[HOW-TO] Unbrick your Transformer Prime (or not)

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Diamondback

Retired Developer Committee Lead / Retired Senior
Jan 17, 2010
4,493
6,629
virtuous-ten-studio.com
Hey guys,
I just wanted to put some information together on how to recover your bricked Prime (if possible).


DISCLAIMER
I am in no way responsible for what you do with your Prime, even when you are following these (my) instructions.
There is always the risk of making it worse and this risk is completely down to you!!!


Currently we know 4 states of bricked Primes whereas 3 are more or less widespread.

  • Brick 1a: You unlocked your Prime with ASUS' tool, did some stuff to it (like flashing a custom ROM) and now it always boots into recovery instead of your ROM.
    You can't select to boot to fastboot or anything else. No matter what you do it's always the recovery. (happening to many users)
    -> Please go to Option 1a

  • Brick 1b: You unlocked your Prime with ASUS' tool, did some stuff to it (like flashing a custom ROM) and now once you want to boot your new ROM it shows you the bootanimation but suddenly tells you something about an "unsuccessful encryption" (it's a real android screen, with a touch button etc.)
    Once you hit the "Reset" button it restarts but you can't boot the ROM anymore, you are now caught in a CWM loop (much like Brick 1a)
    -> Please go to Option 1b

  • Brick 2: When booting up your Prime hangs at the splashscreen (the screen with "EeePad" in the middle) and tells you something about an "unrecoverable bootloader error" (happened so far to at least 4 users)
    -> Please go to Option 2

  • Brick 3: (After messing around with your Prime in recovery it won't boot any ROM anymore, you can however still access fastboot and the recovery)
    Update: This particular brick happens due to a bad kernel flash. If you are flashing kernels via the ASUS /staging method, make sure /staging is unmounted before flashing stuff to it, otherwise it WILL faill and brick.

    Update 2: It seems we can't use the old fix for this brick anymore. Sometimes it does more bad than good. :(
    ->Please go to Option 3

Option 1a

Don't be afraid, your Prime should be recoverable. This is the good news. The bad news is, that you need quite some knowledge of ADB.

To recover your Prime (most likely) you need the following:
  • A working ADB setup (please google that if you don't have it, "tutorial setup adb" or something like that should do the trick)
  • The USB-Cable to connect the Prime to your PC
  • A few minutes time

Now do the following:
  • Make sure your Prime is in Recovery mode (CWM)

  • Open a cmd line on your pc

  • Type: "adb shell"

  • You should see a "#" now

  • Once you have that "#", please type: dd if=/dev/zero of=/dev/block/mmcblk0p4 bs=100 count=1 and press [Enter]

  • Now type: dd if=/dev/zero of=/dev/block/mmcblk0p3 bs=16 count=1 and press [Enter]

  • Exit the shell and reboot your Prime via CWM

  • It should not reboot to CWM automatically now. It either boots your ROM or is stuck at the splash screen. If it is stuck, boot to recovery and install any ROM you want. :)


Option 1b

Good news, this brick should be no problem. :)
Basically you need to first do Option 1a, but don't reboot the Prime just yet.
  • After executing the dd commands, you need to reboot your Prime to the bootloader menu and NOT the ROM itself.
  • To do this you need to reboot your device while holding down the Volume_Down key.
  • Once the white text in the top left corner appears release the buttons.
  • Now don't press anything until you can see a menu with 3 icons, an Android symbol, an USB symbol and a Wipe Data symbol.
  • Select the Wipe Data icon with pressing Volume_Down twice. Now press Volume_Up twice to reset the device to factory state.
  • WARNING: OF COURSE THIS WILL DELETE ALL YOUR DATA!!!! EVEN THE INTERNAL MEMORY AKA SDCARD!!! CURRENTLY I DON'T KNOW ANY OTHER WAY TO RECOVER FROM THIS BRICK!!!
  • After the wipe is done, you should be able to flash a new ROM or boot the existing ROM :)


Option 2

Sorry, but your Prime is most likely hard bricked.
This can happen if you try to apply a stock blob file after you installed CWM. There is currently no way to recover from this. :(


Option 3

If you are in this situation (Prime doesn't boot but you can access both recovery and fastboot) please go to #asus-transformer on freenode and ask for help there. We currently don't know if you can recover from this state.
Do not, I repeat, do not try to flash a stock ASUS ROM/blob file.
Doing this you will most likely hard brick your Prime.

We now found a way to un-brick this one too :)
This one is a bit more risky, so make sure you follow all instructions with a bit of extra care.


Update: It seems the old method for this brick could make things even worse on some Primes.
On some primes this can be easily fixed, however putting this in a guide could do more harm than good.




Troubleshooting
  • Problems getting ADB to work in recovery mode? Only seeing something like "Full Android on Emulator" in the device manager instead of your tablet?
    Well I have a posible fix for you: Got to this thread and download the drivers. Then override the drivers for the Emulator device manually with the new ones. ADB should work now :)


--- Read here how to prevent future bricks and other common problems ---

Bits & pieces
You might want to have a look here for a possible solution for some bootloader errors (It's from a TF300):
http://forum.xda-developers.com/showpost.php?p=44244313&postcount=12


Credits:
thx to kmdm for his solution on Brick 1a and Brick 3 :)
 
Last edited:

Ultraman666

Senior Member
Apr 8, 2010
1,613
765
Kansas
Thanks for the guide, very helpful. So I take it yours is still hard bricked?

Sent from my Transformer Prime TF201 using Tapatalk
 
Last edited:

shinichikey

Member
Jun 22, 2008
14
0
guy, come to diamondback channel so he can help you, seriously, he is so helpful, i cant even sleep for the whole night to figure out my problem, but after 10 mins with him, my tablet ready to rock and roll now, ty so much....
 

mattykinsx

Senior Member
Jul 7, 2010
4,869
847
35
How horrible would it be for Asus to provide the equivalent of odin for our devices?

I don't see what's so hard with embracing development.
 
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chugger93

Senior Member
Nov 9, 2009
1,459
104
Michigan
This is the sad thing about android.... I've always asked myself "why can you brick an android device in the first place"? Can't brick an apple that I'm aware of. You can't brick a microsoft machine, you can always get back windows. It just boggles my mind!

Someone please enlighten me! ;)
 

Diamondback

Retired Developer Committee Lead / Retired Senior
Jan 17, 2010
4,493
6,629
virtuous-ten-studio.com
This is the sad thing about android.... I've always asked myself "why can you brick an android device in the first place"? Can't brick an apple that I'm aware of. You can't brick a microsoft machine, you can always get back windows. It just boggles my mind!

Someone please enlighten me! ;)

Well because you can do way more stuff with Android phones :p
Ever run a different OS on the iPhone? Not that I am aware of :)

It's like having a full blown PC with BIOS and all versus having a Nintendo 64 :p
Ever bricked a N64? :)
 
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mattykinsx

Senior Member
Jul 7, 2010
4,869
847
35
This is the sad thing about android.... I've always asked myself "why can you brick an android device in the first place"? Can't brick an apple that I'm aware of. You can't brick a microsoft machine, you can always get back windows. It just boggles my mind!

Someone please enlighten me! ;)

As Diamondback said, it's simply because we can do more with Android.

Rest assured that if the same type of modifications could be made to IOS, the risk of "bricking" would be the same.
 
Last edited:

cfaberlle

Senior Member
Nov 2, 2011
328
56
Orlando
www.arrow.com
This is the sad thing about android.... I've always asked myself "why can you brick an android device in the first place"? Can't brick an apple that I'm aware of. You can't brick a microsoft machine, you can always get back windows. It just boggles my mind!

Someone please enlighten me! ;)

This is a product of the Android fragmentation. Every device is different and uses different hardware/drivers. The Android OS assumes you know what you are doing and will actually let you do what ever you want. If you flash a ROM/Firmware that is designed for the Nexus on a Galaxy S II it will let you, you will brick the Galaxy S II, but it will let you do whatever you want.

That is also why everytime Google releases a new version of an OS it takes so long to apply it to all the different devices. The moment ICS was released, it was not compatible with every device out of the box. Every manufacturer has to create drivers, kernels, and libraries for it to work on their device. ;)

You cannot brick an Iphone because it only has 1 OS to install and only 1 type of hardware to cater to :)

Good Read about the effort that goes into rolling out a new OS for the android space: http://www.extremetech.com/computin...nths-to-deliver-android-updates-to-your-phone

P.S. +1 to sticky
 
Last edited:

mtotho

Senior Member
Oct 29, 2010
361
104
Union, NJ
This is a good thread, I hope to never need it.

The closest I've ever come to 'bricking' a device (or at least so I thought) was practically my first experience with android modification:

Rooted and Installed CWM on my Droid Incredible. Initiated install of a Rom from Rom Manager. I Had not realized that the Dinc had 2 different screens, AMOLED and something else. CWM was not configured to display anything for my type of screen! so I had a failed rom install and no visible CWM to do any recovery (womp womp). But did some research and some guys from the CM irc helped me use the google sdk to get up a snapshot on my computer of what was happening on my phone. BAM was able to see the recovery on my laptop and install a fix for it :D Was pretty scary.

Glad there are people like you out there to help others out when scary and rather Traumatic experiences like this happen
 

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  • 138
    Hey guys,
    I just wanted to put some information together on how to recover your bricked Prime (if possible).


    DISCLAIMER
    I am in no way responsible for what you do with your Prime, even when you are following these (my) instructions.
    There is always the risk of making it worse and this risk is completely down to you!!!


    Currently we know 4 states of bricked Primes whereas 3 are more or less widespread.

    • Brick 1a: You unlocked your Prime with ASUS' tool, did some stuff to it (like flashing a custom ROM) and now it always boots into recovery instead of your ROM.
      You can't select to boot to fastboot or anything else. No matter what you do it's always the recovery. (happening to many users)
      -> Please go to Option 1a

    • Brick 1b: You unlocked your Prime with ASUS' tool, did some stuff to it (like flashing a custom ROM) and now once you want to boot your new ROM it shows you the bootanimation but suddenly tells you something about an "unsuccessful encryption" (it's a real android screen, with a touch button etc.)
      Once you hit the "Reset" button it restarts but you can't boot the ROM anymore, you are now caught in a CWM loop (much like Brick 1a)
      -> Please go to Option 1b

    • Brick 2: When booting up your Prime hangs at the splashscreen (the screen with "EeePad" in the middle) and tells you something about an "unrecoverable bootloader error" (happened so far to at least 4 users)
      -> Please go to Option 2

    • Brick 3: (After messing around with your Prime in recovery it won't boot any ROM anymore, you can however still access fastboot and the recovery)
      Update: This particular brick happens due to a bad kernel flash. If you are flashing kernels via the ASUS /staging method, make sure /staging is unmounted before flashing stuff to it, otherwise it WILL faill and brick.

      Update 2: It seems we can't use the old fix for this brick anymore. Sometimes it does more bad than good. :(
      ->Please go to Option 3

    Option 1a

    Don't be afraid, your Prime should be recoverable. This is the good news. The bad news is, that you need quite some knowledge of ADB.

    To recover your Prime (most likely) you need the following:
    • A working ADB setup (please google that if you don't have it, "tutorial setup adb" or something like that should do the trick)
    • The USB-Cable to connect the Prime to your PC
    • A few minutes time

    Now do the following:
    • Make sure your Prime is in Recovery mode (CWM)

    • Open a cmd line on your pc

    • Type: "adb shell"

    • You should see a "#" now

    • Once you have that "#", please type: dd if=/dev/zero of=/dev/block/mmcblk0p4 bs=100 count=1 and press [Enter]

    • Now type: dd if=/dev/zero of=/dev/block/mmcblk0p3 bs=16 count=1 and press [Enter]

    • Exit the shell and reboot your Prime via CWM

    • It should not reboot to CWM automatically now. It either boots your ROM or is stuck at the splash screen. If it is stuck, boot to recovery and install any ROM you want. :)


    Option 1b

    Good news, this brick should be no problem. :)
    Basically you need to first do Option 1a, but don't reboot the Prime just yet.
    • After executing the dd commands, you need to reboot your Prime to the bootloader menu and NOT the ROM itself.
    • To do this you need to reboot your device while holding down the Volume_Down key.
    • Once the white text in the top left corner appears release the buttons.
    • Now don't press anything until you can see a menu with 3 icons, an Android symbol, an USB symbol and a Wipe Data symbol.
    • Select the Wipe Data icon with pressing Volume_Down twice. Now press Volume_Up twice to reset the device to factory state.
    • WARNING: OF COURSE THIS WILL DELETE ALL YOUR DATA!!!! EVEN THE INTERNAL MEMORY AKA SDCARD!!! CURRENTLY I DON'T KNOW ANY OTHER WAY TO RECOVER FROM THIS BRICK!!!
    • After the wipe is done, you should be able to flash a new ROM or boot the existing ROM :)


    Option 2

    Sorry, but your Prime is most likely hard bricked.
    This can happen if you try to apply a stock blob file after you installed CWM. There is currently no way to recover from this. :(


    Option 3

    If you are in this situation (Prime doesn't boot but you can access both recovery and fastboot) please go to #asus-transformer on freenode and ask for help there. We currently don't know if you can recover from this state.
    Do not, I repeat, do not try to flash a stock ASUS ROM/blob file.
    Doing this you will most likely hard brick your Prime.

    We now found a way to un-brick this one too :)
    This one is a bit more risky, so make sure you follow all instructions with a bit of extra care.


    Update: It seems the old method for this brick could make things even worse on some Primes.
    On some primes this can be easily fixed, however putting this in a guide could do more harm than good.




    Troubleshooting
    • Problems getting ADB to work in recovery mode? Only seeing something like "Full Android on Emulator" in the device manager instead of your tablet?
      Well I have a posible fix for you: Got to this thread and download the drivers. Then override the drivers for the Emulator device manually with the new ones. ADB should work now :)


    --- Read here how to prevent future bricks and other common problems ---

    Bits & pieces
    You might want to have a look here for a possible solution for some bootloader errors (It's from a TF300):
    http://forum.xda-developers.com/showpost.php?p=44244313&postcount=12


    Credits:
    thx to kmdm for his solution on Brick 1a and Brick 3 :)
    6
    Not sure if you have the same problem that I had(stuck at eee pad screen with no access to recovery). I used fastboot to flash recovery and stock boot.blob to resolve the issue.

    Holly Sweet Baby Jesus!!!!!

    Thank God!!! *Breaths sigh of relief*

    Problem/Issue:
    - Was on AOKP Milestone 5.
    - Installed TWRP Recovery via fastboot (over CWM).
    - Made Backup.
    - Installed CM9, played with it for a day or so.
    - Wanted to go back to AOKP... Restored TWRP Backup
    - Upon Reboot, stuck at boot screen (EEE Pad Screen).
    - No recovery, only options were wipe & fastboot
    - Flashing either version of recovery yielded no results... still stuck.


    Solution:
    - Download AKOP Rom zip again to computer. (or which ever particular rom you restored).
    - boot into fastboot
    - flash recovery via "fastboot -i 0x0b05 flash recovery recovery-clockwork-touch-5.8.1.8-tf201.img" <--- CWM Touch Version
    - Extract boot.blob from Rom .zip
    - flash boot.blob via "fastboot -i 0x0b05 flash boot boot.blob"
    - reboot via "fastboot -i 0x0b05 reboot"

    BOOTING UP & Recovery Access!!!
    3
    stuck on Brick options 1a
    adb devices cannot see my device
    does not show up in device manager
    But I do have at other devices "Full Android on Emulator"
    Any Help
    Thanks

    Try instaling these drivers here manually please

    http://forum.xda-developers.com/showthread.php?t=1426502

    Adb should work fine afterwards :)
    2
    Okay I added a 4th brick to the list. It's a variant of the first Brick and it is recoverable :)
    2
    Okay we successfully un-bricked a Brick 3 just now. :)
    Updating the thread tomorrow.
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