So… I Managed to Hard Brick My Galaxy S3 – Did I Survive?

hard bricked Galaxy s3Yes… I realize you are already typing away on your keyboard “But Paul, You said it’s nearly IMPOSSIBLE to brick a device.” Hold your horses buddy… I said nearly impossible, not just impossible, and yes, this is a story of me falling into that unfortunate nearly category.

Time for Flashbacks

It was just your average Sunday afternoon. I was bored out of my mind, and just sitting at my computer relaxing like I normally tend to do on Sunday afternoons. If only I know that I would end up spending the next 8 hours sitting in that same chair, way past my bedtime.

I had just ordered an extended battery for my Galaxy S3, but I decided that I wanted to try another kernel. I quickly did a Google search for “Best custom ROM Galaxy S3″ and came across a ROM called FoxHound. At this point, I guess my brain turned to complete mush, because I began to break ALL of my rooting rules. I read hardly anything about the ROM or searched other sources to verify that it was safe and wouldn’t kill my device. I downloaded the ROM, put it in my Galaxy S3′s internal memory, and away I went to install it in CWM Recovery. The install went great, right up to rebooting my phone. Screen completely blank, no LED. I knew something was wrong.

This lead to about an hour of trial and error with the blog founder Bernard, and I knew that the device was toast and I had really done something wrong to it. When I connected the phone to the computer, all I got was qhsusb_dload in the device manager, but I couldn’t do anything with it. It turns out that I had managed to end up with a hard bricked Galaxy S3 and I would not be able to fix this.

To answer some questions you may have:

  • No, I don’t have insurance with my carrier (go figure)
  • Yes, I did consider a JIG, this won’t fix a hard brick
  • Yes, I did try the QHSUSB_DLOAD solution from unlimited.io even though they say it won’t work  for bricked devices
  • Yes, I did try connecting via ODIN, nothing there
  • Yes, I did even try getting into download mode, even though I can’t see the screen

So What Am I Doing?

There’s a well reviewed service out there called Mobile Tech Videos. For $60.00 they will use the JTAG method to fix your hard brick and return your device back to factory condition. I paid an extra $35 for rush processing and 1 day return shipping, for a total cost of $95 plus the $14 shipping from the USPS with $700 worth of insurance. Based on other reviews, I should have the device back within 4 to 7 days. After that, I plan on doing a full review of the service in case any of you end up in the situation.

Why Didn’t I Try My Carrier or Samsung?

Neither Samsung nor my carrier are responsible for what I did. This is my idiot mistake that got me into this mess. I had actually considered playing dumb at first. The problem with that is the US Cellular repair technicians can’t do anything too intense at most stores and have to ship it out and the repair could take weeks. Samsung is the same boat. Sure, US Cellular will provide me with a loaner phone, but it won’t be anything different than what I have lying in my junk drawer in the basement. Many people have had good things to say about Mobile Tech Videos, and I feel that it’s my responsibility to just suck it up and pay someone to fix it, rather than try and get through the free way.

Am I Still Going to Flash?

Yes and no, I love custom ROMs, and I’ll always be a tinkerer. What happened here is no big deal really. $95 does seem like a lot of money, but I’ve learned from my mistake. I should have never gone through and installed that ROM without reading to make sure it was fully compatible with my device. I’ll probably put CyanogenMod back on my phone when I get it back, but for intense flashing I’m going to buy a cheaper device off of eBay at some point, so if I screw up the device at least I’m not screwing up my main means of mobile communication.

The Moral of This Story

Rooting and hacking your device is perfectly fine. Here are some basic guidelines you should follow though:

  • DO NOT under any circumstances root/hack a device that is a company device, this could get you terminated
  • DO NOT root/hack a device that is not explicitly yours
  • DO NOT root/hack if you aren’t prepared to hand out the Benjamin’s
  • Your insurance most likely does NOT cover damage caused by backing/rooting

In other words… Don’t be an idiot, or at least, don’t be a broke idiot

I’ll have a full review of Mobile Tech Videos once I get my phone back.

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About Paul Shirey

Paul Shirey is the Editor and Chief at Paul Shirey Tech. He loves talking about Android, and his phone of choice is a Rooted Samsung Galaxy S3.
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