Next Thing Co. CHIP (ntc-chip)

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Next Thing Co. CHIP
Next Thing Co. CHIP
Next Thing Co. CHIP
Manufacturer Next Thing Co.
Name CHIP
Codename ntc-chip
Released 2015
Original software Debian on Linux 4.4
Hardware
Chipset Allwinner R8
CPU 1x 1.0 GHz Cortex-A8
GPU Mali-400 MP1
Display Composite video
Storage 8GB MLC NAND
Memory 512 MB DDR3
Architecture armv7
Features
USB Networking
Flashing
Touchscreen
Unavailable
Display
WiFi
Xwayland
FDE
Mainline
Battery
3D Acceleration
Accelerometer
Audio
Bluetooth
Camera
Unavailable
GPS
Unavailable
Mobile data
Unavailable
SMS
Unavailable
Calls
Unavailable
USB OTG


Contributors

  • Symmetrist

Maintainer(s)

  • Symmetrist

Status

At the moment it is possible to build a pmOS image using the commands explained below.

However to boot this image we need to change u-boot configuration, and unfortunately the procedure explained below does not work on all the version of u-boot for CHIP around.

The next step is to package and compile u-boot to provide a uniform bootloader for pmOS.

Users owning this device


How to enter flash mode

The CHIP has two different flashing modes:

  • FEL mode: used to flash bootloader and rootfs
  • Fastboot mode: used to flash rootfs


To enter FEL mode:

  • Connect the FEL and GND pins with a jumper cable
  • Power on the CHIP

To enter Fastboot mode:

  • Connect an serial (UART) USB adapter to UART1-TX, UART1-RX and GND
  • Power on the CHIP
  • Press enter during boot up to access the U-Boot console
  • On the console type fastboot 0

Configure U-Boot

PostmarketOS loads an initramfs together with the kernel, while original Debian installation only used the kernel.

To boot PostmarketOS we need to change the U-Boot configuration to support the initramfs.

From the U-boot serial console issue the following commands:

  • Print the current value of the bootcmd, save it in case you want to restore it later.
> printenv bootcmd
  • Change the bootcmd value
> printenv bootcmd
> setenv bootcmd "gpio set PB2; ${bootcmd_fel}; ${boot_initrd};"
> saveenv

Create the UBIfs image

  • Configure the installation and build the system
$ pmbootstrap init
$ pmbootstrap install

In workdir/chroot_rootfs_ntc-chip there is the rootfs for your ntc-chip

The following commands needs to be launched from your pmbootstrap workdir

  • Copy dtb from linux-ntc-chip
$ sudo cp cache_git/pmaports/device/testing/linux-ntc-chip/sun5i-r8-chip.dtb chroot_rootfs_ntc-chip/boot/

Install mtd-utils from your distro repositories e.g. pacman -S mtd-utils

  • Create the UBIfs image
$ mkdir ubi
$ sudo mkfs.ubifs -m 16384 -e 0x1f8000 -c 2000 -r chroot_rootfs_ntc-chip ubi/ubifs.img
$ sudo chown youruser:youruser ubi/ubifs.img
$ ubinize -o ubi/ubi.img -m 16384 -p 2MiB -s 16384 cache_git/pmaports/device/testing/device-ntc-chip/ubinize.cfg
$ img2simg ubi/ubi.img ubi/ubi.img.sparse 2097152

Flash the UBIfs image

  • Enter fastboot mode as described above
  • On your computer
$ fastboot erase UBI
$ fastboot flash UBI ubi/ubi.img.sparse
$ fastboot reboot

See also