Upgrading U-boot to 2015.07 on Compulab Utilite

Utilitie-introThis manual is about upgrading U-boot on Utilite Standard / Pro device.

Originally the default U-boot on Utilite has version U-Boot 2009.08-cm-fx6-0.87+tools (Oct 06 2013 – 13:46:27). Here we try to flash the chip to U-Boot 2015.07-cm-fx6-3 (Sep 02 2015 – 13:30:11 +0300). This is how you proceed.

  • Have the Micro SD card ready and partitioned with “vfat” on the first /dev/sdb1 partition. Your partition name can be different than /dev/sdb1, put in the Micro SD card into the PC slot and run “dmesg” it will reveal which device it is at the end. Run the “mkfs” command with filesystem un-mounted to create vfat partition.
  • # mkfs -t vfat /dev/sdb1
  • Download the latest U-boot release from Compulab Utilite website or from this alternative location.
  • Ensure the integrity of the file with md5sum utility.
  • # md5sum utilite-updater.tar.bz2
  • bf0d453aeb61a680e15e263eb3ff31bb utilite-updater.tar.bz2
  • Untar the archive on PC to get the firmware image (cm-fx6-firmware file) and update script.
  • # mkdir utilite-updater
  • # tar -xvf utilite-updater.tar.bz2 -C utilite-updater
  • Copy the “cm-fx6-firmware” file onto first partition example /mnt/sdcard1 of the Micro SD card.
  • # cp utilite-updater/cm-fx6-firmware /mnt/sdcard1
  • Insert the Micro SD card into Utilite and boot Utilite, your old U-boot will appear.
  • Perform these commands
  • CM-FX6 # mmc dev 2
  • mmc2 is current device
  • CM-FX6 # mmc rescan
  • CM-FX6 # fatls mmc 2
  • 512000 cm-fx6-firmware 1 file(s), 0 dir(s)
  • CM-FX6 # fatload mmc 2 10800000 cm-fx6-firmware
  • reading cm-fx6-firmware
  • 512000 bytes read
  • From here on we will flash the U-boot (be aware that anything above this step is dangerous and can break your device, make sure you keep it powered until you finish all the other steps !)
  • CM-FX6 # sf probe 0
  • JEDEC ID: 0xbf:0x25:0x41 2048 KiB SST25VF016B – 2MB at 0:0 is now current device
  • CM-FX6 # sf erase 0 80000
  • Erasing SPI NOR flash 0x0 [0x80000 bytes] ………………………………………………………………………………………………………………..SUCCESS
  • CM-FX6 # sf write 10800000 0 80000
  • Writing SPI NOR flash 0x0 [0x80000 bytes] <- ram 0x10800000 …….SUCCESS

This is all, you can disconnect Utilite and replug it back to power. You should see the new U-boot on it.

If you upgrade from a more recent U-boot like U-Boot 2014.04-cm-fx6-1.3 (Sep 16 2014 – 16:11:56), then your messages will appear like this:

  • CM-FX6 # fatload mmc 2 10800000 cm-fx6-firmware
    reading cm-fx6-firmware
    512000 bytes read in 58 ms (8.4 MiB/s)
  • CM-FX6 # sf probe 0
    SF: Detected M25PX16 with page size 256 Bytes, erase size 64 KiB, total 2 MiB
  • CM-FX6 # sf erase 0 80000
    SF: 524288 bytes @ 0x0 Erased: OK
  • CM-FX6 # sf write 10800000 0 80000
    SF: 524288 bytes @ 0x0 Written: OK

Links used for this manual:

I take no responsibility if you damage your Utilite device, this is not an official manual !

Utilite miniature embedded ARM computer

5477-2 I was in search for a replacement miniature embedded system to serve as my home router and XBMC video platform. Currently serving this purpose is the pico-ITX form factor Raspberry PI. While RPI still uses older ARM CPU v6, the Utilite in the pro-version uses quad core Freescale i.MX6 ARM v7 Cortex A9 CPU running at 4 x 1.2 Ghz. Looking at its embedded enclosure reveals that it has:

  • dual 1000 Base-T Ethernet ports
  • 802.11b/g/n Wi-Fi, single antenna
  • Bluetooth 3.0
  • S/PDIF 5.1 (electrical through 3.5mm jack)
    Stereo line-out, Stereo line-in
  • Four USB 2.0 standard A type connector – max current 1A per port
    USB OTG micro-USB connector
  • Two RS232 serial ports, ultra mini serial connector
  • HDMI 1.4 max resolution 1920 x 1200
  • DVI-D max resolution 1920 x 1200

Considering it’s small size factor of only 135mm x 100mm x 21mm and power consumption between 4-8 Watt makes it a perfect router. It can run various GNU/Linux distributions. I hope that it will successfully run with Debian, sadly there is no free software distribution currently ready which would support the ARM port.

The pre-order price from several distributors vary, the one from Tiny Green PC happens to be 285 EUR after VAT and shipping.

Chris Rea 2010 tour

Ines & I went to the Chris Rea concert. The show was placed in the small Tivoli hall and many older people attended. They started with Chris’s special guest Paul Casey who is an Irish singer and guitarist, which also plays guitar and sings in Chris’s show. Chris really did his best on the show singing, playing guitars and dancing on the stage. It was amazing that he didn’t drink anything during his act in a nearly 90 min. long show. They had a special person, who was in charge to change Chris’s guitars and they had a stage with more than 15 guitars and he took a new one for each of the songs. His European tour called “Still Got So Far To Go” takes acts in most cities, every day with only 1 day off during the week. Chris’s has really well recovered and beaten the cancer, and he looks like new by the age of 58.

Second visit to the Vet

I went to the Vet today after work. My dog Goa was quite calm in the start, when we arrived. When the Vet called us in the room, I had put her on the table. She had 5 stiches on her skin and a round baloon around her neck for anti-scratching in the last 10 days. In the beginning she was quite calm, when the Vet cut her 4 stiches out with the scissors, but when he was getting to the main stich on her eye, my telephone rang and she got all upset, she jumped from the table and refused to cooperate any further. I placed her back on the table, and the nurse arrived to held her head still. Again goa was striking with all her force and jumped off, she started to bite through her antibite-holder against the Vets. So when she was on the floor the nurse decided to give one more try with the scissors. Goa wanted to bite her, and the nurse was so scared that she jumped away and she nearly hit me in the head with her scissors. So there was no other way to calm down my dog other than sedate her. The doctor sedate her and in 2 minutes she was on the floor sleeping. He came back in 10 minutes and took the stiches out of her eye. It was a very good thing that he sedated her, otherwise he could hit her in the eye with those scissors. He kindly asked me, if he should give her anti-drug, to wake her up, and I said “Yes, we are only 2km away, I will trty to walk her home”. 10 minutes later, the dog woke up, tried to stand on her feet barely, and we went home. She went still all the time, not looking in any dother direction than straight ahead. She usually comes fully together in 5-6 hours. I think that she should of been sedated a bit all the time, since she always expresses her aggression towards other dogs (joke).