How to Upgrade Firmware in Amlogic S802 Devices

Shenzhen Tomato has finally sent me an updated firmware (password: 17r0) for M8 / TM8 Android TV box powered by Amlogic S802. This firmware is rooted, and adds support for Google Apps (Play Store, Gmail and so on), among others things. So it’s a good time to try out and write about the firmware update instructions which are very similar to AML8726-MX firmware instructions. Bear in mind that firmware is usually specific to a given hardware platform, and if you try it on another non-compatible S802 TV box, you may brick your device. Standard “OTA” Method Any Windows, Mac OS, Linux computer or even your own Android device should be able to handle is as you just need to download, extract and copy files to an SD card. I’ve done the procedure from a computer running Ubuntu 13.04: Download the firmware (e.g. TM8 ap6330_03102014A_0410_ROOT.rar), and extract it Copy the files […]

Binwalk Utility Helps You Analyze and Reverse-Engineer Firmware Files

Binwalk is a “firmware analysis tool designed for analyzing, reverse engineering and extracting data contained in firmware images”.  This tool written in python supports Linux, and somewhat Mac OS X, can scan firmware files for files signature, and can be useful for hacking firmware files, and finding hidden information. Let’s install binwalk first. It’s very easy in a Debian or Ubuntu machine, as you just have to download the package, and run a script for installation:

If you have another Linux ditributions, it’s just a little more complicated. You still need to download and extract the release package as above, but you’ll have to install the following package depending on the features your need: Minimal installation – python 2.6 or greater, and  python-magic To generate entropy plot graphs – python-matplotlib For automated extraction: Packages – mtd-utils zlib1g-dev liblzma-dev gzip bzip2 tar unrar arj p7zip p7zip-full openjdk-6-jdk Build and install […]

Gumstix Alto35 Customizable Touchscreen Board

A few months ago, Gumstix introduced Geppeto, a web platform that allows you to design and order your own baseboard for Gumstix Overo systems-on-module within minutes. The company has just announced Alto35, an expansion board built entirely with Geppetto. The Alto35 replaces Palo35 Overo-series expansion board with the same features, but adding the possibility of customizing the board via Geppetto. Alto34 expansions board features the following: 3.5″ LCD resistive touch screen Stereo audio in/out jacks 3D accelerometer (STMicro LIS33DE) RC servo USB – 2x USB mini-B ports, including console port (FT232RQ USB UART) LEDs in 4 different colors, 2 tactile switches. 2×70-pin AVX Headers compatible with Overo COMs. Power – 3.5V-5V All Overo computers-on-module are compatible with Alto35 board, so you can just use existing software solutions such as Linaro Ubuntu, Robot Operating System, and the Yocto Project. Alto35 is available for $89 including the display (not the Overo module), […]

Using ARM Development Studio 5 (DS-5) Streamline with MK802II mini PC

MK802-II is an Android 4.0 mini PC powered by AllWinner A10 (ARM Cortex A8) with 1GB RAM and 4GB flash. Instructions are also available to run Ubuntu, or other Linux distributions. ARM Development Studio 5 (ARM DS-5) is software development tool suite for ARM processors that can be used for both Linux and Android debugging, and available in 2 versions: professional edition and community edition, the latter being free of charge. I’m writing about both today, because Bob Peng, Technical Marking Engineer for ARM China, recently wrote a blog post in Chinese [Update: An English version is now available] showing how to use MK802-II, preloaded with the required drivers and daemon, with DS-5 Streamline Performance Analyzer with is part of both versions. The community edition may be missing some features of Streamline however. Streamline Performance Analyzer allows you to: Find out which modules or functions to take up most of […]

Gumstix Introduces Geppetto Web Platform to Design Custom Embedded Boards

Gumstix, the company behind the Overo computers-on-module (COMs), has recently announced an online platform called Geppetto that allows anybody with a proper web browser (e.g. Chrome or Firefox) to design and order a complete baseboard for the Overo COMs. You don’t need to know anything about schematics, PCB layout, or other lecrtical engineering knowledges. The program lets you set the board size, add modules (e.g. USB, HDMI, Ethernet…) as you wish, tells you which connections are required, and once the board is done, you can see your 3D rendered board. You can then save it to the cloud with an option to share it with the community, and you can just order it. The learning curve is very short, and once you know how to use it, it probably takes around 10 minutes to design a complete board. Your fearless CNXSoft had to give it a try… First, point your […]

Electronics Shop in Thailand – What Will $33 Buy?

Since I was in urgent need for a 5V/3A power adapter, I decided to go shopping locally (in Chiang Mai, Thailand) at some computer shopping malls, where they also have some spare parts. We spent about 1h30 visiting around 10 shops with no success: most of them did not have 5V power supply for sale, and those who did, could only provide 5V/2A power adapters. Finally, one guy at a shop was very helpful, and tried to help us without success, but finally  he said you should go to “Amorn“, and after driving a few kilometers we got there. When I entered the shop  I started to see some pretty interesting equipments: multi-meters, full sized oscilloscopes from 11,000 Bath (~370 USD), electronics cards for appliances (ventilators washing machine, car audio, amplifiers…), soldering irons, ribbon cables, components (capacitors, but no resistors), and much more. It turns out “Amorn Electronics Center” has […]

linaro-android-tools Scripts Upgrade Android Kernel & Initrd via ADB

With Linaro 13.01 release, Linaro announced linaro-android-tools (aka Kernel Update Tools), a set of tools to improve development time for kernel developers. Today, they published a blog post explaining those scripts allow developers to update the kernel without having to take out the SD card from their development board, and instead update the firmware via ADB with a PC connected via the network or USB. Currently there are 2 shell scripts: – To update kernel files in boot partition such as boot.tar.bz2, single files (e.g. uImage) or kernel modules. Usage:

For example: – To update files in the initrd Usage:

For example:

Those 2 scripts are available in Linaro git repository:

Currently the scripts only support Pandaboard, Origen, Versatile Express, and Versatile Express A9 boards,but they could be easily modified to support other boards supporting linaro packages. Jean-Luc Aufranc (CNXSoft)Jean-Luc started CNX Software […]

BoFs: Developer Tools and Methods: Tips & Tricks – ELCE 2012

Tim Bird, senior staff software engineer at Sony Network Entertainment, hosts a BoF session about tools & methods for embedded Linux developers at ELCE 2012. Abstract: In this Birds-of-a-Feather-session, Tim will share some of his favorite tips for developing embedded Linux software. This will include tips for using ‘git’, how he does multi-platform development, and tips for other tools that other developers might find useful. Prior to the event, Tim will do a survey and solicit ideas from other developers as well. Please come to this BoF prepared to share your own productivity tips for embedded Linux development. Tim talks is divided into the following key points: Git tips – How to finds info about commits (git log, git show), use aliases (e.g. for colored output), find a commit that caused problem (git bisect), and more Patch management – quilt patch managing tool, diffinfo, and splitpatch (to break patches apart) […]

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