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fossxplorer

A5X MAX RK3328 4GB/16GB

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Hi folks,

I just bought A5X MAX RK3328 4K TV Box 4GB/16GB since it had 4GB RAM, but only 100mbit Ethernet. Since it's got USB3 so i can get 1gbit Ethernet anyway.

The price of $50 incl. shipping tempted to buy it. Hope to run Linux one day and i wonder if i already can test Linux from SD card on this? In the future i hope also to be able to run Linux directly off the 16GB eMMC.

I know there is a lot of work going on mainlining support for RK3328. I'm not interested in GUI/Kodi stuff, but just headless Linux server with SSHd/continers running on this.

Also a bit concerned about any thermal issues, but i should fix my self by opening the box and modding with heatsinks/USB fan.

 

Will be a small dream come through if i can use this box as a Linux headless server 24/7 :)

 

 

 

 

 

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Hi, did you already start the box with Android and see if it really has 4GB RAM. And if so, can you update your post with the link where you bought it ?

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1 hour ago, fossxplorer said:

i wonder if i already can test Linux from SD card on this?

 

Just like on any Z28 (Pro) box. My personal opinion on 'working' on TV boxes: It's stupid from a developer's perspective for more than one reason (read here and below). That being said obviously you missed that Igor ordered the biggest Z28 Pro TV box variant (with GbE onboard) so if it's about choosing a RK3328 TV box that might maybe get supported status then it's clearly Z28 Pro and none of the other Z28 boxes that are all more or less the same hardware since following closely one of 4 Rockchip reference designs (check ROCK64 schematics there you find all 4 variants).

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I would try and find out what reference design variant your box follows and then provide a dts(i) for it. Can you ask your TV box OEM to provide a schematic, otherwise it doenst make much sense to reverse engineer all the details...

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@tido

I've just ordered it from Geekbuying so takes ~30 days to get it i guess. Ofc, i will check the RAM and update the thread here :)

 

@tkaiser: well, i just ordered it since it's RK3328 + 4GB. Let's see what we can get out of it on the future

I came over https://androidtvbox.eu/alfawise-z28-pro-smart-tv-box-android-7-1-powered-rk3328-promo/,

Is that correct that only 2GB version got GbE:

"Connectivity – 10/100M Ethernet / 10/100/1000Mbps Gigabit Ethernet (version with 2GB RAM / 16GB eMMC), 802.11 b/g/n WiFi / Dual Band 802.11 b/g/n/ac and Bluetooth 4.0 (version with 2GB RAM / 16GB eMMC)"

 

But unfortuantely, no 4GB RAM version. I hope to run containers on such a 4GB RAM box :)

 @Xalius, let's see if i can when i get it. Right now i dunno who the vendor is. These chinese boxes have 100s of names, but many could be the same board :)

 

3 hours ago, tkaiser said:

 

Just like on any Z28 (Pro) box. My personal opinion on 'working' on TV boxes: It's stupid from a developer's perspective for more than one reason (read here and below). That being said obviously you missed that Igor ordered the biggest Z28 Pro TV box variant (with GbE onboard) so if it's about choosing a RK3328 TV box that might maybe get supported status then it's clearly Z28 Pro and none of the other Z28 boxes that are all more or less the same hardware since following closely one of 4 Rockchip reference designs (check ROCK64 schematics there you find all 4 variants).

 

 

EDIT: if Igor is working on Linux support for Z28 Pro with GbE LAN i will order that one too :)

EDIT2: all the 5 feedback on Geekbuying look totally "fake" IMO, since this box was pretty new and i got an promo email from them which i used to order. A couple of days later, suddently i see 5 feedback. I think ALL of them are fake feedback!

 

This box has bad WiFi etc, but i only bought since it has 4 GB RAM + USB3 in the hope to run Linux in the future.

 

Should i rather cancel this and order Z28 Pro with 2GB RAM/GbE/USB3?

 

 

 

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4 hours ago, fossxplorer said:

Should i rather cancel this and order Z28 Pro with 2GB RAM/GbE/USB3?

 

Who should answer this? :P

 

I've no idea which potential flaws Z28 Pro shows but since all these designs are more or less reference design with minor tweaks I would assume it will work more or less like the 4GB ROCK64. Please note that for specific DRAM types specific bootloaders are needed so ROCK64 images might not work (reliably) on any other RK3328 device (since DRAM BOM costs increased a lot within the last half year I'm very sceptical shopping a cheap 4GB device these days)

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4 hours ago, tkaiser said:

 

Who should answer this? :P

 

I've no idea which potential flaws Z28 Pro shows but since all these designs are more or less reference design with minor tweaks I would assume it will work more or less like the 4GB ROCK64. Please note that for specific DRAM types specific bootloaders are needed so ROCK64 images might not work (reliably) on any other RK3328 device (since DRAM BOM costs increased a lot within the last half year I'm very sceptical shopping a cheap 4GB device these days)

Hehe :) I'm willing to let that $50 go for this box in an attempt to get Linux working on it.

@igor, alright, let's see how Z28 Pro turns out to be. I'm very interested in that box too, since it has GbE AND USB3, but only with Linux ofc B)

 

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On 10. 8. 2017 at 6:47 PM, Igor said:

My box hasn't arrived yet. 


Is there something new about Alfawise Z28  ?

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Here are images of A5X Max.

It really has 4GB RAM (8x512MB chips, 4 on both sides).

 

I have been unable to boot anything from SD card.

No obvious place to solder serial console either, or at least I can not see it.

 

I would like to run linux on it. I kind of hoped I can when I picked up really good deal and was really excited about 4GB RAM. But so far no progress.

 

DSC_3913.JPGDSC_3914.JPG

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1 hour ago, exquisitus said:

is there a reset button on this pcb? that thing under the audio jacks?

That button may put the board into bootrom mode, which I think you are leading up to.

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@srx: that button behind one of the audio jack is the reset button as @exquisitus points out. At least on my H96Pro+, it must be pressed inside while powering up in order to activate boot from mSDcard reader.

 

Yet another one Beelink A1 RK3328. Compared to A5X MAX (which i've and not yet unboxed at home), it also has 1GbE :) Question is if we can run Linux on it.

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1 hour ago, fossxplorer said:

@srx: that button behind one of the audio jack is the reset button as @exquisitus points out. At least on my H96Pro+, it must be pressed inside while powering up in order to activate boot from mSDcard reader.

 

If I have SD card inserted and power on, nothing happens. Red led stays on and that's all. Looks like it tries to boot from SD but something is not right.

If I push that button when powering on, then still nothing happens. Red led stays on and that is all.

 

Of course without serial console I have no idea what is going on.

I'll take a look under heatsink. Thaks for that tip.

 

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Disclamier: i'm a total n00b on this!

 

Reminds me of when i tried to boot my H96Pro+ with "not one of the correct" DTB, all i saw was a red light and nothing on the screen. Could be something similar. If it's not booting Android from the eMMC, it's a good sign that it tries to boot from SD card? But if the SD card reader is NOT on sdio0, then bummer :(

 

 

2 hours ago, srx said:

If I have SD card inserted and power on, nothing happens. Red led stays on and that's all. Looks like it tries to boot from SD but something is not right.

If I push that button when powering on, then still nothing happens. Red led stays on and that is all.

 

 

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Not sure how to get proper DTB file. I can extract it from android but will it work?

I tried with generic ROCK64 images and default DTB.

 

I remember from LibreElec and s905x that you must use correct DTB for kernel in use. So DTB is decompiled and recompiled somehow. Not sure how. DTBs for different hardware was provided with every new version.

 

Looks like there is something that looks like serial console under heatsink. Just up from flash memory chip. I have not removed heatsink yet because I do not have anything at hand to reattach it later.

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3 hours ago, srx said:

I can extract it from android but will it work?

Most probably not since AFAIK the kernel RK's Android uses is a 3.10.$something while the Linux images rely on 4.4 or mainline. Of course you can fetch the various .dts for ROCK64 from ayufan's repos (3.10, 4.4 and 4.14) and compare to get a clue how to adopt stuff.

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I jump into a hack try!
Just bought an MXR10 same AX5 board but a better emmc chip 32GB 208mhz instead 16GB 103mhz.
According to rock64 forum, it's possible to boot in spi mode and sdio can work with spi nor flash in spi mode 1Bit.
So in theory it's possible to put spi flash in place of sdio wifi module.
I will try to put openwrt on spi 16mbyte, to install linux, dump android image.
I think this is why vendor put sdcard on the wrong sdio port, in order to block easy copying their android image.
If it's work it's will be easy for someone to buy an spi flash, write it with an esp8266 (esptool can write 128mbit flash).
The hard part is be able to boot an openwrt or an network boot from spi flash.
On A5X or MX10 there is an usb hub, so i think it's possible to add an usb wifi to remplace the sdio wifi module removed

 

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Just a word to say, finaly i am sure SDIO host don't handle SPI mode - no way to connect CS/SS to sdio interface, so bad. SDcard can work in spi mode but not reverse.
Really SDIO has a big potential (bandwidht, low power) but hard to use for hackers. Example there no ethernet chip based on sdio, but lot of wlan - really strange!

The way to use sdio0 on rk3328 is soldering sdcard including a working u boot, soldering is easy and safe but not easy to adjust u boot. Soldering sdsocket is weak mecanicaly...maybe an bid sd to microsd is better.

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For information esp8266 flash/read really fine 16MB flash, save you to make an breadboard with soic nor flash and programing dts and everybody have an soldering iron have an old esp8266 no so far

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hi! i have a5x max+ 4g/32g Fn-Link 6222B-SRB wifi bluetooth module and did flash it on USB-4 right next to AV/reset. unfortunately, loader failed. now it is now bricked. so m still looking for the correct pins to short to enter the mask mode and re-flash it.  anyone knows this?  

A5X Max+ mBoard_Samsung 32GB eMMC KMV2W00LM-B506 .jpg

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t booted up fine and then a green screen came up and then I couldn't do anything it's like the thing locked up. So I unplugged it and the screen came back on and then went back to the green screen. Maybe I got a bad unit.

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I found this thread in LibreElec forum:

https://forum.libreelec.tv/thread/12664-a5x-max-rk3328-a53/

 

And I tried latest image from https://github.com/Kwiboo/LibreELEC.tv/releases

At the time of writing that is LibreELEC-ROCK64.aarch64-8.2-devel-20171004193222-r26173-gd404dbb.img.gz

zcat LibreELEC-ROCK64.aarch64-8.2-devel-20171004193222-r26173-gd404dbb.img.gz | dd of=/dev/<sd card device> bs=1M

Just insert SD card, apply power and you get LibreElec. Well, it is without WiFi at the moment and probably some other things might not work. But it means it is possible to boot from SD card and have linux running on this box.

So, little bit of info from that site... bit of tinkering with armbian root image and we should have cheap linux server with 4GB of RAM, running from SD card.

I'm not sure I can do it... but I might try. I am very interested in getting headless linux server running on that box.

 

EDIT:

Looks like Armbian Rock64 image has hardcoded DTB in bootloader (first 16MB of SD card):

fdtfile=rockchip/rk3328-rock64.dtb

So that is difficult to change... or you could replace contents of that file... BUT read on...

 

It also looks like DTB is embedded into bootloader part of the SD (starting at ABOUT 0x00A916E8 - not exact number, look there and you see DTB info). So even changing DTB filename or replacing rk3328-rock64.dtb contents with something else will probably have no effect at all.

So everthing relating to DTBs is built into bootloader at compile time and altering it is difficult.

To build Arbian release for our box we probably have to take full source package, modify it, and build our own image.

 

OR... maybe we can replace DTB embedded into bootloader... I will look into it. If there is (enough) empty space at the end, I will try to overwrite DTB.

 

I have this box sitting on the shelf for at least half a year now... would be nice if I finally can use it for what I wanted it for.

 

Another edit:

Maybe Armbian image is not meant to be flashed to SD card but into eMMC. That also might be the reason why it is not working.

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On 8/19/2018 at 12:16 PM, srx said:

I found this thread in LibreElec forum:

https://forum.libreelec.tv/thread/12664-a5x-max-rk3328-a53/

 

And I tried latest image from https://github.com/Kwiboo/LibreELEC.tv/releases

At the time of writing that is LibreELEC-ROCK64.aarch64-8.2-devel-20171004193222-r26173-gd404dbb.img.gz


zcat LibreELEC-ROCK64.aarch64-8.2-devel-20171004193222-r26173-gd404dbb.img.gz | dd of=/dev/<sd card device> bs=1M

 

Hi

i have create this thread 

as you can see there is no help for this box on libreelec forum

have you find a way to boot libreelec with latest kodi, lan and wifi?

 

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On 8/26/2018 at 3:01 PM, kotsos75 said:

have you find a way to boot libreelec with latest kodi, lan and wifi?

I have not even tried.

I am not interested in running LibreElec/Kodi on this box. I have many cheap s905x boxes with 1GB/8GB and they work very well with LibreElec (like x96/x96 mini, T96N, A95x (not the R1 version - this is rockchip) and many others). There is not much hardware needed to play media over LAN.

Cheapest s905x boxes cost just about €20 or so... and everything is still included, even HDMI cable and remote. I'd take one of those if I want just to run Kodi. Those work very well for me. Just pop in microSD with LibreElec and you are good to go (might need some magic - like pushing a button hidden in AV out port or placing empty update.zip file on SD card and selecting manual update from Android. It is just for the first boot, after that you do not have to do it anymore. If SD is inserted it boots from SD, if not it boots Android from internal flash).

Or if you want the best software support - Raspberry Pi is a good choice. Of course it needs lot of extra bits like memory card, power brick, cables, case, etc.

 

My interest is to run Linux Server on this box. Just because I got it really cheap and it has 4GB of RAM. My other boxes have 1GB or 2GB and even 2GB is bit too short for what I want to do. 4GB would be perfect.

 

And to be honest, I have not worked on the issue at the moment.

So no progress with booting Linux either.

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ok thank you for the answer

just to let you know, many of linux builds from this site are booting in this box but the same problem to all is no network

i think i will keep this box with android and forget LE

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