Kyocera Brigadier APN unlock and phone disassembly

Today I will focus into Kyocera Brigadier phone. It happens that I own one, purchased from Amazon Store, but I am not a Verizon user (nor plan to be one). This is not your usual reset Android tutorial.

Kyocera Brigadier Verizon APN locked PhoneThe Kyocera Brigadier phone is a really nice macho Android device, rugged up to the point of including a synthetic mineral sapphire screen. Yep, the unbreakable screen technology that all iPhone users where expecting to get on their iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 plus but apparently Apple considered too expensive to add into their design.

Only drawback: Verizon has locked the APN options inside the Kyocera Brigadier, hence I was not able to add my own LTE provider’s APN… until now.

As it happens, today I had two news, a good one … and just to prove that ying yang concept, a bad one. The good one, which I will blatantly copy (citing the source, all in due time) will make the first part of this article, in the form of a tutorial that will -hopefully- allow you to edit APN configuration on your Kyocera Brigadier.

The bad news followed as a realization, when I inserted my nano Sim into the Kyocera Brigadier, that due to a probably forceful-ish insert, I had apparently damaged the Nano slot inside my “rugged” mobile phone.

I was shocked to say the least: My Kyocera Brigadier has been transformed into a (not so) rugged brick. It deserved a disassembly in order to reach the nano Sim slot pins and inspect the damage made.

This will be covered in the second part of this article, and it is not for the faint of heart.

Unlocking APN edit on your Kyocera Brigadier

The following tutorial was originally written by xda-developers forum user buchym and the reposted into this post.

It involves blocking the Android apps that are preventing you from editing your APN. Even if this “APN policing” code reactivate later, your already edited your APN and thus it will be kept in working condition.

So this may be the safest method of changing your Kyocera Brigadier default APN from Verizon into the one you need.

You will need a Windows PC because a windows-only tool, called “Debloater” is needed in order to stop the bloatware and policeware code inside your Kyocera Brigadier.

  1. You need to activate the Developer Options on your Kyocera Brigadier: Go to Settings then scroll down to “About phone” and then down to “Build number”. Click on the item 7 times in a row. This will give you the message “Now you are a Developer”.
  2. Open the “Developer Options” and activate “USB debugging” option.
  3. You need to have the official drivers for your Kyocera Brigadier. You can install drivers from here . Also please ensure your computer correctly detects your Kyocera Brigadier phone.
  4. Connect your Brigadier and select Media Sync Mode. IF Verizon software installation pop up appears, cancel it.
  5. Use this link  in order to download the Debloater software. Install it and skip any eventual warnings of your windows or antivirus.
  6. With your Kyocera Brigadier connected and recognized on your PC, Open Debloater software.
  7. In up left corner you have “Read Device Packages” – press it, (t will read the processes running inside your phone)
  8. Check the apps (first column) or processes (second column) that you don´t want to use.
    Search for qualcomm and check qcrilmsgtunnel.apk alias com.qualcomm.qcrilmsgtunnel (this is what block the editing of APN)  I checked all Amazon, Nhl, all Verizon except VZWService (it will mess the programmable button and every time you open the phone it will ask for program it)
  9. When you finish your selection, just click Apply and wait for Debloater to block all services.
  10. Disconnect your Kyocera Brigadier and go to Settings > More > Mobile Networks > Access Point Names and you will see in its right corner a plus sign. Tap it, introduce your APN settings and save them. When in doubt, you can check on provider’s website for manual settings.
  11. Check on mobile data: Close Wi-Fi and verify you have mobile internet.
  12. Restart your Kyocera Brigadier and verify if you can edit again APN. (if not, repeat steps 6-10)

Disassembling the Kyocera Brigadier Android Phone

First let me say that I could not find a single disassembly tutorial for my Kyocera Brigadier on the web. So, I had no idea on where to start. Upon first inspection, I was somewhat freaked out with those really weird industrial type screws on the back of the phone.

Kyocera Brigadier industrial screw

Now, the front of the Brigadier was another story: I took off the four philips screws from each corner of the screen, which in turn allowed me to take off, making a bit of pressure prying from the screen edge, up and outside; both the bottom tab holding the buttons and the slim top bar.

Kyocera Brigadier disassembly

Then I tried the weird screws at the bottom, only to find them being plastic dummy screws, which only served as “rugged” marketing. Below one of them, I could see, at the side, a rusted out philips screw. But since it was definitely NOT below the dummy screw, I started suspecting that there was more to it than keep unscrewing things.

Kyocera Brigadier Dummy screws

Hence I inserted a small screwdriver horizontally, into the hole that was left from the dummy weird screw, only to find that below the exterior back case of your Kyocera Brigadier, there is another case, being the external one glued into the one below.

Kyocera Brigadier cracking open

I applied some pressure and managed to peel out the back outer case, or “marketing shell” from my Kyocera Brigadier.

Kyocera Brigadier outer case

Kyocera Brigadier Inner CaseThe second shell had six philips style screws (two of them really big ones).

I proceeded to unscrew them, and then with a plastic case opener tool, I proceeded to open the inner casing, which was also glued (but included some snap-ons at different intervals).

This required some nerves, as I did not have the faintest clue about how much force needs to be applied.

Needless to say this whole opening task left some serious dents and scratches on my new -but useless- Kyocera Brigadier phone.

As I said at the beginning this whole Kyocera Brigadier disassembly process is not for the delicate or faint of Heart.

Finally, I was “inside” the phone. The battery is not wired into the phone’s motherboard, but it rather makes contact with pressure bronce style contacts, as if the Kyocera Brigadier carries a design from an earlier phone with a removable battery.

Kyocera Brigadier inside

The battery is Kyocera branded, “made in Japan”, model SCP-60LBPS and delivers 3100mah on 3.8Volts.

Kyocera Brigadier Battery

On the back of the inner case I found the NFC – QI wireless charger receptor, carrying the TDK brand, model 18F3-NF-K2. Again, no wire connecting the back case into the screen side (mainboard), only four pressure contacts.

Kyocera Brigadier NFC and Wireless charging

Finally I got to desolder the nano sim slot metal casing, in order to reach the bronze-like metal pins that I very much suspected I had broken when inserting my Nano sim.

Kyocera Brigadier Cheap Nano Sim Slot

Yep, two of the three outer contacts where damaged. Actually the one in the middle-front is completely destroyed.

Bottom line: So much for ruggedness, Kyocera. This Kyocera Phone has a nice “manly” outer shell, but water and sand actually gets inside the inner shell and starts rusting the screws in there.

Also, I need to point out that there is a lot of GLUE used to seal the whole design in our Kyocera Brigadier phones. It felt kind of cheap.

To add into the cheap side, that matte black finish your Kyocera Brigadier got, is just an easily scratchable elastic “paint”. The usual shiny black plastic will surface “in no time at all”.

Kyocera Brigadier cheap matte finish-paint

Before “upgrading” into the Brigadier, I did enjoy another water-proof phone, the Fujitsu F-01F (japan made, only for Japan Market, distributed by DOCOMO telco between 2012 and 2013).

I did open the Fujitsu F-01F too, only to find and admire a vastly better engineered water containment system and phone in general. That Fujitsu was a really cool phone. For instance, there was no need to cover the micro USB or headphone connectors.

I did have the misfortune to slip the Fujitsu phone into concrete floor, shattering the (Gorilla Glass 3) screen. This screen accident fueled my Kyocera Brigadier purchase. Now the screen is pure sapphire, but the Nano Sim Slot is pure crap and even the inner screws get rusted.

Kyocera Brigadier rusted screw

Hopefully this story and pictures may be of use for you, reader. Me, I got 100% frustrated, as I lost 400 USD on my Kyocera Brigadier and could never actually use it.

Chinese tablet

So, you need to hard reset a Chinese Tablet ?

Chinese TabletIf you got here, then it is safe to assume that you need to get a Chinese tablet into factory default settings. Maybe you want to give it away, sell it out, safely dispose it, or maybe you forgot your password or unblocking pattern. The main problem with a chinese tablet is that you most probably won’t find an official website for your “brand” … if you are lucky enough to find any brand or even model in your Chinese tablet. So you are probably on the wild with your Chinese tablet,  left with no help whatsoever.

Thankfully enough, the last phrase is not entirely true, as different Android user forums around the globe dedicates an interesting amount of discussion space for the Chinese tablet breed. Scrapping and investigating such valuable user-generated information, we came up with a series of hard reset / factory defaulting methods that you  may try in your Chinese tablet:

Hard Resetting your Chinese Tablet

You may invest some time trying the following hard reset methods on your Chinese tablet, as they seem to have been quite successful in most cases. Previously to start testing each one of the following buttons sequence, you need to get your Chinese tablet powered down. It won’t work if your Chinese tablet is merely on sleep mode: You need to shut it down completely. Try to press (and maintain pressed for some seconds) the following keys:

  1. HOME and POWER buttons
  2. UP VOLUME, DOWN VOLUME and POWER buttons
  3. UP VOLUME and POWER buttons
  4. DOWN VOLUME and POWER buttons

Hopefully one of these methods will manage to bring up into the screen the recovery menu, where you will be able to choose the WIPE DATA / FACTORY RESET option (probably by moving over the menu with the VOLUME UP / DOWN buttons). If you are lucky and can get into such menu, just execute the WIPE DATA / FACTORY RESET option on your Chinese Tablet!

Reset Android Battery

Reset Android battery and get accurate charge readings

reset Android batteryHere you will learn how to reset your Android battery algorithm.  This task is fulfilled by clearing up the  statistical information used by the charge / discharge algorithm inside your Android device to show you the nice battery stats icon and also to determine when your battery is in critical condition and your Android device needs to shutdown.

If your Android battery data is corrupted (its charging / discharging times and voltages are badly sampled) then your visual battery indicator and battery usage behavior on your Android device will act based on it, and thus you may end with a lower battery life, as your Android may either determine that a full charge (or discharge!)  is achieved “at any moment”.

If your suspicions are high on such behavior then it is time to perform a  reset of Android Battery data.  Be warned that this method will not fix the actual juice in an old or bad battery:  It will only reset the statistical data that Android got on it’s usage.

Performing a Reset of your Android battery data

Android battery data is saved on a file inside your Android device. In order to successfully reset the statistical Android battery data, you will need to simply erase such file.  This file location is  /data/system/batterystats.bin and sadly enough you will need to have root access (or superuser access) to traverse such path. You will also need to have a Terminal App installed in your Android device from which we will type and issue the following commands into your operative system:

  1.  su
  2.  rm /data/system/batterystats.bin

First step is to type “su” and hit Enter to gain SuperUser permissions. If you don’t have your Android device rooted, then this first command will fail. On the other hand, if you got it rooted, then it will ask for confirmation on the superuser access request:  Confirm it.  Second step is the rm command (remove) which will delete or remove the file located at /data/system  named batterystats.bin, thus effectively resetting your Android battery data.