I no longer maintain my Motorola websites. Some information/links may be outdated.I created this site because I wanted to learn how to modify the V3 simply and correctly. I owned four of them and I learned from a lot of reading at numerous websites, how-to guides and easily a thousand threads in a few forums. I also learned through my own trial and error as I followed the various instructions (which were sometimes not clear in their procedures or wrong). This website contains everything I have learned from programming 31 V3s so far, some many times over and over. I've done everything in this site that I've written about so I know that everything works. Since I host the majority of the programs that I use in these instructions on this site, when you download programs from me you'll be using the exact same version as in the screen shots that will walk you through all the steps needed to mod your phone.
This guide was written with the intent that a reader would start out at this page and read through the entire guide to the last page. The instructions I have written build upon each other as you progress further into the guide. So if you just skip ahead (and have no modding experience) a crucial step or five may be "missing" as far as the reader is concerned.
I've never tried making a website like this before. I'm a former military guy and the motto "attention to detail" was a way of life for me when I served. I think I've delivered that detail in spades here.
You should know doing any of this could void your warranty, and I'm not responsible for any damage done to your phone by following anything in this guide. These instructions have worked for me and many of my readers who have written to thank me for this guide. However, this is not an indicator that this guide will work for you. Keep that in mind if you have a problem and decide to email me about it and I reply that I can't help you.
Follow the instructions carefully or you could wind up with a dead phone.
Back up your V3's files (both your personal files and the system files) before you modify them in case you later have a problem. It's very simple to do everything in this guide, you just need to read carefully and have some patience. The easiest way to get in trouble is to not read all the directions in a particular section, or worse, think you know what you are doing and ignore my directions and go off the map.
If you do not have the original V3, then these instructions may not work for you. If there's a letter after your phone's model name, then it is up to you to decide whether to follow any of the instructions on this site. There are several versions of the V3 with a letter after it like c, m, r, t, and v. I do not have the resources to purchase every variation of this phone and document what can be done to it.
If you don't find what you are looking for here, try using the search box at the bottom of each page. By clicking on one of the radio buttons you'll be able to select from four of the biggest and most active Motorola modding forums around: Howard Forums, Mod My Moto, Motomodders and the MotoX Forum. I am just one guy running this site, I can't compete with the hundreds of people found on the forums who are on the bleeding edge of what you can do with this phone.
Enough talk, let's get going.
What you needYou need a V3 Phone with a fully charged battery. I can't stress enough the importance of having a fully charged battery prior to performing any modifications with it. Doing this kind of work and using the various modding programs drains the battery quickly when it's connected to a computer via the data cable. It's best if you charge your battery from the wall socket and not the computer. People seem to have many issues because they charge their batteries from the computer. If you insist on using the computer to charge your battery before modding you may need to recondition your battery to attempt to restore its life. You do this by discharging the battery until it's dead, take it out for a few minutes and then plug it back into the wall socket and fully recharge the battery, with the phone shut off, until you receive a "Charge Complete" message. Just for reference, my phones are a year old now and my battery will last if left on 24/7 for 5 days straight. They used to last 7 days.
Data transfer cable (USB A to USB mini B - 5 pin). You can find this cable here. This cable is also used by many digital cameras so look around your house. This can be found at the local electronics store too.
Windows 98 (not SE, not ME) or a Windows XP computer with service pack 1 installed at a minimum. You could also use a Mac running Virtual PC but it will be slow and many report having USB connectivity issues . All the programs needed are only made for the Windows platform. There is a program called moto4lin which is for Unix, Linux and Mac OS X platforms. It will only allow you to transfer and delete files, modify attributes, edit seems and manage Java midlets. Here's their home page.
Programs: (the must haves)
Flash Backup. Backs up your phone's system files into one file with your current settings. It can also backup your PDS and your bootloader. It can also flash files you create back to another phone. Additionally, it can disable RSA protection and edit PDS files. Click here to download this program.
Mobile Phone Tools (MPT) Motorola store. Motorola sells this is as a direct download or will mail it to you with a data cable. With this you can transfer mp3s, pictures, and backup up your phonebook to your computer. It contains essential drivers for other programs.
Motorola Product Support Tool (PST) comes with the Multi Flash Flex (MFF) program. These programs are used to flash and flex phones. It also contains essential drivers for other programs. Search Google for "PST 6.7 general.zip" and for the patch file "PST 6.7". Then copy the patch file contents into the PST install folder on your computer and overwrite the duplicate files. There are also "PST 7.1.1" and "PST 7.2.3" versions out there. Take your pick. These programs are only for authorized Motorola service centers so you'll have to Google these programs to find them. I won't link to them or host them since it is illegal to do so. I will not respond to email requests for them either.
Motorola P2K Drivers version 2.9. Important drivers for your phone. You need to install these drivers before using any P2K programs. Click here to download this program.
P2K Commander. This program aids greatly in installing skins, or themes, which change the look of your phone's buttons and menus and sounds. Click here to download this program.
P2K Phone File Manager. Also known as "P2KMAN". This is one of many file management programs for P2K platform phones like the V3. It allows the transfer of most all files (including seems) and the deletion of "locked" system files that you may want to get rid of. Click here to download this program.
P2K Tools. This program is another file manager, can upload Java programs and skins, but most importantly, it offers one of only a few ways to auto reset all ring details to silent so that access to the ring details menu can be restored. I host two versions of this program. Click here to download these programs.
RSD Lite will also flash and flex your phone. It offers a much more simplified interface making it less confusing than MFF. Since it is also one of those official internal Motorola programs, you'll have to find it on your own. Try searching for "RSD Lite 2.7" and various other version numbers up to "3.2". I won't link to it or host it since it is illegal to do so. I will not respond to email requests for this program either.
XVI32. This is the program for editing seems. Click here to download this program. You can also use other hex editors.
Now that you have the programs you need, ensure your battery is fully charged. If your battery dies you could have an irrecoverable situation on your hands.
Information that would be good to know before you start grabbing flashes and flexes and modifying your phone left and right are: what version of bootloader your phone has. Find this by holding down "*" and "#" while holding down the power on button (while your phone is off of course). My V3 had bootloader "07.E0". Since I can't screen capture the bootloader and it's such dim text, I made this graphic to demonstrate what it looks like.
You should also know what flex version and what software version you have. To get this information press the key then press "Settings" press "SELECT" scroll down to "Phone Status" press "SELECT" scroll down to "Other Information" and press "SELECT". Now you can check the "Flex Version" (mine was GSMV3xxCIN02NA088) and the "S/W Version" (mine was R374_G_0E.40.57R_A1).
If you have bootloader "08.26" on your phone you may encounter issues with modding it (specifically changing the splash screen) due to the RSA protection that comes with it. Here is the program that can be used to downgrade this bootloader and ONLY this bootloader to "07.D0". To use it, simply connect the V3 to the data cable and launch the downgrader program. It will give you a thorough status report as it determines your software and downgrades the bootloader one version at a time.
If you have bootloader "08.23" then don't use this program, just flash the "R374_V3BL_07.D0" bootloader on to your phone. This bootloader can be found here bundled with some other files.
This is the output from the Scotty2 downgrader program. I've highlighted the lines where the bootloader is being downgraded one version at a time.
Here is another file in .shx format which can also downgrade your "08.26" boot loader, and I hear it works even better than the Scotty2 program. Download the file here.
Note: once you have installed bootloader "07.D0", the phone's screen may appear to be off or not displaying when it is in flash mode. This is because the backlight may not be on with some V3 hardware versions. This is typical with phones that had the "08.26" bootloader originally. This will not cause any problems with the phone.
TerminologyHere are a few definitions of some terms that you'll hear a lot of when you start modifying your phone. It's important we are all speaking the same language when it comes to working on and trouble shooting our phones. By the way, I use the terms operator, carrier, network and service provider interchangeably. They all refer to whomever you pay to get cell phone service from, like Cingular.
Bootloader - This can be compared to the BIOS on a PC. It is low level software telling the phone what is what and where to find what it needs to operate. Bootloaders can be upgraded and downgraded. There is no real reason to upgrade one, so don't be tempted to.
Flash - This is the most common thing you modify on the phone. The flash is essentially the operating system of the phone. When you flash your phone it will adjust the various features of your phone. You will not lose any of your media or any of your specific settings when you flash. A flash can be used on most any carrier's phone unlike the flex, which is carrier specific. Reflash files are flash files. They are called this I imagine because you use them to reflash a phone after you have already installed a monster pack on it but now you want the most recent flash.
Flex - These are the files that contain the cell phone service provider's branding on the phone. This is where things like your start up animation with the Cingular or T-Mobile logos and sounds come from. It also contains the specific menus and labels for programs they use like T-Zones or MEdia Mall. They also include all the programming needed to connect you to their Internet service and text messaging on their network. The most important thing to remember is if you have a Cingular phone, then don't install a T-Mobile flex on it. Your phone will essentially function, but any of the network connectivity for the Cingular network will be lost and you'll need to reprogram the connection data specific to your carrier, or just flex again.
Monster Pack - Includes the flash and the flex and a language pack for a specific language all in one file. It installs everything in one step. They come in many varieties, some are unbranded for Motorola, some are Cingular, O2, Rogers, and can come with various features already enabled. Just read the description that the file comes with so you know what it does before installing it.
PDS - A 64kb section in memory that can't be accessed via USB, unless you have bootloader "07.D0" installed. It holds critical information like your IMEI, ESN and any subsidy locking information. The PDS is the most sensitive part of the ROM. If it should become corrupted (downgrading when you shouldn't, misuse of Flash Backup, etc.) you will need to use a Smart Clip or follow the test point procedures or get a copy of the free demo version of Motorola Repair Studio to fix it, otherwise your phone will be dead.
Seem - The phone has numerous seems programmed into the operating system of the phone. These seems control every aspect of how the phone behaves such as: SMS being turned on or off by default, enabling the video camera and its various settings like zoom control and brightness of the image, raising the volume level on the various speakers of the phone, enabling ENS, etc. You change one feature at a time when you edit seems in a hex editing program. While the flash is all the programming on the phone, the seems edit the individual programs, if you will, in that flash, one feature at a time.
Unlock - A phone that is locked will only work on that particular service provider's network until it has been unlocked. There are a few ways of unlocking a phone and with one of them it can be done for free. See this page for how I did it.
Program installation notesThese instructions are written from the standpoint of never having any Motorola phone software installed on your computer.
I am going to install some programs and drivers, which will allow the computer to communicate with the V3. Download the "Motorola P2K Drivers version 2.9" here. Now extract the file "Motorola_EU_Driver_Installation.msi" from the zip you downloaded and double click the file to start the installer. Click "Next >".
Follow the screens and the program will install the drivers and you'll wind up at this screen. Click "Close".
At this point make sure your phone is not connected to the computer via the data cable. Now go to your Windows' "Start" button and click it, then click "All Programs" and you will see a new program folder has been added called "Motorola Driver Installer". Highlight the file called "Motorola Driver Installer.exe". The program will immediately start doing its thing.
|When it's finished click the radio button labeled "Clean and Reinstall" in the "Operation Mode" section of the screen and then click "Start". The program will do its thing again. When it finishes click "Exit".|
Now connect your phone to the USB cable. I then started the program P2K
Tools, but before it could start the following screen appeared.
This wants to install software for a USB Composite Device. Make sure you check the
same radio button I did "Install the software automatically (Recommended)", then click
The program will install the software and will finally display this screen.
Now this screen appeared. This wants to install software for an Accessories Interface. Make sure you check the same radio button I did "Install the software automatically (Recommended)", then click "Next >".
The program will install the software and will finally display this screen. Click "Finish".
|Now this screen appeared. This wants to install software for a Data Logging MCU Interface. Make sure you check the same radio button I did "Install the software automatically (Recommended)", then click "Next >".|
|The program will install the software and will finally display this screen. Click "Finish".|
|Now this screen appeared. This wants to install software for a Test Command Interface. Make sure you check the same radio button I did "Install the software automatically (Recommended)", then click "Next >".|
|The program will install the software and will finally display this screen. Click "Finish".|
|Finally we are done installing drivers and P2K Tools started and recognized my phone. This screen shot is from the older version of the program.|
Next install: PST and MFF or RSD Lite. Then install P2K Phone File Manager.
Then make sure the phone works with all of these programs.
The first time you use Flash Backup, MFF or RSD Lite with the phone connected to the data cable and attempt to flash or backup the phone, the hardware wizard will appear to install software for the Motorola Flash Interface. Make sure you check the same radio button I did "Install the software automatically (Recommended)" and click "Next >".
You will shortly see this screen. Click "Finish".
Don't forget to install MotoSkin, P2K Menu Editor, XVI32 and any other programs you downloaded.
If you are having problems getting your computer to work with whatever program or getting it to recognize your phone, then you should read this thread at MotoModders. Please do not e-mail me about this issue, I've never had this problem so I can't help someone else with it. The only other things I could think of to help is try another USB port and make sure you aren't connecting through a USB hub. I'm running Windows XP with Service Pack 1 and I just got lucky installing everything and having it work the first time.
This ends the "start" section of this tutorial.