Happy eMMC and SDcard OS usage for Pinebook Pro Newbies...
#1
Hello team Pine64:

I hope that this small write-up has relevance and information that will help newcomers to the land of PBP who want to experiment with other operating softwares on the platform. I've been reading many horror stories of Pinebook Pro's that were damaged, or that the owner THINKS are damaged because they won't boot properly... after a user found themselves with an inoperable OS on their internal eMMC storage.

It seems that once a rookie user has an issue with their eMMC the first thing they do is open the laptop and flip the reset button next to the eMMC storage. This isn't always necessary. I wanted to go over how I reinstalled the original [or updated, if you have an older version of the PBP] Manjaro OS back onto the eMMC without opening the system. From what I can gather, you can certainly open the system and access the internals to get things done - and in some cases this needs to happen... but I'd be willing to bet that in most rookie scenerios, this isn't the case.

Furthermore, I'd like to state an easier way to experiment with other OSes rather than modifying the eMMC in the first place. Sure, if you have come across an OS build that you want to run in production, forever, I understand putting that on the eMMC... but I think people get into trouble with their PBP because they just want to play around, try to throw a new OS on the eMMC and don't have all the Linux knowledge needed to doso - ending in 'a boat anchor' or being upset with the hardware.... that did nothing wrong. It only does what we tell it to, and follows directions - even if the Pine64 'outline' isn't perfect. The proper way to play around with OSes is to burn them to an SDcard and boot it up; if anything fails or doesn't operate correctly, you just take it out and smile because you know the next boot will be your perfect Manjaro install on eMMC.

There is a whole list of OSes on the wiki:
https://wiki.pine64.org/index.php?title=..._Downloads

You can download any one of these, and I prefer to doso on a different system but you can certainly doso on the PBP and use dd if= of= to burn your SDcard, and use a software like Balena Etcher or any SDcard burner and burn the ISO to the SDcard. Just pop that SDcard in the slot of the PBP and go have fun... play with that OS, dig into it... mess it up even! [With the understanding that you leave the eMMC storage alone, and don't much with IT!] You can always simply pop that SDcard out and boot right back into your Manjaro build. Simple pimple.

Now, if you do happen to mess up the build on eMMC don't immediately grab a screwdriver and get all hardware happy and think that you're a Linux-ninja. It isn't necessary! [For most of us, anyway...] In fact, if you mess up the eMMC at all lets set the PBP to the side for a few minutes and settle down. Tongue Go over to the wiki, at the same link I posted above, and download the Manjaro ARM with KDE Plasma MicroSD and eMMC Boot Direct Download from Manjaro... unzip it, grab the .ISO and burn that to an SDcard... heck, you can even use dd if= of= if you just have to feel like a CLI rockstar. Boot from that Manjaro SDcard and update the system thru the dock, the pamac GUI software utility or by 'sudo pacman -Syyu'. Next install 'manjaro-arm-flasher' with pamac or pacman... run manjaro-arm-flasher. Select pinebook pro, KDE Plasma, 20.08 and mmcblk2.

Important: If you don't see mmcblk2, but rather boot1 or boot2 - don't select that! You can find more info at the thread link below, but since you should be doing this from an SDcard, I don't think you should see this:
https://forum.manjaro.org/t/manjaro-arm-flasher/26002

Anyway tho, if it does list boot1 or boot2 you need to unmount the eMMC before flashing! So long as you see mmcblk2 and select it, make sure you have ample battery charge and the laptop is plugged in, and click Start... let it do its thing.

When finished, you can shutdown. Take out the SDcard and when you reboot the Pinebook Pro you should have a copy of Manjaro ARM booting from eMMC with no SDcard inserted.

The Pinebook Pro is just as it comes from the factory. [At least if you have the newest PBP available.] Again, 'sudo pacman -Syyu' and your done.

Personally, I'd suggest keeping Manjaro ARM on the eMMC and play around with other OSes on SDcards... this ensures that you don't ever have to go deeper before you want to. You shouldn't HAVE to open the PBP or flip the eMMC switch unless you've already messed with things and now have a bigger problem to fix.

Even if so, don't give up... we can get your PBP back to factory settings with Manjaro ARM on the eMMC... these machines only do what we tell them to; and only respond to events that we create... so when you go deeper you just get further into a situation that is harder to back out of.

Remember you have a community here to help you; and I will, along with an army of other REAL Linux-rockstars. All we have to do is get you backed out of what you created. Tongue If you just follow these basic set of baseline rules, you'll never get there! If you find an OS that you just love, like I really like Armbian, we can put that OS on the eMMC... and you can still experiment with others, using SDcards! We just have to feed the computer the correct instructions - it WILL respond and function.

Anyway, I hope this long ass write-up helps someone so that they don't get down the rabbit hole. We got this...
-----
 pAULIE42o
.  .  .  .   .  . .
/s
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#2
Thank you!

Sent from my PH-1 using Tapatalk
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#3
@Paulie420
Nice directions for newbies, thanks.

Are you able to boot Armbian from SD card at the same time with default Manjaro setup on EMMC ? We are not. There seems to be an issue prevented to boot certain OSes from SD card, if Manjaro is installed on EMMC, see https://forum.pine64.org/showthread.php?...0#pid68280 . Even on brand new PBP delivered with Manjaro pre-installed, so one could be puzzled and open the PBP to switch eMMC off.
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#4
(09-29-2020, 01:44 PM)q4osteam Wrote: @Paulie420
Nice directions for newbies, thanks.

Are you able to boot Armbian from SD card at the same time with default Manjaro setup on EMMC ? We are not. There seems to be an issue prevented to boot certain OSes from SD card, if Manjaro is installed on EMMC, see https://forum.pine64.org/showthread.php?...0#pid68280 . Even on brand new PBP delivered with Manjaro pre-installed, so one could be puzzled and open the PBP to switch eMMC off.

Wait, I know I booted Armbian... and I always have the Manjaro 20.08 on eMMC... so.... would you like me to test that again?

Also... lol I don't wanna steer you wrong at all - however, I believe if you either have Manjaro 20.08 on eMMC boot with nothing inserted that Armbian will boot on SDcard; furthermore, I followed my instructions and put Manjaro BACK on my eMMC... and can boot from Armbian.

But I can test this again to make sure if you say to. Tongue

For *me*, I have Manjaro 20.08 on eMMC and know I booted Armbian on SDcard once..... lemme know if you'd like me to test it again... if it doesn't boot, I don't hurt anything so .... I can.

Tongue
I do know that together we can help each other out. Tongue
-----
 pAULIE42o
.  .  .  .   .  . .
/s
  Reply
#5
(09-29-2020, 06:58 PM)Paulie420 Wrote: But I can test this again to make sure if you say to. Tongue

Armbian Focal image maybe works fine, the image in question is Armbian Buster. First we will test out the newest one "Armbian_20.08.4_Pinebook-pro_buster_legacy_4.4.213_desktop.img.xz" and post here a result....
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#6
(09-28-2020, 05:00 PM)Paulie420 Wrote: Hello team Pine64:

I hope that this small write-up has relevance and information that will help newcomers to the land of PBP who want to experiment with other operating softwares on the platform. I've been reading many horror stories of Pinebook Pro's that were damaged, or that the owner THINKS are damaged because they won't boot properly... after a user found themselves with an inoperable OS on their internal eMMC storage.

It seems that once a rookie user has an issue with their eMMC the first thing they do is open the laptop and flip the reset button next to the eMMC storage. This isn't always necessary. I wanted to go over how I reinstalled the original [or updated, if you have an older version of the PBP] Manjaro OS back onto the eMMC without opening the system. From what I can gather, you can certainly open the system and access the internals to get things done - and in some cases this needs to happen... but I'd be willing to bet that in most rookie scenerios, this isn't the case.

This is excellent advice, but it seems there are things you can do accidentally that leave your Pinebook in a state that breaks even booting from SD.

See my recent post: https://forum.pine64.org/showthread.php?tid=11678

After flailing around a bit trying to get sleep to work (I'm now pretty sure it's not software at all but the mis-positioned magnet problem) if I leave the emmc enabled, I can't even boot from SD. I just get that baleeful orange light and it stays on forever.

If I disable emmc, I can boot from SD just fine.

Thanks for all your helpful write-ups!
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#7
>I'm now pretty sure it's not software at all but the mis-positioned magnet problem
well, it is quite easy to test, JUST DON"T CLOSE LID
That is, when you are about to go to sleep, suspend computer, close lid HALFWAY,
check in morning
The magnet has an effect when lid is about 2" from closed, and when all the way closed, re-awakes
(mine, at least)
echo fe330000.sdhci >/sys/bus/platform/drivers/sdhci-arasan/unbind ,,,(with emmc switched on again, of course)
lsblk |grep boot
If this last gives 2 (or 3) lines, there is your emmc, even tells you which mmcblkX, (one with boot0, boot1)
then new/different uboot OR blank
--edit--
There is a possibility that it is using /boot from emmc and / from SD,, this is quite bad, MUST be fixed
/boot should be on SD if booting from SD, comes from identical fs labels, confuses kernel
With manjaro, usually blk1 is SD,, blk2 is emmc
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#8
(09-30-2020, 10:34 AM)wdt Wrote: >--edit--
There is a possibility that it is using /boot from emmc and / from SD,, this is quite bad, MUST be fixed
/boot should be on SD if booting from SD, comes from identical fs labels, confuses kernel
With manjaro, usually blk1 is SD,,  blk2 is emmc

Not a chance, it is in fact using the emmc as /boot.

I know this because before I backed myself into this orange like purgatory corner, I reinstalled Manjaro 20.08 to the emmc with manjaro-arm-flasher, and in order to make that function, I had to umount /boot because I'd noticed that was using /dev/mmcblk2 or whatever it's called.

Happily I have a new 128GB emmc arriving Saturday, along with an emmc USB adapter so I should be able to fix this and also be OK for any future issue.

I also placed an order for the UART debug cable, but that hasn't been acknowledged by Pine yet so who knows when that'll arrive Smile

While I'll admit I got frustrated and a bit bitter at first, once I readjusted my expectations around the fact that this platform is SERIOUSLY the Wild, Wild West, and that this was going to be a huge opportunity for learning, I'm actually enjoying the process.

I do look forward to getting the Pinebook Pro to a working state though, and I did in fact perform that magnet lid closure test and the laptop does sleep when the lid is 1-2" away from closing, so that's why we're pretty sure this will fix it.

Now if only my wife and I can succeed in fixing the magnet position without smashing anything Smile

Thanks for all the feedback and help folks. This community is incredible!
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#9
You know, maybe, in systemsettings5, you can set it to "ignore" lid magnet?
and then use menu or pwr button to make it sleep
So, disassembly not needed, unless you are OCD
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#10
I purchased an emmc USB and tried to flash Ubuntu image from the wiki. Now the pinebook pro does not want to boot. Does the Ubuntu mate for pinebook pro not have the correct boot? How can I get Ubuntu to work?
  Reply


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