Review of the Minimus AVRUSB Development Board
When the story first broke about a month ago with the release of the PSGroove, the open version of the original PSJailbreak, the marketplace was suddenly on fire for number of great solid companies with an history in supporting the Video Gaming Console Scene to produce a good product for the ever growing number of PS3 owners wishing to Jailbreak their PS3 console.
So once this new product called Minimus appeared on the marketplace it was no shock to us to see learn this device was being produced by the Team-Xecutor factory as they had already a long-respected history of building and designing solid high-quality products for both the original XBOX and the new 360 console.
Today, I finally got around to publishing some of my own personal reviews of these wonderful flashable ATMEL devices, that have so many great uses.
Since it was found out Team-Xecutor was behind the production of the Minimus device, it was quickly picked up and carried by a number of trested resellers around the world, that had built up a solid history of support and customers from selling them high-quailty products from Team-X for both the XBOX and 360 consoles.
It of course uses the common ATMEL AT90USB162 chipset that has 16K of flashable memory, and contains a non-eraseable bootloader, so the device will always be able to be erased and re-programmed on basically any PC with USB support.
Their is no tools or code supplied by Minimus, but being an ATMEL device you can use all the standard Flip software and drivers to flash the 16K of memory with your own custom code, or in my case a PSGroove one for my PS3 console so I can fully enjoy the complete usage of all the PS3 features!
On the board is a set of two little PUSH-buttons, marked HWB on the left and RST on the right. -- You need to use these to enter into factory DFU recovery operation (erase/read/flashing mode), so you can program your HEX code.
Putting the device into Flashable mode is easy, just plug it into your PC, press and HOLD the HWB button, then quickly press and RELEASE the RST button, then release the HWB button you were previously holding.
You know you have done it right because only GREEN LED will be ON, and then your PC should detect an AT90USB162 device, and only the first time you have will have install some USB device drivers already supplied by the ATMEL Flip software which you must have installed already on your PC.
For my review of course, I found a nice PSGroove complied hex using the latest "Hermes v3" PS3 payload.
The Best feature I like about the Minimus device is unlike other dongles I have reviewed, this one comes with a standard USB connector, so it plugs into my PC 100% like any normal device should, and the same with on my PS3 console, it fits like a glove that was custom fitted to the shape of your hand!
Once I finished flashing it on my PC, I then unplugged it and plugged it into my PS3 which I used the older larger 40gb model, so only have to flip the power switch at the back, and then quickly press Power and then Eject to put the PS3 into USB JIG scan mode.
The Minimus has three little LEDs on it, one RED and one GREEN, and another one labelled "B" but I never see it light up, so no idea of the color!
When the PS3 starts up, both the RED and GREEN lights will be on, and then once the PS3 has been Jailbroken, the RED one goes off, leaving just the GREEN one on, you can then safely remove the Minimus which is a great feature, since my 40gb PS3 only has two USB ports, unlike the original launch PS3 models that had 4 ports.
Once the XMB came up, I then installed the latest Open Manager and tried out a few PS3 games, and everything worked like it should.
Overall, the Minimus is nice solid dongle for this usage, but the only flaw I found in my testing, is the buttons were much smaller then found on other devices and very close together so my big fingers sometimes could not do the right button-pushing. -- I just got big hands that is all!
I end my personal review with a list of PRO's and CON's for this device:
* Has a standard USB connector, so it fits like a glove!
* Three nice LED's to know what mode your dongle is in!
* Two small buttons to put into DFU mode to flash on your PC!
* Well layout PCB design from a company with very long solid history!
* Has 24 clearly marked holes for adding your own fancy hardware on it!
* Buttons were too small for my hands on such a big large PCBoard!
* Comes with no case, and to wide to fit in normal cheap USB cases!
That's all folks, my many thanks to FoundMy for sending me samples of this device the moment it was available!
Foundmy Online Shop: FoundMy
Official Product Website: Minimus AVR USB - Powered By Atmel
ATMEL Flip Software: Atmel Products - AVR Solutions - FLIP
NOTE: There is a new version out already since Oct. 4, 2010 that comes with
32K to play with, twice the flash size to play with in writing your own payload!