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Make the LG V20 the perfect cheap DAP

In the last year the Lg V20 price has dropped a lot. For this reason I consider it to be the best cheap DAP you can buy for the money in the low range (<300$).

You follow this guide at your own risk. I’m not responsible if you brick you device, if you set your house on fire or any other tragedies.

Which version should I buy?

Lg has made multiple version of the V20 for different countries and different carriers. Usually the corean version is the cheapest you can find on Aliexpress and eBay, which is the version I own (F800L).
This guide then will be about this specific model, but can be applied (with some modification) for the other versions too.

1st Step: Unlock the bootloader and root your Lg V20

To unlock the bootloader we need to have installed one specific version of Android Nougat which is vulnerable to this exploit (version F800L10e).

If you don’t have it installed and you want to downgrade:

  • Download and install LgUP 1.14 -> https://www.mylgphones.com/download-lg-up-software
  • Download and install the Lg drivers -> https://download.highonandroid.com/file/Drivers/LG/LGMobileDriver_WHQL_Ver_4.2.0.exe.html
  • Download the image of the vulnerable version of Android Nougat -> https://lg-firmwares.com/downloads-file/3443/F800L10e_00_0914
  • Power off your V20
  • Plug the USB cable in your PC but not into the smartphone
  • Press and hold volume up on the v20 and while doing connect the smartphone to the usb-c cable. Now the V20 will go in “Download Mode”
  • Open LgUP, it should recognize your smartphone. Select with the 3 dots on the bottom list the .kdz file you have downloaded before. Check “Upgrade” option and click Start. The device will reboot at the end of the procedure. If something goes wrong and the system is not stable or shows error when booted, retry the procedure but select “Refurbish” instead of “Upgrade”.
  • Once booted, complete the initial setup. Download and install Termux https://apkpure.com/it/termux/com.termux
  • Go to system settings -> about phone -> software info. Tap the build number 7 times to enable the developer options. Go to system settings -> developer options and enable USB debugging.
  • Now you can unlock the bootloader, root your smartphone and install a custom recovery (TWRP) following this guide. Be sure to download and use “LG V20 Root Package 6.0” in the download section of the guide.
[Full tutorial with resources on XDA -> https://forum.xda-developers.com/v20/how-to/guide-root-twrp-lg-v20-using-dirtysanta-t3722278]

2nd Step: install the latest LineageOS

It is NOT recommended to install directly the latest official Lineage 17.1 from the stock Nougat due to the numerous bug that usually happens (fingerprint and camera not working for example). The safe way to install the official Lineage 17.1 (Android 10) is to install every previous unofficial version before. So 15.1 unofficial -> 16 unofficial -> 17.1 unofficial -> 17.1 official.

The F800L model has not a lot of support for custom ROMs but with a little hack we can install the VS995 versions without any kind of problem. To do so we must disable the device verification during installation of the ROM (deleting the first 3 lines of the updater-script inside the .zip of every rom).

I’ve already made this mod for you and uploaded all the necessary files in this shared MEGA directory -> https://mega.nz/folder/ax5lXK7a#E3DvoTQ8B4iuB2DvS0_Hpg

Download the all the following files from the MEGA link and put them in an microSD card: lineage15.1, lineage 16, lineage17.1, flashable-vs995-gamma-kernel, open-gapps, magisk-manager, magisk-20.4, mixer_paths_tasha-quad_dac.xml

Donwload the official Lineage 17.1 zip from here -> https://download.lineageos.org/vs995
Since it is updated very frequently I won’t upload it on mega and you have to edit the updater-script by hand.
Open the lineage 17.1 official zip with 7Zip (https://www.7-zip.org/download.html). Navigate to “\META-INF\com\google\android”, right click on updater-script -> edit file. Delete the first 3 lines, save and close. Copy the modified zip on the microSD.

Insert the microSD card and power off the phone.

Now we have to enter in recovery mode, to do so press and hold (at the same time and for a few moments) the Volume Down and Power buttons, when the LG Logo is displayed, release the Power Key but keep pressing the Volume Down button; while doing so press only once the Power button, release all the keys as soon as the recovery mode menu is displayed on your LG V20.

Go to “Wipe” and select “Format Data”, type “yes” when requested.
Go to “Wipe” and select “Advanced wipe”. Select “Dalvik/ART Cache”, “System”, “Data”, “Cache” and swipe to wipe.

TWRP
Advance wipe menu

Go to “Install”, select “select storage” to select your MicroSD card. Install Lineage 15.1 (unofficial). After install, wipe dalvik cache and reboot to system. The boot can take up to 10min. Do the initial setup and power off the phone.
Now boot into recovery and install Lineage 16 (unofficial), wipe cache at the end of the installation as always and reboot to system.
Power off, boot into recovery and do the same for Lineage 17.1 unofficial. Power off again and now it’s time to install the official Lineage.
Go to “install” and install in this order: 1- Lineage 17.1 official, gamma-kernel, Magisk 20.4, opengapps. Wipe cache and reboot to system. To conclude install Magisk Manager apk.

Here we go with an official Android 10 rom on our old V20:

Step 3: fine tuning

Force High impedance mode

To do so we need a file explorer that can access to system folders. I always use FX File explorer (plugin for root file system not free), but you can use Root Explorer.

Go to /system/vendor/etc and rename mixer_paths_tasha-quad_dac.xml to mixer_paths_tasha-quad_dac.xml.bak
Then copy the mixer_paths_tasha-quad_dac.xml that you’ve downloaded from the MEGA folder in /system/vendor/etc and finally reboot.

Fix screen persistance and tweak performances

Download and install Kernel Adiutor or SmartPack kernel manager. Open it and set the following settings. (Legend -> Option(value))

  • Thermal tab-> Intellithermal (ON), CoreControl(ON), VDD Restriction (OFF). Apply on boot (ON)
  • Screen tab-> Red(250), Green(250), Blue(235), Minimum RGB value (35), Saturation(27), ScreenHue(1520), ScreenValue(112), ScreenContrast(132). Apply on boot (ON)
  • KSM tab -> Reduces memory usage (OFF), Deferred timer (ON), pages to scan (100). Apply on boot(ON)
  • Build prop editor tab -> Check that “vendor.audio.offload.pcm.16bit.enable” is set to “true”

Other performance tweaks

Open Magisk Manager, go to modules tab (on the bottom bar tha far right button), search for “Busybox” and install it, after install reboot.
Open again Magisk, search for module “LKT”, install it and the reboot.
Open Termux, type “su” and enter, allow root access on the Magisk pop-up that will appear. Type “lkt” and enter.
Type 2 for balanced profile, this will let you save battery without affecting too much the performance. If you’ll find the phone to be a bit sluggish set to performance (3).
Type “x” to exit and “exit” (2 times) to exit from the terminal.

Hardware improvements

The first improvement could be to buy a bigger battery to have more juice.
You can find random 5600mAh batteries on ebay that are pretty good. On eBay or Amazon you can find also batteries from “Perfine” in 6400mAh and 10500mAh sizes that are very good.

The second improvement is to replace the crappy thermal paste. The Snapdragon on the V20 is pretty hot and with a bigger battery there would not be anymore the metal back cover that helps to dissipate the heat; this might cause some thermal throttling.
Dissasembling the motherboard is really easy, nothing is glued there are only a lot of screws. There are a lot of tutorial on the internet, after disassembling you must clean the old thermal paste and put just a little drop of a batter one (Noctua NT-H2 or NT-H1 are not too dense and really good at transferring heat).

Enjoy your awesome 90 USD DAP!

UAPP

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