Novice question: Pinebook Pro does boot (does it?) but black screen
#1
Hello all,

I´m new to the forum and already asking for help. I ordered my Pinebook Pro in the spring this year and I got it delivered a few weeks later.
Although I haven´t used it at all recently I did check if it worked by the time it arrived and it did. It did boot as well from the internal memory as an sd-card, and I played a bit with it, set up wifi-connection for instance, nothing big.

Because of unrelated issues I didn´t get to use the PBP after that. This week I dug it up, charged it and pushed the on-button. And then nothing, or at least not much. The orange led lights up, changes to green after a couple of seconds and that is it. The screen stays off.
Although theCaps Lock and NumLock leds do function if the (combination of) keys are pressed, but that´s really all it does.

As a relative novice to Linux and especially open hardware like this I realize I´m probably in way over my head, but nevertheless I´m determined  to give it a try. I opened the backcover already but as far as I can tell nothing strange to see there.
The emmc-switch is toggled correctly, which is logical as it did boot at first. Pressing the reset-button didn´t make a difference.

So I´m at a loss here. Anyone here to help me to troubleshoot this? Where to start, what to check next, is it hardware- or software-related, etc, etc.

Help will be very much appriciated.

Cheers, Gert
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#2
Still on Manjaro, right?

Sounds like the mainline uboot issue I also had.

It will boot occasionally (maybe once in 10 tries). If so make sure you update and switch to the BSP uboot (search this forum or the Manjaro one, it's a bit more complicated, but not super difficult).

At least for me it boots with the BSP uboot consistently now.

Maybe the issue has also been fixed now without the BSP uboot. I didn't try to switch back.
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#3
The Reset button won't be very helpful to you here.

How long did you let it charge before turning it on/how long did it sit before that? If the battery is left to discharge and die for an extended period of time, it can take a day or so to get it fully recharged.

How long did the screen stay black, before you shut back down? It's unlikely, but since the image you have installed is from the Spring, it could be running slower due to the support available at the time.

Have you tried booting something from SD or USB yet? It might also be worth trying to get to a console (Ctrl+Alt+F1-6) after a few minutes.
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#4
Thanks for your replies.

Indeed still on Manjaro, I tried again this morning once after it charged during then night, to no avail. I will keep it charging during the night and give good number of tries tomorrow to see if it boots eventually.

I haven´t tried to boot from sd or usb yet. Is there an image you can recommend for each method?
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#5
If it's Manjaro, try booting it up, and hitting Esc after a few minutes at the black screen. Idk if it's still an issue with an updated Manjaro, but some installs would get stuck at the boot screen until you hit Esc. It was mostly on XFCE installs, but it'd happened with a few KDE installs, too.

Not really. (For now) avoid images using the BSP uboot/kernel. BSP and mainline (installed with Manjaro) don't play together very well. I'd honestly, say grab the SD->emmc installer images of Manjaro (available on osdn.net) so you can use it to quickly and easily update your system in one swoop.
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#6
Sometimes when the PBP shuts down with the screen off, that gets saved as the default screen brightness.  So it might be the screen is on, but really dim.
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#7
Succes!!!!

First I tried to start it up multiple times as poVoq suggested, but that didn´t give a result. Also hitting Escape as Tophneal suggested didn´t do the trick.

Then I downloaded the archlinux image from https://github.com/nadiaholmquist/archiso-pbp/releases and flashed the image on a USB stick with Balena Etcher, pushed the on-button and bingo, it boots up.

Because as I said in my first post I´m pretty much a novice to Linux and Archlinux is probably at least one bridge to far at the moment, I´m going to try to boot as more ¨less experienced user¨-friendly from SD. 

I´ll probably be back with more questions, but for now  I know at least the PBP is alive!
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#8
You might want to try Debian, which was the default operating system for the Pinebook Pro before Manjaro. It has proven itself much less likely to get you into these kind of situations.

Now that you've booted though, this is the time to make copies of anything you'd like to save that's on the eMMC. Then you can decide if you want to fix or replace the Manjaro installation.
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#9
Thanks, l will give Debian a try. Since last Saturday not much has happened. First I wanted to find out if the PBP would boot from the microSD with the Arch-image, but unfortunately my only microSD-card seems to be broken, at least I´m not able to flash the image on it.
With the semi-lockdown because of covid all non-essential shops are closed at the moment and with X-mas parcel-delivery is delayed is so my quest for a new microSD-card is not without obstacles.

That will give me time however to thoroughly browse the noobs-section.
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#10
Back here faster then I expected.



I took a microSD-card from a phone I forgot I had lying around, so that solved one problem. Next I downloaded the Debian Desktop Community Build Image [microSD to eMMC] by mrfixit2001, flashed it to the microSD-card with Etcher using a USB-to-SD-adapter as well as a SD-to-microSD-adapter.



With the card inserted I powered the PBP on and it booted up.  At first a very scrambled image of the Debian logo was visible for a little while, then the device seemed to power off (orange led) and the on again (green led) but now with a also very scrambled image, this time 14 x the Pine64 logo. The green led did blink sometimes, mostly not.



I left it for about an hour, but no change so far.



I used CTRL Alt F1 and did seem tot get into a terminal, at least that´s what I think it was, it could not be read as there were only lines of white dots instead of text.


Typing sudo shutdown with password rock didn´t do much, so in the end I pushed the on/off button to power the PBP off.



So far its been a ´1 step forward, 2 steps back´ kind of story, but at least steps are being made.



Anyway, as always any help will be much appreciated.
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