TV-box mania: III part. H96 MAX Plus (RK3328)

H96 MAX Plus.

We've finally reached to the rather high-end segment of the budget TV-box devices. So I decide to test a bit better configuration (4GB RAM and 32GB eMMC drive) that would be only a waste for previous reviewed devices. It cost me around $40. At first glance, everything seemed to work, but it turned out that there is a huge problem with USB3.0 support. Once again we use the Armbian version for rk3318/rk3328 provided by @jock.

H96 MAX Plus: RK3328 CPU, 4GB RAM and 32GB eMMC

The unit is equipped with:
  • 4 cores rk3328 @ 1.3GHz
  • 4GB RAM
  • 32GB storage
  • Ethernet, 2.4 and 5G Wifi (BCM4330)
  • Bluetooth
  • 1 x USB3.0 and 1 x USB2.0 ports
  • HDMI out, AV, SD card slot

  • Disclaimer:

    The current supply crisis has unfortunately also affected the tvbox market. The latest new models are almost always inferior to their predecessors or they are much pricier, so you'd better hurry up before the old models run out. H616 is inferior compare to the old H6, rk3318 is inferior compare to the rk3328, S905x4 is closed for opensource community contrary to the old S905x3.

    The most common problem with tvboxes is that most of their Wi-Fi and Bluetooth devices are not supported by Linux Kernel. Even the same model may have a different Wi-Fi chip installed depending on the revision of the main-board (usually also combined with RAM and disk size version). So at worst, you may need to use an Ethernet connection only.

    By installing Linux you risk voiding your device warranty and could brick it if something goes wrong. Most of these cheap devices are of low quality and can break without modification anyway.

    1 Installing Linux: creating Android firmware backup

    The Linux installation procedure is largely based on the great work of the @jock developer, which can be found here: csc-armbian-for-rk3318rk3328-tv-box-boards

    The procedure is the exactly same as for previously reviewed X88 PRO (rk3318) so I'll just remind it here. I chose the safer method of starting Armbian from the SD card. You can also install it in the memory inside eMMC, but if you mess up the settings and the system stops booting, you will be in real trouble.

    Necessary tools:
  • at least 8GB SD card and SD card reader
  • Balena Etcher - SD card flashing utility
  • Jock rk3318/3328 Multitool image (extract it with 7-zip)

  • Install and run Balena Etcher. Select downloaded multitool image and SD card. Flash it.
    Insert multitool SD into TV-box, attach keyboard and monitor then start it. Choose backup firmware and after it is created, shutdown system from the menu.
    backup1 backup2 backup3 backup4 backup5
    Eject SD from TV-box and put it in the card reader. You should find your backup created. Save it in safe place.
    Now it's time to erase eMMC. Put multitool card back in the TVBox. After startup select "Erase flash". Without it prepared custom Armbian image won't boot. Next shutdown the system and power off the device.
    erase1 erase2

    2 Installing Linux: starting Armbian

    You need to download @jock special Armbian image for rk3318/rk3328. You can find it here csc-armbian-for-rk3318rk3328-tv-box-boards

    Extract downloaded image with 7-zip and burn it on SD card (if you use the same SD card then remember to copy the created earlier backup first!)

    Safely eject the SD card, put it in the tvbox, attach keyboard and monitor. Then start it. After few minutes your Armbian should be ready for final configuration. You can also SSH to Armbian avoiding using monitor and keyboard for the first boot. Default login is root and password: 1234 (you have to change it after logging in for the first time). Create new user 'pi' for everyday usage.

    You can SSH (using Putty) to the TV-box now if you like or continue with the console.
    Run rk3318-config. Select 1.3GHz speed, don't select any eMMC option and generic board at the end. Don't reboot yet.
    sudo rk3318-config

    IMG-20220228-010311 IMG-20220228-010352 IMG-20220228-010620

    Next very important commands to install things we need:
    sudo apt-mark hold linux-image-edge-rockchip64 linux-dtb-edge-rockchip64
    sudo apt update && sudo apt install armbian-config libxcb1

    Congratulation. You have (almost) installed Armbian. You may reboot now.
    sudo reboot

    After the reboot you may check out assigned IP type:
    ip address

    As you can see your Wifi interface is ready to configure it. So run:
    sudo armbian-config
    And set your Wifi connection up:
    IMG-20220228-011723 IMG-20220228-011751 IMG-20220228-011811

    3 Installing HyperHDR

    As pi user download latest HyperHDR aarch64 installer. For example:
    cd /tmp
    sudo apt install ./HyperHDR-
    HyperHDR should be up and running on 8090 port. If you can't connect with your browser then execute one more command and check out the output:

    5 HyperHDR tested hardware

    LED driver (HyperSerialEsp8266/HyperSerialESP32):
  • CH340g/c detected OK
  • CP2104 detected OK
  • CH9102x detected OK

  • With my LED setup I tested HyperSerialEsp8266 config.

    USB grabbers
  • Ezcap 269 - USB3.0 doesn't work, works fine using USB2.0
  • Ezcap 320 - USB3.0 doesn't work, works fine using USB2.0
  • Ezcap 321 - USB3.0 doesn't work, works fine using USB2.0
  • MS2109 USB2.0 grabber - works fine when connected to USB3.0 port, using USB2.0 port results in incorrect(!) brightness/saturation/hue defaults that must be set manually. Check it out:
    ms-usb2 ms-usb3
  • AV Access - USB3.0 doesn't work, works fine using USB2.0
  • Maximum reached temperature is around 65C.

    4 Summary

    If you need platform that supports USB3.0 then H96 MAX Plus RK3328 is not a choice for you. None of tested USB grabbers work using USB3.0 protocol. Additionally MS2109 grabber had some strange issue when it was connected to USB2.0 port. Without USB3.0 support probably Rpi Zero 2 W could be a better choice if available (bit cheaper, a lot more stable OS).