3 day old B-Pi seems to be dead......

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Post Last Edited by roses2at at 2014-9-18 02:57

Meandering seems to be the name of the game in any kind of forum these days......

Post #19 is very interesting, but it's not for me I'm afraid - far too deep.

By the way. It is possible to use a bootable Linux live-system CD/DVD.
For example knoppix or grml or systemrescuecd.
No need for an installation procedure. But what remains is that you may not have any Linux user experience.

Reply 22# deathrattle

   Well, that's an excellent suggestion and I actually had the same idea myself just before I fell asleep last night.
About 2 years ago, I had a second PC setup which I was using extensively for installing and testing of various Linux OSs. (One of my aims was to find a distro and either an old or newer version of it that would allow me to use some specific hardware I had, namely a BusLogic SCSI card with an Iomega Jaz drive........but that's all by the by.)

So to say I have no Linux user experience is not quite true as I did get my hands dirty on many occasions in Terminal. But I just find all this CLI stuff too tedious and difficult to learn/understand (I'm no spring chicken anymore) and frankly extremely time consuming, especially when you find a set of instructions won't work because they are written for Debian systems and you are using an RPM distro (or vice versa), or even more frustratingly a more up-to-date version of the same OS. (Perhaps a case of: all Linux systems are supposed to be equal, but some are more equal than others??) It's not really my desire to have to get a degree and a PhD in computer engineering JUST in order to activate OTG on my Banana Pi cos it's not enabled by default OOB (see my other post for my rant about that); or even in order to debug my apparently dead B-Pi when it's just easier and simpler to send it back and get a new one. (But where's the FUN in that, I hear you all cry!)

So I might in fact dig out my Linux Live CDs again (I have many flavours and many versions of them too). I will probably disconnect my Windows HDD and only work from the CD. (In fact I found installing to and then booting from a USB stick was better as you could save any changes and output files you had created, whereas a CD/DVD is read-only of course.) And I had problems in the past with dual-partition Windows/Linux systems. (Especially Wubi for Ubuntu which did some very naughty things to my drive containing XP x64 Pro, and as it was my main HDD that I use in my recording studio, it was potentially disastrous. Luckily I managed to sort it out but not without a lot of hair pulling and burning the candle at both ends.)

Interestingly, Knoppix was one of the systems I didn't try fully because of an installation problem and then it was impossible to register for the forum for some reason and no-one at the Support Desk ever replied to my Email.

My "first.choice" would be knoppix.
Used it myself in various cases and all my hardware was supported out of the box.
But I don´t have any "special/foreign" devices in my pc...
So it is not necessary to plug-out your hdd. But if you´ll feel safer... just do so.

I guess that all needed software is pre-installed/ready to use on the console. but I am not sure, as I do not know the procedure for a BananaPi boot-log via console.
I have experience on other devices. Mostly the program minicom was enough to receive the signals over the cable. But minicom is not that user-friendly.
Maybe someone else knows a better way...?

Reply 13# sashijoseph

You plug in a usb cable between the OTG and your PC's USB port and use a special tool from Sunxi to load a specially prepared uBoot,your script.bin and the kernel,while pressing the uBoot key when powering up the BPi.This boots up the kernel for you and then it can be tailored to mount the rootfs.

OK, let me run this past you.

If I connect a USB port of my Windows PC to the OTG port of the B-Pi, the red light comes on to show it's getting some power.

If I then power off the B-Pi (by holding the Power button for 5 secs), then hold down the Uboot key while powering on again (for 1 sec), Windows asks me to locate a hardware driver.

Is this driver available from somewhere?

Surely then after that it's a piece of cake (using PuTTY? but how do I tell it I want to communicate via USB and not serial?) to send the prepared uBoot, script.bin and the kernel to the B-Pi? Can I take those 3 files from what I know to be a working Linux distro eg Raspbian for the B-Pi? Only for the purposes of discovering if the Pi will boot. If not, it's deader that I thought it was.

Post Last Edited by roses2at at 2014-9-18 09:52

Reply 24# deathrattle

My "first.choice" would be knoppix.

To be honest, I can't really remember what the issue was that I had with Knoppix, other than that it was something to do with it not installing properly. And if you're not allowed to join the forum and there are only skeletons and cobwebs manning the Support desk, there's not much else one can do to get any further with it.

I always found that Ubuntu Ringtail or Saucy was a fairly good "vanillla" choice, enabling you to get things done from the GUI, not mollycoddling you totally by hiding all the juicy bits which are usually only available via Terminal in other distros, willing and able to be tweaked, easy for beginners but fairly powerful without having to resort to peering at huge volumes of small white unintelligible text in a little black screen, and generally being quite user-friendly.

Incidentally, I think it was an older version of Open Suse that eventually enabled me to use my SCSI card. All later versions with an updated kernel had had the specific driver/module for this card removed, for reasons I'll never understand. I thought the whole point of Linux was that it was "all things to all men" and allowed the use and correct functioning of as many different types of legacy hardware as possible. Eventually I solved the whole problem by buying an Adaptec card for 5 Euros from the local equivalent of eBay and since this company is still active (but the crappiest customer support in the history of the universe I might add), all the drivers and kernel modules are of course included in almost every version of every distro.

When I was installing all those different distros and trying to make my card work, instead of the driver I actually needed, I just got a load of other modules & packages that were just IMO "bloatware" and that I knew I would never be using in a million years. I was always amazed (still am, even on the B-Pi) when I do a
  1. sudo apt-get upgrade
Copy the Code
and it installs all this stuff that I have never heard of, have no idea what it means or does but is obviously important to someone in this world (the person who decides what is included in the upgrades??) although AFAIC it is just filling up my SSD/SD card unnecessarily.

For example, the very first distro I tried on my B-Pi was Raspbian. However, during the update it kept getting stuck and hanging while D/L-ing a huge quantity of MBs for wolfram-engine (server down or too many people simultaneously using it perhaps?). I thought this package was something to do with the mysterious inner workings of the kernel and was thus vitally important. However, after further research I realised it was just part of a pre-installed programming language called Mathematica for teaching in schools using the B-Pi - absolutely no earthly use to me!!

So I then had to learn how to stop this package from updating (it's
  1. sudo apt-mark hold package_name
Copy the Code
and the reverse command is
  1. sudo apt-mark unhold package_name
Copy the Code
if anyone's interested) and then later how to remove the package completely
  1. sudo apt-get remove package_name
Copy the Code
There is a purge switch too for that last command in there somewhere but I can't recall at the moment how to invoke it.

Post Last Edited by roses2at at 2014-9-19 03:11

Reply 13# sashijoseph

It allows you to boot over not your pen drive plugged into the usb port................

    According to this post

which has the link to this PDF for 'Uboot Reference Manual' from

on page 18 Section 6.2.2 it states

Another way to boot an image is by reading it from a USB flash storage device. The USB disk must
be formatted in FAT file system.
To read an image from a USB flash disk, enter:
# usb reset
# fatload usb [:partition]  
This command reads file bootfilename from device dev, partition partition of the USB flash disk
into the RAM address loadAddress. Device and partition are given as a number (0, 1, 2...).

How could I adapt those two lines of code to run on a Windows machine (from Command prompt for example)?
My only confusion is that this document mentions many times images for Windows CE (the operating system for mobile devices such as PDAs and Smartphones) so I'm not sure to what extent these Uboot instructions apply to our B-Pi.

Anyone care to shed some light on this please?

Reply 27# roses2at
Hi Roses2at...
To be able to run any uboot command, uboot would first have to be copied to memory and executed.
On the BPi this can be done in two ways.
1.Using FEL from a Linux terminal.
2.Booting through a sdcard with a preloaded distro,but with uenv.txt,script.bin and uImage removed from the 1st partition.This would hopefully land you with a uBoot prompt in the absence of the kernel etc.(not verified).If you do get a uboot prompt you could run appropriate commands from Putty.
But since you would be booting from the sdcard(starting uboot that is) in the first place,what's the point of it...?

regarding FEL boot I've tested it yesterday and it is working.I've attached the required files.The u-boot.bin was copied from the Cubietruck fel-boot.
The boot.scr in the attachment has been configured to mount a rootfs from the sdcard's 2nd partition.You could change it to mount from a sata disk.


4.69 MB, Downloads: 46

BananaPi usb-fel boot

Reply 28# sashijoseph

So are you saying that this Section 6.2.2 on page 18 is wrong, that in fact it's definitely NOT possible to boot the B-Pi from a USB Stick? What device(s) is this document aimed at then and why doesn't it specifically say that somewhere? The way I understood it is that Uboot is independent of any particular device or OS - as long as it is implemented on the SoC, then it will work exactly as described on the tin for everything, no exceptions.

Thanks for BPi USB-FEL boot file, but I would just remind you again that I have NO Linux computer to carry out the tasks you describe so it is not very useful to me at the moment. I am considering using a Live CD/DVD on my Windows machine, but as I need Email and internet from my Windows HDD almost constantly, I cannot really afford the downtime that this would entail.

I already have PuTTY and the PL2303 drivers installed on my Vista, but until the cables arrive (next Friday perhaps), I am rather stuck with doing anything further. I have a 60GB SSD on order and that should get here soon as well, but I would need clear and detailed and specific instructions on how to configure it to mount from a SATA disk.

Appreciate your input and advice...............

Hy guys,
I have similar situation like roses2at .
I running lubuntu on my PI with no GUI, using like web server, so PI is always powered on.
I have nothing connected on. Only power and ethernet cable.
Till this morning PI is decided to stop. Only red led is light on nothing else.
I change the power supply and sd card but nothing happend. Still only red led is on!
What I to do?

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