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Whaddaya Do with a Dingoo?

Posted 2010.06.08 10.17 in Computers/Internet/Technology

Aside from hardware hacking or mucking about with the kernel and bootloader, that is?

I play Ur-Quan Masters, aka Star Control 2. I don’t play the long adventure/campaign/story stuff, I just play the Super Melee mode. The computer gets some ships, I get some ships, and we fight it out till one side is defeated. UQM is available for Linux through various distros.

I also play Tank Commander, a Battle-Zone-like game made for the GameBoy Advance. It’s my favorate GBA game, though sometimes it is a bit frustrating (three gold enemies in a row, and no shield upgrades?!) Tank Commander is a GBA home-brew, and a very fine one at that.

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Dingoo Mod – to the EXTREEEM!

Posted 2010.06.02 18.32 in Computers/Internet/Technology

For no really good reason, I had to mod a Dingoo A320 with a memory upgrade. The 320 has 32MB of RAM, but the A330 has 64MB of RAM. IMHO the A320 has more going for it, fewer glitches, than the 330. But the 330 has more memory…

So you can see how I’d already be vaguely thinking about it. Then over on Dingoonity, a user named flaming_goat asked if it would be possible. Well you know there’s no turning back after that…

I read up on the chips in the 330, and the chips in the 320. I checked my 320 to see how it was wired. It looked feasable. None of my tests said it would fail, so the only way to know for sure was to try it.

DigiKey had the chips I wanted and they were only about $12.50 for a pair of them. No turning back now…

Detailed instructions follow below the fold…

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Dingoo A330

Posted 2010.05.31 20.26 in Computers/Internet/Technology

It’s the new release from Dingoo Technologies. I got one to satisfy my curiosity, but sadly it disappoints on many levels.

Dingoo A330

I made up a new version of Dingux that takes advantage of the added memory and faster clock speed. To do that, I needed to get a serial port in there for testing. Unlike the A320, the 330 seems to just have half a port; TX but no RX. So you can get debug data out, but you can’t interact with it. Sucky.

Probing for the RX Line

The TX data is found on a single unmarked testpoint that lies beneath the LCD screen, in the upper middle part of the motherboard. In hopes of finding the RX line, I did some probing to the copper traces around the CPU in the area of the TX line, but neither of my two most-promising candidates proved to be RX data. It is probably not connected at all. More sucky.

A330 Motherboard

I stuck the serial port on the left-hand side of the Dingoo, above the reset button. It was the only clear spot on the motherboard, but it turns out the left speaker wants to sit there, and the serial port keeps failing on me – I have to take it apart and fiddle with it to get it working again. The A330 disappoints on many levels.

Dingoo Serial Port Step-by-Step

Posted 2010.05.26 10.05 in Computers/Internet/Technology

I added another serial port to another Dingoo and this time I took pics of the process all along the way.

Click the thumbnails for enlarged images and details.


P.s. I forgot to publish this earlier, sorry for the delay.

Still Alive

Posted 2010.05.18 9.54 in Pointless Blather

Just a quick note to say I’m still alive. No excuse for the sudden lack of posts, other than I’ve nothing new to say. It’s all the same, straight from the department of redundancy department.

Still messing around with the Dingoo. Still dealing with depression. Snails are still laying egg clutches like crazy.

That’s about it.

Pointless Dingoo Mods – Redux

Posted 2010.05.07 8.50 in Computers/Internet/Technology

Not long ago I did some pointless mods to my Dingoo game device. I added a power LED and a good old fashioned serial port. I called them pointless because the LED just tells you it’s on, and usually you can tell that from other hints. As for the serial port, at the time I put it in, I didn’t even have a way to connect to it, so that was even more pointless. At the time.

Since then, I’ve ended up using the serial port quite a bit – I had an FTDI prototype chip in my parts bin, and made a USB to Serial converter to connect the port on my Dingoo, then installed Minicom on my linux laptop. This has come in handy a few times as I’ve been hacking around with the linux kernel and trying to learn more about the boot sequence. I’ve baffed up the Dingoo a few times such that the serial port was the only way to access it.

As for the LED, when I wired it in originally I just connected it directly between Vcc and Ground. The LED is rated for 3.2 to 3.5 vdc; the battery in the Dingoo is rated at 3.7v nominally. I’ve seen its output as high as 4v though. Needless to say, the blue LED was fried in only a matter of days. Ooops.

So I had to go back in again tonight, and while I was replacing the blue LED (and adding a resistor to limit the current) I took a couple pics.

Dingux – Keeping Me Out Of Trouble

Posted 2010.05.05 10.45 in Computers/Internet/Technology

So the first couple weeks with my Dingoo, I was messing with the native firmware, doing some hacks and coming up with a nice theme/skin for it, that sort of thing. I knew you could run Linux on there but I was sort of avoiding it, trying to just stick to the native firmware.

Then I started looking for a game, to take the place of Star Trek: Tactical Assault on the DS. Something that I could pick up and play for 5 or 10 minutes then leave, something that had challenging fly-around-and-shoot-stuff combat, but didn’t have a huge backstory or a long story-mode. (Yeah I know ST:TA has that, but I never play it, I just use Skirmish mode. I get a ship, the computer gets a ship, and we slug it out.)

So after a bunch of trial and error, it boiled down to an oldie-but-goodie: Star Control 2. Or rather, the modern opensource remake, Ur-Quan Masters. Yeah, long drawn-out story mode. Skip that: Super Melee mode. I get 14 ships. The computer gets 14 ships. We slug it out. Brilliant. The only catch? It’s not available for native firmware, only Dingux – that’s what they call Linux on the Dingoo.

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