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Old 12-27-2012, 06:19 AM   #1
giorgio130
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Kobo u-boot hacking

Hi! I was wondering if anyone has tried to play with the u-boot sources so far.
I know they're a bit difficult to download since you'll have to copy the whole kobo github account locally. To avoid this I'm hosting a personal copy here:
https://dl.dropbox.com/u/29286792/u-boot-2009.08.tar.gz
Personally I'm interested in modifying it in order to boot from the external sd card slot as if it were the internal one, in order to make hacking the firmware easier. I'll start working on it as soon as I receive my new Glo, it should be in the mail in the next days.
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Old 12-27-2012, 09:54 AM   #2
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Someone did a bit of u-boot hacking on the Touch in this thread. He ended up bricking his Kobo, though.
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Old 12-27-2012, 10:00 AM   #3
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Has anyone tried to power up any recent kobo model with the internal sd card removed and placed in the external slot? It's easy to try... I could do it myself when I get my unit but I'm just too curious to wait :P
@KevinShort, thanks for the reference!
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Old 12-27-2012, 10:31 AM   #4
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I just tried to boot the internal SD card from the external slot on my Glo. The blue LED turned on for a few seconds, but nothing happened.
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Old 12-27-2012, 10:31 AM   #5
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Just in case someone else is interested in this, there's a neat script in the provided source that should make compiling it very easy. It is called build_mddr_256.sh.
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Old 01-01-2013, 11:54 AM   #6
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Some other informations on the topic. I got the source to compile with some tweaking. This is the procedure I followed:
Code:
# Download and install the required toolchain:
sudo add-apt-repository ppa:linaro-maintainers/toolchain
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install gcc-4.6-arm-linux-gnueabi
# create a required symlink
sudo ln -s /usr/bin/arm-linux-gnueabi-gcc-4.6 /usr/local/bin/arm-linux-gnueabi-gcc
Replace in build_mddr_256.sh CROSS_COMPILE=arm-fsl-linux-gnueabi- to CROSS_COMPILE=arm-linux-gnueabi- and then run it. Choose the appropriate platform.
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Old 01-08-2013, 01:47 PM   #7
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I was worried that the u-boot was not stored on the sd-card, so flashing a non-working bootloader could brick the device. It doesn't seem to be the case:
Code:
UBOOT=$1
WAVEFORM=$2
KERNEL=$3
DEVICE=$4

if [ -e $UBOOT ]; then
	echo Upgrading U-Boot $UBOOT
	dd if=$UBOOT of=/dev/$DEVICE bs=1K seek=1 skip=1
	if [ $? != 0 ] ; then
		exit 1
	fi
	sync
	sync
	echo Done upgrading U-Boot
fi

if [ -e $WAVEFORM ]; then
	echo Upgrading Waveform $WAVEFORM
	dd if=$WAVEFORM.header of=/dev/$DEVICE bs=512 seek=14335
	dd if=$WAVEFORM of=/dev/$DEVICE bs=512 seek=14336
	if [ $? != 0 ] ; then
		exit 1
	fi
	sync
	sync
	echo Done upgrading Waveform
fi

if [ -e $KERNEL ]; then
	echo Upgrading kernel... $KERNEL
	dd if=$KERNEL of=/dev/$DEVICE bs=512 seek=2048
	if [ $? != 0 ]; then
		exit 1
	fi
	sync
	sync
	echo Done upgrading kernel...
fi
this is the code that flashes it. As you can see the location to where it is flashed is the 4th argument. And this is the only place where the function is called:
/etc/init.d/upgrade-generic.sh $UBOOT $WAVEFORM $KERNEL mmcblk0
in upgrade-wifi.sh.
So everything seems safe... I just have to gather enough courage now
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Old 03-09-2013, 10:21 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by giorgio130 View Post
I was worried that the u-boot was not stored on the sd-card, so flashing a non-working bootloader could brick the device. It doesn't seem to be the case
Just to confirm this, on my Glo u-boot is stored in the unpartitioned first 10MB of the micro SD card. I tried flashing freescale's prebuilt android u-boot onto my Glo's SD card, and it caused my Glo to refuse to boot. It was easily remedied, however, by putting the micro SD card in my computer and using dd to flash a working u-boot back onto the card.
Code:
dd if=u-boot.bin of=/dev/sdX bs=1K seek=1 skip=1
I tried to get the u-boot prompt to come up on my Glo, by placing an SD card with nothing on it except for u-boot into my Glo and connecting with serial cables. The prompt comes up, but I only have about 10 seconds to run commands before the board automatically shuts off. Anyone have any ideas on how to keep the board from turning off by itself?
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Old 08-31-2013, 08:31 PM   #9
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A u-boot supporting external uSD boot

I came across this page :
https://code.google.com/p/kobohack-j/wiki/README_261
By looking at the gtranslation, I think it provides the information on how to run the OS on the external uSD.

It states that DMA must be used to access the card instead of interrupts.

He has a GDB for remote debugging
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Old 06-12-2016, 08:36 AM   #10
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Hi. I'm tinkering with uboot sources right now
For a Kobo Aura HD

giorgio130 guesses are OK and safe to implement on kobos with internal SD card.

But flashing new bootloaders don't change the boot process cause u-boot uses his own environment in mmc.

The only way I found to stop the autoboot is deleting the kernel. This way I get a prompt but only for a few seconds, because the watchdog.

I can also change bootdelay on uboot but not too much because wdog

Bootlog of an OEM SDcard
Code:
U-Boot 2009.08-dirty-svn ( 3月 01 2013 - 11:22:42)

CPU:   Freescale i.MX50 family 1.1V at 800 MHz
mx50 pll1: 800MHz
mx50 pll2: 400MHz
mx50 pll3: 216MHz
ipg clock     : 66666666Hz
ipg per clock : 66666666Hz
uart clock    : 24000000Hz
ahb clock     : 133333333Hz
axi_a clock   : 400000000Hz
axi_b clock   : 200000000Hz
weim_clock    : 100000000Hz
ddr clock     : 200000000Hz
esdhc1 clock  : 80000000Hz
esdhc2 clock  : 80000000Hz
esdhc3 clock  : 80000000Hz
esdhc4 clock  : 80000000Hz
Board: MX50 RDP board
Boot Reason: [POR]
Boot Device: SD
I2C:   ready
DRAM:  512 MB
MMC:   FSL_ESDHC: 0, FSL_ESDHC: 1, FSL_ESDHC: 2
In:    serial
Out:   serial
Err:   serial
[_get_sd_number] g_sd_number:2

MMC read: dev # 2, block # 1023, count 1 partition # 0 ... 
1 blocks read: OK

MMC read: dev # 2, block # 1024, count 1 partition # 0 ... 
1 blocks read: OK
ram p=70000000,size=536870912

MMC read: dev # 2, block # 18431, count 1 partition # 0 ... 
1 blocks read: OK
no "logo" bin header

MMC read: dev # 2, block # 14335, count 1 partition # 0 ... 
1 blocks read: OK

MMC read: dev # 2, block # 14336, count 2263 partition # 0 ... 
2263 blocks read: OK
Kernel RAM visiable size=510M->510M
init TPS65185 power ...
Relock PLL1 to 1GHz ...
mx50 pll1: 1000MHz
mx50 pll2: 400MHz
mx50 pll3: 216MHz
ipg clock     : 66666666Hz
ipg per clock : 66666666Hz
uart clock    : 24000000Hz
ahb clock     : 133333333Hz
axi_a clock   : 400000000Hz
axi_b clock   : 200000000Hz
weim_clock    : 100000000Hz
ddr clock     : 200000000Hz
esdhc1 clock  : 80000000Hz
esdhc2 clock  : 80000000Hz
esdhc3 clock  : 80000000Hz
esdhc4 clock  : 80000000Hz
Hit any key to stop autoboot:  0 

MMC read: dev # 2, block # 2047, count 1 partition # 0 ... 
1 blocks read: OK
no kernel image signature !

MMC read: dev # 2, block # 2048, count 8192 partition # 0 ... 
8192 blocks read: OK
## Booting kernel from Legacy Image at 70800000 ...
   Image Name:   r6512_#1040 Mar 10 12:00:37
   Created:      2015-03-10   4:00:39 UTC
   Image Type:   ARM Linux Kernel Image (uncompressed)
   Data Size:    1891780 Bytes =  1.8 MB
   Load Address: 70008000
   Entry Point:  70008000
   Loading Kernel Image ... OK
OK

Starting kernel ...
Bootlog of an OEM SDcard with custom uboot:
Code:
U-Boot 2009.08 (jun 11 2016 - 13:33:02)

CPU:   Freescale i.MX50 family 1.1V at 800 MHz
mx50 pll1: 800MHz
mx50 pll2: 400MHz
mx50 pll3: 216MHz
ipg clock     : 66666666Hz
ipg per clock : 66666666Hz
uart clock    : 24000000Hz
ahb clock     : 133333333Hz
axi_a clock   : 400000000Hz
axi_b clock   : 200000000Hz
weim_clock    : 100000000Hz
ddr clock     : 200000000Hz
esdhc1 clock  : 80000000Hz
esdhc2 clock  : 80000000Hz
esdhc3 clock  : 80000000Hz
esdhc4 clock  : 80000000Hz
Board: MX50 RDP board
Boot Reason: [POR]
Boot Device: SD
I2C:   ready
DRAM:  512 MB
MMC:   FSL_ESDHC: 0, FSL_ESDHC: 1, FSL_ESDHC: 2
In:    serial
Out:   serial
Err:   serial
[_get_sd_number] g_sd_number:2

MMC read: dev # 2, block # 1023, count 1 partition # 0 ... 
1 blocks read: OK

MMC read: dev # 2, block # 1024, count 1 partition # 0 ... 
1 blocks read: OK
ram p=70000000,size=536870912

MMC read: dev # 2, block # 18431, count 1 partition # 0 ... 
1 blocks read: OK
no "logo" bin header

MMC read: dev # 2, block # 14335, count 1 partition # 0 ... 
1 blocks read: OK

MMC read: dev # 2, block # 14336, count 2263 partition # 0 ... 
2263 blocks read: OK
Kernel RAM visiable size=510M->510M
init TPS65185 power ...
Relock PLL1 to 1GHz ...
mx50 pll1: 1000MHz
mx50 pll2: 400MHz
mx50 pll3: 216MHz
ipg clock     : 66666666Hz
ipg per clock : 66666666Hz
uart clock    : 24000000Hz
ahb clock     : 133333333Hz
axi_a clock   : 400000000Hz
axi_b clock   : 200000000Hz
weim_clock    : 100000000Hz
ddr clock     : 200000000Hz
esdhc1 clock  : 80000000Hz
esdhc2 clock  : 80000000Hz
esdhc3 clock  : 80000000Hz
esdhc4 clock  : 80000000Hz
Hit any key to stop autoboot:  0 

MMC read: dev # 2, block # 2047, count 1 partition # 0 ... 
1 blocks read: OK
no kernel image signature !

MMC read: dev # 2, block # 2048, count 8192 partition # 0 ... 
8192 blocks read: OK
## Booting kernel from Legacy Image at 70800000 ...
   Image Name:   r6512_#1040 Mar 10 12:00:37
   Created:      2015-03-10   4:00:39 UTC
   Image Type:   ARM Linux Kernel Image (uncompressed)
   Data Size:    1891780 Bytes =  1.8 MB
   Load Address: 70008000
   Entry Point:  70008000
   Loading Kernel Image ... OK
OK

Starting kernel ...
Bootlog of an almost-empty SDcard (first 512K copied)
Code:
U-Boot 2009.08-dirty-svn ( 3月 01 2013 - 11:22:42)

CPU:   Freescale i.MX50 family 1.1V at 800 MHz
mx50 pll1: 800MHz
mx50 pll2: 400MHz
mx50 pll3: 216MHz
ipg clock     : 66666666Hz
ipg per clock : 66666666Hz
uart clock    : 24000000Hz
ahb clock     : 133333333Hz
axi_a clock   : 400000000Hz
axi_b clock   : 200000000Hz
weim_clock    : 100000000Hz
ddr clock     : 200000000Hz
esdhc1 clock  : 80000000Hz
esdhc2 clock  : 80000000Hz
esdhc3 clock  : 80000000Hz
esdhc4 clock  : 80000000Hz
Board: MX50 RDP board
Boot Reason: [POR]
Boot Device: SD
I2C:   ready
DRAM:  512 MB
MMC:   FSL_ESDHC: 0, FSL_ESDHC: 1, FSL_ESDHC: 2
In:    serial
Out:   serial
Err:   serial
[_get_sd_number] g_sd_number:2

MMC read: dev # 2, block # 1023, count 1 partition # 0 ... 
1 blocks read: OK

MMC read: dev # 2, block # 1024, count 1 partition # 0 ... 
1 blocks read: OK
ram p=70000000,size=536870912

MMC read: dev # 2, block # 18431, count 1 partition # 0 ... 
1 blocks read: OK
no "logo" bin header

MMC read: dev # 2, block # 14335, count 1 partition # 0 ... 
1 blocks read: OK
no "waveform" bin header
Kernel RAM visiable size=511M->511M
Hit any key to stop autoboot:  0 

MMC read: dev # 2, block # 2047, count 1 partition # 0 ... 
1 blocks read: OK
no kernel image signature !

MMC read: dev # 2, block # 2048, count 8192 partition # 0 ... 
8192 blocks read: OK
Wrong Image Format for bootm command
ERROR: can't get kernel image!
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Old 06-12-2016, 09:39 PM   #11
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I found a workaround for the "autoboot from environment" thing!

Just moving the offset where environment is placed (from 768 to 766). uboot finds crc corruption and boots with desired environment defined in board header (include/configs/mx50_rdp_mddr_512.h in case of my aura hd)

Attached bootlog of customized uboot with minimal environment (which prints itself during boot )

Code:
U-Boot 2009.08 (jun 13 2016 - 03:20:23)

CPU:   Freescale i.MX50 family 1.1V at 800 MHz
mx50 pll1: 800MHz
mx50 pll2: 400MHz
mx50 pll3: 216MHz
ipg clock     : 66666666Hz
ipg per clock : 66666666Hz
uart clock    : 24000000Hz
ahb clock     : 133333333Hz
axi_a clock   : 400000000Hz
axi_b clock   : 200000000Hz
weim_clock    : 100000000Hz
ddr clock     : 200000000Hz
esdhc1 clock  : 80000000Hz
esdhc2 clock  : 80000000Hz
esdhc3 clock  : 80000000Hz
esdhc4 clock  : 80000000Hz
Board: Kobo Aura HD
Boot Reason: [POR]
Boot Device: SD
I2C:   ready
DRAM:  512 MB
MMC:   FSL_ESDHC: 0, FSL_ESDHC: 1, FSL_ESDHC: 2
*** Warning - bad CRC or MMC, using default environment

In:    serial
Out:   serial
Err:   serial
[_get_sd_number] g_sd_number:2

MMC read: dev # 2, block # 1023, count 1 partition # 0 ... 
1 blocks read: OK

MMC read: dev # 2, block # 1024, count 1 partition # 0 ... 
1 blocks read: OK
ram p=70000000,size=536870912

MMC read: dev # 2, block # 18431, count 1 partition # 0 ... 
1 blocks read: OK
no "logo" bin header

MMC read: dev # 2, block # 14335, count 1 partition # 0 ... 
1 blocks read: OK

MMC read: dev # 2, block # 14336, count 2263 partition # 0 ... 
2263 blocks read: OK
Kernel RAM visiable size=510M->510M
init TPS65185 power ...
Relock PLL1 to 1GHz ...
mx50 pll1: 1000MHz
mx50 pll2: 400MHz
mx50 pll3: 216MHz
ipg clock     : 66666666Hz
ipg per clock : 66666666Hz
uart clock    : 24000000Hz
ahb clock     : 133333333Hz
axi_a clock   : 400000000Hz
axi_b clock   : 200000000Hz
weim_clock    : 100000000Hz
ddr clock     : 200000000Hz
esdhc1 clock  : 80000000Hz
esdhc2 clock  : 80000000Hz
esdhc3 clock  : 80000000Hz
esdhc4 clock  : 80000000Hz
Hit any key to stop autoboot:  1  0 
bootdelay=1
baudrate=115200
loadaddr=0x70800000
cmdline=setenv bootargs console=ttymxc0,115200 rootwait root=/dev/mmcblk0p1 rootfstype=ext2 rw quiet no_console_suspend lpj=3997696
bootcmd=printenv; run cmdline; load_ntxkernel; bootm
verify=no
stdin=serial
stdout=serial
stderr=serial

Environment size: 284/131068 bytes

MMC read: dev # 2, block # 2047, count 1 partition # 0 ... 
1 blocks read: OK
no kernel image signature !

MMC read: dev # 2, block # 2048, count 8192 partition # 0 ... 
8192 blocks read: OK
## Booting kernel from Legacy Image at 70800000 ...
   Image Name:   r6427_#1027 Mar 28 15:02:51
   Created:      2013-03-28   7:02:55 UTC
   Image Type:   ARM Linux Kernel Image (uncompressed)
   Data Size:    1934696 Bytes =  1.8 MB
   Load Address: 70008000
   Entry Point:  70008000
   Loading Kernel Image ... OK
OK

Starting kernel ...
So, its time to find a way to ext2load a kernel from external sd and coding that in bootcmd. Something like

Code:
bootcmd=run cmdline_external; run load_custom_kernel; bootm; run cmdline; load_ntxkernel; bootm
This way if kernel is not found in external sdcard (or isn't a valid uImage file) the system will boot from internal partition.

I need to find some time to check The watchdog is killing me all the time :/

Last edited by pazos; 06-12-2016 at 09:43 PM.
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Old 06-21-2016, 09:05 AM   #12
pazos
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I'm done with uboot tinkering!

https://github.com/pazos/u-boot-2009.08-kobo

It boots from internal SD by default. When frontlight button is pressed it boots from the second partition of external sd. In both cases it will use the stock kernel.

external sd must have 2 partitions:
/dev/mmcblk1p1 - fat32 (makes nickel happy and avoids fs corruption)
/dev/mmcblk1p2 - ext2 (our rootfs: debian / arch / buildroot system...)

Last edited by pazos; 06-23-2016 at 07:57 PM.
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