The fix is in for the Pandigital Novel Firmware Lock Down

pandigitallockdownPandigital seems to have a habit of locking down the devices to prevent firmware updates, intentional or not it’s pretty annoying.  Here is how I got around that and updated my Novel to the newest firmware.

The firmware I posted after Christmas for the 7″ Black Pandigital Novel eReader has been downloaded hundreds of times.  I’ve seen it referred to elsewhere as the “Preston Hack.” which I think is hilarious.

My primary reason for uploading it in the firstplace was because Pandigital’s website had some serious bandwidth issues and could not support the number of people trying to update to the newest versions of firmware.  Since that time they have added download capacity, a new version of their update software and some newer firmware.  Wanting to try the new firmware I ran the Pandigital software based firmware updater a couple of days ago and all seemed well, the Pandigital site downloaded the new firmware and saved it to my novel.  As instructed I rebooted into bootloader mode (hold power & volume + key for 8-10 seconds.)  The update screen appeared and then closed with an error and booted into the existing firmware.  I tried this again about a dozen times… argh… the “Preston Hack” (aka QVC firmware) seems to be locked down to prevent updates…not good Pandigital!

This will not be tolerated! I then proceeded to download every firmware file on Pandigital’s FTP server… and finally found one that would work.  The Canadian KOBObooks.com integrated firmware installed. (If you need the Canadian version you can download that here S64N_SLST_KOBO_BB_20101104.dat)  The Canadian firmware was about the same as the “Preston Hack” version, of course I don’t use KOBObooks.com and when reading in night mode the title bar is white, not black?  So I was back to looking for new firmware again.  I tried to load the new US version and once again the firmware is locked down!  It would not allow me to load any other firmware.  At this point it appeared I may be stuck with the Canadian version…crap.  So on my device at this time was:

KOBO Bookstore
Hardware version RD101-2GB-W
Firmware S64N_SLST_KOBO_BBB_2010_11_04
Kernel Version 2.6.27 Kobo@Android)

So my next step was to try to download the Pandigital Novel Android Open Platform Kit.  I’ve read elsewhere it doesn’t really do much and not to try it, but I don’t have much to lose.  When downloaded from the Pandigital site it downloads like most other updates as polaris_update.dat the same file name as the original firmware update.  Of course the Novel does not recognize it! I assumed it was a naming issue since the Canadian update above loaded when other polaris_update.dat files would not, so I decided to experiment. I took the existing firmware name (canadian):

S64N_SLST_KOBO_BBB_2010_11_04
Changed it to reflect a newer date: 
S64N_SLST_KOBO_BBB_2011_01_11
And then renamed the polaris_update.dat file that I had just downloaded to:
S64N_SLST_KOBO_BBB_2011_01_11.dat
After a quick reboot and update it worked… I now had the Pandigital Open Platform Kit loaded on my Novel! Of course that doesn’t come with any apps, so after 30 seconds of looking around it was time for new firmware again. I now downloaded the latest and greatest firmware from Pandigital’s server.  The same version that the Pandigital software updater recommends based on my serial number.  You can get that here polaris_update.dat (108 mb) I’m not sure why this firmware version is twice as big as prior versions… but I’ll go with it… for now.  From the Pandigital Open Platform Kit I was able to update the firmware using the standard polaris_update.dat naming of the firmware file.If you currently have the original “Preston Hack” I’m assuming that if you want to skip all of the steps I took to update to the latest firmware you can probably just rename this polaris_update.dat file to:
S64N_SLST_KOBO_BBB_2011_01_12.dat
That should allow you to update to the most recent firmware from Pandigital. Next I’ll try to figure out why the firmware is twice as big as the prior firmware. I haven’t seen any major improvements over the original “Preston Hack” however with the Canadian firmware when you connected via usb to the novel, it didn’t require a reboot once you disconnected like the US version.  Seems there are some inconsistencies in the Pandigital development department.Preston McNair

82 Replies to “The fix is in for the Pandigital Novel Firmware Lock Down”

  1. Thank you so much! I read your other blog post first and after I found that it was the locked QVC firmware I tried for HOURS to get it reverted back. After digging through sites and countless times of copying and resetting my BPDN I came back to your page and noticed this post about it being locked. I followed your instructions (flashing to the canadian version, downloading the opensource .dat from Pandigitals site and renaming it) and it worked perfectly! <3

  2. Thanks. This seem to have worked. I have one problem. When I originally downloaded the Canadian version, I lost the e-reader app. I don’t have b&n nor Kobo. I am unable to download the -apps. – any suggestions?

      1. I download the polaris_update.dat into my pandigital novel and it did change the settings. The letters are blurry and it gets frozen and I cant go from one page to another or see my books. What can I do? How could I change it to default factory? Please help

  3. I have the same black 7″ 2 gig model as you. i haven’t done any updates or “hacks” since I got it from QVC in November. I downloaded the polaris update from your link above (108mb) and it’s on the SD card. Can I download it onto the pdn as it is using the rebooting procedure, or do I have to go through the renaming, etc. that you described. Thanks for your help!

  4. Preston –

    I have a (dumb) question. I own all 4 different colored QVC 4GB models. I have added the YouTube app to mine alone (the other 3 are my wife’s and 2 daughters). I am curious…. is there any advantage to doing a firmware update to my unit? I haven’t had any real angst about the operation of it other than the damnably short battery life.

    I wouldn’t attempt an upgrade to my Novel unless there’s something to be had out of that 108 Mb file. I suppose, as usual, us folks out here wait with baited breath for your omnicient response.

    And…. thank you in advance!

      1. Can anyone help?
        I have a pandigital 9″ rd201-2gb-w. app package s6410_PP2_PD_2011_09_20. novel. friend tried to upgrade and now I get nothing. hold power button, nothing no light, nothing. can i bring it back to life. or is it pooched?
        PLEASE HELP.
        Budd…

  5. Preston,

    I am interested in trying another hack from slatedroid.com (namely the Frenzee hack) and I can not figure out how to get it to accept the new firmware. Currently my BPN is stating it is build number Kobo A.1.5.28v4 L.2.6.27.28v4 R.2.8.0 B.2.0.1 and the Kernel version says 2.6.27 Kobo@Android and Firmware version 1.5. I am not sure why it is stating the firmware version is 1.5… that had previously been where I located what to rename the .dat file to change to a new firmware and now all it says is 1.5. =(

  6. I thank you verymuch for all your information.I simply could not update firmware.good info from youre part ..Many Thanks.

  7. I have a BPDN and I have updated the canadian firmware via Pandigitals website (not the polaris_update). I have installed many apps that work, at the same time many don’t work due to having only android 1.5 and some due to unknown reasons. Is there any benefits to the open platform (polaris_update). I’m confused as to what’s the purpose or even what “open platform” really means. I would like to be able to access the android “Market” which I can’t seem to do. I really want to know if it’s worth it to void my warranty and/or put the time into it. What’s the benefits if any???

    Thanks

  8. So, please give me a run down on what would be the difference in this update, compared to the original firmware out of the box? Does it open up the Android OS a bit more to use then having their software sewed over it? Also, does it keep the Barnes and Noble software? I would hate to lose the ereader aspect of the device.
    I am currently running :
    Hardware platform: RD101-2GB-W
    Platform software: AN15-11-05-2010-7D
    Application package: BN01-11-05-2010-7D-v2

  9. For anyone who is interested (or even cares), the 108Gb file referenced above is for a December 29, 2010 firmware update (and should thusly be named S64N_SLSB_PDUI_PD_20101229.dat). The original “Preston Hack” file appears to be the original November 23, 2010 QVC firmware (more appropriately named S64N_SLSB_PDUI_PD_20101123.dat).

    1. That is correct there is no such thing as a “Preston Hack”, I put these firmware files up when Pandigitals support site was overloaded after Christmas. A facebook group started calling them that and it stuck. Hopefully they are still useful for people that have trouble with Pandigital’s firmware update software.

  10. Hi – new to this stuff, but I installed the Android platform via pandigital’s website, and want to upgrade to the newer firmware…can’t. Have the new “polaris” update downloaded, and want to rename the files as stated above. Dumb question: Where do I find the original firmware file on the PDN to rename it?? My existing firmware version is: S64N_SLSB_PDUI_PD_2010_12_29. My PDN won’t take any updates via the “volume/power hold” reboot. Would love to play with other firmwares as well just to dink around. No go. Any ideas?

  11. I have the new 7″ novel would like to unlock the android feature but can only find hacks for the whitwth the removeable micro sdcard I cnt oen this onesoit must be a soft mod I can’t find th file on panswebsite like everyone says any help would be appreciated

  12. This is great. I downloaded the newest firmware update from the pandigital site and it would not allow me to read ePub anymore. tried to upload a couple of your other updates then learned (from this page) that it was probably locked. changed the name as you suggested and was able to successfully update the firmware. can now read my adobe digital editions books again! sooooo happy. thank you for doing what you do!!

  13. Is the polaris_update.dat the same update that is on the pandigital website for the 7″ bpdn.I have the bpdn multimedia color.I would like to update but don’t want hack as it will void warranty. What is your suggestion?? Thanks for your help.

  14. Hi,

    I have a black PD(PRD07T20WBL1) from Christmas and have been all this time trying to get it to work reliably. Your “Hack” has been recommended as a solution to some of my problems, but I am confused by some of the steps.

    When you say “if you go to the Settings Menu and look at the firmware versions, what do you see?”, in my case I don’t see anything about firmware at all. There is no option for firmware! The only FW I see is as it is booting up : Firmware Pole1.put, just before it loads the old firm ware, again! When connected to the computer, I can see the new files on the PDR, I just can’t get it to recognize that they exist.

    Using the power button and + volume have had no effect at all. Never once has an update occurred, even to get the KOBO version.

    What am I missing? There must be something, since I read all these happy posts from satisfied android platform users. This “very thoughtful Christmas present” is wearing out my patience….

    1. Ugh me too Deb. Any updates or work arounds don’t do shit for me. I still have the original OS from Christmas of last year and have had absolutely no progress after hours and hours. I can’t even get he damn PDN to find any files I supposedly downloaded to it. I’m about to throw this POS at the wall. Of course when you call pandigital support I’ve held for over half an hour twice with no answer. I just want to get rid of this f’ing thing.

  15. Aloha Preston,

    Do you know of any way to upgrade the 7″ QVC BPDN (same model as yours) from Cupcake to Froyo? The BPDN would be almost perfect (still no cam) with the ability to play flash video.

  16. i just bought my black novel, and i have been lookin for over a week now on a way to get the newest android OS on this thing, IS IT POSSIBLE? i cant seem to get a str8 answer, i keep winding up back to the polaris updates and reebooting, but nothing upgrades the OS, am i missing something?

  17. I don’t understand what happened, I tried over and over many times to update my Pandigital black novel 7, and it only updated with the polaris update, the other never worked. Trying to hold power and vol+ didn’t work worth for the 20 times I tried it, then I tried the polaris update and that worked.. the other firmware they listed must be invalid.. Do I have the right software installed?

  18. I just downloaded the BPDN firmware for Pandigital 7 black. Everything loaded fine. I also downloaed app installer as well as aldiko. When I try to install aldiko I get the message Aldiko could not be installed on this phone. Can you help me

  19. Preston. I have the black pdn. i bought it from best buy.
    does the above directions work for my reader? I have the latest firmware for the bpdn last year. i’m having a HUGE amount of trouble like you had.

    do these instructions only apply to qvc pdn’s?

    with the canadian firmware, do you still have access to b&n?

    thanks
    tony

  20. I have the black pandigital 7″ ereader. How can I update to Android 2.0 or higher? I can get an update anywhere. If I downloaded from the pandigital site it only gives me the 1.5version of Android. Any thoughts?

  21. Hey,

    I upgraded my Pandigital Novel using the .dat file you provided. But now, I cannot access my .pdf ebooks. The Kobo icon is not there, and in the Barnes and Noble part, my ebooks are not there. And also, there is no user guide. HELP ME!!!

  22. And also, how can I download apps from the Marketplace (there is no such thing on my ereader). And also, when I got the adobe flash player .apk file and tried to install it from my sd card, there was a message saying “This program could not be installed on this phone”. PLEASE HELP ME!!!

  23. I have the pandigital 7″ black ereader and i tried to install the most recent firmware update. However, when i hold the power and volume+ keys, it wont take the update. I am desperate and very close to throwing this thing in the garbage (seriously), as I have had this reader since november and am extremely disappointed with it. I would really be grateful if someone could reply with some basic instructions that I can understand on what I could do. Thanks to anyone that can help.

    1. Shannon, Have you upgraded your novel yet? I have 2 Pandigital Novel 7 Balck… One I bought from Best Buy and One from QVC.. I can upgrade the best buy novel 2gb off pandigital official website but I cannot Upgrade the one from QVC Novel 7 4gb version… I used the BPDN 2gb .dat (Firmware Update dated March 2011) file and loaded it on the QVC BPDN 4gb.. I just renamed the file from S64N_SLST_OP15_PD_20110301.dat to S64N_SLSD_PDUI_PD_20110301.dat and update went good.. both BPDN 2gb and 4gb from Best buy and QVC are now look the same.

      QVC 4gb
      “hardware platform – RD101-4gb-W
      “Kernel Version – 2.6.27 PDUI@Android)
      “Firmware Version – S64N_SLST_OP15_PD_20110301”

      Best Buy 2gb
      “hardware platform – RD101-2gb-W
      “Kernel Version – 2.6.27 PDUI@Android)
      “Firmware Version – S64N_SLST_OP15_PD_20110301”

      If I can only upload that .dat in here somewhere I would to get you updated.

      1. Your explanation of files is great however, some of us need the step by step instructions…we don’t even know how to get to the file to change it…so basically we need the dummy version…

  24. My QVC BPDN 4gb kernel version used to be KOBO@Android to PDUI@ Android.

    Apps installer “Slide SAM” already pre installed soon you updated it to the Best Buy Ver. B&N also updated to the new one. Never like the QVC B&N Version.

  25. Preston,

    Followed your instructions and successfully updated my firmware. Now the reader app runs MUCH better.

    Dude, you rule!

  26. I have tried the pandigital update on pandigital’s site but cannot get it to update when holding power and volume + button. If I use the updates listed here, will I still be able to access the full B&N site for books? I am hoping to correct some wifi connection problems with an update. Please help…

  27. preston
    I have a Black that was purchased at BB. I updated with the Pandigital software.
    Firmware: S64N.SLST.OP15.PD.2011_03_01
    Hardware: RD101-2GB-W
    Kernel: 2.6.27
    SN: 7020000910106627

    I so not like the version they have. I have downloaded several updates on Slatedroid and Tablet websites but none will update. The question is, do I need to do what you did and update with the kobo version first then again with the open platform before updating with other versions?

    I have upgraded a Novel white up to 2.0 and will be trying to upgrade to a version of 2.2 that is available. The white version is so easy…. Thanks for any help.

  28. I have a Pandigital Novel eReader 7″ with Firmware S64N_SLST_OP15_PD_2011_03_01. I uploaded videos to it and they look god but when i use the earphones the sound is distorted. Can someone help me?

  29. Hello All,

    Just to let you know that I have upgraded my pandigital from:
    ( Canadian Version)
    S64N_SLST_KOBO_PD_20101028
    To:
    S64N_SLST_KOBO_PD_2011_06_01
    Kernel Version 2.6.27 PDUI@ANDROID

    The upgrade was so smooth Only think I have found is that (hold power & volume + key for 8-10 seconds) does not work… I had to hold both first time for around 15 seconds and then inmediately second time I did it for 5 to 7 seconds and it start the upgrade process.

      1. Tobi’s idea worked for me too, when it seemed like nothing else would. My timing was a little different, but I eventually found something that worked! Thanks Tobi!

  30. Someone please help!! Bring this down to the dummy version 101 for those of us that don’t know anything about codes and upgrades…The customer service tech support for pandigital and b&n seems to be non existent in this matter. I bought my 7″ black ereader novel from QVC before the firmware updated existed. I downloaded the new firmware and it will not update using the reboot with the volume and power button. I have tried it tooo many times to count…I want to read my books!!! It has however taken all of my books out of my library and left me with the guide. GRRRRR!

    1. Just wondering if you ever got help with your pandigital ereader. I seem to be having the same problem you have. I have tried everything and cant install the firmware.

      1. I have a Pandigital Novel 7 bought 2 years ago and never used. got it out this weekend and went to the Pandigital web site and it had a link to an up date. I followed the directions but when I would hold down the volume and power key it started to come up then stopped. So I went back through the steps, when it got to the steps of identifing it I noticed a drop down box next to the file and dropped it down and saw a file named polel..etc. I clicked on it and went ahead with the rest as it instructed. this time when I held down the volume and power key for 15 sec. it started the down load. I’m happy, it’s faster but don’t like the B&N site as well. Don’t care about the android stuff.

  31. since i didnt come to this page first…now im stuck..i downloaded the updated fireware and now it wont boot up even when i tried resetting it by pressing the volume and power button together…in need of help…

  32. I am EXTREMELY illiterate when it comes to all of this….I have the 7″ white color multimedia novel….went to pandigital site to download the firmware, but I can’t, it gives an error…unable to read my pandigital….is there any help for me in layman terms???

    1. Make sure you download the Microsoft .Net framework software before trying the update. I found it in small print on the right side of the screen under “required for download”. After installing .net the Pandigital process went as it should, however, I learned that I had the current update for my reader. Now on to the “hack” instructions to see if I can make it more game friendly for my son.

  33. Hi i have the 9 inch novel & i cant get youtube or download apps from the Android Market & pandigetal site only offers update on the 7 inch HELP!

  34. I just bought two Black novels on black friday. I really upset because i did my homework thinking I was getting android 2.1 firmware. It was a mad house friday and I bought them just to find out they are only 2.0. I guess thats ok for some that were waiting for firmware updates but after reading everyware that they were 2.1 this is *?+*@! to say the least! I’ve looked at Pandigital to find no updates. Ok so I’m screwed but the other was a Christmas present for my 16 yr old son. If you have an answer please do tell.

  35. I bought a 4gb with what I suspected was a Canadian firmware but I am still not positive on that, specs are below. It is running Android 1.5, here is the firmware/hardware info, I cannot find my specific model, the closest is PRD7t40WBL1 while mine is RRD7t40WBL1.

    Hardware Platform: RD101-4GB-W
    Firmware Version: S64N_SLSB-OP15_PD_2011_03_01_A
    Kernel Version: 2.6.27

    I cannot find this exact model on pandigital’s site or on any forum I have found, a lot of close ones but not exact. I do see a B&N icon app not Kobo as I suspected, it opens the B&N app from what I can tell. I would like to know if there is an update for this mystery model, any advice or suggestions are welcome!

    1. Just a brief update, when I registered my device I did see my model number, but nowhere else. I have sent an email to Pandigital as well to confirm if I have an update available.

  36. Pandigital replied to me and advised the model is PRD7T40WBL1, and there is no firmware updates. I am regretting this purchase because although it does read comics (which was why I wanted an Android tablet) there are many other devices that can run a lot newer than Android 1.5 and are priced similarly.

    1. @ Maleb
      My model is RR7T40WR1 which is a refurbished unit I got from Geeks.com. I updated the firmware to S64N_SLSB_OP15_PD_2011_03_01_A from the Pan Digital site which made the reader into a tablet. My problem is I can’t flash it with any of the custom ROMs that enable either android market or Amazon market.
      I have read almost every thread on more sites than I can remember, but I am still swimming upstream. Nothing will flash. I’ve noticed that some people suggest using underscores for the date in the file name. Others just put it all together ie: 2010_03_01 vs 20100301. I’ve tried it both ways. I’ve tried the Canadian Kobo versions as well. and all the renaming combinations. There has got to be a way to do it.
      I know that it’s possible using ADB but can’t find the instructions or the file to do it with, but I’ll keep looking.
      Any help gladly accepted.

  37. Thank you so much! I have the R7E0200(black 4gig model), and i followed your instructions, with a twist 😀
    I just downloaded the file S64N_SLST_KOBO_BB_20101104.dat but what i did was change it to S64N_SLSB_OP15_PD_2011_03_11_A then i wiped the internal sd card to make sure this was the only file, copied it over, turned of the device and did the power and volume up thing. It flashed with no issues….i have the 108mb file, and i am thinking of changing the name to S64N_SLSB_OP15_PD_2011_03_15_A (for some reason the A needed to be added) as i write this i can now confirm that it now says Kobo NOT Barnes are Nobile 😀 i am wondering if this will work for the full tablet + rooted software i see out there?

  38. Thanks for this! After poking my noise around and then banging my head on the wall with supposed “custom roms” on a certain web site, it seems that though i have the same model you have posted in a previous article, the internals are completely different and alien to everyone else. I have the 4gig model (i am kicking myself for not getting the white version which seems easier to do)……….anyway long story VERY short, and seeing as i have a very large pile of apps downloaded ( 😐 ) i downloaded the developer version and am going to litterally built a custom rom on it 😉 Though i am curious if you may know how / what needs to be deleted to remove the soft keys on this?

  39. I have the Blue 4gb from QVC that I got through craigslist. I wanted to upgrade it if possible to a higher version of Android as it seems to be on an older version and very few apps work on it when I try to add them. The Hardware version is Rd101-4gb-w, the firmware version is S64n-SLSB-PDUI-PD-2010-11-20 and the Kernel version is 2.6.2.7 Kobo@android. It works great as an ereader although I do really dislike sorting through the B & N library and how if you turn it slightly it goes from one view to another. I wish I could turn auto view change off as that is annoying and I prefer reading in landscape view. Anyway any help or info would be appreciated

    1. The Firmware listed is designed for the Black 7″, but the software/apps listed should work on the 9″, during my test the 9″ was compatible with more apps than the 7″.

  40. Hi i am a noob but i was able to flash my PRD07T20WBL1 but now it locks up when trying to browse the internet and i cant get it to flash back
    Hardware platform RD101-2gb-w
    firmware s64n_slst_op15_pd_2011_03_01_a
    kernel 2.6.27 pdui@android

  41. I have tried doing the updates. I get the QVC lock off but it won’t update with the firmware updates from Pandigital. I have no idea what I am missing and could use some help.

  42. Just wanted to let you all know that I called Pandigital. I was told that the company had liquified and was out of business. I have a Android Multimedia tablet & color eReader. It’s a Pandigial Novel 7inch. The representative basically told me the device is useless. I cannot download books, or browse the Internet on it as they lost all their licensing.

    1. I am not tech savy and have been unsucessfully trying to make sense of how to update my 7″white PDN; now I find out they’ve gone out of business! BUT: I just opened up and am running fine, unlike Amy from last month. I can get on-line, still get into my email and facebook accounts, and I just downloaded a book from B&N. I’m still not android, but at least I didn’t lose my books or web access (yet).
      And I’m still looking for any help upgrading to android (if it’s still possible) for somebody who can do little more than click icons..

  43. I am currently trying to find/acquire the original os for the Pandigital Novel 7″ White tablet.
    Model # PRD07T10WWH7 According to the web, this comes with Version “K”

    I am a major computer geek, but this is my 1st foray into the tablet genre. Any pointers in the right direction would be greatly appreciated. My son-in-law put an android OS on it, Eclair to be exact, and now it doesnt do squat other than turn on and connect to the web. I am going to try and put it back OEM if possible.

  44. I have the 9 ” but its American model..I would like to find the Canadian firmware and install it as I live in Canada and can’t access Barnes and Noble..I wish to use the Canadian version

  45. Hola tengo una pandigital novel 7″ mod R7T40WWHF1 intente actualizarla y cargue un archivo equivocado se cargo pero no encendió la pantalla ahora no enciende me pueden ayudar gracias

  46. I have a black PD_Novel FW SQ20_20110105_B_PD_INX&E_ENG_6410POP Kernel 2.6.29
    And I can not get it to see my WIFI or be able to upload your firmware update as it seems Pandigital has gone belly up
    Any info or help would be greatly appreciated or should i just throw it in the trash?

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