My pbp is a sleek, black, flat brick, and won't boot from any kind of media
#1
Hiya PBP folks,

My new pinebook pro will not give any indication of booting regardless of media. Now before you tell me the PBP isn't brickable, let me say that I've searched the forums here and found lots of answers describing non-booting PBPs, but none of them match the behavior I'm seeing. Let me also run down what I've tried:

- I tried to power on with an SD card flashed with this image: https://github.com/nadiaholmquist/archiso-pbp/releases
(With a nice long hold on the power button.)

- I tried to power on with a USB drive flashed with that same arch linux image (on the opposite-side USB port from the SD card to eliminated the chance that it was something wrong with the mini-board).

- I tried removing the eMMC and disabling with the eMMC switch on the board and powering on with an SD or USB drive.

- I tried  disconnecting the battery and connecting the bypass cables and tried to power on using the eMMC, SD, and USB.

- I tried re-seating the mini-board connector cable.

- I tried pushing the reset button. A lot.

In all cases the only life of any kind the PBP will show is a red light for the battery indicator when the power supply is plugged in. (So _some_ kind of power is going through the system.)

Here's some background that may or may not be relevant:

I got this unit a month or two ago. From the very first time I booted it the keyboard didn't work correctly. It seems it was an unusual hardware problem with the keyboard, see this thread for details: https://forum.pine64.org/showthread.php?tid=11300

The PINE64 folks replaced the keyboard and shipped it back to me. Manjaro booted and the keyboard worked perfectly at that point. The first thing I did was try to boot it off the SD card with that Arch image because I wanted to install Arch. But the SD card would not boot and would not be recognized by Manjaro. _Before_ the keyboard was replaced, I had booted this same SD card with the same Arch Linux image (and when the keyboard didn't work correctly in Arch on the SD I knew it wasn't a software problem with the keyboard.) 

So I pacman -Syu updated Manjaro, including the uboot flash because I was hoping this might fix my SD card not reading. It was after that update that it would never boot again.

My guess:

I suspect there's probably two things going wrong at the same time (the really tricky problems are always compound like that!) I suspect the SD card reader (and possibly the mini board) is not working (hardware). And at the same time I toasted the eMMC with the uboot flash (software). But then why I can't I boot my USB drive? Is there a way to move USB up the boot order so the PBP wants to boot from it first?

I contacted PBP support about this, but since it (initially) sounds so much like the normal toasting of the eMMC, they sent me back to the forum to get your opinions on whether this is purely a software issue.

Let me know if you have any insights! And thanks for reading!
  Reply
#2
(06-19-2021, 09:01 AM)rotwang Wrote: Hiya PBP folks,

My new pinebook pro will not give any indication of booting regardless of media. Now before you tell me the PBP isn't brickable, let me say that I've searched the forums here and found lots of answers describing non-booting PBPs, but none of them match the behavior I'm seeing. Let me also run down what I've tried:

- I tried to power on with an SD card flashed with this image: https://github.com/nadiaholmquist/archiso-pbp/releases
(With a nice long hold on the power button.)

- I tried to power on with a USB drive flashed with that same arch linux image (on the opposite-side USB port from the SD card to eliminated the chance that it was something wrong with the mini-board).

- I tried removing the eMMC and disabling with the eMMC switch on the board and powering on with an SD or USB drive.

- I tried  disconnecting the battery and connecting the bypass cables and tried to power on using the eMMC, SD, and USB.

- I tried re-seating the mini-board connector cable.

- I tried pushing the reset button. A lot.

In all cases the only life of any kind the PBP will show is a red light for the battery indicator when the power supply is plugged in. (So _some_ kind of power is going through the system.)

Here's some background that may or may not be relevant:

I got this unit a month or two ago. From the very first time I booted it the keyboard didn't work correctly. It seems it was an unusual hardware problem with the keyboard, see this thread for details: https://forum.pine64.org/showthread.php?tid=11300

The PINE64 folks replaced the keyboard and shipped it back to me. Manjaro booted and the keyboard worked perfectly at that point. The first thing I did was try to boot it off the SD card with that Arch image because I wanted to install Arch. But the SD card would not boot and would not be recognized by Manjaro. _Before_ the keyboard was replaced, I had booted this same SD card with the same Arch Linux image (and when the keyboard didn't work correctly in Arch on the SD I knew it wasn't a software problem with the keyboard.) 

So I pacman -Syu updated Manjaro, including the uboot flash because I was hoping this might fix my SD card not reading. It was after that update that it would never boot again.

My guess:

I suspect there's probably two things going wrong at the same time (the really tricky problems are always compound like that!) I suspect the SD card reader (and possibly the mini board) is not working (hardware). And at the same time I toasted the eMMC with the uboot flash (software). But then why I can't I boot my USB drive? Is there a way to move USB up the boot order so the PBP wants to boot from it first?

I contacted PBP support about this, but since it (initially) sounds so much like the normal toasting of the eMMC, they sent me back to the forum to get your opinions on whether this is purely a software issue.

Let me know if you have any insights! And thanks for reading!

Hi Rotrang, MY sympathies. I have a PBP that went bricko when I tried to run a Fedora arm image flashed to an sd card. No response from power button. I followed all instructions I could find: trying other flashed sd cards (armbian, manjaro 20.04); reflashing the SPI with zeroes (several days to figure out how to compile the RK flashing utility and then connect (finally) and successfully flashed zeroes to SPI); enableing/disableing the emmc card; downloading a new manjaro (21.04) and flashing it to a new sd (class1) and to the emmc via a USB/emmc unit plugged into a 3.0 port on another computer (all flashing done with Etcher and verified); tried reseating the sd daughter board.
Nothing at any stage made a difference.
The charging light comes on for a a few minutes when plugged in and then goes out. Does that mean that the battery is fully charged? i left the charger in for fifteen hours; the red light would occasionally reappear and after awhile go out.
Still nothing. Inert.
I don't know what else to try The PBP worked well before I tried to load a different OS (Fedora).
Have you learned anything that might be useful?
Anybody? What do you do when there is absolutely no feedback from the PBP?
Is puzzle. Anybody?
  Reply
#3
What do I do? I use the serial console to see what U-Boot is doing. If nothing, then I know I don't have a valid U-Boot.

Make sure the power is off: hold the power button for twenty seconds. Then charge overnight with a USB-C charger. This is important.

Don't try to boot from USB. Disable your eMMC. Try multiple SD-cards. Do use only micro-sd cards in the PBPs slot, don't use any kind of adaptor.
  Reply
#4
(06-19-2021, 09:01 AM)rotwang Wrote: Hiya PBP folks,

My new pinebook pro will not give any indication of booting regardless of media. Now before you tell me the PBP isn't brickable, let me say that I've searched the forums here and found lots of answers describing non-booting PBPs, but none of them match the behavior I'm seeing. Let me also run down what I've tried:

- I tried to power on with an SD card flashed with this image: https://github.com/nadiaholmquist/archiso-pbp/releases
(With a nice long hold on the power button.)

- I tried to power on with a USB drive flashed with that same arch linux image (on the opposite-side USB port from the SD card to eliminated the chance that it was something wrong with the mini-board).

- I tried removing the eMMC and disabling with the eMMC switch on the board and powering on with an SD or USB drive.

- I tried  disconnecting the battery and connecting the bypass cables and tried to power on using the eMMC, SD, and USB.

- I tried re-seating the mini-board connector cable.

- I tried pushing the reset button. A lot.

In all cases the only life of any kind the PBP will show is a red light for the battery indicator when the power supply is plugged in. (So _some_ kind of power is going through the system.)

Here's some background that may or may not be relevant:

I got this unit a month or two ago. From the very first time I booted it the keyboard didn't work correctly. It seems it was an unusual hardware problem with the keyboard, see this thread for details: https://forum.pine64.org/showthread.php?tid=11300

The PINE64 folks replaced the keyboard and shipped it back to me. Manjaro booted and the keyboard worked perfectly at that point. The first thing I did was try to boot it off the SD card with that Arch image because I wanted to install Arch. But the SD card would not boot and would not be recognized by Manjaro. _Before_ the keyboard was replaced, I had booted this same SD card with the same Arch Linux image (and when the keyboard didn't work correctly in Arch on the SD I knew it wasn't a software problem with the keyboard.) 

So I pacman -Syu updated Manjaro, including the uboot flash because I was hoping this might fix my SD card not reading. It was after that update that it would never boot again.

My guess:

I suspect there's probably two things going wrong at the same time (the really tricky problems are always compound like that!) I suspect the SD card reader (and possibly the mini board) is not working (hardware). And at the same time I toasted the eMMC with the uboot flash (software). But then why I can't I boot my USB drive? Is there a way to move USB up the boot order so the PBP wants to boot from it first?

I contacted PBP support about this, but since it (initially) sounds so much like the normal toasting of the eMMC, they sent me back to the forum to get your opinions on whether this is purely a software issue.

Let me know if you have any insights! And thanks for reading!
My sympathies go out to you, I have had similar problems on my machine.
The pinebook pro does not support USB boot.
I (and other users) could not get a live system to boot from certain SD cards.
Personally, I only got a SanDisk 16GB to work, I recommend you try this with the eMCC switch turned off.

PS. This may not be relevant, but I will still put it here.
I used a mackbook air to make my recovery sd using the default Disks program.
THIS NEVER WORKED! I only got a proper sd on windows using etcher and on linux using literally any disk burning utility such as Gnome Disks, dd and Unebootin.
  Reply
#5
mrfixit-uboot]$ strings uboot.img |grep target
boot_targets=mmc1 nvme0 usb0 mmc0 pxe dhcp
But it is a bit 'spotty' booting usb, sometimes will, sometimes won't
+1 try another card
Just to be clear,,
7-8 s press = hard power off (always try this 1st)
20+s press = hard reset (I think equivalent to button inside??)
Even though it is quite dated, mrfixit's distro is quite reliable
  Reply
#6
Thanks for the specifics on the how long to hold the power button. I was doing "long holds" but not with any kind of specific timing.
I'll try that first.

But if the SD card wouldn't boot _before_ I flashed the uboot, when Manjaro was working fine, it seems unlikely to boot now.

It sounds like my only options are to get the serial console on the UART going (I don't have that hardware, and I'm lousy with a soldering iron even if I had one) or get the eMMC adapter and try flashing the eMMC on my other machine. Right?

I only use dd on linux for doing image flashing, for precisely that reason that I've had bad luck with Mac disk creation in the past.

Thanks yos!

(06-19-2021, 08:18 PM)KC9UDX Wrote: What do I do? I use the serial console to see what U-Boot is doing.  If nothing, then I know I don't have a valid U-Boot.

Make sure the power is off: hold the power button for twenty seconds.  Then charge overnight with a USB-C charger.  This is important.

Don't try to boot from USB.  Disable your eMMC.  Try multiple SD-cards.  Do use only micro-sd cards in the PBPs slot, don't use any kind of adaptor.


Oh thanks. I'll run through this diligent process and see if I can get 'er to move at all.
  Reply
#7
Manjaro has put out more than 1 bad uboot,,
in general, if your uboot is working OK, you should NOT be at all eager
to flash a new, unknown one
Since the uboot on emmc will be the 1st found, you may have to disable (or remove) emmc
  Reply
#8
This sounds like two separate issues combined into one.

First thing is that yes, I think that U-Boot flash completely toasted the U-Boot install. With the version that comes with Manjaro, the power LED should turn yellow/orange as soon as U-Boot starts executing. If the LED stays red, it's not running at all. The big problem with this is that most of the boot options we're familiar with are reliant on U-Boot. The RK3399 SoC by itself will try to boot from SPI, eMMC, and then SD in that order. It will not attempt to boot a USB drive.

That leads to the second problem: SD cards. The PBP is pretty picky about how images are flashed to an SD card. Make sure you just flash the .img file (not the .gz or .xz it may be compressed in) to the card. I'd recommend using Etcher or Win32DiskImager on Windows or dd on Linux to do the flashing. If that doesn't work, try other SD cards. If that doesn't work, given that your PBP got repaired, I'd recommend opening up your PBP and checking if the two boards have their ribbon cable between them connected correctly.

If all the above fails... contact support again.
Community administrator and sysadmin for PINE64
(Translation: If something breaks on the website, forum, or chat network, I'm a good person to yell at about it)

  Reply
#9
(06-20-2021, 12:04 PM)fire219 Wrote: This sounds like two separate issues combined into one.

First thing is that yes, I think that U-Boot flash completely toasted the U-Boot install. With the version that comes with Manjaro, the power LED should turn yellow/orange as soon as U-Boot starts executing. If the LED stays red, it's not running at all. The big problem with this is that most of the boot options we're familiar with are reliant on U-Boot. The RK3399 SoC by itself will try to boot from SPI, eMMC, and then SD in that order. It will not attempt to boot a USB drive.

That leads to the second problem: SD cards. The PBP is pretty picky about how images are flashed to an SD card. Make sure you just flash the .img file (not the .gz or .xz it may be compressed in) to the card. I'd recommend using Etcher or Win32DiskImager on Windows or dd on Linux to do the flashing. If that doesn't work, try other SD cards. If that doesn't work, given that your PBP got repaired, I'd recommend opening up your PBP and checking if the two boards have their ribbon cable between them connected correctly.

If all the above fails... contact support again.

Thanks for the helpful set of tips! But based on other forum posts on this topic, I had already tried all your SD card recommendations before I contacted support the first time. (I know I posted a long post, but it's all in there.)

Thanks for the note on USB not being an option. That leaves me with aimlessly kicking the SD card around (trying various cards, images, re-seating the cable to the mini-board again) or buying the eMMC->USB thingy.
  Reply
#10
No boot SOLVED
My experience for what it's worth:
I went through all the suggested fixes (described in a previous post: flashing zeros to SPI, checking daughterboard cable, etc) and finally started over. I had tried so many approaches, that I was losing track. I used a second computer, a 2gb HP celeron laptop running puppy Easy OS on a usb stick.
I disabled the 64gb emmc and removed it. I had already flashed the SPI with zeros. That left only the sd slot for booting.
I downloaded balena-Etcher on the HP, unzipped it, and changed permissions to allow execution. I downloaded the Manjaro ARM KDE plasma... 21.06 . I put a 32gb Kingston HC1 "Canvas" sd into a usb multipurpose reader from IOGear Model GRR304SD and put reader into a USB 2.0 port. I used Etcher to flash the 21.06 file onto the sd card. After the file was flashed (5 min), Etcher ran a validation check which failed. I redid the flashing, and the validation check said the flashed image was fine.
So, I loaded the Kingston sd card into the bare bones PBP, held the power switch down for a minute, clicked the tiny reset button on the motherboard, pushed the power switch for a few seconds, AND, for the first time in two weeks, the PBP lit up and went into action.
One down, one to go.
I removed the sd card, enabled the emmc , pushed the power switch and got nothing. So:
I loaded the emmc card on to an Ordroid USBEEMMC (Olympian LED) reader that I bought for the purpose, and put it into the 3.0 USB port on the HP. When mounted, I looked at some of the files and found that I had previously flashed the Manjaro KDE plasma...21.07 file, the one meant for intel machines. Using Etcher again, I flashed the ARM 21.06 file that worked on the sd card.
I reinserted the emmc card in the PBP, and it worked fine. Put the sd card in as well; and that worked.
So, it was all my stupidity. I highly recommend Etcher, the Ordroid USB-Emmc reader, and the IOgear USB reader. I used the pricier sd cards to be safe. If I have trouble in the future, I would not flash zeros to the SPI until every other option failed. It took me days to do and I'm not sure that it was needed.
Loving my PBP.
  Reply


Possibly Related Threads…
Thread Author Replies Views Last Post
  U-Boot with direct NVMe boot support for eMMC/SPI Flash pcm720 120 109,750 09-11-2021, 02:16 PM
Last Post: calinb
  How can I flash SPI so that I can boot from NVMe? codingpanic 5 585 08-24-2021, 05:07 AM
Last Post: codingpanic
  U-Boot, video console, and visual artifacts dsimic 15 2,251 07-28-2021, 09:37 AM
Last Post: dsimic
  boot order straightwalker 6 657 07-22-2021, 12:31 AM
Last Post: wdt
Tongue Hello my frend. How to fix my boot problem? carinosa 6 764 07-04-2021, 04:01 AM
Last Post: jiyong
  cannot boot SD card : "unable to select a mode" alchemist 0 332 06-18-2021, 02:03 AM
Last Post: alchemist
  Pinebook Boot CharlesBunders 14 3,009 06-15-2021, 07:40 PM
Last Post: James Good
  PBP won't boot alchemist 5 958 06-07-2021, 09:31 AM
Last Post: alchemist
  Flickering black window when opening settings Edgars10 0 283 06-06-2021, 05:42 AM
Last Post: Edgars10
  Broken Boot djhnsn 15 2,517 05-05-2021, 04:14 PM
Last Post: djhnsn

Forum Jump:


Users browsing this thread: 1 Guest(s)