Flashing ODroid Go firmware on a Mac

The ODroid Go is a great little handheld that requires minimal building, and runs a variety of emulators (at the time of writing: NES, GameBoy, GameBoy Color, Master System, Game Gear and ColecoVision).

I first found out about it from the brilliant Back Office Show

It’s relatively cheap, and can be bought here: odroid.co.uk

There have been frequent firmware updates, and at the time of writing (late July 2018) units are shipping with an old firmware that needs updating. The development team split off device firmware from application firmware, and the newer device firmware needs to be present in order to flash new application firmwares from SD card, rather than over a USB>serial connection. The trouble is, it’s not that straightforward a process, and you need to use command line tools to do it if you’re using a Mac, like me. Here’s a short guide I cobbled together from what was already out there, including this very helpful guide. 

You may need to sudo or even sudo -H before some of the commands, but use them with caution, as ever!

ODroid firmware flashing on a Mac:

Open a Terminal window and type:

python --version

to check you have Python installed. You shoud have Python 2.7 pre-installed, and I believe you can use this with no issues, although you could install Python 3 if wanted/necessary.

Install pip if you’d like, but I believe this is only to be able to install esptool.py and that is contained in the firmware download folder, so I just ran it directly from there.

I did get an error that there was no serial module found, so I had to manually install pyserial:

Download latest pyserial-X.X.tar.gz from: http://pypi.python.org/pypi/pyserial

cd to wherever you unpacked it and type:

python setup.py install

Next install the VCP driver:

https://www.silabs.com/documents/public/software/Mac_OSX_VCP_Driver.zip

Put device firmware folder (20180718 or later) in a folder called odroid on your desktop.

cd to Desktop/odroid/

Then type:

./esptool.py --chip esp32 --port /dev/tty.SLAB_USBtoUART --baud 921600 write_flash --flash_mode dio --flash_freq 40m --flash_size detect 0x1000 bootloader.bin 0x8000 partitions.bin 0x10000 odroid-go-firmware.bin

After a successful flash and auto-reset, remove the SD card from the ODroid and put it in your Mac.

Copy the latest firmware.bin (downloaded from: https://github.com/OtherCrashOverride/go-play/releases) to the root of your SD card.

Hold down ‘B’ while turning on the ODroid to flash the new application firmware.

Once restarted, put the SD card in to your Mac again, and if you haven’t already done so, put the Skeleton Files on the card, and then create the following folders:

odroid/data/col

roms/col

You’ll also need the Coleco BIOS from somewhere (google is your friend!) and it needs to be called BIOS.col and placed in roms/col

Firmware will likely continue to be updated, and hopefully new emulators added (Atari 2600 and 7800, I’m looking at you!), so keep an eye on the GitHub repository.

Also, there is a user-contributed ROM compatibility list at this link.

Finally, an active forum can be found here.


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