console on SOEDGE Model A Baseboard
#1
I am trying to get the console working on the SOEDGE model A baseboard.

So far:

I have connected 3 different serial console gadgets; 2 with the FT232RL chip and another with the CH340 chip:

Voltage set to 3.3V, Serial port set to 115200 baud, 8N1
GND -> PI-2 GPIO pin 6 (GND on baseboard schematic)
RXD -> PI-2 GPIO pin 8 (UART_TXD on baseboard schematic)
TXD -> PI-2 GPIO pin 10 (UART_RXD on baseboard schematic)

Nothing works.

Pine64 Support Says:


Please inform that the console serial speed setting is 1500000, N, 8, 1. the txd light light keep blinking this means there is console message damping out during SOEdge boot up,  The rxd LED light only light up when there is message send from terminal program to SOEdge.  For further technical questions, please you may post to PINE64 forum or chat room, and the developer there will give you the best advice.

Response:

I have configured the console to 1500000 8N1 in minicom and there is nothing coming from the device.

I have tried it with 2 images available on the wiki (https://wiki.pine64.org/wiki/SOEdge#Linu...e_Releases): "BSP Linux ver 1.1 Build from SDK" and "Factory Test Build". (I burned the images to microsd with balena etcher and inserted them unto the sdcard slot on the baseboard.)

What is the next step to diagnose this? Are one of these images known to work with the SOEDGE baseboard?

FYI The device: https://www.amazon.ca/gp/product/B07BBPX8B8
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#2
Same experience here with a CH340 unit.  I even tried burning the images to eMMC and still nothing.  I also built images using the SDK, and those were not any different than the ones already available for download.  Any clues would be very much appreciated.
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#3
(09-16-2021, 10:02 PM)KRT Wrote: Same experience here with a CH340 unit.  I even tried burning the images to eMMC and still nothing.  I also built images using the SDK, and those were not any different than the ones already available for download.  Any clues would be very much appreciated.

Here's my brain dump. I hope this helps.

After reading the RK1808 Technical Reference Manual (linked from the wiki), the Linux Developer Guide (in the SDK source tarball linked from the wiki), and the online docs for the Firefly RK1808 SBC (https://wiki.t-firefly.com/en/Core-1808-...arted.html) and this page at Radxa (https://wiki.radxa.com/Rock/flash_the_image), I gathered the following:

1. The SDK source tree (linked from the wiki) builds a firmware image (update.img) that contains a bootloader, kernel, and filesystem image (among other things).
   The SDK source is mostly old stuff from Rockchip from 2019 but there is also a dts file (a kind of kernel config file) for the SOEDGE board (rk1808-SoEdge.dts) that I used as a build target.

2. You need to use a USB A-to-A cable to connect your host PC and the SOEDGE baseboard USB3 port.
  On linux you can use 'upgrade_tool uf update.img' to download this to the SOEDGE flash memory.  Then presumably you can boot from it.
  There are also several Windows tools to flash the boards.  It appears that these were used at the factory but they do not run on Windows 10, at least not for me.

3. All these tools use the USB3 port on the SOEDGE baseboard so I don't think the serial console was extensively tested, if at all.
    It also appears that the kernel build includes an adb debugger that operates on the USB3 port, so more evidence for the USB3 port.

4. There are two images on the wiki but there is no information on how to boot these images.
    Method A is to burn the image to an sdcard and boot from it.  This is what I expected, coming from the Raspberry Pi world.
    Method B is to flash the firmware using the 'upgrade_tool uf update.img' approach.

5. On the Discord, the developer (gamiee) suggested Method B using the images from the wiki.  However, I was not able to get these images to boot, and I also ran into unrecoverable errors trying to flash the firmware using upgrade_tool.  The radxa and firefly wiki pages suggest erasing the firmware before reflashing in case of error but that didn't work for me.

Having said all that, I don't know if any of this is correct since I never got anything to work.

Note: If you look at the SOEDGE vs SOPINE schematics, the console is on SODIMM pins 33/34.
On SOPINE, pins 33/34 are device UART0 which goes to GPIO pins 6/8/10 on the SOPINE baseboard.
On SOEDGE, pins 33/34 are device UART2 which goes to PI-5 pins 6/8/10 on the SOEDGE baseboard; GPIO pins 6/8/10 is a different UART.
I mention this because I originally thought it was the reason I never saw the console working on the SOEDGE.
But now I'm pretty sure that I never got anything to boot.

I bought the SOEDGE boards because I wanted to experiment with the NPU on the rk1808.  I tried to work with Pine64 support and with the developer on the discord, so it was incredibly frustrating that none of the Pine64-provided software worked and no one at Pine64 could articulate the steps required to get any software working on these things.  I tried my best for 10 days and then had to return them because I literally could not get anything to work.

After more research, I learned that the rk3399Pro chip appears to have the same NPU as the rk1808, so I'm going to try again with a rk3399Pro SBC from a different vendor that appears to have more maturity on the software side.  But I'm sad that my dream of running neural nets and/or crypto miners on a cluster of SOEDGE boards is not going to come true.
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#4
Thanks for the detailed report. I forgot to mention that I also tried the USB-A to USB-A via a Rock64 as was mentioned in the SDK. That got me nowhere. I am sorry to hear about your frustration, and I hope you have better luck with the other vendor. At least I know that I am not crazy for running into the same situation you did. Thanks again.
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#5
(09-27-2021, 11:24 PM)KRT Wrote: Thanks for the detailed report.  I forgot to mention that I also tried the USB-A to USB-A via a Rock64 as was mentioned in the SDK.  That got me nowhere.  I am sorry to hear about your frustration, and I hope you have better luck with the other vendor.  At least I know that I am not crazy for running into the same situation you did.  Thanks again.

Thanks, I ended up getting a Rock Pi N10 and its software has a much better out of box experience.

- I powered it up with no sdcard and it booted Android 8.1 from the flash rom.
- I burned the vendor-supplied Debian 10 image to an sdcard and it booted right up.
- I was able to add a 500gb M2 card and mount it as an ext4 file system.

Now I'm happily beavering away on the NPU with Python...
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