Saturday, January 15, 2011

How to Update your Droid X if you’ve removed bloatware and can’t get updates AND KEEP ALL YOUR DATA! (The Easy Way)

If you’re like me and removed all the extra bloatware the Droid X comes shipped with (Blockbuster, CityId, Amazon, etc)  you’ve probably already found out that you can no longer get updates from Motorola. I’ll try to save you the month and a half of Googling I had to do and explain why and how to fix it, and how NOT to fix it. As a side note, this should work for changing out any ROM on your Droid.  If you’re like me, you’re incorrectly assuming that this update will wipe your phone and you have to reinstall everything from scratch. Wrong! I didn’t know it would do this, but apparently upgrading the original factory ROM just replaces the missing files on the phone. It doesn’t wipe the phone like you would do if you were doing a reset. When this was all done I was very happy to see that all my apps, preferences, and everything else was just like it was before I started except I now could get the upgrade.

Why you can’t get updates:

Chances are you wanted to speed up your Droid a little and get rid of those running processes you’ll never use. You rooted your phone, deleted the apps and then your Droid ran a little faster and you were happy for awhile, right?

Here’s the rub; and I’m not a fan of Motorola doing this personally, but I guess I understand why they do it:

There are certain applications your Droid X came with that you can remove. There are others that you can NOT remove without Rooting your Droid. If you remove these apps you can’t get future updates for the Droid X.


Reinstalling the Apps Necessary to Update the Droid X

Some of you have already tried the obvious trick that came to my mind; just put the apps back on the phone and then update! Wrong. That won’t work either because Motorola installed those apps from the System level, and your user profile on the Droid doesn’t have the permission to put the applications back with the same permissions they were previously installed with. It doesn’t matter why, so don’t bother yourself with it. It’s just the root of the problem (if you’ll pardon the bad pun). 

Now, there ARE tools out there if you’re a Linux geek that can help you restore the applications one by one, and then you can run command line arguments at root level to reapply system permissions to these folders. After two hours of searching out the right software do to it, then figuring out how to adjust my environment variables in Windows 7x64 I was no closed to having my problem fixed so I searched for another way to do it. That way was just WAY too complicated. Plus, if you can do that, you’re probably not reading this page anyway. Instead you’re laughing at me, feeling sorry for n00bs like me while reading LifeHacker on your Linux box in your Spiderman T-shirt.


Giving Credit Where It Is Due

Just because I wrote this how-to doesn’t mean I’m the brains here. I’d like to give credit to the person who wrote it up for me so I could understand it. Thanks go to “BBCrackman” at Droid World for his post. If you’d like, you can read his article here. After he wrote his article, there were tons and tons of comments similar to problems I was having, and a lot of modifications offered by others that led me to my solution, so I thought I’d re-post the fix with a little more information geared to the non-android-programmers out there (like me).

Fixing your Droid: Getting the Tools you need

Ok, enough talking. You’re only here to figure out how to fix your Droid X and get updates, so let’s get to the meat of it.

You’re going to need one, possibly two programs and one file to do this, and your Droid USB cable.

Note: I did this on Windows 7 64-bit. The programs should work the same for you but I can’t guarantee anything on another operating system.

  1. Download RSD Lite (Download here) RSD Lite is a windows-based program that will allow you to install the SBF file on your Droid. The SBF file is the original factory ROM (programming) for the Droid X, version 2.2. Once you have this installed correctly, you can update to whatever current version you choose.
  2. Download the official SBF file for Droid 2.2 (Download here) The mirror sites for this file gave me a really hard time. I think the one that finally worked for me was the third mirror on the page, MegaUpload. The file is 434mb and downloads very slowly. I’m putting up my own mirror for the file, so if you’d like it, leave a comment with your email address and I’ll send you the link. I’m not going to post it here publicly because my server would likely get hammered by people needing the SBF.
  3. Download Motorola Mobile Phone USB Drivers. (Download here) You might not need this program if RSD finds your phone the first time, but I had to install it on mine for it to work properly.

Step 1: Remove Software

Uninstall EVERY Motorola program you have on your computer. Don’t have any Motorola sync software left when you start this!! I skipped this advice on mine and it only finally worked when I listened to the others and deleted the other Motorola sync software. Apparently some of those programs change the USB driver and RSD Lite won’t be able to see your Droid X. If it can’t see your phone, then you can’t run the update.

Step 2: Install Software on your PC

Install RSD Lite. It’s easy and will only take a minute. Once it’s installed, go ahead and install the Motorola USB Drivers, mentioned above. You can wait and see if RSD Lite works without you needing to install the drivers. That’s up to you.

Step 3: Connect your phone

Connect your phone to your computer and start RSD lite.

  • Be sure you’re set in to PC Mode, and Debugging Mode.

After a few seconds you should see a screen like this one below.


See the blue highlighted line? That means RSD lite detected my Droid correctly. Highlight the line on your computer and click the Show Device button at the top to see the info you see in the top of the picture. It’s just your phone’s basic information.

What to do if RSD Lite doesn’t see your phone:

I can’t really help you in specific with this part because it could be a hundred different reasons why. Do what I did; go to Google and type “RSD Lite won’t see my phone” and hunt until you find a solution for your particular computer. My solution was to do what I mentioned before: remove all the Motorola software. Then I had to install the Motorola USB drivers and it worked like a charm.

Step 4: Press Start and Wait

Click the “…” icon on RSD lite and browse to the SBF file you downloaded. Press Start. Walk away for about 15 minutes. Yes I know like you feel like an expectant parent in a delivery room during your child’s labor… “Oh god, it is gonna be ok? Is it gonna work? Is it gonna die?” Just go get a macchiato and relax. If you’ve come this far you’re OK.

What happens at this point:

I admit I was a little scared at this point. I’m picturing my phone being a brick if this goes wrong, just like you probably are and trying to figure out what I can do to it to make it look like an accident when I carry it back to the Verizon store and pretend to claim it just quit working. Your phone screen will probably go dark, reboot, and then say something like “SW Update” for a few minutes. You can watch the progress bar on the RSD Lite program to see how far along you are. After a few minutes of that I received the android update animation.. that yellow bar you’re used to seeing get to about 30% and fail. Remember that one? Well it got to about 30% again and then just appeared to hang… BUT.. after I looked closer I could see it was still going. Then it slowly made it’s way up to 100% and the phone rebooted. Once it’s done your phone will come back on and you’ll have the new version.

Step 5: Your Phone Might Not Work…

Yeah, I freaked out too. There was a blue triangle icon on my home screen notification area and I couldn’t make any calls, couldn’t send texts, etc. I freaked out at first, knowing I’d bricked it. Actually you haven’t bricked it… it’s just like it came from the factory, with the exceptions that it’s got no account information in its ROM.  If you want to verify, go to the Phone Status screen under settings and look at your phone number. It’s probably not showing correctly. It’s an easy fix.

  • Dial *228
  • Press 2. This will deactivate roaming and put you back on the network.
  • Hang up when done.
  • Dial *228 again.
  • Press 1. This will “activate” the phone on verizon’s network and tell the phone what number it is. Verizon already has all that information stored based on your serial number, so you just need to tell the phone to go get the information again. This might take as long as a minute, but that’s about it.

Sunday, January 02, 2011

Jacob is Gone

It’s a really sad morning here at our house. Little Joshua came running into our bedroom this morning crying because he’d tried to take Jacob, our family’s ferret, out of his cage and something was wrong. Jacob had tried to get out of the cage sometime in the middle of the night and got caught in the door and suffocated. The space was too small for him to escape and I guess he was just determined not to go back in. He did that a lot. He could wiggle out of just about anything, under anything, and between anything.

Some people won’t understand this, but I just wanted to take a moment to honor him here and remember him.  I don’t even like ferrets… I’ve never seen one before that I cared anything for, but this little guy was different from the very first day Hannah brought him home. He was a rescue from the Stanly County Humane Society and when Hannah saw him over the summer she had to bring him home. My first thought was “Great, another pet” but it didn’t last long.

All you had to do was see this little guy in action and you fell in love with him. He played with the humans, the cats, the dogs. Yeah, he even held his own every day playing with my 50 pound dog. Every time I let the dog inside the house, she trots to Jacob’s room to see if he’s in his cage or out and about. If he’s out, she goes looking to play with him. In all the time we had him he never bit anyone, hurt anything, damaged any furniture, or anything else. He was a perfect addition to our little family. We let him out of his cage for entire days, sometimes even all night. He just hung out with the family, laid under the coffee table. He’d even gotten in the habit of trying to follow you into the shower. If you weren’t careful he’d pull back the shower curtain and jump in to wash himself off then tear off through the house like a little madman trying to get the scent of soap off him. He was the coolest little pet I’ve ever had.

He’s gone now and our lives are the worse for it, but our lives are better for having had him as a part of the family, even for only a little while.  He made all of us smile every single day we shared with him.

My Christian beliefs don’t really say much about animals, but I believe that God has plenty of room in all of Heaven’s space for special little friends, so I choose to believe he’s up there entertaining other kids and families and that I’ll see him again one day.

Goodbye little buddy. I’m really really going to miss you. 


Saturday, January 01, 2011

Restoring my Grandfather’s Craftsman Table Saw

I got up yesterday to a slow day in the shop with very little to do, and sometime mid-morning decided I wanted to get Papa’s table-saw out of storage before it got into any worse shape and see if I could restore it and build a table for it so I can use it in the shop. I currently use my Dad’s Makita 1/2 horse but that’s not strong enough for some of the needs I’ve had so I figured it was time to break out the big boy and put it to back to work.

It didn’t take me long to run into one problem after another. The saw had been sitting in storage for about 2 years and had developed a significant amount of rust.  I didn’t have the motor mounts to be able to install the motor, didn’t have the manual for the saw, and don’t really even know what model or year it is, so I have no reference point to start at for any of this. All I know is I have this saw and I want it to go in just this spot in my shop… no plan on how to get from step A to Z.


Visit Old Woodworking MachinesI’d like to give a big thanks to the members over at  “Old Woodworking Machines.” They have a members section where users across the US upload pictures of their saws, drill presses, lathes, and other tools. Through this database of member submissions, totaling 945 Craftsman uploads, I was able to determine the model, year and other info I needed to restore this old saw. They even had the original craftsman manual available for download, which I’d like to point out Sears does offer. lol



This is the saw when I first brought it out of storage. You can see the table (the cast-iron top) is extremely rust covered and in need of some real love and attention.



The base (the big box that hides the inner guts) isn’t in much prettier shape itself; showing signs of rust, dents, dings, scratches and 40 years of use.


This inner workings (also made of cast iron) that make up the working parts of the saw are mounted to what’s called the Cradle; the big piece of iron that hangs down from the middle of the table. They’re in pretty nasty shape too.

Just as a side note, my entire Makita table saw (including the table, saw motor, blades, case AND stand, only weighs about 40 pounds. This big girl here when completely assembled weighs in at about 400 pounds with all the accessories mounted. Since I’m missing a few pieces, she’ll weight about half that when I’m done.


What you’re seeing here is the table turned upside down and the base removed. You can see the Arbor where the blade attaches on the near-side of the cradle. That brown and tan stuff isn’t actually rust. Believe it or not that’s 40 years of caked sawdust… I had to literally break some of it off with a chisel to get it off!



The tilt screw and other adjustment mechanisms are caked with sawdust, but otherwise undamaged over the years, but I’m still going to have to take it completely apart to regrease them. I tried adjusting the saw before I took it apart, but the tilt screw and height screws are so caked with gunk as to make it too much work. I remember what this saw is supposed to function like from my childhood years so we’re taking this baby all the way apart to restore it back to as close to factory as I can.


The base and front panel have been separated for cleaning.  The front panel can’t be replaced since Sears no longer carries that part so I’m going to have to do the best I can with restoring the one I’ve got. It’s incredibly thin sheet aluminum so it’s not really easy to work with without breaking it.


Those silver aluminum guides are called trunnions. The cradle glides inside the lip for left-to-right adjustment of the blade tilt.  I took this picture just so I could remember which trunnion went on the front of the saw since they look almost identical, but one is for the front and one is for the back.



Once completely removed the cradle is ready to work on.



Amy took a picture about halfway through the process.



The finished cradle turned out beautifully. Cleaning it was easier than you’d imagine. First I sprayed it liberally with WD-40. That seemed to immediately loosen all the caked on grime and it almost all just washed off the iron frame. I took a medium grade wire wheel on my portable drill and just performed a quick scour of the remaining gunk. If you’re restoring your own I’ll share a quick tip with you. You’d think a wire-wheel spinning at 18,000 rpm’s would devestate cast iron, but it really doesn’t at all. Sand paper does more damage to metal than a wire-wheel, as long as you aren’t putting all your weight behind it. It made quick work of cleaning the cradle, totalling about 20 minutes from beginning to end.


This is the other side of the Cradle. Here you can see all the divots and recesses. I’d suggest WD-40 before you even try getting a grinder-wheel in those small spaces. This side was completely cleaned using only WD-40 and a kerosene-soaked rag. I didn’t even have to wipe it down afterwards. I just blew it dry with the air-compressor in a couple seconds.



My dad was famous for initialing everything in his shop. If you had your tools stolen off job sites enough times you would be too. Apparently there was another coat of paint put on the base in recent years because when I sanded through it I revealed this on the undercoat. It’s just a neat memory. I don’t recall ever seeing this on Papa’s saw so it might have been repainted when I was too young to remember.  Regardless, there’s another coat of paint here to get through. I did all the sanding with 120 grit paper on a large pad-sander and was very happy with the results.


Sorry for the dirt on my camera lens. I shouldn’t have left it near all the WD-40 and kerosene when I was blowing the trash off the cradle earlier. Oops! Here you can see (through the dirt on my lens) the cleaned shiny steel, ready for a new coat of paint.



While waiting on the paint to dry on the base, I decided to take a look at the motor. Earlier in the day I rewired the motor and tested it. Now that I know it works, I figured I’d better see what kind of shape it’s in. As you can see here it’s pretty dirty, even after being cleaned out with the air compressor.

NOTE: If you’re reconditioning something like this for use in your shop as a hobby, be very careful with the motor you’re using. The Craftsman 113.29660 saw came from sears with a 3/4 horsepower sears motor rated for 110V. My dad replaced it sometime back (like many other’s did) with a stronger motor. If you’re cutting 4x4 pilings or hardwood all the time the original motor is too weak, so carpenters often replace the motor of some of their saws with stronger ones for larger jobs.  Dad had a “big saw” (this one) and a smaller saw (my Makita). This is a 2HP WEG reversible, dual voltage, motor. Reversible means of course that it can be wired to spin in either direction. Dual voltage means it can run on 110V or 220V, depending on the need. My shop is only wired with 110V at the moment so I had to rewire the motor to work with my power requirements. On 110V this motor can draw up to 22 amps. (Considering I only have a dedicated 20-Amp breaker for it I guess I might be rewiring my house again in the coming months… sigh.)

It’s really important to be extremely careful with these big motors.  My Makita saw will sometimes bog down on a 2x4 if it’s wet, so I’m not too scared of it accidentally grabbing a piece of wood and throwing it back at me. This saw however it another story. I remember as a kid that dad was running a piece of 2x4 through it.  Either a nail or an extremely dense knot caught the blade. Since it’s 4 times as powerful as the other motor, rather than bogging down and stopping the motor, this motor grabbed the 2x4 and hurled it backwards so hard that the board went THROUGH the wall behind it. I don’t mean  it hit it and knocked a hole in it. I mean it took a 20 pound piece of lumber and shot it like a cannon right through a wooden wall about 12 feet away. If I’d been behind the motor that day it would have shot it right through me like it was going through a stick of butter. If you don’t NEED a strong motor, don’t use one. And if you do, be cognizant of it at all times.


A closer look at the electromagnet inside the motor. Not too bad but needs cleaning. Do NOT clean something like this with a flammable solvent, or really ANY kind of solvent in my opinion. I’m not an electrician by any means but I can only imagine what would happen if you fired this thing up with solvent still inside the motor. I’d suggest a toothbrush and an air compressor or can of compressed air for cleaning it.


At this point I’ve repainted the base, the bottom of the table, and reassembled most of it back to working order.



Here she is reassembled. I cleaned the wheel assembly (the handle) carefully with a wire-wheel on low speed, repainted the base, and coated the underside of the table with engine enamel. (I figure that ought to keep it rust free for another 20 years or so. lol)


This is a front view once she’s been reassembled. Now I just need to wait for my new motor mount to come in from eBay and then I can get her working again.

If you want to see what a guy can REALLY do when he sets his mind to restoring one of these, check out this guy’s restoration. Click here.

I’m still a long way from that, but I’ll get the parts together somehow and get her completed one day. In the meantime she’s ready to work in Jordan’s Woodshop once again!