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How to unbrick (reflash, restore, etc) your iLiad
#1  Adam B. 12-14-2007, 04:35 PM
So you've gotten brave with programming on your iLiad. You like to dig into the internals and write some scripts. Maybe for automatically downloading comics or an MP3 Player from the contentlister. But something went wrong, and now your iLiad won't boot. Don't worry, it happens. I've had to reflash a few times myself. As long as you have firmware 2.11 and the developer package from iRex, you should be able to recover from most problems.

I should note that I said should. There are some things you can do to your iLiad that could cause problems that the reflash option won't fix. The most important, is working with the embedded flash. This includes the boot loader and the waveform. Flashing these (you must use a special command), could cause your iLiad to be unusable. But other than that, you should be fine to replace the Kernel, Initrd, and the root filesystem.

So lets get started. Here's what you need to perform a reflash:
Alright, so you've followed the instructions on getting the developer package, and you want to be sure that you are able to reflash before you break anything. Here's what you need to do.
  1. Make sure your iLiad is powered off, with nothing on the screen.
  2. Hold the connect button in the upper right hand corner of your iLiad.
  3. While holding the button, press the power switch on the bottom.
  4. Count to Five while continuing to hold the button.
  5. Release the connect button.

You should see the boot image appear. After a second or two, the whole screen will flash white, and it will start to boot normally. Congratulations! Your iLiad is able to be reflashed. You should have no fear for working in the root filesystem.

Now, lets go through the steps you'll need to actually perform the reflash.
  1. Unzip the cf-card-contents.zip.
  2. You should see a folder called "images" and a file called "config.txt"
  3. Copy these to the root of your memory card. (Not inside any other folders)
    • For example. If on your windows computer, your memory card is drive "E:", you should have E:\images and E:\config.txt
  4. Unmount your memory card and insert it into your iLiad.
  5. Make sure your iLiad is powered off, with nothing on the screen.
  6. Hold the connect button in the upper right hand corner of your iLiad.
  7. While holding the button, press the power switch on the bottom.
  8. Count to Five while continuing to hold the button.
  9. Release the connect button.

You will see it going through steps that are very similar to updating the firmware on your device. It will reboot at the end and bring you back to the main screen. Performing this method, you shouldn't loose any of the files on your internal memory. But it's always good to make a backup just in case.

If the above does not fix your device, you will need to do a format of your iLiad to return it back to factory settings.

Doing the following will delete everything on your internal memory! Back up all books, documents, notes, etc before continuing.

How to perform a format of your iLiad:
  1. Backup all of the files on your internal memory.
  2. Unzip the cf-card-contents.zip.
  3. You should see a folder called "images" and a file called "config.txt"
  4. Copy these to the root of your memory card. (Not inside any other folders)
    • For example. If on your windows computer, your memory card is drive "E:", you should have E:\images and E:\config.txt
  5. Edit your config.txt with notepad.
  6. Delete everything in it, and type "format" (without quotes).
  7. Unmount your memory card and insert it into your iLiad.
  8. Make sure your iLiad is powered off, with nothing on the screen.
  9. Hold the connect button in the upper right hand corner of your iLiad.
  10. While holding the button, press the power switch on the bottom.
  11. Count to Five while continuing to hold the button.
  12. Release the connect button.


It will reset everything to factory settings, and you should be able to then update to the latest release without problems.

You can find more detailed information in this pdf. But the above guide should help most users who need to unbrick their iLiad.
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#2  TallMomof2 12-14-2007, 08:11 PM
Thanks!
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#3  mocelet 12-15-2007, 07:31 PM
Quote Adam B.
You should see the boot image appear. After a second or two, the whole screen will flash white, and it will start to boot normally. Congratulations! Your iLiad is able to be reflashed. You should have no fear for working in the root filesystem.
For completeness, can you describe what you would see if you are not set up for reflashing?
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#4  Adam B. 12-16-2007, 10:52 AM
Quote mocelet
For completeness, can you describe what you would see if you are not set up for reflashing?
If it's not setup for reflashing, holding the connect button will have no effect and it will boot up like normal.
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#5  Lazycat 12-18-2007, 10:58 AM
Will the installation of the Abiword be undone after the unbrick? I'm just curious. As I understand, the Abiworld will make changes to the registry.
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#6  Adam B. 12-18-2007, 11:24 AM
Quote Lazycat
Will the installation of the Abiword be undone after the unbrick? I'm just curious. As I understand, the Abiworld will make changes to the registry.
The registry changes may remain. I haven't tested that. You will need to reinstall the application part because it recreates links on the internal memory.
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#7  csaba911 02-10-2008, 11:35 AM
Can this procedure be done if you have 2.12 already installed ?
Or am I out of luck now ?
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#8  Adam B. 02-10-2008, 01:29 PM
Quote csaba911
Can this procedure be done if you have 2.12 already installed ?
Or am I out of luck now ?
Every firmware after 2.11 will have this ability.
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#9  MScottParkinson 05-08-2008, 10:38 AM
So mine seems to be dead after trying to update it - problem is the holding the button and restarting it doesnt seem to do anything HOWEVER i cant get it to a point where theres nothing on the screen.

I dont know if i cant get it working cos its been screwed up or just because it doesnt support this option.

Either way i'm in huge trouble...
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#10  lorenzomikael 05-12-2008, 11:59 AM
Quote MScottParkinson
So mine seems to be dead after trying to update it - problem is the holding the button and restarting it doesnt seem to do anything HOWEVER i cant get it to a point where theres nothing on the screen.

I dont know if i cant get it working cos its been screwed up or just because it doesnt support this option.

Either way i'm in huge trouble...
I initially have the same problem as I could not power off my Iliad. It went through a continuous cycle of rebooting. What I did was to press the reset button at the back during the time that my Iliad went blank (before it starts rebooting again - you have to do it fast). It broke the cycle and my Iliad was powered off. I did what Adam B. instructed and my Iliad is okay again.
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