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Firmware Upgrade and Linux for MK802 Android Mini PC

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Firmware upgrade? Linux? Dual boot? Gulp!

This article is a guide on how to do a firmware upgrade as well as running Linux on the Rikomagic MK802 Android 4.0 Mini PC.

When most normal users hear of the topic of firmware upgrade or running Linux, I imagine that they have this image of hacker type nerds who speak in computer code while in their sleep and perform arcane dark magic on their computer hardware.

Nowadays, many hardware manufacturers make official firmware upgrades a pretty much painless process. Millions of iOS device owners do it annually each time Apple releases a new iOS version. Android phones support OTA (Over The Air) OS upgrades that download over the internet directly into the phone and upgrades without the need of an attached computer.

Unfortunately, upgrading the firmware on the MK802 Android Mini PC is a little more complicated compared to an OTA upgrade but it is still much easier compared to replacing the OS on an Android phone with an unofficial OS. This is mainly due to the fact that the MK802 comes rooted (think of it as jailbreak for Android phone) out of the box so you need not jump through hoops to get the device rooted before swapping the firmware.

As for running Linux on the MK802, the entire process couldn't be simpler and in my opinion, it is a great way for Linux newbies to try out Linux without the hassle of setting it up on a computer.

Android OS

Android OS

Firmware Rev2? Uberoid? CyanogenMod? Ubuntu? Puppy? Fedora? What?

The are many Android devices that are very similar to the MK802 Android Mini PC but none has attracted the kind of attention that the MK802 has gotten.

As a result there are tons of options available to the MK802 users when it comes to replacing the installed OS with an alternative OS or dual boot with one of the many flavors of Linux that fans have come up with.

If you are sticking with Android as your OS of choice for the MK802, these are your options:

  1. Firmware Rev2 - This is the official Android 4.0.4 update for the MK802 from the manufacturer Rikomagic. This new firmware introduces a few problems which fortunately can be fixed easily. However, to save you the hassle, you can also install the Uberoid firmware below which is based on the Rev2 firmware plus it already has these issues fixed.
  2. Uberoid - Tweaked rom based on Firmware Rev2 with fixes for some of the problems with Rev2. Removes unused functions such as phone and camera. It also removes many of the preinstalled apps such as Youku, QQ, Googlepinyin and Skype. If you need any of the removed apps, you can always reinstall on your own. Uberoid also has built-in support for Droidmote, an app that allows the use of a connected Android smartphone as a remote control for multitouch applications and games.
  3. CyanogenMod CM9 and CM10 - CyanogenMod is a free community built distribution of the Android OS for smart phones and tablet computers based on the Android mobile operating system. CM9 and CM10 for the MK802 is not an officially supported version by the CyanogenMod team but if you are a fan of the CM roms, you can try CM9 or CM10 on your MK802.

If you are taking the Linux path as your OS of choice for the MK802, these are your options:

  1. Lubuntu - Lubuntu is a lightweight version of Ubuntu and is designed to be lighter, less resource hungry and more energy efficient which makes it ideal for a minimal spec MK802. There are currently a few versions of Lubuntu and Ubuntu running at either 720p or 1080p for the MK802 available for download.
  2. Fedora - A version of Fedora 17 has been ported over to the MK802. It is available in 720p and 1080p versions. Take note that you need the 1GB RAM version of the MK802 to use Fedora.
  3. Puppy Linux - Puppy Linux is another Linux based distribution that is suited for systems with slow (older) processors
  4. Boddhi Linux - Boddhi Linux has a 3.0 kernel and OpenGL support for MK802 GPU enabled out of the box.

Official MK802 Firmware Rev2

Currently there is only one official firmware upgrade for the MK802 Android 4.0 Mini PCand it is widely referred to as the Firmware Rev2. This firmware was released sometime in July 2012 and adds the following functions to the MK802:

  1. USB Camera Support
  2. USB LAN Adapter Support
  3. Option to change video output resolution including true 1080p support. It also supports lower resolutions like 480p.
  4. Updates Android OS from 4.0.3 to 4.0.4

This guide is based on the instructions provided by Envy This Stuff on the Envy This Stuff MK802 FAQ which has a wealth of information on the MK802.

Before you start with firmware update, there are a few items that you should prepare in advance:

  1. A mini USB cable to connect the MK802 to the PC
  2. A PC running Windows XP, Vista or Windows 7. Unfortunately there is no Mac version of the firmware installer.
  3. A paper clip that can fit through the reset button hole on the MK802.
  4. At least 1GB of free storage space on the PC.
  5. Download a copy of the FW0710B.rar archive file from the link on the Envy This Stuff MK802 FAQ page.
  6. Download a copy of the LiveSuit software pack firmware installer. The LiveSuit program is only available for Windows XP, Vista or Windows 7. You should download either the 32-bit or 64-bit version depending on your Windows version. If you do not know which version of Windows you have, just download both as the wrong version will not run and both files are not very big.
  7. Extract the FW0710B.img firmware image file from the FW0701B.rar file you downloaded earlier.
  8. Extract all the files from the either the livesuit64.7z or the livesuit32.7z into a folder of its own.

Once you have made the preparations, you are ready to begin the firmware update process. Please read through the following steps carefully and at least twice to make sure that you understand all the steps properly. Although it is rare, problems during firmware do occur and you may end up bricking your MK802. If you encounter a problem, do not panic. Just restart the process from the top and chances are good that you will be able to complete the update.

  1. Go to the folder where you extracted the files for the LiveSuit archive file and run the LiveSuit.exe, file.

    If you receive an error message that says "Install the driver fail! The program will exit", just download the other version of LiveSuit and try again.

  2. Once the LiveSuit program is running, click on "SelectIMG" and browse for the new FW0710B.img you have extracted earlier from the FW0710B.rar file. Leave the LiveSuit program as it is for awhile but do not exit it.

  3. Next, you need to install the drivers for the MK802 on the Windows PC in order for the PC to recognize the MK802 when it is plugged in. Plug in the mini USB cable to the mini USB port on the MK802. Do not use the full sized USB port on the MK802.
  4. Refer to the photo on top to identify the reset button hole. Take note of the orientation of the other ports on the MK802 and not to the picture of the Android logo as there may be a possibility of the picture being printed on upside down.

    There are 2 identical pin holes on the top of the MK802 and make sure you can identify the correct one. Use a straightened paper clip and insert into the reset button hole. Push in a little harder until you can feel and hear that you have clicked on a button.

  5. While making sure that the reset button is pressed, plug in the other end of the mini USB cable to one of the free USB ports on your PC. Hold the reset button for another 10 seconds after the USB cable has been plugged in.

    You should get a message from Windows saying that it has detected the new hardware or it has detected a problem with the new hardware. If you did not get either of these messages from Windows, most likely the reset button was not pressed properly when you connected the USB cable to the PC. Just unplug the USB cable from the PC and try again.

  6. If the MK802 was detected properly, you need to instruct Windows on where to find the driver..

    for Windows XP users

    1. Go to Control Panel
    2. Select System
    3. Select the Hardware tab
    4. Click on the Device Manager button
    5. Look for USB section on the hardware list
    6. Click on the (+) to expand the list if necessary
    7. There should a USB Device item with a yellow exclamation point
    8. Right click on it, select Properties
    9. Select the Driver tab and click on the Update Driver button
    for Windows Vista users
    1. Select Control Panel
    2. Click on System and Maintenance
    3. Click on Administrative Tools icon
    4. Select Computer Management
    5. Click on Device Manager
    6. Under the USB section look for USB Device with exclamation point.
    7. Select it and you should be able to update the driver under the Driver tab
    for Windows 7 users
    1. Go to Control Panel
    2. Select Hardware and Sound
    3. Select Device Manager under Devices and Printers
    4. Under the USB section look for USB Device with exclamation point.
    5. Select it and you should be able to update the driver under the Driver tab

    The driver is located in the UsbDriver folder of the livesuit64.7z or the livesuit32.7z file that you have just extracted earlier.

    If Windows reports that it cannot find the driver, you may have to download the other version of Livesuit (either 32 or 64) and try using the driver from that archive. I know it doesn't make sense but I had this problem and this was how I resolved the problem. I used the 32 bit version of Livesuit but I needed the driver file from the 64 bit version.

    If you are successful in installing driver, the yellow exclamation mark will be removed and it is detected as USB Device (VID_1f3a_PID_efe8).

  7. Go back to the Livesuit program that you are still running. You should see a prompt to update the MK802 with the option to format upgrade (select yes) or normal upgrade (select no).

    Selecting "yes" will wipe out the MK802's entire memory so any settings, apps or data you have previously stored inside will be lost. If you want to keep anything, select "no" for the normal upgrade.

  8. Once you have made your selection, the firmware upgrade process will begin and you will see the status of the update. If the update has been successful, you will be prompted by the system.

    If you did not receive this message, the update was probably not successful and you will need to redo the firmware upgrade again.

  9. Unplug your MK802 and connect it to your HDMI display. Go to settings and check the Android version. If it is listed as 4.0.4, you can confirm that the update has been successful.
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New and unresolved problems with the new Firmware Rev2

The new firmware did not resolve all the problems with the original firmware plus it also introduced some new problems. Below are the problems that have been found and how to resolve them.

  1. DTS soundtrack on MKV movies no longer plays

    This problem can be fixed by installing a patch file.

    First download the patch file installer (audiopatch1.3.apk) and copy the file over to the MK802 using an SD card or download the installer directly from the MK802 using a web browser.

    Run the patch file installer apk file. If you are worried about the permissions it is asking for, you can always uninstall and delete the installer right after running it. You no longer need installer after the patch has been installed.

    The patch places in the /system/libs/ directory and sets permission and owner correctly.

  2. USB keyboard ENTER key no longer correctly mapped

    To fix this problem, you will need to edit the Generic.kl keyboard mapping file. The file is located at /system/usr/keylayout/Generic.kl. Take note of the file's original permissions settings. Make a copy of the file before proceeding with making the changes to be on the safe side.

    Look for the line key 28 DPAD_CENTER and change it to key 28 ENTER.

    If the file permissions have been changed, change them back to the original settings.

    Reboot the MK802.

  3. Power key on Air Mouse keyboard no longer wakes or put the MK802 to sleep

    To fix this problem, you will need to edit the Generic.kl keyboard mapping file. The file is located at /system/usr/keylayout/Generic.kl. Take note of the file's original permissions settings. Make a copy of the file before proceeding with making the changes to be on the safe side.

    Look for the line key 62 and change it to key 62 POWER WAKE.

    If the file permissions have been changed, change them back to the original settings.

    Reboot the MK802.

  4. External SD card write permission
    1. Use Root Explorer and go to /system/etc/permissions.
    2. Check and ensure that filesystem is set to rw.
    3. Open platform.xml in the text editor.
    5. There is an existing "sdcard_rw" premission group. Add a new group and save the file.
    6. Reboot
  5. Virtual keyboard always pops up even though physical keyboard has been plugged in

    Go to Settings/Apps/All/Android keyboard and select Disable to remove the virtual keyboard from popping up. You will need to re-enable the virtual keyboard if you disconnect the physical keyboard.

While I will do my utmost to respond to any requests for help, please try to understand that my resources are very limited. You will probably get a quicker and better answer by posting to the many dedicated forums that I have linked to above.

Uberoid Custom ROM for MK802 v1.2

The Uberoid v1.2 custom rom for MK802 is the handy work of the folks at TechKnowForum. They have taken the Firmware Rev2 and tweaked it to work better. The important fixes and tweaks are:

  1. Fixes issues introduced by Firmware Rev2 such as the virtual keyboard and missing audio for MKV playback.
  2. Removed unused phone, camera, Bluetooth and other functions that are not used because the hardware is missing.
  3. Added support for Droidmote, a remote controller app that uses an Android phone as the controller. This also provides touch screen control as well as the use of the phone's accelerometer for games and other apps that require it.
  4. Removed extra apps such as Facebook, Skype, QQ, QYV Video pad, Youku and Googlepinyin. Replaced YouTube and Google Play store with the latest versions.
  5. Full market access to Google Play store. The original firmware only allowed limited access to Play store. Many applications are listed as not compatible with the MK802. This fix removes that limitation.
  6. Added MK8082 Shutdown app to properly shutdown the device instead of just powering off.
  7. Overall improvement to performance.

Installing Uberoid on your MK802 requires the same steps as installing the official Firmware Rev2 above. The only difference is the image file that you load into Livesuit in STEP 2 above.

Download the latest version of Uberoid from the TechKnowForum Uberoid for MK802 v1.2 page.Please note that you need to register for an account from the forum before you can access this page.

Extract the image file from the file you downloaded above and when prompted by Livesuit to SelectIMG, point to the Uberoid image file instead of the Firmware Rev2 image and continue the installation as per the rest of the instructions.



CyanogenMod CM9 and CM10 for MK802

CyanogenMod is a very popular alternative firmware for a big number of smart phones and devices running on the Android operating system.

CyanogenMod 9 or CM9 is based on Android 4.0 (Ice Cream Sandwich) while CyanogenMod 10 or CM10 is based on Android 4.1 (Jelly Bean).

However, the versions of CM9 and CM10 that have been made available for use on the MK802 are not officially supported versions from the CyanogenMod team.

CyanogenMod 9 (CM9)

CM9 for the MK802 is by Christian Troy who released a version of CM9 for the AllWinner A10 family of Android tablets. The MK802 Android Mini PC is part of the AllWinner A10 family of devices.

CM9 adds the following features to the MK802 :

  • USB Bluetooth dongle support
  • USB Ethernet support
  • USB GPS support
  • Xbox 360 gamepad support (xpad)
  • PS3 USB gamepad support
  • Generic gamepads support
  • NTFS and ExFat support
  • USB audio support

The process for installing CM9 on the MK802 is probably the most complicated of all but if you follow the instructions carefully, it should be doable for even the newbies. The following instructions are adapted from the instructions provided at Rikomagic MK802 Forums, Liliputing and XDA Developers Forum.

  1. If you haven't updated your MK802 to the latest Firmware Rev2 please do so first before continuing.
  2. Download ClockworkMod Recovery for Android 4.0.4.
  3. Extract the file and copy the .sh and .img files to /sdcard/ directory on the MK802.
  4. Download the latest CM9 version, Gapps and from XDA Developers and copy to /sdcard/ directory on the MK802. Links to all the files can be found on the first post.
  5. Download and install Busybox, SuperUser and Script Manager from the Google Play store.
  6. Run Script Manager and select the file in /sdcard/.
  7. Make sure "su" is highlighted to run as root and click run to start CWM installation.
  8. Reboot into recovery by selecting the file in /sdcard/.
  9. Make sure "su" is highlighted to run as root and click run.
  10. Select wipe data/factory reset.
  11. Select install zip from sdcard and then choose zip from sdcard and flash in this order - CM9 ROM / Gapps / with a Reboot Recovery in between each step.
  12. Go back and select Reboot system now.

CyanogenMod 10 (CM10)

CM10 for the MK802 is by Christian Troy who also released CM9 for the MK802 Android Mini PC. CM10 is still very much a work in progress at this moment. Installation instructions are similar with CM9. All the required files for CM10 can be downloaded from XDA Developers.

Please note that for CM10, you need a system partition of at least 300MB or avoid flashing gapps.

(update) User zulu99 has provided detailed instructions on installing CM10 on the MK802 with a compatibility zip he has made himself.

Gamepad controllers supported by CyanogenMod

If you are running CyanogenMod from Christian Troy, you have the additional benefit of support for gamepad controllers like the Xbox 360 gamepad and PS3 USB gamepad.

Linux Options for the MK802

The MK802 Mini Android has quite a few options when it comes to Linux images that work with the MK802. Pick the one that your prefer and follow the installation instructions in the next section.

Please note that it this moment Linux does not have hardware support for the MK802's Mali GPU driver. Therefore Linux still lacks features such as video hardware decoding which means choppy video.

  1. Ubuntu, Kubuntu, Xubuntu and Lubuntu images from Miniand Forums.Droidmote server is available through a PPA. Droidmote allows an Android phone to be used as a remote control for the MK802.
  2. Lubuntu 12.04 with LXDE desktop from Rikomagic. This version has support for both 720p and 1080p, plus the latest Kernel available.
  3. Fedora 17 XFCE from Miniand Forums. The current version comes in versions for both 720p and 1080p. It also has the networking fix right out of the box.
  4. Puppy Linux. This is actually a version made for the Mele A1000 set-top-box but Liliputing has tested it out and it seems to work well on the MK802.
  5. Boddhi Linux has just been released for the MK802. It is amazing that there is still new development for the MK802 so long after it has been released and it has since been superseded by so many newer models with more advanced hardware. Boddhi Linux for the MK802 has OpenGL support for the GPU enabled out of the box.

Installing Linux for MK802 - Covers all versions including Ubuntu, Lubuntu, Xubuntu, Fedora and Puppy

Installing one of the many flavors of Linux that are currently available for the MK802 Android Mini PC is a relatively easy and painless process. This is mainly because Linux is booted from a micro SD external memory card inserted into the MK802's memory card expansion slot.

The following instructions are adapted from the original instructions found at Miniand Forums and Liliputing.

You will need to prepare a microSD memory card that is at least 4GB (8GB preferred) to store the Linux image that the MK802 is going to boot from.

  1. Download the Linux image that you are interested in from the sources listed above.
  2. Extract the image file using 7-zip. 7-zip is available for Windows, Mac and Linux.
  3. Insert your micro SD card into your computer.
  4. Write the image you extracted from Step 2 above into the micro SD card. If you need help on how to write a disk image to the micro SD card, please refer to this Nook devs article on burning a bootable SD card. The article covers Windows, Linux and Mac users.

    If you faced problems using the WinImage.exe method as recommended by Nook devs, you can try using image Writer instead. Just make sure that you select the correct drive to write to or you can accidentally delete a wrong disk.

  5. Remove the micro SD card from your computer and insert it into the micro SD port on the MK802. Make sure you insert it correctly as the slot on the micro SD port is not a tight fit, you may accidentally insert it the wrong way.
  6. Connect the MK802 to a display, mouse and keyboard and power it up. If Android gets booted up instead of Linux, power off the MK802, eject the micro SD card and reinsert it and reboot. Depending on which Linux image you are using, you will need to key in the default username and password.

If you have come across any other OSes that can run on the MK802, please let me know about it here.

Please post all comments on Firmware Rev2 here.

julestasticles on July 01, 2014:

I can not connect to any unsecured or WPA networks. have you heard of a fix for this?

royyap (author) on June 18, 2013:

@anonymous: As I mentioned, you should try both the 32-bit and 64-bit versions of the driver. I was using 64-bit version of Windows 7 but it could only detect the 32-bit version of the driver. Also, make sure you extract the .img file from the firmware archive file before using LiveSuit.

anonymous on June 18, 2013:

Once my device is detected, I've tried to install the driver following your instructions, but the OS can't find it in the right directory as well as you've described... the fact is that once I run LiveSuit, I "SelectImg" choosing the ".img" file. I've to do something else to process that file? The software can't run the functions "SysUpdate" or "NetSync", is it a problem of mine or is it normal? Please, I need hel (I use Windows XP S.O.). Thanks.

anonymous on June 14, 2013:

@anonymous: debo añadir, que el dispositivo es reconocido por la computadora, pero el livesuit no se da cuenta

anonymous on June 14, 2013:

Someone can help me to upgrade my device? i installed superU to root it, done! but i can't upgrade the firmware! tks

anonymous on January 28, 2013:

@anonymous: I had the same issue, rebooting the pc repluging making sure the button was pressed on the device made the trick.

royyap (author) on January 05, 2013:

@anonymous: Glad that you got the problem solved :)

anonymous on January 05, 2013:

@anonymous: Ok I figured it out. I had to load the drivers from Livesuit32 drivers and it worked :)

anonymous on January 05, 2013:

I have a problem installing drivers. My device recognised by windows as a general unkonwn device. I cant install any drivers to it. I have tried both on windows 8 64bit and windows 7 32bit. I try everything as you said. I remove the plastic box to be sure that I push the reset button.

royyap (author) on December 30, 2012:

@anonymous: Have you tried with a different firmware?

anonymous on December 27, 2012:

@royyap: The reason I want to recover my device is that it's stuck on the logo screen when I concted it.

Is there any other soloution to solve this problem rather tham recover it ?

anonymous on December 26, 2012:

@royyap: My device is detected and I see it in the device manager list.

royyap (author) on December 26, 2012:

@anonymous: Looks like your device has not been detected. Did you managed to install the driver and see your device listed in the device manager?

anonymous on December 26, 2012:

I go through all steps but the update process dosen't start automaticaly.

When I press the SysUpdate button I get the message "No device that need to update ! "

What can I do ?

anonymous on December 26, 2012:


anonymous on November 12, 2012:

@royyap: Hi Roy. Thank you.

Any idea to "fix" the DTS/DD pass trough to my receiver?

royyap (author) on November 12, 2012:

@anonymous: The fix does not enable DTS pass through. It only enables stereo audio. Without this fix, you get no sound when playing DTS encoded soundtracks.

anonymous on November 11, 2012:

I placed the to /system/libs/

No DTS / Dolby over HDMI. The audio is just simple downgraded to stereo :-(

I hope for a new firmware

royyap (author) on November 11, 2012:

@anonymous: Sorry, I do not have any experience with the ATN TV app.

anonymous on November 09, 2012:

I use this for ATN TV app, and it does not play on full screen although on any other android tablet with same version or lower plays on full screen .. any suggestions are very much appreciated.

royyap (author) on October 18, 2012:

@anonymous: No, the MK802 II is different from the MK802 and you cannot use the

firmware from one on another.

anonymous on October 17, 2012:

Is it possible to use the new MK802 II firware with the old MK802? There seem to be newer versions out.

royyap (author) on October 15, 2012:

@signexpert: The newer RK3066 based versions do run a lot cooler compared to the MK802.

royyap (author) on October 05, 2012:

@anonymous: I'm glad you found the solution.

anonymous on October 05, 2012:

@royyap: Gapps package cause the problem... I have finally found a fix for this. You can download from store 'no sleep' app. This fix the problem for me!

royyap (author) on October 04, 2012:

@anonymous: I haven't encountered this problem. Perhaps you can try Uberoid?

anonymous on October 04, 2012:

@anonymous: Same problem here.. After flashing firmware 0724.. No fix found..

anonymous on September 27, 2012:

After flashing to the rev.2 firmware I encountered a funny problem: if i leave it idle for a couple of minutes my TV will be "off". My MK802 was not sending any signal to the TV. And I have to reboot the unit to get it back to work again. Anyone has the same problem? Thanks!

royyap (author) on September 25, 2012:

@royyap: If you upgrade to Uberoid, you don't have to worry about all the required fixes in Rev2. Less headaches :)

royyap (author) on September 25, 2012:

@anonymous: Use Root Explorer.

anonymous on September 25, 2012:

how to access /system/usr/keylayout/Generic.kl?

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