Some of Stef's Stuff

Run XCSoar on Kobo Aura

by Stefano on 2014.05.13, 8 comments

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Please refer to my previous post on Kobo Aura hacks for even more informations.



Set up the XCSoar on Kobo Aura is a quick process:

– download XCSoar 6.7.4 for Kobo from the project site (this is not specific for Aura but for Mini/Glo)

– connect the Kobo to the PC and copy the downloaded file to “./kobo” folder (TODO insert link to How-to backup memory content )

– disconnect the Kobo from PC and reboot it



To access the onboard peripherals the back cover of the Kobo Aura has to be removed. This is tricky, more than with previous Kobo because there are no screws and the grooves that keep the back cover and the front panel together are fairly tight.

The back cover can be popped out proceeding on the 4 sides of the cover with a very thin tool used as a lever to loosen the grooves one by one.

NOTE – There is a high probability to end up with a bit scratched cover. Also the edges of the cover could result a little deformed because they are very thin.



XCSoar needs data coming from a GPS module to work properly. Here a GPS module by DIYDrones (carry the Mediatek MTK3329 ) is used.

The GPS module is power at 3.7V and takes it directly from the COM port; the onboard serial COM port (bottom one) is used (see figures).

In XCSoar the external device is configured from the Config ( 2/3 ) > Device menu as follow: “Generic”, “/dev/ttymxc0”, “38400”



– LED backlight is not working in XCSoar

– the battery level measurement has to be tested


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8 thoughts on “Run XCSoar on Kobo Aura

  1. Hallo Stefano…
    I am Italian but I’m going to write in English since I guess that there ara many people willing to ask the very same questions…I am a para glider pilot and I am considering to buy a kobo reader to replace my old gar in gps. Is it possible to switch from flight computer to reader mode without changing the flash memory of the device? I am hesitating between kobo glo and aura…the screen is quite nicer on aura but it’s more expensive and on board flash disk is not on a socket but soldered on the main board…which device would you chose?
    Thanks you for your advices
    An Italian fellow pilot DIYer

    • Hi Gabriele,
      in the XCsoar built for the Kobo you can choose to boot to Nickel (the default eReader program on Kobo) or to XCsoar; at startup a menu with the two options is presented to the user.
      To select the right device think about what you’re looking for, screen size or compactness. I had my Aura mainly for reading purposes and it was fun messing around with it for a while and play with GPS. It has a generous 6″ display but this comes with a price in term of “handling”. At first 1″ didn’t seem too much but then I got a Mini (5″) to tinker with. This is just the perfect size if you’re after something compact, handy, easy to hack and cheap (around 40€).
      But this is me, of course!


  2. Ciao Stefano! My enquiry is not related to this specific case. I am going to install a gps/vario on the Kobo Glo. Since on this Kobo there are 3 serial ports, could you suggest me the best way to figure out which is the right port on which I should connect the gps/vario module? Thanks a lot


  3. Hi Reinold,
    I didn’t check the 6.8 preview and I’m not really that much into XCSoar development myself.
    Sorry 🙁


  4. inquiry:
    technically I am not blessed with talent…
    I would like to ask if there is a chance to buy a working system Kobo Aura h2o with gps and barosensor running smooth with xcsoar. please advise

  5. Hi,

    I had the bad idea of activated the USB-OTG in my Aura. The device don’t work. Is there any way to make some kind of hard-reset to deactivate the USB-OGT. I’m using XCSoar 6.8.6



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