SOLVED: Sony Xperia SP- Soft-bricked, can't get PC to recognize


Dec 1, 2012
Visit site
UPDATE (SOLVED): Problem: I seemed to have experienced the infamous Xperia "Red Light of Death". Phone vibrated 3 times continuously when charged. Screen never came on. Led was only ever RED, and only came on sometimes, sometimes solid, sometimes blinking twice.
Computers were not recognizing the Xperia. Neither volume UP or DOWN button presses were ever recognized by any software on either the Win 7 or Win XP installations. However, on a couple of occasions, both computers recognized there was a device on the USB when doing a reset (reset + power). This caused them to try to install drivers. But the drivers, if installed, did not successfully allow any of the software tools to recognize the phone. Nor was the phone recognized in Device Manager, when connected, even when the UP or other buttons were pressed at connection time.

I asked for assistance on 4 or 5 of the net's biggest android forums on this... none came. So I was quickly giving up hope on the Xperia, since it seemed like there was nothing else to do. It might have taken water for all I know, when it was not in my hands, and the mobo might be quiched.

Solution: The phone is charging right now, the screen and color LEDs work fine, the original system is fully intact, and I did not need to reflash a new ROM or anything. However, I'm not exactly sure how I resolved the problem. I'll go through *some* of the steps that preceded this breakthrough. The breakthrough may (or may not) be due Sony's "PC Companion". This is an older version of what Sony now calls "Xperia Companion" (which did nothing good for me, so I went with the older software). "PC Companion" was also useless to me, since it kept insisting on not working unless you allow a connection for it to update itself. But the update always failed, with no clue as to why, despite a/v & firewall disabled. I found a comment where one user said he was able to do a bit more with PCC, once internet was disabled. So I tried that, and yeah, I could at least convince PC Companion to see if it could recognize the phone once the internet was disabled. But just like Flashtools, adb, the Sony Xperia SP drivers and all the other tools, it didn't recognize the phone was plugged in. At least, not the first few times I tried it, using various button combinations. (Up, Down & Reset/Power). Finally, I got a blue light and the PC (Win XP install) started loading drivers for the device.

I'm just not sure what triggered the change. Was it a reset/power combo operation? Was it a slight shift in the motherboard or USB connector that did it? Was it due to (the THIRD install of) PC Companion, or it would have happened with other software eventually? Its hard to say. I think these things contributed to the solution: PC Companion, the reset/power combo press, and just a lot of perseverance, most importantly. (3 days working at it in my case!). If you get this same problem with your Xperia, good luck to you.

(Trust me. You'll need it).

Lent my Sony Xperia SP (C5306) to someone, it came back soft-bricked. I assume this, because the phone vibrates 3 times when charging now, and the screen will not ever turn on at all. Sometimes the RED led at the bottom lights up or blinks twice, but never any other color.

I tried installing various older & newer versions of Sony's "PC Companion", to get the drivers working, but there's no hope there. Stupid Sony insists on updating it or it won't work, and the update always fails on every computer I've tried installing it. I tried various versions of Flashtool, including the older, as well as various versions of its driver package, where I install the "Viksam motherboard" driver for the SP (since there is otherwise no SP specific driver here).

Flashtool gives an error saying "This bundle is not valid -- cannot identify your device". It continues anyway, to the screen asking to put the phone in fastboot mode. But this is where I can not get it to proceed and recognize the device, using the Vol. Down method (Vol. Up doesn't do anything either). Sometimes, I can trigger a response by hitting the reset+power buttons on the SP. Then, it'll say device is connected, but debugging is off, and the it will disconnect the device and I'm back at square one.

I tried all this on Windows 7, then moved to a Windows XP computer, hoping to have more luck with that system. On XP, I installed ADB and its drivers, specifically Windows drivers for the Xperia SP that I found. But I can't install those SP drivers on Windows, and Windows won't recognize the phone is connected in the Hardware Device Manager. On the Windows 7 system, at one certain point (where I was hitting reset + power buttons), Windows did recognize the phone was connected, and it installed USB drivers for it. Yet that did nothing to help Flashtools recognize the phone.

Since my computers won't recognize the phone, and the screen does not come on, I do not know any way to turn on USB debugging. I'm not even sure its necessary. I tried flashing just the kernel alone, and this is supposed to not require USB debugging on. But it still doesn't work, because why else, the computer and/or Flashtool won't fully recognize the phone.

I don't know if the bootloader is unlocked or not, but the phone was rooted and SIM card unlocked. Is the phone soft-bricked, hard-bricked, repairable...?
Last edited: