Pincho: A USB Mass storage Android implementation without ROOT v0.1

Source code
Download the AAR file

Somedays ago I released a very simple app to transfer files between your phone and a USB Flash drive. Kind of a proof of concept but the most interesting is not the app itself, it is the library that powers it. I had very positive experiences releasing another library that handle USB to Serial chipsets without needing a rooted phone so I am excited to release this new open-source(MIT License) USB mass storage library for Android as Pincho (silly spanish name we use to name the USB sticks).

Overview
Pincho’s main objective is not only to handle the upper layer of the USB Mass storage stack (FAT32 at this moment). Also exposes the SCSI commands layer and even the Bulk-Only transport protocol.
USB connected devices must implement, besides the obvious Mass Storage class, the 0x06 subclass (SCSI protocol) and the 0x50 protocol (Bulk-Only).
Currently Pincho only supports FAT32 filesystem and a maximum of 4 partitions (Extended partitions still not supported).

Add Pincho to your Android project
The easiest way to use it right now is copying the .aar file to the libs folder and adding these lines in your build.gradle file.

dependencies {
// Other dependencies...
compile project(':usbmassstorageforandroid-release')
}

Virtual FileSystem methods
Although Pincho currently only implements FAT32, there is a defined class to abstract it. Adding new filesystems wouldn’t have to affect drastically previous written code. Here are the basic methods

UsbDevice mDevice;
UsbDeviceConnection mConnection;

// choose the device and initialize mConnection through UsbManager.openDevice(UsbDevice mDevice);
// http://developer.android.com/guide/topics/connectivity/usb/host.html

/*
* Constants
*/
public static final int CACHE_NONE = 0; // No cache
public static final int CACHE_LOW = 1; // Cache for a 100 Mbytes allocation
public static final int CACHE_MEDIUM = 2; // Cache half of the FAT
public static final int CACHE_HIGH = 3; // Cache the whole FAT

/*
* Constructor definition
*/
public VirtualFileSystem(UsbDevice mDevice, UsbDeviceConnection mConnection);

/*
* Mount operation, return true if device was successfully mounted. BLOCKING OPERATION
*/
public boolean mount(int index);

/*
* Mount operation, return true if device was successfully mounted. BLOCKING OPERATION*
* cacheMode: 0 no cache, 1 low cache, 2 medium cache, 3 high cache.
*/
public boolean mount(int index, int cacheMode)

/*
* List only file names, return a List of Strings. NON BLOCKING OPERATION
*/
public List<String> list();

/*
* List complete information of files, return a List of VFSFile objects. NON BLOCKING OPERATION
*/
public List<VFSFile> listFiles();

/*
* Get current path, return a string linux-like formatted with the current path. NON BLOCKING OPERATION
*/
public String getPath();

/*
* Change dir specified by a name, folder must be inside the current folder, return true if operation was * ok. BLOCKING OPERATION.
*/
public boolean changeDir(String dirName);

/*
* Change dir specified by a VFSFile, folder must be inside the current folder, return true if operation was ok. BLOCKING OPERATION.
*/
public boolean changeDir(VFSFile file);

/*
* Change dir back, return true if operation was ok. BLOCKING OPERATION
*/
public boolean changeDirBack();

/*
* Write file, return true if file was written correctly. BLOCKING OPERATION
*/
public boolean writeFile(File file); //java.io.File 

/*
* Read file specified by a string, return an array of bytes. BLOCKING OPERATION
*/
public byte[] readFile(String fileName);

/*
* Read file specified by a VFSFile, return an array of bytes. BLOCKING OPERATION
*/
public byte[] readFile(VFSFile file);

/*
* Delete file specified by a string, return true if file was deleted. BLOCKING OPERATION
*/
public boolean deleteFile(String fileName);

/*
* UnMount the USB mass storage device, return true if was unmounted correctly. BLOCKING OPERATION
*/
public boolean unMount();

File data is encapsulated in VFSFile class

public class VFSFile
{
    private String fileName;
    private boolean isReadOnly;
    private boolean isHidden;
    private boolean isSystem;
    private boolean isVolume;
    private boolean isDirectory;
    private boolean isArchive;
    private Date creationDate;
    private Date lastAccessedDate;
    private Date lastModifiedDate;
    private long size;
}

SCSI Interface
Pincho also allows you to call directly a number of SCSI calls which gives a lot of raw power. SCSI calls are used through a class SCSICommunicator that implements a buffer to queue every call so they are non-blocking. Current implemented calls are:

– Inquiry
– ReadCapacity10
– Read10
– RequestSense
– TestUnitReady
– Write10
– ModeSense10
– ModeSelect10
– FormatUnit
– PreventAllowRemoval

In order to receive any notification about a current SCSI operation a callback must be defined

private SCSIInterface scsiInterface = new SCSIInterface()
{
    @Override
    public void onSCSIOperationCompleted(int status, int dataResidue)
    {
      // status 0: completed successfully
      // status 1: Some error occurred
    }

    @Override
    public void onSCSIDataReceived(SCSIResponse response)
    {
       // Data received in the data-phase.
       // Possible responses: SCSIInquiryResponse, SCSIModeSense10Response, SCSIRead10Response,
       //     SCSIReadCapacity10, SCSIReportLuns, SCSIRequestSense
    }

    @Override
    public void onSCSIOperationStarted(boolean status)
    {
      // SCSI operation started
    }
};

Create the SCSICommunicator object

SCSICommunicator comm;
comm = new SCSICommunicator(mDevice, mConnection);
comm.openSCSICommunicator(scsiInterface);
//..
//..
//..
comm.closeSCSICommunicator();

And call whatever SCSI call you need. SCSI calls are particularly tricky as they have a lot of parameters and some of them are kind of obscure. Although I have in mind writing about them eventually Here is a good source of information about SCSI calls.

public void read10(int rdProtect, boolean dpo, boolean fua,
                   boolean fuaNv, int logicalBlockAddress,
                   int groupNumber, int transferLength)

public void requestSense(boolean desc, int allocationLength)

public void testUnitReady()

public void write10(int wrProtect, boolean dpo, boolean fua,
                    boolean fuaNv, int logicalBlockAddress, int groupNumber,
                    int transferLength, byte[] data)

public void modeSense10(boolean llbaa, boolean dbd, int pc,
                        int pageCode, int subPageCode, int allocationLength)

public void modeSelect10(boolean pageFormat, boolean savePages, int parameterListLength)

public void formatUnit(boolean fmtpinfo, boolean rtoReq, boolean longList,
                       boolean fmtData, boolean cmplst, int defectListFormat)

public void preventAllowRemoval(int lun, boolean prevent)

Improvements
There is a lot of room for improvements. I am totally open to hear your thoughts about this. Some of the pending enhancements are:

– Implement a Caching system. Reading is not particularly slow as Pincho knows what LBA has to read to find the next cluster node in the FAT but writing is slower than it should be.
– Not every SCSI call is implemented.
– Support extended partitions.
– More asynchronous interface in VirtualFileSystem to do not have to worry about blocking operations. Defining a callback to receive notifications and data.
– Other Filesystems could be eventually added.

Update 08-19-15: A primitive cache added

There are probably more important things that I am missing so if you find them please let me know.

Happy coding 🙂

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2 thoughts on “Pincho: A USB Mass storage Android implementation without ROOT v0.1

  1. Hi,

    I followed what you said, “copying the .aar file to the libs folder and adding these lines in your build.gradle file.” . However, I got the following error.

    Error:(41, 1) A problem occurred evaluating project ‘:app’.
    > Project with path ‘:usbmassstorageforandroid-release’ could not be found in project ‘:app’.

    I hope you could give me the complete tutorial for using this Pincho as I’m totally beginner.

  2. Hi,

    I followed what you said “copying the .aar file to the libs folder and adding these lines in your build.gradle file.” . However, got error :

    “Error:(41, 1) A problem occurred evaluating project ‘:app’.
    > Project with path ‘:usbmassstorageforandroid-release’ could not be found in project ‘:app’.

    I hope you can explain step by step how to using Pincho as Im totally beginner.

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