Hacking no-name "MP5" players with SPMP8000A – Part I, teardown

Happy New Year, hackers!

Something that we’ve been putting off for some time is nice pics of our teardown of a no-name “MP5″ player. We’ve been putting it off because, embarrassingly enough, the device arrived in a fake PSP box and is in all respects a terrible PSP knockoff. Oh, except it can’t play PSP games, only NES games. knockoff fail!
We certainly don’t support the dodgy Shenzhen practice of applying any big name label to any small-time device, and we apologize in advance if anyone thinks we are supporting PSP knockoffs. We are not! To prove it, we will tear the fraudulent case right off this bad boy in a matter of minutes.

The device is not a bad gaming/media toy on it’s own, I really don’t know what the vendor is thinking he will gain by labelling it PSP and MP5. I mean, what the hell is an MP5 anyway? The marketing departments in these Chinese companies really have to get it together.

Ugh - lame knockoff on the outside

Fig 1 – Picture of the front of the shameful knockoff case

Back of the knockoff

Fig 2 – The back of the victim

But for what it’s worth it’s a pretty good device.

  • 4.3″ 16:9 TFT LCD which looks pretty nice.
  • Digital camera that can take both crappy pictures and crappy video – meh from us, but some folks like that stuff.
  • Video out, and rumors of video in with a little hacking are starting to get our blood pumping.
  • 2, 4, or 8GB NAND flash depending on what chips are populated on the board (or what you add yourself!).
  • Socket for an external microSD/TransFlash card for gobs of extra storage,
  • A fairly killer SPMP8000A ARM cpu.

The device is designed to play pirated NES, N64, Gameboy/GBC, Sega/Megadrive, and perhaps some MAME stuff – I’m not sure. In addition to this, it also plays pirated MP3 audio and MP4 video but it must be pirated I think or it will not play. In fact, it should be marked FPBP – for pirates, by pirates – because this thing is a DMCA nightmare from top to bottom.

Well we’re here to help these poor misguided souls repurpose their device into something useful. There’s already a growing homebrew scene on the older generation SPMP3xxx series devices, so we intend to spearhead the same sorts of development on the SPMP8xxx series devices!

The teardown is as simple as can be – two tiny philips screws each on the top and bottom and the metal shell comes away from the back of the device. You’ll need to be a bit careful in freeing the device from the front casing as the LCD is probably pretty delicate. By bending outwards the plastic sides of the device you can liberate the PCB assembly from the confines of the USB and headphone ports on top, and the SD and LCD clips on the bottom. Continue on for hi-res pics of the naked PCB… Tantalizing, I know!

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