Where to get the Armbian images
All official Armbian-based images are available at this FTP location, refer to the README.txt file inside if you are not sure what to download:
You can download these images either directly from the FTP or from the torrents available in the FTP. Sometimes the torrents inside are faster way to get the images.
How to use Armbian images
The great Armbian documentation is available here and should always be considered:
Yet, consider that there might be some minor differences in our images.
Ways to access the board
There are at least five ways to access the board's console but the serial-USB converter is always recommended since it is the most resilient to software misconfiguration.
The first two access methods should always work by default. Also consider that you can interrupt boot process only if using one of these two:
1. serial-USB converter cable over the UART debug pins + personal computer with serial terminal software
2. HDMI monitor
Method that would work out-of-the-box only with newer hardware:
3. LCD display
The two other methods require some more knowledge and experience and might require additional configuration - the USB-OTG connector and via the Ethernet connector. Furthermore, you can't interrupt boot process since the processes get started during kernel:
4. Serial over USB-OTG connector + personal computer with serial terminal software
You could use the USB_OTG connector as serial port. Connect the board to a host computer via USB-mini cable. Wait some time for the board to boot. In the system log you should see something like:
usb 3-2: new high-speed USB device number 5 using xhci_hcd
usb 3-2: New USB device found, idVendor=0525, idProduct=a4a7
usb 3-2: New USB device strings: Mfr=1, Product=2, SerialNumber=0
usb 3-2: Product: Gadget Serial v2.4
usb 3-2: Manufacturer: Linux 4.19.5-sunxi with musb-hdrc
cdc_acm 3-2:2.0: ttyACM0: USB ACM device
Then use picocom, minicom, etc to login:
picocom -b 115200 /dev/ttyACM0
18.04.1 LTS olinuxino ttyGS0
5. SSH over Ethernet connector + personal computer
Default login is:
After login you'll be prompt for new password.
If you don't reach console login prompt, ensure that your external power supply is good enough (A20 boards shouldn't be powered via USB, neither via GPIO headers); ensure that your card is properly working and properly written with a well-known tool; consider that your board and/or image might require manual configuration (refer to Manual board configuration)
Manual board configuration
By default A20 boards manufactured after 01.01.2018 have board IDs stored in the EEPROM memories with automatic detection in mind and these would not require manual board configuration. These "newer" boards get identified and recognized by the information stored on their EEPROMs and proper Linux configuration gets automatically loaded.
The Armbian-based image is universal for all Olimex A20 boards and in order to load proper configuration some additional board configuration might be required. In order to use this image with boards manufactured or purchased before 01.01.2018 a one-time configuration might be required. This procedure is also helpful if you erased or used the EEPROM for other purposes (thus overwritten the information about the board's ID).
The manual configuration requires interrupting the boot and loading the proper configuration for your board. You would also need either HDMI or serial-USB connection to the board (Ethernet SSH and USB-OTG connection to the board are configured in the kernel and you can't interrupt the boot soon enough to enter the u-boot configurator). If your board has EEPROM (all boards except for old revisions of A20-SOM should have EEPROM), this configuration can be stored for subsequent boots.
- Stop in the u-boot when you see:
Autoboot in 1 seconds, press <Space> to stop
- List all supported boards and variants:
olinuxino config list
Remember the ID number of the board that you have from the list.
- Set configuration, for example if you have A20-OLinuXino-LIME2-e16Gs16M, hardware revision K you would have to type:
olinuxino config 9604 k
After the hardware revision "k" you can also add custom serial number or custom MAC address. That data would be stored to the EEPROM of the board.
- Save the changes permanently with:
- Check what is the current configuration and if not happy repeat the configuration process:
olinuxino config info
- Reboot the board and you're ready:
Selecting video output
On most boards you can select between HDMI and LCD output
HDMI output always has the highest priority. This means that if you plug an HDMI cable, the output always will be on the HDMI monitor, regardless of other settings.
If HDMI is not present, then LCD output will be used. By default the image tries to use auto-detect method for the LCD. The auto-detection will only work on panels and boards . You can manually override this in the u-boot console as follows.
Autoboot in 1 seconds, press <Space> to stop
- List all supported LCD panels:
olinuxino monitor list
Supported video outputs:
LCD-OLinuXino - Video outout to the LCD connector with AUTO detect function
LCD-OLinuXino-4.3TS - Video output to LCD-OLinuXino-4.3TS
LCD-OLinuXino-7 - Video output to LCD-OLinuXino-7
LCD-OLinuXino-5 - Video output to LCD-OLinuXino-5
LCD-OLinuXino-10 - Video output to LCD-OLinuXino-10
- Set configuration, for example LCD-OLinuXino-7
olinuxino monitor set LCD-OLinuXino-7
- You can make changes permanent with:
- Reboot the board and you're ready:
Selecting bootlog console
You can select the bootlog to be displayed on HDMI/LCD or on the debug serial port.
This is done via armbianEnv.txt file.
Open the file:
For bootlog on the serial port use:
For bootlog on HDMI/LCD console:
Save the file and reboot the board.
You can update the the board using apt.
Get the latest sources:
git clone https://github.com/OLIMEX/u-boot.git
Updating via USB
You can write the new u-boot to MMC, eMMC, SPI Flash or NAND (not fully supported) using DFU
Boot the board and stop at u-boot console. Connect USB-mini cable to a host PC.
Update SPI flash
Check the available partitions with:
device nor0 <flash.0>, # parts = 4
#: name size offset mask_flags
0: SPI.u-boot 0x00200000 0x00000000 0
1: SPI.u-boot-env 0x00020000 0x00200000 0
2: SPI.u-boot-env.backup0x00020000 0x00220000 0
3: SPI.user 0x00dc0000 0x00240000 0
active partition: nor0,0 - (SPI.u-boot) 0x00200000 @ 0x00000000
mtdids : nand0=nand.0,nor0=nor.0
Activate DFU protocol with:
=> dfu 0 sf "0:0:25000000:0"
interface: sf, devstr: 0:0:25000000:0
Next, on the host PC run:
Copyright 2005-2009 Weston Schmidt, Harald Welte and OpenMoko Inc.
Copyright 2010-2016 Tormod Volden and Stefan Schmidt
This program is Free Software and has ABSOLUTELY NO WARRANTY
Please report bugs to http://sourceforge.net/p/dfu-util/tickets/
Found DFU: [15ba:0041] ver=0215, devnum=6, cfg=1, intf=0, path="3-2", alt=2, name="SPI.u-boot-env.backup", serial="ffffffff"
Found DFU: [15ba:0041] ver=0215, devnum=6, cfg=1, intf=0, path="3-2", alt=1, name="SPI.u-boot-env", serial="ffffffff"
Found DFU: [15ba:0041] ver=0215, devnum=6, cfg=1, intf=0, path="3-2", alt=0, name="SPI.u-boot", serial="ffffffff"
Update u-boot binary with:
dfu-util -D spl/u-boot-spl.bin -a SPI.u-boot
Update SD/eMMC card
Stop loading in the u-boot. To check available MMC devices run:
If the board is booted from SD card and you also have eMMC, the output will be:
mmc@01c0f000: 0 (SD)
mmc@01c11000: 1 (eMMC)
Connect USB-mini cable enter:
ums 0 mmc 0
ums 0 mmc 1
New mass storage device will show-up on the host computer. To write u-boot use:
sudo dd if=u-boot-sunxi-with-spl.bin of=/dev/sdX seek=16 conv=sync
where /dev/sdX should be replaced with the new device, /dev/sdb, /dev/sdc, etc.
GPIOs and popular communication protocols
Follow the advice in this document on how to control a GPIO via the command line:
There are other ways mentioned in Armbian documentation on how to control a pin. Make sure to explore other options.
For popular communication protocols like UART, SPI, CAN you would need to activate a different pin overlay, visit this location for more info and ready-to-use overlays:
Make sure to take a look at the official Armbian documentation here: https://docs.armbian.com
git clone --branch olimex https://github.com/olimex/build
Building requires root access. System preparation can take long, depending on system, internet connection, etc. After everything is ready a prompt will appear:
Select what to build:
-> U-boot and kernel packages
-> Full OS image for flashing
The first option will build only u-boot and kernel packages. This is suitable for updating image. The second option will make ready to use image with u-boot, kernel and rootfs.
Select the kernel configuration:
-> Do not change the kernel configuration
-> Show a kernel configuration menu before compilation
Here you can modify kernel configuration, before build. After that target must be selected.
Olimex's images are not officially supported by Armbian team, so you must select Show CSC/WIP/EOS option.
Select the target board. Displaying:
- (CSC) - Community Supported Configuration
- (WIP) - Work In Progress
- (ESO) - End Of Support
Here select either:
olinuxino-a20 - Common configuration file for All A20-OLinuXino boards
olinuxino-a33 - A33 quad core 1Gb Soc
Next kernel variant must be selected. Here select next branch:
Select the target kernel branch
Exact kernel versions depend on selected board
-> default Vendor provided / legacy (3.4.x - 4.4.x)
-> next Mainline (@kernel.org) (4.x)
-> dev Development version (4.x)
Next select distribution:
Select the target OS release
-> jessie Debian 8 Jessie / unsupported
-> stretch Debian 9 Stretch
-> xenial Ubuntu Xenial 16.04 LTS
-> bionic Ununtu Bionic 18.04 LTS
Finally select building desktop environment or not:
Select the target image type
-> Image with console interface (server)
-> Image with desktop environment
After some time the image / packages will be available in the output directory. For example:
| |-- armbian-config_5.65_all.deb
| |-- armbian-firmware_5.65_all.deb
| |-- armbian-firmware-full_5.65_all.deb
| |-- armbian-tools-bionic_5.65_armhf.deb
| |-- bionic
| | |-- armbian-bionic-desktop_5.65_all.deb
| | |-- linux-bionic-root-next-olinuxino-a20_5.65_armhf.deb
| |-- linux-dtb-next-sunxi_5.65_armhf.deb
| |-- linux-headers-next-sunxi_5.65_armhf.deb
| |-- linux-image-next-sunxi_5.65_armhf.deb
| |-- linux-source-next-sunxi_5.65_all.deb
| |-- linux-u-boot-next-olinuxino-a20_5.65_armhf.deb
| |-- Armbian_5.65_Olinuxino-a20_Ubuntu_bionic_next_4.19.5_desktop.img
Put sdcard in the host PC. New device should appear, e.g. /dev/sdc. Flash the image
using the following command:
# dd if=/path/to/Armbian_5.65_Olinuxino-a20_Ubuntu_bionic_next_4.19.5_desktop.img.img of=/dev/sdx bs=10M
Replace /dev/sdx with your device. You must use /dev/sdx, not /dev/sdx1!