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Ultimate guide to boot FriendlyARM from SD

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This tutorial is separated into two independent steps.

  1. Create the SD card to allow boot from it (the same card can be used to install OS into NAND flash)
  2. Prepare the board to run (install the OS)
  3. Run your OS

Before start I must say you have to have intermediate knowledge of windows environment and it is helpful to know how does OS boot procedure, bootloader job, BIOS purpose etc etc… , if you don’t have this knowledge i suggest you first to look at wiki pages.

Create SD card

To start with I was using Sandisk 2GB micro SD card with the SD adapter. It was FAT32 formatted. If you want to run Ubuntu OS you should also think “big”, ubunto image is 800MB ++ so you need at least 1GB card. SW (SuperBoot) on SD Card will act like bootloader / BIOS in your PC. Now you need to do the “thing”. In DVD shipped with the box (labeled “A”) you will find inside “tool” folder small tool called “SD-flasher.exe”. We will use this tool to format and set as a boot device.

Lets start as you can see below this is how this tool look like.

SD flasher

SD flasher

Follow this simple steps to create partitions and burn bootloader into SD card.

  • Launch the SD-Flasher.exe (under “\tools\”).
  • Click on to select Superboot (superboot-date.bin you will find this inside images folder on DVD labeled B)
  • Insert a FAT32 SD card into your SD card socket (you can also use a USB card reader to connect to a PC) and click on “Scan”.
  • Click on “Fuse”, Superboot will be burned into your SD card

When finished you can see that SD-flasher created 2 partitions on the SD card, one is 130MB++ large containing Superboot which is hidden and second one uses rest of the SD card. This can be observed under in control panel > administrative tools > computer management > disk management). Note: Superboot might not work properly on somekind of cards (TF).

Now we are almost done – we have to copy OS images from DVD labeled “B” on SD card second partition. User can copy the entire “image” folder but I suggest to copy only OS images that you would like to use. Before you start look at the picture, this is how the SD card folder structure should look like:

Folder structure

Folder structure

The file Friendlyarm.ini is inside the image folder (there you will find also folders Android, Linux,Ubuntu or WinCE with representative images) in my case I’ve used Android images. But I will make a more detailed introduction to this file in ultimate guide to configure friendlyarm.ini post.

Prepare the board

This process is very simple, all you need to do is to configure:

Step 1.) Put the switch S2 to SDBOOT position (in my case up.)
Step 2.) Insert the SD cart you have prepared earlier into SD slot
Step 2.5) optional connect the COM cable you recieved to your board (set the terminal program with 115200,8,1,0 settings)
Step 3.) Turn the on/off switch to ON.

FriendlyARM Tiny 6410

FriendlyARM Tiny 6410

Run your OS

When power is turned ON you can see in Terminal window (you have to connect COM ports) some action like boot screen when booting Linux OS. This can be also observed on the FriendlyARM display. When OS is installed there are signs (LEDS and buzzer) that indicate if the install process is in progress or it has already finished. Details are described in ultimate guide to configure friendlyarm.ini post.

NOTE: if you install OS take care to use as a OS-BootLoader (OS can be Android, Linux, WinCE) the “u-boot_nand-ram128.bin” file if you run OS from the SD card use “u-boot_sd-ram128.bin” on my tiny6410 i have managed to use only u-boot_XYZ-ram128.bin.