Galaxy S i9000M

The Samsung Galaxy S i9000M (aka the Vibrant) from Bell Mobility seems to be having a high rate of failure with the internal SD storage.  Starting back in September, some folks started seeing their internal SD card become unreadable, unmountable, or just plain invisible to the kernel.  There seems to be a few things in common here -- most of the affected users are running Froyo, most of them have also applied some flavor of "lag fix," and the only sure-fire way to fix it is to ship the phone back to Samsung.

There's a lot of theories, ranging from bad hardware, inferior components, and unsafe hacks.  After reading for half the day, I think it's a combination of all three.  It certainly seems like folks who have upgraded to Froyo but haven't mucked around with their file system aren't seeing many issues, and those that have used some sort of lag fix are seeing the most.  Of course Samsung didn't use hardware that did not meet their specs, but they also didn't use the absolute best available -- that's not very kind to the bottom line.  SD media doesn't take repartitioning very well, and it's likely that the hours spent applying and removing various lag fix schemes has caused early failure for many.  Add in the ever-present bad piece of hardware, and you have the makings of a mess.  And since the only real fix is to send it in and spend time without your phone, my advice is to stop messing with the file system -- inflated Quadrant scores just aren't worth it. Thanks Gregg for bringing this to our attention!


Reader comments

Bell Samsung Galaxy S phones dying - bad hardware, or bad hacks?


The issue is not related to the lag fix, because users of every other variant of Galaxy S have also used lag fixes, and none of the other systems have suffered from the dead internal sdcard issue. This appears to be some type of bug in the Bell i9000M ROMs, because users of Perception ROM based on the Bell Froyo release have also reported sporadic issues with internal sdcard errors on Captivate, but unlike the real Bell Vibrant, these issues are fixable by a reset and reboot. By the way this is old news, and the internal sdcard issues existed long before the recent Froyo release.

I do see a pattern here: It always comes back to the user, not Samsung! Just like the latest GPS fix for the Captivate that resets it back to the original settings. It always has to be US messing with the settings. Question? Why were these people using Lag fix? Maybe because it Lagged? Just like us Captivate users trying every way under the sun to get our GPS working. If it wasn't broke, most of us wouldn't mess with it! I don't hear many complaints about HTC, Motorola, etc... Not that these companies phone don't have a bug or two. But, you don't hear the types of complaints that us Samsung owners have. I guess Samsung's motto is "just send it out and we will fix it later (or not!)".

This recommendation is also full of faulty logic. Over the life of my phone I've applied and removed the lagfix at most a dozen times. With new voodoo being fully compatible with clockworkmod, there is no reason to undo the lagfix more than once every couple of months. I'd rather apply the fix and get the real life performance gain (not just inflated quadrant scores). If the memory card fails, I'll get Samsung to fix it under warranty. After all they are one that created this crap RFS, and they need to pay for their incompetence.

My friend just bought a Galaxy S and on the first day, no mods of any sort, was having serious back button issues. It was as if the back button was being held down. Hitting the center home button would set off a shutter sound and take a screen shot. I've had bad luck with Samsung phones in the past... (pre-android even)

This makes me want to avoid their phones even more.

I suspect it is the lagfix itself that is the problem here, not the act of application and removal.

Its not clear at all if the various lagfix schemes take into account the fact that the underlying file system is on flash ram, and do it properly. Huge writes (like your whole lagfix ramdisk) need to have almost as much free blocks as the entire ramdisk because of the way rewrites happen. (Rewrites happen into previously erased blocks, not the same block it was read from. Blocks must be erased prior to becoming free, and erasing happens asynchronously in a different thread).

It is not the lag fixes that are causing the issue. You seem to have no idea how the lag fixes are actually implemented. The way the file system in an SGS is set up, the wear leveling and low level writes are handled by the NAND chip, while the file system is abstracted on top of this. The lag fixes typically only change what file system is used. The file system driver by Samsung is extremely slow, and replacing it with ext4/jfs/ext2 speeds everything up a lot. While ext4/jfs/ext2 themselves have nothing to deal with flash memory, nether does RFS, which is just fat32 with journaling.

You are absolute correct, I don't have detailed knowledge of how lagfix works. Early reports were that it essentially set up a huge ramdisk in RFS. Maybe that changed since I stopped paying attention.

But if the file system has nothing to do with it, then perhaps you could explain why the high correspondence of these failures to lagfix users?

The failures are all on one device, the Bell Vibrant i9000M. This points to one of two things, faulty hardware for that variant and/or a faulty coding of that ROM by Samsung. As far I know none of the other Galaxy S variants have had issues with failed internal storage.

Take a look at this poll. It was started on 27th September (long before the actual Froyo for SGS ever came out). The first two Eclair firmwares add up to a 10% failure rate, which is about the same as the the Froyo firmware. There appear to be no difference in the amount of failures whether you use lagfix or not. This is obviously a tiny sample size, but if the trends are correct, neither Froyo, nor lagfix had anything to do with the failures.

Had mine for 3 weeks and then it just would not boot anymore, I sent it back for repair, they told me 2 weeks, at the end of two weeks I called and they told me parts are on back order and it will be another 3 weeks, I was pissed. Phoned every Bell number I could demanding a new phone, but no one could give me one, so now I sit hoping its going to be here before Christmas. They told me parts are back ordered till the 22nd, so I don't have much hope. I don't understand what parts it could have possibly needed, and that there is a shortage

This happened to me like 2 months ago when i turned my vibrant off. It would boot normal but when the lockscreen was supposed to pop up my screen just went black. I pulled the memory card out and the phone loaded, but said my internal memory was corrupted so i went into settling and formatted the internal memory and everything is back to normal

My Sprint Samsung Epic has had 2 SD card failures that required the card to be reformatted. I had loaded the new leaked Froyo DK 28 and Wireless Tether using Pre 15, which is associated with the above phone.
I cannot understand what he said above (ha), but just throwing it out there.

I have the Samsung Vibrant S for about three weeks, I have not experienced any issues and to be honest my phone runs like a dream!

I never installed any lag fixes, my phone did experience the freezing and lagging issue though. I guess its a matter of third party apps in my opinion since I left mine pretty bare bones...

Hope this helps you guys....

I had my Bell Vibrant crash the morning after updating to 2.2. I took the phone in and was told that it is a hardware issue. Some of the hardware is not compatible with the 2.2 update forcing the crash. The only option was to send the phone in to have the faulty hardware replaced. I have not done any hacks so it can't be related to that. I just hope that it doesn't take long to get it back. I expect that Samsung is going to be flooded with phones needing this update.

It is really too bad because I love the phone and had not issues before this.

Just wanted to add to the people saying that these phones NEED a lag fix of some kind, and not just for Quadrant scores. My wife's captivate has become way, way faster since I put Cognition on it and used the voodoo lagfix. She's on an older version of Cognition (because she's not a nerd like me who enjoys flashing new ROMs all the time - she hates restoring all her apps, even with TiBackup) but it's been working pretty well for her and she can use all the Froyo apps.

Without a lagfix, the Galaxy S phones are straight up fail when moving around the UI. The Galaxy S phones are the reason why I have no interest in the Nexus S and will be waiting for a Tegra2 phone to rock my world.

Nexus S already runs ext4, which makes it at least equal to Galaxy S and voodoo lagfix you liked, with additional improvements pu into gingerbread by Google. The Tegra 2 phones have all been middling performers on previous occasions when displayed, so Nexus S is likely going to be better in that regard too. No harm in waiting to see though.

I was using the bell version for a few weeks and it died on me. I had flashed different roms, but they were all 2.1 roms but from different regions and i never used a lag fix and never tried froyo. I was actually running the bell rom when the phone died. They said it would be 4 weeks for a repair but it was back in 5 days. I sold it a couple of days later and bought something else.

This has nothing to do with damn lag fixes or hacking. Stop spreading false information... My Bell Galaxy S is in for repair for the second time. I did not install any lag fixes or root or run any custom roms. It was bone stock. A co-worker who has one also had it die, stock. He is now affraid to upgrade to Froyo as it may die again... Lag fix or no lag fix these phones are defective. To you people replying who do not even have these phones saying this need to stop. You obviously have no clue.

Go do some reading. Or better yet check out Samsung CA Facebook page for a complete gong show.

There's another poll on XDA for all Galaxy S phones with failure and there is an even spread between Eclair/Froyo and lagfix/no lagfix (ie the lagfix or froyo is not the cause)

Yea thats what I was getting at. Although since Froyo was released there seems to be a new rash of dead ones.. Why my friend is hesitant to update.

Guess I am one of the lucky ones. I got mine on launch day and so far no issues. * Knocks on wood *

I have noticed big improvements since 2.2 update. The phone is much snappier and bringing up the app list is much faster but that could slow down over time as apparently the RFS degrades over time.

Sorry to all of you that that had yours die on you, such great potential this phone has and could have been phone of the year if not for some h/w \ s/w failures. :-/

I have since picked up an HTC Desire Z while my Galaxy S is in for repair. The Galaxy S is going for sale when I get it back. I will never own a Samsung phone again. Its nice having working GPS and Sense UI rather that crapwiz.

I wouldn't be surprised if it was bad hardware. Ask anyone that has owned a Moment w/ Sprint. That phone was a fail, however, at least this time they are addressing it, unlike the Moment users. Not impressed with Samsung phones. They should just stick with TV's.

i never played around with any lag fix or rooting, but since i updated to 2.2, my galaxy s doesnt connect to bells's gsm network

edit: turns out the update wiped my apn settings, and re entered the bell gsm settings, its all good now

I feel your guy's pain. I have an EVO (since day 1) and ever since 2.2, I have had to reformat my SD card 6 times but never had any problems with 2.1. After the update, my stock "samsung" 8GB card got corrupted and reformatted and all was good, for a while. Then it happened 3 more times. So I figured the card was bad so I replaced it with an A-Data 16GB class 6 SD card and it has happened now twice. IMHO, I think it has something to do with FROYO.

This happened to my phone as well and I was running stock Bell 2.1 ROM (the phone died hours before 2.2 was releaseed) with no fixes or anything ODD installed. Very frustrating and the phone is going back to Bell today as Samsung refuses to take my warranty calls.

Mine died during the upgrade to 2.2. It had no lag fix or hack, roots, ... of any kind, just the normal samsung updates.
It is now in repair with Samsung.

yea, my completely un-modified Bell Vibrant died after updating to 2.2. I put the update on, it worked fine for 15 minutes, and when I tried to turn on bluetooth it was all over. It's currently on it's way back for a replacement.

I really believe they botched the 2.2 upgrade on the phones.

I installed 2.2 on December 9th, my phone is now with Bell in for repairs do to SD card failure. Bell's Froyo build is shit!!

What about people who bought unlocked phones? These do exist and they come with no warranty. Too bad I didn't know this before I bought mine. $500 down the drain.

A class action lawsuit is needed against Samsung. There isn't only the dead internal memory issue, there is also the crappy GPS and Lag issues.

If I knew then what I know now, I would have stayed away from Samsung. As for now, I will stay away from Samsung products and so will anyone I can tell.

I have a SGS,bought it in August 2010. Since then i have had to send the phone in twice. Once before the update and now after the update. There was no alterations done to the phone, no lag fix no routing nothing. When i phoned Samsung they told me not to change the battery so often and to plug the phone in instead. Any credence to that? Because the phone is such a battery pig i went with always having a full battery with me and changing the battery when it was necessary. Anybody think this might be bad for the phone?

Let me make this clear.

I have not:

-installed any lag fixes
-rooted my phone.
-d/l any apps that had less than 50,000 users.
-d/l any out of market apps
-changed my battery frequently (only opened the back a handful of times)
-been near water with my phone (yep, Bell asked)

I have however:

-waited patiently for Samsung/Bell to figure out when the hell they are going to release 2.2
-waited some more
-Installed 2.2 using kies (it worked perfectly for about 5 days)
-watched as my phone melted down

I am 100% sure that the problem is not in how I was using it.

The Bell store manager where i sent my SGS to be fixed says that in two days she has received 7 SGS with the same problem. She said that the rumor is that Samsung are not fixing them but replacing them. Also heard that Samsung has pulled the 2.2 update for Bell Vibrant.

I haven't heard that one.
What I've been told is that they are re-flashing them. If that doesn't work, they have a re-engineered motherboard with the SD card fixed that they are replacing the defective boards with.
Who's to say what the reality is though. Samsung nor Bell are saying nothing at all.
I'd just like my phone back in working order, as I would expect anything that I have purchased.
Is good faith too much to ask for these days?
I do know that all the Bell SGS Vibrants in Ontario have been sent to Futuretel in Markham for inspection and\or repair.