Hello. I've got a Tronsmart MK908 TV stick running the June 15th (or so) build of 4.2.2 from geekbuying. I wanted to dink around with linux on it and I have tried the 'Debian kit' which I really like, and most recently the 'Complete Linux Installer' which is much nicer for the lazy man. If you're reading this I'll assume you're familiar with linux and know how to use fdisk and mkfs. If you really want a detailed step by step, let me know and I'll make one.

I bought an external hard drive to store movies and music and stuff, to share between the tv stick and a playstation 3. The playstation 3 will not write to anything but a vfat/fat32 filesystem.

So "no problem" I think as I plug the hard drive into my tv stick and whip out some linux to fdisk the drive and then format it as vfat. I run dmesg and see that the kernel sees the drive and has decided to call it sda. Fdisk /dev/sda1 tells me 'no such drive sucker'. I know the drive is mounted in android. Hmmm. I'll just install the 'gnome-disk-utility' (palimpsest) and do it that way. Nope, doesn't work. I can see the drive in there, just can't do anything to it... There are no /dev/hd* or /dev/sd* in android or linux on this thing so of course I assume it's some mystical android thing I don't understand. So of course, I already know how to get it to work, I just don't know that I know it.


So now, like a week later, I'm bored, and decide to look around on the internet for an answer. After finding plenty of wrong answers and a bunch of ridiculous nonsensical explanations by 'experts' on android forums about why you can't do it. "Well why the hell can't I mkdev?" I ask myself. Apparently because mkdev is a UNIX command and GNU's Not UNIX. Har har har! Sorry. Anyway, it's mknod in linux and it works just fine. You can cat /proc/partitions and there it is, the major and minor device numbers for the drive and partition.

Here's the contents of /proc/partitions and the device files I've created for sda and sdb. I only have sda1 and sdb1 because both hard drives I was working with only had one partition on them. Note the major and minor numbers shown in the device file listings.

In this picture /dev/sda* do not exist and fdisk laughs at me... well, actually it remains stoic and says nothing. I create the device files for sda and sda1 using mknod and now fdisk is happy and gleefully tells me about the usb hard drive attached as sda and it's vfat partition sda1. Groovy!

Here in the android terminal you can see that the device name of the drive is /dev/block/vold/8:1 and it's mounted at /mnt/usb_storage/USB_DISK0/udisk0. Remember to UNMOUNT IT before you alter it's partition table or filesystem under linux. After I deleted the type 7 partition and created a type c partition in fdisk, android pops up a dialog asking me "HEY U WANNA FORMAT THIS SDCARD?" sure buddy, go ahead. This does the same thing as mkfs.vfat /dev/sda1 anyway. And that is the story of how I formatted an external hard drive to vfat/fat32 with my Android TV stick without using a PC. The end.

This page was made with GNU nano 1.3.12 on an MK908 because I cannot shot web.