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Thread: Review: AVRKey AVR Key USB PSGroove Dongle

                  
   
  1. #1
    Reviews Webmaster/Reviewer bandit's Avatar
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    ps3 Review: AVRKey AVR Key USB PSGroove Dongle

    AVRKey AVR Key USB PSGroove Dongle
    Manufacturer: AVRKey (by PS3Key)
    Site: Buy from AVRKey Distributors
    Price: $49.99


    Overview : The AVRKey is PS3Key's open source solution similar to that of Teensy's and AT90USB's. It will not break your warranty seal and is compatible with all PS3 models, both Fat and Slim. Easy-to-use software for backing up, managing, and playing games from external USB Hard Drive. The AVRKey will supports installing homebrew application on PS3 and external USB media. AVRKey supports PSGroove .hex files. THIS DOES NOT WORK ON FIRMWARES 3.42 OR ABOVE UNTIL A NEW EXPLOIT/METHOD IS FOUND!

    Requirements :
    • PS3 Console (fat or slim)
    • Console (firmware) version 3.41 only
    • Remove all discs from the drive
    • Do not connect any devices to the console via USB
    • IMPORTANT: The console must be completely switched off before using AVRKey. For fat versions, use the switch at the rear. For slim versions, simply remove the power cable. This is extremely important for the process to work correctly when you start the console.

    Features :
    • USB Plug and Play solution that installs in seconds without any need to open up the PS3.
    • Does not break your warranty seal.
    • Compatible with all PS3 models*, both Fat and Slim.
    • Supports all regions: USA, JAP, PAL and KOREA.
    • Fully updatable via USB on your PC using an encrypted bootloader
    • 32KB onboard flash (most competing products only have 16KB flash)
    • Disables forced software updates and will never brick your console.
    • Supports most games and homebrew applications.
    • Easy-to-use software for backing up, managing, and playing games from external USB Hard Drive.
    • Playing games from HDD is much more enjoyable, benefiting from greatly enhanced seek and loading times.
    • Supports installing homebrew application on PS3 and external USB media.
    • AVRKey are shipped blank allowing you to install your own .hex files.
      * Currently not compatible with 3.42 firmware

    Quality/Usability : Also read our PS3Key review.

    There has been a lot of confusion between consumers and retailers since retailers are naming it AVR PS3Key or something along those lines. So lets start off by clearing the confusion. AVRKey and PS3Key are made by the same people, both look identical and both use the same hardware but are BOTH different products. The BIG difference between the two is that PS3Key comes shipped with their own proprietary firmware (.upd) file, own software that reads/loads .upd files. AVRKey are shipped blank...as in nothing. With AVRKey, you install your own HEX files (.hex)..the same files as PSGroove.

    IMPORTANT : PS3Key comes with YELLOW sticker. AVRKey comes with GREEN sticker. This is how you will know what you received.


    The AVRKey comes in an anti-static bag and on this bag is also a GREEN sticker. This sticker is your serial number and verification string. Unfortunately, there is no URL to enter this to see whether or not it is authentic or whatever the real purpose of it is for at the moment. Entering the serial and verification string at http://www.ps3key.com/en/validate/ will result in an error. This goes to show that AVRKey and PS3Key are two different products.


    The AVRKey is housed in a metal casing that looks exactly like PS Jailbreaks and PS3Key. There is also no writing or logo on the housing to prevent any problems with distribution. I personally would have liked AVRKey printed on it as it is a USB development board and is shipped blank. This also distinguishs the difference between AVRKey and PS3Key. The AVRKey measures approximately 1.25" (length) x 0.50" (wide). On the end of the dongle is a blue rubber cap. This protects the board from being exposed and prevent dust and other particles from entering as well as softens the brightness of the LED lights. Like PS3Key, AVRKey dongle is running on ATMEL MEGA32U2 (ATMEGA32U2) and is upgradeable via USB port. When I first received my AVRKey, the USB board was bent. It could not be inserted into a USB port on my computer. So I had to take off the blue rubber cap, pull back on the 2 pins (they are very fragile and can break off if played with too much) and pull the board out. When the soldering was done to the USB and chipset, it was not leveled. I had to bend the USB down so that it was leveled with the board. I was afraid I would break it but didnt. Put it back into the metal housing, slowly closed up the pin and put back the rubber cap.

    Instructions on How to Load HEX Files :
    Required files:

    Before you start, download ATMEL's FLIP software via link above (at time of review, AVRKey's GUI program was not available. Review will be updated when available). To get the AVRKey into Update Mode, you must perform the same method as the PS3Key, which is remove and insert the dongle 3-4 times in your computers USB port. When it enters into update mode, the red and blue LEDs will be lit up on the dongle and you will be shown this image:


    In order for the AVRKey to be recognized, you need to have driver installed. Click on "Locate and install driver software (recommended)"


    To locate the driver, click on "Browse my computer for driver software"


    Once you have FLIP downloaded, browse to where FLIP is located on your computer.


    Windows Security may pop up with a warning message saying it can not verify the publisher. Ignore this and click on "Install this driver software anyway"


    Once completed, you will get this screen


    1. Start the FLIP program and click on 'Select a Target Device' (image of PIC chip next to USB cable).
    2. A new window will show up showing a bunch of devices
    3. Select "ATmega32U2" and click "OK"



    1. Click on 'Select a Communication Medium' (image of USB cable) and a drop down will display
    2. Click on USB and a new window will open.
    3. Click on "OPEN"



    1. Click on FILE and "Load HEX File..."
    2. A browser window will open and locate where you saved your HEX file.



    Click on RUN and the program will start to load the HEX and update the AVRKey


    When completed and successful, the bottom status bar will say "Verify PASS". Remove dongle and insert into PS3.

    Operation :
    Once the power to your console is completely disconnected:
    1. Turn on the console (PS3 Fat with the switch, PS3 Slim connecting the power cable)
    2. Insert AVRKey into a USB port on the PS3.
    3. Start up the PS3 and press the EJECT button.
    4. If the above process worked, there will be a link to “Install Package File” in the game menu.

    In order to make sure the AVRKey dongle worked flawlessly, I had to uninstall all my homebrew applications that I had originally installed. To install applications or any homebrew applications, you will need to download and save the .pkg files to a USB drive such as thumbdrive or harddrive. To install, simply insert USB drive to the PS3 and navigate to "INSTALL PACKAGE FILES" on the XMB under GAME. Select the file you want to install by pressing X and it will automatically install the file. All applications installed and loaded without any problems.

    There are no other files or programs available to download from www.avrkey.com. Since AVRKey uses PSGroove .hex files, I don't think there will be much released from AVRKey's website. As of 10/1/2010, PS3Key has released an "open" version of the PS3Key firmware as a HEX file which can be used with other generic USB dongle devices and can be downloaded at http://www.ps3key.com/en/members/downloads/.

    Conclusion : Overall, the AVRKey AVR Key USB PSGroove Dongle is a great alternative to the Teensy's or AT90USB's...and probably better looking. The dongle is compact and light in weight. What's great is that you can install any HEX file whether it be PSGroove's (Teensy) or PS3Key's "open" version. But is a bit pricey. The AVRKey is priced the same as that of the PS3Key. My only complaint is that there is no logo or indication that its a AVRKey. It looks completely identical to the PS3Key. If you were to remove both from its anti-static bag and mix them up, you wouldn't know which one is which until you inserted it into the PS3 or computer. Depending on the HEX file and how it was compiled, there may not be any LEDs lit up that changes from red to blue to let you know it loaded successfully upon PS3 boot up. If you install PS3Key's "open" version (http://www.ps3key.com/en/members/downloads/), LED will be enabled.

    Please note that none of the "upgrade" products listed in this site are endorsed by Nintendo, Sony and/or Microsoft. DCEmu Reviews and DCEmu Network does not condone piracy. The primary functions of a "modchip" and/or "flashcart" are to allow you to play imported games and homebrew software that you legally own or simply just for experimenting with hardware. We in no way endorse piracy, and encourage all users to do the right thing and support the developers/manufacturers that support them. We do not take any responsibilities for any use outside of these parameters or where the use of such a device is illegal.

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    Last edited by bandit; November 10th, 2010 at 15:09.
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    DCEmu Rookie yakumo's Avatar
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    What is the best of the two?

    Is there any difference when it comes to installing and executing homebrew?

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    Quote Originally Posted by yakumo View Post
    What is the best of the two?

    Is there any difference when it comes to installing and executing homebrew?
    Hard to say which is the best of the 2. PS3Key is all proprietary. So I'm waiting to see what they have to offer. AVRKey is the same like any USB dev board out there. All you're doing is installing .hex files.

    No difference when it comes to installing and executing homebrew. Whether its PS3Key, AVRKey, P3Free or any other USB dongle, they all do the same. However, you have to watch out for clones/fake that do NOT allow you to update.
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    Thanks for the tutorial! Got my AVRKey from PSGroove.com and followed your instructions under Windows 7 x64.

    Only problem I ran into was that the ATmega32U2 drivers were unsigned so they wouldn't run. The workaround is to reboot my PC and hit F8 after POST to bring up the boot menu for Windows. I chose the option "Disable Driver Signature Enforcement" and let Windows boot up and no more problems. Everything works as expected.

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    Hello Bandit,
    likewise thank you for your instructions.
    Now my question: if I dongel in pc do it recognises as USB-DEVICE.
    The FLIP dongel thereby does not recognise. What can I do? Thank you to begin with for your answer and excuses my bad one in English.

    BR
    Last edited by bandit; October 4th, 2010 at 14:28.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by Burek80 View Post
    Hello Bandit,
    likewise thank you for your instructions.
    Now my question: if I dongel in pc do it recognises as USB-DEVICE.
    The FLIP dongel thereby does not recognise. What can I do? Thank you to begin with for your answer and excuses my bad one in English.

    BR
    Did you put the dongle into update mode by removing and inserting it into the computer 3-4 times? When its in Update mode, the red and blue LEDs are turned on.
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    Exactly, by 4 times in PC plugging the lamp Blue Red So in update mode. I have the feeling that the dongle does not have the correct driver. Win7 recognizes the dongle as a USB device and installed Windows default driver.
    (Found in Device Manager USB win driver corresponding uninstalled and again installed the Windows USB device by itself)
    If I use the FLIP is then always "Could not open USB Device" Grrrrrr.

    What do I do now just?
    Honestly thank you for your help.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Burek80 View Post
    Exactly, by 4 times in PC plugging the lamp Blue Red So in update mode. I have the feeling that the dongle does not have the correct driver. Win7 recognizes the dongle as a USB device and installed Windows default driver.
    (Found in Device Manager USB win driver corresponding uninstalled and again installed the Windows USB device by itself)
    If I use the FLIP is then always "Could not open USB Device" Grrrrrr.

    What do I do now just?
    Honestly thank you for your help.
    Someone from another forum had the same problem. They were also on Windows 7 but when they plugged it into a Windows Vista or Windows XP, it worked fine. So go use another computer with Vista or XP.
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    PS3Key Downgrader firmware online!
    Posted on 7th December 2010

    If you need to downgrade a PS3 with firmware version 3.50 or below you can now grab the PS3KEY JIG firmware from the downloads section! Please note that we do not host the modified PUP file or any other file that may contain copyrighted code.

    http://www.ps3key.com/en/members/downloads/
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    Hello
    Where can I find a key to order online?
    A shop that accept PayPal.
    Thank you for your help!

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