Pinebook Pro refuses to boot from eMMC
#1
Hi there!

I've tried to run my issue with Pine64 support, but they're no longer responding, so I reach out to you.

The main problem is that my computer suddenly wouldn't boot. The lights that usually go on to indicate that it's starting up were just dead: no lights.

I'll run my email conversation here, top->bottom, oldest->latest.

My initial email to support, politenesses cut:



When I attach the power cable to the supply, the light next to the power-cable entry-point shines red (as it always does when attached to a power cable), but other than that, it's completely dead.

I press the power button and nothing happens. I hold it for half a minute, yet nothing happens, by which I mean there are no lights that go on (which they otherwise usually have, i.e. the power light and the other lights between the keyboard and the screen).

I've charged the battery to the max, and nothing happens when I try to switch it on.

I've tried using a microSD card that's previously worked to boot from, but nothing happens this time. I used a Debian image then, without any issues.

I've opened the Pinebook Pro up and checked the cables and the switches, but they are as they should, according to https://wiki.pine64.org/index.php?title=Pinebook_Pro_Troubleshooting_Guide#New_from_the_factory_-_Pinebook_Pro_won.27t_boot_.2F_power_on - and I've not opened the Pinebook Pro prior to this problem occurring.

All the switches look as they should, and using the 'reset' button (underneath the hood, i.e. the button next to the one named 'restore') doesn't help either.




Pine64 support replied:

Please open the Pinebook Case, unplug the Lithium battery, connect the two jumper cable on the mainboard. Plug in DC power supply,
please advise whether your Pinebook Pro able to power up everytime.

Please note that jumper cable and battery connection is mutual exclusive.




My response:

I've just tried what you suggested, but the computer still won't start. I can't even see a red light after I've followed your instruction and connected the power cable.



Pine64 support asked whether I'd tried using different USB-C charging cables, possibly to make sure I wasn't trying to use a 0%-battery computer. I'd tried several different ones and also attached the electrical-charging cable that was included with Pinebook Pro. The battery should be fine, fully charged, and the battery was in superb condition when disaster struck.

Pine64 support then answered this:


Please check out the below steps and check whether your Pinebook Pro back to life.

1. Disable eMMC using switch #24 list on https://wiki.pine64.org/index.php/Pinebook_Pro_Main_Page#Mainboard_Switches_and_Buttons
2. Please add Android image to microSD card, the build locates at here: https://wiki.pine64.org/index.php/Pinebook_Pro_Software_Release#Android_7.1_microSD
3. Plug in the microSD card to Pinebook Pro and check whether able to boot up properly.
4. If able boot up, this implied your eMMC may be corrupted. If not, please lets know your observation.



I responded this:

I can confirm that I *can* boot the computer by disabling eMMC and then running the Android image from a MicroSD card!



Pine64 responded:

Please try download this build, dd to microSD. Boot up from microSD and follow on screen instruction to rebuild eMMC. 
 https://osdn.net/projects/manjaro-arm/storage/pbpro/kde-plasma/20.02.1/Manjaro-ARM-kde-plasma-pbpro-20.02.1-emmc-installer-20.02.1.img.xz

Kindly take note that data in eMMC will be format and lost.




I was *not* able to boot from that image (after I unarchived it and used dd to MicroSD, and also tried using Etcher just to make sure - both methods worked to burn the image to the MicroSD card).

I tried to boot with both eMMC disabled and enabled, via the switch under the bottom panel of Pinebook Pro, and neither worked.

I've since tried to boot from different images from Pine64 via MicroSD, but I haven't been able to boot from Manjaro, Kali, or Debian (all eMMC/MicroSD bootable according to the aforementioned Pine64 software page that their support people linked to): the lights on the keyboard level of the computer won't come on.

However, they *do* come on when I boot from the Android 7.1 image. I'm able to boot the image and use the OS, which is currently the only way for me to use the computer at all.

I also tried to boot a postmarketOS image (eMMC/MicroSD bootable) from MicroSD and after a while a big screen pops up and says 'unable to mount root partition'.

If anybody here has any tips on how to fix this, please comment.

Please know that I'm not at all Linux-savvy, which means I've not tried anything beyond the above. I'd love to be able to just use the Pinebook Pro and not have it collect dust while I wait for Pine64 to answer, if they will.
#2
It sounds like your issue is that the U-boot on your eMMC is hosed. You'll need to disable the eMMC, boot to SD, and switch the eMMC back on very early during booting to be able to fix it.

Get Debian from the link in the blog here. If that works, and it should, that's your best bet on the SD. If it doesn't boot, I'm not sure what to tell you. Once booted, if you turned on the eMMC at the right time, you should be able to copy the U-boot code from the SD to the eMMC, and assuming the operating system is still intact, the eMMC should return to normal operation.
#3
(12-08-2020, 06:50 AM)KC9UDX Wrote: It sounds like your issue is that the U-boot on your eMMC is hosed.  You'll need to disable the eMMC, boot to SD, and switch the eMMC back on very early during booting to be able to fix it.

Get Debian from the link in the blog here.  If that works, and it should, that's your best bet on the SD.  If it doesn't boot, I'm not sure what to tell you.  Once booted, if you turned on the eMMC at the right time, you should be able to copy the U-boot code from the SD to the eMMC, and assuming the operating system is still intact, the eMMC should return to normal operation.

Thanks a lot! Sadly, Debian didn't work to boot from (as mentioned). I'll see if anybody else here pitches in here or I'll hope for Pine64 support to help. I hope the warranty covers the eMMC, if that is indeed the issue.

I'd be happy to reinstall the entire OS if it's a quick fix.

I'm thinking of getting a Star Labs Lite Mk III if the Pinebook Pro dies and warranty won't cover it. I'm hoping for the best, though.
#4
Borked uboot is the likely culprit here.
will the Manjaro img you were originally asked to boot, boot from SD if your emmc is disabled? While the emmc is disabled, try every img you can until one boots. I'd ignore Android, b/ it doesn't have the tools needed to help salvage your emmc.

Also, to save you hassle, you don't have to quickly re enable the emmc during early boot. rebind the emmc well after boot, using this section: https://wiki.pine64.org/index.php/Pinebo...nformation
#5
(12-08-2020, 08:46 AM)tophneal Wrote: Borked uboot is the likely culprit here.
will the Manjaro img you were originally asked to boot, boot from SD if your emmc is disabled? While the emmc is disabled, try every img you can until one boots. I'd ignore Android, b/ it doesn't have the tools needed to help salvage your emmc.

Also, to save you hassle, you don't have to quickly re enable the emmc during early boot. rebind the emmc well after boot, using this section: https://wiki.pine64.org/index.php/Pinebo...nformation

Thanks a lot for your response!

The Manjaro image just displayed the Manjaro logo and a spinning progress indicator, but didn't progress for 30 minutes; I concluded that it didn't work.

I've just managed to boot using a Debian image, and when I've run those two commands that you linked to I see this:

echo fe330000.sdhci >/sys/bus/platform/drivers/sdhci-arasan/unbind
fe330000.sdhci unbind

and then:

echo fe330000.sdhci >/sys/bus/platform/drivers/sdhci-arasan/bind
fe330000.sdhci bind

I can't say that I understand the meaning of those lines, nor whether they actually did anything.


(12-08-2020, 06:50 AM)KC9UDX Wrote: It sounds like your issue is that the U-boot on your eMMC is hosed.  You'll need to disable the eMMC, boot to SD, and switch the eMMC back on very early during booting to be able to fix it.

Get Debian from the link in the blog here.  If that works, and it should, that's your best bet on the SD.  If it doesn't boot, I'm not sure what to tell you.  Once booted, if you turned on the eMMC at the right time, you should be able to copy the U-boot code from the SD to the eMMC, and assuming the operating system is still intact, the eMMC should return to normal operation.

Thanks! I've managed to boot to Debian, but I don't know how to copy the U-boot code from the SD to the eMMC; I don't even know what that means. Sad I've searched around but haven't found anything that seems apt to me. Any help would be greatly appreciated.
#6
(12-08-2020, 11:23 AM)pivic Wrote:
(12-08-2020, 08:46 AM)tophneal Wrote: Borked uboot is the likely culprit here.
will the Manjaro img you were originally asked to boot, boot from SD if your emmc is disabled? While the emmc is disabled, try every img you can until one boots. I'd ignore Android, b/ it doesn't have the tools needed to help salvage your emmc.

Also, to save you hassle, you don't have to quickly re enable the emmc during early boot. rebind the emmc well after boot, using this section: https://wiki.pine64.org/index.php/Pinebo...nformation

Thanks a lot for your response!

The Manjaro image just displayed the Manjaro logo and a spinning progress indicator, but didn't progress for 30 minutes; I concluded that it didn't work.

I've just managed to boot using a Debian image, and when I've run those two commands that you linked to I see this:

echo fe330000.sdhci >/sys/bus/platform/drivers/sdhci-arasan/unbind
fe330000.sdhci unbind

and then:

echo fe330000.sdhci >/sys/bus/platform/drivers/sdhci-arasan/bind
fe330000.sdhci bind

I can't say that I understand the meaning of those lines, nor whether they actually did anything.


(12-08-2020, 06:50 AM)KC9UDX Wrote: It sounds like your issue is that the U-boot on your eMMC is hosed.  You'll need to disable the eMMC, boot to SD, and switch the eMMC back on very early during booting to be able to fix it.

Get Debian from the link in the blog here.  If that works, and it should, that's your best bet on the SD.  If it doesn't boot, I'm not sure what to tell you.  Once booted, if you turned on the eMMC at the right time, you should be able to copy the U-boot code from the SD to the eMMC, and assuming the operating system is still intact, the eMMC should return to normal operation.

Thanks! I've managed to boot to Debian, but I don't know how to copy the U-boot code from the SD to the eMMC; I don't even know what that means. Sad I've searched around but haven't found anything that seems apt to me. Any help would be greatly appreciated.

Those 2 lines bind/mount the emmc so you can access it from the OS booted on SD. After running the second line, you should be able to see the emmc mounted, or ready to mount.

For uboot, not to be rude, but you haven't dug deep enough yet. There's lots of info on uboot for the PBP here on the forums and in the wiki, though, the forum's search is disasterous. The commands to write the uboot to the emmc can be found in the debian updater script: https://github.com/mrfixit2001/updates_r..._update.sh (lines 18,22,26) You'll need to make sure, first, that you're writing these files to your emmc and not the SD. lsblk in terminal will show you the devices available (if you're booted from SD and dont see your emmc, refer back to the bind commands.) pcm720's uboot also has the files and terminal commands all together for easy reference: https://github.com/pcm720/rockchip-u-boot/releases
#7
How much do you value whatever is on the eMMC right now? (You should never have anything you can't afford to lose on there; you should always have backups!)

If there's nothing there of consequence, you could copy the entire working SD card to the eMMC (assuming that the SD card is the same size or smaller than the eMMC). Or, install a new image of the operating system of your choice to the eMMC.

You would of course lose anything you had on the eMMC, but you'd be starting over with a new, working system.
#8
(12-08-2020, 12:56 PM)tophneal Wrote:
(12-08-2020, 11:23 AM)pivic Wrote:
(12-08-2020, 08:46 AM)tophneal Wrote: Borked uboot is the likely culprit here.
will the Manjaro img you were originally asked to boot, boot from SD if your emmc is disabled? While the emmc is disabled, try every img you can until one boots. I'd ignore Android, b/ it doesn't have the tools needed to help salvage your emmc.

Also, to save you hassle, you don't have to quickly re enable the emmc during early boot. rebind the emmc well after boot, using this section: https://wiki.pine64.org/index.php/Pinebo...nformation

Thanks a lot for your response!

The Manjaro image just displayed the Manjaro logo and a spinning progress indicator, but didn't progress for 30 minutes; I concluded that it didn't work.

I've just managed to boot using a Debian image, and when I've run those two commands that you linked to I see this:

echo fe330000.sdhci >/sys/bus/platform/drivers/sdhci-arasan/unbind
fe330000.sdhci unbind

and then:

echo fe330000.sdhci >/sys/bus/platform/drivers/sdhci-arasan/bind
fe330000.sdhci bind

I can't say that I understand the meaning of those lines, nor whether they actually did anything.


(12-08-2020, 06:50 AM)KC9UDX Wrote: It sounds like your issue is that the U-boot on your eMMC is hosed.  You'll need to disable the eMMC, boot to SD, and switch the eMMC back on very early during booting to be able to fix it.

Get Debian from the link in the blog here.  If that works, and it should, that's your best bet on the SD.  If it doesn't boot, I'm not sure what to tell you.  Once booted, if you turned on the eMMC at the right time, you should be able to copy the U-boot code from the SD to the eMMC, and assuming the operating system is still intact, the eMMC should return to normal operation.

Thanks! I've managed to boot to Debian, but I don't know how to copy the U-boot code from the SD to the eMMC; I don't even know what that means. Sad I've searched around but haven't found anything that seems apt to me. Any help would be greatly appreciated.

Those 2 lines bind/mount the emmc so you can access it from the OS booted on SD. After running the second line, you should be able to see the emmc mounted, or ready to mount.

For uboot, not to be rude, but you haven't dug deep enough yet. There's lots of info on uboot for the PBP here on the forums and in the wiki, though, the forum's search is disasterous. The commands to write the uboot to the emmc can be found in the debian updater script: https://github.com/mrfixit2001/updates_r..._update.sh (lines 18,22,26) You'll need to make sure, first, that you're writing these files to your emmc and not the SD. lsblk in terminal will show you the devices available (if you're booted from SD and dont see your emmc, refer back to the bind commands.) pcm720's uboot also has the files and terminal commands all together for easy reference: https://github.com/pcm720/rockchip-u-boot/releases

Thanks a lot for your time, effort, and patience with myself, being a complete noob.

You're not rude at all; I should have been clear: I don't know Linux much, and even though I've now read up a lot about U-boot.

Firstly, the bind/mount commands didn't mount anything. I performed an lsdsk, which actually listed the eMMC, but still.

Secondly, I ran Mr. Fixit's script as sudo:

[Image: H0XxJpi.png]

Reboot did nothing: eMMC switch was in the correct position (towards the hinge) so eMMC wasn't turned off. I couldn't boot Pinebook Pro from the eMMC, but it could boot from SD.

Thirdly, I retried the script:

[Image: XvvETH9.png]

That did nothing either; the same result as mentioned at my second attempt (as mentioned in this post).

Fourthly, I did this:

[Image: 2jzMxQd.png]

After that little manoeuvre, the computer won't start at all, not from SD nor eMMC. I'm guessing I've now either completely bricked the computer or something else is the matter. At any rate, this computer is becoming my Joker's Origin Story, but I could have myself to blame completely, which I naturally accept. Desperation has brought me to this moment.  Tongue

Any help at this point would greatly be appreciated.

(12-08-2020, 04:06 PM)KC9UDX Wrote: How much do you value whatever is on the eMMC right now?  (You should never have anything you can't afford to lose on there; you should always have backups!)

If there's nothing there of consequence, you could copy the entire working SD card to the eMMC (assuming that the SD card is the same size or smaller than the eMMC).  Or, install a new image of the operating system of your choice to the eMMC.

You would of course lose anything you had on the eMMC, but you'd be starting over with a new, working system.

Hey! Thanks! I've got everything of value on the computer backed up, so I'll happily wipe the eMMC.

I'm sorry, but I don't know how to copy everything from the SD to the eMMC. I mean, I can see the eMMC partition by doing lsdsk but it's not mounted at all. The 'bind/unbind' tip I got earlier in this thread actually didn't mount anything (and I was using a Debian image).
#9
(12-09-2020, 11:33 AM)pivic Wrote: Thanks a lot for your time, effort, and patience with myself, being a complete noob.

You're not rude at all; I should have been clear: I don't know Linux much, and even though I've now read up a lot about U-boot.

Firstly, the bind/mount commands didn't mount anything. I performed an lsdsk, which actually listed the eMMC, but still.

Secondly, I ran Mr. Fixit's script as sudo:

[Image: H0XxJpi.png]

Reboot did nothing: eMMC switch was in the correct position (towards the hinge) so eMMC wasn't turned off. I couldn't boot Pinebook Pro from the eMMC, but it could boot from SD.

Thirdly, I retried the script:

[Image: XvvETH9.png]

That did nothing either; the same result as mentioned at my second attempt (as mentioned in this post).

Fourthly, I did this:

[Image: 2jzMxQd.png]

After that little manoeuvre, the computer won't start at all, not from SD nor eMMC. I'm guessing I've now either completely bricked the computer or something else is the matter. At any rate, this computer is becoming my Joker's Origin Story, but I could have myself to blame completely, which I naturally accept. Desperation has brought me to this moment.  Tongue

Any help at this point would greatly be appreciated.
You're on the right path in that last image.

judging from the lsblk output, the emmc was bound and mountable. I goofed there. Binding will make it visible to the PBP again, so it can be mounted, but you don't necessarily need it mounted for this.

Concerning the dd commands you ran:
1. it'll need to be run with sudo.
2. do NOT include any partitions. you used mmcblk1p1, but you should be using mmcblk1. Look at the commands given on the page for pcm720's uboot that i linked previously.
3. don't bother with the SPI img. get rid of it, it's considered unstable even for those that know what they're doing, and it won't work on the emmc (it's made specifically for the PBP's SPI.) you write that to the wrong place, and you'll likely need to rewrite your emmc.

If your Debian SD won't boot, I'd just rewrite it. Easiest/fastest way to get it back up and booting.
#10
Don't write uboot or idbloader or trust to any partitions NOT mmcblk1p1,,
unless you have made those partitions in EXACTLY the right place
ie, 64 sectors, 8M, 12M (and a raw write, obviously no filesystem)
Normally, partitions start at 16M (32768 sectors) or more after start of device,
the 1st 16M is for mbr and uboot files


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