The unimaginable happened: my Samsung Galaxy S3 (SCH-R530M) kicked the bucket. It just… turned off. Futile attempts to power it back on ranging from using different batteries to charges all failed. I lost all hope until I remembered that some devices are able to power on without their batteries but directly connected to a charger (or computer). Huzzah! An orange LED light greeted me back! “What would happen if I plugged it into my Windows PC?”, I thought.
This is interesting… what is “QHSUSB_DLOAD“? A quick travel through the Web determined that this is the Download Mode for Qualcomm-based phones, which this is. Additionally, this also comes up on bricked phones, which mine was for the time being. Long story short, after reading countless forum postings and downloading various questionable files, I finally had all the ingredients for my mobile phone transmutation (Fullmetal Alchemist fans will get the metaphor). First and foremost, provision a “clean room” installation of Windows for this task. The reason is that while these files didn’t necessarily trigger my anti-virus alarm, I still don’t get the “warm and fuzzies” from installing/running these files on the same machine I use for, oh let’s say, my personal files. Secure yourself a copy of VirtualBox and go to town.
Once a Windows installation has been secured (Windows 7 in my case), proceed to install the “Samsung USB Drivers Version 18.104.22.168” and once the installation has completed successfully, go ahead and plug the phone in (remember to pull the battery out first). If all goes well, the sweet notification bubble will pop up and alert that the phone has been successfully been recognized. Go ahead and download a copy of Odin (in my case, I used version 3.09). At this point, fire up Odin and if all went well, the “Message” panel will report that the phone was “Added!!” and recognized.
To resurrect/restore the Samsung SCH-R530M, it will need to be flashed back to Stock ROM. Determining the version of the Stock ROM to load onto your phone can be found on the sticker in the battery compartment. However, it also depends on whether the phone was “rooted” or not and if it wasn’t, then whether the end-user took OTA (over-the-air) updates or not. Case in point, even though my phone stated that my SW version was “LJ1“, it was rooted from day one and attempting to load the “R530MVQALJ1.tar” Stock ROM via Odin failed. The reason was that somewhere along the line, I must have upgraded to a 4.3 bootloader and the only way to restore to Stock was using ”R530MVQUBNA1.zip“.
For good measure, also download the PIT file from a talented developer, “ShabbyPenguin“. The PIT file contains the partition information for the SCH-R530M. PIT files are device-specific so be sure to use the one for the SCH-530M, also known as “d2mtr“.
Back to Odin, click on the “PIT” button and select the downloaded “d2mtr.pit” file. Next, click on the “AP” button and select the downloaded Stock ROM image. Verify that “Auto-Reboot“, “Re-partition” and “F. Reset Time” checkboxes are ticked. Rub on your favorite item of luck and click “Start“. After about 10 minutes or so, the phone should be re-imaged and restarting. If all has gone according to plan, the phone will display its glorious splash screen. Depending on the state of your phone after the reboot, it may boot up completely or just “hang” at the start-up screen. Not to worry, just watch this 5 minute YouTube video on factory resetting the GS3:
At this point, the phone should start up and be back, almost as good as new. There might be some residual troubleshooting that would need to be done but for the most part the phone should be functional. Happy un-bricking!