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Q-LINK SCEPTER 8


images (1).jpeg
images.jpeg

OVERVIEW:
This is a general info and discussion thread for any topics relating to the Q-Link Scepter 8 tablet. This is an 8" Android tablet manufactured specifically for eligible recipients of the Emergency Broadband Benefit (EBB) Program, a federally funded FCC initiative to help families and households struggling to afford internet service during the Covid-19 pandemic. As of December 31, 2021, the EBB was renamed the Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP). Ironically, even though the EBB was originally intended specifically for assistance with internet service, and although this tablet is branded by Q-Link, a major mobile service provider of the federal Lifeline program, the Q-Link Scepter 8 is a WiFi-only device and does not support cellular connectivity. Because there is very little info available online for this device, a general info and discussion thread was needed as a collective forum and resource for device owners.

SPECIFICATIONS:

Device Name: Q-Link Scepter 8
Manufacturer: Hot Pepper, LLC
WLAN Connectivity: WiFi 802.11b/g/n
Bluetooth: v4.0
OS/Version: Android 11 (Go Edition)
Internal Storage: 16 GB (eMMC)
RAM: 1 GB (LPDDR3)
Display: 8" IPS (800 x 1280)
Battery: 3,500 mAh Li-Ion
Board Platform: Allwinner-A100
Arch/ISA: 64-bit / ARMv8-A
CPU: Quad-core ARM Cortex-A53
CPU Max Clock: 1.46 GHz
Lithography: 28 nm HPC
Partition scheme: Dynamic A/B
GPU: Imagination PowerVR GE8300
GPU Max Clock: 650 MHz
Camera: 2 MP Rear / 0.3 MP Front

DEVELOPMENT STATUS:
This tablet is supported for bootloader unlocking by way of the standard fastboot mode procedure. Root access can be attained by the standard Magisk systemless strategy of ramdisk patching. Unfortunately, I no longer own one of these tablets and I did not save copies of any of the firmware images I was able to pull from the device by way of a flash tool in read-back mode. Likewise, as luck would have it, the modded flash tool is no longer accessible due to a broken download link online and no working mirrors As it stands, we are lacking a stock boot/recovery image with which to patch the ramdisk for root. To date, despite numerous formal requests made to the manufacturer, the kernel source code has not been released to the public. Likewise, the manufacturer has released no factory images or stock firmware for this device, making custom development a futile effort at this point. I am presently attempting to locate a chipset-supported version of an Allwinner flashing utility which can be used to dump partition images.
This thread is intended for general discussion of any topics relating to the Q-Link Scepter 8. As resources for source code, firmware, etc., become available, additional development threads will be posted and maintained. For now, however, this is the catch-all device thread. Although I no longer own one of these devices, I will try to diligently maintain this thread and make efforts to break ground on custom development projects. A couple of days ago, on January 11th, I emailed support for Hot Pepper, Inc., and made formal written requests for both the kernel source code (which the manufacturer is required to provide pursuant to the GNU General Public License) and factory images or a stock firmware package for this tablet. Because Hot Pepper, Inc., recently changed hands in terms of ownership and operations, I am hopeful that at least one of my requests Is granted.
UPDATE: On January 27th, I received a reply from a support specialist of Hot Pepper, Inc. His correspondence advised me that my request for kernel source code had been forwarded to Hot Pepper's software developers in China, who should be returning to the office from Chinese Holiday on February 6th. Accordingly, access to the kernel source code should be forthcoming in just a matter of days.
Update: February 22, 2022:
I have received correspondence from the CEO of Hot Pepper Mobile regarding my request for stock firmware and kernel source code for the Scepter 8. It appears that the delay was merely an issue of English--Chinese translation with respect to my original request. This is the correspondence in full:
Screenshot_20220222-024927.png

Per the CEO's instructions,, I have clarified my requests and provided specific examples. It now looks as though development for this tablet is imminent. I will, of course, keep this thread updated accordingly and post links to stock firmware/source code here just as soon as Hot Pepper Mobile grants access.
Update: February 23, 2022:
Finally, after weeks of back-and-forth correspondence, the CEO of Hot Pepper Mobile has provided me with two factory images for the QLink Scepter 8: one package is V6 and the other appears to be the latest build, V9. The links for both images are listed below. Although I did not receive the actual kernel source code, I'm content that the factory images will advance our efforts for rooting and a TWRP port build, which I will be working on as soon as free time permits.
UPDATE ON TWRP: As it currently stands, the TWRP port for this device is at a standstill. Because this tablet is Allwinner-based, uses the Dynamic partition scheme, and supports seamless updates (A/B), there are simply too many obstacles to complete the build at this time. I am requesting assistance from a TeamWin developer on this project. I will keep this thread updated with the status on the unofficial TWRP port. However, on a positive note, I am currently porting LineageOS 19.1 (Android 12) to this tablet, which will be installable with PhoenixSuit, LiveSuit, or PhoenixUSBPro. Believe it or not, a custom ROM is child's play in comparison to porting TWRP.

DOWNLOADS & LINKS:

Q-Link Scepter 8 User Manual (PDF)
Q-Link Scepter 8 FCC Report
Bootloader Unlocking & Rooting Guide
Stock Firmware Restoration Guide

PLEASE CONSIDER:
Please keep this thread on topic and post only about subject matter relating to the Q-Link Scepter 8. While all discussion and questions are welcome, please keep it device specific. Also, please be respectful to others when posting or replying. Keep in mind that English is not the primary language of every member, as the XDA community spans the entire globe. As such, it is often easy to misinterpret text which has been translated into English, or to take statements out of context. Be patient with, and kind to, new members who seek knowledge and answers. Remember when you were a noob and others patiently assisted you here on XDA. In short, it is my wish to keep this thread an open and welcome platform for all members, regardless of language, experience, nationality, etc. Please be respectful.

THANKS & MENTIONS:
Thanks goes out to Hot Pepper Mobile, Inc., for providing factory firmware images for this device. Specifically, I want to thank Hot Pepper Support Specialist Joshua G. and Hot Pepper CEO Shawn Sun for their professional assistance.

 
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YOSA_yoggiie

New member
Jan 17, 2022
1
0
USA
Update: The manufacturer of this tablet, Hot Pepper, Inc., has replied to my formal requests for kernel source and factory images. I was asked to elaborate more on my requests, which I have done. Hopefully they will accommodate soon. New news is good news. I too will be following this post because I own and am using this tablet. Would be very helpful to have some root access or privlage ecceptence happening locally in times of app requirments. Hopefully soon we will find out if this device can even handle the mods and tweaks but then again we could then be able to turn off and even uninstall certain APK system only apps,services ,ECT. Thank you for your work friend. Keep up the good work.
 
I sincerely wish I had saved the files I had when I owned one of these tablets a few months ago. I actually had the device bootloader unlocked and rooted with Magisk systemless root. I ended up giving the tablet away to someone who needed it more than I did. I had originally pulled some firmware images from the device using a reverse engineered hack tool for Allwinner powered devices. It worked very similar to the readback function of the SP Flash Tool for MediaTek. The link to that tool is now dead as well. But that goes with the old saying with Android of Always Save Your Work. I'll touch base again with the manufacturer early next week. If we can at least get factory images for this device, that will make some development possible. I have some fairly recent porting scripts that can be used to port LineageOS and other custom ROMs.
 
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lugnut2099

Member
Aug 8, 2016
48
12
D'oh, they might have already ruined our fun. I just got one of these and OEM Unlocking is greyed out. I can access fastboot, but "fastboot oem unlock" only gets me "OEM Unlock Ability is 0. Permission denied."

Under Android version, mine shows a Security Update date of October 5, 2021 and Kernel version "5.4.99 #2 Mon Oct 11 14:45:34 CST 2021," Build Number "Scepter_8_Tablet_V7_20211011"
 
D'oh, they might have already ruined our fun. I just got one of these and OEM Unlocking is greyed out. I can access fastboot, but "fastboot oem unlock" only gets me "OEM Unlock Ability is 0. Permission denied."

Under Android version, mine shows a Security Update date of October 5, 2021 and Kernel version "5.4.99 #2 Mon Oct 11 14:45:34 CST 2021," Build Number "Scepter_8_Tablet_V7_20211011"
Use the command
fastboot flashing unlock

But I see your dilemma. Without being able to toggle oem unlocking in developer options, it won't work.
Do a factory data reset and see if oem unlock persists to be greyed out.

Your build info appease to be consistent with the device I had.
 
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Alkuam

Member
Mar 10, 2017
15
1
Samsung Galaxy Note 9
D'oh, they might have already ruined our fun. I just got one of these and OEM Unlocking is greyed out. I can access fastboot, but "fastboot oem unlock" only gets me "OEM Unlock Ability is 0. Permission denied."

Under Android version, mine shows a Security Update date of October 5, 2021 and Kernel version "5.4.99 #2 Mon Oct 11 14:45:34 CST 2021," Build Number "Scepter_8_Tablet_V7_20211011"
That's odd, the one I've got has november updates and I was able to enable OEM unlocking and unlock the bootloader.
 
Unfortunately, Hot Pepper Mobile is a bit confused about their obligations under the latest revision of the GNU General Public License v3.0. This is Support's response to my requests for firmware and kernel source code.
Screenshot_20220124-231337.png


As to releasing firmware, the reply is technically correct; because proprietary code is involved, it is within the discretion of the manufacturer to release factory images. However, all manufacturers are required to release kernel source code in order to be in compliance with the GPL. I have sent Support a request for reconsideration along with the relevant portions of the applicable GPL guidelines. Once we get kernel source, we can compile a boot and recovery image.
The following is my follow up reply to the above correspondence:
Screenshot_20220125-002549.png

Screenshot_20220125-002614.png


Manufacturers fail to comply with the GNU GPL license requirements all too often. Because many are located outside the US, the proper venue and subject matter jurisdiction can make it a lot of work to enforce. Because Hot Pepper, Inc. operates within the US, I fully intend to enforce their compliance. (My regular job happens to be in the legal field.) Hopefully, however, Hot Pepper was simply unaware or unversed regarding their obligations to release the source code. I've seen that happen before and once the guidelines are made known to the manufacturer, they release the source code. In the meantime, I'll work on Plan B -- try and locate the Allwinner flash tool so we can dump images. Because I do not own one of these tablets anymore (I plan on buying another one on eBay), I will need testers who are knowledgeable with SoC-based firmware flashing protocols, i.e. SP Flash Tool, QFIL, QPST, Spreadtrum/Unisoc Flash Tool, etc
 
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lugnut2099

Member
Aug 8, 2016
48
12
Well, strangely enough, I just grabbed ours again to try the factory reset as suggested to see if that would somehow trigger the OEM Unlock toggle and, what do you know, it's now available without needing to reset. I can't remember if I'd checked to see if it was there or not after that first failed attempt, so maybe that did it. My wife had added a Google account in the meantime too, so I guess that's another possibility since there wasn't one on it when I'd tried. Shrug.
 
Well, strangely enough, I just grabbed ours again to try the factory reset as suggested to see if that would somehow trigger the OEM Unlock toggle and, what do you know, it's now available without needing to reset. I can't remember if I'd checked to see if it was there or not after that first failed attempt, so maybe that did it. My wife had added a Google account in the meantime too, so I guess that's another possibility since there wasn't one on it when I'd tried. Shrug.
These low-end tablets with Allwinner chipsets are always full of more questions than answers. Not to count my chickens before they hatch, but I was just given access to a reverse engineered Pheonix Suite flash tool which has reportedly been repacked to support all current Allwinner-A series devices. I need to install some unsigned drivers on my laptop and I'm going to give this thing a try. I have access to a brand new Scepter 8 for dumping images. Fingers crossed...
 
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I sincerely wish I had saved the files I had when I owned one of these tablets a few months ago. I actually had the device bootloader unlocked and rooted with Magisk systemless root. I ended up giving the tablet away to someone who needed it more than I did. I had originally pulled some firmware images from the device using a reverse engineered hack tool for Allwinner powered devices. It worked very similar to the readback function of the SP Flash Tool for MediaTek. The link to that tool is now dead as well. But that goes with the old saying with Android of Always Save Your Work. I'll touch base again with the manufacturer early next week. If we can at least get factory images for this device, that will make some development possible. I have some fairly recent porting scripts that can be used to port LineageOS and other custom ROMs.



























































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































Were you able to find the hack mmmm
 

e.giltmier

Member
Dec 2, 2019
6
0
I sincerely wish I had saved the files I had when I owned one of these tablets a few months ago. I actually had the device bootloader unlocked and rooted with Magisk systemless root. I ended up giving the tablet away to someone who needed it more than I did. I had originally pulled some firmware images from the device using a reverse engineered hack tool for Allwinner powered devices. It worked very similar to the readback function of the SP Flash Tool for MediaTek. The link to that tool is now dead as well. But that goes with the old saying with Android of Always Save Your Work. I'll touch base again with the manufacturer early next week. If we can at least get factory images for this device, that will make some development possible. I have some fairly recent porting scripts that can be used to port LineageOS and other custom ROMs.
You had it rooted with Magisk? Was going to try that myself-just got one of the devices. Can i ask where you got the "boot.img" from?
 
You had it rooted with Magisk? Was going to try that myself-just got one of the devices. Can i ask where you got the "boot.img" from?
Take a moment and read the thread over and you'll get a better understanding of development status for this tablet. In a nutshell, the tool I once used to pull firmware images is no longer accessible. And I have no copies of those images.
 
Ok folks now we are making progress on source code. After being forwarded to Hot Pepper's lawyers, my request has now been sent to the actual developers of the tablet's firmware in China. The following is support's response:
Screenshot_20220129-203511.png

So the best I can tell, we will have source code in early February. Hopefully, shortly after. Feb 9th. I'm not having luck with the Phoenix tool so far, so the source code may be our savior here.
 
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Take a moment and read the thread over and you'll get a better understanding of development status for this tablet. In a nutshell, the tool I once used to pull firmware images is no longer accessible. And I have no copies of those images. Also, the best I can recall, the Scepter 8 is on of those SAR configured devices without a boot-ramdisk. The workaround is to patch a recovery image and flash it to /recovery versus /boot. This allows Magisk to effectively hijack /recovery to implement root to the OS. To clarify, do any of you guys have the Magisk app installed on your tablet? Beside of the heading "Ramdisk,"is there a YES or a NO?
 

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  • 1
    The v9 firmware link is dead, does anyone have an alternative link?
    The v9 link has been fixed.
    1
    The v9 link has been fixed.
    thanks for the quick response!

    edit: my tablet has a firmware version of v7, would that be of any interest to you before i flash this?
  • 4
    Update: The manufacturer of this tablet, Hot Pepper, Inc., has replied to my formal requests for kernel source and factory images. I was asked to elaborate more on my requests, which I have done. Hopefully they will accommodate soon.
    4
    I got a successful root with magisk! I'll include a rough how-to
    1. enable USB debugging in developer options. (unlock by tapping 5x on build number in settings>about tablet)
    2. enable OEM Unlocking in developer options. Mine was originally greyed out, but it corrected after I linked a google account in setup.
    install minimal adb/fastboot on your pc, connect tablet via microusb https://androiddatahost.com/uq6us
    run cmd-here.exe, and type: adb reboot bootloader, and then fastboot oem unlock
    3. download firmware v9 to pc
    4. open firmware img with 7zip, and extract boot_a.img
    5. transfer that boot img file back into your tablets storage.
    6. install Magisk on github, go to install, and select that boot image when prompted.
    7. copy the img it spits out onto your computer, into the root directory of your adb/fastboot. Rename it something simple like patchedboot.img
    8. download and install Phoenix Suite https://androidmtk.com/download-phoenixsuit
    9. enable USB debugging on your tablet and keep it connected. you can verify a good connection if 'adb devices' in cmd shows a device.
    10. Phoenix Suite will recognize your adb device. proceed to install the v9 firmware to your tablet
    11. after its finished, in CMD enter: adb reboot fastboot
    12. enter: fastboot flash boot patchedboot.img
    13. reboot your tablet, and check in magisk to see if it you're rooted, it will show: Installed 24.1 instead of N/A
    14. I highly reccomend sideloading librechair for a launcher, and Openboard for keyboard; they use minimal ram and run reliably on such a low spec tablet. My tablet no longer freezes doing light tasks.
    https://t.me/librechair/7269
    https://f-droid.org/en/packages/org.dslul.openboard.inputmethod.latin/
    https://www.bromite.org/ for going full degoogled

    here's the patched v9 boot.img to save people some time
    3

    Q-LINK SCEPTER 8


    images (1).jpeg
    images.jpeg

    OVERVIEW:
    This is a general info and discussion thread for any topics relating to the Q-Link Scepter 8 tablet. This is an 8" Android tablet manufactured specifically for eligible recipients of the Emergency Broadband Benefit (EBB) Program, a federally funded FCC initiative to help families and households struggling to afford internet service during the Covid-19 pandemic. As of December 31, 2021, the EBB was renamed the Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP). Ironically, even though the EBB was originally intended specifically for assistance with internet service, and although this tablet is branded by Q-Link, a major mobile service provider of the federal Lifeline program, the Q-Link Scepter 8 is a WiFi-only device and does not support cellular connectivity. Because there is very little info available online for this device, a general info and discussion thread was needed as a collective forum and resource for device owners.

    SPECIFICATIONS:

    Device Name: Q-Link Scepter 8
    Manufacturer: Hot Pepper, LLC
    WLAN Connectivity: WiFi 802.11b/g/n
    Bluetooth: v4.0
    OS/Version: Android 11 (Go Edition)
    Internal Storage: 16 GB (eMMC)
    RAM: 1 GB (LPDDR3)
    Display: 8" IPS (800 x 1280)
    Battery: 3,500 mAh Li-Ion
    Board Platform: Allwinner-A100
    Arch/ISA: 64-bit / ARMv8-A
    CPU: Quad-core ARM Cortex-A53
    CPU Max Clock: 1.46 GHz
    Lithography: 28 nm HPC
    Partition scheme: Dynamic A/B
    GPU: Imagination PowerVR GE8300
    GPU Max Clock: 650 MHz
    Camera: 2 MP Rear / 0.3 MP Front

    DEVELOPMENT STATUS:
    This tablet is supported for bootloader unlocking by way of the standard fastboot mode procedure. Root access can be attained by the standard Magisk systemless strategy of ramdisk patching. Unfortunately, I no longer own one of these tablets and I did not save copies of any of the firmware images I was able to pull from the device by way of a flash tool in read-back mode. Likewise, as luck would have it, the modded flash tool is no longer accessible due to a broken download link online and no working mirrors As it stands, we are lacking a stock boot/recovery image with which to patch the ramdisk for root. To date, despite numerous formal requests made to the manufacturer, the kernel source code has not been released to the public. Likewise, the manufacturer has released no factory images or stock firmware for this device, making custom development a futile effort at this point. I am presently attempting to locate a chipset-supported version of an Allwinner flashing utility which can be used to dump partition images.
    This thread is intended for general discussion of any topics relating to the Q-Link Scepter 8. As resources for source code, firmware, etc., become available, additional development threads will be posted and maintained. For now, however, this is the catch-all device thread. Although I no longer own one of these devices, I will try to diligently maintain this thread and make efforts to break ground on custom development projects. A couple of days ago, on January 11th, I emailed support for Hot Pepper, Inc., and made formal written requests for both the kernel source code (which the manufacturer is required to provide pursuant to the GNU General Public License) and factory images or a stock firmware package for this tablet. Because Hot Pepper, Inc., recently changed hands in terms of ownership and operations, I am hopeful that at least one of my requests Is granted.
    UPDATE: On January 27th, I received a reply from a support specialist of Hot Pepper, Inc. His correspondence advised me that my request for kernel source code had been forwarded to Hot Pepper's software developers in China, who should be returning to the office from Chinese Holiday on February 6th. Accordingly, access to the kernel source code should be forthcoming in just a matter of days.
    Update: February 22, 2022:
    I have received correspondence from the CEO of Hot Pepper Mobile regarding my request for stock firmware and kernel source code for the Scepter 8. It appears that the delay was merely an issue of English--Chinese translation with respect to my original request. This is the correspondence in full:
    Screenshot_20220222-024927.png

    Per the CEO's instructions,, I have clarified my requests and provided specific examples. It now looks as though development for this tablet is imminent. I will, of course, keep this thread updated accordingly and post links to stock firmware/source code here just as soon as Hot Pepper Mobile grants access.
    Update: February 23, 2022:
    Finally, after weeks of back-and-forth correspondence, the CEO of Hot Pepper Mobile has provided me with two factory images for the QLink Scepter 8: one package is V6 and the other appears to be the latest build, V9. The links for both images are listed below. Although I did not receive the actual kernel source code, I'm content that the factory images will advance our efforts for rooting and a TWRP port build, which I will be working on as soon as free time permits.
    UPDATE ON TWRP: As it currently stands, the TWRP port for this device is at a standstill. Because this tablet is Allwinner-based, uses the Dynamic partition scheme, and supports seamless updates (A/B), there are simply too many obstacles to complete the build at this time. I am requesting assistance from a TeamWin developer on this project. I will keep this thread updated with the status on the unofficial TWRP port. However, on a positive note, I am currently porting LineageOS 19.1 (Android 12) to this tablet, which will be installable with PhoenixSuit, LiveSuit, or PhoenixUSBPro. Believe it or not, a custom ROM is child's play in comparison to porting TWRP.

    DOWNLOADS & LINKS:

    Q-Link Scepter 8 User Manual (PDF)
    Q-Link Scepter 8 FCC Report
    Bootloader Unlocking & Rooting Guide
    Stock Firmware Restoration Guide

    PLEASE CONSIDER:
    Please keep this thread on topic and post only about subject matter relating to the Q-Link Scepter 8. While all discussion and questions are welcome, please keep it device specific. Also, please be respectful to others when posting or replying. Keep in mind that English is not the primary language of every member, as the XDA community spans the entire globe. As such, it is often easy to misinterpret text which has been translated into English, or to take statements out of context. Be patient with, and kind to, new members who seek knowledge and answers. Remember when you were a noob and others patiently assisted you here on XDA. In short, it is my wish to keep this thread an open and welcome platform for all members, regardless of language, experience, nationality, etc. Please be respectful.

    THANKS & MENTIONS:
    Thanks goes out to Hot Pepper Mobile, Inc., for providing factory firmware images for this device. Specifically, I want to thank Hot Pepper Support Specialist Joshua G. and Hot Pepper CEO Shawn Sun for their professional assistance.

    3
    Ok folks now we are making progress on source code. After being forwarded to Hot Pepper's lawyers, my request has now been sent to the actual developers of the tablet's firmware in China. The following is support's response:
    Screenshot_20220129-203511.png

    So the best I can tell, we will have source code in early February. Hopefully, shortly after. Feb 9th. I'm not having luck with the Phoenix tool so far, so the source code may be our savior here.
    3
    Just an update they did bill me (and I paid with a PayPal key in which I changed the CVC right after) $10.01 for the silly tablet.
    Yeah the person I bought my original tablet from jokingly said that the government had a $10.01 lien on the tablet. Except, he wasn't actually joking because QLink had billed him for $10.01 a couple weeks after he received it. My guess is, half the recipients of the Scepter 8 probably will never pay QLink a dime.