Reverse engineering off-brand media players

[Marcan] picked up this device on the cheap and is working to reverse engineer the controller. This media player is an off-brand Chinese model that can be had for the low-low price of $33.97 with free shipping. That’s worth it just to scavenge the parts for other projects, but the challenge here is to hack the controller because a datasheet was never produced for it. Warm up your logic analyzer, check out the wiki, and you can be pounding away at this ARM926EJ-S based system in no time.

The call to arms comes from [Marcan's] blog. You may remember him as the guy who is working to solidify iPhone sync in Linux or… what else did he do?  Oh yeah, he had this little project called the Wii Homebrew Channel a while ago. Get involved and you can learn from some folks who really know what they’re doing.

[Thanks Mr. Seeker]

Comments

  1. Skitchin says:

    Awesome! Looks like they’ve already made some nice progress. Super interesting looking device. I might have to pick one up myself…not because I think I could hack it, but because I know they’ll get it done(sooner than later).

  2. _matt says:

    This is one of the few chinese brand devices I like. Well, most of these mp4 players are pretty nice as it is.
    I’m looking at getting a Dingoo from dealextreme soon, since it has emulator support up to gba/snes/genesis, as well as linux support already.

    I’m amazed people still buy the psp and other name brand hand helds (for rom playing and music/video) when devices like these can be had for cheaper and they almost always do more.

  3. MS3FGX says:

    The first thing I thought of when I saw this was the Dingoo, since it is only ~$80 and already has a Linux build and a relatively open development environment (the manufacturer released a free SDK for it). But I guess the allure (aside from the slightly lower price point) is the challenge of hacking it.

  4. m9 says:

    i bought a dingoo off of dealextreme and was a little worried about the build quality, but i have to say that i was extremely impressed and i use it all of the time. too bad the name of it is so odd…

  5. John says:

    what is with the caps?

  6. Protcron says:

    Yeah, I’ve bought a few of these. And they are pretty interesting to a point. What they really need is homebrew OS that I hope Marcan can create, as this thing has a lot of potential for such a cheap device.
    The current OS is some type of CPM/DOS environment. If you pull it apart you get three virtual drives off of it that have .exe type executables in it.
    I’ve banged on it a bit but haven’t had much luck. But then again, I’m not a hacker of that calibre.

  7. jeditalian says:

    i think i’d buy it for Contra and Super Mario :)

  8. nes says:

    I was looking for a system just like this – TV output, plenty of CPU horsepower, some I/O and was going to order one, but after reading the comments here and checking it out the Dingoo looks a much better deal. It apparently runs uCos on a 400MHz MIPS and is already well documented.
    Where to get one though? ChinaVision has a pretty good reputation and is pretty cheap, but is there somewhere better?

  9. godi says:

    I hate comments that just say; “awesome, this is some real hardcore hacking”. But this one is one worthy just that.

    Amazing work

  10. jeditalian says:

    if they can hack in wifi and web browsing, maybe even ventrilo, but at least the ability to access VirtualNES.com, that would be cool. i didnt see any specs besides 2gb rom, and 2gb max sd support. thats all the wii has, 2gb flash hard drive, right? i know after upgrade you can use larger sdhc cards. i think the first thing i would do if i bought this thing is hook it up and run TKFE (TKFileExplorer) just to see if it shows up. if it does, and you can use TKFE with it like you can with cell phones, opening the device would be for entertainment purposes only, because with TKFE you can do all kinds of shit that your phone wont let you do, delete locked apps, lock and unlock apps, adding games, and more complicated hacking shit that i dont try with my phone, for fear of bricking it. but with a cheap piece of hardware like that, i would analyze the filesystem, see what kind of file extensions it uses.. what is the Linux version of TKFE? there has to be one.

  11. jeditalian says:

    umm.. why not the one at dealextreme /details.dx/sku.27990
    no crappy 300kp camera? no tv out? so what? 1 dollar more, touchscreen, more ROM, bigger SD supported. more media formats supported AND an FM radio. hack that! lol i WTB!

  12. JulsPower says:

    Yes interesting
    but still a news from JUNE no one saw it before?

  13. strider_mt2k says:
  14. secure wifi says:

    thanks for this info taken ages to find this.

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