Friday, June 20, 2014

Samsung Galaxy S4 Mini (i9195) Back Light (BLN) - How to Make it Work

The time had finally come to replace the old faithful HTC Desire S (Saga) for the missus so after much looking around we landed on the Samsung Galaxy S4 Mini.

It ticks all the boxes for what we needed it to do but upon arrival we noticed it was missing one small but important feature we've taken for granted on every phone we've ever had between us (and yes - going back to our late 90's Nokia's as well!).

Believe it or not, the S4 mini doesn't include a notification LED.

Luckily, being an Android phone, there's always a way to fix things :)

To start the adventure, pretty much everything I read advised that BLN requires a patched kernel that has BLN support enabled.

So, wanting to stay on the stock ROM (touchwiz), I began the laborious task of finding a patched kernel that would work.

Amazingly, I found two!

There are two patched ROMs floating around. namely:

So, I gained root, installed CWM and flashed the kernel through CWM.

Then I installed BLN from Google Play which reported that the patched kernel was ok.

And....... Nothing.

Of note though, the Vikinger kernel absolutely kills your battery super fast.

So, at this stage, I thought ok, I'll downgrade the ROM to an ML1 ROM as that's what the patched f4ktion kernel was based on.

Still no dice.

At this point I arrived at the conclusion that (despite the odd person claiming they had BLN working on a touchwiz ROM but never replied to anyone that asked HOW?!) that the ROM itself must need to support for BLN as well.

As what is turning out to be a regular thing, I ended up finding out that CyanogenMod 11 has full kernel and ROM support for BLN included (when you install it the CM11 kernel will overwrite your existing one).

So, I headed over and grabbed the CM11 ROM from (the CM codename for the i9195 is serranoltexx), flashed it (don't forget Google Apps) , installed BLN and holy shit batman!
It works!

Being CyanogenMod, the ROM already includes root so there's one less thing to worry about :)

Interestingly, a CM11 ROM is about 200MB in size.
That's a bit better than the average 1.6GB Touchwiz ROM.

Now, for anyone who hasn't used a CyanogenMod ROM in a while, they've come a long way.
Apps are stable and all hardware works correctly on the 9195.

In addition, pretty much every little nicety that exists on Touchwiz is present on CM11 as well.
And if something's not there, you can be guaranteed there's an app or widget on the Play Store that will bring it back (we haven't found one yet).

The only problem I encountered on CM11 was restoring SMS's through SMS Backup +.
To fix this, check out my post Restore SMS Backup Plus to Messages on CM11 (KitKat 4.4.3).

So, there you have it.

Unless you're a lucky so and so who somehow manages to get BLN working on a Touchwiz ROM, as usual CyanogenMod is here to save the day :)

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