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blackthund3r / civato Bundle Market
The A500 Hacking FAQs are copied below

All Download links as well as a glossary are at the bottom of the page

How can I root?

Honeycomb 3.0.1 Use GingerBreak. Make sure you enable Unknown Sources first
Honeycomb 3.1

Use IconiaRoot. Make sure you enable Unknown Sources first

Honeycomb 3.2.1

Downgrade to 3.0.1, use GingerBreak then flash a 3.2.1 ROM

ICS 4.0.3 Use blackthund3r ICS Root. Make sure you enable USB Debugging first

How can I get ClockworkMod Recovery (and where necessary a patched bootloader)?

Honeycomb 3.0.1 Install Acer Recovery Installer from the Play Store
Honeycomb 3.1
Honeycomb 3.2.1

ICS 4.0.3 (Leak)

Build 1.031.00

  • Ensure you rooted with the option to remove auto-reflash of stock recovery (if not run ICS Root and tick that option only to do it)
  • Use blackthund3r's APX Flash Tool with an appropriate bundle including a patched bootloader and recovery

ICS 4.0.3 (OTA)

Build 1.031.00 / 1.033.00

  • Ensure you rooted with the option to remove auto-reflash of stock recovery (if not run ICS Root and tick that option only to do it)
  • Use blackthund3r's APX Flash Tool with an appropriate bundle including a patched bootloader and recovery. Patched kernels are available from xda threads

How can I enter APX Mode?

If your device boots
  • Enable USB Debugging
  • Use A500 Manager to 'Enter APX Mode'
  • Alternatively, if you're using the flash tool, there is an option to enter APX Mode as part of the flash workflow
If your device does not boot and has a black screen
  • Load A500 Manager and see what mode your tablet is in. It could be in APX Mode anyway
  • If not follow the instructions in the next section
If your device can't boot past the spash screen, gets stuck in the bootloader or otherwise does not boot but the screen is not permanently blank
  • If your tablet is in a case, remove it (as the cases usually cover the reset hole)
  • Plug your tablet into the PC
  • Hold the power button to switch it off completely (to check it is off, temporarily remove the power cable and no light should be on)
  • Push the straightened end of a paper clip into the reset hole and hold the reset button for three seconds
  • Whilst holding, press the power button for ~1-3 seconds until the light comes on
  • Hold the reset button for another second or so
  • Release the reset button and the screen should be blank on your tablet, the light should be on and the PC should detect an APX Device
  • Once your drivers are correct the tablet will be identified as an 'ACER USB Boot-recovery Driver' device

How do I enter recovery mode?

If your device boots
  • Enable USB Debugging
  • Load A500 Manager and press 'Enter Recovery Mode'
If your device does not boot or you want to do it the normal / hardware way
  • Switch your tablet completely off
  • Press and hold Power and Volume down for three seconds
  • Whilst it is booting keep holding volume down
  • When your tablet writes some text on screen (between 2 and ~5 lines depending on your recovery and bootloader) you can release volume down

How do I enable USB Debugging?

How can I get my CPUID and hence SBK?

If your bootloader is an ICS one Press the button in A500 Manager to get your CPUID then proceed. To do it manually run (in ADB) dmesg > /sdcard/dmesg.txt then search the file for androidboot.serialno=XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX (where the 'X's represent the 16-digit CPUID). In the latest version of A500 Manager (1.1), it can get your SBK for you once it has your CPUID
If your bootloader is a honeycomb one Do a nandroid backup in CWM and your CPUID will be in a text file in the backup folder. This is currently the best way on the honeycomb bootloader

Glossary of A500 Hacking Terms

Acer Recovery Installer This is a Play Store application designed for installing CWM on A500 tablets when rooted with a tool such as Iconia Root or GingerBreak which do not install CWM
ADB Android Debug Bridge. This is software which utilised USB Debugging on the tablet and most root tools use this to perform the necessary tasks. ADB is part of the Android Software Development Kit but most root tool include a copy of their own so the SDK isn't a prerequisite
APX Mode APX Mode is the mode on Tegra2-based tablets such as the A500 which allows you to, with the correct SBK (see below), flash (see below!) any image. It is a hardware-level failsafe and provides sophisticated brick protection. 99% of issues can be sorted with APX mode including repartitioning the entire storage if necessary
Bootloader This is the first bit of software-level code that is run when the device is switched on and can be flashed from APX Mode using an application such as blackthund3r's APX Flash Tool. If the bootloader is 'unlocked' you can install ROMs, recovery modes etc that are not approved by Acer
ClockworkMod Recovery (aka CWM) This is a custom recovery mode and is generally the scene standard for flashing ROMs to the device on the device itself
CPUID This is the unique identfier for each Tegra2 chip and is needed to get the SBK
ICS Short for Ice Cream Sandwich and is version 4.x of the Android Operating System
itsmagic This is a tool created by XDA member @sc2k and allows any file to be flashed to the tablet when using the honeycomb bootloader. The ICS bootloader is not susceptible to this clever trickery
Fastboot This is a useful mode originally intended for developers but is enabled when you flash a custom bootloader. It allows you to flash a recovery image / kernel / ROM without your SBK. You can even boot recovery and kernel images without flashing them first (they're uploaded to RAM). On the latest patched bootloader you can boot into fastboot mode with Power + Volume Up
Flashing Flashing involves uploading an image (copy) of an area of the device's memory for permanent storage. For example, flashing a ROM involves copying a boot (kernel) image to the kernel partition in the device's storage. The main system software is copied into place
Kernel This is the first bit of the Android operating system (and is based on Linux). The rest of android runs below the kernel. It is launched by the bootloader and is responsible for mediating the communication between the tablet's hardware and Android. All drivers (i.e. for the cameras) are like bolt-ons for the kernel. Hacked kernels enable things like overclocking, running ADB as root, busybox run-parts and other performance tweaks
Recovery Mode This is the mode on the tablet which allows you to install custom ROMs and provides a failsafe for when the main system isn't functioning. The default recovery (Acer) allows only Acer ROMs to be flashed but when you flash CWM you can do anything :)
Root The main user on a unix-based operating system such as Android. When you have root access your tablet's entire potential and software is customisable
ROM A complete software package which contains the Android operating system etc
SoD / Sleep of Death This indicates an incompatibility between the kernel and the bootloader. The symptom is the tablet switching itself into a death-like when you put it into sleep mode and requires the user to hold the power button for 8 seconds to switch the tablet off before rebooting
SBK Secure Boot Key. This is calculated based on your CPUID from http://acerhacks.com/sbkcalc/ and allows you to flash things in APX Mode
USB Debugging A feature which is intended for software developers to monitor, test and launch their apps but is a useful feature to hackers because it facilitates a high level of control of the device without the user having to do anything (it's easy to build up a list of commands and execute them together)

All Download Links

GingerBreak http://adf.ly/8Qlkw
Iconia Root http://adf.ly/8QlmU
ICS Root


A500 APX Flash Tool http://adf.ly/8Qlqa
A500 Manager http://adf.ly/8Qlrk
SBK Calculator http://acerhacks.com/sbkcalc/