[Howto] Samsung YP-T9JQB and Linux aka mtp the fourth

Tux
Recently I had to deal with a new mtp driven MP3 player. Fortunately, a firmware update solved the problem, but the issue itself left several open questions.

The beginning

I had bad experiences with MTP players. Therefore, when a friend (usually using Windows XP) asked me which kind of player she should buy, I explained the differences of MTP and UMS. Of course she decided to search for UMS players afterwards because it has major advantages compared to MTP devices: the ability to simply plug in the device without the need to open any additional application. This includes also to use the device on most enterprise Windows setups like at work or at university where you still have Win2k or WinXP but without the newest Media Player. Not to mention alternative operating systems like Linux, BSDs, Mac OS, etc.

She finally decided to buy the quite new YP-T9JQB. And the trouble started.

Samsung

From the beginning, the main problem was Samsung itself: everywhere I checked they describe the player YP-T9JQB as UMS – which is exactly what everyone wants.
However, despite what Samsung says the player is not an UMS device but a MTP device. While in these days MTP devices are not an unsolvable problem with newer Linux distributions (libmtp comes to the rescue here), the device did not even work properly (=showing up on the desktop) on a fully updated (!) Windows XP computer.
I guess this was because you have to agree to the Windows Media Player update at some place, it doesn’t come automatically…

Anyway, as you can imagine the result wasn’t so funny because it made the device pretty useless: the user of the device had to use corporate computers pretty often – all not able to talk to the MTP device in a sufficient way.

I decided to call Samsung why they say it is an UMS device but sell MTP devices. Samsung told me that this was due to the firmware version: the player had 1.26 but Samsung said it would usually be 1.16 which would be UMS. They told me my reseller might have changed that, but that they could not give me the old firmware version, I would have to speak to my reseller.
I believed it – but later on found out that all German and US/UK Samsung homepages had no UMS firmware at all. Nowhere! Only MTP firmwares in different versions.
So I think the Samsung people tricked me and simply didn’t want to admit that they screwed it up. Pretty poor for such a big company…

Singapore

I was now short before giving the player back and taking the money to buy some other UMS device out there (like the U3 from iAudio maybe which can switch between both modes). But then I found a page saying that someone had found a UMS firmware somewhere. Curious of that I searched as well – and found it in Singapore!
There the download section provided even the newest firmware version (1.68) with UMS support. One reason to hesitate though was that the player was described as YP-T9BQB – mark the J replaced by a B. I don’t know what that change is for, but since the “YP-T9” was still the same I tried the firmware update anyway. And it worked perfectly. The firmware even features a German interface and since I doubt that there is such a need for German interfaces in Singapore I guess this is just the usual Firmware but with a switch set to UMS instead of MTP.

I copied the firmware files with libmtp (taken form here with the help of a T9 fan page):

$ mtp-sendfile SYSDATA.bin /
$ mtp-sendfile MUON.ROM /

After disconnecting the device from the PC I simply had to start it, and the firmware was updated without any problems. And it works without any problems. The only strange thing is that the device has two partitions in UMS mode, but who cares anyway.

Questions left

But since everything worked so easily this leaves a couple of questions:

  • Why did they lie to me?
  • Why didn’t Samsung at least tell me about this Firmware which could be used easily?
  • Why doesn’t support Samsung this Firmware when they have it anyway?
  • Since it is a software only thing, why don’t they add UMS as an option as it is reported for other players?
  • Why do they use MTP as the main choice when so many computers (like Win2k) out there can’t handle it?

I think I will call the Samsung support again and complain about first how they treated me as a customer, how they provided me false information and second that they do not add UMS support as an option. That will cost me some cents, but that’s worth it.
Otherwise, it will be iAudio again next time.

The usual last words

Everything you do with firmwares is *always* on your own risks. These are not official Samsung information!

21 thoughts on “[Howto] Samsung YP-T9JQB and Linux aka mtp the fourth”

  1. Hi!
    I have a Samsung YP-U2 which, if bought in the USA (and probably some other countries), also comes with a MTP-only firmware. However, my player came from Ukraine, and it had UMS and Ogg Vorbis playback out-of-the-box! And I’ve read that any US version may be flashed with an “international” firmware (from Samsung Australia in my case) to gain UMS and Ogg functionality.
    Does your unit play Ogg now? If it does, you might be interested in contributing to this page: http://wiki.xiph.org/index.php/Talk:PortablePlayersSamsungYepp#YP-T9

    P.S. I think the reason they use MTP in the first place is that it’s the only way to support DRM’d WMAs. I know, that stinks.

  2. Yes, the player supports OGG now, I will contribute to the Wiki.

    But about the Windows Media Player: PlayForSure is new, and it was possible to play and buy DRM music before the PlayForSure campaign… It might be that the newest Janus makes it necessary to have a MTP device for making the DRM crap more secure – but it is nothing the users want as many companies say!

  3. I used your solution and it worked.

    I liked your solution better than the instructions on the Unofficial Samsung YP-T9 Homepage (http://samsung.t9.googlepages.com/). The firmware fix that you referred to came from the Samsung website, which is more trustworthy than somebody’s own copy of the firmware. Besides, the Unofficial page only offers firmware version 1.60, while the Samsung website has version 1.68.

    There is one problem with the player’s Ogg Vorbis support: it does not support Ogg tags, so my music all fits under the Unknown artist, Unknown album, etc. I use the file browser instead.

  4. I have a very similar problem with the Samsung YP-U3. I bought it after studying a rack full of different music players with usb-stick size in a big store in Antwerp.I chose the Samsung device because it was the only one to mentioned “ogg”. But big disappointment: the player doesn’t react as a simple usb-memory stick. You have to install the accompanying software, wich requires 500 (!) Mb of diskspace on a Windows XP or Vista machine. And even there you need to upgrade to MS’s music software version 10. I’m stuck as a penguin …

    I’ll try the links you provide here to the MTP libs and hope to get the device to work, but the big disadvantage is that I can’t connect to any computer. Maybe I will just bring it back, despite the extra FM radio and big capacity of 4 Gb.

  5. You can use MTP devices on computers with the newest Windows Media Player (10 or above) without the accompanying software afaik.
    In theory this should also work with Linux, but the Linux MTP implementation is still in an early state.

    But the best would be to upload a new firmware, however I wasn’t able to find a non-mtp firmware for that player:/

  6. Well, I still have some open questions: Do I lose all guarantee, if I flash the memory (or just guarantee for software malfunction)? (I mean it’s not so improbable that in year or so I will have to have the battery exchanged and my device now is brand-new.)
    Is there some way to backup the old version of the software? (Currently, I’m still under Windows and I can browse the files with Explorer (MTP mode), but in Samsung YP-T9/Samsung YP-T9 Storage/SYSTEM there appears to be nothing at all, though I checked the option to show hidden / system files in Explorer)

  7. Aaron, I can’t answer you the guarantee question. I am not a lawyer.
    Having said that I would expect that this is up to the country where you come from. Also, this depends on how far you wanna go. Recently a computer seller stated that you could even loose your guarantee if you change the operating system on your computer. After several serious complaints the computer seller stepped back and rewrote that part of the licence agreement.

    About the firmware backup: you can simply download the current, original version from Samsung’s homepage.

  8. Thanks, am from Germany too, actually, so your example might well be fitting. Well, hopefully they won’t actually detect I did an update.

    BTW: on http:/www.yepp.co.kr a new firmware (1.80 UMS) appeared. To download, click on “Support” > “Download” > “Firmware” and then the the software behind the number “125”, I’m not sure what the other 1.80 firmware is, Korean translator on dictionary.com says something about game manuals.
    as far as I can see from http://www.anythingbutipod.com/forum/showthread.php?s=2d388042ccdeddb032ccbda1a8d0a33a&t=15620 , most prominent changes appear to be new games. Rumor has it that something was done about OGG tags and the shuffle function.

  9. Well, I’ve successfully updated, now. However, I’m a bit disappointed, because OGG Tags are still not supported, but It’s a UMS version and OGG is supported, everything else(including Radio) is still working.
    (If you wondered how that firmware could double its size in such a short time: actually it didn’t, the information about the size on the page is wrong)

  10. Aaron, thanks for the information. Is there any changelog given in that file or any other information about what the actual change was?
    Also, is the player still identified as two disks? This is very annoying to me..:/

  11. No, under Xubuntu 7/4 it’s still two devices. Under Windows it’s only one. You might find that annoying, because of the increased clutter, but I find it cool to see the device’s config files … though it’s not so useful.
    Another change that shouldn’t go unmentioned: the music library isn’t updated automatically when the device is removed from the computer. You have to do that manually from within the “Options > Music” menu, and then it takes some more time than it took for the MTP version to automatically update. I don’t know whether the UMS version ever did that auto-updating, but maybe there were such grave bugs in this mechanism that Samsung removed it altogether.

  12. I have just bought the samsung yp-u3 .. i installed samsung media studio..and as i was trying to put my music on it i have noticed that my pc does not recognize this device..i was worried..in fact i still am worried beacuse i haven’t solved my problem..i read some things about this player and smbd said i should go to :

    “Go in Control Pannel ->Add Hardware -> Next
    Then choose Yes, I have already connected the hardware -> Next
    Select MTP device form the list (it is somewhere at the buttom) -> Next
    And finish the instralation
    Then go to Control Pannel -> Portable Media devices and you will see your mp3 player there.
    It is now connected to your computer and you can put your music on.

    BUT MY PROBLEM IS : i cant’t find that MTP device he was tal;king about..i don’t find it at the top of my list.Does this MTP device has another name ?Or what should i do ? please help

  13. Alex, please understand that this blog entry deals with flashing the device to make it a non-MTP device. The aim is to make it working under all kinds of operating systems and to use it not only with the Samsung software – which is rated as crappy under these circumstances.

    Therefore this is hardly the place to discuss any Windows related problems or to discuss any Samsung-software related problems – because the people who are reading this blog neither use Windows nor use Samsung’s specific software. They also don’t want to use it!

    Please go to a Samsung/Windows related forum to discuss your problem.

  14. I just found this post through the meizu one and I have to agree with you completely. Most, if not all Samsung players support both UMS and MTP but UMS support is disabled in most countries. Usually Korean firmwares have UMS support while european/american only support MTP. Why do they do this? I don’t know, but I believe it might have something to do with pressures from M***soft

  15. iampiti: It is definitely due to “pressure” from Microsoft. They go to the device producers and tell them that the average customer wants something like mtp. And the device producers believe them for some odd reason.

  16. Hey, it’s an old post, but I think I have a good consideration: I am Brazilian, and a friend of mine received a YP-U3(xxxxxx) as a birthday gift, from USA. She tried every way in her computer, without internet, to put it to work – and nothing happen. So I offer my help and tried in my computer, with internet, and it worked with update of Media Player 11 … what a hellll!!!!!

    But I did like a lot the ultraslim and the earphones and the ogg playback … and I hunt one for me, in a store from Brazil. I decided I should face de libmtp and put it to work under my Slackware! But, geeezzz, what a surprise!!!!!!!!!! The ‘pink’ (pink is not a good color for a little boy, is it? =] ) YP-U3ZPD/XAZ is UMS!!! Ok, the one from my friend had 2GB and mine only 1GB, but who cares?!?!?!, it’s a UMS and is recognized by my slack, and so on!!!

    It’s a good question to think: why in many other countries Samsung made it UMS and in the USA (not only, as I had saw here) made it MTP? Well, MS pressure, I suspect …

  17. I used a firmware to transform the player in a ums device.
    now it’s all ok.

    I can put music in the player, but it’s necessary rebuild every time the music library in menu options.

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