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Tanix TX6S - H616

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Firstly sorry for the bad english(By Google Translator). I've been searching for a long time on how to use linux on my tv box, without success.


I searched here on the forum in several topics, I didn't find anything related to the tx6s, the closest I came was the Orange-Pi Zero 2, which uses the same processor.


In one of the topics, from 2020 if I'm not mistaken, a user warned that because it was the same processor or similar hardware, it wouldn't necessarily work.

Even so I ventured out and tried in hopes of working, some versions of Armbian for OrangePi Z2 and other linux for ARM.


With other ARM versions the tv box, booted normally on Android, with Armbian, it didn't even start and no led lit up.


What made me believe that somehow with Armbian, the tv box recognized the SD card as bootable, but for some problem it can't boot. Maybe it's the u-boot used. if some of the versions I tried to install:


https://drive.google.com/drive/folders/1HsD11VGl-CSv98GgmWoVSlnFYEE1jMNM - Orange-Pi Zero2 IMG [Armbian_22.05.0-trunk_Orangepizero2_jammy_edge_5.17.5_minimal.img] - (No_Boot) - {Problema_com_o_U-boot?}


https://drive.google.com/file/d/1wZulOr6_Sur_btcqqzBFTpjPmhPX0fZ1/view?usp=sharing - Orange-Pi Zero2 IMG [Armbian_22.05.0-trunk_Orangepizero2_focal_current_5.15.35.img] - (No_Boot) - {Problema_com_o_U-boot?}


https://drive.google.com/drive/folders/13pY93TozoF2omgKYnCiSZrONbBvBPxAh - Orange Pi Zero2 Linux5.13 IMG [] e []


https://armbian.hosthatch.com/archive/orangepizero2/archive/Armbian_21.08.1_Orangepizero2_hirsute_edge_5.13.12.img.xz - Orange Pi Zero2 IMG [Armbian_21.08.1_Orangepizero2_hirsute_edge_5.13.12.img]

https://mirrors.dotsrc.org/armbian-dl/orangepizero2/archive/ Orange Pi Z2 IMG [FOCAL Armbian_22.02.1_Orangepizero2_focal_edge_5.16.11][Armbian_22.02.1_Orangepizero2_bullseye_legacy_4.9.255.img]


TV BOX MODEL: https://linux-sunxi.org/Tanix_TX6s


I also found this about u-boot, I don't know if it can be useful or how to use this information, I have no technical knowledge:


https://gist.github.com/heitbaum - u-boot


https://github.com/jernejsk/u-boot -u-boot


https://github.com/jernejsk/u-boot/tree/h616-v2 - u-boot


If anyone knows how to install this tv box, please show me the way to the stones. it could be the server version.


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The h616 is a relatively new cpu from allwinner.  Support for that cpu by mainline linux (and therefore armbian is still in the early stages).  Currently development efforts are making progress but still have a ways to go.  The best working code bases right now don't use mainline linux but custom vendor supplied kernels with a bunch of out of tree linux modifications.

What I mention above is for SBCs like the Opi Zero2.

Armbian does not support TV boxes.  The handfull of people who hang out in these TV box forums have an interest in running armbian on TV boxes, but no one is working on the h616.  I would say you are a year or two away from potentially running armbian on your box (if that ever happens).

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OK. I think I understand. The problem is not the difference or similarity of the hardware, but the different kernel modified by each manufacturer, which makes development difficult. You have to customize for each type of tv box in specific.


I will continue to follow the forum and wait. Thank you so much for replying my friend.

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@Munez I posted my findings earlier here:

basically what I found on my end was that most of the kernels of these Orange Pi Zero 2 ROMs didn't seem to do anything on H616 boxes I got access to but somehow the ones specifically with 4.9.279 and 4.9.280 kernels booted and gave one USB and HDMI out on one of these boxes and other clearly did some additional loading too but with no HDMI out. None of the other ROMs showed any activity on boot but granted I haven't hooked up serial connection for further analysis. For example 4.9.255 was just dead on my end.

I've used ROMs from this archive for testing: https://armbian.hosthatch.com/archive/orangepizero2/archive/

This works on the H96max (H616) box here: https://armbian.hosthatch.com/archive/orangepizero2/archive/Armbian_21.08.1_Orangepizero2_bullseye_legacy_4.9.280.img.xz

Would be nice to hear others experiences on this, if 279 and 280 work for others too there must be some reason why only these are more compatible with H616 TV boxes.

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1 hour ago, rzu said:

Would be nice to hear others experiences on this, if 279 and 280 work for others too there must be some reason why only these are more compatible with H616 TV boxes.

The 4.9.x kernels are 'legacy' kernels in armbian speak.  That means they are the kernels supplied by the board vendor.  Vendor kernels are generally heavily modified and the changes don't get put into the mainline kernels.  Because of the heavy modifications these vendor kernels are always very old kernels and therefore not receiving any support/bugfixes/patches.  Armbian focuses on support of mainline kernels and the mainline kernel tree and tries to minimize any out of tree kernel patches (when there are patches necessary, it is the goal that these changes will ultimately be accepted into the mainline tree).  Because the vendor kernel and mainline are so far apart, it often isn't realistic to merge the vendor changes into mainline, but instead the work needs to be redone.  Since the vendors generally don't put any effort into mainlining all that falls upon the community which can take a long time.

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Em 17/05/2022 às 08:21, rzu disse:

@Munez , postei minhas descobertas anteriormente aqui:

basicamente o que eu encontrei no meu final foi que a maioria dos kernels dessas ROMs Orange Pi Zero 2 não pareciam fazer nada nas caixas H616 às quais eu tive acesso, mas de alguma forma os especificamente com kernels 4.9.279 e 4.9.280 inicializados e deu uma saída USB e HDMI em uma dessas caixas e outras claramente fizeram algum carregamento adicional também, mas sem saída HDMI. Nenhuma das outras ROMs mostrou qualquer atividade na inicialização, mas admito que não conectei a conexão serial para análise posterior. Por exemplo, 4.9.255 estava morto do meu lado.

Eu usei ROMs deste arquivo para teste: https://armbian.hosthatch.com/archive/orangepizero2/archive/

Isso funciona na caixa H96max (H616) aqui: https://armbian.hosthatch.com/archive/orangepizero2/archive/Armbian_21.08.1_Orangepizero2_bullseye_legacy_4.9.280.img.xz

Seria bom ouvir outras experiências sobre isso, se 279 e 280 funcionam para outros também, deve haver alguma razão pela qual apenas esses são mais compatíveis com caixas de TV H616.

Hello friend, I found this topic, I saw your comment, I don't remember if I found the ISO you mentioned and I tested it. Thank you so much for replying to my thread and posting the links. I will test these images you mentioned here. Let's see if it works on mine.

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@rzuI'm still testing, for me it was a significant advance one of the images booted. I will test them all and come back with details in a few days. Thank you so much!

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Worth noting that I couldn't get anything but one USB and HDMI running but that let me put in usb hub with gbit lan to it and hook it to network that way, also tested usb ac wifi dongle and that also worked but it's more pain to manage. With physical wire you can just remote SSH always as long as you've done the initial armbian setup.

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Posted (edited)

@rzu@SteeManHi, so I tested several images with 4.9.x kernel, in some I was able to boot, but in no case I was able to install.


initial remarks:


this model tx6s has 2 usb 2.0, 1 usb 3.0, 1 hdmi and 1 ethernet.

the white streaks in the images, from the screen is a problem with my tv


General notes, on all tested images that booted:


It doesn't boot the boot loader the first time, I've made more than five attempts in every one I've tested.

In all cases the hdmi, 1 usb 2.0 and 3.0 worked, recognizing the keyboard.


images that were tested and boot loader initialized:


images taken from the link https://armbian.hosthatch.com/archive/orangepizero2/archive/ shared by @rzu







images taken from the link https://armbian.chi.auroradev.org/dl/orangepizero2/archive/?sort=size&order=desc





All behaved the same way. Got stuck on black screen without loading anything, for more than 10 minutes with no change. as you can see in the image below.


Image: https://ibb.co/7bfBj2t


I decided to test the images available on the orangepi website for the zero 2 model. And surprisingly I was also able to boot the boot loader, and it loaded some files but it gave an error in both Ubuntu and Debian versions.



images taken from the link https://drive.google.com/drive/folders/1ohxfoxWJ0sv8yEHbrXL1Bu2RkBhuCMup






Image:  https://ibb.co/3vZzrQt



images taken from the link https://drive.google.com/drive/folders/1Xk7b1jOMg-rftowFLExynLg0CyuQ7kCM





I made a video to be readable, due to the problem with the TV image.


Video: https://odysee.com/@uaitidoguis:d/Tanix_TX6S_Orangepizero2_2.2.0_debian_buster_desktop_linux4.9.170:f?r=H7r2LcNEzboXLJ9aLRuWBf15XxyGjZjp


Well that's it, I hope this helps someone who is in the same situation. Unfortunately on mine it didn't work 100%, I'm already better than yesterday. I'll continue in the battle looking for an image that works, maybe I'll get lucky. If anyone knows any more links to images with kernel 4.9x, share it here. If I have any more progress, I'll come back to share.







Edited by Munez
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Note that since you are using a build for a completely different device (orangepizero2 vs tx6s) you aren't going to get everything working without a proper dtb file.  So at a minimum you would need to find/modify a dtb file that describes to the kernel the actual hardware in your box.  Unless the opzero2 has the exact same hardware on the board as the tx6s the dtb file you are using will be wrong and the hardware that is different will not be working.  I'm honestly amazed that you have as much working as you do.

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I tested some more Armbian versions with 4.9x, it was the same way. I found a guy on the LibreElec forum, he commented that he had managed to run linux on his tx6s. Heitbaum, I'm trying to get in touch with him, he still hasn't replied. Including one of the links from my first post here which is from his Git. He shared some files for tx6s. Could you take a look, please, when you have time. Maybe one of them is dtb.or maybe it's some file I can use.







I will research about dtb files, how to create and edit, compare the Orange hardware with my tx6s, see what I need to change or add. I will try to learn how to do it. Now that I have a path to follow it becomes better. I'll just stop trying to figure out how to run linux on it. After the tvbox stops working or exhausts my possibilities.

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I did notice that on H96Max H616 box I have here MiniMyth's orangepi_zero image actually boots with both USB ports functional (vs one USB port on those select Armbian images) so their H616 patches definitely do improve things. Ethernet is still dead on it but that's no surprise since it's not a matching board.

I was also able to extract DTS from this H96Max box and it looked very similar to orangepizero2's DTS file on armbian, items in different order but values were close to identical.

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@rzu- i did not try the images from waprme's minimyth2, but i'm using the patches for both the h6 and h616 to build my own images (not armbian) and they are working very well so far - i would say its the most complete patch collection for h616 right now


best wishes and good luck - hexdump

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33 minutes ago, hexdump said:

@rzu- i did not try the images from waprme's minimyth2, but i'm using the patches for both the h6 and h616 to build my own images (not armbian) and they are working very well so far - i would say its the most complete patch collection for h616 right now

Cool stuff, I'm assuming you mean now patches that you have here? https://github.com/hexdump0815/linux-mainline-and-mali-allwinner-h6-kernel

Is there any plan to push these to Armbian eventually? I'm still piecing together how these all work together.

I've so far fiddled with custom AW H6 armbian builds for my T95 Mini (everything working great on it) and tried to get something to build for this H96 Max box but best I've gotten on my own builds is the armbian logo on HDMI using legacy kernel :D

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On 6/7/2022 at 7:26 AM, rzu said:

@rzuYes it worked, as it is not the type of linux distribution I am looking for, I stopped here https://ibb.co/2hRxYgk

I replaced the original dtb from tested images with that of mythtv. Unsuccessfully. I think I must have to change something inside some file for the system to recognize it. I still don't know how to open and edit the files


@hexdump@rzuPlease, if you have any custom linux h616 image that is working, even if it is not 100% please send me a link so I can try it on my tv box.


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