Defy - A 2016 Experience

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Cobalt765

Member
Jul 17, 2016
29
0
Since this Defy Forum is getting a bit old, I thought I'd give my recent experience with my defy. This is quite a lengthy thread but there is so much information on this forum that it becomes confusing so thought I'd share my experience so you can cut through a lot of the information. I've had my defy for over 5 years with the stock froyo 2.2.2 and its served me well until recently its beginning to bug me with how laggy it is. Also I wasn't sure if the battery was running out a faster than it used to.

The first thing I thought I'd do is do a factory reset which I successfully did however when I went to put back on some of the apps that I had before such as Runkeeper, Telstra 24/7 and RSA Security token, none of them were compatible with my old phone. I was able to find old versions of some of the apps but not Telstra 24/7 which I use to recharge. At this point I decided on installing a custom rom which I'd done before on other devices. If it didn't work out then phones with the same specs were selling for $29 at a local supermarket so no real damage if I get it wrong.

The first thing was to root the phone which I found something called Superoneclick. I had to turn off my antivirus on my PC use it as there are some files that appear corrupt but doing some searching gave me confidence it was just an overzealous AVG and appeared safe.

Once this was done it was a matter of picking a Rom which I went for CM11 Kit Kat it seemed ok but not heaps better. The thing was I'd now picked up a real battery problem. I tried various Calibration apps to no avail. My battery was experiencing quite large drops of 20% ie it would go from 89% to 50% and then later from about 35% to 20%. It would then stay on 1% for quite some time.

Thinking this was due to the ROM, I tried several ROMs but they all had the same problem. Eventually i found a thread on the battery problem and although I didn't change all the permissions as advised I did so some of the other stuff to no avail.

At this stage I thought my main issue was now the battery and thought I'd read someone that perhaps a stock based rom might sort it out. I installed MS4Ginger which was really smooth however was still a bit laggy at times. Also I noticed that it wasn't able to support various apps being Android 2.3. After a bit more reading, my minimum requirement was Jellybean 4.1 and I'd read that the more recent the ROM the more RAM intensive so I decided to try ROMs with my minimum requirement ie 4.1

I'm not a fan particularly the way the Cyanogen type rom look so was looking for something with a different look and feel. The main ones were:-
Miui based ones (Wiui, Jiui) which I quite liked however lag was still there and the occasional sudden reboot. Battery problem still there.
Xperia ROM which was also nice but also did a sudden reboot then stuck in a bootloop.
There was still lag which I couldn't really understand.
Last Rom I tried was Motor Gun Ice 4.1, it still had the Cyanogen look about it but seemed to run pretty smooth. One thing I had to do was change the Baseband to Telstra in the 'Advanced' section of settings. This made the phone and internet connection work faster.
At this point I ordered a new battery. While I was waiting for that to arrive I read that Facebook app is really bad at taking up RAM. In found another app called Facebook lite and uninstalled the standard Facebook app. All of a sudden Lag Fixed.
This got me searching other 'Lite' apps. Now for web browsing i use Opera Mini and the launcher I now use is Holo Launcher. I also tried to find a replacement for Messenger but no luck and its not been an issue.

So now my phone is running better than ever. Web searching is fast and apps are running well, not that I use my phone for much more than a phone.
A few days later my new battery arrived and comparing to the old one, it appeared that the old one had a slight bulge. I charged the new one right up, discharged and charged again and now no more battery drops.

One last tweak I wanted was to try change the status bar icons. I found Xposed Installer and was able to change the icon colours to white but not the icon pictures. Good enough for me.

So now I'm very happy with my 5 year old defy, took a bit of trial and error but got there in the end. So in a nutshell: -
- If your battery is dropping upon installation of a Rom, likely need a new battery.
- If you phone is lagging, look what is taking all the Ram and look for a lite option or uninstall. Facebook is bad for that.

Note that there are many old links to roms and other mods so finding things that work was at times a challenge but here's the process that I found worked for me and works if bricked as well, which I did a couple of times.

If Bricked or to get back to stock
Download RSD Lite
Install drivers for the phone
Download an SBF for your region, I used Telstra with 2.2.2

To install custom rom
Install and use Superoneclick to root (may need to turn off antivirus)
Install 2ndinit.apk then run it. May need to reboot phone first
Download the Rom and Gapps and put on SD card of phone
Get into custom recovery
Wipe Data and Cache
Install Rom and Gapps
Wipe Cache and Dalvik Cache (for all but one Rom, I forget which one, read instructions)
Reboot and enjoy.
 

Cobalt765

Member
Jul 17, 2016
29
0
That was one of the few that worked. I accessed from the defy wiki page then I think downloaded from the XDA thread.

Yep, there some links in the last post of the MG ROM thread. Post #222.
 
Last edited:

CodeVanya

Senior Member
Nov 23, 2012
119
13
Winterfell
Good to hear that someone else still have this cute little thing. I have too, as my second device. The ROMs I tried on this device! Man, it's countless. I had dropped it on all the different terrains you can think of, yet it's still fully healthy (save the jack and usb covers - they are loose now) without a single crack. I didn't have any covers or screen guards. It stayed true to its name. I will never regret spending money to buy this, it is one of Moto's legendary devices. I think I'm drunk, but it feels good to say all this. I'll keep this device forever with me - a product from a time when smartphones weren't made in an oven, but carefully and delicately cooked up.
 

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wmiki75

Senior Member
Oct 27, 2011
276
27
Digitizer gone mad me too, the upper line is not working, but it is a good phone, for kids.
Which seller you order the battery?
Can you suggest ROMs to watch videos on Kodi, or Youtube?

I liked this phone, this is the best size phone, what i ever had.
Why the companys not make phone like this size, one hand controlled, with 2GB/32GB, and quad cpu??
Now i have Samsung S4 mini, and it is big for me :(
 
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Cobalt765

Member
Jul 17, 2016
29
0
Battery was off eBay, can't remember seller but was Australian selling genuine batteries.

Just try all the roms possible, that's part of the fun :)

Sent from my SM-T210 using Tapatalk
 

tronjojo

Senior Member
Dec 23, 2011
174
7
I've been wanting to play around w/ my old defy again. This thread may have got the ball rolling. What do you all use as your daily driver? I've got a xperia z3 compact, but want a new phone. unfortunately, I think my best bet is to just get another z3 compact cheap and save it as a backup?
 

Cobalt765

Member
Jul 17, 2016
29
0
Hi tronjojo, I was still using my Defy until recently I found an old 4 year old Samsung Galaxy SII of my wife's. The problem for her was that it was switching off all the time so she got an S5. I've now flashed various roms and fixed the random reboot issue. The only thing I wish it has is the notification LED.

Sent from my SM-T210 using Tapatalk
 

rootdefyxt320

Senior Member
Oct 4, 2012
488
440
Sydney, NSW
I bougnt a Defy + battery on my Defy Red Lens, made my own BL7 fixed SBF and nandroid with 720p patch which made it a Defy Plus, then I rooted it and repartitioned to install CM11 and has made it very usable in 2016.
 

YetAnotherForumUser

Senior Member
Oct 31, 2008
470
1,665
Make that Defy in 2018

I'm still using a Defy, since 2011. The battery still lasts longer than that in my wife's new Sony Experia X Compact, about as long as in my daughter's Xiaomi Redmi 4X. I will probably have to move to another device somewhere in 2018 as one of the more important apps - the Swedish BankID app - will cease support for Android 4.4 but that is more or less the only reason. For the rest the thing still does what it did 7 years ago so were it not for this I'd keep on using it until it gave up from sheer old age or electron migration or whatnot.
 
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ybea

Member
Jul 4, 2020
5
0
Make that Defy in 2020

I've recently tried if my Defy+ could learn some new tricks and I thought I'd share my findings.

CM11 build
I tried to build CM11 from Quarx repository, but it seems that many of its dependencies no longer exist and whole project is no longer buildable.

3.0 kernel
This one builds fine, however I was unable to boot it - there's one frame or random pixels followed by a reboot. I checked many branches and put the output into most probable directories. I wish there were any instructions as to what actually do with a built kernel. TWRP zips found here didn't work either. Anyone?

SD card size
Defy supposedly shouldn't work with SD cards larger than 32GB. But did anyone try bigger cards? My Defy mounts 256GB cards without any problems.

Debian on chroot
I set up a Debian environment with debootstrap. Unfortunately outdated kernel puts a limit on a Debian version that could be run. For 2.6.32.9 it is Debian Jessie.

With XServer XSDL it is possible to run a full graphical environment.
HEPMtQl.jpg


2.6.32.9 kernel modules
I also succeeded with building kernel modules for the old kernel. These are mostly filesystem modules and cryptographic ciphers. Now I could use whole Debian Jessie repository (49GB) locally from a squashfs filesystem.

Another nice feature is encryption with dm-crypt/LUKS.

I uploaded modules that insmod loads without any error.

CA certificates
These should be updated with system updates, but we won't have new CM/Lineage/stock releases anymore, so I did it by hand. If you want to try it for yourself, remount /system as writable, remove contents of /system/etc/security/cacerts/ (they could be expired) and copy certificates from the archive. Certificates are same as Debian's ca-certificates version 20200601.

Mirror
I also uploaded tools and images - self contained with instructions to go back and forth between stock and CM11, because many links here are spread across many threads or simply dead. Kernel modules and certificates are for CM11. I didn't try them with anything else.

I can't post a link to these files, because this is my first post. Search for ybea in Motorola Defy section at AndroidFileHost.
 

MLX

Senior Member
Mar 12, 2016
147
28
18
Buenos Aires
Another 2020 Defy warrior

3.0 kernel
This one builds fine, however I was unable to boot it - there's one frame or random pixels followed by a reboot. I checked many branches and put the output into most probable directories. I wish there were any instructions as to what actually do with a built kernel. TWRP zips found here didn't work either. Anyone?
Hello! Did you check on /bootstrap/bootstrap/binary and other folders? There seem to be a zImage (and the recovery one).
I tried to flash and boot the ROM at http://blechdose-live.de/download/kernel/3.0.x/:
Tried flashing from TWRP 2.8: failed.
Extracted the update-binary, copied it to /tmp and executed it from ADB shell (/tmp/update-binary 3 0 /sdcard/cm11-blah.zip) and flashed with some things, mostly partition related errors. After rebooting, it stays on black screen (turned on), ADB available but unauthorised (just look on Github how to enable ADB from recovery to solve that) and that's all; the ROM doesn't work. I'll try debugging this to check if I can do something.
CM11 build
I tried to build CM11 from Quarx repository, but it seems that many of its dependencies no longer exist and whole project is no longer buildable.
What a sad thing, this year even quarx2k.ru became offline...
 
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ybea

Member
Jul 4, 2020
5
0
Hello! Did you check on /bootstrap/bootstrap/binary and other folders?
Files extracted from 20131213 version did not work for me. I tried swapping /bootstrap/ (and /system/bootstrap/) zImages, binaries, edited cmdline, anything I could think of. Always with the same outcome - black screen.

Flashing in TWRP (v2.6.3.0) initially also failed. Fix_TWRP_and_boot_kernel3.0_v2.zip (on AndroidFileHost) makes it succeed. It is 3.0.8 kernel. It froze during the boot, restarted and finished eventually.
 
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MLX

Senior Member
Mar 12, 2016
147
28
18
Buenos Aires
Files extracted from 20131213 version did not work for me. I tried swapping /bootstrap/ (and /system/bootstrap/) zImages, binaries, edited cmdline, anything I could think of. Always with the same outcome - black screen.

Yeah, it did the same for me. Did you read the logcat while device was in that screen? I saw something crashing there (can't remember), anyway that's not so useful if you need a whole new ROM just for the new kernel version. Maybe modules are causing problems?

Pretty offtopic, did you try the OTG function? I can't get it to work, most people say it should work out of the box but I wasn't able to use my USB mouse. Didn't check dmesg, though.
 

ybea

Member
Jul 4, 2020
5
0
Always with the same outcome - black screen.
Did you read the logcat while device was in that screen?
How could I? Android isn't running yet. It it Linux that either fails to load or silently panics. That is my understanding anyway.

The right thing to do would be to check how cm11 build compiles the kernel and the 2nd-init (or whatever it is), but I am not knowledgeable enough, nor keen enough to do that.

OTG is buggy, but usable. If it doesn't work, unplug and plug it again. It is quite normal for my defy to recognize a device on a second or third attempt. No problems with mice, keyboards, flash drives, usb hubs. On the picture in the previous post you can see it with a wireless keyboard+touchpad. If I remember correctly, the driver is set to output 200mAh max. Maybe you mouse draws more (rather unlikely for a mouse). It works for me with cm11-20161124. Also, I think the port outputs 5V even after a device is disconnected, so it unnecessary drains power, but I am not so sure about it.

dmesg should definitely log any new device. Even if android stays quiet. If there's silence, perhaps your cable may of wrong type. USB A to USB micro varies with resistancy across two pins. I don't remember the details. If it is OTG cable, then it should work.

Or simply you have dirty socket/plug pins.
 

MLX

Senior Member
Mar 12, 2016
147
28
18
Buenos Aires
How could I? Android isn't running yet. It it Linux that either fails to load or silently panics. That is my understanding anyway.
AFAIK 2ndInit keeps adbd running so you can take a logcat/dmesg from there, also faced the same issue while flashing CM10.2 OTG kernel on CM11 (what was I thinking?) and from there was able to see that something was crashing.
The right thing to do would be to check how cm11 build compiles the kernel and the 2nd-init (or whatever it is), but I am not knowledgeable enough, nor keen enough to do that.
Nah, I think just taking some time to understand the 2ndInit boot process is enough, anyway when I get some free time I'll check about this all.
About OTG things, now will install CM11 3.0 kernel and see how it works (I expect some unstability) but don't really need to use the Defy, it's just there for experiments :p
Anyway, my main goal now is to install Debian natively (on /data partition because of the size) and get X running. As you said, the 2.6.32 kernel puts the limit at Jessie, but that's not a problem as it's still mantained IIRC. I'm using a prebuilt rootfs but it keeps throwing Segmentation Fault whenever I try to chroot there, don't know what happens with this.
I'm doing the same on other 2 phones (Galaxy Y and Pocket Plus, ARMv6 and v7 respectively) but one doesn't boot my compiled kernels (?) and the other complains about the buggy framebuffer driver (thanks Samsung/Broadcom). I went pretty offtopic...
PD: tried to flash some JB Ice Gun Edition v2.02 from CWM and after reboot the phone just is stuck on boot splash, but WIUI runs fine. Maybe the JB IGE BootMenu is broken or something like that.
 

ybea

Member
Jul 4, 2020
5
0
About OTG things, now will install CM11 3.0 kernel and see how it works (I expect some unstability)

I didn't have any luck with flashing zips with only the kernel. This 20131213 rom is the only way i know of. But frankly, there's more instability then stability in it. For example only home and power buttons work. OTG also non functional.

As you said, the 2.6.32 kernel puts the limit at Jessie, but that's not a problem as it's still mantained IIRC. I'm using a prebuilt rootfs but it keeps throwing Segmentation Fault whenever I try to chroot there, don't know what happens with this.

Jessie is no longer maintained. It stopped being oldstable about a month ago. AFAIK it changes little - apt continues to work; unless your applications have dependencies to newer libc, they should at least compile.

I build Debian root with debootstrap. On host machine:
Code:
 debootstrap --arch armhf --foreign stable /debian http://http.debian.net/debian

Then mounting on Defy:
Code:
# Mount an sd card partition
mount -o remount,rw /
mkdir -p /debian
mount -o remount,ro /
mount -t ext3 -o noatime,suid,exec /dev/block/mmcblk0p2 /debian

mkdir -p /dev/shm
mount -t tmpfs -o rw,nosuid,nodev,noexec none /dev/shm

mount -t proc  proc         /debian/proc
mount -t sysfs sysfs        /debian/sys
mount -o bind  /dev         /debian/dev

mount -o bind  /dev/pts     /debian/dev/pts
mount -o bind  /dev/socket  /debian/dev/socket
mount -o bind  /dev/shm     /debian/dev/shm

Then debootstrap second stage:
Code:
LD_PRELOAD= TMPDIR= PATH=/usr/local/sbin:/usr/local/bin:/usr/sbin:/usr/bin:/sbin:/bin HOME=/root SHELL=/bin/bash /system/bin/chroot /debian /debootstrap/debootstrap --second-stage

Done. To login:
Code:
 chroot /debian /bin/su -

Don't chroot into bash. It will leak Android's shell environment into Debian's.

Android has its own groups and users. To make Debian adapt:
Code:
 dpkg -i android-permissions_0.2_all.deb

Edit /etc/group, so that it contains:
Code:
inet:x:3003:root,_apt
net_raw:x:3004:root

Edit /etc/passwd/:
Code:
-_apt:x:104:65534::/nonexistent:/bin/false
+_apt:x:0:65534::/nonexistent:/bin/false

Edit /etc/adduser.conf:
Code:
-LAST_SYSTEM_UID=999
+LAST_SYSTEM_UID=99900

-LAST_SYSTEM_GID=999
+LAST_SYSTEM_GID=99900

-FIRST_UID=5000
+FIRST_UID=500000

-LAST_UID=8999
+LAST_UID=899900

-FIRST_GID=5000
+FIRST_GID=500000

-LAST_GID=8999
+LAST_GID=899900

Then:
Code:
apt-get update
apt-get install dialog
apt-get install locales
dpkg-reconfigure locales
apt-get install less man

If apt can't resolve hostnames select a nameserver in /etc/resolv.conf.

This how I setup Debian on chroot. Some of these steps may be unnecessary - they got accumuated over the years and I don't fully remember reasoning behind them. Debian inside /data/ should work too. I can imagine there would be problems with permissions on fat32 /sdcard, but /data/ is ext3.
 

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  • 3
    Good to hear that someone else still have this cute little thing. I have too, as my second device. The ROMs I tried on this device! Man, it's countless. I had dropped it on all the different terrains you can think of, yet it's still fully healthy (save the jack and usb covers - they are loose now) without a single crack. I didn't have any covers or screen guards. It stayed true to its name. I will never regret spending money to buy this, it is one of Moto's legendary devices. I think I'm drunk, but it feels good to say all this. I'll keep this device forever with me - a product from a time when smartphones weren't made in an oven, but carefully and delicately cooked up.
    1
    Good someone still use defy. I give up after digitizer gone mad. Time run over this device... Uuuh, just if it had 1 gb ram and dual core...
    1
    Make that Defy in 2018

    I'm still using a Defy, since 2011. The battery still lasts longer than that in my wife's new Sony Experia X Compact, about as long as in my daughter's Xiaomi Redmi 4X. I will probably have to move to another device somewhere in 2018 as one of the more important apps - the Swedish BankID app - will cease support for Android 4.4 but that is more or less the only reason. For the rest the thing still does what it did 7 years ago so were it not for this I'd keep on using it until it gave up from sheer old age or electron migration or whatnot.
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