Dead android phone data recovery - What are my options?

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antwoord

Member
Aug 16, 2022
6
1
Hi everyone,

This is the setup:

Phone: Samsung S4 mini (GT-i9195)
OS: Lineage OS (can't remember the version, but I guess 17.1 or 18.1)
Recovery: TWRP (can't remember which version)

After I had a phone call I put the phone on the table. Some minutes later when I came back the app switcher and back button backlight was on, but there was no reaction when I touched the screen or any other buttons. Removing and returning battery had no impact, as well as using the charger.
I noticed when I connected it to my Windows PC via USB cable, I hear the windows sound for connecting and some seconds later the sound for disconecting.
When pressing the phones power button for 10 seconds while connected to pc, I hear sound for disconnecting and a moment later the sound for connecting. In any case I can't see the device on my PC as it would normally be the case.
Before, when the phone was working I had a working setup for scrcpy, with ADB debugging activated, but this doesn't seem to work as well, so my noobish guess is that the phone does not load Lineage OS at all.

So here I am at the end of my knowledge and I want to ask here, what are my option in order to recover my data (all on phones memory, not SD card)?

Thanks so much for any help!
 

blackhawk

Senior Member
Jun 23, 2020
10,403
4,137
Samsung Galaxy Note 10+
Sounds like a hardware failure, if so if you can correct the problem... maybe a connector making poor contact. If it's the mobo you're boned.
Is the battery known good?

Always use the SD card as a data drive; all critical data goes there. Then redundantly backup the SD card to at least two hdds that are physically and electronically isolated from each other and the PC. Otherwise this can happen again.
 
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antwoord

Member
Aug 16, 2022
6
1
Thank you very much @blackhawk for your answer and the attempt to help!

Is the battery known good?
Yes, battery is OK


If it's the mobo you're boned.

really, there is no way to get data from the internal chip?

wouldn't it maybe be possible to unsolder the chip and put it in a working s4 mini?


Always use the SD card as a data drive; all critical data goes there. Then redundantly backup the SD card to at least two hdds that are physically and electronically isolated from each other and the PC. Otherwise this can happen again.
Yes, you're absolutely right. For long time I want to have a setup exactly as you have described. I started with it, but unfortunatley not everything was set to be synced with my NAS. Most of the stuff is on external SD, but some is not. With some apps you even have the issue that can't use external SD and which force you to use the onboard memory, like for example Signal does.
 
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blackhawk

Senior Member
Jun 23, 2020
10,403
4,137
Samsung Galaxy Note 10+
The chipset is likely a BGA form factor, all the solder pads are underneath it. You need use a hot air station and have the skillset to use it.
It would then need to be reflowed onto the donor board. Some overseas houses might do it relatively cheaply. Not a common practice except by data recovery $pecialists.

The SD card should contain no running apps as it's bandwidth is limited. Apps that allow backup there like ColorNote can be auto backed up though.
 
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antwoord

Member
Aug 16, 2022
6
1
Step one: When a crippled device makes a "bong" when connected to a PC, find out what it is.
Is it the bootloader, charger, fastboot, ADB, MTP or who knows what?
I find usblog.exe helpful. See: http://www.temblast.com/windows.htm

If you're on Linux, just do lsusb -v when it bongs.

Thank you @Renate , good tip!
When phone without battery gets connected to PC, this is what usblog shows:

1660689475675.png


But what does it tell me now? How exactly can I find out in what state my phone currently is?
Next I wil try to get some linux running and see what lsusb -v shows me.
 

antwoord

Member
Aug 16, 2022
6
1
The chipset is likely a BGA form factor, all the solder pads are underneath it. You need use a hot air station and have the skillset to use it.
It would then need to be reflowed onto the donor board. Some overseas houses might do it relatively cheaply. Not a common practice except by data recovery $pecialists.

Looks to me like an acceptable solution if I can't get it any other way and really want to get the data.
 

Renate

Recognized Contributor / Inactive Recognized Dev
Feb 3, 2012
3,583
1,592
Boston
www.temblast.com
Nexus 7 (2013)
Moto E5
Oh, this is an older device. You may have a chance. Do you think that /data is encrypted?

Right now you have the silly VCOM driver installed. I'm prejudiced against them. You'll still be able to reinstall it if this doesn't work.
Get Zadig https://zadig.akeo.ie/ and install the WinUsb driver on 05c6/9008
Get edl.exe from my sig.
Code:
C:\>edl.exe /lhello
Copy the output (minus the serial number if you care) and paste it here.
If it gives you can't read/can't write, do a LONG power press until it bongs and try again.
That slash-ell-hello is just something to get it moving. Next you'll use slash-ell-loader-with-a-serious-name.
 
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antwoord

Member
Aug 16, 2022
6
1
Thanks again for your guidance @Renate !

I deinstalled the COM driver, installed WinUsb driver and run edl.exe as you have explained. Unfortunately it seems I always get:

Found EDL 9008 Could not read device
even if I do the LOOong power press until bong-move.

What does this mean and what options do I have left?
 

antwoord

Member
Aug 16, 2022
6
1
Thanks for the new version, but the output is unfortunatley not much different to before:

Code:
Found EDL 9008
Resetting Sahara
Could not read device

Eventually worth mentioning: I have a second Samsung S4 mini (with broken display). If I connect it to my PC, I get the connecting-bang, if I then run edl with your parameter the output is always:

Code:
Could not find EDL device
 

Renate

Recognized Contributor / Inactive Recognized Dev
Feb 3, 2012
3,583
1,592
Boston
www.temblast.com
Nexus 7 (2013)
Moto E5
I think that this is so old it's using a different protocol.
Maybe you should check out https://github.com/bkerler/edl which is the "standard" EDL client.
(I was so frustrated with this Python version that I wrote my own native Windows version, YMMV.)

On your 2nd device it's probably in fastboot mode or something or even ADB.
That's why you should run usblog.exe on it.
A broken screen is not a big deal, you can view the screen even without installing any software.
Try adbgrab.exe It's much slower than scrcopy or something, but it works on (most) anything.
 

Renate

Recognized Contributor / Inactive Recognized Dev
Feb 3, 2012
3,583
1,592
Boston
www.temblast.com
Nexus 7 (2013)
Moto E5
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  • 2
    Step one: When a crippled device makes a "bong" when connected to a PC, find out what it is.
    Is it the bootloader, charger, fastboot, ADB, MTP or who knows what?
    I find usblog.exe helpful. See: http://www.temblast.com/windows.htm

    If you're on Linux, just do lsusb -v when it bongs.
    1
    Sounds like a hardware failure, if so if you can correct the problem... maybe a connector making poor contact. If it's the mobo you're boned.
    Is the battery known good?

    Always use the SD card as a data drive; all critical data goes there. Then redundantly backup the SD card to at least two hdds that are physically and electronically isolated from each other and the PC. Otherwise this can happen again.
    1
    Thank you very much @blackhawk for your answer and the attempt to help!

    Is the battery known good?
    Yes, battery is OK


    If it's the mobo you're boned.

    really, there is no way to get data from the internal chip?

    wouldn't it maybe be possible to unsolder the chip and put it in a working s4 mini?


    Always use the SD card as a data drive; all critical data goes there. Then redundantly backup the SD card to at least two hdds that are physically and electronically isolated from each other and the PC. Otherwise this can happen again.
    Yes, you're absolutely right. For long time I want to have a setup exactly as you have described. I started with it, but unfortunatley not everything was set to be synced with my NAS. Most of the stuff is on external SD, but some is not. With some apps you even have the issue that can't use external SD and which force you to use the onboard memory, like for example Signal does.
    1
    The chipset is likely a BGA form factor, all the solder pads are underneath it. You need use a hot air station and have the skillset to use it.
    It would then need to be reflowed onto the donor board. Some overseas houses might do it relatively cheaply. Not a common practice except by data recovery $pecialists.

    The SD card should contain no running apps as it's bandwidth is limited. Apps that allow backup there like ColorNote can be auto backed up though.
    1
    Oh, this is an older device. You may have a chance. Do you think that /data is encrypted?

    Right now you have the silly VCOM driver installed. I'm prejudiced against them. You'll still be able to reinstall it if this doesn't work.
    Get Zadig https://zadig.akeo.ie/ and install the WinUsb driver on 05c6/9008
    Get edl.exe from my sig.
    Code:
    C:\>edl.exe /lhello
    Copy the output (minus the serial number if you care) and paste it here.
    If it gives you can't read/can't write, do a LONG power press until it bongs and try again.
    That slash-ell-hello is just something to get it moving. Next you'll use slash-ell-loader-with-a-serious-name.