Ok, so the Hipstreet Phoenix tablet that I repaired the power button on a few months back got knelt on. The screen didn’t like it very much and refuses to work now due to a crack.
Looking at the bottom edge of the tablet you notice there is a nice selection of features.
From left to right: Headphone/Headset (Covered by my thumb), Mic, Micro USB, Mini HDMI, A 5V charging port, reset button, microSD card socket.
I decided to order some items in to see if I could use these ports instead of relying on the LCD/touchscreen interface.
Here is the board in all it’s glory. a fraction of the size of the case it is in.
Firstly I have already ordered in some USB OTG cables. (Actually ordered a set 4 months ago on ebay and not seen any, and ordered a set 2 months ago and still waiting for both). They haven’t arrived so I did a quick bodge to use USB OTG without the proper cable as you will see in the picture below. I’ll detail that soon.
Next I got a HDMI cable, turns out I purchased a MicroHDMI cable 😛 but I went out today and got the MiniHDMI cable and plugged it into the tablet and switched it on. Nothing appeared on the screen until it was a good minute into the booting but it worked ok, it was a little too large for my screen but I have an old TV so I found that with a lot of things, but the main point is that it works on HDMI!
I found that I could use the tablet by pressing on the touchscreen but it’s somewhat hard to know where your touching when the LCD is broken and your watching it on a TV.
Next I turn my attention to the USB OTG situation. I heard that you can plug in a mouse and/or a keyboard and use them with Android based devices, I have never seen this before myself so I was curious. The only spare keyboard I have is an old PS/2 Style keyboard so I plugged in my PS/2 to USB adaptor, the keyboard initialised (as noticed by the lights coming on for a second) but I did notice the display flickered while doing so but it didn’t seem to do any kind of input. Maybe it was drawing too much current and was disconnected by the tablet after initialising, I will find a USB keyboard and try again later.
Next I try a USB mouse, the only one I have at hand is a cheapo wireless once from Dollarama, this appeared to work fine, I tested it and had a quick game of solitaire to test it.
Ok, so the bodge that I did to get USB OTG up and running is based on instructions I found here:
Image from: http://tech.firstpost.com/news-analysis/how-to-make-your-own-usb-otg-cable-for-an-android-smartphone-29503.html
What I did was locate pin 4 on the microUSB socket on the PCB and trace it to a point where I could solder on a wire, luckily I found a test point and used that, I also attached a 2nd wire to GND and brought them both out (The orange and white wires). In order to use USB OTG I just short them together. Now I needed a microUSB to Female USB-A connection, I simply took an old dual USB socket and bridged the 2 connections together at it’s cable header, turning it effectively into a crude gender changer for USB-A then used a normal microUSB-USB-A cable to connect it to the table. voila!
This is only a temporary solution until my proper cable arrives.
This is the current state of the device.
Plans for the future:
- Put the PCB in a small plastic box make new buttons on the front
- use external power into the 5V charger port
- Use a small USB hub (preferably powered) with a proper USB OTG cable to allow keyboard, mouse, and other USB devices
- Modify the Android OS on the device to allow me to use it for something useful
That’s all for now, hopefully more to come soon.
I made a proper USB OTG cable (Using the website mentioned above) and found a USB keyboard, this worked great 🙂 I then found a small USB hub, this one is a 4-port USB 1.1 hub unfortunately but it’s good enough for mouse and keyboard use, which it did 🙂
I also found a 5V charger with the same connector as the one found on the bottom of the tablet and it is now currently charging.
I unplugged the LCD and Digitiser cables and it still takes a while until it enables the HDMI, I did a factory reset too and it had nothing on the HDMI for quite a while, I was a little worried that it was showing something on the LCD asking me to confirm something during startup. This worries me about re-flashing the firmware as I’ve seen some devices require you to do some selections on the bootloader, I have to rebuild the volume button set in order to test this but I will have to see if it will initialise the HDMI.