You must not hold me liable for any actions resulting from following this guide. Anything you do to your tablet is at your own risk.
When I got my exciting new tablet and fired it up, I quickly realized it didn't perform all that great. Mine came with the factory ROM set to Chinese language, some Chinese apps pre-installed, but not much useful stuff and no Google Play / App Market.
I could've probably made it work better by downloading and applying the manufacturer's update.zip from an SD card, but having nothing to lose (no custom config, no personal data, and apparently it's almost impossible to brick this device because it can boot off USB and reimage), I decided to start fresh.
I'm assuming you pretty much just unboxed your tablet, you don't care about anything on it, and you have no external SD card handy at the moment. Now is a good time to charge the battery - you want as much juice as you can get before flashing.
Alternatively, you could skip the flashing process described in the section below and just install CWM (Clockwork Mod) and use it to install ROMs directly on the tablet. It's still good to know how to flash via a USB cable, in case things ever go wrong and your device gets stuck at a logo screen or in a boot-loop.
- Feiyu (0515 at the time of writing)
- ECR - Essential Clean ROM (based on Feiyu 0329)
- ConRom (based on Feiyu 0515)
- Mobiz (based on Feiyu 0515)
- Cyanogenmod 9 (from XDA-Developers, based on the official AOSP [Android Open Source Project])
I decided to go with the excellent Feiyu ROM. It has good reputation in the community and comes rooted with Google Play and CWM Recovery for backups/restores/installs. It will give you Android 4.0.3 ICS, kernel 3.0.8 and your tablet will be identified as GT-I9100 (Samsung Galaxy S II). That's packing a lot of good features to make your life easier!
FEIYU NEW INSTALL BY FLASHING
Currently, the latest Feiyu version 0515 doesn't come as an .IMG file. Therefore, we're going to install the previous version 0429 full image first and then (optionally) perform an upgrade.
1. Install LiveSuit on Windows.
This software is used to reimage the whole device which means all data will be lost. You'll use it only once and later on you will be using CWM to do upgrades or even different ROM installs.
2. (optional) If the Windows Device Manager is showing any warnings, you'll need to install Android USB drivers. Use the driver files supplied with LiveSuit or download a separate package for your OS.
3. Start LiveSuit.
A. Select "No" to dismiss the upgrade wizard.
B. Choose the first button/icon ("Select Firmware") to browse for the firmware file.
C. Point to the Feiyu 0429 .IMG file.
aurora_v1_feiyu_mod_(0429).rar <= YES
The first one is a RAR'd .IMG file, the second one is a ZIP'd folder. You want the .IMG for flashing this one time, so go ahead and unRAR it.
4. Shut down the device by briefly holding the Power button and then touching OK on the screen.
5. Hold down any button other than Power and connect the USB cable. The goal is to avoid getting on the screen the battery charging logo, which you will get if you don't press the button before plugging in the cable.
6. While still holding the button, press and release Power 3 times. It doesn't have to be fast. If it didn't register, press it a few more times.
7. If Windows prompts for a driver installation for USB Device(VID_1f3a_PID_efe8), just point to the Android USB driver folder and let it install. Either use the one that came with LiveSuit or the separate Android USB driver folder.
If the tablet just booted up to the Android OS instead of entering the flashing mode, shut it down and try again. No worries, you'll get it right eventually.
If you managed to enter the flashing mode on the tablet but want to quit at this point, just hold down the Power button for a few sec. Windows should notify you about the change. If you unplug the USB cable and plug it back in, it should just display the battery charging logo.
8. LiveSuit should finally pop up a window before flashing commences.
A. Select "Yes" to format.
B. Select "Yes" again to force format.
C. Watch the progress... It will take a few min to complete. The tablet should reboot on its own. It will take longer to boot than subsequent restarts. You can unplug the USB cable now.
D. In LiveSuit, select OK on the blank popup with the exclamation mark. This is your confirmation.
9. Your newly flashed tablet will be set to Chinese language. Let's change that.
A. Touch the clock/time.
B. Once the menu is expanded, touch the lower right-hand sliders icon to expand it more.
C. Touch the same sliders icon at the very bottom again.
D. Scroll down on the left-hand side and touch the [A...] icon to get to Language & Input on the right-hand side.
E. Touch the top menu item on the right-hand side and pick your preferred language.
At this point, you're good to go. Thanks for reading and enjoy your cool tablet... that is if you, like me, have the Aurora v1 with the Hitachi GT801 screen. If that's not the case, or if you want to upgrade to the latest version, keep on reading.
FEIYU PATCHES FOR VARIOUS AURORA SCREENS AND OTHER NOVO MODELS
If after starting up things look screwy or nothing shows on the screen, you will need to reboot into CWM Recovery and fix it by installing what's appropriate for your device. CWM comes installed with Feiyu ROM.
aurora_v2_patch_(0429).zip - F5TX touchscreen
aurora_v3_patch_(0429).zip - LG touchscreen
Similarly, if you own the Novo 7 Elf, you should be able to get it to work properly by installing the Elf patch.
Refer to the section below on how to work with CWM to install from ZIP files.
You may want to (or even need to) use an external SD card to apply fix-patches as opposed to performing straight-up system upgrades. In those cases, just substitute in this guide where it says "choose zip from internal sdcard" with "choose zip from sdcard" and generally scratch off anything that says "internal".
FEIYU INCREMENTAL UPGRADE VIA CWM
1. Put the Feiyu "CWM format/type/version" update .ZIP file somewhere on the tablet's internal SD card. It doesn't matter where, as long as you can find it later. Don't unzip it.
2. Shut down the device.
3. Hold the Back button and press Power for approx. 2 sec, then release Power but keep Back pressed until you see the green Android logo. It may take approx. 10 sec. Finally, release the Back button.
You should now be in CMW-based Recovery and see blue text on black background with a logo in the center of the screen.
4. In CWM, navigate to and select "backup and restore" > "backup to internal sdcard" using Volume +/- and Power buttons. The Back/Home button should take you one level up.
We're backing up 0429 before upgrading to 0515. It's always a good idea to have something to go back to, instead of starting from scratch, if things go wrong. Actually, once you're done with the upgrade, come back here to this step and back up again your new 0515.
5. (optional, untested) Select "advanced" > "Wipe Dalvik Cache". Use this if after upgrading there's sluggish performance or app problems.
6. (optional, untested) Select "wipe cache partition". Use this if after upgrading there's sluggish performance or app problems.
7. (optional) Select "wipe data/factory reset". More extreme version of step 6. above.
WARNING!!! This not only wipes the cache partition but also removes all apps and settings.
8. Still in CWM, select "install zip from sdcard" > "choose zip from internal sdcard" and point to the Feiyu 0515 .ZIP file in CWM format.
9. When all is finished, go back to the first menu (use the Back button) and select "reboot system now".
Done and done. You're on the latest and the greatest now.
SYSTEM SWITCHING & ROLLBACK
This is extremely useful because you can have a backup of a "fresh" Feiyu 0429, then another one of an upgraded 0515, then yet another one of a fully customized system, and so on.
1. Enter CMW Recovery.
2. Navigate to "backup and restore" > "restore from internal sdcard" using the Volume +/- and Power buttons.
3. Select the folder to restore from. You can rename them later to something more descriptive using a file manager app like ES File Explorer.
FEIYU NEW INSTALL VIA CWM
Use this method if using LiveSuit on Windows is not an option.
Requirement: the tablet needs to be rooted.
1. Download CWM Recovery 5.
2. Extract the contents onto the internal SD card. The included install script will look for the image file in the /sdcard path, so make sure it finds it.
/sdcard/ recovery.img install-recovery.sh reboot-recovery.sh
3. Put the ROM .ZIP file on the SD card but don't unzip it.
4. Install a Terminal app. If you already have Google Play accessible on your tablet, download Android Terminal Emulator (free, by Jack Palevich). Otherwise, install from an .APK file.
Android_Terminal_Emulator_v1.0.32.apk (from http://www.apktops.com for example)
5. Start the Terminal app and enter the following commands:
su sh /sdcard/install-recovery.sh
6. Still in Terminal, reboot into CWM Recovery by executing the reboot-recovery.sh script. Or you can shut down and power on using the tablet's Back+Power buttons combination described here previously.
7. In CWM, wipe data, cache and do a factory reset, and then install the ROM just like you would install a patch or an upgrade or do a restore.
There's obviously more to all this, like accelerometer patches and other stuff, but this should be good enough to get you started and immersed into the world of tablet mod'ing.
Now that I caught the bug, I'm seriously considering ordering the Novo 7 Elf II to check out the dual-core Amlogic 1.5GHz CPU and a non-IPS screen to compare its performance against my Aurora 1st gen Allwinner 1GHz single-core.
Alrighty then... now it's time for you to send your thanks, good wishes, suggestions, criticism, questions, etc.
Edited by Major Tom, 07 June 2012 - 05:33 PM.