PINE64
New PinePhone won't boot 9/10 times - Screen is on but stays black :( - Printable Version

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New PinePhone won't boot 9/10 times - Screen is on but stays black :( - dante404 - 10-12-2021

Hello,

I have recieved my second PinePhone (Beta Edition, 3GB/32GB) a few days ago. I wanted to have a "backup device" because my pmOS Edition PinePhone (3GB/32GB) with Mobian is my Daily Driver.

First strange thing was that the eMMC on the new Phone is about 500MB smaller than on my old one (not talking about Partitions here, but about the whole eMMC!  Huh ), therefore I could not just 'clone' my Daily Driver Phone partitions on the new one (via dd) as planned.

OK - So I installed Mobian with the latest (stable) installer on it (because of full disk encryption) and started to configure my stuff and install updates (via apt, did NOT manually switch to Mobian bookworm yet)... and reboot. Then I noticed: Most of the time, the Beta Edition PinePhone won't boot. The green LED lights up for a short time, the screen is on but stays black/shows nothing (waited 30 minutes one time). You then have to press the power button to shut the phone off and try again. At the beginning it booted after 3-4 tries and was normally usable, then it got worse (9/10 times). Yesterday I reinstalled Mobian with the installer (this time with ext4+FDE like my first phone, instead of F2FS+FDE), but it never booted afterwards. Gave up after about 12 tries and went to bed.

Posted it here because I don't know WHAT is the reason - I THINK it is some kind of hardware problem (because the phone has booted multiple times, a damaged operating system should behave the same way every time you boot I guess)... but I don't know of course.
I have not found a post about this specific problem in the forum.

Has anybody made similar experiences? What could be the reason?

Thanks for any reply/hint!  Sad

Best Regards,
Dante

--------------------------------
Edit: What I forgot to mention: Because of this problem (and several problems I had with my main phone in the past) I have upgraded the modem firmware from 01.001.01.001 (stock) to 01.003.01.003 (which works great on my main phone). Didn't help anything about the boot problem.


RE: New PinePhone won't boot 9/10 times - Screen is on but stays black :( - 8bit - 10-12-2021

Do you have a serial debugger? https://pine64.com/product/pinebook-pinephone-pinetab-serial-console/

Should be able to see what it is hanging at with it. You could also build one from parts, a cheap TTL USB adapter and a TRRS jack and some wire.

There is a bug in the A64 that some have problems with a timer that when it rolls over hangs the system. https://lore.kernel.org/linux-sunxi/20210515021439.55316-1-samuel@sholland.org/T/

Some devices have it worse than others. Most kernels have been patched but u-Boot has to be patched separately as well. It previously would cause boot hangs (black screen) for me on one of my PinePhones. It has since been patched in Arch https://github.com/dreemurrs-embedded/Pine64-Arch/commit/686f4b4cf48c1ed50fbdfbd3ac0c2f452f731228

Try Arch Linux Arm and see if that boots reliably. https://github.com/dreemurrs-embedded/Pine64-Arch/releases


RE: New PinePhone won't boot 9/10 times - Screen is on but stays black :( - dante404 - 10-12-2021

Thank you very much for your input 8bit!  Smile

Sadly I don't have a serial cable (or the parts for it). Have to order one.

I will look into the "u-boot" stuff and give Arch Linux ARM a try. If it works with Arch but not Mobian, than I guess there will be some way to update u-boot on Mobian too...

Again, Thanks!

Best Regards,
Dante


RE: New PinePhone won't boot 9/10 times - Screen is on but stays black :( - 8bit - 10-12-2021

It looks like they patched the kernel 3 months ago.
https://gitlab.com/mobian1/devices/sunxi64-linux/-/commit/8b33dfe0ba1c84c1aab2456590b38195837f1e6e

U-Boot has not yet been patched.
https://gitlab.com/mobian1/devices/sunxi64-u-boot/-/blob/sunxi64-2021.07/arch/arm/cpu/armv8/generic_timer.c#L73


RE: New PinePhone won't boot 9/10 times - Screen is on but stays black :( - dante404 - 10-12-2021

Before your last post I tried a simple:
Code:
sudo u-boot-install-pinephone
...because you mentioned u-boot (command is from the Mobian wiki).
Afterwards the phone booted without a problem 5-6 times and I was happy... but then the problem was back. Sad
But it seems like this reinstall step won't help anything, yet.
Thank you for looking this up and letting me know! Smile



RE: New PinePhone won't boot 9/10 times - Screen is on but stays black :( - dante404 - 10-13-2021

Interesting: It seems that the phone is always booting up without problems if it was turned off for a longer time (some hours).
If it was turned off only for a few seconds, the boot problem appears.
(But perhaps it's just coincidence...)


RE: New PinePhone won't boot 9/10 times - Screen is on but stays black :( - dcinoz - 10-13-2021

(10-13-2021, 01:22 AM)dante404 Wrote: Interesting: It seems that the phone is always booting up without problems if it was turned off for a longer time (some hours).
If it was turned off only for a few seconds, the boot problem appears.
(But perhaps it's just coincidence...)

Hi @dante404 

Plasma Mobile had problems a while back whereby after updates the screen would be black upon restart, screen brightness was set too low and for some Pinephones it meant black screen.

Mobian since bookworm (not sure when it started) has an issue too, it happened to me after I switched to bookworm and ran updates after reboot and coming out of suspend a few times, it's a known issue: https://gitlab.com/mobian1/issues/-/issues/336

For Plasma Mobile I had an rc.local bash script to set the brightness at boot, not sure if I've done the same for Mobian. You can hook it into systemd (see https://forum.pine64.org/showthread.php?tid=13917&pid=95096#pid95096 and look at the Manjaro bug report). For the black screen on resume I have set the screen brightness on resuming (coming out of sleep).

Not sure this will help but it would hopefully be a workaround if it's a screen brightness setting only (hopefully it's nothing more serious).
Here's a link to using that approach to reload the Realtek wifi module (no idea if that has been fixed), you can adapt that to set the brightness level instead:
https://forum.pine64.org/showthread.php?tid=12589&pid=87988#pid87988

It's unclear whether your phone fully boots or not. If you turn on wifi and have ssh set up, restart and it should have wifi and ssh available upon restart so you can (hopefully) ssh into the phone even if the screen is black and do some further digging or manually increase the brightness via command line if that is the only issue.


RE: New PinePhone won't boot 9/10 times - Screen is on but stays black :( - dante404 - 10-13-2021

Thanks for the hint dcinoz! Smile

I've already read about this issue, but I haven't yet switched to Bookworm (afaik you have to manually edit the repos of your Mobian system before updating, I wanted to try this as soon as I have a stable backup phone...). At the moment my new/second PinePhone uses the same 'old' software than my first PinePhone, so this known brightness problem should not be the reason.

SSH is not yet set up, but I can try this as soon as the phone boots (I hope it WILL boot (as it did yesterday) when I get home later and turn it on, after it was off for nearly a day...).