Ringo Basics - Where do I start?

It’s time to meet the phone.


When you’ve successfully built your Ringo phone it’s time to start using it!

It works pretty much like every other phone – it can make/receive calls, send/receive messages, play music, run games, and many more stuff.

All of these are made possible by multiple components which when put together, make all the magic.


  • Size: 150mm x 70mm x 20mm, 428g
  • Brain board: ESP32, Xtensa dual-core 32-bit LX6, 160MHz, 4MB Flash, 520kB SRAM, SD Card support (up to 32GB)
  • SIM Module: 4G Chipset – SIM7600 / 2G Chipset – SIM800
  • Display: 1.8’’ 160x128 full color TFT LCD, 25 Hz refresh rate
  • Audio: 2W class-D audio amp, 3.5mm jack, 1W speaker
  • Battery: Li-Po 3.7V 1300mAh, USB micro-B charging port
  • Buttons: 18 pressable buttons (10 numbers, Asterisk, Hashtag, two function buttons, A, B, Home, Power), Two-Axis Joystick, extern ON and RESET buttons
  • Lights: 8 independent LED lights on the back with full RGB color capabilities

The phone has plastic casings on both the front and the back as well as two plexiglass covers for added protection. 

  • Power – ON/OFF -> Entering sleep mode, waking up, turning on and turning off the phone
  • Reset -> Resetting the phone
  • Home -> Returning to lock screen, opening settings in games
  • Left function -> Erasing while inputting text, deleting files
  • Right function -> Various functions, text input helper
  • A Button -> Confirm/ Primary action
  • B Button -> Back/ Secondary action
  • 0 – 9 Buttons -> Inputting text and dialing numbers, movement function in some games
  • Asterisk -> Entering emergency call, SPACE while inputting text
  • Hashtag -> Unlocking the phone, switching between upper and lower case letters

Setting up

Now comes the fun part – finally turning the phone on!

It can be done in two ways – either by holding down the power button that is located just below the screen or by holding down the ON button located on the side of the brain board. Once the phone is on, you will immediately enter the ‘Setup wizard’.

Before starting your work on it, you have to charge the phone for at least an hour. This is the first thing you will have to do after starting the ‘Setup wizard’.

We know that you just spent so much time building it up but you will have to hold on for a little bit longer!

‘Setup wizard’ will test your phone functionalities and whether everything is working properly or not. It might happen that you will have to disassemble the phone and re-solder/re-connect some of the parts. If that is the case, resolve the issues and come back once you’ve successfully completed the ‘Setup wizard’.

Basic usage instructions

You’re located on the phone’s lockscreen and that’s where you will find the phone every time it’s turned on or when you wake it up from sleep.

Lock screen shows all the basic data – time, date, battery status, network connection, SD Card status, and any present notifications. There are two commands that are available from there.

If you hold the # button, the phone will unlock.

If you hold the *  button, the phone will enter the emergency call menu. From there you can only dial emergency numbers such as 911, 112, etc.

Unlocking the phone leads you to the main menu which by default has nine applications –
Phone, Contacts, Messages, Settings, Media Player, Clock, Calculator, Flashlight and Calendar + 4 video games.

All other applications, such as video games located on your SD Card, will also be shown on the main menu underneath the default apps. 

You can navigate the menu using the joystick, enter applications with A button and get back to lock screen with B button.  You can also enter sleep mode anytime by pressing either power button.

One of the things you are going to have to learn (if you don’t already know) is how to type on Ringo. It’s done in an old fashioned way where every number button represents several letters/symbols as well as number which is written on it. 

If you are not familiar with it, or just want a quick memory refresh, we prepared a nice little tutorial to help you get accustomed to it.

Insertin SD and SIM cards

In order to fully use phone functionalities, you’re going to have to insert both SD card and SIM card. Nothing to worry about since this is pretty easy and an SD card might already be inserted into your phone

SD card can only be inserted one way, with the golden connectors facing upwards and the thick part of the card being in the back.  You should get a notification when the SD card is properly inserted.

SIM is necessary for connecting to the network, making calls and sending text messages. The slot for inserting it is located on the left side of the phone, right below the joystick.

The golden connectors part of the SIM card must be facing upwards while the cutout must be in the upper left corner, just like on the image.

NOTE: SIM can be inserted in multiple ways but it will only work if it’s inserted the right way. After inserting the SIM card, restart the phone so that the SIM module can reload the card.

NOTE: US phones come with the ‘Ting’ SIM Card, which you first have to activate online in order to use.

NOTE: Now add some money to the card so you can use it properly!

Using applications

Making your first call

A phone’s main feature! At least that’s what it used to be. It still serves as one of the main functions of this device and is a rather simple thing to do. 

In order to make a call, you have to insert a SIM card, restart your phone and make sure you have a good connection to the network. That can be checked either by looking at the icon on the top left of the lock screen or by checking the network menu in the settings app.

 Once you are certain your connection is good, proceed to make a call. 

 First, you have to navigate to the phone app and press the A button.

A screen like this will appear. If you have any contacts saved in your phonebook they will appear below the number input for a fast dial. You can also access call log at any time by pressing right function button, which will take you to your call history. From there you will be able to see all your previous phone calls as well as fast dial any of the numbers.

When entering a number, you have to enter it in a long-form (ex. x001 234 567 899) number that starts with a ‘+’ (or 00, those two are equivalents). You can get the ‘+’ sign by holding down the 0 button.

While making a call there is an option of bringing the volume up and down with the joystick which will increase or decrease the volume that is coming from the ‘other side’ of the speaker.

You can hang up a call by pressing B button.

Sending your first text

The second most important function of the phone (right after playing games, of course) is sending text messages. In order to do that you will have to be connected to the network via your SIM card. Also, we recommend getting to know the way you input text because it will really speed up the process of sending texts. So go check out our tutorial if you already haven’t.

 Navigate to messages in the main menu and press A button. It will get you to main messages screen, where you will have access to all of the previous messages sent and received. You can view those messages by pressing right function button and erase them by pressing left function button.

 Sending a new SMS is done by navigating to the top of the order and pressing A button

A new screen will appear from which you’ll be able to enter a number of the message receiver (must be in a +001 234 567 899 form). You can also access contacts from there and choose desired number. Pressing your joystick down will move the cursor to the compose screen where the message text goes. You can access text input helper at anytime by pressing right function button which serves as a quick memory refreshment in case you forgot which button represents a certain symbol. If you make a mistake, you can erase single symbol by pressing left function button.

 When both desired text and number are inserted press A button to send a message.

 That’s it! The message has just been sent and it will be received in a matter of seconds!

Saving contacts

Navigate to contacts in the main menu and press A button.

You will enter the main contacts menu from where you’ll be able to view contact details, delete contacts and create new ones.

When creating a contact you have to enter a name and a number (must be in a +001 234 567 899 form).

Once you create a new contact it can be accessed both from messages and phone app for faster calling and exchanging texts.

Also, every new received text and call from the number you saved will be shown as a name rather than a number.

Adjust your settings

In the Settings app, you will be able to modify some of the phone settings to your liking as well as check for new firmware updates.

In the first section called ‘Network’ you can check out the strength of your network connection as well as turn on the airplane mode which will disable some of the phone’s functionalities such as making/receiving phone calls and mssages.

In ‘Display’ section you can change screen and LED brightness, default lock screen background color and amount of time it takes for your phone to enter sleep mode when none of the buttons are being pressed.

‘Date & time’ is pretty self-explanatory. From there you can manually set date and time or you can let your phone set it based on location using GSM.

‘Sound’ section is where all the sound-related settings are located such as ring and media volume, which are set separately, and mic sensitivity, which regulates the amount of data microphone receives during phone calls. 

In the second part of the screen, you will be able to choose your ringtone and notification sound from a variety of different melodies we have created for you.

In ‘Security’ there is an option to turn on and off PIN lock when turning on the phone (set to OFF by default) and to manually set that PIN to any number you want.

Lastly, ‘About & update’ section is where you check for new Ringo firmware updates.

You can also set the phone to factory settings and relaunch ‘Setup wizard’ which can be useful with checking if all of the phone components work properly. SIM module debug is a function that you will probably never have to use, but if you have any major problems with phone calls and messages, it might be useful to run it.

That’s about it! Pretty much everything that can be changed in a phone can be found here and you will find it in no time!

There are also other applications and FOUR video games (Invaderz, Space Rocks, Pong and Snake) that are completely up to you to explore.

HINT: They are extremely fun! 

You're now familiar with Ringo basics!

Now there is a whole world up to you to explore and create… We’re waiting!

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