Pandigital Novel Hacking

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Hacking the Novel has come a long way since it was first released. New users can benefit from the hard work and many hours that have gone in to making these hacks so accessible. The following hacks have been organized into categories based on the ease of use and technical background of the user. These methods will change as new additions become available.

The hacks below are all for the White PDN. Pandigital is also selling a Black Model and a nearly identical version in Black, Red, Blue and Purple which have gotten poor reviews as it runs on lesser hardware and an older version of Android. Read more about hacking it here: The Black One (QVC & BPDN)

STUCK IN A FLASH LOOP? LOOK HERE.

PDN Wiki Index
Introduction to the Pandigital Novel
Beginners Guide
Pandigital Novel Hacking
Pandigital Novel Software
Pandigital Novel Hardware Modification
Pandigital Novel Version

Contents

Disclaimer & Warnings

  • THIS DEVICE IS A HIGHLY SOPHISTICATED PIECE OF ELECTRONIC EQUIPMENT.
  • ALTERATIONS FROM IT'S INTENDED PURPOSE COULD VOID ITS WARRANTY.
  • HACKING THIS DEVICE COULD PERMANENTLY DAMAGE IT TO THE POINT WHERE IT BECOMES UNUSABLE FOR ANY PURPOSE.
  • FIRMWARE ON THIS PAGE IS FOR THE 7" WHITE PDN ONLY.
  • Doing any of these hacks, of course, is AT YOUR OWN RISK and could brick your device! You have been warned!

Neither authors of this Wiki nor of the various modifications referred to and linked herein shall be liable for any damages to your device resulting from following their instructions (correctly or not).

User Level and Experience

The SlateDroid developer community has provided options to customize your White Pandigital Novel that a user of any level of computer expertise can perform. The complete novice can create a state of the art hand-held, touch-screen computer with ease, while the advanced computer engineer can tinker with this unique device for months and not grow tired of it's functionality by following the instructions and links in this wiki.

Beginners Guide To Hacking The PDN

For those who are new to the Android Operating System, unfamiliar with Command Line Tools, or just want to experience the full potential of the White Pandigital Novel as quickly and easily as possible, it is recommended that you follow the Beginners Guide to get up and running.
Even experienced Android users who are new to the Pandigital Novel should try this method just to unlock the system and judge it's capabilities and limitations before trying more advanced modifications.
  • All you need is an SD Card on which you will copy a .zip file of less than 100-Mb to perform a Firmware "Flash."
  • Within 10 minutes you will have a fully functional Android table. You have several options to customize what functions you desire based on what you plan on using the device for. If you do not like the modifications, you can try another option with different abilities or return the device to it's original stock set up.
  • Stock Altered Firmware Systems "unlocks" the Android system the PDN platform runs on, but keeps the original PDN apps and eReader functions intact.
  • Open Platform systems eliminate the stock framework altogether.
  • Market firmware options that allow you access to the Android Marketplace to find and install apps automatically, but interfere with the PDN's sleep function, draining battery life between charges.
  • There are Altered Stock and Open Platform frameworks that come pre-installed with most of the apps the average user wants/needs, eliminating the need for MarketPlace access.

Intermediate To Advanced PDN User Hacking Guide

Once you are comfortable with how your new device works, you may want to add additional functions to the device (like new default fonts or different software home/menu/back buttons), change some of the pre-set configurations (like the volume keys), or experiment with rooting the device, giving access to powerful apps that can change the core system configuration.
The Intermediate To Advanced User Guide provides basic instructions for various modification methods.
  • Handy firmware flash-patches that alter specific PDN functions without modifying the rest of the system.
  • Useful links to Developer discussion threads tackling new/different abilities for the PDN.
  • Rooting instructions for the advanced user along with links to the work and instructions from PDN hacking pioneers, Nate the Great, Meth and Clockworx's original exploration of the device, turning it from a simple, inexpensive eReader into a powerful computing device.

Installing Firmware

There can be only one zipped FW file present on the PDN when flashing. Either internal microSD or external SD card options are preferred. WARNING! Do NOT Use Pandigital's website.

Method 1: Using External SD Card

This is generally the preferred method if you have an external SD card available.

  1. Download firmware file in .ZIP format.
  2. Copy to external SD Card - do NOT unzip the file. (Note Nchntrman's Firmware is distributed as a "Zip within a Zip" file to retain naming conventions recognized by the device. It should end with "6410POP.zip") Copy to sdcard from PC using a USB cable and drag and drop it to the sdcard drive on your PC, or put the card in a card reader and copy it directly to the card. (Note SD card should be formatted in FAT or FAT32)
  3. Make sure only ONE zip file is on the sdcard. Delete any old zip files present on the card.
  4. Make sure battery is fully charged or have A/C power supply connected.
  5. Power down the Novel.
  6. Insert SD card containing the firmware update file.
  7. Press POWER and VOL+ simultaneously and hold for 5 seconds.
  8. Update process begins automatically. There is a progress indicator. Novel will reboot automatically when update is complete.
  9. If an exclaimation point appears, something is wrong with the zip file. Re-check all the above steps.
  10. See the developer thread for further instructions. Some of the OP-2011 based version require you to flash the device twice to get the added apps to install.

Method 2: Using Internal microSD Card

If you do not have an external SD card available, you can use the internal microSD card.

  1. Download firmware file in .ZIP format.
  2. Make sure no external SD card is in device.
  3. Copy to internal microSD Card - do NOT unzip the file. (Note Nchntrman's Firmware is distributed as a "Zip within a Zip" file to retain naming conventions recognized by the device. It should end with "6410POP.zip") Copy to internal microSD card from PC using a USB cable and drag and drop it to the microSD card drive on your PC, or put the microSD card in a card reader and copy it directly to the microSD card.
  4. Make sure only ONE zip file is on the microSD card. Delete any old zip files present on the microSD card.
  5. Make sure battery is fully charged or have A/C power supply connected.
  6. Power down the Novel.
  7. Press POWER and VOL+ simultaneously and hold for 5 seconds.
  8. Update process begins automatically. There is a progress indicator. Novel will reboot automatically when update is complete.
  9. If an exclaimation point appears, something is wrong with the zip file. Re-check all the above steps.
  10. See the developer thread for further instructions. Some of the OP-2011 based version require you to flash the device twice to get the added apps to install.

Method 3: Upgrader Application via Windows

NOTE: The upgrader application is no longer applicable or accessible. Pandigital's website and mirrors are down. Probably permanently due to their liquidation/bankruptcy. The content below remains for reference only.

  1. Use Pandigital's Upgrader Application found here: Novel.Upgrader.exe (Windows PC Required)
  2. Make sure battery is fully charged or have A/C power supply connected.
  3. Run the Pandigital Novel Upgrader Application.
  4. When prompted, plug the powered on PDN in to your computer's USB port.
  5. The Upgrader will take you through the process.

Update 2/15/11 If you are using Pandigital's upgrader application (latest is version 6.0.0.0) Please be aware that the PD upgrader application now creates a backup folder in my documents on your computer. This backup restores all books and media, but does not save any passwords or user installed apks. If you run into problems, such as exclamation Andy while trying to upgrade via Pandigital, please see this thread for instructions. (specifically reply #4) WPDN:Pandigital FW upgrader now creates backup

Which Version of Firmware Should I Use?

Functionality

The decision to choose which firmware (fw) to run is ultimately a personal decision based on what best matches your PDN hardware and what you want your PDN to do.

  • Video playback can be problematic on some combinations of FW and hardware models.
  • Battery life suffers on systems with Market enabled 2010-based firmware.
  • Not all of the community modified firmwares will be able access all the major eBook sellers.
  • WiFi reconnectivity is better on some firmware (2011-based) than others.

OEM Firmware: K vs. B

If you wish to install unmodified OEM firmware from Pandigital, it might be helpful to know if you have a "K" or a "B" version of the device. You can determine this, by visiting the "What Version of Novel Do I Have?" - Wiki.

NOTE - Nowdays it doesn't seem to really matter if you use a B or a K version. It looks like the only difference may have been the sample books and some internet shortcuts, otherwise the firmware is the same.

Motherboard Version

Currently, this is the trickiest part of choosing a firmware. There are at least two motherboard variations currently found in the White PDN's that are being sold. The quickest method to determine which version you have is to observe the video playback on firmware newer than 7/24. One version of the motherboard has choppy playback (pausing every 5 seconds), while the other does not. Slatedroid users currently refer to the one with choppy playback as "v1," and the other as "v2."

Note: This may or may not be immediately related to the "K" vs. "B" designation. To help us definitively solve this mystery, please follow these instructions. This forum discussion attempts to determine definitive ways to identify which version of the White PDN you may have, and is an attempt to identify if the "K" vs. "B" designation is definitively related to the motherboard version. With enough volunteers, this may help the community be able to determine the motherboard version before ever opening the box.

Version Check Simple (Less Reliable) Advanced (Most Reliable)
Method Observe video playback

Using abd or a terminal emulator, use the command "dmesg" right after the PDN boots up.
For adb, the command would be:

  • adb shell
  • dmesg
v1
  • Firmware newer than 7/24
    • Video stutters every 5 seconds
  • Firmware 7/24
    • Video does not stutter
  • "max17044" is present in dmesg output
v2
  • All Firmware
    • Video does not stutter
  • "max17044 does not exist" is present in dmesg output -or-
  • No reference to "max17044" at all in dmesg output

The 8/6 through 11/19/2010 firmware failed to address this stuttering playback problem on v1 PDN's. If you plan on watching a lot of video on your v1 PDN, you will want to use a mod based on 7/24 firmware. (Either Nchntr.Experience v.1.x or Vers.1 of Roebeet's GE, or Mac's V1.0.2). If watching video is no concern to you or if you have the newer v2 board, you can choose any of hacked firmwares.

The newest official firmware from Pandigital, an open platform system dated 2011 reportedly has fixed the video stutter on v.1-K boards. The peculiarities and warnings about installation and the dangers of downgrading from this firmware once installed should be read and are found elsewhere in this wiki. It appears Pandigital considers upgrading to this a one-way street since there appears to be no simple way to return to previous versions of their firmware. It can be done, but it's tricky and a few very experienced members of the community have bricked their device testing it. Fortunately, developers at Slatedroid have isolated and fixed the potentially fatal flaw in Pandigital's software and have incorporated a safe fix in the modified firmware and patches offered here. The unmodified, official firmware remains dangerous.

Further Discussion of Video Flutter-Bug (some information outdated):

Pandigital Official Firmware

NOTE: Pandigital Mirrors are down. Probably permanently due to their liquidation/bankruptcy.

Pandigital's Download Page
Support Mirror
[Support/Firmware Mirror]

See This thread for alternate mirrors to individual 2011 Stock FW's.

SH20_20110302_K_PD_INX7E_ENG_6410POP
SKD20_20110604_B_PD_INX7E_ENG_6410POP
SKI20_20110331_B_PD_INKE_ENG_6410POP
SLD20_20110610_B_PD_INX7E_ENG_6410POP

OEM Firmware Updates (Original Equipment as Manufactured)

SH20 2011 Stock OP Series

thumb (Example of 2011 "SH20" FW)

SH20_20110103_B_PD_INX7E_ENG_6410POP.zip
First incarnation of the new Stock/OP GUI and its fatal Flash-Loop
WiFi, Sleep and Video Flutter Bug problems seem to be addressed by this new FW architecture.
SH20_20110111_B_PD_INX7E_ENG_6410POP.ZIP
Partition scheme isolated on this pre-release FW
SH20_20110114_K_PD_INX7E_ENG_6410POP.zip
First of the SH20 OP series offered through Pandigital's official upgrade too.
Users were given an upgrade choice between this and S10-11/19 Stock but no explanation of the differences or consequences.
SH20_20110127_K_PD_INX7E_ENG_6410POP.zip
Flaw causing Flash-Loop isolated by Slatedroid Developers in this FW.
Unmodified versions of this FW still will cause a potentially fatal Flash-Loop when downgrading.
Flash-Loop is not fixed
SH20_20110215_K_PD_INX7E_ENG_6410POP.zip - awaiting mirror link for this latest version.
SH20_20110302_K_PD_INX7E_ENG_6410POP.zip
Last known stock 2011 SH20 series FW
Unmodified versions of this FW still will cause a potentially fatal Flash-Loop when downgrading.

S10 2010 Series

thumb (Example of Pre-2011 firmware "S10" FW)

S10_07_04K_PD_INX7E_ENG_6410POP.zip
Shipped with original White PDN
S10_07_18K_PD_INX7E_ENG_6410POP.zip
Not thoroughly tested/altered as new FW issued less than a week later
S10_07_24_K_PD_INX7E_ENG_6410POP.zip
Kindle, Nook, Borders/Kobo all work
PD recalled this and reverted back to S10-07-18 shortly after issue
Interestingly it works very well as a hacking platform
S10_08_06_K_PD_INX7E_ENG_6410POP.zip
Kindle works, Kobo has been reported to fail
See Troubleshooting for Nook Fix
See 8_27 GE Lite below for working Cruz version of Borders.
S10_08_20_K3_PD_INX7E_ENG_6410POP.zip
"Regular" Market Kobo works
S10_09_23_K_PD_INX7E_ENG_6410POP.zip
Improves WiFi reconnection after sleep.
S10_11_19_K_PD_INX7E_ENG_6410POP.zip
Most recent, stable and last of the S10 series FWs
"B" versions are available in at this PDN FW Mirror

S20 Open Platform Kit (9/20 and 9/30)

OP_S20_09_20_B_PD_INX7E_ENG_6410POP.zip
OP_S20_09_30_B_PD_INX7E_ENG_6410POP.zip

Legacy Mirror at mediafire.com/PDN.FW of all Stock OEM FW Updates 7/4 7/18 7/24 8/06 8/20 9/23 11/19 and Open Platform 9/30 plus OP/Stock 1/3/11, 1/5/11, 1/11/11, 1/14/11, 1/27/11 & 2/15/11.

Stock/Open Platform UI Releases (2011 SH20 series)

WARNING. Going back and forth between these Firmware Updates and older versions (especially going back to what used to be considered the standard, stable S10-7/24 and/or 11/19 FW) can be hazardous to the health of your device. DOWNGRADING = RISK OF BRICKS if you do not prepare your system properly in advance. Slatedroid developers have found and fixed the fatal flaw in Pandigital's firmware and are incorporating it in their mods and patches. We can only hope that Pandigital follows suit.

Pandigital's support site included new firmware updates in 2011, a new improved type of User Interface that is an Open Platform system with a lite version of B&N bookstore/eReader, SlideMe Market, ES File Explorer and Task Manager, plus several other pre-installed apps with the same functions the original included out of the box (music/video players, picture gallery, Facebook, web browser). (Included app list here) Conspicuously missing - Adobe Digital Editions for reading DRM'd ePubs from the library or other sources, however the included B&N app seems to fill this void.

Only the 1/14/2011, 1/27/11, and 2/15/11 firmware versions have been issued through Pandigital's online upgrade system. Others were found on their support hub. support.mirror.pandigital.net:8080/Support/ and support.mirror.pandigital.net:8080/Support/FW/Novel/

These are available in our mirror, mediafire.com/PDN.FW

NOTE for flashing 1/3/11, 1/11/11, 1/14/11, 1/27/11 and 2/15/11 (SH20 series from 2011)

There is no need to remove the internal micro-SD Card or run a recovery flash prior to flashing the SH20 (2011) FWs or mods based on them as was required in the S20 (9/20) Open Platform Kit. In fact it's not a good idea at all. HOWEVER, be aware the the installation will partition your internal card into two equal partitions, one FAT one EXT (Linux) which may have to be rejoined/reformatted in order to revert to previous stock systems and/or use Pandigital's online upgrader. This seems to provide additional storage for installation of more apps than RAM (NAND) alone permitted. (We probably could say it absolutely does this, and that is the intended purpose for the partition scheme, but since Pandigital neglects to provide instructions or a change log of any sort....) Read more on how the 2011 OP firmware works here.

Reformatting or otherwise removing the partition scheme on the internal micro-SD Card prior to switching between or from these systems is recommended as well as performing a factory reset to prevent legacy apps and data from interfering with the newly installed system. Flashing twice apparently is also required to fully install the included apps you install a S20 2011 FW.

  • Users of v.1/K boards report that the video stutter problem does not appear on these systems with accelerated 2d/3d graphics files installed.
  • Users report having to flash their units twice before the firmware fully installs if the internal card was not partitioned by previous installations of the SH20 series. Flashing twice is not required when going between the various January 2011 FW builds if your internal sd card remains partitioned by another SH20 FW. Previous standard operating procedure of flashing to a stable base system (like S10-7/24 or S10-11/19) does not apply to these new systems - indeed just the opposite is indicated.
  • Access to the Android Market is possible. (Here's the way it's done - the hard way. There are modular and full firmware replacements with Market Access included - as well as fixing the flaw preventing safe return to pre-2011 FW)
  • Volume key remapping (Button Hack) works (But it's tricky to get out of the boot loop if you use Nchntrman's flashable patch.) Kewlguy (fix-flash) has developed a safe and easy methods to complete the Vol-Key hack as well as other enhancements without typing command line instructions via ADB or the Terminal for the newer SH20 2011 FW.
  • All major commercial eBookstore/eReader apps work except Nook (minor issues), which is replaced by the pre-installed B&N app.
1/03/11 Discussion / Info Please Read before installing or asking what can otherwise be found there or in this wiki. The info found in this thread where we first encountered Pandigital's new FW architecture has been applied to all the other 2011 Stock/OP SH20 releases.

1/14/11, 1/27/11 and 2/15/11 SH20 series OEM

  • The new FW architecture requires you to flash this firmware twice, even when installing from Pandigital's website.
  • If you have upgraded through Pandigital's website to their new Open Platform system, one of these firmware versions were installed in your WPDN
caption (Example of 2011 "SH20" FW)
Developers report a flash/boot-loop occurs when downgrading, ie. when older firmware is installed over this system without proper preparation. Flashing twice is not required when installing 1/27 or 1/14 over each other or over 1/11 or 1/03 as long as the internal card remains partitioned. The card's partition scheme need not be removed to safely revert to older firmware, but you will lose half the available space used for file storage. Performing a factory reset prior to flashing another firmwware will prevent ghost apps and legacy data from interfering with newly installed firmware, but will not prevent the new firmware from functioning (it'll just be a bit buggy).
You will, however, need to prepare your system properly in order to safely avoid a potentially fatal flash-loop.
Discussion Thread for 1/14
Discussion Thread for 1/27
  • Non-Ugly GE/Market Hack for the Open Platform is reported to work on these.
  • Full rotation, wifi as good or better than any other FW. Reported to sleep properly (so far) without GE (GApps) installed.
  • Video Flutter Bug eliminated on v.1/K boards even without 2d/3d drivers installed with 1/14.

Avoid the SH20 BOOT-LOOP

Help my PDN is stuck in a flash loop, what do I do???
If you somehow missed the 20 or so warnings throughout this wiki not to try downgrading from the 2011 SH20 series back to the stock 2010 firmware, this tutorial might save your slate. (Breath. It's gonna be OK. Take your time and read the instructions. Your PDN isn't going anywhere.)

Partitioning the internal micro-SD Card is reported to occur upon flashing the 1/14 and 1/27 FW - just like what occurs in 1/3 and 1/11 FWs. It is not necessary to remove the internal card or pre-flash a recovery file prior to flashing as was instructed in previous editions of the PDN Open Platform "Kit" (S20, 9/30 FW). However, do NOT flash earlier firmware or modified firmware based on previous renditions of the Pandigital Novel software directly over this or other January, 2011 releases without some fairly advanced preparation.

You can manually fix your corrupted system and prepare it for flashing older, S10 series FW by flash_file adb commands inserting the older target kernel/bootloader/ramdisk and recovery images first (see: Safely revert to stock from 1/3, 1/11, or 1/14 which includes an executable .bat file for this) or follow the instructions in the n00b version which is riskier but works. We recommend Kewlguy's Fixflash as the easy way to make your PDN safe for downgrading.

If you do not properly prepare your system prior to downgrading firmware from these releases, a flash/bootloop will occur which can only be stopped by hitting reset with a paper clip BUT NOT AS the progress bar "hashes." As the cross-hashes disappear and a new loop begins, immediately eject the SD Card, and hit reset when "Angry Andy" appears. Ejecting the card prevents the installation script from finding the flashable zip file. If you miss the window at the beginning of the loop, hold the card in until the process repeats and the cross-hashes disappear. Otherwise it will only partially install the kernel which will render your device hopelessly inoperative or install an incomplete recovery file leaving your PDN unable to flash to anything else again until you can insert a working recovery file via adb or the terminal flash_file command.

Poking reset hole w/paperclip timing. - "So far, the reset has only bricked units when it is pushed at the end of the flash loop when cross hatches briefly appear. This is likely when the PND is looking for the proper image to boot from."
Removing SD Card timing - "If you are stuck in a flash loop wait until the unit flashes again. Then press in (but don't release) and hold the SD card. Immediately upon seeing the hashed progress bar -- before a new flashing session starts -- release the card and let it pop out (leave it out). Wait and then you will get the warning screen with the exclamation mark as the flashing program could not find the sd card files to flash. At this point you should be able to safely depress the reset button with a paperclip and reboot your PDN. You must release the sd card during the hashed progress bar and before the yellow bar starts again. If you see the yellow bar hold the card until that flash cycle is completed."
Rebooting via adb- If have already properly set up your device and computer (drivers) to connect via usb you can reboot via adb. If you are stuck in a flash-loop, use the command "adb reboot" and it will reboot your device.

Units have been hopelessly bricked when attempting to revert to the "base" 7/24 (admittedly flawed) stock firmware directly from (fatally flawed) 1/14 FW, even after removing the partition from the internal card and despite trying the above procedure, popping the external card during hashed progress bar, leaving it out and resetting when Andy appears with his triangle. Unless you are an experience user or prepare your system properly upgrading to 1/14 or 1/27 may be an irreversible procedure. Even then, some very knowledgeable people have run into considerable trouble experimenting with these January 2011 upgrades.

Open Platform "Kit" (9/20 & 9/30 "S20")

  • Transforms your PDN to an Open Platform Android Device, providing a configurable user interface without proprietary software. In other words, this converts your PDN to an Android computer tablet without any additional software from Pandigital or anyone else - a blank slate. The original PDN apps, including the eReader are not included and will not function on these altered firmwares.
  • This Firmware will only work on the White Novel and will destroy all your data and apps. Back up first. (Yes, you can go back to a stock flash or another altered firmware after trying it. The PDN apps will be reinstalled and your eBooks, mp3s, etc. will again be accessible.)
  • The OP Kit, dated 9/30/10 whose file name starts with "S20" should not be confused with the newer "Stock-OP" series SH20 introduced in January 2011. Pandigital warned originally that installing the S20 OP Kit would void your warranty. Now, upgrades performed through their web site only give you the option of the Stock OP SH20 firmware.
  • Pandigital's Android/Open Platform Kit was in direct response to pressure from the Slatedroid community. They have yet to provide their source code which is legally required and would greatly improve our ability to further develop this device. They promised months ago that the Source Code will be available "soon." You can still Email pandigital about getting us source code.
  • Pandigital Novel Android Open Platform kit. (White version) Links for software download and instructions for required internal SD Card removal.
  • More Information - Pandigital has released an Open Platform version of their firmware
  • To remove the Open Patform "Kit" and go back to stock S10 11/19 FW which will allow the PD upgrader to recognize your WPDN again. Look Here

There is also an Open Platform solution for The Black One

Community Modified Firmware

It is suggested that you first flash to OEM version compatible with desired Mod and perform factory reset through PDN's settings prior to using any of these upgrades.

  • Optimized DVM w/JIT responsiveness mod is NOT compatible with Kindle app.
  • Video applications stutter on v.1 (K) boards on systems base on post-7/24 OEM FW.
  • Only stock frameworks will run the original PDN eReader.
  • Wifi work best on post 9/23 stock & OP systems.
  • Google Experience (required for Market access) interferes with full sleep function.
  • Some systems, but not all, can access every major eBook retailer over wifi.

This Side-by-side feature comparison Google Doc Spreadsheet of the major all-in-one altered firmware options installed via simple firmware flash is more detailed than the following outline. Additional information can be found below this table and in the linked developer threads.

Current projects in development
  • Modifications of the 11/19 OEM FW released in December, 2010. DONE. see MAC1'S 5.02B
  • Return to 7/24 FW modification including Market, eliminating video stutter on v.1 boards with all the the latest graphic and performance tweaks it can run. DONE. see MAC1'S 1.02B
  • Investigation of the dramatically new 2011 OEM FWs -- apparently Open/Stock systems which include a new Barnes & Nobel app and reader, the limited SlideMe Market and create a partition of the internal SD card for apk storage into a FAT and EXT (Linux) partition upon installation. Mixed reports of video stutter on v.1 boards being eliminated from these releases. Flash-Loop flaw has been fixed and is being incorporated into modified versions of the new system here at Slatedroid. Pandigital would be well advised to follow Slatedroid's lead here. DONE. see Wiki
  • Finalizing a stable, rooted BPDN mod with Gapps and Market - DONE. see Roebeet's OPJINN (whatever that means...)
  • Investigation and support of the 9" PDN.
  • Covert mission to recover the source code to the kernel so we can move to 2.2 (just kidding! or are we????)


Rooted Flashed Altered Firmware Systems (7" White PDN Only)
Developer/Thread Platform Market Notes
Kewlguy's 2/15/11 OP with & without Gapps OP 2/15/11 Optional Full implementation of 2/15/11 OEM firmware with Gapps (ie GE Market enabled) and non-Gapps versions. Internal SD Card partitions for additional app installation, original stock PDN Video player app, PD Audio player apps and B&N eReader app. YouTube app, Facebook app & Chinese keyboard removed. Rooted, Busybox (Titanium Backup friendly), Spica 2d/3v video libraries, DVM optimization w/JIT, Addfree host file, Adhoc wifi supplicant. Should sleep correctly. Quadrant score 230-240. All eReaders appear to work. Includes Google Market (GE version) and SlideME Market. Includes quick-sync-settings.apk for Accounts & Sync settings. Volume keys are NOT remapped, and are back to being volume keys, so use SoftKeys.apk to manage back and menu buttons for full screen apps. This is currently the latest, featured community modified firmware for those that have made the jump to the 2011 OP firmware.
(Retiring) Roebeet's 1/27 OP with & without Gapps OP 1/27/11 Optional Full implementation of 1/27/11 OEM firmware with Gapps (ie GE Market enabled) and non-Gapps versions. Internal SD Card partitions for additional app installation, original stock PDN Video player app, PD Audio player apps and B&N eReader app. YouTube app, Facebook app & Chinese keyboard removed. Rooted, Busybox (Titanium Backup friendly), Spica 2d/3v video libraries, DVM optimization w/JIT, Addfree host file, Ubuntu fonts, Adhoc wifi supplicant. Should sleep correctly. Quadrant score 230-240. All eReaders appear to work. Includes Google Market (GE version) and SlideME Market. Use Quick-Sync-Settings.apk to manage google accounts. Volume keys are NOT remapped, and are back to being volume keys, so use SoftKeys.apk to manage back and menu buttons for full screen apps. This version is in the process of being retired in lieu of the above version, but it still a good, stable and valid firmware that many are using.
Mac1 (Roebeet) Full.GE (v5.x) Stock 11/19/10 Yes Working Google Calendar. Improved video with 2d/3d drivers. DVM acceleration improves performance and does not break Kindle without JiT included (not included, you add this if desired). Resizable/configurable software buttons on notification bar. Reduced adware. All eBook sellers accessible. No sleep fix.
Mac1 GE for v.1-K Boards (v1.x) Stock 7/24/10 YES! First mod that has no video stutter on v.1-K units that also includes full Market, working calendar, advanced 2d/3d graphic drivers, stable wifi, working notification bar but no software buttons. "Home" button available in Status area by installing the ControlBar.apk from market. SmartBar.app will not run on this mod. Reduced adware. All eBook sellers accessible. No sleep fix.
Nchntr Experience 1.4 Stock 9/23/10 No Improved WiFi connectivity with latest OEM Firmware, LOADED with pre-installed, preconfigured apps and access to several non-market file repositories
Nchntr Experience 1.2 Stock 7/24/10 No Stable video all boards, LOADED with pre-installed, preconfigured apps and access to several non-market file repositories. Nook fix unnecessary.
Nchntr Experience 1.5 Open Platform 9/30/10 No Built on PD’s Open Platform Kit, LOADED with pre-installed, preconfigured apps and access to several non-market file repositories. Advanced version still containing some bugs.
Roebeet's PDN/Cruz Hybrid VM Cruz Ported OP Optional SlateDroid-CruzN, the first completely Open Platform system for the PDN, ports the functionality of PDN's sister device the Velocity Micro Cruz Reader to the White PDN. Note reversal of internal/external SD Card access.
(Retired) Kewlguy's Stock/OP Hybrid Stock 11/19/10 & OP 1/11/11 Optional Safe hybrid version that combines the capability to easily revert to stock or MOD firmware but all the features of the new 1/11 Open Platform system. Basic, Market, and Full GE editions. Both internal & external SD cards are fully accessible. Optimized 2d/3d performance, DVM CPU tweak, rooted, busybox, and working Titanium Backup. Builds available to fix video stutter on v1 boards.

Modified Stock Open Platform UI (2011)

These community modified firmware systems are for the new firmware released by Pandigital in January 2011 for the White PDN only

Alternate WPDN firmware: OP-based mod (Kewlguy 2/15/11)

thumb (Example of 2011 "SH20" FW)

(Please read the developers thread and study the first post in detail for instructions, warnings and latest changes.)

Full implementation of 2/15/11 OEM firmware with Gapps (ie GE Market enabled) version and non-Gapps versions. Internal SD Card partitions for additional app installation.

It is now safe to revert to previous firmware releases or modified firmware based on pre-2011 "S10" FW without additional modifications and preparation. You should perform a factory reset first before flashing to or from this mod. Inexperienced users should still consider upgrading to SH20 2011 firmware a "one-way street" and be aware that the unmodified version of the 1/14 and 1/27 firmware is still considered dangerously flawed, presenting the risk of a flash-loop. This modified firmware mitigates that risk.

  • original stock PDN Video and Settings apps, Removes the Facebook app and Chinese keyboard
  • Rooted and Busybox added (Titanium Backup friendly)
  • Spica drivers added
  • JIT enhancement added
  • Utilizes their "firmware" settings section to add a Slatedroid nod.  :)
  • Addfree hosts file added (adware blocker)
  • Adhoc friendly supplicant added
  • (Gapps version) Google Market, Gmail, Maps, etc (read instructions carefully!)

Alternate WPDN firmware: OP-based mod (Roebeet 1/27/11)

thumb (Example of 2011 "SH20" FW)

(Please read the developers thread and study the first post in detail for instructions, warnings and latest changes.)

NOTE: This version is being retired in lieu of the above version, but still is a good, stable valid firmware that lots of people are using.

Full implementation of 1/27/11 OEM firmware with Gapps (ie GE Market enabled) version and non-Gapps versions. Internal SD Card partitions for additional app installation.

It is now safe to revert to previous firmware releases or modified firmware based on pre-2011 "S10" FW without additional modifications and preparation. You should perform a factory reset first before flashing to or from this mod. Inexperienced users should still consider upgrading to SH20 2011 firmware a "one-way street" and be aware that the unmodified version of the 1/14 and 1/27 firmware is still considered dangerously flawed, presenting the risk of a flash-loop. This modified firmware mitigates that risk.

  • Roebeet continues his tireless efforts to bring you the most advanced tablet experience possible.
  • original stock PDN Video and Settings apps, Removes the Facebook app and Chinese keyboard
  • Rooted and Busybox added (Titanium Backup friendly)
  • Spica drivers added
  • JIT enhancement added
  • Utilizes their "firmware" settings section to add a Slatedroid nod.  :)
  • Addfree hosts file added (adware blocker)
  • Ubuntu font added
  • Adhoc friendly supplicant added
  • (Gapps version) Google Market, Gmail, Maps, etc (read instructions carefully!)

Modified Stock/Open Platform Hybrid UI (2011)

(Retired) 1/11/11 & 11/19/10 Hybrid (Kewlguy)

thumb (Example of 2011 "SH20" FW)

(Please read the developers thread and study the first post in detail for instructions, warnings and latest changes.)

Combination of the 11/19 bootloader, kernel, ramdisk, and recovery image with all of the features from the 1/11 merged in. Allows users to explore the 1/11 OP firmware but with the full capability to SAFELY revert to any stock firmware or any of the currently available mods.

  • Rooted w/Busybox and Titanium Backup installed
  • 2d/3d drivers, no video flutterbug
  • Aldiko full screen fix
  • DVM acceleration
  • Volume keys remapped
  • SlideMe Market Only in version v3.01
  • GApps and Google Android Market works in version 3.01GE
  • 3.01M gives access to Google Android Market only.
  • v4.x builds available for v1 board users to fix the 5-second video stutter issue.
  • This version has been retired as of 2/25/11

Modular "A la Carte" Flashes for 2011 OP UI

Kewlguys 1/14/11, 1/27/11 & 2/15/11 (WPDN) SD card enhancements

(Please read the developers thread and study the first post in detail for instructions, warnings and latest changes.)

  • A flashable (and Mac friendly) modular approach similar to the Nchntrman patches designed for the pre-2011 S10 FW series. Flash-loop flaw fixed with an additional "fix-flash," reducing the chance you could brick your unit. (2011 SH20 firmware required as a base prior to installing.)
  • Also available in Combo Packs with the most requested enhancements including Root PDN, BusyBox, 2d/3d Driver Enhancement, Optimized DVM with (or without) JIT, AdHoc WiFi Supplement, custom HOSTS file for ad/malware reduction, and LatinIME with valid dictionary.

Internal SD Card partitions for additional app installation OPTIONAL.

It is now safe to revert to previous firmware releases or modified firmware based on pre-2011 "S10" FW without additional modifications and preparation. You should perform a factory reset first before flashing to or from this mod. Inexperienced users should still consider upgrading to SH20 2011 firmware a "one-way street" and be aware that the unmodified version of the 1/14 and 1/27 firmware is still considered dangerously flawed, presenting the risk of a flash-loop. This modified firmware mitigates that risk.

Modified OEM

Known, tested full FW replacements for pre-2011 Framework

Stock firmware for the White PDN altered to unlock the Android Operating system running underneath Pandigital's proprietary interface, but still allowing users access to the original framework.

thumb (Example of 2011 "SH20" FW)

  • Mac's v5.02B Based on OEM 11/19. Full GE with working market, 2d/3d video libraries, 360 degree rotation, youtube, facebook, reduced adware, ubuntu fonts. Does not include DVM/JT Hack but this can be flashed or pushed in. All eReader apps work. Sleep issues remain.
  • Mac's v1.02B Based on OEM 7/24. Full GE with working market, 2d/3d video libraries, 360 degree rotation, youtube, facebook, reduced adware, ubuntu fonts. Does not include DVM/JT Hack but this can be flashed or pushed in. All eReader apps work. Sleep issues remain. No video stutter on v1 boards. Otherwise pretty much the same as v5.02B.
  • Nchntr Experience - No Market or Google apps. Most "Fixes" plus many apps pre-installed. NO DVM/JIT mod. (Very popular)
    • Serial Number and Rotation Fix are included in version NE.v.1.1 and beyond.
    • Version 1.4 is based on the wifi improved 9/23 official firmware.
    • Version 1.5 is based on the Open Platform system, deemed experimental by the developer and not as responsive / functional as 1.4 - which will be the basis of future versions.
    • Market unavailable on any Nchntrman mod. See the ugly and non-ugly Market hacks if you want to add them yourself ... or install install one of Roebeet's mods.
    • Nchntrman is currently on a Hiatus to return to developing in a few months.
  • Roebeet ver.1.x 8_01-w/Google experience Based on OEM 7_24. Volume Hack plus Google Experience Alpha (GE). NO DVM/JIT mod. Market unavailable without additional user modification. See: NOT ugly Market Fix OR Advanced Guide @ "ugly" Market Fix
  • Roebeet ver.2.x 8_12-GE Based on OEM 8_06. DVM/JT Hack included, thus more responsive but kills Kindle app.
  • Roebeet ver.3.x 8_27-GE Lite Based on OEM 8_20. Only Google apps necessary for Market access included. Notification Bar Fix on Boot included. DVM/JT Hack NOT included. VM Cruz Borders App will work)
  • Roebeet ver.4.01 10_20-Full GE and Root/Rotation Non-Destructive Supplement 4.00/4.01 to be run after ver.4.x installation. Based on 9_23 OEM, includes soft-buttons on notification bar, new Vending App fixes portrait scrolling in Market, reduced adware, Ubuntu fonts, Cruz Launcher allows more Homescreen Icons.

Modified Open Platform

(White PDN Only)

Nchntr.Experience 1.5 is also based on the Open Platform Kit from Pandigital. It is a non-Market, altered firmware system pre-loaded with pre-configured apps, as you would expect from the Nchntrman line.

If you are unhappy with the original Open Platform (not the January 2011 releases, but those based on the 9/30 OP OEM FW), you can go back to Stock FW relatively easy. Reverting back to Stock from OP FW

PDN/Cruz Hybrid - SlateDroid CruzN

(White PDN Only)

Portions of the operating system from Velocity Micro's Cruz Reader has been ported to the PDN to produced a working open platform system. Some of the functionality of this comparatively underclocked (533 mhz vs PDN's 800 mhz) yet more expensive twin-sister of the White PDN is being scavenged to work on the Novel. PDCruzN version 2.0 now in Beta testing.

PDCruzN.2.0 comes in two flavors: with and without full Google Experience, allowing full Marketplace access. The access and functions of your internal and external SD-cards are transposed in this system which also changes their names. This takes full advantage of the internal micro-SD card's upgrade potential since altered stock systems and those based on Pandigital's Open Platform Kit cannot fully exploit the expandable storage capacity inside the device.

Please read through the Developer's Thread before installing. There is no substitute for reading the Developer's instructions on this new class of WPDN Altered Firmware. It represents the most advanced features for the White PDN available to date suitable for public testing, combining the best attributes of your White PDN and it's sister device Velocity Micro's Cruz Reader.
  • Pay particular attention to the Developer's instructions regarding calibration of the device or it could become unusable.
  • Nook app is NOT working. The Fix for the Nook App found elsewhere on this Wiki and throughout the Slatedroid PDN Forums will NOT work on this and may make your device unusable. A malfunctioning Border's app still plagues this Alt.FW as well.
  • Full 360 degree NOT working is a known issue with the actual Cruz Reader as well. The Rotation Fix for the PDN found elsewhere on this Wiki and throughout the Slatedroid PDN Forum will NOT work on this and may make your device unusable.
  • Wifi does not "sleep" resulting in a battery drain in exchange for "instant on" capability. This is a feature, not a bug.
  • It has live soft buttons in the notification bar like the Cruz, can be clocked to 800mhz like the PDN. The Market "just works" after you set up your Google ID. Original PDN apps will work on earlier builds, but are not considered stable and are not included in version 2.0.
  • Flashing the Google Experience version of this FW will destroy all your data, so make sure you back up first. A non-destructive version is also available without GE.
  • Some apps requiring /root will not recognize the way this Alt.FW obtains /root access and not function correctly. This may be a bug found in other Alternative Firmwares and is being investigated.
  • Yes, it has Software Buttons, eliminating the need for remapped volume keys which regain their original function.
  • The PDCruzN Files
    • Market Enabled Beta
      • Full GE, user data wipe
    • Non-Market Enabled
      • Cruz base only, no GE, user data wipe
    • Supplemental Layer
      • Supplemental layer adds back the PDN music/games/photo apps and Contacts, which are all missing in the Cruz mods. PDN's eReader will not work on this software.
  • Developments on this mod come fast and furious. Please visit the Developer's thread for the latest files/updates and supplements.
  • An option has been developed to Remove status bar for full-screen apps on CRUZ Reader UI PDN ROM

Android 2.1/2.2 (Eclair/FroYo)

Currently the PDN runs on the short-lived Android 2.0 operating system, which was quickly replaced by 2.0.1, which was quickly replaced by 2.1. All three are technically are referred to as Eclair, though in the wider Android community "Eclair" generally refers to 2.1.

For Software Developers and Experienced Users Only
Please see the Advanced User section of the Intermediate To Advanced PDN User Hacking Guide

Note: it is NOT necessary to root your PDN in order to transform it into an Android tablet.

Current Status
Complete OS replacement Android 2.1, Eclair - Pre-Alpha NO NOOBS ALLOWED
Overlay of Android 2.2, FroYo - Working Beta. Audio/Video and Market issues.
Complete FroYo OS overlay ported from the Cyanogenmod mod.

Ubuntu

Linux Ubuntu has been proven to work over the Linux based mobile Android platform in the PDN.

Current Status: Proof of Concept only. Device is too slow. NOT recommended for installation.

Quirks, Tips, & Troubleshooting

Unresponsive Device, Black Screen, No Boot, Android/Triangle/!

  • A paperclip or toothpick inserted into the reset hole between the Power Toggle and USB port will click the reset button to reboot the device.
  • A Hard Reset. Without an external SD card in the WPDN, hold the (vol+ and power on) buttons as if flashing.
  • Most "dead" devices can be restored via a Firmware Flash from original Stock (OEM) files found above.
  • Flash it twice? Occasionally a failed OEM Flash can result from a corrupted recovery image interfering with the bootloader causing a "boot loop." A second flash can often restore the recovery image to it's proper state.
    • If you cannot power down, you can reflash by holding the Vol+up key with one hand, holding the power toggle with the other hand and clicking in the reset hole with a paperclip held in your third hand. (Use your teeth to hold the clip or get a friend.)
  • If all else fails, remove the battery to shut it off by following the cover removal instructions at the link below and CAREFULLY wiggling the connector with a tiny screwdriver. Do NOT pull it by the wires. Reconnect and reflash - twice if needed. Member sainthooligan has posted a helpful video guide here
  • Cannot Flash? Will not update? If there is no Android w/Triangle and Exclamation Point when flashing, just a blank screen, boot screen or partial boot screen, and no update animation (Android unpacking his box with a progress bar) you may have a damaged or missing recovery.img, or a damaged or missing bootloader.img. Follow this procedure.
  • pull recovery.img from a stock fw using adb, 7zip or Stuffit Archive Viewer. Recent reports suggest that using stock 11/19 firmware version for this task may be best.
  • adb devices
  • adb push recovery.img /data/misc
  • adb push bootloader.img /data/misc
  • adb shell
  • # flash_image recovery /data/misc/recovery.img
  • # flash_image bootloader /data/misc/bootloader.img
  • # reboot
Test this by flashing without any update zip on the SD Cards. If you get the Android/Triangle/! the new recovery file is properly looking for an update zip. You should now be able to flash updates normally.

Safely revert to stock from 2011 OP Firmware Versions

THIS TECHNIQUE uses a .bat file over ADB to install a working recovery compatible with older firmware installations to avoid the flash/boot-loop upon downgrading from the newer systems. (WHITE PDN only.)
Alternate WPDN Firmware: Modified OP/Stock Hybrid 11/19/10 & 1/11/11 - KG is a modified system that will allow the user to install the functionality of the new 2011 OP system that is now the official upgrade path for the PDN and explore its interface and capabilities without fear of the dreaded Flash-Loop if you wish to revert back to the older firmware.

Notification Bar

  • Notification area cannot be pulled down. Slide the power off button to trigger the "Power Off / Cancel" prompt. Touch "Cancel". Notification area can now be pulled down.
  • Hack for this making Notification Bar Available on boot
  • This fix is incorporated into most of the latest altered firmware flash updates.

Storage

  • Internal storage (1GB) is accessible only by Pandigital's apps. Other apps installed (Kindle, Aldiko, etc.) can only store data on the external SD card. The internal card is referred to as "PD_Novel" while external is "sdcard".
  • Newer firmware versions seem to have a little more flexibility here, allowing use of both sdcards by the user.
  • Firmware based on the 7/24 release may not see the internal sdcard (PD_Novel) if you boot with an external sdcard in place. If this happens, you must boot without an external sdcard in the device, then PD_Novel will be usable, and you can put the external sdcard in and use both normally. Just remember to pop it out every time you reboot.
  • OP firmware versions and the new January 2011 versions will partition the internal card in half, leaving only approx. 512mb available to the user. The other half apparently becomes available for user apps to be installed on. That is a good thing if you want to have lots of apps, but it is a bad thing if you want to have lots of content, such as ebooks, pictures, music or videos on the internal card.

Orientation Bug

  • Most current firmware builds have this corrected. The fix lives in framework.jar
  • When PDN wakes up, WiFi connects when PDN is in landscape mode.
  • To access additional Market apps, rotate to landscape mode. There's an App for that. New Vending app fixes scrolling in the Marketplace.

External Speakers Play when Headphones Plugged in

  • Most firmware builds have this bug corrected. The fix lives in the headsetobserver smali in services.jar
  • There are a few suggestions to correct this quirky bug which sometimes will restart an app or even reboot the device when headphones are plugged in. Muting the device prior to playing an audio app OR plugging in the headphones before playing an audio app seems to work for some.

Nook Fix

  • The current market Nook app (2.4.1) does not require any fixes, but still has the bug for all tablets where about every fifth page is blank. The workaround is to rotate to landscape and back to portrait to force the screen to redraw, or use the build-in Pandigital Reader app for B&N content. The current Nook app takes up 16.9mb of space.
If you are using an older version of Nook, you can follow the procedures below.
WARNING This procedure falls under the category of actual hacking.
Only those intermediate/advanced users familiar with command-line tools should attempt this fairly advanced procedure.
HOWTO: Fix/revert/recover individual components of your installation
  • This works to allow the Nook to work on post-7/24 based FWs.
Solution: Keep/reinsert the old /system/bin/vold from 7/24 which is compatible with the version of libpdfhost.so Nook.apk installs if it does not find one already in place. You should be able to back up vold easily from 7/24 FW, and then just rename libpdfhost which is just as good as deleting it, but leaves it in-system if you want to revert.
  • You need to be properly rooted. Only Advanced users should attempt.
  • Terminal command is: mv /system/lib/libpdfhost.so /system/lib/libpdfhost.so.bak
  • Here's the "vold" file from 7/24 OEM FW which allows you to bypass a step. This is missing and needs to be reinstalled in newer firmware builds at /system/bin/
    • Terminal command is: cp sdcard/vold /system/bin/vold
  • Version 2.2 of the Nook.apk is tested to work on the WPND. Current Market versions reportedly fails to install.
The Nook App requires an inordinate amount of memory space, 34Mb, limiting the number of other apps that can be installed.
While the Nook App has a better user interface with an improved reading experience over the stock PDN eReader, it is not known to read PDF's or epub's not obtained from Barnes & Nobel. Book management is also better on the PDN eReader. Having both on your system at the same time is not recommended and this should only be used on Open Platform systems due to memory issues alone.

Other Bug Fixes and HowTo Guides

The OP of the Quick-Sync topic removed his file so Quick-Sync-Settings App is now available here

Adding Functionality to the PDN

Applications
Firmware Patches
New Homescreen and Apps Installer, Volume Keys remap to menu/back, Restore Volume Keys to original function, Root, Notification Bar enabled on Boot Fix, ad hoc wireless, Install Busy Box Tools for terminal commands, Rotation Fix, partial upgrade to 9/23 kernel for improved wifi.
Market Hacks
Ugly Hack. Not-Ugly Hack (Required GE included in all flashed one-shot market-enabled altered firmware systems).
New MarketPlace Vending app installation to allow full scrolling in portrait mode.
Troublshooting

Further OS Modification

Advanced User OS Modifications and Rooting

For Software Developers and Experienced Users Only, please see the Advanced User section of the Intermediate To Advanced PDN User Hacking Guide

Note: it is NOT necessary to root your PDN in order to transform it into an Android tablet.

Hardware Modification

If you can think of it, there's probably someone already here at Slatedroid trying to figure out exactly how to get it done. Not just software, but there are serious investigations going on to enhance, change and insert physical upgrades to the Guts of the Beast.

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