EmoSPARK Dissection & Upgrading the Memory

A while ago, I shared a comparison of 46 Kickstarter & Indiegogo campaigns, where Indiegogo didn’t exactly come out ahead.  If you remember, one of the campaigns that was trailing behind on Indiegogo was EmoSPARK.  Well, surprisingly it finally shipped!

And it arrived, yesterday.

I met many challenges with EmoSPARK right out of the box, from the case obstructing the micro-USB and mini-HDMI, to basic Bluetooth and WiFi connectivity issues, to beat up hardware, to major connectivity issues – and of course an unnecessary dependency on Android devices.

I put a short video here showing some of the underbelly.

Well, rather than go into all the limitations and frustrations I decided to focus on some other things.

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Images above show the case disassembled, with the bottom popped off.  The EmoSPARK itself is quite small, the sides of the case are held together with a few spots of superglue.  If you remove your casing, start on the bottom – the bottom tray slides right out.  In actual fact, you can pop-out the cards without removing the gray plastic at all and a bit of pressure and patience.

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The images above show some of the chips and closeups, and the two 5050’s that light up the unit.  (Interesting tidbit, you can buy those LED’s for pennies on ebay).  Of interest, is that they created a micro-USB connector for connecting the LED’s to the mainboard, which is different.

There is also a tiny switch one side that is inner-facing that seems to do nothing at the moment.

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Once flipped over, you will see your first opportunity for an easy win.  I formatted and added a 16GB chip.  According to the device information there is 2GB onboard (an additional 4GB somehow stored on the device) and this allows me to bring it up to 22GB.

I haven’t checked the specs of the device yet.

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Breaking into the software a bit, you can see some of what is installed by default (Adobe Flash 11.1 for example).  There is a package installer with Google Play ready to go AND a pre-installed controller for Android Gamepads.  That means, it can support Bluetooth gamepads out of the box (if you can find a way to pair them via Bluetooth).

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Looking at the data usage, leaving it plugged in overnight for updates – the EmoSPARK used just over 8GB of data.  Not a problem for me, but certainly something to watch out for if you are on limited internet.

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One of the first things I did, was add my BlackBerry as a Bluetooth device (it can run Android 4.x applications, and I’d much rather use that to communicate with EmoSPARK than an Android device, sorry folks!).

At the same time, I added my Surface (for Bluestacks), a Bluetooth mouse (emergencies – this way I don’t need to keep a USB mouse connected), and enabled PC connection – which should work over the MicroUSB port.

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Moving on to Google Play, I installed a VNC client – the devices appear to be rooted which means you might also want to install ad-blocking!

This VNC client sorta works but it causes the EmoSPARK software package to crash.  Once you disconnect the VNC connection, the whole device freezes up and you need to reboot  I’ll look at another option later.  I also chucked AirDroid on the device.

That’s it for today!  Check back in the next article to see what else we can do now that we have access to the hardware and the device.


One thought on “EmoSPARK Dissection & Upgrading the Memory

  1. Hi! I really enjoyed the dissection of your cube as I had cause to do mine too, as it would intermittently stop glowing and crash. Knowing what to expect was a great help! Anyway, I managed to fix that but seem to have naffed up the software after doing a factory reset; so needless to say, I’d be VERY interested if your planning to dig further into the software side of things! Is there a way to just restore it back to its original state? I’ve tried customer support, but they’re not responding, so any help would be appreciated! Thanks.

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