Fixing a Soft-bricked Samsung Galaxy Nexus

Fixing a Soft-bricked Samsung Galaxy Nexus

Like many a mobotnik, you've just rooted your shiny new Samsung Galaxy Nexus and flashed TWRP's latest touch recovery. You race to your local Android forum, pick out the latest custom Jelly Bean ROM and flash it. The device's screen glows with the light of the Google emblem and nothing happens. You wait for several minutes hoping to see the boot screen, but the device reboots itself. Having forgotten to run a nandroid backup, you are now stuck between a rock and a hard place.

You pull the battery and then rerun TWRP. You wipe system, data, cache, and even the battery stats, hoping that with a reflash your Galaxy Nexus will reboot into the comforting glow of the Jelly Bean home screen. Sadly, the device just remains on the Google emblem, doomed to be forever stuck there. Your device is now what is known as soft bricked. This is definitely a problem that can be fixed, however, your options are limited: you can try and flash the stock ROM images from Verizon Wireless and hope that none of the partitions are corrupted or you can take the safe, guaranteed route: ODIN.

The scenario you read above was what happened to me three nights ago. After flashing the latest custom Android 4.1 ROM to my Verizon Galaxy Nexus, my device's userdata partition became corrupted. I looked in vain, high and low across the internet for a solution that would work. Since the partition was corrupted beyond repair, the traditional method of using ADB and flashing the factory IMM76K images would not work. After much searching I finally was able to obtain a set of working ODIN PDA and PHONE .tar's. This is how I was able to save my Verizon Galaxy Nexus from having to be turned in for Samsung's warranty service:

The first thing you need is ODIN. Download and save this application to your desktop. Unzip the file and extract all of the contents to the local directory. ODIN is basically the supreme overlord of Samsung device flashing. It is an executable application that takes pre-packaged .tar images and flashes them to your device. The best (and worse) part of ODIN is that as long as the Samsung USB drivers are installed and your device is connected, ODIN will flash any valid file to your phone. Always make sure you select the correct files when flashing.

Fixing a Soft-bricked Samsung Galaxy Nexus Once you've downloaded ODIN you need the files that go with it. The first is the PDA .tar and the second is the PHONE .tar. Download and save both of these files to your desktop. You must have BOTH of these together to ensure that your device is completely restored. Do not unzip them.

Now that you have all of the proper files, you need to turn off and unplug your device. Once the device has been completely turned off, hold the power and down volume button at the same time and your Galaxy Nexus will go into what's known as download mode (pictured right).

Once the device is in download mode, plug a microUSB cable into the computer and your Nexus. Provided you have the correct Samsung drivers installed (which if you're attempting this in-depth of a task you should) the device will connect to your PC. Go to the ODIN folder on your desktop and open it. Inside you will see a file called Odin3 v1.85. Open the file and the ODIN application will appear before you.

You'll notice a number of different options on screen. Leave the Auto Reboot and F. Reset Time boxes checked.

Fixing a Soft-bricked Samsung Galaxy Nexus Click on the PDA button and select the VzW-PDA-ODIN-I515EL03_ICL53F_signed.tar that you saved to your desktop earlier.

Fixing a Soft-bricked Samsung Galaxy Nexus Next click on the Phone button and select the VzW-PHONE-ODIN-SCH-I515.EK02_LTE.tar.

Fixing a Soft-bricked Samsung Galaxy Nexus Once you've done this and your phone is connected, hit the “Start” button. At this point you'll notice the top left hand box that was empty has text in it and the box below it filling up with a green bar. In the “Message” box there will be text detailing the exact happenings. DO NOT at any point during the flashing process disconnect or wiggle the microUSB cable. Doing so could take a repairable soft brick and turn it into an unrepairable hard brick. When the flashing process is finished, ODIN will state that the device is rebooting. Once the device has finished rebooting, feel free to close ODIN and unplug your restored Samsung Galaxy Nexus. You're now back to stock format and ready to try flashing custom ROM's again. Enjoy.

Read more about: Samsung Galaxy NexusAndroid

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10 comments

Pondlife  Jul. 10, 2012 at 13:42

Seemed useful and informative although references to verizon make me wonder how useful it will be as surely most Mobot readers are from this side of the pond?

matt101101 / MOD  Jul. 10, 2012 at 13:53

I can vouch for this method of fixing a soft-brick. ODIN has saved my S2 on more than one occasion (the first of which was caused by Samsung's own Kies...).

michihiroiceman  Jul. 10, 2012 at 14:20

Seemed useful and informative although references to verizon make me wonder how useful it will be as surely most Mobot readers are from this side of the pond?

While it's true most Mobot readers are from across the sea, there are many who aren't. In addition the only difference between fixing a Verizon Galaxy Nexus and an international Galaxy Nexus are just the files used by ODIN.

Pondlife  Jul. 10, 2012 at 15:28

Was more the verizon firmware than the using of ODIN that I thought could be problematic over here.

matt101101 / MOD  Jul. 10, 2012 at 15:56

Was more the verizon firmware than the using of ODIN that I thought could be problematic over here.
That's just a case of DL'ing different FW files, anyone who can't work that out, really shouldn't be flashing anything to their phone in the first place.

Pondlife  Jul. 10, 2012 at 17:19

I agree, but am sadly sure that those are quite high in numbers.

Loony2nz  Jul. 11, 2012 at 07:17

thank you thank you thank you! this blog entry is a godsend!

jmichel426  Jul. 12, 2012 at 01:34

THANK YOU, saved my butt

hughreindeer  Apr. 15, 2013 at 03:35

I need the files. PLEASE!

lovemynexus  Apr. 27, 2014 at 17:51

where can I get odin3, pda.tar, and phone.tar

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