Galaxy Tab 2 10.1

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The "Galaxy Adventure" involved updating several Samsung Galaxy Tab 2 10.1 WiFi tablet, model GT-P5113 with no cellular hardware, along with several other similar models.

Where to start? There's so much floating around in my head, I hope I remember all of the important things.



My Device (The Details)

As mentioned above most of the tablets were Galaxy Tab 2 10.1 models. That model was originally released for sale back in May of 2013. It is based on an OMAP (Open Multimedia Applications Platform) system from Texas Instruments. The CPU is an ARM based Dual Core Cortex A-9operating at 1 GHz. It was available with 8, 16, or 32 GB (all of the models I worked with had the middle range 16 GB) of storage space (AKA non-volatile RAM, equivalent to an SSD) and an micro SD Card slot that can support a card up to 32 GB in size. The screen has a resolution of 800 x 1280 pixels. They all surprisingly support 802.11n WiFi (in addition to 802.11abg) and have blue tooth capability.


First Things First

OK, a couple of subjects to bring up first because they were holes that I fell into. You might not understand exactly what I'm writing about, but more importantly you'll be aware of them ahead of time. The "holes" I'm referring to may not affect you, but it did impact me (perhaps because my device is a bit more than a decade old.


Mounting SD Card

TWRP, do not install

Magisk VS SuperSU

Do not use Open GApps

Google Play Store will not work (ever). Google Play Service, if installed will cause the device, when rebooted to boot up, crash and reboot in an endless cycle. So lesson here is do not install anything that has the word / name "Google" in it. It seems they've figured out a way to have open source software and make you buy new hardware if you want their software. Do no evil... (Google's mantra) Ha! I guess being evil doesn't include being a tool.


Why? Several reasons. First and foremost is that Samsung chose to stop supporting the above noted device about two years after I bought it. It is an older device, but two years is not a very long time to support a device. I can understand terminating OS updates, but they cut off all program, err, App updates too. Then some apps refused to run anymore because they wanted to update. A bit of a catch 22. Other programs like Firefox were old and did not behave very well and needed to be updated. Another catch 22.

There are several firmware updates for the Galaxy Tab 2 10.1 that have been created over the years. After some research it seemed that Lineage OS was going to be the best choice (as of 2019). There were no firmware images available for the latest version (16.x and on the verge of 17.x as of 9.2019) of Android, which is understandable. The latest version was 14.1 (AKA EsspressoWiFi), so that's what I installed.

Installation

The installation instructions were a bit sparse, but mostly accurate: https://wiki.lineageos.org/devices/espressowifi/install

The instructions they wrote reflect how it should work, not how it does work. I'm not making a complaint. They work very hard and have accomplished some astonishing goals. They're working on much more than writing perfect instructions. Its not my goal to write perfect instructions either. I just want to pass along some tips that I learned along the way.

The biggest issue I encountered centered on what was "Volume Up" and "Volume Down" Button. Access to the Galaxy Tab's basic functions (BIOS equivalent, boot menu, ?) are accessed by pressing the "Volume Up" or "Volume Down" Button in conjunction with the Power Button. When my device is on, "Volume Down" is closest to the Power Button. That changes when accessing the basic functions (IE, "Volume Down" is now furthest away from the Start Button). Very frustrating for many reasons. One, why does the device do that? And two (back to the sparse instruction comment above), the instructions give no explanation on what one should see when pressing the "Volume Up / Down" and Power Button together. Eventually I figured it out with more research. For me it may have been related to the fact I had "screen rotate" disabled. But that's only if making that setting changes a "BIOS" / hardware setting too, as all of the firmware updating is done at a very basic level before the Android OS even starts.

  • "Volume Down" + Power Button = Download function: This means the device waits for a file to be transferred to it.
  • "Volume Up" + Power Button = BIOS "equivalent" menu.

Another glitch involved the Zadig Utility and installing the driver for the device. Each time I disconnected it I had to run the "Replace Driver" function for the command line utility to access the device.

Google Play Store

Google Play Store was another adventure. APKPure.com

External SSD Card

Whatever you do, do NOT store applications on an SSD card. Only store it on the internal flash memory (AKA SSD equivalent)