Ugoos MK809IV

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A while ago i bought an Android TV stick to use as a mediaplayer from iBood. I bought it trough their daily offer. Nice addition was the USB Fast Ethernet adapter (WiFi sucks). Specs of the stick:

  • Quad Core RK3188 Cortex-A9 1.4GHZ
  • 2GB DDR3 Ram
  • 8GB NAND ROM
  • MALI 400 MP GPU
  • WIFI & Bluetooth
  • MicroSD slot

Pictures:
android-stick (1) android-stick (2) android-stick (3) android-stick (4) android-stick (5)

First run
When i first tried the stick i was disappointed. The stick came with an android 4.4 kitkat rom but it was really slow. Starting an app took forever and the interface was really sluggish. CPU-Z told me the CPU was a quad core 1.0GHZ cpu??. So i went to
ugoos.net and downloaded their Android 4.2 ROM(4.4 was nowhere to be seen, why did it have 4.4 out of the box?). This was a HUGE improvement. Interface was fluent and apps started fast enough. But still i was not satisfied. Video playback in apps (xbmc 13 beta1 & beta2 and mx player pro) was shocky. Also the NAND was divided in 2GB app space and 5.x GB internal SD (why?).

Fixing problems
So i went out to look for a custom ROM, only to find out that none of the ROMs worked. I bricked my stick several times and had to use the short-pin-7&8-trick to re-flash the original firmware. I think this Android stick is some exotic variant of the original MK809IV. Every tool, rom or download that i tried wouldn’t work. In my search i learned that the shocky playback was caused by a v-sync bug in the kernel. But even flashing a patched kernel did not work. After a while i found a download RK3xxx firmware tools which is a very nice tool to extract, modify and build rokchip firmware’s. This also allows you to add or remove APK’s from the rom AND increase the app space on the NAND by using a paramater file. This could fix most of my problems but not the v-sync bug.

V-Sync bug and OC!
So using the firmware tools described earlier, i was be able to extact the firmware obtained from ugoos. The tool extracts various parts from the firmware:

  • boot.img
  • kernel.img
  • misc.img
  • recovery.img
  • system.img

The tool will also let you extract and build system.img to modify android (Remove bloatware, add binaries, etc). I tried to replace the kernel.img by a patched one found online only to find out it didn’t work. After a long search i found some perl scripts. The creator of the script claimed that the script could patch any RK3188 kernel and also build OC kernels. So i let them patch my kernel and it worked! After that i build a new ROM with the new kernel (and other parameter file) and this fixed the v-sync bug. After applying the v-sync patch it is possible to create OC kernels,  CPU can be OC-ed up to 1.9GHZ, GPU up to 800MHZ and memory up to 800MHZ. The script creates a kernel for each possible combination.

Increase App space
To increase App space you can extract the firmware using the firmware tools and replace a parameter file to change the layout of the NAND flash. I downloaded these parameter files somewhere but i have no idea where. Therefore i will add them to this post but kudo’s to the guy who created them. After extracting the firmware you can find the parameter file in temp/Android. Simply replace the parameter file by any of the attached parameter files and rebuild+flash the image. Parameter2GB would create 2GB of App space, Parameter6GB would leave you with 6GB of App space (and about 700MB of internal SD space). You can find the parameter files here.

Unbrick your Stick
As i mentioned earlier, i bricked my stick a few times. If you did a bad flash and your stick won’t boot and windows shows unrecognized device when you connect it, you can recover by shorting pin 7 & 8 of the flash chip while powering it on. This enable’s some hardware flash mode which allows you to flash the original rom to the device. I used the tip of a small knife to short the pins, see the picture below:
android-stick-short78

Root & Bluetooth
2 things about the stick are still a ‘problem’. The first problem is that i couldn’t get root on the device, i modified the ROM by superuser.apk and the su binary, but superuser keeps telling me that the su binary is missing. The other thing is poor bluetooth performance. I connected a BT keyboard and especially when WiFi was doing a lot of traffic it was impossible to use the keyboard or mouse. I ended up buying a mini RF Keyboard/Touchpad which uses it’s own dongle.

Update 1
I’ve managed to get root on the device. I tried this for a while on a Windows 8.1 machine but i couldn’t get the ADB driver to work. On Windows 7 i got the drivers to work using the AdbDriverInstaller.exe file. After that i used TPSparkyRoot.bat (google it) to root the device.

I have uploaded and added the patched ROM for download as requested. The ROM has stock clocks, v-sync patch applied and some bloatware removed. App space is 6GB and 700MB internal SD card storage. I’ve also uploaded a zip file (see below) with all the possible patched OC and stock kernels (generated by the Perl scripts) so you can flash only the kernel using the RK3xxx firmware tools . If you are interested where the Android 4.4 (Beta) ROM came from: i found it here. I’ve read in a thread on iBood that the developers of the ROM expect to release an Android 4.4 final ROM somewhere next week.

Resources
If you want to link to the download, please link to this page and not the direct file. Thanks!

Other Resources

  1. DiMaC
    DiMaC03-28-2014

    Thank you Luke for this very usefull information, much kudo’s fot that!
    I have bought the same MK809IV on the Dutch Ibood and experience the same problems as you are.
    Do you want to share your öwn made custom firmware with others, I am veri interested in it!
    And a lot of other user.

    GRTZ DiMaC

    • ko3st
      ko3st03-29-2014

      same here

    • Luke
      Luke03-29-2014

      Hi, I have updated the post and added the ROM i am using right now. Let me know if you have any questions.

  2. ko3st
    ko3st03-29-2014

    Hi Luke,

    I have bought the same MK809IV on the Dutch Ibood also.
    Please share your firmware with us, I can get into the recovery easilly so it would be easy to flash a ROM that works better then the crappy one I am having now. Please cosider helping us by sharng your already aquired knowledge… I already have root….

    • Luke
      Luke03-29-2014

      Hi, I have updated the post and added the ROM i am using right now. Let me know if you have any questions.

    • ko3st
      ko3st03-30-2014

      adb push SuperSU.apk /system/app/SuperSU.apk does not work as expected, meaning i have not got root…

  3. DiMaC
    DiMaC03-30-2014

    Thanks Luke, now downloading and will try it later…

  4. Luc A
    Luc A03-31-2014

    Hi Luke. Thanks for the useful information.
    I also bought myself the MK809iv with 4.4 kitkat on it, which doesn’t go very smoothly. However, after downgrading to 4.2.2 the full HD doesn’t work anymore. I can select the option, and it shows the screen, but if i stop moving the mouse pointer the screen turns off. Is this a known bug and is there a solution?
    Thanks,
    Luc

  5. Luke
    Luke04-01-2014

    Hi Luc 😉
    I have the same problem, so i think it is a bug and i don’t have a solution. I’m actually OK with 720p. Maybe it is fixed in the upcoming 4.4 release from ugoos.

  6. Erik G.
    Erik G.04-17-2014

    Hi,
    Just installed the ” Android KitKat 4.4 Ugoos/Rockchip (10 april ’14)” on the Mk 809IV still no ROOT access. Possible solutions ? Thank you for this information. I like to use the DROIDMOTE server and client. There for is ROOT access needed.

  7. Daniel
    Daniel05-19-2014

    Hi, thanks for this useful post! I too am having the same problem with getting root on this device. I am also on 8.1 but I don’t think I have access to a win 7 machine. I was wondering if you could post or link the exact tpsparkyroot you used for rooting? Thanks!

    Dan

  8. ikeknu
    ikeknu05-24-2014

    I have the same problem. MK809IV with KITKAT 4.4.2 cannot be rooted. Tried numerous versions, also for RK3188, but no result. Is there anyone who succeeded in rooting this TV stick?

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      billig autokredit geld omrekenen02-07-2017

      Online Article…I’ve beeing scouring the google for this information and simply necessary to thank you for the post. BTW, simply off subject, how can I get a duplicate of this theme? – Thanks…

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  9. epok04
    epok0405-27-2014

    Hi, here you can get the latest rom 4.4.2 fully rooted by me.
    https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B_gAjEFXHMxvdFF2SGpIdDdELWc/edit?usp=sharing

  10. Sam
    Sam06-25-2014

    Hi,

    Can you tell me how you flashed it?
    I’m new to the whole flashing-your-Android-scene. I’ve tried rebooting into recovery mode using ADB, but the stick just won’t show up when I list the devices…

    • Sam
      Sam06-26-2014

      Ok, I finally figured it out.

      Had to use a Windows PC, install the “Autoinstaller” drivers.
      Use the RK_Batchtool:
      * press the ‘Switch’ button
      * press the physical button on the stick next to the micro USB port
      * then press the ‘Restore’ button

      All available from here: http://www.rockchip.nl/downloads/

  11. renzo
    renzo07-31-2014

    I am having trouble when i installed it i only
    Get 4 penguins and a notice that there is no signal from the de vive
    Dont know how to fix this

  12. Jamie
    Jamie09-08-2014

    Just wanted to say a quick thank you for making this ROM and sharing it. I only just brought this device and was very upset that it was slow, Netflix had lag and streaming was fairly poor in general. So started the hunt for rooting etc when I came across this. Luckily the device is easily flashed, so I put your custom ROM on it and it works perfectly.

    Now im finally happy with the MK809IV as it works as I always thought it should, thanks to you!

    FYI, for those asking about ROOT, on Rockchips website for this device they now offer a Rooted 4.4.2 version of their own ROM. I didnt try it, but it can be found here: http://ugoos.net/downloads

  13. Kevin
    Kevin10-07-2016

    I have had this stick 8 hours and im disappointed, hoping to use one of these roms, I have 16g version so I hope there’s a one to use around 12g for app space.

    1080p ace stream links don’t work well.

    But to anyone trying to root, try kingroot apk, you can find it on aptoide. I used it to root my mk809iv on 4.4.4

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