Topic: Writing a "guide" for getting started with Novena

I've started writing a developer-oriented guide to getting started with the novena:

http://novena-guide.readthedocs.org/

The idea is not to supplant the wiki or other resources, but to consolidate stable information already existing elsewhere into a quick reference format. The target audience would be folks just getting their boards and not yet knowing where to start (eg, console baud rates, etc) and developers who might have experience with one of {hardware, firmware, software, FPGAs}, but not the others, and wants to get up to speed on full-systems development.

It's mostly just a skeleton for now, i'll be filling it in over the coming weeks as I start using my board more. Corrections and contributions are welcome, or if anybody has made further progress along with something similar i'd be happy to redirect my efforts there instead.

Git repo (for source code) is on github (bnewbold/novena-guide); I can't direct link because of anti-spam measures (one URL per post).

Re: Writing a "guide" for getting started with Novena

Thank you. I'll surely be using it upon receiving my Novena.

Re: Writing a "guide" for getting started with Novena

Thanks for putting this together.

I'm particularly interested in running from a sata drive, as you describe here: http://novena-guide.readthedocs.org/en/ … -sata-disk

If I understand the instructions, you need the micro sd card to boot initially, but once you've gone through the steps of setting up the sata drive as the root filesystem, do you still need to sd card to boot?

Re: Writing a "guide" for getting started with Novena

Thanks for putting this together.

Re: Writing a "guide" for getting started with Novena

dpapathanasiou: My understanding of xobs' design decision, and the configuration I've described in the guide, is to always boot u-boot and the linux kernel from the microSD card, and then based on EEPROM flags (that u-boot reads and uses to configure the kernel?) can boot with the rootfs on a SATA drive. There is also some recovery partition that I haven't dug in to yet.

This system makes it basically impossible to brick the board because you can always put in a fresh re-flashed microSD card to recover. I would imagine it is possible to get the i.mx6 CPU to boot from other sources, maybe including SATA, perhaps by pulling different boot pins high/low at power on, but one would need to read the i.mx6 documentation and novena schematic to see if this is feasible on the Novena board.

Re: Writing a "guide" for getting started with Novena

There is a pin on the board marked SATA_P that, when shorted, will let you boot directly from SATA.

The problem comes when you want to deal with bringing up DDR3.  There is a bootloader called SPL that lives 1024 bytes from the start of the drive that is resonsible for the following:


1. Configuring I2C
2. Reading the configuration module off of the DDR3 SO-DIMM
3. Configuring DDR3
4. Measuring the distance of the wires on the SO-DIMM
5. Setting flyby timing
6. Configuring SD
7. Loading u-boot.bin off of SD
8. Jumping to U-Boot


This SPL supports booting from either external or internal SD -- a feature we take advantage of in the factory.  I had some trouble also fitting in SATA support to SPL, because SPL runs without any external memory and is limited to [currently] 48 kB.

So yes, it is technically possible to boot directly off of SATA, but it's not supported or coded yet.

Re: Writing a "guide" for getting started with Novena

I've written a short section on how to pair with a bluetooth keyboard and created a patch request for it.

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