Amazon Fire TV’s eFuse Explained — Rooted devices not at risk of bricking

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Several tech blogs have caught wind of my coverage of the eFuse added in the latest Amazon Fire TV update and have wrongly interpreted it into sensational headlines like “Amazon Fire TV Firmware Update Bricks Rooted Devices“. In an effort to get ahead of any potential panic these articles may cause, let me set the record straight by saying that rooted Fire TVs are in no risk of being bricked by Amazon’s official updates. That said, read on for a detailed explanation of the newly discovered eFuse in the Fire TV and what it means to rooted and unrooted devices.

An eFuse is a mechanism in a computer chip’s programming that allows the chip to change its behavior in response to an event. The latest Fire TV software update, version 51.1.4.1_user_514013920, has added an eFuse which appears to be triggered if you try to use an older version of the Fire TV’s bootloader in conjunction with the latest software version. When triggered, the eFuse puts the Fire TV into a low-level recovery mode. The Fire TV is not permanently bricked if this eFuse is triggered. It’s possible to recover to a fully functioning device after tripping the eFuse. If it ever becomes a common problem, you bet I’ll write a complete guide on how to recover from a tripped eFuse.

There is currently no software update, stock or pre-rooted, that will trigger the eFuse. The pre-rooted custom ROM of update 51.1.4.1 that was initialy released did trigger the eFuse, but that version has since been pulled and a fixed version without the eFuse trigger has been released. This is actually a prime example of why I like to wait a little while before posting about newly released updates and mods. A precaution I take is to wait for the brave XDA aficionados to vet the release before letting you all know about it.

This eFuse likely means that, unless somone figures out how to fully unlock the bootloader, Fire TV’s that have installed stock software version 51.1.4.1 or newer will be unable to install a custom recovery (like ClockworkMod) and custom ROMs (like Rbox’s pre-rooted updates) using the current methods, even if they get rooted. New exploits and methods can be discovered that change this in the future, but for the time being, it’s best to continue following my advice of not updating unrootable Fire TVs if you are hoping to root in the future. Or, at least do not update past 51.1.4.0. Those with rooted Fire TVs running stock or pre-rooted software currently have nothing to worry about with this eFuse. If a rooted Fire TV running either stock or custom ROMs happens to install the latest 51.1.4.1 update, it would simply lose root with no harm to the Fire TV.

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24 comments
  1. Mike says:

    Antitrust law is your friend…

  2. Tom Adami says:

    How do I disable the update it updates automaticly after I first boot. I just bought it after thanksgiving. Please let me know.

  3. tuxen says:

    There are already likely more than 2 guides right here on this site covering your question. Browse the guides section and you will find your answer fast if not to late. :/

  4. Lolin says:

    im a noob. all i ask is: if i buy a firetv now , can i install xbmc on it and plug my 4tb hdd via usb to play some sweet movies? or i need firetv with an old firmware to do that?

  5. JRock says:

    Your guides and work is always appreciated. I don’t bother with other websites when it comes to FireTV/FireStick, nor do I worry when following one of your guides. I have followed just about every guide you have posted from the start, and have had absolutely no problems. Major props to you and all the hard workers at XDA.

    Thanks again for your efforts!

  6. Jerry says:

    Hi, great website!
    I am on my FireTV with pre-rooted Pre-Rooted 51.1.4.1_user_514013920 rom.

    But, now I am having problems with my AMAZON PRIME, it cannot play prime videos from amazon library. It gives an error code “unknown error”. Tried several movies all same.

    Amazon sync works fine, I can get OTA apps to my firetv without any problems.

    Any thoughts?

    Thanks!

    • AFTVnews says:

      Try deleting the data and cache for all the stock/default Amazon apps. Then restart your Fier TV.

      • Jerry says:

        Thanks! Already done that several times, no go.
        I am getting this:

        “player error
        We’re experiencing a problem playing this video.

        If this problem continues, please contact amazon customer service.
        Error code: uknown_error”

        I was able to watch them just fine before rooting.

        • aedon says:

          I’m seeing this same behavior — unable to play Prime (or Netflix) movies after update to pre-rooted 51.1.4.1 today.

          • Jerry says:

            Is it possible that Amazon does block rooted FTVs?

            I tried so many options, all negative, my rooted FTV does not play the prime videos.

          • Nolram says:

            Are you using a smart DNS service to change your location? Check the DNS on your Fire TV network settings or on your router.

            I was getting that “unknown_error” message when I was on my UnoDNS service. It went away when I changed to Google DNS (8.8.8.8 or 8.8.4.4) or OpenDNS in the FireTV network setting.

  7. Jerry says:

    I am on openDNS since my purchase to block the updates. I never had problems earlier.

    • Jason says:

      I have this same issue since they updated me on 10/31. I found out that it’s a HDMI communication issue with the TCL brand of TV that I have been using with my FireTV both Amazon purchases in june. I have been down over 6 weeks now. They plan on fixing this with the next software upgrade however they have no date set.

  8. ch says:

    My favourite has stopped working and I have sideloaded some apps on it. Amazon have sent me a new one and want the original back. Where do I stand, should I send it back?

  9. Dan says:

    I’m having trouble with certain add ons.. Used super repo for genesis but others. Ice TV only download to 90 percent .. Advice on better way ? Thanks .. Fun so far

  10. Tony says:

    I have pre-rooted 51.1.5.3 custom rom. Can I update to original firmware which 51.1.6.3? Thanks for advices!

  11. Jonathan Dolan says:

    I appear to have triggered the efuse and now my Fire TV 1 won’t turn on in anything other than this low level recovery mode you mentioned. How do I restore it?

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