[Lenny400] [Mipsbook-devel] Reviewing the Ingenic board initialisation code

Dr. H. Nikolaus Schaller hns at goldelico.com
Tue Jun 9 16:51:56 CEST 2015

Am 09.06.2015 um 15:56 schrieb Paul Boddie <paul at boddie.org.uk>:

> On Tuesday 9. June 2015 14.55.48 Dr. H. Nikolaus Schaller wrote:
>> Am 09.06.2015 um 13:45 schrieb Paul Boddie <paul at boddie.org.uk>:
>>> https://www.mail-archive.com/mipsbook-devel%40linuxtogo.org/msg00181.html
>> Indeed! Thanks for looking it up.
> [...]
>> Fortunately, I have found copies of PC701-LX-u-boot-1.1.6.tar.bz2 on my
>> daily work machine…
>> So it is not lost. I have uploaded it to
>> 	http://download.goldelico.com/letux-400/files/
> I imagine that it will be mostly the same as the repositories I found...
>>> Fortunately, I found the following repository containing U-Boot with
>>> jz4730 support:
>>> https://github.com/shenhaocn/jzcode-x11
>>> There's also a specific U-Boot repository, but I can't see any notable
>>> differences between it and the other one:
>>> https://github.com/shenhaocn/jz-uboot
>>> I'm sure I've seen boot code before, but I think it's the code in the 2.6
>>> kernel that detects various keys and supposedly performs NAND-flashing
>>> operations.
>> Yes, according to my 5 years old description there are multiple locations
>> where hot keys are detected to help the boot process. A big hack… No chance
>> to get it upstream to kernel.org or denx :)
> I seem to remember a bit more of this now: before the init process is run, the 
> user has the chance to hold down a key, and then the relevant resources are 
> accessed:
> http://projects.goldelico.com/p/letux-400/source/tree/master/arch/mips/jz4730/board-
> minipc.c#L126
> http://projects.goldelico.com/p/letux-400/source/tree/master/init/do_mounts.c#L425
> This seems to allow an alternative root filesystem, at least.
>> The key point is that U-Boot can only boot from NAND or SD/MMC. And it
>> can boot the “minifs” which is a stripped down Linux with running a single
>> shell script in busybox. That script provides some user interface - and of
>> course USB drivers (and network) to load recovery systems from.
> It might be interesting to get some low-level bootloader to work from SD/MMC 
> if possible (that is, if possible on the Letux, not if generally possible for 
> U-Boot). I'm naturally wary of using the NAND, anyway, and I do use the 
> NanoNote with a microSD/MMC card instead of booting from NAND if I don't need 
> to use the MMC port for homebrew hardware.

It could be possible to load another instance of U-Boot instead of a kernel.

And then do the final work.

Or modify the minifs.

>> I have found that we had written a simple replacement minifs (which is not
>> the same as the one that comes shipped with the hardware). But if you
>> did not touch the original, it should be possible to read out the NAND
>> partition.
>> http://projects.goldelico.com/p/l400-rootfs/source/tree/master/config/root/
>> mkminifs
>> http://projects.goldelico.com/p/l400-rootfs/source/tree/master/config/root
>> /recover
> I'll have to take a look at that.
>>> It becomes difficult to track all the different resources,
>>> especially when some of them tend to go away and not always come back,
>>> like all the kwaak.net ones which even the Internet Archive doesn’t have
>>> any more.
>> This is why http://projects.goldelico.com/p/letux-400/ and siblings like
>> http://projects.goldelico.com/p/l400-rootfs/ exist. My target is that this
>> resource is never going away (at least as long as the company exists and
>> can pay for the server operation :).
>> Anyways, I also plan to consolidate the GTA04 boot/kernel/rootfs system
>> with the Letux400 boot/kernel/rootfs as soon as we have MIPS/JZ device
>> tree support in the kernel. Then, this u-boot will also be unpacked into
>> git (and mirrored to github).
> Right. At this point, I'm not actively pursuing the Linux kernel stuff as I 
> don't think I can muddle my way through the necessary work. Moreover, I got 
> the impression that other people need to finish off their own efforts around 
> device tree and the necessary changes around it before we even have a chance 
> of getting the jz4730 stuff to work with it.

IMHO progress is promising. But it is still not arrived at linux-next so chances
for 4.2-rc1 are not very high.

>> If someone needs write access to this project forge to update information,
>> please register and let me know.
> I'll think about doing that.
>>> Ultimately, for the Letux (but also for less awkward NanoNote
>>> experiments) it may be worthwhile focusing on a payload loaded from
>>> SD/MMC media, however.
>> For the initial work, I think we should indeed focus on SD/MMC. And only if
>> it becomes more stable, complete boot from USB can be revisited.
> I did wonder whether it was even possible without opening up the Letux unit 
> itself, and whether it would be possible even then. The NanoNote deliberately 
> exposes a contact in the battery compartment for the hardware USB boot mode, 
> meaning that even if U-Boot is broken or doesn't support the software USB boot 
> mode (which appears to involve some initialisation of the SoC's bootloader, or 
> maybe even a partial reimplementation of it), it's still possible to activate 
> the hardware mode.

If you open the L400 it is possible to solder an RS232 adapter for console
access. And it has a flex cable connector for JTAG.

> Another thing that I'm not clear about (without studying the schematic) is how 
> the USB port on the Letux is connected to the SoC and whether it would make 
> sense to use the provided USB ports for booting purposes. The NanoNote is only 
> capable of being a USB peripheral, whereas the Letux is presumably meant to be 
> a USB host, although I guess it can also be a peripheral. Either way, the 
> internal “wiring" would need to be right for any boot mode to be exposed.

It appears that the jz4730 has two USB1 host mode only ports (DPLS0/DNS0, DPLS1/DMNS1).
One goes directly to one of the 3 usb sockets while the other goes to a 4 port-hub AU9254A21.
One of the 4 ports is unused, two are the other two USB sockets and the last one goes
to an CSC0101A-S16 PS2 converter (touch pad). The JZ4730 also has a PS2 interface
but that ends in test points…

None of the USB sockets has an ID pin - so they are not OTG capable.

In summary: the L400 can only be USB host and not USB peripheral.

> But yes, employing SD/MMC would be best, and maybe I should investigate that 
> on the NanoNote, booting into my own test payload directly from U-Boot. And it 
> would be interesting to know if a bootloader could be deployed on SD/MMC for 
> the Letux. Currently, I see the limitation being that the 2.6 kernel hacks 
> only support changing the root filesystem to the MMC storage, not invoking a 
> completely new payload from it.

Yes, because it is probably a little risky to do so.


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