"Pinebook Serial Console" unreliable, inhibits boot, kills WiFi and SD
I purchased a "Pinebook Serial Console" from the Pine Store to use to debug my Pinebook Pro's boot process. It seems to work fine on the USB side, but on the Pinebook side it's got some serious issues.

1. If I try to boot the machine with the cable plugged in, uboot does its thing, says it's starting the kernel, and then nothing ever happens again. No serial output, no video, no network presence. (If I yank the cable, right after making a selection, before it finishes loading the kernel, everything boots fine from there, and I can plug it in after boot completion and hit enter for a login prompt.)
2. If I plug it into a running "default Debian+MATE" system, I get errors on the kernel log about SDIO screwing up, and WiFi dies. (If said system is booted from an SD card, it also loses communication with the card and does what any Linux system does when you yank its root filesystem away.)
3. If I leave the cable plugged in during a reboot (not a cold boot), uboot fails to read the SD card and hangs—with or without an SD card plugged in.
4. Even when things are otherwise working, the connection is very unreliable. If the PBP outputs too quickly, vast quantities of output are dropped. This happens both in Linux and uboot. If I do an ifconfig, for example, I get the first line and a half or so okay, followed by mangled snippets of the remainder. And nmtui is completely unusable.

The wiki does mention that some of these cables render the PBP unbootable, but I didn't see any previous mention of this on the forums. I assume that previous discussion of this problem has happened in other media.

First messages from the kernel log after WiFi dies an untimely death:

Dec  5 08:31:58 Debian-Desktop kernel: [  266.315561] sdioh_buffer_tofrom_bus: R
X FAILED ffffffc0f1ed5a20, addr=0x08000, pkt_len=32, ERR=-84
Dec  5 08:31:58 Debian-Desktop kernel: [  266.315585] dhdsdio_readframes: RXHEAD
Dec  5 08:31:58 Debian-Desktop kernel: [  266.315600] dhdsdio_rxfail: abort comm
and, terminate frame, send NAK
Dec  5 08:31:58 Debian-Desktop kernel: [  266.339116] dwmmc_rockchip fe310000.dw
mmc: All phases work, using default phase 0.

That repeats a few times, then I see escalating stuff about WiFi crashing and burning.

This cable is still useful for basic boot troubleshooting (of the "did my kernel boot at all?" variety), but something is clearly very, very wrong.

Messages In This Thread
"Pinebook Serial Console" unreliable, inhibits boot, kills WiFi and SD - by Solra Bizna - 12-05-2019, 03:06 AM

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