I managed to get the Mele A1000G Quad to boot from an SD-card, with a lot of help from Hans de Goede and Maxime Ripard.
The key to this is to press the ↺ (circular arrow) button with a pencil just as it boots. This will cause it to enter FEL mode, load the BOOT1 bootloader off the SD-card, and from there we have complete control. I’ve not yet got a fully bootable image, but it’s just a matter of getting some free time now.
Also this diagram of the FEL/boot process is very helpful.
Update: If you are thinking about buying this, it is the A100G Quad with the AllWinner A31 SoC. There is another “A1000G” (without “Quad”) which has an older AllWinner SoC which you shouldn’t get.
This is a great little box. It ships with Android 4.1.1 with a thin UI on top. It also comes with a wireless keyboard/mouse device. It’s also got a lot of ports at the back. If I can get Fedora on this, it promises to be an excellent developer machine.
Undoing 4 screws allows the top to come off. Across the top: optical S/PDIF (I think), 2x USB, ethernet, HDMI, power, micro USB (for power?),
UART, 3.5″ audio jack, wifi. Right side: SATA. Front: UART, some sort of IR/optical sensor, I think. Left side: MMC, USB OTG. Edit: I think the UART is the white connector at the bottom right, but there is (on this, not on others) also a second UART-like connector at the top right.
I’m not going to complain about unavailable UARTs because this is not supposed to be a developer machine at all. It’s a living room appliance that I’m trying to hack. The fact they expose the four pins is fine here. (Of course a serial port would be nicer, but I can fully understand why they wouldn’t want to have one).
I was wondering what the slot on the top of the machine was. Of course it’s a SATA port, so you can slot a 2.5″ drive directly in at the top, which is brilliant.
Some useful links:
The Cubietruck I ordered almost a month ago has finally left Sweden where it was enjoying the fjords or something. I’m hoping I might even get it in the UK next week.
Also I tried to order the Mele A1000G (quad core Allwinner A31) from Alibaba. (Alibaba has a really annoying website that barely works in Firefox). Unfortunately “Your order has been cancelled for security reasons”, with no actual reason given. At least they didn’t debit money from my credit card. So I’m really looking for a UK supplier of this item, although they all appear to be out of stock at the moment.
Update After posting that, I found an eBay seller based in Hong Kong and bought one for £94. Not as cheap as DX, but seems more likely to arrive.
Another interesting ARM box: Mele A1000G is a quad core Cortex-A7 with 2GB of RAM, 16 GB of flash, ethernet and wifi. For $138.
Update: I took another punt and ordered one of these.
While the ODROID is on ice until I get some more cables, in the search for a workable, available virt development platform I took a punt on the Cubietruck.
I think this is even less likely to arrive than the last one, because the specs and price are rather too good to be true: Allwinner A20 (Cortex-A7), which supports KVM. 2GB of RAM. A VGA port (all my dreams have come true!). Wifi on board. SATA(!) .. etc.
The total cost was $89 for the board, $12 shipping, potentially about £15 import duty if they catch it.
As I mentioned a few days ago I bought a tiny Android-running mk802 “inspired” mini PC. Now I want to put the Fedora 19 Allwinner remix on it.
The first job was getting a micro SD card and a micro SD card reader that would work, easier said than done what with the market being overrun with fraudulent knock-offs. The 32 GB branded Sandisk micro SDHC card that I bought from Amazon (not from a reseller on Amazon, of course) works fine. The reader/adapter did not, so there was more delay while I found one which does.
The accoutrements for the mini PC together have cost somewhat more than the PC itself (all prices include tax and postage):
| Mini PC
| Micro SD card
| Micro SD card reader
| HDMI to VGA converter
| HDMI gender changer
I followed Hans de Goede’s clear instructions to prepare the SD card (on my laptop).
Unfortunately neither USB mouse nor keyboard work. That probably has something to do with this paragraph in the instructions:
USB controller caveats
The OTG USB controller in host mode only supports a limited number of
devices, plugging in a hub + mouse + keyboard typically will make either
the mouse or keyboard not work. This is a hardware limitation which we
will likely not be able to work around.
On tv-sticks and top-set boxes, simply avoid the otg connector, instead
use a hub in a regular host usb connector. Note on the mini-x the otg / host
marking is not always correct. If things don't work try using the OTG
On tablets and the gooseberry unfortunately only the otg connector is
available. One solution there is using a single usb-device which is
both a keyboard and a mouse at the same time. IE the receiver for logitech
wireless desktop sets.
… which I’ve not completely worked out yet, but probably needs a few more adapters.
Update: After the not-quite-successful boot, I put the SD card back into the computer to copy off the log files. This is /var/log/messages, and this is /var/log/Xorg.9.log.
Update #2: Thanks to Dennis Gilmore for pointing out that it’s the micro USB slot (marked “DC”) which is the OTG port that I should avoid. He says the keyboard and mouse will probably work if I use a USB hub connected to the regular USB port.