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1  Hardware and U-Boot firmware / U-Boot stuff / Re: plug with only green led on and no serial connection...I need a resurrection on: October 20, 2010, 02:33:22 PM
Of course, the prompt comes from U-Boot. The "even lower-level boot software" (the boot-ROM) can not have any user interaction features, because it knows nothing about the peripherals connected to the chip.

Thanks, sfzhi. I didn't think it was quite so obvious since Marvell's products are fully integrated boards. TTY communication doesn't constitute a peripheral--it's just sending bits back and forth on the built-in serial interface. If the manufacturer wanted to include a ROM-loaded command interface, they could.
2  General Category / General Discussion / Re: How to reinstall OS on PlugComputer on: October 20, 2010, 02:21:08 PM
Well, I got the Debian_Squeeze image that was specially prepared for the ESIA installer tool. When looking at the files inside of it, it looks like if you pack root.tar.gz with all the files from a the root of a working Ubuntu install, it would work. But it's a chicken-and-egg problem. If you just need to find the Debian file I'm working from, it's:

http://sourceforge.net/projects/esia/files/distros/Debian_Squeeze_usb_app.tar.bz2/download

If it's because you already have the Ubuntu files, I would encourage you to not go that route, unless you have a working install on a SheevaPlug to copy the files from. This is a "snapshot" approach--not a "running an installer" approach, so the file source needs to be running on a known-working system.
3  Hardware and U-Boot firmware / U-Boot stuff / Re: plug with only green led on and no serial connection...I need a resurrection on: October 04, 2010, 06:51:11 AM
@Dammuozz, I don't know if Marvell>> is from U-Boot or even lower-level boot software. Can someone clarify? Does U-Boot going bad wipe out the Marvell>> prompt?
4  Hardware and U-Boot firmware / U-Boot stuff / Re: plug with only green led on and no serial connection...I need a resurrection on: September 23, 2010, 08:43:46 AM
So, you can't get to the Marvell>> prompt at all?

Maybe someone else can step in? Is the Marvell>> prompt a result of the bootloader, or even lower-level firmware?

It is my understanding that if you connect with the correct serial port settings, you should at least get a firmware prompt, right?
5  Hardware and U-Boot firmware / U-Boot stuff / Re: Help with Sheevaplug Installer? on: September 23, 2010, 08:21:02 AM
Nope, you're not even at the point where you discover your USB stick won't work... ha ha ha.

You're dealing with runme.php or runme.exe of the official installer being broken. It's fragile, and hasn't been tested under enough conditions, of which you're lucky enough to be one.

So at this point, the important thing for you to do is give up on runme.php (unless you want to go into the PHP code and fix why it's breaking for you), and switch to the ESIA program from sourceforge instead.

There is a chance you're stuck at a point even earlier than that, where you need the right drivers to connect over serial to your SheevaPlug, and I really only know how to talk you through that if you're on a PC. Haven't done that from a Mac or Linux yet.
6  General Category / General Discussion / Re: Sheevaplug installer - version 1.0 on: September 22, 2010, 01:06:48 PM
This is an appeal to the folks who made the 1.0 installer to rev it. So many people are getting the serial communication errors running the runme.php and runme.exe that it should be diagnosed and fixed.

I was on XP, and followed the advice to run an Ubuntu VM with control of the serial port and use runme.php, and edited it according to different instructions, all with no success.

Eventually, I decided to look for alternatives, tried Martin Michlmayr's live Debian install (worked, but was slowwwww), and eventually found the ESIA program at SourceForge which worked, but requires a GUI.

I'd like to use SheevaPlug A to unbrick SheevaPlug B, and a working installer that runs from shell with very lightweight dependencies would be very nice.
7  Hardware and U-Boot firmware / U-Boot stuff / Re: plug with only green led on and no serial connection...I need a resurrection on: September 22, 2010, 12:52:38 PM
I take it you're talking about the SheevaPlug, given the installer you're looking at, right? Not the GuruPlug?

Yep, you and everyone else gets this error message. Until the maintainers of the official installer do some decent testing, I'll keep posting my unbrick fix:

http://shankserver.org/2010/09/unbrick-sheevaplug/

It comes down to making sure you have a reliable USB flash drive, and that you're using the Easy Plug Computer Installer http://sourceforge.net/projects/esia/ from sourceforge instead of the official installer.

If you have a GuruPlug, it is my understanding you will need a JTAG board. But if it's a SheevaPlug, you don't.
8  Hardware and U-Boot firmware / U-Boot stuff / Re: Computer will not boot / respond after U-boot upgrade (With new info) on: September 22, 2010, 12:46:34 PM
Save yourself a lot of time. Use the Easy Plug Computer Installer from sourceforge http://sourceforge.net/projects/esia/

I think you still need to be able to get to the Marvell>> prompt for it to work, but it does have an option to re-flash the bootloader, so maybe not.

Anyway, after struggling with every unbricking method published for the SheevaPlug, this is the first thing that worked reliably, and I documented the process here http://shankserver.org/2010/09/unbrick-sheevaplug/
9  Hardware and U-Boot firmware / Hardware / Re: bricked plug, power unit fine, what else to try? on: September 22, 2010, 12:32:45 PM
I don't know about the LED's, but what I do know is that the whole runme.exe and runme.php of the official installer are fragile with dependencies. It's basically just not tested enough.

So I went hunting for the "unbricks correctly every time" approach, and it's the double-whammy combo of a known-reliable USB flash drive (the first thing where most people get tripped up), and the use of the ESIA tool from sourceforge to handle the serial communication of the installs (the second place where most people get tripped up).

The whole process is outlined here http://shankserver.org/2010/09/unbrick-sheevaplug/
10  Hardware and U-Boot firmware / Hardware / Re: Help me. Restore factory system guruplug...is it possible without a JTAG Board? on: September 22, 2010, 12:17:00 PM
Oops sorry, posted too quick. I recognized that symptom (happened to me) without paying attention to platform. Apologies.
11  General Category / General Discussion / Re: Recommendable SD(HC) cards/USB sticks for the Sheevaplug on: September 22, 2010, 12:13:30 PM
I'm using SanDisk 2GB.

The trick is getting something reliable and identical, so you can use the dd command to backup and clone systems. In my mind, as long as your application doesn't demand it, the smaller the better so you're not waiting as long to clone. Buying multiple cards in a batch is probably best, so you know you're likely to get the same factory batch.
12  Hardware and U-Boot firmware / U-Boot stuff / Re: Help with Sheevaplug Installer? on: September 22, 2010, 12:08:00 PM
Basically everybody has this problem. runme.exe and runme.php seem to be fragile from dependencies. But if you can connect with PuTTY, you're fine.

Do you want to preserve anything from the OS? Or are you fine with wiping it clean and unbricking with a full reinstall. If so, I've been on a mission to help people unbrick sheevaplugs. It's all laid out here http://shankserver.org/2010/09/unbrick-sheevaplug/

The gist of it is get yourself a known-good USB flash drive, and you do THAT by updating the Das U-Boot bootloader. If you can do that, the rest is a sure thing.

Get the ESIA tool from sourceforge. It is the alternative to using the plugcomputer.org official installer. ESIA is good to get to know because it is a generalized tool for embedded systems--more than just the sheevaplug. So, you'll get yourself some good general knowledge.

With ESIA, you can put a directory, probably Debian_Sqeeze, on the USB drive (links in my post), and tell ESIA to install it onto your SheevaPlug... unbricked!
13  Hardware and U-Boot firmware / Hardware / Re: Help me. Restore factory system guruplug...is it possible without a JTAG Board? on: September 20, 2010, 01:22:37 PM
You don't really want to do a factory reset... that's what got you into that mess in the first place. It's a latent bug on the version of Debian they used on some of the plugs. Instead, just learn how to unbrick your plug. I went through the exact same thing.

Here are my instructions http://shankserver.org/2010/09/unbrick-sheevaplug/

It boils down to getting a very reliable USB thumb drive--usually an old 512MB one.

Use the EISA tool from Sourceforge, and not the official installer, which has lots of issues.

Become a master of connecting to your SheevaPlug using the provided mini-USB-looking serial cable, and interrupting start-up to get to the Marvell>> prompt.
14  Hardware and U-Boot firmware / U-Boot stuff / Re: New to sheevaplug...Bricked in a day... on: September 20, 2010, 01:11:13 PM
I seem to be on a mission of helping people unbrick their SheevaPlugs.

Here's where I documented the process http://shankserver.org/2010/09/unbrick-sheevaplug/

It's so different for people used to x86 systems and BIOS. But the bottom line is that the equivalent to BIOS is the Marvell>> prompt, which you can still get to, even if you hosed the OS. How?

Well, you need to connect the supplied mini-USB cable between a regular computer and your SheevaPlug. The details of getting a serial connection going varies from OS to OS, but here is my XP instructions http://shankserver.org/2010/09/logging-into-sheevaplug/

Once you have the drivers installed properly, you connect to the SheevaPlug with whatever COM port you were assigned using a baud rate of 115200. The thing tough for newbies like me to understand is that even without the OS booted, you can be connected via serial. So once you think you're connected, just hit a key on the keyboard to see if anything happens. If not, poke the hard reset button, and you should see a bunch of stuff about U-Boot scroll by. Hit any key to interrupt it, and get the Marvell>> prompt.

If you can do that, you can unbrick your plug.

The rest of what you need to know is that you should forget the official installer. It's too hard--precisely for that silly serial connection error you pointed out.

Instead, use the EISA program from sourceforge. http://sourceforge.net/projects/esia/ It gets around that error.

Use this image of Debian Squeeze, also from sourceforge http://sourceforge.net/projects/esia/files/distros/Debian_Squeeze_usb_app.tar.bz2/download

And MAKE VERY SURE your USB drive isn't flaky. Try to find an old 512MB USB thumb drive.

Follow my instructions for the rest.
15  General Category / General Discussion / Re: How to reinstall OS on PlugComputer on: September 15, 2010, 09:41:56 AM
Absolutely no instructions that I've found are complete and correct. Some come close. I'm dong my work on a PC, but the new bandwagon appears to be a tool called EISA from sourceforge http://sourceforge.net/projects/esia/ But even with this, it's full of nuances that need to be pointed out for ready success.

Regarding Ubuntu, unfortunately, the readily available downloads are for Debian_Squeeze, but really if you're not installing a desktop, being on Debian is about the same as being on Ubuntu, and maybe even a little better since support is always likely to fall into place for Debian before Ubuntu, since Ubuntu's based on Debian. I recommend going this route, because the process appears to be reliable.

I list all the nuances on where I document the process http://shankserver.org/2010/09/unbrick-sheevaplug/ , but the one big one to call out is ensuring you have a reliable USB flash drive. Specifically, old 512MB ones are where I have had the most success.

Since your question regarded what and where to download, for the process I'm describing, you download EISA from sourceforge (link above), and then Debian_Squeeze from here http://sourceforge.net/projects/esia/files/distros/Debian_Squeeze_usb_app.tar.bz2/download Unarchive the download, and put the whole Debian_Squeeze directory onto the USB, leave it plugged into your PC (or Linux box), run EISA, connect your SheevaPlug over serial, etc.
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