uhost setup guide

Specification:

Help Guide

Original Challenge: uhost default 1080p, but my TV 720p

uhost and USB Splitter hookup

TV hookup sequence

LED Light Blinking Patterns

PC Hookup Patterns

How to get uhost to boot-up? (Blue blinking, red blinking, repeatedly)

How to get uhost to Regular mode?  (Blue Solid with Red 2 Blinks)

How to get USB Drive mode? (Blue & Red Solid, no blinking)

How to get uhost into Upgrade/Patch mode?  (Blue Solid, no red, no blinking)

Challenge 2: uhost USB drivers for Windows 7

Driver “Android ADB Interface” setup for Android modes: Boot, Regular, and USB Drive

Driver setup for Update/Patch Mode

Challenge 3: Firmware Update

Challenge 4: Tweak 1.0 (which provides some key tools)

Challenge 5: Update Android Display Output Mode

Specification:

Solution        Allwinner A10

OS        Android 4.0.4

CPU        Cortex A8 1GHz

Memory        RAM: 1GB DDR3  , Micro-SD(up to 32GB)

GPU        Mali 400 3D Hardware Acceleration

Support        Connect TV, Projector, Laptop, USB transmission

WIFI        IEEE802.11b/g/n Wireless Network

Picture Format        JPG, JPEG, BMP, GIF, PNG, JFIF etc

Music Decode        MP3, WMA, MP2, OGG, AAC, M4A, MA4, FLAC, 3GP, WAV

Languages        Customerized Language Acceptable

HDMI        HDMI Ver1.4 Output (Support 3D Vision) 1080P

I/O Port        

Mini 5Pin USB Port ( OTG)*1,TF Card Slot*1,Mic Input*1, DC Jack*1,HDMI*1

Video Decode        

AVI(H.264,DIVX,DIVX,XVID),RM,RMVB,

MKV(H.264,DIVX,DIVX,XVID),WMV,MOV,

MP4(H.264,MPEG,DIVX,XVID),DAT(VCD),

VOB(DVD),PMP,MPEG,MPG,FLV(H.263,H.264,)

ASF,TS,TP,3GP,MPG etc.

Dimension        90*40*10 mm

Help Guide

It was a long journey. After two full days of working on it, finally my uhost is showing up on my TV screen. I’ve written-up a guide below to help other folks, so their journey can be a little shorter and sweet, though not necessarily as sweet as mine, since half the fun is in the journey.

Summary:

Original Challenge: uhost default 1080p, but my TV 720p

uhost and USB Splitter hookup

TV hookup sequence

LED Light Blinking Patterns

PC Hookup Patterns

Challenge 2: uhost USB drivers for Windows 7

Challenge 3: Firmware Update

Challenge 4: Tweak 1.0 (which provides some key tools)

Challenge 5: Update Android Display Output Mode

Original Challenge: uhost default 1080p, but my TV 720p

The uhost out-of-the-box by default display output mode is HDMI 1080p 60HZ, but my Sanyo TV is 720p, not 1080p.

Specifically, with the uhost connected to the Sanyo TV (720p) HDMI port, the TV screen shows “uhost” logo, then the “android” logo, but then the screen shows a “No signal” message, which the TV displays when no information being fed to its respective port.

Of course, at the time I did not know the issue was with the output resolution. I thought the issue was with firmware.  For the HDMI Resolution fix, see section “Challenge 5: Update Android Display Output Mode” below. However, to get to that point, there are some additional challenges that you would need to solve first.

uhost and USB Splitter hookup

First, let’s get started with connecting uhost to the USB cable and HDMI extension cable.

As all the other form posts recommend, connect the USB cable to the uhost using the Mini USB (OTG) port, which is labeled “miniUSB” on the uhost device.  Do not connect the uhost to the power adaptor yet; that is in a later step.

Instead of using uhost’s fixed HDMI plug, I used the HDMI dongle because the uhost box gets in the way of the other HDMI ports on my TV.

TV hookup sequence

Here is a recommended sequence for connecting the uhost to the TV. This hookup sequence allows the entire Android boot process to be visible on the TV screen. If the power supply is connected first, and then the HDMI cable to the TV, the boot process may complete by the time you’re done fishing around behind the TV, plugging in the HDMI cable, and then coming back in front of the TV. In situations where the uhost and TV have discrepancies in HDMI resolution (like I had), then you may have no signal by the time you connect the HDMI cable, and step back and look at the TV.

1. Plug the USB AC Power adaptor into a power outlet, without connecting the USB cable yet. My TV does not have any USB ports, so I use the power outlet. Plus, many posts recommend using a dedicated power supply anyway since their TV USB ports do not supply sufficient power.

2. Set the TV to the appropriate HDMI channel.

3. Plug the other end of the USB Splitter into the USB Power adapter. Now the uhost will start booting up and display on the TV, for your viewing pleasure. But, in my case, after the boot up, no signal.

Next, get some familiarity with the uhost LED light blinking patterns.

LED Light Blinking Patterns

Understanding the blinking pattern is very useful since you may be hooking up the uhost to your PC many times. See below for the the different light blinking that uhost performs and their meaning. I don’t know the official definitions, but this but based on my observation it looks pretty accurate.

Blue blinking, Red blinking - Boot up*

Blue Solid with Red 2 Blinks - Regular mode, Android OS up and running

Blue & Red Solid, no blinking - USB Drive mode

Blue Solid, no blinking - Upgrade/Patch mode

*During boot up, the light will be blue solid for 5 seconds, then it will cycle through a blinking pattern about 42 times (about 42~ seconds).

While digging around on smallart’s Website, I did find the following links which may have official definitions. The language looks like Chinese to me, but I cannot read Chinese.

link: http://t3.qpic.cn/mblogpic/07da4db596ca94fd6f68/460

link: http://e.t.qq.com/smallartech

PC Hookup Patterns

Now that you know what kind of flashing disco lights to look for on the uhost device, let’s look at the different ways to achieve those blinking patterns when connecting the uhost to a PC.

Remember, connect the USB to the uhost’s miniUSB port. When connecting the uhost to a PC, use the USB cable’s“trunk” USB head, not the “branch” USB head.  The “trunk” USB head has two wires coming out of it. The “branch” USB head has one wire coming out of it.

How to get uhost to boot-up? (Blue blinking, red blinking, repeatedly)

Plug the“trunk” USB head into a USB port with Power supply on the PC. Do not hold the “U” button (the small button next to the miniUSB port) when plugging in the USB head.  After going through the uhost’s bootup, the lights will go into Regular Mode.

Device Manager should show “Android ADB Interface” under “Android Phone”.

If uhost Android USB drivers are not installed in the PC yet, then Windows 7 will try to recognize the USB and fail. The next section gets into details for that.

How to get uhost to Regular mode?  (Blue Solid with Red 2 Blinks)

Just follow the Boot up section above. After boot finishes, uhost enters Regular Mode.

Device Manager should show “Android ADB Interface” under “Android Phone”.

How to get USB Drive mode? (Blue & Red Solid, no blinking)

Wait for uhost to enter “Regular Mode” (described above), then just click the “U” button once. Remember, “click” means press then let go.

Device Manager should show “Android ADB Interface” under “Android Phone”.

How to get uhost into Upgrade/Patch mode?  (Blue Solid, no red, no blinking)

This is very tricky at first, but after doing it 100 times, it gets easy. The trick is that when the PC USB port becomes aware of the entering “trunk” USB, the “U” button must already be pressed. Once the USB head is secure, then “U” button can be released. So, one more time from the top...

1. USB cable plugged into uhost “miniUSB” port, but not plugged into PC yet.

2. Press the “U” button and hold it

3. While still holding the “U” button, push the trunk USB head into the PC USB port

4. After the USB head is securely inside the PC USB port, then release the “U” button.

This time the light should be blue solid, and continue to remain that way without any red light, without any blinking.  Once the uhost is in Upgrade/Patch mode, clicking the “U” button will not do anything.

Device Manager should show “USB Device(VID_1f3a_PID_efe8)” in “Universal Serial Bus controllers”.

Challenge 2: uhost USB drivers for Windows 7

This is a critical step, installing drivers for the uhost into Windows 7.

uhost will need two drivers:

1) Driver for Boot, Regular, and USB Drive Mode, and

2) Driver for Upgrade/Patch Mode

Download the following zip which has both USB Drivers.

usbdrivers.zip - 4shared.com - online file sharing and storage - download.

thanks @ tatubias 

I felt uncomfortable downloading drivers from a “4shared” site. I would have prefered downloading from Smallart’s site, but their site was in Chinese, and clicking on EN did not make the page any more English. Plus, I couldn’t fish around for the files easily either. However, if we’re tinkering with fresh new technologies such as this, then be prepared to do some legwork as this guide, including downloading files from atypical sources.

Unzip the file, which will give you two folders:

1) “USB Driver” (with a space in its name), used for Regular Driver  and

2) “UsbDriver” (without a space), used for Upgrade Driver.

NOTE: The drivers in the U1A-404.000.10.120831.RAR firmware are for XP only.

Before connecting the uhost to your PC, open Device Manager (start > devmgmt.msc > [enter]).  Keep the Device Manager window handy, since you will use it to install the uhost Android USB drivers.

Driver “Android ADB Interface” setup for Android modes: Boot, Regular, and USB Drive

NOTE:

The installer looks like it’s designed for Android Smartphones based on its wording, but it works enough for the necessary Android ADB Interface driver for uhost.

NOTE:

Connecting the uhost to the PC (without “U” pressed, aka “Regular Mode”)without the driver installed will prompt Windows 7 to search for the driver and display the balloon message “Installing device driver software”. However, it will not find any and then say “Device driver software was not successfully installed”.

Device Manager will show “Android” under “Other devices”.

1. Make sure uhost is not connected to the PC. Run PdaNetA350x64.exe located in the “USB Driver” folder. I have Windows 7, so I run the 64-bit version (x64).

2. Yes > Next > “I accept” > Next > Next > Next

3. Select “Others (or if you ar not sure)”, click OK

4. Windows will prompt a red “Security Risk” red warning window. Select “Install this driver software anyway”

5. The installer will display a message prompt with “Please perform the following steps to complete USB driver installation:”.

At this point, I believe the installer has installed the necessary driver. No need to connect the uhost yet. Click Cancel. PdaNet Uninstall window will appear, but don’t worry, it does not uninstall the driver.

NOTE:

Even if you happen to click “OK” instead of “Cancel”, the installer will display message box...

 

…  which will bring you back to the “OK” / “Cancel” box anyway.

6. Connect uhost to the PC. Windows will prompt a balloon message saying “Android ADB Interface”. Device Manager will show the driver under “Android Phone”.

TIP:

In case the instructions above don’t work, try installing with the uhost connected. The first time I tried the PDANet installer, I had the uhost connected during the install. Then, when the installer displayed the “Please perform the following”, I tried unplugging and then plugging, and then clicking “OK”, but it didn’t work. So, I clicked “Cancel”. Then, I just unplugged, and wait for a few minutes. Unplugging and then replugging immediately did not get the device recognized. Just wait a few minutes, then reconnect uhost to the PC. Then, Windows said “Android ADB Interface”.

Driver setup for Update/Patch Mode

1. Connect the uhost to the PC (with “U” button pressed, aka “Upgrade/Batch” mode). See above section “How to get uhost into Upgrade/Patch mode?”.  Remember, the light should be solid blue, and remain solid blue.

Windows 7 will search for the driver and display the balloon message “Installing device driver software”. However, it will not find any and then say “Device driver software was not successfully installed”.

Device Manager will show “Unknown device” under “Other devices”.

2. Device Manager > Other Devices > “Unknown device” selected > Right-click > Update Driver Software > Browse my computer for driver software > Let me pick from a list of device drivers on my computer > Show All Devices > Next > Have Disk > Browse > Navigate to the folder “UsbDriver” folder extracted earlier and select “usbdrv.inf” > Open > OK

3. Windows will display a warning message, but go ahead and proceed with Next.

4. Windows will generate another warning message in a Windows Security screen. Have some balls, go ahead and continue with “Install this driver software anyway”.

5. Windows should display a successful message saying

Windows has successfully updated your driver software.

Windows has finished installing the driver software for this device:

USB Device(VID_1f3a_PID_efe8).

The Driver name is very cryptic, but that’s what works, like shown below.

NOTE:

I think if you try to install this driver while uhost is in Regular mode, Windows will give an error.

Windows encountered a problem installing the driver software for your device

Windows found driver software for your device but encountered an error while attempting to install it.

USB Device(VID_1f3a_PID_efe8).

The device cannot start. (Code 10)

If you do, just check your uhost’s lights, and try again.

Now, we’re ready for firmware Update. Oh, that’s another fun one.

Challenge 3: Firmware Update

I don’t know if firmware was an issue with the device to begin with, but it’s good to use the latest firmware.  For firmware update, uhost needs to be connected in “Update/Patch” mode. You’ll get to that in a minute. First some downloads.

1. Download the latest uhost firmware U1A-404_000_10_121024.rar - Downloads - Android Tablets Forum

thanks @ andropos 

NOTE: I first flashed the device with the U1A-404.000.10.120831.RAR firmware and then 1024, but I think it is okay to go straight to 1024.

Extract its contents, which is just one .img file.

NOTE: This “.img” file is not like a CD “.img” file. Looks like this file type is for Androids.

2. Download the Livesuit 1.09 (http://www.4shared.com/rar/ekSsSols/livesuit_109.html) Thanks @cristiaw and http://www.slatedroid.com/topic/36789-livesuite-guide-allwinner-a1x/

This time it doesn’t feel fishy anymore downloading from a 4shared site,  does it?

Extract the contents, then navigate to file LiveSuit.exe and select it, but don’t run it yet.

NOTE: Even if you do run it, it will just display an OK prompt.

3. Connect uhost to the PC in Ugrade/Patch mode. Remember, while pressing the “U” button connect the USB head to the PC, then you can release the “U” botton.

NOTE:

You may have to continue to hold the “U” button and perform step 4., and then release the “U” button.

4. Now, run LiveSuit.exe, and it should start successfully, displaying the LiveSuite User Wizard window.  Now, you can disconnect the uhost from the PC.

In the LiveSuite User Wizard window, just click “No”.

5. In the LiveSuit main window, click “Select img” and browse to the firmware image file and select it.

6. Next, you don’t have to click “System Upgrade”. Instead, reconnect the uhost, again in Upgrade/Patch mode (by holding “U” while inserting into the PC USB port). Then, you can release the “U” button. After a few seconds, LiveSuit will automatically pop up a prompt, asking if you want to perform a forced firmware update.

Click “Yes”. It will ask again, click “Yes” again.

NOTE: I believes “Yes” wipes out all settings, and maybe “No” tries to save settings and does an upgrade.

7. The update will start and will take approx 3 minutes to complete. LiveSuit will display a % complete progress bar during the process. It is a non-linear progress bar, so even though it appears to be stuck at times, don't panic. Once the upgrade is complete, LiveSuit will display an “Update success” box. Click “OK”. After clicking OK, the uhost seems to automatically boot. I let the device complete the boot sequence before unplugging. Not sure if that’s necessary or not.

8. Exit LiveSuit

However, my issue turned out not to be firmware related, anyway, but firmware is a recommended prerequisite for the next step, tatubias’s Tweak 1.0.

Challenge 4: Tweak 1.0 (which provides some key tools)

Tweak 1.0 is useful for its installation of adb and sqlite3. The BusyBox was very useful too, and a nice startup animation. Nice work tatubias.

Read all about it and its instructions here: Uhost (U1A) Tatubias Tweak 1.0

NOTE:

For step 5, simply connect uhost in Upgrade/Patch mode. I did not have to connect both USB Heads to two PC USB ports. I did the usual, “trunk” USB head connected to PC USB port.

The command prompt keeps you well-informed. Answer “y” to both prompts.

Once done installing Tweak 1.0, onto the final stage.

Challenge 5: Update Android Display Output Mode

Android's default display setting HDMI Resolution (720p 60hz, 1080p 60hz, etc.) can be updated in the android database settings.db using tools adb and sqlite3. See below. By default, uhost ships with the display output mode set to HDMI 1080P 60HZ. My TV is is 720P, so I need to change the setting to HDMI 720P 60HZ. Here’s how.

1. open a Windows (DOS) command-prompt. ([start] > cmd > [enter]

2. Navigate to the “Uhost (U1A) Patch\Patch” folder, since it has all the right tools (adb.exe).

Example: cd "c:\uhost\Uhost (U1A) Patch\Patch"

3. run the following commands

adb shell

sqlite3 ./data/data/com.android.providers.settings/databases/settings.db

select value from system where name='display_output_format';

update system set value='HDMI 720P 60HZ' where name='display_output_format';

select value from system where name='display_output_format';

.q

exit

adb reboot

Now, just connect uhost to your TV, and it should show like a charm.

NOTE:

Use following update command for setting to 1080P 60HZ

update system set value='HDMI 1080P 60HZ' where name='display_output_format';

NOTE:

The ‘Display output mode' from Android GUI Settings > Display settings screen still showed HDMI 1080I 60 HZ. Using the GUI this time I set it to HDMI 720P 60 HZ.

NOTE:

See table below for an explanation of the commands executed above

Command

Description

adb shell

connect to the Android Device operating system command prompt

sqlite3 ./data/data/com.android.providers.settings/databases/settings.db

connect to the settings database

select value from system where name='display_output_format';

check the current value for the “Display output format” setting. When shipped, the uhost device will show “HDMI 1080P 60HZ”.

update system set value='HDMI 720P 60HZ' where name='display_output_format';

update the setting of the “Display outpur format” setting to HDMI 720P 60HZ

select value from system where name='display_output_format';

Now, check the setting again. It should show HDMI 720P 60HZ.

.q

quit the database

adb reboot

reboot the device

References

http://tabletrepublic.com/forum/uhost-u1a/uhost-u1a-firmware-download-2755-5.html

http://tabletrepublic.com/forum/uhost-u1a/display-setting-defaults-1080p-3216.html