05/01/2016, 09:57 PM
I'm a regular at the Chicago webOS meetups, and one of the things we do there is help each other with issues we are having with our webOS devices. It can be software-related, like bypassing activation on a newly-acquired phone or tablet, getting Preware setup for a new user, or updating root certificates.
Sometimes we try to deal with issues people have with hardware, although we can't do anything too involved at the Moretti's restaurant in Schaumburg, IL that we usually meet at, we do what we can. If we have to, one of us who has the expertise will offer to take a device home to work on over the coming days and weeks, so that disassembly can take place. I once took home a fellow member's TouchPad Go to remove a SIM card that had somehow slipped inside the case, in order to disassemble it and rescue the card, and put it back together. creepingmee, who organizes the Chicago webOS meetups, sometimes does the same with other people's phones. We usually meet in-person with the owner after we have fixed whatever problem was encountered with the device, and return their device to them, hopefully in working order.
At the most recent meetup we had on April 17th, 2016, one of the folks who comes occasionally was there, and brought his 64GB TouchPad that he had bought a while ago off eBay, as an "as-is/broken" purchase.
He had brought it a few months earlier, and at that time, creepingmee had tried a couple of things with it, but had no luck. It was at this point that I got interested and asked creepingmee what he had done so far, and he then suggested that I try membooting it. I said, "memboot, what's that?" So creepingmee showed me how to memboot webOS, and how you could proceed to use novaterm to log in to the device, and you had access to the underlying Linux command prompt in webOS to take a look around and see what's wrong. (For more information on how to memboot, see Memboot - WebOS Internals).
Well, during that first encounter late last year with that 64GB TouchPad, we didn't have much time to diagnose what was wrong, much less try to fix it, so it went home with its owner. But at this more recent meetup, the non-working 64GB TouchPad was back, and I offered to take it home and take a look at it over the next few nights and see if I could fix it. So the owner and I exchanged e-mail addresses and phone numbers, so we could keep in touch. There is an element of trust in these meetups that gets built up after seeing the same folks at several of these meetups, that allows for one of us to take anothers precious webOS device home and work on it. You probably wouldn't do that with a perfect stranger. Also, those of us that take devices home to try to fix them know to take a bit more care - we don't own the devices, and at least when do this, I communicate with the owner as to what exactly I will do ahead of time, so there are no surprises.
Well, I know that was a bit long-winded, but in the end, I was actually able to get that 64GB TouchPad working again no problem, right back to stock webOS 3.0.5. Now because I ran into some things that weren't well documented anywhere I could find on the Internet, and would probably be useful to other folks who are trying to revive a 64GB TouchPad in the future, I thought I would document the steps I took to revive it in this thread.
I run Fedora Linux on my machines at home, so this will be documented from that standpoint. Also, I will skip over details on some things, like how to extract a webOS boot image from a doctor file. But otherwise, I think this should be useful no matter what operating system you're running on your desktop.