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The Absolute Beginner's Guide to Making a Newly Acquired Novo 7 (Aurora) Tablet Actually Useful


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#1 Major Tom

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Posted 03 June 2012 - 08:14 PM

MANDATORY LEGAL DISCLAIMER

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.



INTRODUCTION

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.

NOTE
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.



ROM CHOICES

- 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.

Download file:
LiveSuitPack_v1.07.rar
or
LiveSuitPack_v1.09.rar (untested)

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.

Download file:
ainol_usb_driver.zip

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.

Download file:
aurora_v1_feiyu_mod_(0429).rar <= YES
aurora_v1_feiyu_mod_(0429)_cwm.zip <= NO

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
(untested)

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.

Download file:
aurora_v2_patch_(0429).zip - F5TX touchscreen
or
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.

Download file:
elf_patch_(0429).zip

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.

Download file:
aurora_feiyu_mod_(0515)_cwm.zip

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
(untested)

Use this method if using LiveSuit on Windows is not an option.
Requirement: the tablet needs to be rooted.

1. Download CWM Recovery 5.

Download file:
a10_recovery.zip

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.

Download file:
aurora_feiyu_mod_(0515)_cwm.zip

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.

Download 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.

sh /sdcard/reboot-recovery.sh

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.



IN CLOSING

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.

Cheers.

Edited by Major Tom, 07 June 2012 - 05:33 PM.

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#2 Major Tom

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Posted 03 June 2012 - 08:14 PM

UPGRADE FROM 4.0 ICS TO 4.1 JB

I've tried flashing CM10 (JB) on top of Feiyu and CM9 (both ICS) but the touch screen would never work after this "upgrade" method. I tried many times using different combinations of compatibility packages and touch screen fixes to no avail. So it was time to start fresh and clean. Here's how:

1. Using a Terminal app on your tablet, check the /system partition by issuing the following command:

$ df

/system must be >300M. My Novo 7 Aurora v1 is 503M.
If it isn't, apparently you will need to find an image with the right partition configuration and use that.

2. Start the LiveSuit Windows software v1.07 or v1.09 and flash the tablet with one of the supported ROM .IMG files.
I used the good old aurora_v1_feiyu_mod(0429).img

3. Connect a USB cable and upload the necessary CM10 files to the tablet.
I decided to go with Christian Troy's latest release.

/Downloads
cm10_a10_20120913.zip
gapps-jb-20120726-signed.zip
aurora-v1-v2_legacy-compatibility-jb_v4.zip
or aurora-v3_legacy-compatibility-jb_v4.1.zip [untested]

4. Restart in CWM Recovery, navigate to install zip from sdcard > choose zip from internal sdcard and install the ZIP files in the order listed above.

That's it.

 
NOTE
After upgrading, I managed to cause a Trebuchet crash-loop by disabling Settings > Launcher > Homescreen > Search Bar.
Here's how to get out of it:

1. Touch the clock, touch Settings to expand it and touch Settings again to enter the menu.
2. Dismiss the "Unfortunately, Trebuchet has stopped." message by touching OK.
3. Touch Apps on the left and scroll horizontally to the ALL section on the right.
4. Scroll vertically on the right to the bottom of the list, touch Trebuchet and then Clear data.

Edited by Major Tom, 30 October 2012 - 10:23 AM.

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#3 tuaberuban

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Posted 03 June 2012 - 09:47 PM

well done :clapping: , much better if u can provide the download link

#4 Major Tom

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Posted 03 June 2012 - 09:51 PM

well done :clapping: , much better if u can provide the download link

Links were not provided intentionally. They go offline and get replaced all the time. Files can be downloaded from the "release" forum posts or Googled. This way my guide will stay valid without the need of frequent updates.
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#5 chipbutty

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Posted 04 June 2012 - 03:25 AM

Good work. I've been installing ROMs on my Aurora for a few months now with CWM. Something I haven't seen any clarification on is whether the initial installation with Livesuit is necessary. I know many say it's sufficient to install with CWM. That's what I've been doing. I clear cache, Dalvik and User Data before flashing any ROM. Many don't have access to Livesuit, including myself. I know some who do have access to it but choose not to use it and stick with CWM. I hope someone can clear this up.

Sent from my Novo7 Aurora using Tapatalk 2

Edited by chipbutty, 04 June 2012 - 03:26 AM.


#6 Major Tom

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Posted 04 June 2012 - 08:22 AM

whether the initial installation with Livesuit is necessary

It isn't, provided the device is rooted. CWM Recovery can then be installed via a Terminal app by running a script.

Download page:
http://androtab.info...nmod/allwinner/

Instructions:
http://www.slatedroi...720#entry330720
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#7 timtlm

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Posted 04 June 2012 - 11:29 AM

Good work. I've been installing ROMs on my Aurora for a few months now with CWM. Something I haven't seen any clarification on is whether the initial installation with Livesuit is necessary. I know many say it's sufficient to install with CWM. That's what I've been doing. I clear cache, Dalvik and User Data before flashing any ROM. Many don't have access to Livesuit, including myself. I know some who do have access to it but choose not to use it and stick with CWM. I hope someone can clear this up.

Sent from my Novo7 Aurora using Tapatalk 2


I installed feiyu 515 rom directly from CWM without installing the 429 img from LiveSuit. However, I did do a complete data wipe / factory reset first. It works fine.

#8 chipbutty

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Posted 04 June 2012 - 04:06 PM

Yes I found the same. Easy peasy.

I installed feiyu 515 rom directly from CWM without installing the 429 img from LiveSuit. However, I did do a complete data wipe / factory reset first. It works fine.



Sent from my Novo7 Aurora using Tapatalk 2

#9 nick789uk

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Posted 04 June 2012 - 04:14 PM

Hi thanks for the great guide, just what I am looking for have flashed roms before on different tabs but not very experienced at doing it, my problem is the Aurora may not be that expensive to some but for me if I b***er it up I cannot afford to buy another for a while so what are the risks and if it does get bricked can you recover it. Ok thanks again.
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#10 F&LSuperstore

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Posted 04 June 2012 - 04:22 PM

IN CLOSING

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.

Cheers.


It will blow your Aurora away. They are very fast....
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#11 timtlm

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Posted 04 June 2012 - 05:01 PM

Hi thanks for the great guide, just what I am looking for have flashed roms before on different tabs but not very experienced at doing it, my problem is the Aurora may not be that expensive to some but for me if I b***er it up I cannot afford to buy another for a while so what are the risks and if it does get bricked can you recover it. Ok thanks again.
Nick


This thing is pretty impossible to brick. I thought I had bricked mine when working with a developer on installing a different recovery image. The tablet would not get past the android guy when turning it on. The LiveSuit process still worked and let me flash the stock image to reset it back to the factory settings. So, as long as you're flashing roms with a charged battery, and as long as you're not unplugging the usb cable in the middle of flashing a rom in LiveSuit, you should be fine.

#12 Major Tom

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Posted 04 June 2012 - 07:20 PM

what are the risks and if it does get bricked can you recover it

As long as the tablet powers on, you should be able to reflash it via a USB cable using the LiveSuit Windows software.
Unbrickable™ :)
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#13 Major Tom

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Posted 04 June 2012 - 07:24 PM

It will blow your Aurora away. They are very fast....

I'd like to believe that! Still fighting off the urge to order... and wait... wait too long...
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#14 cyclonmaster

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Posted 04 June 2012 - 10:52 PM

well done :clapping: , much better if u can provide the download link


Agreed. At least to the thread/post that had it. People can ask for links in the original thread in case of dead links.

Now that I caught the bug


Curious, what bug did you encounter?
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#15 cyclonmaster

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Posted 05 June 2012 - 03:07 PM

Add this info for screen:

To know what version of Aurora you have.

Just simply look on the Box... Above the BarCode, there are

201201 = Aurora v1
201202 = Aurora v1
201203 = Aurora v2
201204 and above = Aurora v3

v3 is LG. Previous versions are Hitachi.


Also a step to enter upgrade mode for livesuit is wrong:

5. Connect the USB cable.
6. Hold down the Volume+ button and press the Power button for about 2 sec then release it.


It should be,
-Hold down the Volume+ button
-Connect the USB cable
-press the Power button for about 2 sec then release it

Edited by cyclonmaster, 05 June 2012 - 05:00 PM.

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#16 Major Tom

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Posted 06 June 2012 - 08:30 PM

Also a step to enter upgrade mode for livesuit is wrong

Actually, both are incorrect. After some additional experimenting, I finally got the process down.
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#17 DavidJames

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Posted 06 June 2012 - 09:16 PM

Actually, both are incorrect. After some additional experimenting, I finally got the process down.

What is the correct process?

#18 Major Tom

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Posted 06 June 2012 - 11:00 PM

What is the correct process?

It's in my guide. See first post.

Sent from Novo 7 Aurora using Tapatalk 2
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#19 DavidJames

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Posted 07 June 2012 - 12:06 AM

It's in my guide. See first post.

Sent from Novo 7 Aurora using Tapatalk 2

Thanks. And very many thanks for taking the time to develop this guide.

#20 Dazdeeuk

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Posted 07 June 2012 - 03:53 PM

This is a really good guide. Thanks