Hardware problems with PineBook Pro
#1
I am not real sure where to send this request. In late 2019, probably between late November and mid December, I ordered a PineBook Pro. This laptop was selected for a few reasons: Mainly the initial cost of the unit, and also the operating system. I did not, and still do not, know that much about the Manjaro programming language but understand that it is either a subset of Linux or is based on Linux. And I am trying to learn the Linux programming language. My use of the PineBook Pro would be as a study aid to use with a desktop computer that has Linux as the operating system. I plan to have a lesson or problem on the screen of the desktop and work on the solution on the PineBook Pro.


Not very long after my order was placed the first word about the corona virus came out in the news media and the factories in China started shutting down. Then other companies around the world started cutting back on their production because many of the parts that were needed were manufactured in China and were subject to the general shut down. Thus, all shipments of PineBook Pros became delayed. My order was finally shipped sometime between mid April and early May. It was delivered about the middle of May 2020.


The first time I turned the PineBook Pro on, I was able to go completely through the initial setup process. However, that was the only time that laptop even got past the login screen. Since that time, and I have attempted to turn it on and try to use it at least once almost every other week, the PineBook Pro only gets to a state where the power LED shows green and the three security switches (the microphone, the WiFi, and the camera switches) would show any indication of being pressed. The display would be black and would not respond in any way to any keyboard input or command. It seems to me that there is some hardware malfunction or problem that is preventing the PineBook Pro from powering on and becoming fully operational. I am requesting a Return Merchandise Authorization (RMA) so that this PineBook Pro can be returned to the distribution location and thoroughly checked out for any and all problems with the hardware inside this laptop. As it is right now, this laptop is and has not been usable for anything.


My email address as shown in the user profile is watched more than the forum so any answers and/or suggestions would be seen quicker if sent in an email than in a forum post.
Thank you,
James Good
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#2
Your best source of help at this point is this forum. Pine64 does not currently have the kind of resources to take in your unit for testing, I don't think. You would be better off buying a new one. But first, let's get the one you have working.

Fortunately, it seems that you are having a software problem, and one that seems to be commonly reported with Manjaro. What you'll need to do is install Manjaro or some other operating system on an SD card, with which to boot the Pinebook Pro. I recommend the Debian image that was originally the official operating system, rather than Manjaro. But Manjaro should really work, too. Go to the Wiki linked at the top of this page, to Devices -> Pinebook Pro -> Pinebook Pro Images, and download either the Debian Desktop or Manjaro ARM image. Then you'll need an appropriate micro SD card, and a way to write the image to it.

Let us know what operating system you have on the computer you intend to write the SD card with, and we can tell you how to do that.

This may seem tedious and undesirable, but really this is the best possible way to learn what you're trying to learn.

It's also possible that someone can walk you through how to fix your current Manjaro installation the way it is. But I think you're better off booting from a micro SD first. You should have this ability anyway.
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#3
(01-07-2021, 09:10 PM)KC9UDX Wrote: Your best source of help at this point is this forum.  Pine64 does not currently have the kind of resources to take in your unit for testing, I don't think.  You would be better off buying a new one.  But first, let's get the one you have working.

Fortunately, it seems that you are having a software problem, and one that seems to be commonly reported with Manjaro.  What you'll need to do is install Manjaro or some other operating system on an SD card, with which to boot the Pinebook Pro.  I recommend the Debian image that was originally the official operating system, rather than Manjaro.  But Manjaro should really work, too.  Go to the Wiki linked at the top of this page, to Devices -> Pinebook Pro -> Pinebook Pro Images, and download either the Debian Desktop or Manjaro ARM image.  Then you'll need an appropriate micro SD card, and a way to write the image to it.

Let us know what operating system you have on the computer you intend to write the SD card with, and we can tell you how to do that.

This may seem tedious and undesirable, but really this is the best possible way to learn what you're trying to learn.

It's also possible that someone can walk you through how to fix your current Manjaro installation the way it is.  But I think you're better off booting from a micro SD first.  You should have this ability anyway.
Thank you.  I downloaded one of the Debian distros and got the PineBook Pro to boot into the desktop.   Smile
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#4
Messing with the partition layout is a bit dangerous, because the start of the eMMC/SD card is layed out in a specific way. 

The RK3399 SoC will read it's idbloader.img from byte 32768 (from the start of the device, sector 0x40). 
After that is the u-boot at the magic offset byte 8388608 (sector 0x4000). 
That's the reason why partitions are starting rather far into the device on the stock images, to make space for the bootloader and SPL.

You can find more information about the boot process in this wiki article from Rockchip:
http://opensource.rock-chips.com/wiki_Boot_option

In short: Don't touch the first ~16-32 MiB of the device and you'll be fine. 
Otherwise, you'll need to dd the bootloader and idbloader back onto the partition after your actions: 
Code:
Code:
dd if=idbloader.img of=/dev/sdb seek=64

dd if=u-boot.itb of=/dev/sdb seek=16384
(as root, these files are probably in /boot)

Tobias

This message was forwarded to me by a friend that does not own a PineBook Pro but does use Linux on his computers.  An earlier message provided a link to a full factory image of the original Manjaro operating system.  I followed the link to the Manjaro operating system and downloaded it to my main computer (which is running Ubuntu 20.04.2 LTS.  That ISO was successfully burned to a new thumb drive which has been labeled and will not be used for any other programs.  When I insert the thumb drive in one of the USB ports on the PBP and power it on, the power light does indicate that the system is trying to boot, but nothing else happens.  If when I power the PBP on, if I quickly press the ESC key, I can get the Manjaro logo and a spinning indicator that the system is at least trying to do something.  If I press the ESC key a second time while the spinning indicator is showing, another page comes up informing me that the ONLY purpose of the image is to flash Manjaro-ARM to internal eMMC or other internal storage.  It will destroy all data on the eMMC.  Do you want to proceed?  [YES]  [no]  When I select YES and try to continue, the next page asks me to choose the eMMC device -- Be sure the correct drive is selected!  Currently, the sdcard is at "sda2 on."  Then there is a chart or list with five entries:  sda, mmcblk2, mmcblk2boot0, mmcblk2boot1, and mmcblk1.  No matter which option is selected, when I press ENTER to continue, I get a terminal screen with these lines: "==> Image does not exist....   [root@manjaro-arm ~]# "  and an empty command line.  The command 'ls' does list the files: "BOOT mmcblk2boot0" then another command line.  The command "cd .. " then another "ls" gives: "bin  boot  dev  etc  home  lib  lost+found  mnt  opt  procv root  run  sbin srv  sys  tmp usr  var."  A "cd bin" returns a long list of files, but no real way to see all of the names.  A "cd lib" and "ls" also returns a long list of files.  There appears to be no way to copy the image file to the eMMC (any one of the eMMC blocks) or to further extract or install the files needed to get the PBP to boot and run as it should.  Any additional help would be very welcome as this PBP is fast becoming an expensive paperweight.
James Good
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#5
The PBP will not boot from a USB port. The power light is driven by software, likely whatever if on your eMMC. A serial console would help you see what's going on at that point. But again, you cannot boot from USB, only micro SD or the eMMC. (Or SPI flash ROM, and then some other source, but we'll not involve that for now.)
:wq



[ SRA accepts you ]
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#6
(07-08-2021, 05:23 PM)James Good Wrote: Messing with the partition layout is a bit dangerous, because the start of the eMMC/SD card is layed out in a specific way. 

The RK3399 SoC will read it's idbloader.img from byte 32768 (from the start of the device, sector 0x40). 
After that is the u-boot at the magic offset byte 8388608 (sector 0x4000). 
That's the reason why partitions are starting rather far into the device on the stock images, to make space for the bootloader and SPL.

You can find more information about the boot process in this wiki article from Rockchip:
http://opensource.rock-chips.com/wiki_Boot_option

In short: Don't touch the first ~16-32 MiB of the device and you'll be fine.

U-boot is restricted to just 16MiB. In practice it uses much less than that, but to be safe - make sure the very first actual partition starts at exactly 16MiB mark (32768 count of 512 byte sectors) and you'll be perfectly fine. No need to go all the way to 32MiB.
This message was created with 100% recycled electrons
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#7
(07-09-2021, 08:45 AM)moonwalkers Wrote:
(07-08-2021, 05:23 PM)James Good Wrote: Messing with the partition layout is a bit dangerous, because the start of the eMMC/SD card is layed out in a specific way. 

The RK3399 SoC will read it's idbloader.img from byte 32768 (from the start of the device, sector 0x40). 
After that is the u-boot at the magic offset byte 8388608 (sector 0x4000). 
That's the reason why partitions are starting rather far into the device on the stock images, to make space for the bootloader and SPL.

You can find more information about the boot process in this wiki article from Rockchip:
http://opensource.rock-chips.com/wiki_Boot_option

In short: Don't touch the first ~16-32 MiB of the device and you'll be fine.

U-boot is restricted to just 16MiB. In practice it uses much less than that, but to be safe - make sure the very first actual partition starts at exactly 16MiB mark (32768 count of 512 byte sectors) and you'll be perfectly fine. No need to go all the way to 32MiB.

Moonwalkers,
The part of the message you quoted in your message to me was originally posted by someone else.  In truth, my main reason for getting a PineBook Pro was to LEARN more about the Linux operating system and to become able to use the command line more effectively in the future.
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#8
(07-09-2021, 11:57 AM)James Good Wrote: Moonwalkers,
The part of the message you quoted in your message to me was originally posted by someone else.  In truth, my main reason for getting a PineBook Pro was to LEARN more about the Linux operating system and to become able to use the command line more effectively in the future.

Take a look at your post - it is formatted in the way that the part I quoted looks like it was written by you. If you can fix the formatting in your post and attribute the quote properly - I will gladly do the same in mine.
This message was created with 100% recycled electrons
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