New pinebook owner and user - ideas?
#1
Smile 
Hi Everyone!

I just picked up my Pinebook from the post office. Though because my country is far away from where they are produced and consequently I had to pay over double the price to get my hands on one, fate smiled upon me and I received one without dead pixels (I heard this is a possibility) and even the blue plastic casing is completely intact so I can re-use that (probably glue some protection inside to use it as a travel case). Though not new to Linux this is my first venture into a project this technical and also my first non X86 machine ever (phones aside ofcourse). 

I bought it because of sheer enthusiasm - I support community projects like this (hence I didn't mind paying the premium) and I like the look of the Pinebook. 
Also, the community support here seems very nice. 

So... my plans. For the moment I think it would be best to tailor the notebook to be a lightweight travel companion. I'd like to take it with me when traveling by plane, motorcycle travels... just to have a small and lightweight companion for basic webbrowsing, email and the like. There are some things I want to find out, though. Because I borked the password from the get-go I ended up reinstalling the thing 30 minutes after unboxing it  Big Grin so I'm happy to see the process was straightforward: Just flash the SD card, insert, press yet and Bob is your uncle (though mine is not called Bob, but that's beside the point I think). 


First: Storage. I bought the cheapskate 16GB EMMC variant. I understand it can boot from SD too (just used it to reinstall) but EMMC is faster.
What are my options to boot from EMMC and use an SD card as sort-of permanent storage? Won't it try and boot from said SD card everytime? Or can I avoid that by not having a boot loader on the SD card?

Secondly: Replacing EMMC storage. I understand this is pretty straightforward, but what's a reliable source of 128gb EMMC modules? Can I just source any module, or are there better/worse ones? 

Thirdly: Backlighting. Call me a princess but I love to have keyboard backlighting. Being that this laptop was built to tinker with, what's stopping me from soldering a few LED's inside the case, right? I can solder alright but if you have any idea's/tips to share concerning, I am willing to listen and learn. 

Last but not least: Alternative OS'es. I've seen the options the installer gives me, and several of them mention being "SD boot only" or EMMC capable. 
Specifically: this list:

https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1...edit#gid=0

mentions Armbian (I am a Debian fan) should be EMMC capable, but it's not listed in the installer (flash utility). 
Should I download a custom image somewhere else (where?) and supplant that? I'd rather run from EMMC to keep the SD slot free because of point #1. 


Loving the experience so far, hoping to get some lovely ideas from you. 
And other mods interesting or pertaining to my intended use are very welcome as well, of course. 

Greetings from the Netherlands!
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#2
I plan to do some modding to my 1080p pinebook AFTER I get my hands on the pinebook pro.
There is some room inside. Considering some manual switches for cam / mic / radios.

Also had this dumb idea: If I could get a spare case (somehow, broken off ebay ???) and put a solar panel in the screen area and as many/much pouch batteries I could fit in the keyboard area. A matching super power bank.
  Reply
#3
(05-14-2019, 07:36 PM)notpod Wrote: Also had this dumb idea: If I could get a spare case (somehow, broken off ebay ???) and put a solar panel in the screen area and as many/much pouch batteries I could fit in the keyboard area. A matching super power bank.

That ain't dumb, if you work outside a lot that could be fantastic!

If you could hook it up to the battery, you could have it charge the battery array while off as well.

Haven't tried my Pinebook outside, but I imagine you might need an anti-glare screen guard for full effectiveness.

EDIT: Realised you meant turn a dead Pinebook into a battery, doh!.. Was a cool idea though!
[ PHP Developer | Pinebook 1G | About me ]
  Reply
#4
(05-14-2019, 10:55 AM)trigger Wrote: Hi Everyone!

I just picked up my Pinebook from the post office. Though because my country is far away from where they are produced and consequently I had to pay over double the price to get my hands on one, fate smiled upon me and I received one without dead pixels (I heard this is a possibility) and even the blue plastic casing is completely intact so I can re-use that (probably glue some protection inside to use it as a travel case). Though not new to Linux this is my first venture into a project this technical and also my first non X86 machine ever (phones aside ofcourse). 

I bought it because of sheer enthusiasm - I support community projects like this (hence I didn't mind paying the premium) and I like the look of the Pinebook. 
Also, the community support here seems very nice. 

So... my plans. For the moment I think it would be best to tailor the notebook to be a lightweight travel companion. I'd like to take it with me when traveling by plane, motorcycle travels... just to have a small and lightweight companion for basic webbrowsing, email and the like. There are some things I want to find out, though. Because I borked the password from the get-go I ended up reinstalling the thing 30 minutes after unboxing it  Big Grin so I'm happy to see the process was straightforward: Just flash the SD card, insert, press yet and Bob is your uncle (though mine is not called Bob, but that's beside the point I think). 


First: Storage. I bought the cheapskate 16GB EMMC variant. I understand it can boot from SD too (just used it to reinstall) but EMMC is faster.
What are my options to boot from EMMC and use an SD card as sort-of permanent storage? Won't it try and boot from said SD card everytime? Or can I avoid that by not having a boot loader on the SD card?

Secondly: Replacing EMMC storage. I understand this is pretty straightforward, but what's a reliable source of 128gb EMMC modules? Can I just source any module, or are there better/worse ones? 

Thirdly: Backlighting. Call me a princess but I love to have keyboard backlighting. Being that this laptop was built to tinker with, what's stopping me from soldering a few LED's inside the case, right? I can solder alright but if you have any idea's/tips to share concerning, I am willing to listen and learn. 

Last but not least: Alternative OS'es. I've seen the options the installer gives me, and several of them mention being "SD boot only" or EMMC capable. 
Specifically: this list:

https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1...edit#gid=0

mentions Armbian (I am a Debian fan) should be EMMC capable, but it's not listed in the installer (flash utility). 
Should I download a custom image somewhere else (where?) and supplant that? I'd rather run from EMMC to keep the SD slot free because of point #1. 


Loving the experience so far, hoping to get some lovely ideas from you. 
And other mods interesting or pertaining to my intended use are very welcome as well, of course. 

Greetings from the Netherlands!

Repling first: You must to tune sd and emmc to disable sd boot, or plug/unplug on real time... ;( You need lastest kernel to get running emmc 5.1.
Process is simple, use first sd card, upgrade sd card, config your os at your taste and dd it to emmc. If you use an older os img you can't recognize emmc 5.1 directly.

Second: I think max. storage are 64 gb emmc, I don't know if you can use more storage or recognized by any os.

Third: Yes, you are a princess... ;-P It's a prototype laptop, If you want a better keyboard use an external usb.
  Reply
#5
(05-14-2019, 07:36 PM)notpod Wrote: I plan to do some modding to my 1080p pinebook AFTER I get my hands on the pinebook pro.
There is some room inside. Considering some manual switches for cam / mic / radios.

Also had this dumb idea: If I could get a spare case (somehow, broken off ebay ???) and put a solar panel in the screen area and as many/much pouch batteries I could fit in the keyboard area. A matching super power bank.

There is also an exposed USB 2.0 header inside the case I believe, so you could add just about any USB 2.0 dongle you can imagine - e.g. LTE. I may just try doing this myself - think I've got an old 3G dongle I can tear down and test.
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#6
Well a matching bank would be great, but I already have an Anker Solar panel on my wishlist. Of course, I could superglue some cells to the case of the pinebook to charge it by just putting it outside on a sunny day... interesting Smile.

The keyboard backlight is probably pretty easy to do, I think. Just solder hardware it to a power source with maybe a switch in between. There is nothing wrong with the keyboard itself (given the price point it's pretty good I think) and of course backlighting is a luxury, but it's a moddable notebook for a reason!

I'll focus on just choosing an OS that will fit the 16GB EMMC for now. I tried DietPi from the Etcher installer (booted from SD) but it ran into unresolvable errors while updating the OS for the first time and I honestly don't understand why they still make LXDE look so UGLY. It's not that hard to pick a proper font type/size and make it look less like an etch-a-sketch. I think I'd like to try standard ARM Debian with I3 or another simple WM, but I'm not that experienced yet that I can custom-build my own OS (I'm going to learn anyway because that could be really useful on this notebook).
  Reply


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