hi, when i first got my 3uk Racer it had stock 2.1 ROM on it which is gen1 so that answers 1 of your questions
when i 1st installed a custom rom it did ask me for an unlock code (regardless of simcard different or not) which i got from the nextgenserver website, very easy to do, just need your IMEI no. input it into the website and hay presto they give you unlock code, write the code down on paper as you`ll need to input that into your phone after installing a custom for the 1st time (no need to there after)......
regards how to install a custom rom, you`ll need to root your phone 1st using Univeral Androot, once rooted you can install a recovery like ClockWorkMod (CWM) which enables you to Backup/Restore/Install ROMS of your choice...........doing any of this WILL NOT change your phone gen version and if your a novice i would not recommend trying to TPT your phone to gen2 until you have learnt more, theres no real advantage anyway, plus theirs PLENTY of custom ROMS for standard gen1 phones available in the ROMS and Customisations forum
the 'How to' sticky in the rom forum you talk about above is basically right
CHARGE YOUR PHONE COMPLETELY BEFORE ATTEMPTING THIS
1) Download UniversalAndroot 1.6.1 from : http://forum.xda-dev...ad.php?t=747598
(for rooting phone) and recovery manager here http://android.podtw...ager_v0.37b.zip
for installing a recovery like CWM
2) Download mooncake recovery 18.104.22.168 from: http://android.podtw...oncake-gen1.img
(CWM for installing/backing up and restoring ROMS)
3) copy all 3 files to sdcard (dont place them in any folders)
4) Install and run Universal Androot. Click on root
5) Without rebooting your device, install and run Recovery Manager
6) Use recovery manager, select "clockwork-22.214.171.124-mooncake-gen1"
to flash Clockworkmod recovery
7) Now you have CWM installed, now lets test it and backup your stock rom for future use if needed, to get into recovery you need to turn off phone, then press and hold vol - and press power button once whilst still holding vol - after afew seconds you`ll see CWM menu, volume keys move selector up and down and end call hard key selects things, goto Backup/Restore and select "backup" (roughly need about 150meg per backup depending which saves to your sdcard) wait a couple of mins to complete then reboot the phone
8) if all is successful above you`ll be ready to install a custom ROM
heres the instructions i use on my threads for ROMS:
1.Copy the rom of your choice to the root of your sdcard
2.Backup your old ROM, so if anything is broken you can just rollback!!!
How to backup:
Press powerbutton and VolumeDown (leave volume down pressed). After afew seconds, recovery will open
With volume keys, go to "backup and restore". Select that option
Now select "Backup" and wait
3.Once backup complete press power button to go back to main menu
4.Select "wipe data/factory reset"
5.Go to submenu "mounts and storage"
6.Choose "format /boot" "format /data" "format /cache" "format /system" "format /sd-ext" - confirm every action
7.Return to 1st menu and goto Advanced and delete Dalvik cache
8.Return to 1st menu and choose "install zip from sdcard" - "choose zip" Whatever_ROM_Name
9.After installing, do "reboot system now"
Have Fun !!!!!!!!!!!
their is a risk with anything on here and i dont take responsibility for bricking your phone but if you follow the prcedure you wont go wrong, not sure on things just ask............