How many B3's out there ?

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jallee
Posts: 49
Joined: 12 Jun 2009, 13:15

Re: How many B3's out there ?

Post by jallee » 17 Jun 2020, 17:27

One B3 upp 24/7 and 3st B2 who friends running.
Running Bubbagen 1.13 on it the only drawback is the compilation times. Going tho convert my Tinker-Board to Gentoo just to get some more compile hp, hmm just got to get some more spare time first. ;)
oticxe wrote:
16 Jun 2020, 07:23
1) Is there a capacity limit to the disks that can be attached (I seem to remember there is/was one)
2) Is there a new/improved U-boot around? (I think not)

If the answers are here on the forum, I'm sure I'll find them.

Thank-you to all keeping the software going, and giving hardware tips (such as replacing the RTC battery).
1) Running a 4TB disk but larger should work.
2) See http://wiki.excito.com/w/index.php?titl ... _3TB_disks

Regards // Jallee

oticxe
Posts: 5
Joined: 15 Oct 2010, 02:34

Re: How many B3's out there ?

Post by oticxe » 18 Jun 2020, 05:47

Thanks for the response, jallee.

It is good to know that I can run a 4 TB disk, and that that was enabled by a U-boot update/patch.

Obviously no work is being done by the original hardware manufacturer, but does anyone know if anyone else might, possibly be maintaining/upgrading U-boot: not least, so that finding a USB drive that can be used as a boot medium is less of a lottery? I know that modifying U-boot incorrectly can leave the device 'bricked', so it may well be that leaving it alone so long as it works 'well enough' is the best option.

Gordon
Posts: 1390
Joined: 10 Aug 2011, 03:18

Re: How many B3's out there ?

Post by Gordon » 19 Jun 2020, 02:04

Charles (MoueTTe on this forum) was working on u-boot several years back, but I don't know whether that was really a success. Attempting to tweak some of its environment settings I found that writing to the internal flash is buggy to say the least and for that reason I have in fact never even dared running the official Excito update on the one B3 I own that has the 2.1TB limited u-boot. Using a serial cable I did however make a permanent change to the u-boot environment in one of the B3s to allow it to boot from USB during regular startup. Because in Bubbagen the uImage kernel that is loaded by u-boot serves as a second stage boot loader this allows me to boot this system from an SSD drive that is not recognized by u-boot. A similar boot procedure is performed in Sakaki's images for vanilla Gentoo, Arch and RedSleeve, so you could use the same trick there.

I do understand the frustration of discovering that a USB stick doesn't work with the installed u-boot, but honestly to this day I've only had three of those (including the tiny format one that I would have loved to be able to use on earlier mentioned B3).

MouettE
Site admin
Posts: 286
Joined: 06 Oct 2011, 19:45

Re: How many B3's out there ?

Post by MouettE » 19 Jun 2020, 13:47

Gordon wrote:
19 Jun 2020, 02:04
Charles (MoueTTe on this forum) was working on u-boot several years back, but I don't know whether that was really a success.
I have indeed tried to upgrade u-boot on the B3. Latest version was based on u-boot 2013.01.01 and full sources (with the b3 patches) are available on github. I tried to use a more recent u-boot version but I could not get anything to work (there was big changes in u-boot code). Developing u-boot on the b3 is easy with a serial cable because you can boot your test image from the serial cable. No need to flash until you have a working version. You just need to be competent with low-level hardware development which is not my case.
Gordon wrote:
19 Jun 2020, 02:04
Attempting to tweak some of its environment settings I found that writing to the internal flash is buggy to say the least and for that reason I have in fact never even dared running the official Excito update on the one B3 I own that has the 2.1TB limited u-boot.
That is true when changing configuration using tools from the OS. However when you save environment changes or flash a new image from the u-boot CLI in the serial console, there is usually no issue.

ahoff
Posts: 95
Joined: 01 Apr 2008, 20:50
Location: Swe

Re: How many B3's out there ?

Post by ahoff » 19 Jun 2020, 18:55

3) Are there possibilities of getting hold of one or two more? (Possibly old stock from USA, or pre-owned?)
How many do you need and where are you located?
Åke Hoff
Örskogen
Sweden

Gordon
Posts: 1390
Joined: 10 Aug 2011, 03:18

Re: How many B3's out there ?

Post by Gordon » 22 Jun 2020, 10:09

MouettE wrote:
19 Jun 2020, 13:47
That is true when changing configuration using tools from the OS. However when you save environment changes or flash a new image from the u-boot CLI in the serial console, there is usually no issue.
Correct. I did end up making the required change to the environment using a serial cable (I use the front header for that so I can use the cable on multiple B3s). The flash routine for installing the "3TB patch" is however also running in some kind of stripped down OS started by the existing u-boot. Either way, it seemed buggy and I decided not to chance it unless it became really necessary. And it never has because there is a work-around for it that supports even more disk types.

MouettE
Site admin
Posts: 286
Joined: 06 Oct 2011, 19:45

Re: How many B3's out there ?

Post by MouettE » 22 Jun 2020, 11:03

Gordon wrote:
22 Jun 2020, 10:09
The flash routine for installing the "3TB patch" is however also running in some kind of stripped down OS started by the existing u-boot. Either way, it seemed buggy and I decided not to chance it unless it became really necessary.
The flashing procedure does not use is no stripped down OS, it's done directly in u-boot. Here is the command run on the B3 when the rear button is pushed on startup:

Code: Select all

bootalt2=run usbinstall || run usbflash || run sataboot || reset
Here are the usb subcommands used:

Code: Select all

usbinstall=usb start; setenv diskdev $usbinstallroot; run setdiskargs; fatload $usbinstalldev $loadaddr /install/$installfile; bootm
usbflash=fatload $usbflashdev $loadaddr /install/$flashfile && sf probe 0:0 && sf erase 0 80000; sf write $loadaddr 0 $filesize
When the read button is pushed on startup, u-boot will first try to load the rescue/install image located on /install/install.itb. If this fails, it will then try to read /install/u-boot.kwb and flash its content to NVRAM. It that fails too it tries to load the OS from the disk. If that fails too, the board resets.

So in order to flash, you must place the u-boot.kwb file (and only this file) in the install directory of a fat-formatted usb key. u-boot does it directly.

EDIT: that being said, USB support in u-boot is buggy, so sometimes it fails while loading the u-boot image from the key into memory (that's done before the actual flashing so no harm done yet). You may need to repeat the procedure until the flash is successful.

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