Saturday, September 26, 2009

Hacking into my Zune. . . . literally

OK, so over the past couple of years, my Zune 80 and I have had a love/hate/hate/hate/hate/love/hate/hate relationship. No matter how that may look in WRITING, the good truly has outweighed the bad. So when it zonked out on me this final time, I felt a moral obligation to try to save her (yes, "her". . . I actually named her Zoey). And since Zoey was [literally 2 days] outta warranty when I first started having this problem and Microsoft wanted $159 for service, I decided I had nothing to lose by finding a T4 screwdriver and trying to fix the problem myself.

The problem: I couldn't seem to turn her on anymore, no matter what buttons I pressed (heh heh). When I pressed the "Play" button, I got the "low battery" indicator image. While plugged up (AC or USB), the "charging" graphic flashed, but the OS would never load.

This had happened before, and I had simply given up on my baby. I just put her away in the box and used my PSP for a music player. I was sad, but it did the job. After leaving Zoey in the box for like 2 months, I came back, just to see what would happen, pressed the play button, and VIOLA!* She came right on for me.
~~~...::/end flashback::...~~~
*I know it's really voilà. . . just more fun this way

 ::siiiigh:: Back to reality. This time, I tried that and no luck. After exhausting all software options, my logic was that there must be something wrong with the battery. Maybe if I disconnected and reconnected it, then it would function again.If that didn't work I would go ahead and buy a replacement battery. Sooooooo, after a little deliberation, and a bit of mental preparation, I went ahead and got started.

Note: Though it'll go without saying, I didn't have a camera while actually taking it apart. This is more of a journal entry than a tutorial.

I got an idea of how to do this from Rapid Repair's Zune disassembly guide. I improvised some of it as well, as you'll soon see.

  1. Since the plastic cover at the top had already been lost, I didn't have to remove that. I just started by removing two T4 screws at the top of the unit.
  3. Now, this part was pretty tricky - removing the aluminum back. I suppose there should be an intermediate step describing how to loosen the backing first. So maybe I wouldn't have CRACKED MY SCREEN!
  5. To loosen the casing, I took a very slim flat-head screwdriver, inserted it between the front and back casings and twisted slightly. There are clips holding the external case together. Twisting the screwdriver essentially gently unclipped them, and methodically pried the case open. . . too bad I discovered this procedure AFTER I had already CRACKED MY SCREEN!
  7. Now, once the casing was open, there was a lot of tape everywhere. Instead of just going on a tape-removing rampage, I drew a picture of what I had, just in case some wire or ribbon cable got disconnected in the process (which, inevitably, it did).

I took this picture after I got it apart (obviously). Although it's pretty crappy quality, you can see I flipped the hard drive over to have a better look at the battery connections.

It was here, when I saw one of the four wires (black, blue, red, white) leading from the battery to solder points on the board had come disconnected. I'm not sure if this happened with handling or if it was the cause of my problem. If it had come apart after I opened the Zune, then I still had accomplished my goal of disconnecting the battery. If it was already apart, then I had found a problem. Whatever the case, I knew it needed to be soldered back on.

It was a relatively simple solder job. I used some fingernail clippers to strip the blue wire back some, then heated the solder joint and set it in place. Turned it over, and saw the beloved Zune boot logo!


But that's not the end. . . after I got Zoey all buttoned up again, I noticed a new issue - the little "Hold" icon in the bottom of the screen was lit, and no button presses registered. Great. I pressed the Zune in a certain spot, and noticed while applying pressure directly over this particular place, the icon disappeared. So I took it apart again.

Here's the drawing I made:

At this point, I noticed that the ribbon cable which controlled the hold functionality was not being snugly held in place. I pressed down on the ribbon cable connection to the board, then toggled the hold switch, and it worked fine. I replaced the tape, put the zune back together, and all is well again. . . . . except for the cracked screen.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

How to Jailbreak an iPhone 3G

OK, so this being my first post, I'll start with something simple. Something which I've had to do many times over the past 9 months - jailbreaking my iPhone.

Let's start with defining "jailbreak." Well, in my own words, Apple has put stupid limitations on this wonderful piece of phonery, and jailbreaking is removing those limitations. A factory iPhone is like having a Lamborghini Murcielago with a governor at 15 mph. For example, Apple says that the iPhone 3g doesn't do video. The correct statement is, "Apple doesn't ENABLE the iPhone 3g to do video." Jailbreaking does. . . . among with a host of other things.

***Theoretically, jailbreaking DOES void your warranty, but if you have a problem, just restore your original software before taking it to the Apple store. It's the equivalent to GM saying your warranty is void because your car is dirty - just wash it before you take it in. Problem solved. Amen.

Anyway, enough blabber. Let's get to the biz.

This guide will go through jailbreaking NOT UNLOCKING the iPhone 3G for use with AT&T service. Unlocking allows you to use the iPhone with any GSM service provider (in the US, there are only 2: T-Mobile and AT&T). There are similar, but different, procedures for the first-generation iPhone, iPhone 3GS, and iPod Touch.

Things you'll need:
  1. An iPhone 3G (duh)
  2. The proper .ipsw (iPhone software file (which you can find relatively easily by Googling). . . . or better yet, here) This tutorial is stricly for 3.0 **(or 3.01. . . .so I guess that's not strictly. I suppose the more accurate way of saying it is, it's not for 3.1. Although I haven't tried jailbreaking 3.1 yet, I've just read bad things about it.)
  3. A jailbreak application. redsn0w is cute, but I like PwnageTool better. It's easy, and has more configuration options.
  1. If you have your iPhone set up already, you may wanna back it up before proceeding. It'll preserve your texts, contacts, calendars, settings, etc. I recommend even doing a full back-up as opposed to just syncing. In iTunes, right-click (Ctrl+Click on Mac) your iPhone and select "Back Up." Let it do its thing
  2. Open PwnageTool and select iPhone 3G. Click Next arrow

  3. Browse to the correct .ipsw file "iphone1,2_3.0_7a341_restore.ipsw" and continue

  4. Select "General," then press Next arrow. (At this screen, you can customize your applications. I'm skipping that, because I've had trouble when I pre-install certain jailbroken apps. I haven't narrowed it down to which one(s) yet though. So just to be safe, don't mess with any more of these options unless you know what you're looking for).

  5. Deselect the Options "Activate the phone" and "Enable baseband update" and make the Root partition size 700 Mb. This is a safe number, maybe too big, but so what.

  6. Click the Back arrow to return to the options menu
  7. Click "Build" and then the Next arrow
  8. Choose a location for your jailbreak file. It will be named something like "iphone1,2_3.0_7a341_custom_restore.ipsw" 
  9. At some point in the building process, it will prompt you for your system password. Enter it.
  10. After the file builds, PwnageTool will guide you into putting the iPhone into DFU mode. 
      Entering Device Firmware Update mode 
    • Although the application will guide you through this, I'll still cover it here.
    • Turn off the iPhone 3G
    • Hold Home and Power button for 10 seconds
    • Release Power button, but continue holding Home button for additional 10 seconds
    • If this procedure completes correctly, PwnageTool will tell you. 
  12. After entering DFU mode, open iTunes. You should get a pop-up saying iTunes has found an iPhone in recovery mode. You must restore this iPhone before it can be used with iTunes"
  13. Hold Shift (Option on Mac) while clicking "Restore" in iTunes. This will allow you to navigate to your custom restore file. 
  14. Select the custom restore file, and you're off!
  15. If the restore fails, restart your computer and try again. That usually fixes it.
  16. After iTunes finishes the restore, it will ask you to set up your iPhone. Sync from the latest version that you saved in the Preparation section of this tutorial.

Screenshots from PwnageTool by iPhone Dev Team