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.
For my reference mainly, attached below are the boot messages from the Mele A1000G Quad with the original Android kernel. Unfortunately the UART connector is just a little bit too small to take the CP2102 USB-serial adapter so now I have to find an Audio CD header block of the sort used by CD-ROMs in the 1990s. However I was able to connect the GND and TX which is enough to get the serial output below.
This site has been very useful.
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: