Does latest Tow-Boot install/work correctly for everyone?
#1
After a few years of rocking a BSP img on my emmc (for that sweet S3) and not booting into it, I'd like to switch fully to a modern install of Fedora since I've been booting a pre EFI Fedora img from SD as my unofficial main boot.

Since Tow-Boot is needed for a modern Fedora install, I went and grabbed the latest version (2022.07-006) from Github. After writing spi.installer.img to several different and known working SDs, as well as using dd, nandwrite, and flashcp to write it directly to /dev/mtd0 (all indicated successful writes in terminal) I cannot get my PBP to boot into the installer menu, or show anything tow boot related at boot up when writing directly to the SPI. (At most, I get a solid-lit green power LED and a black screen when booting the SPI installer SD.)

I've also tried going back a few versions, including 2021.10-005 and 2021.10-03 (which I recall successfully booting and installing a year+ ago) and I get the same results from them too.

So I'm curious now if anyone else has had this or a similar issue when trying to install tow-boot through SD installer or writing directly to mtd0 from within a booted OS. I'd raise it as an issue on the Github, but I want to be sure I haven't overlooked any potential solutions and I know @samueldr has indicated he isn't able to be as active in maintaining/troubleshooting as before.

EDIT: it was pointed out, I should add the commands I've run to write the installer to SD, and the .bin to SPI. Please note, the SD card is read as sda by the system. 


dd (as per the tow-boot pbp page:
Code:
sudo dd if=spi.installer.img of=/dev/sda bs=1M oflag=direct,sync status=progress

nandwrite:
Code:
sudo nandwrite -p /dev/mtd0 Tow-Boot.spi.bin

flashcp:
Code:
sudo flashcp Tow-Boot.spi.bin /dev/mtd0

I ran 
Code:
sudo flash_erase /dev/mtd0 0 0
between each nandwrite or flashcp.
  Reply
#2
(08-03-2023, 12:31 PM)tophneal Wrote: ...

So I'm curious now if anyone else has had this or a similar issue when trying to install tow-boot through SD installer or writing directly to mtd0 from within a booted OS. I'd raise it as an issue on the Github, but I want to be sure I haven't overlooked any potential solutions and I know @samueldr has indicated he isn't able to be as active in maintaining/troubleshooting as before.

Not what you asked, but pine64-pinephonePro-2022.07-006 worked fine for me on my PPP. 35Mb spi.installer.img was dd'd to a tatty old SD on my RPro64 then that booted fine on my PPP and I could do the install.

Same RK3399 ...

FWIW my SDcard looks like (on the RPro64)
Code:
$ lsblk
...
mmcblk1      179:96   0   3.7G  0 disk
├─mmcblk1p1  179:97   0    12M  0 part
└─mmcblk1p2  179:98   0    22M  0 part /run/media/chris/57f8f4bc-abf4-655f-bf67-946fc0f9f25b

Are you sure you have the correct bits held/flicked/switched to get your PBP booting from the SDcard?

On the basis there isn't that much difference between the boards would be tempted to at least try the PPP and/or RPro64 Tow-Boots - at least you should get to the Tow-Boot menu, whether you actually flash is another call. But would eliminate that the PBP download is a duffer.
  • ROCKPro64 v2.1 2GB, 16Gb eMMC for rootfs, SX8200Pro 512GB NVMe for /home, HDMI video & sound, Bluetooth keyboard & mouse. Arch (6.2 kernel, Openbox desktop) for general purpose daily PC.
  • PinePhone Pro Explorer Edition, daily driver, rk2aw & U-boot on SPI, Arch/SXMO & Arch/phosh on eMMC
  • PinePhone BraveHeart now v1.2b 3/32Gb, Tow-boot with Arch/SXMO on eMMC
  Reply
#3
(08-03-2023, 02:27 PM)dukla2000 Wrote:
(08-03-2023, 12:31 PM)tophneal Wrote: ...

So I'm curious now if anyone else has had this or a similar issue when trying to install tow-boot through SD installer or writing directly to mtd0 from within a booted OS. I'd raise it as an issue on the Github, but I want to be sure I haven't overlooked any potential solutions and I know @samueldr has indicated he isn't able to be as active in maintaining/troubleshooting as before.

Not what you asked, but pine64-pinephonePro-2022.07-006 worked fine for me on my PPP. 35Mb spi.installer.img was dd'd to a tatty old SD on my RPro64 then that booted fine on my PPP and I could do the install.

Same RK3399 ...

FWIW my SDcard looks like (on the RPro64)
Code:
$ lsblk
...
mmcblk1      179:96   0   3.7G  0 disk
├─mmcblk1p1  179:97   0    12M  0 part
└─mmcblk1p2  179:98   0    22M  0 part /run/media/chris/57f8f4bc-abf4-655f-bf67-946fc0f9f25b

Are you sure you have the correct bits held/flicked/switched to get your PBP booting from the SDcard?

On the basis there isn't that much difference between the boards would be tempted to at least try the PPP and/or RPro64 Tow-Boots - at least you should get to the Tow-Boot menu, whether you actually flash is another call. But would eliminate that the PBP download is a duffer.

I made sure I wouldn't need to open it up (and force myself to follow through on my decision) by wiping the eMMC already. There's nothing on the eMMC anymore and the PBP only boots when I insert a ready-to-boot SD, like my early Fedora install, into it. In fact, I recall when I first tested the SD installer of 2021.10-03 I had 0 issue with the SD booting before the BSP on the eMMC.

Mine shows as /dev/sda since I'm working off of an SD boot, but it matches yours (aside from the sda2 mount location.) Since posting, I've also tried writing the image to a different, larger SD card, and writing the installer from a different computer. No success with either. Sad

My best guess so far is a bad video driver, based off of some posts concerning an earlier iteration of tow-boot, though a part of me just can't believe that's the case. The issue was years ago, this should be a 2020 batch member, and there's soooooo many successful installs out there. I suppose I should find/dig out the serial cable for this and see if I can get anything from that.
  Reply
#4
(08-03-2023, 02:54 PM)tophneal Wrote:
(08-03-2023, 02:27 PM)dukla2000 Wrote:
(08-03-2023, 12:31 PM)tophneal Wrote: ...

So I'm curious now if anyone else has had this or a similar issue when trying to install tow-boot through SD installer or writing directly to mtd0 from within a booted OS. I'd raise it as an issue on the Github, but I want to be sure I haven't overlooked any potential solutions and I know @samueldr has indicated he isn't able to be as active in maintaining/troubleshooting as before.

Not what you asked, but pine64-pinephonePro-2022.07-006 worked fine for me on my PPP. 35Mb spi.installer.img was dd'd to a tatty old SD on my RPro64 then that booted fine on my PPP and I could do the install.

Same RK3399 ...

FWIW my SDcard looks like (on the RPro64)
Code:
$ lsblk
...
mmcblk1      179:96   0   3.7G  0 disk
├─mmcblk1p1  179:97   0    12M  0 part
└─mmcblk1p2  179:98   0    22M  0 part /run/media/chris/57f8f4bc-abf4-655f-bf67-946fc0f9f25b

Are you sure you have the correct bits held/flicked/switched to get your PBP booting from the SDcard?

On the basis there isn't that much difference between the boards would be tempted to at least try the PPP and/or RPro64 Tow-Boots - at least you should get to the Tow-Boot menu, whether you actually flash is another call. But would eliminate that the PBP download is a duffer.

I made sure I wouldn't need to open it up (and force myself to follow through on my decision) by wiping the eMMC already. There's nothing on the eMMC anymore and the PBP only boots when I insert a ready-to-boot SD, like my early Fedora install, into it. In fact, I recall when I first tested the SD installer of 2021.10-03 I had 0 issue with the SD booting before the BSP on the eMMC.

Mine shows as /dev/sda since I'm working off of an SD boot, but it matches yours (aside from the sda2 mount location.) Since posting, I've also tried writing the image to a different, larger SD card, and writing the installer from a different computer. No success with either. Sad

My best guess so far is a bad video driver, based off of some posts concerning an earlier iteration of tow-boot, though a part of me just can't believe that's the case. The issue was years ago, this should be a 2020 batch member, and there's soooooo many successful installs out there. I suppose I should find/dig out the serial cable for this and see if I can get anything from that.

You guess may be right, I have voiced out on last year that tow-boot may be using older video driver and seems like no update :-( This is one of the main reason that product team decided not to preinstalled tow-boot on current Pinebook Pro production batch.
  Reply
#5
so it took a bit, but it seemed the following things just helped be install tow-boot:

1. i downloaded it to the SD OS home folder and not my internal, shared nvme drive
2. PaulFerster advised on chat I retry flashing, using just flashcp
Code:
sudo flashcp Tow-Boot.spi.bin /dev/mtd0
3. He also gave me a hexdump command to run on Tow-Boot.spi.bin and /dev/mtd0 after the flash
Code:
hexdump -C -n 64 Tow-Boot.spi.bin
then
Code:
sudo hexdump -C -n 64 /dev/mtd0

After checking they matched, I rebooted and Tow-Boot!
  Reply


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