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Didj U Boot Flashing Primer

Revision as of 16:51, 7 April 2010 by Jburks (Talk | contribs)

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This primer walks through the basics of the nand command in u-boot and shows how to use it to write a new bootloader.

Programs Needed

A serial terminal program, e.g. Hyperterminal in windows or CuteCom in Linux.

Hardware Needed

UART connection

SD adapter is useful but not required.


This material can brick your Didj

While it is possible to still boot with a bad NAND, keep in mind that following the instructions in here there is a very slight, but real, possibility your Didj will never boot normally again. Follow these instructions at your own peril.

The nand command

u-boot provides a single command for interfacing with your nand part. It is important to keep in mind when using these commands that 'all values are given in hex, not decimal The general format of the nand command is:

nand <command> [options]

Some of the commands whose functions are understood are listed below.

nand dump

You can dump pages (2K of data) using the nand dump command. The format of the command is

nand dump <page>

Here is an example of using nand dump:

LF1000 # nand dump 0
Page 00000000 dump:
    04 d0 9f e5 01 00 00 eb  6c 0b 00 ea 00 80 22 00
    34 c0 9f e5 01 30 a0 e3  00 30 8c e5 08 30 9c e5
    02 0b a0 e3 04 e0 2d e5  80 30 83 e3 00 e0 a0 e3

nand read

You can read data from the nand into memory using the nand read command. The format of the command is

nand read <address> <nand offset> <size>


LF1000 # nand read 1800000 0 800

NAND read: device 0 offset 0x0, size 0x800
 2048 bytes read: OK
LF1000 # md 1800000 10
01800000: e59fd004 eb000001 ea000b6c 00228000    ........l.....".
01800010: e59fc034 e3a03001 e58c3000 e59c3008    4....0...0...0..
01800020: e3a00b02 e52de004 e3833080 e3a0e000    ......-..0......
01800030: e1a01000 e3a02b7e e58c3008 e58ce008    ....~+...0......

Comparison of this to the nand dump command above will show that these are the same data. Not that md has dumped the data in little endian format.

nand erase

Disclaimer: This will really erase a page of your nand. Make sure you think this through before doing it.

The nand erase command will reset a range of your nand to its unwritten state. In flash parts, such as Didj, this means all data within an erased page will become 0xFF. The format of the command is:

nand erase <offset> <size>


LF1000 # nand erase 0 4000
NAND erase: device 0 offset 0x0, size 0x4000
Erasing at 0x0 -- 800% complete.
LF1000 # nand dump 0
Page 00000000 dump:
    ff ff ff ff ff ff ff ff  ff ff ff ff ff ff ff ff
    ff ff ff ff ff ff ff ff  ff ff ff ff ff ff ff ff

It is also important to understand that flash parts cannot erase less than one page. Either the whole page will be erased, or it will not. the size of your erasure should be a multiple of 0x800. In this case I have erased the first 16K of nand, which is where the bootstrap lives.

To do

Need to document nand write.