makeSD Script to Write Image to SD Card for Mele A1000 / AllWinner A10 Devices

Most images released for Mele A1000 (Ubuntu, Puppy Linux..) won’t fit in my SD card, and until now I had to manually partition the SD card, extract the data and copy it to the SD card. I’ve also noticed the size of the SD card slowly creeps lower overtime. I bought an SD card last week and fdisk reported 3901685760 bytes and this morning the same command reported 3898782720 bytes. That’s probably due to new bad sectors which I believe is actually normal for this type of device. The problem is that a backup of “last week” SD card done with dd might not be restored properly with dd since the SD card is now smaller. So I decided to write a shell script “makeSD.sh” that will do the following: Umount the SD card if needed Partition the SD card Copy uboot to the SD card Mount the image file and SD card partitions Copy the files between the image …

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Editing AllWinner A10 Board Configuration Files (script.bin)

AllWinner A10 based devices all have board configuration files in binary format, sometimes refereed to as script.bin, evb.bin, sys_config.{product_nane}.bin store in the FAT partition with the kernel. You may want to decode those binary files to configure your hardware and/or disable/enable peripherals. For the Ubuntu image provided for the Mele A1000 set-top box, the file is called evb.bin and the two other files (mele.bin and sys_config1.mele_mod.bin) are not used. The filename can change since it is configurable in u-boot e.g.: load1=fatload mmc 0 43000000 evb.bin bootcmd=run load1 boot_mmc If you want to decrypt the binary files into text format (fex), you can retrieve bin2fex tool: git clone https://github.com/amery/sunxi-tools Build it: cd sunxi-tools make This will compile both bin2fex (binary to fex text files) and fex2bin (fex files to bin), but the later does not seem to work right now. fex2bin also works now. If you want to decrypt a configuration files type this command line: ./bin2fex evb.bin > evb.fex The …

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Xibo Digital Signage Running on Mele A1000 AllWinner A10 Set-Top Box

Those following my blog know that I recently bought a Mele A1000 to play around. For those who are not familiar with this device, the Mele A1000 is a $70 Android set-top box featuring an AllWinner A10 cortex A8 processor and lots of peripherals, and it can easily be hacked to run a Linux distributions. This hardware would also be a great digital signage player thanks to its video playback capabilities: up to 2160p video decoding and 1080p video output. Last year, I ported Xibo, an open source digital signage player, to ARM and ran it in the Beagleboard emulator (qemu), but I hadn’t had the opportunity to try it out in a real hardware. I’ve tried this rootfs based on Linaro ARM Linux Internet Platform (ALIP) image for BeagleBoard in the Mele A1000, by following an adaptation of the method I provided earlier. For this demo, I created a layout in Xibo dashboard with 4 zones as pictured above: …

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How to Create Your Own Debian / Ubuntu Image for Mele A1000 (AllWinner A10 Based STB)

Developers working on AllWinner A10 have released an Ubuntu 10.04 LTS SD card image (4GB) for the Mele A1000. I’ll show how you can create your own Debian or Ubuntu image based on this image for any size of SD Card using Debian 6.0 (Squeeze) and the recent Ubuntu 12.04 (Precise Pangolin) as example. The current image is not perfect, for example Ethernet doesn’t work (but you can still get network connectivity with WiFi), the NAND flash can not be accessed, the system does not appear to be very stable when running X and a few more issues. But this will be fixed by the developer community over time. First download the SD card image wget http://hands.com/~lkcl/mele-ubuntu-lucid.img.lzma Install 7z (if you don’t have it yet) and decompress the file: sudo apt-get install p7zip-full 7z x mele-ubuntu-lucid.img.lzma The decompressed size is 4008706048, which might be larger than your 4GB SD Card (as it was my case). If you card is larger, …

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Olimex A13-OLinuXino Could Become a Proper Raspberry Pi Alternative

Olimex recently announced they produced the first 10 prototypes of iMX233-OLinuXino Development Board, a low-end Linux development board that will cost 30 Euros, with specifications inferior to the Raspberry Pi. They have now announced their plan to design A13-OLinuxXino development board based on the new AllWinner A13 chipset, a strip down version of AllWinner A10 without HDMI nor SATA. Thanks to the low cost of AllWinner A13 (5 USD for very large orders / 10 USD in smaller quantities), Olimex plans to sell the new A13-OLinuxXino board for the same price as the iMX233-OLinuXino but with a faster 1GHz Cortex A8 processor and 256 or 512 MB RAM. I assume their will be 2 versions as well, the MINI for 29,95 Euros and the MAXI version with 2 more USB 2.0 host ports and 10/100Mbit Ethernet for 44.95 Euros. This board could be a very interesting alternative to the Raspberry Pi, as you would be able to run Ubuntu and …

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Ubuntu on AllWinner A10 based Mele A1000 Set-top Box

I’ve recently received and reviewed the 70 USD Mele A1000 STB powered by AllWinner A10, but haven’t been able to hack it yet since I’ve have not received the USB to Serial cable necessary for debugging the board. However, somebody else (Tom Cubie) had time to hack the box and run Ubuntu from a SD card (while still keeping Android in the flash) as you can see below. This port does not seem to include hardware accelerated GUI just yet, but this is definitely a step in the right direction. Tom said he just followed the instructions at http://rhombus-tech.net/allwinner_a10/hacking_the_mele_a1000/ and http://rhombus-tech.net/a10_mmc_boot/ to have Ubuntu working, but those do not appear to be that clear at the moment. Jean-Luc Aufranc (CNXSoft)Jean-Luc started CNX Software in 2010 as a part-time endeavor, before quitting his job as a software engineering manager, and starting to write daily news, and reviews full time later in 2011. http://www.cnx-software.com Support CNX Software – Donate via PayPal or …

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Sunlike UMPC-1021: 85 USD AllWinner A10 Based 10.2″ Android 4.0 Netbook

Sunlike, a Shenzhen-based manufacturer, showcased their UMPC-1021 Android 4.0 netbook at the China sourcing fair last week. This netbook is powered by an AllWinner A10 (ARM Cortex A8) processor with 1GB RAM and 4GB flash and features a 10.2″ LCD display (but not a touchscreen), a 1.3MP front camera and a 2100mAh battery. Here are the specifications of Sunlike UMPC-1021 Android netbook. CPU AllWinner A10 @ 1.2 GHz Operation system Android 4.0 ICS or WinCE Memory 1G RAM Storage Device 2/4/8G NAND Flash LCD 10.2″ PANEL 16:9 wide screen. 1024×600 Resolution LAN 10/100M Ethernet WIFI 802.11b/g USB Port 3x USB 2.0 Host External Storage SD Card Slot Build-in camera 1.3 MPixel Audio Build-in stereo speaker Microphone Dimensions 280 x 189 x 25 mm Battery 7.4V 2100 mAh – 3 to 5 hours usage The company also explains that this netbook can be used for 5 hours with the “default” 2,100 mAh battery, but they can extend that to 10 hours with a 4,000 mAh battery. Watch the video below to see the device running Android 4.0. By the way, you may …

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55 USD 7″ Capacitive Touch Screen Android 4.0 Tablet Based on Allwinner A13

YOOE, a Chinese manufacturer, has designed a new Android 4.0 (ICS) tablet with a 7″ 5-point capacitive touch screen (1024×600) for about 55 USD (Factory price MOQ: 1000). This tablet is powered by AllWinner A13 (Cortex A8) processor, a cut down version of the AllWinner A10 without HDMI output nor SATA. This white brand tablet also features a 2,600 mAh battery which should last over 4 hours in typical usage and a front camera. The full specifications do not appear to be available right now. You can watch the video below to have a look at the device whose performance seems acceptable. Charbax also said the company expects the price to drop further to around 300 CNY (47 USD) by June 2012. If you are an individual interested to buy this tablet close to factory price (excluding shipping), charbax organizes group buying on his blog, just leave a comment over there if you are interested. [Update: I wonder if this could …

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