OUYA ROM Development #2

So much time has passed since the OUYA was released and still there is hardly custom rom development. So I decided to start developing for the OUYA by myself and I want to share my experiences here with you. I know Linux and now i also have an idea about how the Android system works, but i will be glad, if someone who reads this post and has more insight into Android-development can share some tips.

In this post i want to write about the “development environment” and show you some tools and tricks i read about or found out.
Let’s start with “adb” and “fastboot”. Since you can’t still boot the OUYA into recovery mode, we will have to boot the kernel from fastboot-mode, in order not to have to flash the kernel partition with testing kernels.
The procedure is pretty easy, Plug your OUYA to your Notebook, install the driver (discussed in this post), start the adb-console and type: adb reboot bootloader.
Your OUYA will reboot, the screen stays off.
The next step is to load the kernel by typing “fastboot boot boot.img”, where boot.img ist the kernel/ramdisk-file you want to test. Getting the kernel to boot is just the first step in a long procedure, where you have to bring the kernel to “talk” to the ROM you want to use.

Since the screen remains dark when in Fastboot-mode, you won’t get real feedback from your OUYA threw your TV. Fortunately there is a header on the board you can use to get the serial output from our little console. You will need a simple Serial to USB-Converter (You may take this, as it has good connection-capabilitiesNooElec PL2303 USB to Serial (TTL) Module/Adapter with Female and Male Wiring Harnesses & Test Jumper.
Plug in the device, wait for the drivers being installed, download and open “putty” and use serial input, change the baud rate to “115200” and connect the pin closest to the edge to GND, the 3rd Pin is TX.
It’s not possible to send any commands threw the serial console, because the RX-channel is somehow broken, but it’s a good method for debugging or just to know what’s going on with the console, before the bootscreen appears.

You can see my way for connecting the pins without having to solder them in the following pictures 🙂


Now you should see the console output in your putty-window. If you are a Linux-user you will have to look for a similar tool.

In the next post, i will write about the partition layout of the OUYA and problems i am experiencing while trying to port a bootable kernel. Stay tuned!

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