RockPro64 getting started - non-booting images [solved]
#1
OK, bought a new RockPro64, downloaded some linux images, burned some of them to eMMC, didn't boot.
The green light comes on (power) and the white light comes on  and stays on. Then for about half a second the white light goes off, then goes on again for a couple of seconds. Repeat.
No HDMI output whatsoever.

Tried a couple of images, like the MrFixIt and Manjaro ARM images, no go.
Then happened upon Ayufan's fine work here:
https://github.com/ayufan-rock64/linux-build/releases

His image actually booted!
Specifically: https://github.com/ayufan-rock64/linux-b...tag/0.9.14
Progress. The RockPro64 isn't DOA! Smile

Did some more reading, some searching the forums, nothing turns up but for an almost random mention somewhere that a uboot might be old.

Turns out, on new RockPro64 boards you have to install the u-boot / uboot, if you actually want to run some linux images.

Uboot is the ARM bootloader. There is a storage chip (SPI) on the RockPro64 board that holds the bootloader software.
The bootloader software is ran during boot, and if it finds a correct image, it boots that image.

Also: no information anywhere on how to actually install a new uboot.

New RockPro64 boards, it turns out, they come without a working uboot loader, or with a seriously old version that just doesn't load Linux images.

Luckily Ayufan also has images that flash to the SPI a newer (somewhat) uboot.
https://github.com/ayufan-rock64/linux-u-boot/releases

Now the information says you download an image, flash the image to an SD-card or eMMC and then boot it. When it boots, it flashes the SPI with the new uboot, and we should see a blinking white light. Which would be nice, if it actually loaded that image to start the flashing. Which it didn't. Because: no working uboot.

OK, so, the solution: download the ayufan linux image, flash that to a eMMC or SD.
E.g.: bionic-mate-rockpro64-0.9.14-1159-armhf.img.xz
Boot from that, and yes: this takes ages. But it's all good stuff.

Then from the working Bionic Mate, download the ayufan uboot .deb, this one:
https://github.com/ayufan-rock64/linux-u-boot/releases
u-boot-rockchip-rockpro64-2017.09-rockchip-ayufan-1065-g95f6152134.deb

Then open a terminal to install the .deb with:
sudo dpkg -i u-boot-rockchip-rockpro64-2017.09-rockchip-ayufan-1065-g95f6152134.deb
(make sure you are in the download folder)

Then you can install the uboot to the SPI:
sudo rock64_write_spi_flash.sh
You have to type YES with capitals to agree that this is a risky move. Then: be patient

There is a lot of scrolling... and then it's done.

Reboot, and you should be able to load images other than ayufan's.

Oh, yeah, this software works wonders for burning images:
https://www.balena.io/etcher/
You don't have to 'unxz'  the images, you can burn the .xz images right to an SD card or an eMMC.

This took me the better part of a day, so let's hope this post saves someone a day or an unnecessary RMA.

Also: please correct / reply if any of the above is wrong. I've only been at it for a day now.
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#2
Well, even with all that, it continues to be a little hit or miss.

Manjaro booted exactly once from eMMC. And reflashing the eMMC appears to make no difference.
It does seem to boot more reliably from SD though. So there's that.

Any extra ideas or pointers about booting non-ayufan images from eMMC would be welcome!
  Reply
#3
(11-21-2019, 01:09 AM)new-rockpro-user Wrote: Well, even with all that, it continues to be a little hit or miss.

Manjaro booted exactly once from eMMC. And reflashing the eMMC appears to make no difference.
It does seem to boot more reliably from SD though. So there's that.

Any extra ideas or pointers about booting non-ayufan images from eMMC would be welcome!

I've flashed U-Boot on my RockPro64 using your procedure but I don't see U-Boot starting from SPI memory when I power system on.

On eMMC I have installed Libreelec which boots fine (without jumper).
Microsd with Debian I can only boot when I plug-in jumper (=disable eMMC)

Knowing that SPI is flashed properly (as on output linked above), how could I boot from microsd without necessity inserting jumper.

According to https://github.com/ayufan-rock64/linux-b...ash-spi.md I should have possibility booting with order:

  1. SPI flash
  2. eMMC (disable with jumper)
  3. microSD
  4. USB drive
  5. PXE
  Reply
#4
(03-05-2020, 03:58 PM)grukrz2 Wrote:
(11-21-2019, 01:09 AM)new-rockpro-user Wrote: Well, even with all that, it continues to be a little hit or miss.

Manjaro booted exactly once from eMMC. And reflashing the eMMC appears to make no difference.
It does seem to boot more reliably from SD though. So there's that.

Any extra ideas or pointers about booting non-ayufan images from eMMC would be welcome!

I've flashed U-Boot on my RockPro64 using your procedure but I don't see U-Boot starting from SPI memory when I power system on.

On eMMC I have installed Libreelec which boots fine (without jumper).
Microsd with Debian I can only boot when I plug-in jumper (=disable eMMC)

Knowing that SPI is flashed properly (as on output linked above), how could I boot from microsd without necessity inserting jumper.

According to https://github.com/ayufan-rock64/linux-b...ash-spi.md I should have possibility booting with order:

  1. SPI flash
  2. eMMC (disable with jumper)
  3. microSD
  4. USB drive
  5. PXE

I seems to be about as far into booting the RockPro64 as you are.

As far as I understand it, even with the uboot in the spi, if you add an eMMC with a bootable image, it will always boot from there first.
So, no matter if you add a microSD or USB drive, it will still boot eMMC. Unless you jumper it.

Which, to be honest, seems to be a very unfortunate design decision.
Basically, with the RockPro64, the eMMC is useless if you are experimenting one way or another with different images.
Especially if you use a case like the official premium aluminum case, you can only use the SD card to boot if you don't have an eMMC plugged in.

I could boot almost nothing at first, and this only improved when adding the ayufan spi. But that brings the above situation.
My eMMC is collecting dust now. Also, I only got booting from USB working with USB 2.

Also, not sure why, but the red light stays on quite long before actually commencing the booting. And sometimes requiring an extra reset to go.
So, basically, what I'm saying, the booting situation here is pretty horrible. But, then, when it boots, the RockPro64 is actually quite nice.

We seem to be missing some kind of boot menu, a la petitboot, grub or whatever.
  Reply


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