Ainol Crystal "Get Started" Guide - v1.2
The update to this is in progress, so you might see it change over the next few weeks. As I'm updating it I realized just how much information is in here! This may take a while
If I've helped you with your new tablet please consider a donation, even if it is small it will help!
I will use the donations to pay the monthly file hosting fees and other development costs.
Special Note: The new quad-core Crystal 2 tablets are not the same as the dual core Crystal tablets. They are very different and you can not use ROM's made for the dual core Crystal on them. The SlateDroid quad-core forums are here.
The Back Story
I while back I bought an Ainol Crystal to play around with because I was curious about these cheaper Chinese tablets that I kept seeing. In my pursuit to purchase the right tablet and then in my later efforts to set up the one that I bought, I wasn't able to find many answers to my questions by searching Google or SlateDroid, so I decided to take some notes while I was setting up my new tablet and then post everything to the forum to hopefully help out other new users. So here is my getting started guide for the Ainol Crystal!
Where should you buy your Ainol Crystal Tablet?
I spent a really long time trying to figure this out since I live in the United States. Amazon.com and popular auction sites both seemed like good options but the tablets on both sites were quite a bit more expensive than other ones I saw through Chinese resellers and were still coming from China. How could I know which reseller I could trust though? I ended up settling on a purchase for a top seller on Aliexpress.com. It looks like Aliexpress is kind of like our most popular auction site in the U.S. or Amazon.com but for Chinese sellers. It's important though, like if you were buying something any other auction site, to look at the sellers feedback rating and purchase for a well-established or "top seller." I ended up getting my Crystal for $116 and it arrived within a week. I can also confirm that Mc Bub's website worked well for me on another tablet purchase.
The problem with any of these Chinese sellers is that if anything goes wrong with your device you are probably screwed. Both places I bought tablets from refused to help me when I bricked my tablet and would not tell me how to send it back in under warranty. I found out that happens very often when buying products like this from overseas. Later I also noticed a SlateDroid user who is U.S. based and selling Ainol tablets at a reasonable price. His name is Frank and his website is the F&L Superstore and if I were buying the tablet now, I would highly recommend you buy your tablet from him. He is an active SlateDroid member and helps developers out a lot. I purchased an Ainol Hero, it arrived quickly and communication was above and beyond good with him.
How do I select a Micro SDHC card?
You will end up needing a Micro SDHC card if you plan on installing a custom ROM. You'll want to look for a class 6 or higher card, the class ratings refer to the speed of the card. It doesn't really matter what brand you purchase but I'd suggest sticking with a reputable brand and if you are like me, shop around for a deal. You should consider springing for a class 10 card though, the speeds are higher and they are more reliable. I use class 10 cards in all my devices and it makes a difference when you are transferring data to and from your computer, which I do very often as a developer. Although I've never gone below class 6, I'm guessing it would also make a difference if you were attempting to play video stored on your SD card as well. I ended up getting a Transcend 16GB Micro SDHC card from Amazon.com that was on sale at the time and it worked out well. It is currently residing in my Tascam DR-07 MKII though.
I recently switched to a SanDisk Ultra 32GB Class 10 card which has much better speeds and a higher capacity. I'm definitely very happy with the switch and it gets great speeds, both using the USB cable directly to the device and even better speeds if I pull it out and stick it directly in my laptop. I liked the card so much that I purchased the 16GB version for my Ainol Hero.
A reader mentioned that the Random 4K read/write speeds are pretty low on the Micro SDHC that I selected. Random 4K speeds are basically when the card is being accessed and very small amounts of information are being read or written. I selected a card with high data transfer speeds because I use it for storage of pictures, videos, ebooks, comics, etc. I'm also constantly moving around firmware packages when developing my ROM's. When moving around big files like that, I like the higher sequential read/write speeds, which are the speeds at which large files are read or written.
You might find that you benefit from higher Random 4k read/write speeds if you are running apps from your external SD card but I honestly don't recognize any noticeable improvement. A lot of the cards on Amazon.com have benchmarks posted in the user submitted pictures where you can compare speeds that people who have bought the cards have experienced. With that said, I have had no problem with lag or experienced any slowness with the cards I purchased. I have a few apps and games installed on them as well and none seem to be noticeably slower than when they were on my internal SD card, which is considerably slower.
How do I figure out my batch number?
On the back of your tablet you will see a serial number that looks like this:
A NOVO7CRYSTAL 121008Gxxxxx012345
We can determine "Batch Number" by the build date plus the kernel.
- 120908 and 121008 dates are batch 1.
- 121108 and 121208 with the grady.wang kernel are batch 2.
- 121126, 121208 and 130108 with the chengnan.tan kernel are batch 3.
If anyone receives a tablet that does not have one of these build dates, do not flash anything to the tablet! Go here to find out why the batch number is important and why you should flash a tablet without checking to see if it is okay first. For updated info or to share your tablets information go here.
There are reports that a handful of 120908 tablets have issues with on screen artifacts when running CyanogenMod ROM's. There are also reports that some batch 3 Crystal's have a different camera, so if you flash a ROM, you will get a green screen in any app that uses the camera. There is now a compatibility zip for Crystal Clear that fixes the green camera problem. There are reports of a new version of Batch 3 Crystals that have a glitchy screen using the regular Batch 3 comp zip, the glitchy screen is fixed using the Batch 3 camera fix comp zip but then the camera has a green screen.
Step ZERO - Preparing to Install a Custom ROM.
Make sure your tablet has some juice. You don't want the battery to die while you are doing this, so plug it in with your micro USB charger and let it charge up while you are checking out your custom ROM options. You'll probably see a lot of places say that you need to have a fully charged device but it's not true. I think that being at least half charged is sufficient; it doesn't take very long to go through the steps and you just need enough charge to flash the files. So while your device is charging, check out your custom ROM options here. It's a little dated but if you want to see some AnTuTu Benchmarks check out my post here.
How do you choose a ROM?
It's hard to decide what you will like without trying them for yourself. I actually use CyanogenMod on my other Android devices, so it was pretty familiar and I've been mostly happy with it. It does seem to be buggy but Christian Troy puts a lot of work into it and there are frequent updates. AOKP must be different from CM10 in some way but it performed and seemed very similar to me. The old Paranoid Android is discontinued but works well and has some nice custom settings and Christian Troy has started porting the new Paranoid Android 2.99. It's still in the early stages but I've always liked Paranoid Android. CM10.1 is the Jelly Bean 4.2.1 port of CyanogenMod, I really don't like it but some people do. For me, I really don't like the user interface, which get's rid of the TabletUI and looks more like a giant phone, but you might like it.
While CyanogenMod is a port of the popular custom ROM alternative, SoulGem and Jasper are based on the official 0928 stock firmware. Both of these ROM's will only work for batch 1 Crystals or you will have problems with the hardware change between batch 1 and 2. They also appear to have been abandoned and haven't been updated in what seems like ages, although I guess time flies in the Crystal custom ROM world I live in.
Then there is of course my wonderful custom ROM called Crystal Clear. I saw a bunch of problems with the stock firmware and it drove me to develop this ROM. It's not for everyone, you can check out the thread for what the features are and what changes have been made, but overall its gotten an incredible response. It's stripped down and a lot of "features" have been disabled but that also means its really stable, gets great battery life, has better touch response and runs very smooth.
I'm going to move forward with this little getting started guide using CM10 because that was the first ROM I really got into and what most people will probably install first. The instructions should also work pretty much the same for CM10, CM10.1, AOKP, Paranoid Android and my ROM Crystal Clear. Most of the info applies to stock based ROM's as well but they need to be flashed in the stock recovery and you should of course read the developer's original posts and instructions for any ROM you decide to try. This is just a "basics" guide to get your started and familiarized with flashing your tablet.
Before we start, a special note... Please don't flash Batch 1 or 2 stuff to a Batch 3 Crystal. You will brick your device and then have to go through the confusing and intensive process of unbricking it. Please make sure you feel comfortable with what you are doing and if you don't then leave a comment and ask questions, people here are friendly and I'm around a lot. Okay, lets get started!
How to install a custom ROM
Step 1 - Download your files and Copy them to your SD card.
Each of the ROM developers has done a pretty good job of giving a step by step guide in each of their posts. One question I had that I couldn't seem to find the answer to was; "Do I need to ROOT my device?" Well the answer is no, all of the current custom ROM's will root your device for you. All you need to do is download the files on each ROM's thread and follow the instructions. I'm not going to link directly to any ROM files because there may be updates and you can find most of the threads already pinned to the Firmware/Development Crystal forum here. I will link to the ROM's threads though for easy access.
Custom ROMS - You got choices!
- CyanogenMod 10.1 for Elf II, Aurora II, Crystal, Flame Fire - Requires compatibility zip.
- AOKP 4.2 for Elf II, Aurora II, Crystal, Flame Fire - Requires compatibility zip.
- ParanoidAndroid 2.99 - JellyBean 4.2.1 - Requires compatibility zip.
- CM10.1 / AOKP 4.2 / PA 2.99 compatibility zips for Crystal
- CyanogenMod 10 for Elf II, Aurora II, Crystal, Flame Fire, W22PRO - Requires compatibility zip.
- AOKP for Elf II, Aurora II, Crystal, Flame Fire, W22PRO - Requires compatibility zip.
- ParanoidAndroid - You need to go to page 4 and find the link to the newest build as the links in the original post are dead. Uses the same compatibility zip as CM10 and AOKP.
- CM10 / AOKP / ParanoidAndroid compatibility zips for Crystal
- Jasper - Based on older Stock Firmware.
- SoulGem - Based on older Stock Firmware.
- Thread with links to the newest Stock Firmware - Just in case you want to go back to stock.
- http://www.mediafire.com/?n1udo15cib83i - For your convenience.
You don't need to stick the SD card in your computer to transfer the files over but you can if you want to, I do all the time now. I used to just popped the SD card into my crystal though, then plugged the USB cable into my computer and then into the mini USB port on the Crystal. Your computer might take a while to download and install some drivers and your Crystal will ask if you want to enable USB mode. When you enable it, your tablet will show up in your computer like a flash drive would but it will come up as two separate drives. The drive you want to copy the Clockwork Recovery files to is labeled "Removable Disk" (followed by a drive letter) which is your external SD card and for me the internal SD card was labeled "Crystal" but it could also be labeled "Removable Disk," so you want to look for the SD card that is empty or almost entirely empty, it might have a folder called "LOST.DIR" on it. It might be called "SD Card," there are so many possibilities... Just make sure you choose the right one. Copy any files that your custom ROM of choices thread tells you that you need to your external SD card.
SoulGem and Jasper do not use Clockwork Recovery, which is kind of like the BIOS on your computer, like all the other custom ROM's do. It instead uses the stock recovery built into the tablet so you do not need to copy the Clockwork Recovery files to your external SD card if you are flashing the SoulGem or Jasper ROMs. All you need to copy is the ROM itself and the Flash 11 Zip if you want to use Flash on your tablet. With CM10 you have to extract the Clockwork Recovery zip file and copy the files into the root of your external SD card. Copy the ROM package, the Compatibility zip, the Gapps zip or any other zip you need into the root of your external SD card. Don't forget to Safely Remove your device from Windows before unplugging it.
CWM and TWRP are alternative recoveries and are required to flash any of the other custom ROM's. If you want to flash a CWM/TWRP recovery to your internal NAND and completely replace your stock recovery, you can flash TWRP, which is a touch based recovery, or you can flash CWM which requires the use of the hardware buttons to navigate. If you have a batch 3 Crystal though, you are out of luck, there is no flashable package yet. You still need to put the Clockwork Recovery files on your SD card, boot into that recovery and flash TWRP or CWM from there. Then remove the recovery files you placed on your SD card and next time you boot into recovery it should be TWRP or CWM. If you want to go back to the stock recovery, put the stock recovery files on your SD card and then flash a stock based ROM. All the CWM/TWRP files are also http://www.mediafire.com/?gdds9019lduzy
Step 2 - Installing your ROM from Clockwork Recovery, TWRP or Stock Recovery.
THIS SECTION IS BEING UPDATED. IGNORE EVERYTHING HERE. REFER TO THE INSTRUCTIONS IN YOUR CUSTOM ROM THREAD THAT YOU ARE PLANNING ON INSTALLING.
1. Entering the Recovery is the same if you are using CWM/TWRP or the Stock Recovery. First power down your tablet. You can hold down the power button and the tablet will ask you what you want to do, just select power off and wait for the screen to turn off. Once the tablet is off you want to hold down the VOL - (Volume down) and POWER buttons at the same time. Within 15 -20 seconds you should see the green Android icon and you can release the buttons. This will boot the tablet into the CWM/TWRP Recovery or the Stock Recovery instead of booting back into your mobile Android operating system. TWRP is all touch based, so you just touch the buttons on the screen instead of using the hardware buttons.
Using CWM Recovery
2. CWM - Using the Volume UP and DOWN buttons you can navigate the options and using the POWER button you can select the option you want. First thing you want to do is select "Wipe data / factory reset." You only have to do this the first time you install the ROM, for future updates of the same ROM, you don't need to Wipe Data and if you do, you will loose all your apps and settings. If something goes wrong with your device though, at some point you may need to Wipe Data again, so it's a good idea to create backups, I use Titanium Backup which I will talk about later. SoulGem - In the Stock Recovery you can only use the Volume DOWN button to navigate. The Volume UP and POWER buttons will select what is highlighted.
3. CWM - Scroll to "Install zip from sdcard" and then "choose zip from sdcard," the next screen will show the files in the root of your external SD card. Flash the files in this order; the ROM file, the Gapps file and then the Compatability zip. SoulGem - scroll down to select "apply update from EXT" and hit the POWER button. The root of your external SD card where you saved the SoulGem ROM should show up and you can flash the SoulGem file but selecting it. The SoulGem thread has a video showing the process as well.
4. Back out to the first screen by selecting "Go Back" and reboot your tablet by selecting "reboot system now." When it powers on for the first time you will see the set-up process where you can enter all your data, select your language and time zone, add your gmail account, turn on wifi and connect to your network. If you are upgrading from an earlier version of CM10, you will see your apps update and will have to re-enter your account info for your gapps, but other than that you are good to go.
Using TWRP Recovery
1. In progress...
Using Stock Recovery
1. In progress...
Yes, unlike CyanogenMod on other devices, you do need to reflash the Gapps zip every time you upgrade, at least in my experience. Gapps is built into the SoulGem ROM so you do not need to flash it separately. If for any reason your wifi isn't working when you boot up for the first time, fall back to the 1.0 Compatibility zip. See the ROM set up and Troubleshooting section below. Christian Troy suggests that you un-check the box for backing up your device to your Google account.
Setting up your ROM
Step 3 - Settings.
1. After installing Gapps for the first time, there will be a Play Store notification icon on the bottom right part of the screen. Touch the notification area and open the Play Store to update any necessary apps. At this time you can also choose to check the automatic update button and when prompted default all apps to automatically update. I use this function but you do risk automatically updating an app and finding out later that there is a problem with the update and you will have to wait for the next version to come out. So far this hasn't happened with any of the apps I use but it's something to consider.
2. You'll also see in the notifications "CyanogenMod statistics." Click on it and you can choose to disable reporting if you want but I keep it enabled.
3. Optional CM10 settings:
- Under "Device - Sound" un-check the "vibrate on touch" box.
- Under "Device - Display" change the Sleep setting to keep the screen on longer, I use 10 minutes. You can also change your Brightness level if you feel the screen is too dark, but the brighter the screen the less battery life you will get. Also check "Rotation" to see if "Auto-rotate screen" box is on.
- Under "Personal - Security - Device Administration" check the "Unknown Sources" box so you can later install the Amazon app market or sideload apps.
- Under "System - Date & Time" uncheck the box for "Automatic time zone" and then "Select time zone."
4. At the moment I wouldn't recommend using an overclocking tool like https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.mhuang.overclocking&feature=nav_result#?t=W251bGwsMSwxLDMsImNvbS5taHVhbmcub3ZlcmNsb2NraW5nIl0. to try and get 1.5GHz because other Ainol Tablets have been found to overheat when clocking the CPU that high. SetCPU is a great app to get more options on how your tablet uses your CPU at different times though. You can also consider though going into "Settings" looking for the "System" area near the bottom and clicking on "Performance." There you can find CPU options under "Processor" - "CPU Governer" but there's a warning that it could mess up your system if you don't use it right. I'm under the impression that is more for overclocking if that were an option in CM10 but as of now it's not.
ondemand - When the CPU load reaches a certain point (the up threshold), ondemand will rapidly scale the CPU up to meet demand, then gradually scale the CPU down when it isn't needed.
conservative - Similar to the ondemand governor, but will scale the CPU up more gradually to better fit demand. Conservative provides a less responsive experience than ondemand, but can save battery.
performance - This will keep the CPU running at the max set value at all times but can drain the battery quicker.
performance2 - It's my understanding that performance2 is kind of a mix between performance and ondemand. I think it still scales the CPU depending on CPU load but it does it more efficiently and prefers performance over battery saving. This is the option that I've been using.
I've also found from my own experience that installing SetCPU and other programs like it will cause one of the two CPU's to shut off entirely and drop the AnTuTu benchmarks from ~8000 to ~6000.
5. If you are interested, there are other app markets you can download. There is a tablet specific app market available in the Play Store called https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=tablifiedapps.tablifiedmarket&feature=nav_result#?t=W251bGwsMSwxLDMsInRhYmxpZmllZGFwcHMudGFibGlmaWVkbWFya2V0Il0. that can be useful for finding tablet apps. You can also go to Amazon.com and download/install the Amazon App Store. The Amazon app store has a free app every day, most of the time they aren't that great but occasional you can get a great app for free. Also sometimes the same app will be cheaper on Amazon than on the Play Store or will only be available on Amazon. Jetpack Joyride for example came to the Amazon store first and then was available https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.halfbrick.jetpackjoyride&feature=nav_result#?t=W251bGwsMSwxLDMsImNvbS5oYWxmYnJpY2suamV0cGFja2pveXJpZGUiXQ.. several weeks later.
Guess what? Everything is set and ready to go! But what else could you do...
Step 4 - Other things to do with your new tablet.
1. Install a better launcher - I've been using https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.teslacoilsw.launcher&feature=search_result#?t=W251bGwsMSwxLDEsImNvbS50ZXNsYWNvaWxzdy5sYXVuY2hlciJd on my HP Touchpad for a while now and even bought the https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.teslacoilsw.launcher.prime&feature=more_from_developer#?t=W251bGwsMSwxLDEwMiwiY29tLnRlc2xhY29pbHN3LmxhdW5jaGVyLnByaW1lIl0., but have also used https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=org.adwfreak.launcher&feature=search_result#?t=W251bGwsMSwxLDEsIm9yZy5hZHdmcmVhay5sYXVuY2hlciJd which is a good one. https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=org.adwfreak.launcher&feature=search_result#?t=W251bGwsMSwxLDEsIm9yZy5hZHdmcmVhay5sYXVuY2hlciJd and https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.gau.go.launcherex&feature=related_apps#?t=W251bGwsMSwxLDEwOSwiY29tLmdhdS5nby5sYXVuY2hlcmV4Il0. are also popular options. This should fix rotation problems, at least it did for me, and you will have the ability to customize the rows and columns on your screen, as well as the number of spaces on your dock and a ton of other great stuff. To enable the auto-rotate function you need to go into the Nova settings, go to "Look and Feel" and change the "Screen Orientation" setting.
2. Install a better keyboard - I like https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.touchtype.swiftkey.tablet.full&feature=nav_other#?t=W251bGwsMSwxLDYsImNvbS50b3VjaHR5cGUuc3dpZnRrZXkudGFibGV0LmZ1bGwiXQ.., there is a nice split keyboard when you are in landscape mode. Apparently their predictions are really good as well but I kind of wish I could turn that off. Overall though it looks nice and it works really well. Another option that I actually just switched to is https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.beansoft.keyboardplus&feature=search_result#?t=W251bGwsMSwyLDEsImNvbS5iZWFuc29mdC5rZXlib2FyZHBsdXMiXQ.. which is very customizable and looks pretty cool. I've only been using it for a couple days but so far I like it better than Swift Key and after some tweaking I feel it is better suited for a 7" tablet.
3. Install a File Manager - You're probably going to want to browse your SD card at some point. Maybe you put an app file to sideload and you need to open it. Well there are a ton of file managers on the app store but I use https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.metago.astro&feature=search_result#?t=W251bGwsMSwxLDEsImNvbS5tZXRhZ28uYXN0cm8iXQ... The interface is decent and everything is very intuitive and easy to use.
4. Install an Office Suite - I use https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.qo.android.am3&feature=related_apps#?t=W251bGwsMSwxLDEwOSwiY29tLnFvLmFuZHJvaWQuYW0zIl0.. Yeah, it's definitely really expensive and to be honest I wouldn't pay $15 for it. I got it on sale at some point but I'm really glad I picked it up. It's not perfect but what I love about it is how many accounts you can link to for access to your files. Box.net, SugarSync, Dropbox, Google Drive, etc. I use it mostly for work but it's nice to have access to all these services from one app.
5. Get LogCat's to report a problem
LogCat's help developer's trouble shoot bugs with in their custom ROM's. There are more technical ways to get a LogCat but the easiest way is to download and app like https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.nolanlawson.logcat&hl=en that will make it really simple for you. Just open the app and send yourself an email of the LogCat or if your wifi isn't working you can save a copy onto your SD card.
6. Install Titanium Backup - https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.keramidas.TitaniumBackup&feature=nav_result#?t=W251bGwsMSwxLDMsImNvbS5rZXJhbWlkYXMuVGl0YW5pdW1CYWNrdXAiXQ.. is incredibly useful if you are installing custom ROM's because things are bound to go wrong at some point and you'll need to "wipe data / factory reset" your device. With Titanium Backup you can save all your apps and data, then re-install them all at the same time through the app. Here is a beginners guide I found the first time I started using this app.
7. Install an Anti-Virus App - The most popular right now seems to be https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.antivirus&feature=search_result#?t=W251bGwsMSwxLDEsImNvbS5hbnRpdmlydXMiXQ.. by AVG and https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.avast.android.mobilesecurity&feature=search_result#?t=W251bGwsMSwxLDEsImNvbS5hdmFzdC5hbmRyb2lkLm1vYmlsZXNlY3VyaXR5Il0. is also gaining popularity. They will warn you that being in USB debugging mode or allowing apps to install from unknown sources is a "security risk" but you can click the "ignore" box so that you aren't warned again.
Have you "bricked" you Crystal? - Check out my "Unbricking" Guide.
1. Wi-Fi won't turn on in CM10. Like some other users, I've encountered a problem where CM10 hangs on the "Select Wi-Fi" screen during initial installation or won't turn on the wifi after an update. So far I've been falling back to the 1.0 Compatibility Zip to fix the problem and everything has been working perfectly. So far Christian Troy, the developer, does not know why some users can't use the new Compatibility zips. If you want to help him figure out why, post a LogCat to the CM10 thread. I will go over how to do that later on, for now must copy it over to your external SD card like you did the other files, reboot the system into Clockwork Recovery, flash all the files again and then flash the 1.0 Compatibility zip and boot up the tablet.
2. Freezing, Lags and Hang-Ups in System Settings. If you experience freezing, lag or hang-ups when trying to access the apps section in your system settings, you might have internal NAND memory corruption. Don't worry, there is an easy fix! Because this is buried on page 53 of the CM10 thread I'm going to post a quote to Christian's comment:
I've got the updated kernel code that hopefully will fix the internal memory corruption.
Everyone should download the http://www.mediafire.com/?9cii8nsmypvgzdp, and the updated compatibility zips for elf, aurora, crystal.
Who had lock-ups while scrolling the installed apps list with a lot of apps moved to the sd should do a format of the internal memory using this new recovery and flashing http://www.mediafire.com/?hvhefvcmj6vc79m zip
You should already be using the latest version of Clockwork Recovery he mentions, so what you need to do is download the internal memory fixer and flash it like you would anything else, then re-flash the ROM, gapps and the compatibility zip. Unfortunately, I still can't use anything past the 1.0 compatibility zip still, but this did fix the lock-ups in the app list.
3. Random reboots, occasionally "Sleep Of Death" (SOD) and tablet unable to enter Deep Sleep in stock based ROMs and CM10:
A very special thank you to pierwiastekz2, who pulled together all of this information for the guide. His problems with the SOD have improved and both of our problems with random reboots have improved. As an added bonus, my Crystal can now enter Deep Sleep without a problem.
- Make sure to uncheck Google Restore request to "Back up my data” after flashing your ROM. If you didn't uncheck it after flashing your ROM, do it now by going to “settings --> backup & reset” and you can uncheck the box for “Back up my data.” Even if you did uncheck it after flashing your ROM, if you are having problems, try to check it, wait a while, and then uncheck it once again. You will get a message that says “Stop backing up your Wi-Fi passwords, bookmarks, other settings, and app data, plus erase all copies of Google servers?” choose "OK".
- Set Wi-Fi to "never" in sleep mode. Go to “Settings --> Wi-Fi --> Touch the three dots in upper right corner --> Advanced --> Keep Wi-Fi on during sleep,” and then choose “Never.” While we're here, you can also uncheck "Network notification,” change your “Wi-Fi idle timeout” to 5 minutes and check your “Wi-Fi region code” to make sure it is correct.
- Disable every unneeded Google synchronization service. “Settings --> Accounts --> Google.” Choose your profile and edit what is synced, I left only Gmail on.
- Turn off Location Services. “Settings --> Personal --> Location Services (or Location Access).” Uncheck both “GPS satellites” and “Wi-Fi & mobile network location” or turn off “Access to my location.” The options are called "Google Location Service" and "Location & Google Search" in the Stock ROM. Then open your Web Browser and touch the three dots in the corner to enter the settings menu. Go to “Privacy & Security” and uncheck “Enable Location.”
Now let's go to most important steps (I think).
- Turn on Airplane Mode. “Settings --> Wireless & Networks --> More...” then check the box for Airplane Mode. You should see an airplane icon in your notification bar. After this step, you'll probably need to turn Wi-Fi on again.
- Sign out of Google Talk and change settings. Open the Google Talk app and sign out by touching where it says “Available.” Go to “Settings --> Chat Notifications --> IM notifications” and choose “Off.” Go to Setting --> Account --> Manage account” and uncheck the box for “Auto-Sync app data.”
- Last, but not least, a few apps to check out. Go to the Google Play Store and download https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=eu.thedarken.sdm&feature=search_result#?t=W251bGwsMSwxLDEsImV1LnRoZWRhcmtlbi5zZG0iXQ.. (it's a free app). After downloading the app, turn it on and then go to “Settings --> Include system packages?” and check the box. Go back and tap on "Start,” then choose “appcontrol” and refresh. Now find Google Street View (if you installed it), tap on it and choose “remove app (remove the app and its data).” Do the same thing with Google Maps. RESTART your crystal and take a look (Maps should be back on the device but off, don’t open it).
Additionally, you can install the free app called https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.nema.batterycalibration&feature=search_result#?t=W251bGwsMSwxLDEsImNvbS5uZW1hLmJhdHRlcnljYWxpYnJhdGlvbiJd from Play Store and follow the apps instructions to calibrate the battery. You can also download the paid app called “https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.asksven.betterbatterystats&feature=search_result#?t=W251bGwsMSwxLDEsImNvbS5hc2tzdmVuLmJldHRlcmJhdHRlcnlzdGF0cyJd to get a more detailed view of your battery usage and identify what is keeping your tablet from entering deep sleep if these steps did not help.
These are the steps I took and settings I used. I can't precisely say which of them are mandatory and I can't promise that they'll help but they kinda did for me. Now I'm getting a max of one spontaneous reboot a day. Before changing these settings I got one every hour (at least), and the dreaded Sleep of Death (great name) from time to time.
Please let us know if you find a better solution to this problem or if we missed anything. It’s a problem that touches many of us and its a real pain in the you know what.
I didn't have Google Street View or Google Maps installed so I didn't use SD Maid and also did not test out the Battery Calibration app but pierwiastekz2 verified that they worked for him.
4. Random Reboots/Sleep of Death - NEW SOLUTION
This solution was found again by pierwiastekz2 and he has reported that the above steps are not needed to get this to work. He's also reported that, as of now, it has completely solved his SOD problems.
- Install the free app called https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=eu.thedarken.wl&feature=search_result#?t=W251bGwsMSwxLDEsImV1LnRoZWRhcmtlbi53bCJd or any other power manager app that allows control of your wake lock settings. The following steps are for the Wake Lock app only.
- Open the app and set the mode to "PARTIAL_WAKE_LOCK." You'll see a colored, numbered box appearing up to Orange 4.
- Touch the three dots in the corner of the screen to enter the settings menu. Set "autostart on boot" and "notification" to be On.
- Go to the device settings and set WiFi in sleep mode to "never." as described in part three of the troubleshooting section.
You should see little gray "Wake Lock" icon on the left side of notification bar on your screen if everything is set up correctly. According to pierwiastekz2, the battery stays up to 24-26 hours max (in this semi-sleep mode).
WARNING! - Because of constant activity = CPU always up, it is NOT RECOMMENDED to use this solution when overclocking your CPU, even with governor changing. If anyone leaves it with, for example, "performance" mode set, the Crystal may overheat.
5. Crystal Battery Issues - Battery Percentage Stuck
It's been reported that the procedure in this thread also works on the Crystal to solve the battery percentage stuck issue. As usual, if you encounter this problem and try this solution, report back on whether or not it worked for you.
6. Crystal Battery Issues - My Battery Life Sucks
A lot of things can cause poor battery life. Rogue apps can run in the background and suck up a lot of battery, the screen brightness plays a huge part, keeping WiFi on during sleep can use up a lot, etc. Besides playing around with settings though, you can consider deleting the Phone.apk and TelephonyProvider.apk from the system apps. You will need to use a Root Browser/Explorer but deleting them will disable 3G and Data searching, which you probably don't need anyway. You can also get slightly better battery life in my Crystal Clear ROM by adjusting the CPU frequency settings in "system -> etc -> virtuous_oc" but only if you are using your tablet for basic things that don't need a lot of CPU power.
Specifications and Accessories - In Progress...
- The Ainol Crystal is supposedly rated for 5V 2A USB chargers, even though mine came with a 1.0A charger. Most laptop USB 2.0 ports are 0.5 amp, USB 3.0 ports are 0.9A, and dedicated charging ports can be up to 1.5A. Devices that are rated for 2A will charge faster with a 2A charger and there are no safety issues with using a 2A charger with a device that only draws 1A, the device itself will regulate the input. Using the 5V 2A charger that I charge my HP Touchpad with, the Ainol Crystal charges from 0% to 100% in about 6 hours. Just make sure that you are using the right voltage charger. Do not try and charge the tablet with anything over a 5V charger as it can cause damage to your battery.
- It looks like the Crystal has a barrel type ac adapter input for charging that is located next to the mini HDMI port. I ordered an adapter to test it out for charging and it looks like the size for this tablet is 3.5mm x 0.8mm at 5v 2A. Even though some sources say the barrel size is 2.5mm x 0.8mm, that is incorrect and I've tested that size, it does not fit. I'll update when I get a chance to test out a 3.5mm barrel size adapter.
- I measured my Ainol Crystal with a digital caliper and got 189.1mm x 120.3mm x 11.2mm or 7.45 x 4.74 x 0.45 inches (rounded up). The dimensions are helpful for finding a case or bag for the tablet. The Kindle Fire (not the HD version, the original one) measures 7.5 x 4.7 x 0.45 inches, so carrying cases and sleeves made for the Kindle Fire will definitely fit the Ainol Crystal. I have also confirmed that the Ainol Crystal fits in other Kindle Fire cases like the leather portfolios and the hard back snap on cases. The only thing you need to be careful of is selecting a case that does not cover the buttons or the inputs on the bottom. Check out my forum post for more info and pictures.
I also got a Kindle Fire (not the HD version which is larger) screen protector and used a hole punch to cut out a place for the camera, you can also see it in the same forum post as the case. The screen protector fits really well with about 2mm or 0.08 inches between the edge of the screen protector and the edge of the tablets face. So it's not an exact fit but because you can find much higher quality screen protectors at a fraction of the cost of the Ainol screen protectors, I'd go with a Kindle Fire one. The Kindle fire screen protectors do have a small hole cut out in one corner of the screen but that doesn't bother me. Most of the screen protectors that are sold for Ainol 7" tablets are roughly 6.25" x 3.75" or 158.75mm x 95.25mm rectangles that only cover the touchable area of the screen. They are also really poor quality, scratch very easily, have no anti-glare and reduce touch sensitivity.
OTG - "On The Go" Cables
- The OTG cable that I received with the tablet has a split off for an ac adapter, so you can charge it while using the USB port. I haven't figure out what the size of the barrel adapter is yet but it's on my to-do list and I'll try and upload pictures in case anyone else got one as well. If you have a regular OTG cable you should be able to use a USB Y Adapter Cable to charge the tablet while plugging in a USB device. When I get a chance to test it out I will make an update here.
Random Questions... Answered by Yours Truly.
Do I need to "Wipe data / factory rest" every time I update?
If you are upgrading from an older version of the same ROM there is no need to "wipe data / factory reset." Just skip that step and wipe cache / dalvik cache and you are good to go.
Can I go back to the stock firmware if I don't like a custom ROM or for Warranty reasons?
Yes you can, here is the link to the stock firmware from the Ainol website. You need to do a "wipe data / factory reset" and then flash the stock firmware like you did the custom ROM.
Do I need to root my tablet to install a custom ROM?
No, all of the custom ROM's will automatically root your device for you when you flash the files.
How do I fix the Google Play Store on my Ainol Crystal?
The only way I know how to fix the Google Play Store is to flash one of the custom ROM's. They all include fixes for the Play Store. You could also potentially root your device by following the instructions here and then sideload the Google Play Store app by downloading the file here and installing it manually.
Why do my Gameloft games crash or hang at start-up?
Gameloft games, like Asphalt 7, have a license check and that is where the app is failing. You may be able to download the app but you can't play it. There is a complicated way to fix this that involves some developers knowledge, you can read about it here. Christian Troy shared how to do this so all his ROM's probably have the fix in it. My ROM Crystal Clear also has the fix and is based on the 1212 stock firmware, so theoretically you could pull the framework.jar file from my ROM, put it in any stock ROM, reset the permissions correctly and you'd have your fix.
How can I get Wifi to work in sleep mode?
This is a limitation with Ainol products and the hardware they use. Ainol tablets won't go into deep sleep if Wifi is on. There is no way around this problem.
The bottom of my touchscreen on the stock ROM is not very responsive, sometimes missing inputs or inputting to a different location than where I was touching.
I can barely type on the keyboard, it keeps registering other letters, what can I do?
If you want to check on where your touches are registering on the screen, you can go into "System - Developer Options," turn on the Developer Options and enable "Input - Show Touches." There is a 20 pixel dead zone around the entire edge of the tablet screen where touches are not registered. There is also a major problem with touch sensitivity in stock firmware, so it makes it even more difficult when trying to click things near the edge of the screen. My ROM has several build.prop changes that vastly improve touch sensitivity, so you can always use those build.prop tweaks to improve your tablet, even if you don't install my ROM. There are other improvements as well that improve overall performance, which in turn improves touch sensitivity. Those tweaks require init.d support and you can see the scripts in the system/etc/init.d folder of my ROM.
That's all for now!
Please post your questions in the comments and I will try and update and add information as I get it. I'll also update whatever I find out on my own while using this tablet. So far, I think it's been a great purchase and I've been really happy with it.
At some point in the near future I hope to take and upload some videos to YouTube. If you have any requests please leave them in the comments as well.
I hope this ends up being helpful to some people and enjoy your new tablet! If this guide was helpful for you, please take a moment to hit the green + button on the bottom-right of this post. Thanks!!! ----->
Edited by fuser-invent, 18 January 2014 - 04:20 PM.