Installing LE to NAND on WeTek devices

  • Hello all,


    I build customized Kodi boxes for customers and my preferred system is LibreELEC on WeTek hardware -- I generally do this for older customers who don't need or want Android so they have a box that boots fast and is super simple to navigate and operate. I did this for a customer over the holidays who did not realize they would not have access to Netflix on the LE/Kodi system. So I contacted WeTek and requested the Android downloads. In my communications with Pedro from WeTek, he suggested to me that by installing LE/OE to NAND, there is a potential to brick the box. Here is that email for reference:
    ____________________________
    1st email:
    NOTE: Please bare in mind that SD card installations are always preferable than internal memory as sometimes internal memory installs can cause the system to brick.


    Follow-up email:
    I'm not saying that installing Android build on the NAND will harm the device. What i meant was referring to other OS's such as LE/OE, because installing them into the NAND will cause a different approach than the Android build. As most of them often use different kernels and drivers. And switching back and forth can cause trouble with bad blocks etc.


    With the [installing to the] SD card is a much safer bet, because if somehow [SD card] gets damaged beyond repair, you just need to change it for a new one, which is much cheaper than sending back the WeTek for repair or getting a new device.


    Best Regards,
    Pedro
    WeTek Support Team

    ____________________________


    I'm a little surprised to hear this because I've built about a dozen LE/OE boxes so far (over the span of ~2 years) and have encountered zero issues installing to NAND* -- I do not want to run Kodi from the slower SD card but another reason why I don't is because I know that SD cards have limited number of write-cycles they can take before they are toast. I don't know that much about flash memory technologies but when I researched the subject I learned that NAND was more reliable vs. SD card and so it's become my standard way of installing LE on WeTek devices. Also, as I make these for customers who are simply watching TV and not 'hacking their boxes' I am not switching the systems back and forth between Android and LE -- it's just happening once, when I wipe the factory Android software to install LE.


    My question and concern is... if there was potential to brick the box (in terms of NAND vs. SD card installs) why would LibreELEC / OpenELEC make the option to do so so readily and equally available and without any special caveat or warning? i.e. "SD card installs are preferable because..." And in the case of OpenELEC making an officially supported WeTek device that came pre-installed with OE, I presume (perhaps wrongly) that those were also NAND installs on the original 'WeTek Play' that came with OE -- or at least OE used to, because I just looked at their website and things have obviously changed.


    To sum up, I've only had great experiences running LE over the past six months and none of my customers have reported any issues. I welcome any comments from anyone experienced in these matters. Since learning about this from WeTek I will be more clear with my customers up front, and my 'threshold' test for installing LE will be whether or not they want Netflix on the same box... to prevent potential issues of creating bad blocks, etc. in going from Android (factory) to LE and then back to Android as in the case above.


    Thank you kindly,


    imlibre



    * The only issue installing to NAND was installing OE 6 (unofficial from JustMeRoms) to an MX (G18) box -- OE 6 worked for two months, reinstalled same build which lasted another two months, then used 6.0.3 (kszaq) build which has been great for ~4 months -- but again, I have never encountered more serious issues installing to NAND to the point where a box is bricked, neither on MX nor on WeTek hardware.

    Edited once, last by imlibre ().

  • WeTek have been seeing an increase in support work caused by users who don't install the NAND image correctly, or who install 3rd party images for similar spec Amlogic devices that are not appropriate. It is not impossible though quite hard to truly brick a device, but it is relatively simple to create something that an average user can't resolve themselves; requiring extensive handholding or even RMA.


    Facts are: WeTek supports LE when installed to a micro-SD card using the dual-boot capability in their firmware and they do not officially support the NAND install. As this is becoming a greater issue we are currently discussing with them how to message and address this with users.

  • Thank you for your feedback chewitt,


    If there is a problem with the user base incorrectly installing images to NAND then this means that there must also be a correct method for doing so, and so your comments beg the question... what is the correct method for installing the NAND image? I am following the instructions on the LE download page exactly and all my installs have worked perfectly and I've not heard of any problems from customers.


    Of course I can understand messing things up by using 'ROMs' that were not intended for the hardware, but I am not doing that. I always update to the latest WeTek/Android build before I proceed with installing LE. As for using the correct image, the LE-prescribed-procedure is pretty straightforward so what is there to screw up? What else should I be doing to prevent problems? If this is increasingly becoming problematic why does LE provide NAND images for this hardware?


    In his email to me regarding SD installs Pedro from WeTek uses the words 'preferable' and says 'it's a much safer bet' to do SD card installs, he did not say anything to suggest that my installing LE to NAND on WeTek hardware will be unsupported or is unofficial. Perhaps that message will change in future as you mentioned you are currently discussing these matters with them.


    Thank you for your help,


    imlibre