[GUIDE] Flashing with Heimdall

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daenney

Senior Member
Oct 11, 2009
65
78
Enschede
Heimdall is an alternative, cross-platform tool to flash firmwares for the Galaxy S series of devices, including the Tab.

Heimdall
Some of you might not have heard but a brilliant guy one day woke up and thought 'damn it Odin' and started working on Heimdall. The guy reverse-engineered the protocol to flash our Galaxy's and turned up a piece of software called Heimdall that can do exactly the same as Odin.

This tool is open-source and runs on Qt for its GUI and libusb to communicate over USB making this tool completely cross-platform. This basically means flashing your Galaxy is not just limited to Windows anymore.

This guide will walk you through the steps to work with Heimdall. I'm a Mac user so the screenshots you'll see will be Mac-y. However, since the app and GUI are cross-platform the same apply for both Windows and Linux.

Disclaimer:

Flashing your device through anything but Kies can be a dangerous business and can brick your Galaxy S.
That said, Samsung seems to have engineered the Galaxy S series in a way that makes it relatively difficult to brick even if you **** up.

Proceed with caution and at your own discretion, both the developers of Heimdall and I can not be held accountable for the possible damage you do to your device by following this guide or using Heimdall.


Flashing with Heimdal
Flashing with Heimdall is a little bit different than with Odin. With Odin you usually select a PIT, if necessary, add the PDA.tar.md5, Modem.tar.md5 and CSC.tar.md5 to the locations, put the phone in download mode and hit go.

Heimdall takes a different approach. In the Heimdall GUI you need to select all components you want to flash. This means extracting the TAR-archives and pointing Heimdall to their respective files. This allow relative fine-grained control over what you flash and doesn't depend on files being named correctly.

In order to install Heimdall head over to the guy's website and download and install Heimdall.

Do yourself a favor, even if you're on Linux or Mac, just reboot after the install. On OS X the installation includes a kernel extension and though this can usually be reloaded by logging out and back in again the reboot is safer and can't hurt.

Mac OS X specific
For Mac OS X the 1.1.0 version of Heimdall includes some nuked Qt binaries which means the GUI won't start. This can be fixed by afterwards installing Qt from here.

The above should not apply to the latest Heimdall release anymore according to the release notes. If however you still get errors about Heimdall failed to start, just install the Qt binaries linked above anyway, should take care of the error.

There is a second problem unfortunately on OS X. Due to a bug in older versions of the bootloader the device doesn't register correctly in download mode. If you then try to flash without having fixed the bootloader you'll nuke the Galaxy S and end up at a "black screen of death". Trust me, I tried, it broke and it scared the crap out of me.

Don't worry, this isn't the dreadful black screen of death meaning your device is busted, it just means your firmware is. You can just put it into download mode again and flash another firmware over it with Odin (Windows)

In order to avoid this we need to fix the bootloader first. Everyone who has installed the official Froyo update through Kies will already have a fixed bootloader and so you can ignore the next bit. If however you hocus-pocused around with Kies / Odin to flash Froyo like I did you probably don't have the updated bootloader.

Unfortunately we're going to need Windows for this and Kies so either get a VM ready, bootcamp into Windows or find a friend who'll lend you his pc for an hour.

See the second post, "Fixing the bootloader" for instructions.

Linux specific

As far as I'm aware there are no Linux specific problems, not even the bootloader issue mentioned above for OS X. However, it might be wise to follow the instructions anyway since an updated bootloader can't hurt.

Windows specific

As far as I'm aware there are no Windows specific problems, not even the bootloader issue mentioned above for OS X. However, it might be wise to follow the instructions anyway since an updated bootloader can't hurt.

Now, time to get busy.

I'm going to assume that you have downloaded a firmware, for example from samfirmware, and have extracted the .RAR and the .TAR inside and now have a folder with at least the following:
  • factoryfs.rfs (PDA > FactoryFS)
  • param.lfs (PDA > Param.lfs)
  • zImage (PDA > Kernel (zImage))

Additionally you might have:
  • cache.rfs (CSC > Cache)
  • modem.bin (Other > Modem)

Be aware, there are other configurations possible. For example, when you're rooting by flashing a rooted kernel there will probably only be a zImage.

Start Heimdall or Heimdall-frontend, you should get a screen similar to this:
attachment.php


Now, unless explicitly stated that you need a .PIT to flash this firmware you can leave this field blank. If you load a PIT, be sure to see if you need to repartition. The general rule is that you won't, unless you flashed with a firmware that had a different PIT than what samfirmware is indicating you need.

After that, start hitting the browse button for the components you want to flash with Heimdall and add them. Your screen will probably look something like this:
attachment.php


Now, it's time to put your phone in download mode. Power off the phone and wait for it to completely have shut down and unplug it from USB / charger. Hold down the Home and Volume Down buttons and then press Power. Keep holding those three buttons until you get into download mode (you'll know when you see it).

If you can't get into download mode / nothing seems to happen, you probably have a Galaxy with the broken 3-button combo problem, see here for a fix:
http://forum.xda-developers.com/showthread.php?t=785201

Now, connect the phone over USB with your computer. If you're on on Mac and Linux you can proceed immediately. If you're on Windows you'll probably need to wait for Windows to install a driver or two.

Now hit the Start button and watch it go!

If all goes well you'll see the progress bar on both Heimdall and in your phone filling up (might take a while for one to appear on the Galaxy S). Once it's done it'll probably say everything went OK and the Galaxy will reboot into recovery. Let it do it's thing, it will reboot again and begin booting the new firmware.

After having installed a new firmware the first boot might take a while. You'll just seem to be stuck at the glowing S, just let it run it will boot eventually.

If however Heimdall says "Failed" your phone will (probably) reboot or when you try to reboot you'll get stuck at the "black screen of death":

Samsung_Galaxy_S_Black_Screen_of_Death.jpg


This isn't a "my device is bricked" screen, just that you ****ed up the firmware. Just follow the instructions again, put it in download mode and try again.


If, after having seen the above screen, you can't get your phone into download mode, then you're toast.
 
Last edited:

daenney

Senior Member
Oct 11, 2009
65
78
Enschede
Fixing the bootloader

Fixing the bootloader

In order to fix the bootloader we need to flash some firmware. There's always the risk of data loss so make a backup first!

First we need Kies available on Windows, so grab it and install it. See the XDA wiki about this.

Once Kies is done installing don't launch Kies or exit it first, then connect your Galaxy S. Let Windows purr for a while as it gets busy installing your device drivers. Once it says it's done, you can start Kies.

Now, it's time to get the Kies registry patcher. We'll use this tool to fool Kies into thinking an older version is running on the Galaxy S so that it presents us with the option to grab the Froyo update.

Once you've started Kies and Kies has recognised your phone, start the Kies registry patcher. Set the Fake mode to True and select your product code. As I'm Dutch, I selected XEN from the dropdown. There is a list on the XDA wiki to tell you which product code is suited for your country, I suggest you use that one.

Now hit the "Write registry" button and then inside Kies, select the update firmware button in the bottom right corner (the phone with the arrow). Kies will now probably tell you it has an update for your phone which should be in the JP* series or GJK3, meaning it is the Froyo update.

Tell Kies to update your phone. Kies will get busy downloading the firmware and flashing it. Your phone will reboot into download mode, once that done you'll see recovery mode and then it will start booting.

Now that you have installed the official Samsung Froyo Galaxy S update you'll have the fixed bootloader you need in order to be able to use Heimdall on OS X.
 
Last edited:

asparta

New member
Jan 1, 2011
3
0
No Windows

The reason why I'm using Heimdall is because I'm on a mac and don't have access to a Windows pc. The whole bootloader step kind of makes it impossible for me to use Heimdall. Is there a workaround?

Ps. When I say I don't have access to a windows pc, I mean it. I'm approx. 10 hours north of any major city, in the wilderness.
 

ragin

Senior Member
Dec 17, 2007
1,743
158
Hubli
If you had working 3-BR prior to flashing & getting the phone computer icon with a ! in the triangle, I think there is hope.

If you really blotched your flashing, & get that semi-bricked icon when you try to into download mode, Heat the phone a bit & press Vol down + Menu + Power button for a very long time. This has happened to me thrice on my SGS with working 3-BR, & the longest it took me to go into download mode was something like over 30 seconds.

Hope this helps.
 

daenney

Senior Member
Oct 11, 2009
65
78
Enschede
Failed to access device is quite literally what it means, failed to access device.

This usually means something is wrong in download mode or the USB kext is acting up. A reboot should solve it, put your phone back into download mode and you should be good to go.
 

jman391

Senior Member
Mar 19, 2010
209
10
I'm on a Samsung Fascinate is it completely necessary to update to the Samsung Froyo Bootloader for this to work? The Fascinate doesn't even have Froyo yet. Thanks in advance.
 

jayhammy

Senior Member
Aug 20, 2010
475
18
Schenectady, NY
If, after having seen the above screen, you can't get your phone into download mode, then you're toast.

Well, I got that screen message and can no longer go into download mode. Not sure what happened, but I apparently did something wrong.
QUESTION: if I take this into a Verizon store, will they be able to tell that I had rooted the device? I'd like to take it in under warranty.
 

kunpl

New member
Jan 4, 2011
3
0
Warsaw
Get yourself a USB JIG (see toopic about unbrick JIG), when you plug that into your phone (when its offline) it will go into download mode no metter you did had BSOD or not (I have it all the time with odin, I'm starting to think my device is ****ed up though ;))
 

rolo12010

Member
Apr 5, 2009
36
0
I receive "Failed to detect compatible device" I have Heimdall running. The only way I can get into the Download screen is to take my battery out completely and plug into USB while holding Vol Down and power.I put the correct Modem.bin file in the correct place and hit start but I keep getting an error.

Im on a rooted Fascinate coming from a Stock DL09. I installed a Rom and Kernel w/ Rom manager.But I had issues w/ SMS learned it was because of the Radio/Modem
 

Bxsteez

Senior Member
Jun 9, 2006
2,179
77
Fort Worth, TX
I keep getting failed to access device error 12. I'm not sure why. I've restarted the SW and get same response. Odin detects the device as well as my OS. Is this not compatible with the Sprint Galaxy tab or do i need specific drivers?
 

kunjar

Senior Member
Nov 25, 2010
215
41
I keep getting failed to access device error 12. I'm not sure why. I've restarted the SW and get same response. Odin detects the device as well as my OS. Is this not compatible with the Sprint Galaxy tab or do i need specific drivers?

Check the readme in the heimdall directory. For the windows version you must install the drivers attached.
 

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  • 34
    Heimdall is an alternative, cross-platform tool to flash firmwares for the Galaxy S series of devices, including the Tab.

    Heimdall
    Some of you might not have heard but a brilliant guy one day woke up and thought 'damn it Odin' and started working on Heimdall. The guy reverse-engineered the protocol to flash our Galaxy's and turned up a piece of software called Heimdall that can do exactly the same as Odin.

    This tool is open-source and runs on Qt for its GUI and libusb to communicate over USB making this tool completely cross-platform. This basically means flashing your Galaxy is not just limited to Windows anymore.

    This guide will walk you through the steps to work with Heimdall. I'm a Mac user so the screenshots you'll see will be Mac-y. However, since the app and GUI are cross-platform the same apply for both Windows and Linux.

    Disclaimer:

    Flashing your device through anything but Kies can be a dangerous business and can brick your Galaxy S.
    That said, Samsung seems to have engineered the Galaxy S series in a way that makes it relatively difficult to brick even if you **** up.

    Proceed with caution and at your own discretion, both the developers of Heimdall and I can not be held accountable for the possible damage you do to your device by following this guide or using Heimdall.


    Flashing with Heimdal
    Flashing with Heimdall is a little bit different than with Odin. With Odin you usually select a PIT, if necessary, add the PDA.tar.md5, Modem.tar.md5 and CSC.tar.md5 to the locations, put the phone in download mode and hit go.

    Heimdall takes a different approach. In the Heimdall GUI you need to select all components you want to flash. This means extracting the TAR-archives and pointing Heimdall to their respective files. This allow relative fine-grained control over what you flash and doesn't depend on files being named correctly.

    In order to install Heimdall head over to the guy's website and download and install Heimdall.

    Do yourself a favor, even if you're on Linux or Mac, just reboot after the install. On OS X the installation includes a kernel extension and though this can usually be reloaded by logging out and back in again the reboot is safer and can't hurt.

    Mac OS X specific
    For Mac OS X the 1.1.0 version of Heimdall includes some nuked Qt binaries which means the GUI won't start. This can be fixed by afterwards installing Qt from here.

    The above should not apply to the latest Heimdall release anymore according to the release notes. If however you still get errors about Heimdall failed to start, just install the Qt binaries linked above anyway, should take care of the error.

    There is a second problem unfortunately on OS X. Due to a bug in older versions of the bootloader the device doesn't register correctly in download mode. If you then try to flash without having fixed the bootloader you'll nuke the Galaxy S and end up at a "black screen of death". Trust me, I tried, it broke and it scared the crap out of me.

    Don't worry, this isn't the dreadful black screen of death meaning your device is busted, it just means your firmware is. You can just put it into download mode again and flash another firmware over it with Odin (Windows)

    In order to avoid this we need to fix the bootloader first. Everyone who has installed the official Froyo update through Kies will already have a fixed bootloader and so you can ignore the next bit. If however you hocus-pocused around with Kies / Odin to flash Froyo like I did you probably don't have the updated bootloader.

    Unfortunately we're going to need Windows for this and Kies so either get a VM ready, bootcamp into Windows or find a friend who'll lend you his pc for an hour.

    See the second post, "Fixing the bootloader" for instructions.

    Linux specific

    As far as I'm aware there are no Linux specific problems, not even the bootloader issue mentioned above for OS X. However, it might be wise to follow the instructions anyway since an updated bootloader can't hurt.

    Windows specific

    As far as I'm aware there are no Windows specific problems, not even the bootloader issue mentioned above for OS X. However, it might be wise to follow the instructions anyway since an updated bootloader can't hurt.

    Now, time to get busy.

    I'm going to assume that you have downloaded a firmware, for example from samfirmware, and have extracted the .RAR and the .TAR inside and now have a folder with at least the following:
    • factoryfs.rfs (PDA > FactoryFS)
    • param.lfs (PDA > Param.lfs)
    • zImage (PDA > Kernel (zImage))

    Additionally you might have:
    • cache.rfs (CSC > Cache)
    • modem.bin (Other > Modem)

    Be aware, there are other configurations possible. For example, when you're rooting by flashing a rooted kernel there will probably only be a zImage.

    Start Heimdall or Heimdall-frontend, you should get a screen similar to this:
    attachment.php


    Now, unless explicitly stated that you need a .PIT to flash this firmware you can leave this field blank. If you load a PIT, be sure to see if you need to repartition. The general rule is that you won't, unless you flashed with a firmware that had a different PIT than what samfirmware is indicating you need.

    After that, start hitting the browse button for the components you want to flash with Heimdall and add them. Your screen will probably look something like this:
    attachment.php


    Now, it's time to put your phone in download mode. Power off the phone and wait for it to completely have shut down and unplug it from USB / charger. Hold down the Home and Volume Down buttons and then press Power. Keep holding those three buttons until you get into download mode (you'll know when you see it).

    If you can't get into download mode / nothing seems to happen, you probably have a Galaxy with the broken 3-button combo problem, see here for a fix:
    http://forum.xda-developers.com/showthread.php?t=785201

    Now, connect the phone over USB with your computer. If you're on on Mac and Linux you can proceed immediately. If you're on Windows you'll probably need to wait for Windows to install a driver or two.

    Now hit the Start button and watch it go!

    If all goes well you'll see the progress bar on both Heimdall and in your phone filling up (might take a while for one to appear on the Galaxy S). Once it's done it'll probably say everything went OK and the Galaxy will reboot into recovery. Let it do it's thing, it will reboot again and begin booting the new firmware.

    After having installed a new firmware the first boot might take a while. You'll just seem to be stuck at the glowing S, just let it run it will boot eventually.

    If however Heimdall says "Failed" your phone will (probably) reboot or when you try to reboot you'll get stuck at the "black screen of death":

    Samsung_Galaxy_S_Black_Screen_of_Death.jpg


    This isn't a "my device is bricked" screen, just that you ****ed up the firmware. Just follow the instructions again, put it in download mode and try again.


    If, after having seen the above screen, you can't get your phone into download mode, then you're toast.
    8
    Fixing the bootloader

    Fixing the bootloader

    In order to fix the bootloader we need to flash some firmware. There's always the risk of data loss so make a backup first!

    First we need Kies available on Windows, so grab it and install it. See the XDA wiki about this.

    Once Kies is done installing don't launch Kies or exit it first, then connect your Galaxy S. Let Windows purr for a while as it gets busy installing your device drivers. Once it says it's done, you can start Kies.

    Now, it's time to get the Kies registry patcher. We'll use this tool to fool Kies into thinking an older version is running on the Galaxy S so that it presents us with the option to grab the Froyo update.

    Once you've started Kies and Kies has recognised your phone, start the Kies registry patcher. Set the Fake mode to True and select your product code. As I'm Dutch, I selected XEN from the dropdown. There is a list on the XDA wiki to tell you which product code is suited for your country, I suggest you use that one.

    Now hit the "Write registry" button and then inside Kies, select the update firmware button in the bottom right corner (the phone with the arrow). Kies will now probably tell you it has an update for your phone which should be in the JP* series or GJK3, meaning it is the Froyo update.

    Tell Kies to update your phone. Kies will get busy downloading the firmware and flashing it. Your phone will reboot into download mode, once that done you'll see recovery mode and then it will start booting.

    Now that you have installed the official Samsung Froyo Galaxy S update you'll have the fixed bootloader you need in order to be able to use Heimdall on OS X.
    2
    Me also installed Heimdall version 1.3.2 and I do have consequently the same GUI as you.

    I only want to flash the baseband. The screenshot of the older version 1.1 of Heimdall (see post #1) tells me that it is easy to flash the modem and nothing else.
    For me there is not need to flash anything else. ROM and kernel are working ok.

    What I have is a file "baseband_KPO.zip" containing a "baseband.tar" containing a single file called "amss.mbn".
    Linux command "file" tells me that is "ELF 32-bit LSB executable, ARM, version 1", the size (decompressed) is about 20 MB.

    In the old Heimdall I would dare to put this file into the "modem" field.
    In the new Heimdall I seem to need a Heimdall package or a PIT file. But I do not want to flash everything, and I do not want to repartition the device. The device is not bricked, I only want to change to the KPO baseband which could improve "network quality" in my situation.

    Is there someone who can tell how to use Heimdall 1.3.2 for flashing, let's say, a single component the same way as it has been possible with Heimdall 1.1? Before someone asks: I'm on Linux, and so I can't use Odin.

    My device and setup:
    SAMSUNG GALAXY S PLUS GT-i9001
    ROM : ErikMod RC2 -Final-
    Kernel : DiabloKernel 2.6 High Performance

    I'm using 1.3.1 with Ubuntu.

    Although it asks for a PIT for flashing I don't believe it re-partitions as I haven't experienced data loss when doing it.

    Under the "Utilities" tab you can download the PIT from your phone and save it in your Computer. On android 4.1.2 I'm still using my PIT from Gingerbread.

    Then under the "Flash" tab you in "Options" load that PIT but don't check "Re-Partition"

    Next you add your files under "Partitions (Files)" and click "Start" with the phone connected in download mode.

    It works most of the time for me but some roms seem to give it trouble.

    Alternatively if Mobile Odin is available for your phone you could use it. try the Play Store.
    2
    Install ClockWorkMod recovery to your device and install cm9 from that recovery from the sdcard.
    Heimdall it's for stock roms. CM packing is different.

    Sent from my GT-N7000 using xda premium