[SOLVED] Soft boot-loop/brick on Eken GC10X Tablet


First, this message will be rather long, for which I apologize. I am providing headings that allow whomever is interested to skip to whatever is relevant to them.

About the device:
It is one of two Eken GC10X tablets, purchased from Micro Center a while back dirt cheap. The second one is 6000 miles away in Europe. . . .
It is currently running Android 4.2.2
Its firmware revision is v2.0patch1
Its kernel version is 3.4.39+, dated Friday, October 18th, 2013, at 18:11:40 CST
Its build number is wing_k70-eng 4.2.2 JDQ39 20131028 test-keys
It comes pre-rooted by default. All that needs to be done is to install a terminal program and pay attention to certain paths.

About me:
I have been messing with computers, programming, and operating systems since the time of "wood burning computers"
I know my hosts file from my fstab, I have run various flavors of both Linux and Windows in both client and server configurations, and I know that both man pages and a good search engine Are Your Friends. (which is how I came to be here!)

Since this Eken tablet comes with a bare minimum of internal memory, I was researching ways to mitigate this. I found an article that mentioned a workaround:

  • Copy everything in root to a large external SD card
  • Transpose the settings for the internal and external memory in the /etc/vold.fstab file
  • Save and Reboot

The result of this is a tablet that - regardless of the presence or absence of any external SD card - always boots as if it had never been booted before, (returns to "first-boot / out-of-box" setup). Any installed apps are gone and the "internal" memory - which is about 1-2 gigs - shows absolutely full. In addition to all that, I cannot do anything with the ADB port since it requires setting the "USB Debugging" flag, which gets reset on reboot. (i.e. The ADB interface is not available.

Examining the vold.fstab shows that the original setup of that file has been returned after I did a nuke-and-reboot.

I can reboot and re-install a terminal program and advanced file manager. (X-plore is my favorite)

I see three possible solutions:

  • Find the reason why it's booting like this and fix it.
  • Find a compatible firmware release for this tablet and re-flash it - if possible - from an external SD card.[/INDENT]
  • Do some kind of "nandroid" backup from the other Eken GC10X tablet I have and copy it to this one. Unfortunately it's 6000 miles away and I won't be able to get to it until sometime after January 2019. In addition, I cannot access the device via the ADB port.

Research I have done:
gsmhosting's allwinner forums
This site claims to have a (ahem!), "modified" version of the firmware, which I have downloaded.

The androidmtk site
This site has the "PhoenixCard" software which alleges that it can be used to create external SD card images of firmware files that can:

  • Install firmware from the SD card to the device.
  • Allow you to run the firmware from the SD card to verify it. It should be noted that MalwareBytes flags the updater.exe file because it attempts to download from a known Trojan site. Renaming the extension, (exe.bad), solves that problem.

I have not tried re-flashing any firmware version, though I have tried running the firmware from SD, which doesn't work.

Can someone help me with suggestions on how to return this tablet to normal?

Thanks in advance for any help you can provide!

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