO][REF] All the info you need before you begin

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hello friends,

let me begin by introducing myself, i am developer for Xperia devices (X10, ARC, PLAY, S, T, Z) and am the Lead Developer of Team UtterChaos, member of Team ICX and was associated with Team FreeXperia, ... i have some experience in development for Xperia devices, specifically in kernels, rooting & recoveries and i have various how-to, reference threads which are very helpful to new & advanced users alike across various device communities... i hope even this thread will be useful to everyone... if you would like to know what things i have worked on before feel free to check some of the links in my signature below...

so some of u must be new to the Sony Xperia family & even if u are not this should be useful... this thread should get u up to speed on what you need to know for this device...


i will try to cover some very basic things and try to touch upon some advanced topics...



i will be dividing this thread into various sections, and each section will point to an individual post...

following is the list of sections covered:





for those who are interested in development are free to contact me via p.m.... BUT PLEASE do not ask generic questions, post all generic queries at the forums/threads...


regards,

DooMLoRD
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21st March 2013, 11:04 PM |#2  
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Basics
[ various bootmodes ]

newest Sony devices have three boot modes... these bootmodes can be reached when device is powered off...
  • Normal - just press power button and device starts booting
  • Flashmode - this mode is used to flash stock OFFICIAL firmware using flashtool, denoted by GREEN LED (this is similar to DOWNLOAD/ODIN mode of the Samsung devices)
  • Fastboot mode - this is a special mode, denoted by BLUE LED, used when we want to flash custom kernel, custom system images, for that we need to unlock bootloader, i will tell more details about this later...



[ various key combinations ]

this is most important part...

known key combinations so far:

while device is power OFF

Volume Up + USB cable connected to PC -> FASTBOOT MODE (BLUE LED will light up)

Volume Down + USB cable connected to PC -> FLASHMODE (GREEN LED will light up)


while device is power ON

There is a special button under a small back cover



Button Pressed and hold for 5 seconds -> resets the battery, its like removing the battery and putting it back in [device will vibrate once]

Button Pressed and hold for >10 seconds -> will power off hard, device will power down [device will vibrate thrice]





[ understanding About Phone ]






What it all means for u:

Kernel version:
Sony has released this device with 3.4.0 kernel. When custom kernels are released (they will surely be soon) this string will change.


Model number:
The Xperia ZL has model number as C650x and has 3 models C6502, C6503 & C6506. They differ in the spectrum of frequencies supported for 3G/WCDMA http://www.gsmarena.com/sony_xperia_zl-5203.php
C6502 - HSPA+
C6503 - LTE
C6506 - LTE

Details: (thanks to Spectre51 for compiling the following details!)
Code:
C6502  
HSPA+ only, full T-Mobile/AT&T support

UMTS HSPA+ 850 (Band V), 900 (Band VIII), 1700 (Band IV), 1900 (Band II), 2100 (Band I)
GSM GPRS/EDGE 850, 900, 1800, 1900

C6503
2g/EDGE only on T-Mobile, limited AT&T 3g support (due to no 1900 HSPA+ band), international LTE

UMTS HSPA+ 850 (Band V), 900 (Band VIII), 2100 (Band I) GSM GPRS/EDGE 850, 900, 1800, 1900
LTE Band I, Band III, Band V, Band VII, Band VIII and Band XX

C6506
Full T-Mobile and AT&T LTE support

UMTS HSPA+ 850 (Band V), 900 (Band VIII), 1700 (Band IV), 1900 (Band II), 2100 (Band I)
GSM GPRS/EDGE 850, 900, 1800, 1900
LTE Band I, Band II, Band IV, Band V and Band XVII

Android version: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Android_(operating_system)
Sony officially launched this phone with android version 4.1.2 (aka Jelly Bean).


Baseband version: [linked to firmware version]

(Crudely) this is a software interface which communicates with radio -> gsm/wcdma (2g/3g)/LTE, basically acts as a base for the main OS to ‘talk-to’ the hardware on the phone [I know this explanation isn’t precise even partly incorrect.. if someone can help me out I will update it]
This is similar to the "radio" image of the HTC devices.


Build number: [aka firmware version]

This is dependent on which firmware u flash on ur phone and is linked to the baseband version.
Btw some devs use this field to add their own ‘signature’ to the ROM so if u are using custom ROMs this field might be varying. Though the Baseband version for a particular firmware remains same.




what is firmware?

The firmware is a package containing all the official software for a particular build. It will contain system, kernel & baseband files. Generally the firmware is supplied (on forums) in form of FTF package (a container file ending with .ftf) which can be flashed via FlashTool.



what are the ways to update/repair firmware?

SEUS (Sony Ericsson Update Service) / PCC (PC Companion) / EMMA are all official ways to update to new or repair existing firmware on your device. SEUS/PCC are available to all users (consumers), EMMA is special and is only available to select individuals. This requires you to connect device to PC and then the software will check for updates and download them over the internet.

Updates can also be sent as FOTA (Firmware over-the-air)/OTA (over-the-air) updates where in you can download and install the updates without the need to connect to PC/any software.

FlashTool is an unofficial user-created tool, but the best way to flash official firmwares. Generally the firmware is supplied in form of FTF package (a container file ending with .ftf) which can be flashed via FlashTool. Thus FlashTool is the easiest way to do offline updates, just download the FTF file, it keep on PC and flash ur device when ever you want to.
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FlashTool
Flashtool is one of the MOST IMPORTANT piece of software for ur phone, it is an unofficial, but the best way to flash official firmwares on both locked and unlocked bootloader devices. Generally the firmware is supplied in form of FTF package (a container file ending with .ftf) which can be flashed via FlashTool. Thus FlashTool is the easiest way to do offline updates, just download the FTF and keep on PC and flash ur device when ever you want to. One can also flash select partitions using FlashTool, say you want to flash baseband(radio) from newer/older firmware but want to keep the main system the same u can do that using newest FlashTool! FlashTool also supports fastboot modes! so if you are not very comfortable with command line then u can use the FastBoot Toolbox inbuilt into FlashTool to fastboot the kernels!

FlashTool can be used to flash both locked and unlocked bootloaders devices.

For all flashtool informations (download links, release notes, FAQ) go to the Flashtool Homepage


Flashtool specifically for Xperia Z/ZL released!


Flashtool is on github : FlashTool GitHub repo




[FLASHTOOL GUIDE] HOW TO for n00bies (excellent guide for new users, HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!! The info for Rooting, Recovery & Bootloader UNlock in that thread is for older Xperia devices...)

i will try n get more links for FlashTool and post it here




Sony also provides an official FlashTool but it can be used only with unlocked bootloader devices
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Bootloader Unlocking & Relocking
[Tutorial] Xperia Z & ZL Bootloader Unlocking


Latest FlashTool 0.9.10.2beta4 onwards can correctly unlock (official way) and relock device... i recommend using the latest FlashTool version to unlock & relock device...


all question regarding bootloader unlocking, relocking should be posted in relevant threads
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Recovery
if you are not familiar with custom Android recoveries i suggest that u read this:
http://www.addictivetips.com/mobile/...omplete-guide/


FOR LOCKED BOOTLOADERS:

The recovery for locked bootloaders becomes a part of the ROM...

[Recovery] CWM (LOCKED Bootloaders)




FOR UNLOCKED BOOTLOADERS:

Currently Recovery available for this device comes as a part of kernel (stock or custom kernel)


Recoveries on stock kernel:

[Recovery] CWM (UNLOCKED Bootloaders)



kindly post queries related to specific recovery at the corresponding thead
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21st March 2013, 11:09 PM |#7  
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Flashing Custom Kernel
CUSTOM KERNELS ARE SPECIFIC TO ROMs...

you cant use stock kernel on CM ROM and you cant use CM kernel on stock ROM....


CUSTOM KERNELS CAN BE FLASHED ONLY ON DEVICES WITH UNLOCKED BOOTLOADERS



there are two ways to flash custom kernel

first download the kernel file... if it is a boot.img then use Method 1 (fastboot mode) or if its a update.zip file then use Method 2 (recovery)



Method 1 - fastboot mode

if you get kernel in boot.img format then do the following
  1. reboot device into fastboot mode
  2. then flash the kernel using following command:
    Code:
    fastboot flash boot boot.img
  3. then reboot from fastboot
    Code:
    fastboot reboot
  4. thats it now device should start booting that kernel


Method 2 - recovery

if you already have recovery working on your device then do the following
  1. save the update.zip on SDCARD
  2. reboot into recovery
  3. flash the update.zip which contains the kernel
  4. reboot into system
  5. thats it now device should start booting that kernel
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Flashing Custom ROMs
if u get custom ROM in update.zip format then do the following:
  1. first download the ROM file and save it on SDCARD
  2. reboot into recovery
  3. flash the update.zip which contains the ROM
  4. reboot into system
  5. thats it now device should start booting that ROM

Most custom ROMs are provided as update.zip. Its a technical term, basically its a special signed ZIP file which can be flashed via custom recovery.
  1. Download the ZIP file and save it on ur PC
  2. now connect ur device and save the ROMs ZIP file on the SDCARD
  3. disconnect the device (after copying is over)
  4. reboot into recovery
  5. go to install ZIP from sdcard menu and navigate to the folder where you saved the ZIP file
  6. now select it
  7. recovery will start flashing the ROM
  8. after flashing is over just reboot device and you will be on the custom ROM


Tips:

some CUSTOM roms require specific kernels (like CM9) in that case FIRST flash the corresponding kernel and then follow the instuctions posted above

sometimes the ROM requires cleaning /data & /cache partitions. you can wipe these before flashing the ROM! [WARNING YOU WILL LOSE UR DATA BY DOING THIS!]
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22nd March 2013, 10:59 AM |#9  
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AW: [Xperia ZL][INFO][REF] All the info you need before you begin
Hey Doomlord!

Thank you for that awesome guide!

I'm coming from LG O2x, on that device kernel often is included in ROMs, if you want to flash another one it can easily be flashed via cwm.

Why isn't kernel included in sony-roms?
23rd March 2013, 06:20 AM |#10  
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Wish this guide was written when I got my ZL; would have made life MUCH easier

Can you put up a guide about how to get fastboot and adb working? Pretty please!!

I tried installing Android SDK, Flastools etc, but still my computer shows Fastboot as an unrecognized device when I connect my ZL to it in fastboot mode
23rd March 2013, 07:36 AM |#11  
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@doomlord..would u make custom kernel for zl in future?
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