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Creating a FrankenPre3 (EU Pre3 with 16GB memory board)
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Old 10/28/2011, 05:59 AM   #1 (permalink)
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The HP Pre 3 is available in a number of different models:

1) EU Pre 3 (8GB) available in QWERTY, QWERTZ and AZERTY variations

2) Verizon Pre 3 (16GB)

3) AT&T Pre 3 (16GB)

The goal of this thread is to work out how to make an EU Pre 3 with 16GB of memory.

Note the daughter board inside the Pre 3 has nothing to do with the cellular modem, it holds the flash memory only and nothing else.

There is no way to change the cellular hardware of a Pre 3 as that circuitry is on the main board which is not removable or interchangeable.



The main board in the EU Pre 3 is marked "EU", the main board in the AT&T Pre 3 is marked "NA" and we assume the main board in the Verizon Pre 3 is marked "WP" (for World Phone).



The daughter board in the EU Pre 3 is marked "8G" and the daughter board in the AT&T Pre 3 is marked "16G". The goal is to swap those two boards, and then adjust the contents of the flash memory to make it work.

Note that the flash memory contains not only the normal webOS operating system partitions and user data partitions, but also contains the modem-related partitions and the tokens that define the configuration and factory calibration of a particular hardware device. So the contents of those flash memory partitions need to be swapped between the two devices as well (thereby putting them back in the device from which they came).

This thread will document the experiment, and if it is successful, how it's done.

Step 1 is to capture the flash contents for each of the two devices.

Status: Completed

To do this, I have added a "qualcomm" target to the Meta-Doctor which captures all of the flash memory partitions to files.

Step 2 is to swap the two boards.

Status: Completed

A simple matter of taking off the back cover, removing all the screws, removing the plastic inner casing, removing the daughter board screw and then gently prying the daughter board off from the main board. Reverse the process to reassemble.

Step 3 is to reprogram the relevant flash memory partitions with the device's original configuration.

Status: Completed

It looks like partitions 7, 8, and 13 need to be swapped. Partitions 7 and 8 are the Modem ST1 and ST2 partitions, and partition 13 holds the tokens. The nduid and IMEI are stored somewhere in partition 7 or 8. The modem $HW VAR is read from the hardware.

Step 4 is to doctor both devices with the appropriate doctor, to reinitialise the other flash partitions to the correct contents.

Status: Completed

The modem firmware is in the lower flash memory partitions, and the doctor for each device correctly flashed the modem firmware (EU Pre 3 modem firmware was upgraded from 3004 to 3500, AT&T Pre 3 modem firmware was downgraded from 3500 to 3004).

After doctoring, both devices seem to be working normally.

The AT&T Pre 3 now has 8GB of flash memory, and the EU Pre 3 now has 16GB of flash memory.

Step 5 is to test the cellular functionality, to ensure the modem configuration has been successfully swapped back into the original device.

Status: Completed

Both devices are confirmed to have 3G data capability, on their original frequencies.

-- Rod
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Last edited by rwhitby; 10/28/2011 at 09:27 PM.
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Old 10/28/2011, 06:22 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Good luck!! (Watching with interest)
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Old 10/28/2011, 06:53 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Wish you the best of luck! I will hold out on getting my replacement Pre3 until you have come to a conclusion.

edit: Hmm, cant wait that long, ordering the US version tonight (should arrive in a week or so). Tell me if you need any help in your testing. I'm not experienced in anything like this but I could be your guinea pig or something, lol.

Last edited by LevSer; 10/28/2011 at 08:08 AM.
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Old 10/28/2011, 08:40 AM   #4 (permalink)
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Here is the AT&T Pre 3 with only 8GB of flash memory (better watch out for people selling these on eBay):
Attached Images
File Type: png deviceinfo_2011-09-09_093740.png (57.9 KB, 90 views) Email Attachment
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Old 10/28/2011, 08:41 AM   #5 (permalink)
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Here is the EU Pre 3 with 16GB of flash memory (the only one in the world I would expect):
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File Type: png deviceinfo_2011-08-08_105134.png (57.0 KB, 95 views) Email Attachment
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Old 10/28/2011, 08:48 AM   #6 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rwhitby View Post
Here is the EU Pre 3 with 16GB of flash memory (the only one in the world I would expect):
I'm waiting to see you kick that 4G Tp up to 128GB
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Old 10/28/2011, 09:31 AM   #7 (permalink)
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Rod,

Too bad it takes a few billion dollars (or at least 1.2 billion) to run a WebOS company because I say the outcome would have been very different in your hands...the stuff you are able to do is amazing, and all of your patches would be options built into the base OS.

How much do you need to buy from HP and seed your company with enough money to produce the unlocked Pre 4! I will assist with the grass roots fund raising!

Sorry for the off topic.

Back on topic, all the EU owners of the 8 GB are about to be really lucky it appears.
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Old 10/28/2011, 09:33 AM   #8 (permalink)
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Fantastic! Now, what's under the metal shielding? Is there a 16gb flash chip, that possibly could be replaced with a 32gb?
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Old 10/28/2011, 09:39 AM   #9 (permalink)
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Hmmm... So IMEI is setup in one of the partitions? Can we swap those partitions on each device and force the IMEI swap? I.e. Att frequencies radio, while using EU model IMEI?
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Old 10/28/2011, 09:47 AM   #10 (permalink)
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What is the chance to brick your phone by doing this? Or should I ask: Is the Pre 3 brickable like the Veer?
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Old 10/28/2011, 10:03 AM   #11 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rwhitby View Post
Here is the EU Pre 3 with 16GB of flash memory (the only one in the world I would expect):
Would you consider making a guide for this procedure?
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Old 10/28/2011, 11:31 AM   #12 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by GuyFromNam View Post
Someone please educate me.
What's the point of sacrificing an AT&T Pre 3 if that same phone works in Europe?
I'm sure I'm missing something, so don't bite off my head.
From what I remember one support the 850 frequency and the other 900
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Old 10/28/2011, 11:38 AM   #13 (permalink)
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From what I remember one support the 850 frequency and the other 900
Thanks. I thought the 2100 MHz band solved that problem.
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Old 10/28/2011, 11:46 AM   #14 (permalink)
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Thanks. I thought the 2100 MHz band solved that problem.
Possibly, you know much more about the international frequencies than I do. Didn't really look into it much since I don't have to worry about international travel.
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Old 10/28/2011, 01:11 PM   #15 (permalink)
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Possibly, you know much more about the international frequencies than I do. Didn't really look into it much since I don't have to worry about international travel.
Rod probably just needs an exotic freq that's on the EU, and not on the NA, for when he goes out camping in the outback.
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Old 10/28/2011, 02:43 PM   #16 (permalink)
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LOL
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Old 10/28/2011, 04:30 PM   #17 (permalink)
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Rod probably just needs an exotic freq that's on the EU, and not on the NA, for when he goes out camping in the outback.
It is indeed true that 2100 is usually limited to metropolitan areas whereas 900 covers the rural areas.

-- Rod
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Old 10/28/2011, 04:32 PM   #18 (permalink)
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Would you consider making a guide for this procedure?
Once you have the Meta-Doctor set up and are able to memboot, it's actually pretty straight forward.

-- Rod
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Old 10/28/2011, 04:33 PM   #19 (permalink)
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So you can have an AT&T Pre 3 w/ 8gb and still be running 2.2.3.

Is there another obstacle to using the AT&T 2.2.3 doctor on an EU Pre 3? I don't care much about 8gb vs 16gb, but I'm curious to see if 2.2.3 irons out any of the bugs I have using an EU Qwerty Pre 3 on T-Mobile USA.

Edit: based on the picture of your EU Pre 3 w 16GB running 2.2.0, I guess the answer is "yes", there is an obstacle. Sorry to not read more clearly at first before asking.

Last edited by rumz; 10/28/2011 at 04:39 PM.
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Old 10/28/2011, 04:33 PM   #20 (permalink)
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Hmmm... So IMEI is setup in one of the partitions? Can we swap those partitions on each device and force the IMEI swap? I.e. Att frequencies radio, while using EU model IMEI?
I'm not aware of how to separate the IMEI from the rest of the modem configuration parameters in those partitions, and they seem to be encrypted.

-- Rod
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