Nexus 7 First Gen (2012) – Flashing Lollipop Factory image

I got tired of waiting for Android Lollipop to become available for my Nexus 7 (2012) so decided to grab the factory image and flash it myself. I was pleasantly surprised at how easy this was to accomplish and so far I have not had any issues with Android 5.0. I even dare say that it seems faster than KitKat 4.4.4. I will run a Geekbench on it at some point.

First I downloaded the Android SDK and unzipped it to the root of my D: drive. I chose this location because it has been my experience that the folders run a bit deep and Windows Explorer will eventually bomb out on copying files. Unzipping to the root folder keeps the character count and folder names to a minimum.


Installing Google USB Driver

Once unzipped, I ran the SDK Manager under the root of the adt-bundle-windows-x86_64-20140702 folder, the folder name as of version currently available.

In the SDK Manager, I left what was currently checked, scrolled down to Extras, checked the box for Google USB Driver and clicked to install the packages.

When the packages were finished installing, I needed to install the Android USB driver on my system with Windows 7 Professional.

There is a guide for installing the Google USB driver on the various platforms of Windows here.

  1. Click on Start, right-click on Computer and select Manage.
  2. Select Device Manager on the left.
  3. On the right, under list of items under the computer name, look for Other device. It should already be expanded.
  4. Right-click the item name and select Update Driver. This will launch the Hardware Update Wizard.
  5. Select Browse my computer for driver software and click Next.
  6. Click Browse and navigate to the USB driver folder located in <sdk folder location>\extras\google\usb_driver\.) As an example, for me it was D:\adt-bundle-windows-x86_64-20140702\sdk\extras\google\usb_driver.
  7. Click Next to install the driver.
  8. I rebooted the system but don’t know that I exactly needed to.

Next I downloaded the factory image from Android Nexus images page under Factory Images “nakasi” for Nexus 7 (Wi-Fi) and then 5.0 (LRX21P) and unzipped it to the root of my D: drive (D:\nakasi-lrx21p-factory-93daa4d3) as well.


Add folder to Path System Variables

Now, I needed to start my Nexus in fastboot mode and opted to use the keys on the tablet rather than the adb tool in the Android SDK.

I know I’m going to use that tool later and opted to enter its folder location in my PATH system variable so I can run adb commands no matter what folder I was in.

I powered off my Nexus 7 and then pressed the volume up/down and power buttons at the same time until I saw the fastboot screen.

Opening a command console (CMD) as administrator on my computer I typed in the command to unlock the boot loader (This erases all data on the device):

At command line: fastboot oem unlock

I could see the confirmation on my Nexus 7 and saw the red text at lower left reflected it is now unlocked.

Next, in the command console window I navigated to the system image directory I unzipped earlier (for me D:\nakasi-lrx21p-factory-93daa4d3\nakasi-lrx21p) and typed the fast install command which started the flash process of the 5.0 image to my Nexus and waited out the process until it was done.

At command line: flash-all.bat

When the flash process is finished the command prompt will show to click any key to finish, the Nexus rebooted and I had a nice clean version of 5.0 Lollipop.

Before doing anything I re-locked the boot loader by turning off the tablet, booting to fastboot mode and from the command prompt issuing the command

At command line: fastboot oem lock

The text at the lower left confirms the lock was successful.



Nexus 7 (First Gen) Battery and I/O Ribbon Replacement

An ex-coworker asked me if I could look at her nephews Nexus 7 (First Gen) and find out whats wrong with it – offer $20 to fix. She said it was completely dead and would not even charge.

Her nephew is 10 years old so of course I had to ask the usual stuff like if he did something to it or if it got wet and the like. Seems it just one day wouldn’t charge and that appears to actually be an issue with the first gen Nexus 7 tablets.

Well I looked it over and it had all the signs of a dead battery so I looked around the net for battery prices and found a few sites selling OEM batteries. I gave her mom the URLs to check out and described what I thought was the issue, letting her decide on whether to purchase a new battery and she did. I did try to sell her on getting her grandson an iPad or iPad mini which, to me, is a bit more useful scholastically. Dont get me wrong, I own a Nexus 7 First Gen myself but also an iPad where my kids sometimes use iTunesU or download books to read.

After replacing the battery I also found that the charging port was bad. If I held the charging cable a certain way I could get it to charge but that is not a solution. I wager what happened is that the charging cable was in the unit as someone was walking around with it and the cable pulled, damaging the port. I let my ex-coworker know about the port issue and she asked me how long it would take to fix it because the little boy was flying back home the next day.

I cant have a sad boy on my hands so I took the audio/charging ribbon from my Nexus 7 and put it in his. Perfect match since both are first gen units and the battery charged up nicely. I ordered a replacement cable on Amazon. His mom wanted to pay me for it but I just told her the only requirement I have is that her grandson perform a random act of kindness someday. I dont plan on taking her up for repayment for the part or whatnot.

The process of replacement for both battery and charging port should be the envy of iPad owners as well as other tablet owners where the OEMs almost liquid nails their products shut. In a nutshell, most tablets are not made to repair but made to be replaced as the technology changes. Anyway, here are my steps for replacing the Nexus 7 parts which is by far the easiest and quickest hardware repair I have ever done.

Steps Gallery