Is it required for X96 max+ to have firmware 8 to run Armbian?


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Hello to everybody

I am trying to setup a brand new X96 max+ 4/64 Tv Box as a small linux machine but its simply doesn't work...

I am using Armbian_20.10_Arm-64_bionic_current_5.9.0.img ...I think i have tried all the necessary .dtbs according to this guide : http://mrbluecoat.blogspot.com/2020/10/install-linux-on-x96-max-x96-max.html (i skipped the hk1box-bootloader.img cause I don't have a linux box handy)

but nothing just about every time...not a single case where I saw something from Armbian.

I have a Franklin9 (judging from the Android Recovery Screen) complaining that block is too short....so what is the deal...is it one way street to downgrade X96 or I am missing something trivial.

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First off start by reading the two TV Box FAQ items:

https://forum.armbian.com/topic/16976-status-of-armbian-on-tv-boxes-please-read-first

https://forum.armbian.com/topic/17106-installation-instructions-for-tv-boxes-with-amlogic-cpus

 

Then it would be helpful to provide any additional information you have.  Like what you are seeing happening when you boot with the armbian sd card and press and hold the reset button.

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Thanks for replying @SteeMan

Well it seems that almost nothing i do has an effect...

At first I want to ask the "critical" question.

If I enable the "multiboot" option via the toothpick should I do it everytime i test a new image ?

the only "success" was with a Manjaro build but still I got quite a few issues.

To be honest I tried to avoid the toothpick method (used the Update from Android) because I didn't like the idea of "hammering" the box with pulling and reinserting the power supply ...but anyway

I have the following observations :

As i said I tried many different configuration with Armbian and other distros and the only time i had some kind of "success" it was with the Manjaro but again i have severe Screen glitches and no LAN (maybe after an update I perform I suspect I lost Wifi...but anyway)
The funny thing that makes me "thinking"....I installed Manjaro....pulled the SD card...tried Armbian (another SD)...nothing...reinserted the Manjaro ...it booted....this goes to the "critical" question.
If the "multiboot" remains active i will try all available options till i get one that works...np on this.

When I boot with the Armbian nothing happens regarding Armbian...it just goes to Android...suppose I have some error in whatever .dtb, u-ext...should I get something or is natural to have the TV box ignoring eveything and just booting the Android ?

 

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Since you mention attempting to install other distributions you need to follow the note in the instructions I pointed you to:

 

"Note2: If you have previously run other distributions on the box such as coreelec the below installation will not work.  You will need to restore the original android firmware before attemping the install.  coreelec changes the boot environment in ways that are incompatible with these armbian builds."

 

You need to restore a clean original android firmware before attempting to install the armbian build.  Each distribution will change the boot environment in different and (unknown to us) ways.  So in order to be successful you need to restore your box to a clean known state before attempting an armbian install.

 

 

 

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2 hours ago, SteeMan said:

Since you mention attempting to install other distributions you need to follow the note in the instructions I pointed you to:

 

"Note2: If you have previously run other distributions on the box such as coreelec the below installation will not work.  You will need to restore the original android firmware before attemping the install.  coreelec changes the boot environment in ways that are incompatible with these armbian builds."

 

You need to restore a clean original android firmware before attempting to install the armbian build.  Each distribution will change the boot environment in different and (unknown to us) ways.  So in order to be successful you need to restore your box to a clean known state before attempting an armbian install.

 

 

 

I assume that when you run a - whatever - distribution from  if you stay on the microsd no charges to the underlying system is performed...am I wrong ?

How a modification could be possible without writing to the EMMC ?

what about the subquestion...if the multi boot persists

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29 minutes ago, masteripper said:

I assume that when you run a - whatever - distribution from  if you stay on the microsd no charges to the underlying system is performed...am I wrong ?

Your assumption is incorrect.  The 'multiboot' changes the uboot environment stored on the emmc, even if you are trying to run something on sd.  The is the whole point of 'enabling multiboot' without the changes to the base uboot environment the board doesn't know how to boot from the sd card.  Those changes to the base uboot environment are different across different distributions and therefore the requirement to restore back to a known base with the original android firmware.

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33 minutes ago, masteripper said:

what about the subquestion...if the multi boot persists

Enabling multiboot is something that only should need to be done once, assuming it is done correctly.  It is persisted in the uboot environment stored on emmc.

Having said that, I have experienced cases where for some reason on some boxes the uboot environment gets reset to the default and multiboot does need to get re-enabled, but that is a rare occurrence, nothing I have ever seen happening on every boot.

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1 hour ago, masteripper said:

Thanks @SteeMan for the assistance..  given the fact that I switch MicroSDs  and the one holding the Manjaro each time boots multiboot is enabled... what do you think ?

The manjaro version of multiboot is enabled but that has nothing to do with the armbian version of multiboot.  Each distro does multiboot differently and they are not compatible.  You must restore the base android firmware to get a good known environment before attempting armbian.  I don't know how many times I have to say the same thing.  If you want help, you need to follow the instructions.

 

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27 minutes ago, SteeMan said:

The manjaro version of multiboot is enabled but that has nothing to do with the armbian version of multiboot.  Each distro does multiboot differently and they are not compatible.  You must restore the base android firmware to get a good known environment before attempting armbian.  I don't know how many times I have to say the same thing.  If you want help, you need to follow the instructions.

 

OK...restoring means flash ?

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Returning to the original question :

Has anyone with exactly the same specs (X96 Max+ 4/64, Android 9) managed to install Armbian successfully ?

I feel thatI need to apologize - clarify a bit.

Till now i never ever had issues with my 2 Tv Boxes (now 1 :) )

Especially the older Beelink X2 was kind of a Swiss Army Knife....whatever i threw it in the MicroSD it would boot no matter what (Armbian a lot of different versions , RetroOrangePi,OpenElec, DietPi,Batocera, i think LibreElec, Lakka ( a bit problematic if i recall) ...as long there was kind of "CPU" match it would boot without toothpicks or whatever)

my other TV box S905 one day i decided that it was no good as Android, popped a LibreElec...presto...wanted something more ..CoreElec+EmuElec ...fine again....maybe i used the toothpick once)

But i was completely unaware that the multiboot it's more than a temporary flag that is activated while the 1st boot is occured and if for any reason the machine would reboot hard it would loose it...i thought all the issues were due to the fact that some emmc flashing had occured.......  :unsure:

So thanks for clarifying this.

 

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Well ...... almost SUCCESS

I was really ready to throw it out of the window when ...somehow I remembered that I read somewhere that USB 3.0 port is considered "hot" for updating.....so i burned the image to a usb drive....toothpicked (i hold it for quite a few seconds) ...and i had...almost success...

for some unknown reason my screen is hoping endlessly

Can someone give a helping hand...

 

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I have one of "these" boxes. I put it in quotation marks because it really is a bunch of different hardware revisions that are all sold under the moniker X96Max+. To figure out exactly which one, you'll have to open the box; you cannot rely on what the software tells you.

Mine has the imprint "Q5X3_141 V4.1 20112" on the motherboard, and I have not been able to boot newer Armbian 5.x kernels using any of the existing DTBs on it, although it can boot Debian using on older Amlogic kernel 4.x just fine.

The version of Android that was installed on the box is not important; you may even erase the contents on the eMMC chip, as long as the U-Boot loader is configured to also look at the USB.

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