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Novatek's 4K30 SoC - NT96683.

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  • Novatek's 4K30 SoC - NT96683.

    Seems like we're going to see very interesting action cam SoCs producers competition in 2018.

    One of those is Novatek with its long-awaited NT96683 chipset capable recording 4K30 with H.265 encoding support.
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  • #2
    I really like the NT (NTK) 96660 chipset paired with a Sony IMX078 (and better) sensor in budget cameras such as any of these: Soocoo C30 / Explorer Elite / Extral SJ8000 / (etc).

    1080p / 60fps raw footage looks quite satisfactory for a $50 to $60 price. Link here - https://yadi.sk/d/PrcaYrUc3RSZHo

    So now I am hoping to soon see a good selection of budget "SJ8" style cameras that have the new NT96683 chipset paired with any nice Sony IMX--- sensor.

    Are any Blackview DV series that have NT96683/IMX--- for regular (not bulk) sale yet ? http://www.szdome.com/product-default-cid-94-1.html ?

    Comment


    • AussieKev
      AussieKev commented
      Editing a comment
      SJ8 PLUS has NT96683 SoC and IMX117 sensor assume there will be copies around.

    • petesimon
      petesimon commented
      Editing a comment
      AussieKev any SJ8 clones being sold yet?

    • AussieKev
      AussieKev commented
      Editing a comment
      petesimon Not seen any other NT96683 Action Cams pop up yet

    • nutsey
      nutsey commented
      Editing a comment
      NT96683+OV12895 EZVIZ S6 action camera: https://www.ezvizlife.com/id/id/product/s6/861

    • AussieKev
      AussieKev commented
      Editing a comment
      nutsey EZVIZ Australia don't sell the S6 (or any action cams) sadly. Very strange.
      Their S5+ has Ambarella A12 and the higher end ChipSip SoC 8Gb LPDDR3 + 2Gb Nand Flash but new S6 only 2Gb LPDDR3、1Gb Nand Flash which is odd? Wonder why the downgraded internal storage for their "Flagship"?
      These companies never cease to amaze me with their decisions.

  • #3
    Seems like that SJCAM is in the first flight here.
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    Comment


    • #4
      SJ8 types and specs

      Comment


      • #5
        NT96683 SPI flash structure (MTD partitions):

        uitron
        uitron ro
        uboot
        uboot ro
        uenv
        linux
        linux ro
        ramfs
        rootfs
        fat
        dsp
        dsp ro
        pstore
        pstore ro
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        Comment


        • nutsey
          nutsey commented
          Editing a comment
          67x firmwares for wirelessless devices usually have only these partitions:
          uenv
          uitron(lzma)
          uboot
          [uboot(lz)]

      • #6
        DV560 action camera by SZ DOME
        Click image for larger version  Name:	dv560.jpg Views:	1 Size:	19.1 KB ID:	11061
        Specs:
        • SoC: Novatek NT96683
        • CMOS Sensor: TBD (it should be 8M Sony IMX317 or 12M IMX277)
        • LCD: 2" touchscreen
        • Video modes: up to 4k30/1080p120
        • Video encoding: H.264/AVC and H.265/HEVC
        • USB: TypeC with mic-in function
        • Battery: 1350mAh
        DV560 has a selfie mirror and a strap hole. Seems like these features were inspired by Firefly 8-series design.
        Last edited by nutsey; 07-11-2018, 12:23 PM.
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        Comment


      • #7
        Click image for larger version

Name:	ezviz_s6.jpg
Views:	1003
Size:	35.4 KB
ID:	11891
        EZVIZ S6 action camera with 1/2.3" 12MP OV12895 CMOS sensor inside. Expected to be available in October.
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        Comment


        • AussieKev
          AussieKev commented
          Editing a comment
          LINK here https://www.ezvizlife.com/id/id/product/s6/861
          Also OmniVisions new sensor looks impressive https://www.ovt.com/sensors/OV12895

        • petesimon
          petesimon commented
          Editing a comment
          any shopping/retail links available yet?

        • petesimon
          petesimon commented
          Editing a comment
          is this any better than SJCAM ?

          i don't care for my SJ8 Plus NTK 96683 after using it several times because the latest firmware is buggy. the bugs cause jerky EIS video in 1080p 30fps and in 4k 30fps. SJCAM official support confirmed this. and the touch response is sometimes good / sometimes bad. and 2k60fps EIS is too "soft" and somewhat blurry. i always want to use EIS because I want smooth clear video. anyway, next month, i will try to sell it.

      • #8
        A tip for updating NT96683 cams firmware: put the file named NVTDELFW to the root of your memory card when updating the firmware - FW96683A.bin will be deleted after update is done and you don't need to reformat your card or remove the file manually anymore.
        Donate here if you want to support my efforts and this site. Other options for gratefulness are also available on request.

        Email me if you have any offers, requests or ideas.

        Comment


        • #9
          I wonder if anybody here is interested in hacking newer 675/683 chipsets?
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          Comment


          • BCHobbyist
            BCHobbyist commented
            Editing a comment
            Currently interested in Novatek NT96670 to 96683 dual partition unpacker and any other tools.

          • nutsey
            nutsey commented
            Editing a comment
            These firmwares have several new features like LZMA compression and a new fw file header. I've already managed to unpack and repack the partition with AE/AWB/IQ/etc data in semi-manual mode.

        • #10
          Seem like they've switched from MIPS to ARM architecture in NT96683. Not sure if the SDK still allows both architectures, but previous ones have been MIPS all the time.

          Comment


          • nutsey
            nutsey commented
            Editing a comment
            No, it is still MIPS. <- Now I can confirm it is ARM, thanks for pointing out!

            Have you got your Split cam?
            Last edited by nutsey; 08-16-2019, 08:01 PM.

          • Tobi@s
            [email protected] commented
            Editing a comment
            Yes it arrived today.
            Are you sure about that? Just had a short glimpse at the split cam firmware, yet.

          • nutsey
            nutsey commented
            Editing a comment
            I was sure about it before you had asked.

            Check the 1st 'ext' partition for
            -D_BOARD_UITRON_ADDR_=
            -D_BOARD_UITRON_SIZE_=
            values to disassemble the uItron.
            Last edited by nutsey; 08-16-2019, 08:00 PM.

          • nutsey
            nutsey commented
            Editing a comment
            I guess the chip has two ARM cores for uItron and Linux.
            Last edited by nutsey; 08-16-2019, 08:01 PM.

          • nutsey
            nutsey commented
            Editing a comment
            The uItron partition (lz/BCL1) offset in 0802 fw is 0x165C (length 0x4345B4)

          • Tobi@s
            [email protected] commented
            Editing a comment
            Alright, will have a closer look at it!
            Cool thing is that they actually dumped the compiler flags into the binary

          • nutsey
            nutsey commented
            Editing a comment
            0810 fw (named 0814 for some unknown reason): http://www.cnfpv.com/portal.php?mod=view&aid=125

        • #11
          Ok, so after unpacking the first partition I think I verified the ARM architecture. It's a arm binary with its specific vector table at the beginning.

          Still wondering whether Novatek enforces use of ARM in NT96683 or if they offer support for both architectures.

          Also after stumbling across the other BCL1 signatures: It's followed by a 25 01 algorithm identifier, do we have any info on that? The left over bytes of the known bcl header also look quite unrealistic

          Comment


          • nutsey
            nutsey commented
            Editing a comment
            New Novatek hw uses the following algos:
            lz = 0x09
            lzma = 0x0B
            gz = 0x0C

            These 0x0125 BCL1 headers look rather strange. I'd say it could be some ARM instructions starting right after the 'BCL1' bytes...

        • #12
          [email protected] Have you tried connecting to the TX/RX pins?
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          Email me if you have any offers, requests or ideas.

          Comment


          • #13
            Absolutely, it was the first thing I did and I've even built a little test environment for it

            They've put some kind of coating onto the PCB so it was pretty hard to solder the UART wires onto it.

            Click image for larger version  Name:	DSC_3562.JPG Views:	0 Size:	109.4 KB ID:	15231

            Seems like the 2nd core is used for linux, but the split cam does not make use of linux (probably only wifi enabled cameras).

            I've also noticed that the micro hdmi connection is bad, it always loses connection after slightly touching the cable.
            Might as well be the cable, but I think not, since it's brand new.

            Comment


            • nutsey
              nutsey commented
              Editing a comment
              My rig

            • Tobi@s
              [email protected] commented
              Editing a comment
              Nice! Did yours get shipped with a heat sink or is this an aftermarket one?
              Also how can you post pictures in comments? I can only post text?

              Currently I'm examinging the memory of a full memory dump in IDA.
              So far I've identified the Novatek loader at 0x00200000, uboot at 0x01200000 and the primary firmware at 0x01800000
              Not sure about uboot but I think it's only used for booting linux - in our case (split cam without linux) it's not executed

          • #14
            Originally posted by [email protected] View Post
            I've also noticed that the micro hdmi connection is bad, it always loses connection after slightly touching the cable.
            Might as well be the cable, but I think not, since it's brand new.
            Did not noticed this problem yet, but it is quite possible due to high pins density of micro-HDMI connectors.

            Is there anything interesting available via UART?
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            Email me if you have any offers, requests or ideas.

            Comment


          • #15
            [email protected]
            "Did yours get shipped with a heat sink or is this an aftermarket one?"
            This is a very old video card (from AGP era) memory chip heatsink.

            "Also how can you post pictures in comments?"
            I share pics with https://imgbb.com/ site and embed bbcodes for fullsize images.

            "the memory of a full memory dump"
            Have you desoldered the WSON flash chip to get the dump? Or did you use console commands?
            Last edited by nutsey; 08-19-2019, 08:34 AM.
            Donate here if you want to support my efforts and this site. Other options for gratefulness are also available on request.

            Email me if you have any offers, requests or ideas.

            Comment


            • Tobi@s
              [email protected] commented
              Editing a comment
              I'm not a hardware guy so I was lucky to find some nice debug commands which allowed me to dump SRAM as well as the nand.
              I've uploaded the nand dump to: http://git.p-mc.eu/ntk/nt96683-rever...ster/nand-dump and already extracted the different portions from it.
              fw1 = novatek loader (Yay, we got access to the loader binary!)
              fw3 = novatek firmware
              fw4 = uboot bootloader image
              fw5 = Linux kernel image
              other fwX = unused
              pstore1 = probably used for storing configurations?

              nand0000 = raw nand dump
              nand0001 = raw nand dump of sparse area

            • nutsey
              nutsey commented
              Editing a comment
              Thanks for the very useful information!

              What do you think about the FW96683T.bin file? Is it the uItron partition (fw3.bin in your dump) that can be loaded directly from the memory card without flashing to NAND?

            • Tobi@s
              [email protected] commented
              Editing a comment
              I am currently analyzing the loader binary in IDA and hope to get a better understanding of it.
              At the moment I'm not sure about the xxxxxxT.bin binary

            • nutsey
              nutsey commented
              Editing a comment
              I've just checked and can say the *T.bin binary is the whole fw, not just the uITRON partition. It loads directly into memory from the microsd's root folder.

            • Tobi@s
              [email protected] commented
              Editing a comment
              Yup, just checked it as well, very nice find!

            • hc1982
              hc1982 commented
              Editing a comment
              There are standard firmware names for 660 - FW96660A.bin and FW96660T.bin. The first one ("A") is usually changed to something else by manufacturer (e.g. cam model name etc), while "T" seems to be "Test" or "Temporary" one. I have managed to extract and decompress first partition from non-standard fw, renamed it as FW96660T.bin and adjusted some header bits (mark it as uncomressed and fully loaded into memory), and it was starting directly from sd card without flashing. But bootloader sets some flags in header related to it, so firmware update flow is initiated by uitron (that camera has unusual and non-standard firmware structure, with several overlays after first partition with font, jpeg files and something related to ADAS, and firmware is updated after camera normal full boot in 2 stages - during 1st stage uitron partiotion is extracted to sd card with FW96660T.bin name, and 2nd stage starts after reboot, with this temp bin loaded into memory and actual flashing is performed by it). So, I have patched it in several places to ignore bootloader flags related to temp boot, and it was working normally, even storing and loading user settings from pstore. I guess, the same idea should be applicable for 683.
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