Archive for category Android

Compiling kernel module for FTDI USB-Serial on Jetson TX2

I’ve got a nice Jetson TX2 board from NVidia, which suits my goals pretty well, it has plenty of computing power with an onboard GPU for heavy graphics calculatons and CNN/ML processing.

Unfortunately, when I tried to connect my home-made sensor based on FTDI chip, that works perfectly with desktop Linux and other embedded boards, there was no kernel module for this chip, hence I had to compile one myself.

There are plenty of TK1/TX1/TX2 kernel compile guides on the net, but since the versions are different and the software contents change with time, here’s my take.

$ uname -a
Linux tegra-ubuntu 4.4.15-tegra #1 SMP PREEMPT Wed Feb 8 18:06:32 PST 2017 aarch64 aarch64 aarch64 GNU/Linux

First, check the Linux version, if it differs greatly from 4.4.15-tegra I have — take my advices with the grain of salt, maybe install the latest JetPack (mine was JetPack 2.3, I believe). Second, there are files on my system which may or may be not present on yours, beware. This is why I don’t write any “automated” scripts, that will give meaningless error message somewhere in the middle and do nothing.

Next check would be to see if the USB serial support is included in the current kernel or not:

$ zcat /proc/config.gz | grep USB_SERIAL
# CONFIG_USB_SERIAL is not set

In my case it’s not there, and if you grep for “FTDI” — there will be no results at all. A bit disconcertng, but solvable.

System related sources are usually in /usr/src, there might be folders, but in my case there was a single file for the kernel sources: kernel_src.tbz2 — let’s unpack it and copy the current config file there.

$ cd
$ mkdir tmp; cd tmp
$ tar -xjf /usr/src/kernel_src.tbz2
$ cd kernel/kernel-4.4
$ zcat /proc/config.gz >.config

Unpacking might take a minute or two. There will be two folders, “hardware” and “kernel”, go to the latter, then to “kernel-4.4″ and copy the default config there. The easiest way to edit config would be to issue “make menuconfig”, but this requires NCurses library, which is again not installed by default, so we have to do things manually a bit.

Instead of “make menuconfig” we could always use “make config” to resort to the command line, but answering hundreds if not thousands of questions is very tedious and time consuming, so let’s take a shortcut. Use your favourite text editor to open “.config” file and search for “USB_SERIAL” — if you are like me, you’ll find “# CONFIG_USB_SERIAL is not set” and the whole section for various USB serial devices is missing. Replace the line you’ve found with “CONFIG_USB_SERIAL=m”, and save file.

$ make prepare

This command will resurrect the missing section, please, be careful answering to the questions, basically you want to say “Y” to “USB Generic Serial Driver (USB_SERIAL_GENERIC) [N/y/?]“, then once again “m” (not “Y”) to “USB FTDI Single Port Serial Driver (USB_SERIAL_FTDI_SIO) [N/m/?] (NEW)”, the rest of the questions are just answered by pressing “Enter” key:

$ make modules_prepare

Nothing interesting here, just 10-15sec of file compilations.

make M=drivers/usb/serial/

This one actually compiles the kernel modules.

$ ls drivers/usb/serial/*.ko
drivers/usb/serial/ftdi_sio.ko drivers/usb/serial/usbserial.ko

Here are the files, former one is FTDI driver and the latter one is the basic USB Serial support driver the other drivers rely on. Let’s copy ‘em to the proper place (depending on your directory structure you might need or might not need to create the subfolders below:

$ mkdir /lib/modules/4.4.15-tegra/kernel/drivers/usb
$ mkdir /lib/modules/4.4.15-tegra/kernel/drivers/usb/serial
$ sudo cp drivers/usb/serial/*.ko /lib/modules/4.4.15-tegra/kernel/drivers/usb/serial/
$ sudo depmod -a

“depmod” reloads the kernel module list, so next time you insert your device, it will be recognized. Let’s start “tail -f /var/log/syslog” and see what happens there:

[ 4178.392871] usb 1-2: new full-speed USB device number 4 using xhci-tegra
[ 4178.532285] usb 1-2: New USB device found, idVendor=0403, idProduct=6001
[ 4178.539051] usb 1-2: New USB device strings: Mfr=1, Product=2, SerialNumber=3
[ 4178.546347] usb 1-2: Product: FT232R USB UART
[ 4178.550947] usb 1-2: Manufacturer: FTDI
[ 4178.554853] usb 1-2: SerialNumber: A4004H1c
[ 4178.560093] xhci-tegra 3530000.xhci: tegra_xhci_mbox_work mailbox command 6
[ 4178.569484] ftdi_sio 1-2:1.0: FTDI USB Serial Device converter detected
[ 4178.576205] usb 1-2: Detected FT232RL
[ 4178.580327] usb 1-2: FTDI USB Serial Device converter now attached to ttyUSB0

Sometimes, there might be an error message, like

[ 4232.645711] ftdi_sio: version magic '4.4.15 SMP preempt ' should be '4.4.15-tegra SMP preempt '

This means that we’ve missed the minor detail during configuration, take a note of “-tegra” suffix after the version number. We have to add it to our configuration file and recompile things again. Open .config file in the text editor, page down to “* General setup” section and change CONFIG_LOCALVERSION=”" to CONFIG_LOCALVERSION=”-tegra” or whatever suffix you find in the error message. Then the usual routine:

$ make clean
$ make prepare
$ make modules_prepare
$ make M=drivers/usb/serial

Copy the “*.ko” files as described above and don’t forget to “sudo depmod -a”.

Insert your FTDI-based device and enjoy!

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Nvidia GT 610 drivers for Ubuntu 10.04

Upgraded a video card recently to GeForce GT 610, Ubuntu could not find the proper driver automatically. Had to issue the following commands before rebooting:

sudo apt-add-repository ppa:ubuntu-x-swat/x-updates
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install nvidia-current

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HOWTO :: Send and receive MMS on Galaxy Nexus / SoftBank

As usual, MMS support in the international version of Galaxy Nexus does not work on SoftBank network as is, and requires a bit of tinkering. We gonna need usual toolset: phone, USB cable, adb, apktool and a text editor. There are a few explanations on the web, but they talk about connecting Nexus to the iPhone APN, so it won’t work if your previous smartphone was not iPhone. Here’s a procedure if you had Android device before.

Copy files from the phone

$ adb pull /system/app/Mms.apk
$ adb pull /system/framework/framework-res.apk

Unpack the framework and Mms.apk

$ apktool if framework-res.apk
$ apktool d Mms.apk

Make changes

The file we are interested in is res/xml/mms_config.xml, you may want to change it directly, but your phone might stop working on some other network, so I prefer another approach. We can create separate file, which will work on SoftBank network only. This new file should be called res/xml-mcc440-mnc20/mms_config.xml, 440 is the country code for Japan, and 20 is SoftBank network. The file contents is the following:

<?xml version=”1.0″ encoding=”utf-8″?>
<mms_config version=”4″>
<bool name=”enabledMMS”>true</bool>
<int name=”maxMessageSize”>307200</int>
<int name=”maxImageHeight”>768</int>
<int name=”maxImageWidth”>1024</int>
<int name=”defaultSMSMessagesPerThread”>500</int>
<int name=”defaultMMSMessagesPerThread”>150</int>
<int name=”minMessageCountPerThread”>10</int>
<int name=”maxMessageCountPerThread”>5000</int>
<string name=”uaProfUrl”></string>
<int name=”recipientLimit”>-1</int>
<int name=”smsToMmsTextThreshold”>4</int>
<bool name=”enableMultipartSMS”>false</bool>
<bool name=”enableSlideDuration”>true</bool>
<int name=”maxMessageTextSize”>-1</int>
<string name=”userAgent”>SoftBank/1.0/X01T/TJ001</string>

You should not copy/paste the code snipped, just change the bold parts (URL and UserAgent) using your phone file as a boilerplate.

Rebuild .apk

First we run apktool to rebuild the resource files, and then zip contents of build/apk folder and sign the result

$ apktool b Mms
$ cd Mms/build/apk
$ zip Mms.apk *
$ java -jar signapk.jar -w testkey.x509.pem testkey.pk8 Mms{,-signed}.apk

Put results back to the phone

If you phone does not allow pushing files to /system/app, you have to download and use Superboot (see my previous post for details. Otherwise, its as simple as:

$ adb push Mms-signed.apk /system/app/Mms.apk
4760 KB/s (434346 bytes in 0.089s)

After reboot, please, don’t forget to input proper APN settings for Open SoftBank.


Just in case you don’t like to tinker with Android internals, here’s a ready-to-use download, SBM_Galaxy_Nexus_4.0.2_ICL53F_Mms.apk. This file should be put into your phone as described in “Put results back to the phone” part. It is intended to be used on Android 4.0.2, specifically version ICL53F, and may not work on other versions. As soon as I upgrade to 4.0.4, I will put a new file for download in this topic as well. Well, here’s SBM_Galaxy_Nexus_4.0.4_IMM76I_Mms.apk for version 4.0.4. And also SBM_Galaxy_Nexus_4.1.1_JRO03C_Mms.apk for Jelly Bean 4.1.1.

Final thoughts

There is still one problem left, Mms.apk requires working internet data connection to download MMS contents. As I have remembered from my previous HTC phone, it was possible (on Froyo) to keep data connection off, and Mms application will enable it for a short period of time just to download MMS messages. Unfortunately, this does not work on Galaxy Nexus yet.

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HOWTO :: Pull OTA upgrade file from Galaxy Nexus

Recently I’ve got Galaxy Nexus to play with, and as soon as I’ve entered Wi-Fi password, an OTA upgrade came my way. It was very tempting to upgrade immediately, but I’ve decided to pull upgrade file from the device to see what’s inside.

Unfortunately, the phone comes from the factory locked and there’s no way to access system files except unlocking the protection.

Regarding the root access

First we need the root access to be able to access files freely.

I don’t like to permanently root my phone, so I prefer the temporary method, which keeps the phone protected, but gives me the opportunity to access what I need if I really need it (I do not delve into details about how to use adb, hoping you already know that).

Unlock the phone

Reboot into fastboot mode by switching power off, and holding all three buttons (volume up/down and power) until Android logo appears. then issue ‘fastboot oem unlock’ command from your computer. This requires full memory wipe, so be careful and make a backup of any data you care to keep.

Download the superboot

Superboot is the bootoader image, which can turn the phone into a rooted one, but only until the next reboot. Handy and safe.

Reboot into superuser-enabled mode

While still in fastboot mode, the following command will restart the phone with the boot image we have just downloaded.

fastboot boot boot.superboot.img

Wait until the update comes

Since the phone was wiped clear during unlock, we have to wait again for upgrade to come, or request the upgrade check from Settings menu, if you are impatient.

Move upgrade file into the easy to access place

Since adb can not pull system files, we have to move the upgrade file somewhere we can access easily. I chose /sdcard folder for that purpose

adb shell
$ su
# cd /cache
# ls
[... file list skipped ...]
# mv /sdcard/

In your case the file name most probably will be different, but it’s quite easy to tell based on size (90MB in my case), which file to copy.

Extract the file from the phone

Finally we can use adb to get the file:

adb pull /sdcard/ .

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Auto-Update-Apk :: Automatic Update Deployment for Android Applications

auto-update-apk logo

First, I had an application. And a customer. And another customer. Actually, a few people wanted to use the application, but due to a specific nature of the software it is not intended for Joe Public, and I’m quite reluctant to put it on the Market.

Then comes the problem: I can tell the customer to install the program from a given URL, but how do I deploy updates to the software? Unfortunately, Android Market does not provide update options for non-Market applications.

I’ve spent a few days looking for an automatic update deployment software on the net. Found a few. Most of them are just plain disappointments. So,I’ve decided to spend a weekend to roll my own. Maybe also a disappointment, but at least my own.

Finally, today I’ve published the first version of AutoUpdateAPK service. Due to gruesome death of the service I’ve used before, I was quite pressed for time, so the basic functionality is a bit limited, but is expected to grow rapidly. Especially, because we are going to use this service ourselves quite extensively.

Android code is open-sourced under Apache 2.0 license, so people may freely copy it into their applications and start to deploy updates automatically.

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Ainol NOVO7 :: Google Applications package for ICS 4.0.1

The official version of 4.0.1 software does not include google applications for some reason, so I had to search the internet and prepare the update package. The software, which requires binary libraries, is not included (TTS + Sound Recognition, Face Lock, Video Editor), also Google Earth is gone because it’s just too big.

Everything else is packed, signed and can be easily installed on native 4.0.1 without any rooting or CWM hackery. Just copy the file as to your microSD and press “volume+/power” to start the update process. (27MB)

MD5: 733c58b23db53ca9188888e8edc1f317

  • installs using native recovery
  • works with official ICS 4.0.1 version
  • requires about 13MB of empty space on /system (usually about 15M are free)
  • includes gmail, exchange, maps, latitude, news, talk, market, youtube, Latin IME
  • does not include Chinese IME, Earth, TTS + Sound Recognition, Face Lock, Video Editor
  • does not require CWM or rooting for installation

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Ainol Novo 7 :: $99 ICS Android 4.0 tablet with MIPS processor

Chinese company “Ainol” have released Novo 7 — sub-$100 7″ tablet with Ice Cream Sandwich (Android 4.0) and MIPS processor. This is quite big step aside from previous ARM-powered models, and the price speaks for itself. MIPS and ARM are different beasts, but Ainol have already got Google Compatibility Certificate and endorsement by Andy Rubin, so it looks like most Android software runs just fine on the new tablet.

Screen size is standard 800×480, capacitive touch screen, HDMI output and everything else is just as expected.

I’ve already ordered one on ebay for ¥11,320 JPY (including delivery), and hope to get it before holidays.

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Mail/parcel tracker — now with Sagawa and Kuroneko Yamato support

Two other major delivery services are supported now by mail tracker: Sagawa Takkyubin (佐川宅急便) and Kuroneko (ヤマト運輸), but it’s still as simple as it was before — just enter the number and the program will automatically check and decide where and how to track it. Barcode scanner works now almost always, success rate is about 95% even in extreme lighting conditions. It takes only 2-5 seconds to scan a receipt and get all the tracking info available on the screen. If you send a lot of mail you know how troublesome and time consuming this might be.

Here’s version 0.9.7 (still beta, but improving quite fast and steady): 配送追跡.

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Japan Post mail/parcel tracker

Got some spare time and made a little application for Android, which helps to check the current status of my mail and packages right from my phone. Actually I’ve tried a few other similar applications first, but haven’t found the one which works just as I like. Most of them don’t support barcode scanning and don’t validate input, so I could input any garbage instead of tracking number (you know how error prone is touch-typing =) and then spend hours wondering why my parcel does not show up in the tracking list. Another thing I don’t like is to choose every time what kind of number I have, Expack or cash on delivery/registered mail — they all look very similar written on the paper.

My application (配送追跡) takes the number and selects the proper category automatically, also it calculates checksum for every number and rejects anything that fails validation. Took me a few hours to reverse engineer checksum calculation for Japan Post tracking numbers, but finally it works, and, by some strange coincidence, same validation scheme is used for Sagawa (佐川宅急便) and Kuroneko (ヤマト運輸) express delivery tracking numbers, so maybe I’ll add support for those in the future.

There are still a few kinks to iron out, and current barcode scanning library from “ZXing team” gave me mixed results on my phone, but people say it’s the best one and the actual problem is in my phone, so I hope it works well for you.

And, please, don’t worry about the kanji on the screenshot — the program will display everything in English if you phone has non-japanese locale set.


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Eclipse :: coding for Android back again

walking android

After a long while, I’ve recently started to code a few things for Android, launched Eclipse and was greeted with mysterious errors. Which include:

  • “layoutlib is too recent. update your tool” in the Eclipse layout editor. This was solved by upgrading android libs and SDK and also upgrading ADT from inside of Eclipse->Help->Upgrade. The former upgrade probably was not really necessary, but I did it anyway just in case to prevent other incompatibilities from coming out.
  • another gem appeared when I tried to create an empty project to test a few ideas: “error generating final archive: Debug certificate expired”. This required deleting ~/.android/debug.keystore and “cleaning” the project, which eventually led to regeneration of required debug keys. Google says debug keys are expired after 365 days, so it must have been more than 1 year since I’ve started playing with Android.
  • if you plan to access internet from the emulator, open Run->Configuration->Target and set “Additional Emulator Command Line Options” to “-dns-server,″ and don’t forget to require INTERNET permission in the manifest.

And yes, I’ve got two walking plastic Androids to race them against each other around my table.

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