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Slidepad 704ce - CWM Recovery and Fastboot mode

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If you are having a Slidepad 704ce tablet running a rooted ICS 4.0.4 or a rooted JB 4.1.1, next step is to install ClockWorkMod Recovery.

It will allow you to do complete system backup & restore, to flash an alternative firmware, to format the Nand partitions, ...

Another interesting tweak with this tablet is to access FastBoot, which is not available straight from boot.

This article explains how to access the hidden FastBoot menu and how to install a specific port of CWM compatible with our A13 tablet.

This procedure has been done to be run on a Ubuntu workstation, but it should be easily adapted to any other Linux flavour, and even to a Windows PC.
As a pre-requisite, you need to Install Android tools on your Ubuntu box.

This article is only for advanced users. You really need to know what you are doing if you want to follow this procedure.
If you only need a rooted tablet with Google apps, you don't need to follow all these steps and to go further.
It has only been tested on a Memup Slidepad 704ce running ICS 4.0.4 or JB 4.1.1. It may not be valid for a Generic A13 tablet.

1. Boot into Recovery Mode

First thing to explain is how to boot into Recovery Mode on a Slidepad 704ce.

Before booting into recovery, you have to make sure your tablet is switched off.

The easiest way to do it is to press Power for 10 seconds. It will be forced off.

Then, to start your tablet into Recovery Mode, you need to follow these steps :

  1. press Vol +
  2. press Power till the boot logo comes
  3. release Power
  4. release Vol + after 1 second

You should now enter into Recovery Mode (Stock 3e Recovery for the time being, ClockWorkMod Recovery very soon ...).

2. Install CWM 6.0.1.2 based Recovery

Slidepad 704CE is provided with a very basic Recovery.

The main limitation of the provided recovery is that it doesn't allow to do a complete system backup & restore.

Hopefully, Mateusz Krawczuk has ported ClockWorkMod Recovery 6.0.1.2 to Manta MID08 tablet and Effeci2 modified it to add a missing *** Go back *** menu.

As MID08 is using the same Allwinner A13 hardware platform as Slidepad 704ce, this port of CWM can basically be used on our tablet with a slight adaptation.

2.1. Adapt Recovery to NAND Partitioning

On a Slidepad 704CE running JB, the NAND memory is partitioned as follow :

 nand  (/dev/block/...)  partition name
 size  (Mb)
nanda boot 16
nandb   16
nandc root 32
nandd system 512
nande data  1024
nandf   16
nandg recovery 32
nandh cache  256
nandi    256
nandj internal sdcard  1586

On Slidepad 704ce, Internal scard is mounted on nandj ( where it is mounted on nandi for most A10 and A13 tablets).

So, I had to modify ClockWorkMod image to mount internal sdcard on nandj. This can be done by modifying /etc/recovery.fstab in the recovery InitRamFS image.

/etc/recovery.fstab

# mount point   fstype          device
/boot           emmc            /dev/block/nandc
/cache          ext4            /dev/block/nandh
/data           ext4            /dev/block/nande
/emmc           auto            /dev/block/nandj        /dev/block/nandj1
/sdcard         vfat            /dev/block/mmcblk0p1    /dev/block/mmcblk0
/sd-ext         auto            /dev/block/mmcblk0p2
/system         ext4            /dev/block/nandd
/recovery       emmc            /dev/block/nandg

The new ClockWorkMod Recovery 6.1.0.2 modified for Slidepad 704ce is available from my Google drive.

Download it, extract it to a directory and open a console at the root of the extracted directory.

2.2. Backup Stock Recovery

Next step will be to do a backup of the embedded recovery ... just in case.

This can be done easily by launching the script backup-recovery.sh with the tablet connected (USB Debug on).

# ./backup-recovery.sh

backup-recovery.sh

#!/bin/sh
# 30/11/2012 - N. Bernaerts

# Wait for device connexion
adb wait-for-device

# Extract current recovery from the nand partition
adb shell su -c "dd if=/dev/block/nandg of=/mnt/sdcard/recovery-backup.img"

# Extract file from the sdcard to the computer
adb pull /mnt/sdcard/recovery-backup.img recovery-backup.img

# Remove file from the sdcard
adb shell rm /mnt/sdcard/recovery-backup.img

# Finished
echo "Done, current recovery has been extracted to recovery-backup.img"

After few seconds, you will get a file recovery-backup.img in your current directory.

Keep it safe in case you want to flash it back.

2.3. Flash new CWM 6.0.1.2 Based Recovery

We will now do the last step : flashing CWM 6.0.1.2 Recovery.

This can also be done easily by launching the script flash-recovery.sh with the tablet connected (USB Debug on).
This script will check the presence of recovery.img, transfer it to the tablet and flash it to the proper nand memory block.

# ./flash-recovery.sh

flash-recovery.sh

#!/bin/sh
# 30/11/2012 - N. Bernaerts

# Check if recovery file is present
if test ! -f ./recovery.img; then
echo "no recovery.img file to flash"
exit 1
fi

# Wait for device connexion
adb wait-for-device

# Push recovery file to the sdcard
adb push recovery.img /mnt/sdcard

# Flash CWM Recovery
adb shell su -c "cat /mnt/sdcard/recovery.img > /dev/block/nandg"
adb shell su -c "sync"

# Remove file from the sdcard
adb shell rm /mnt/sdcard/recovery.img

# Finished
echo "Done, Your new recovery is installed"

After that, your tablet is reay to boot into Recovery Mode with a complete CWM 6.0.1.2 based recovery.

You are now in front of ClockWorkMod Recovery.

slidepad-704ce-cwm

The only limit of this recovery version is that you need to navigate with Vol -, Vol + and Power buttons.

This latest CWM recovery includes a **** go back **** menu entry.

You can now do a full backup of your system on your MicroSD.

Your Slidepad 704CE is becoming almost impossible to brick.

Happy hacking ...

3. Reboot in Fastboot

Fastboot is a command line tool used to directly flash the filesystem in Android devices from a host via USB.

It allows flashing of unsigned partition images & it is disabled on production devices. But there is a way to get it on our SlidePad 704ce.

Before going further, make sure you have fastboot utility installed on your computer.
You will need it to reboot your tablet in normal boot mode.

To reboot in Fastboot mode, you need to do run these commands from a console with your tablet connected (USB Debug on) :

# adb shell
$ su
# echo -n boot-fastboot | busybox dd of=/dev/block/nandf count=1 conv=sync; sync; reboot

It will reboot in fastboot mode.

You can check it with a simple lsusb or fastboot command :

# lsusb
Bus 001 Device 023: ID 0bb4:0fff High Tech Computer Corp. Android Fastboot Bootloader
...
# fastboot devices
20080411    fastboot

To reboot in normal mode, you need fastboot utility :

# fastboot reboot

Force power off (Power for 10 seconds) and restart your tablet.

Hope it helps !

Signature Technoblog

This article is published "as is", without any warranty that it will work for your specific need.
If you think this article needs some complement, or simply if you think it saved you lots of time & trouble,
just let me know at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. Cheers !

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