Debian: Getting Started with the SAM9x5

This is a page about Microchip's SAM9x5 family of Development Boards.

Availability

Boards:

Vendor Documentation

Basic Requirements

ARM Cross Compiler: GCC

This is a pre-built (64bit) version of GCC that runs on generic linux, sorry (32bit) x86 users, it’s time to upgrade…
Download/Extract:

#user@localhost:~$
wget -c https://releases.linaro.org/components/toolchain/binaries/6.5-2018.12/arm-eabi/gcc-linaro-6.5.0-2018.12-x86_64_arm-eabi.tar.xz
tar xf gcc-linaro-6.5.0-2018.12-x86_64_arm-eabi.tar.xz
export CC=`pwd`/gcc-linaro-6.5.0-2018.12-x86_64_arm-eabi/bin/arm-eabi-

Test Cross Compiler:

#user@localhost:~$
${CC}gcc --version
#Test Output:
arm-eabi-gcc (Linaro GCC 6.5-2018.12) 6.5.0
Copyright (C) 2017 Free Software Foundation, Inc.
This is free software; see the source for copying conditions.  There is NO
warranty; not even for MERCHANTABILITY or FITNESS FOR A PARTICULAR PURPOSE.

Bootloader: AT91Bootstrap

AT91Bootstrap – Microchip’s first step bootloader: http://www.at91.com/linux4sam/bin/view/Linux4SAM/AT91Bootstrap
Source: https://github.com/linux4sam/at91bootstrap
Download:

#user@localhost:~$
git clone -b v3.8.10 https://github.com/linux4sam/at91bootstrap --depth=1
cd at91bootstrap/

Configure and Build:

#user@localhost:~/at91bootstrap$
make ARCH=arm CROSS_COMPILE=${CC} distclean
make ARCH=arm CROSS_COMPILE=${CC} at91sam9x5eksd_uboot_defconfig
make ARCH=arm CROSS_COMPILE=${CC}

Bootloader: U-Boot

Das U-Boot – the Universal Boot Loader: http://www.denx.de/wiki/U-Boot
eewiki.net patch archive: https://github.com/eewiki/u-boot-patches
Download:

#user@localhost:~$
git clone -b v2018.07 https://github.com/u-boot/u-boot --depth=1
cd u-boot/

Patches:

#user@localhost:~/u-boot$
wget -c https://github.com/eewiki/u-boot-patches/raw/master/v2018.07/0001-at91sam9x5ek-uEnv.txt-bootz-n-fixes.patch
 
patch -p1 < 0001-at91sam9x5ek-uEnv.txt-bootz-n-fixes.patch

Configure and Build:

#user@localhost:~/u-boot$
make ARCH=arm CROSS_COMPILE=${CC} distclean
make ARCH=arm CROSS_COMPILE=${CC} at91sam9x5ek_mmc_defconfig
make ARCH=arm CROSS_COMPILE=${CC}

This script will build the kernel, modules, device tree binaries and copy them to the deploy directory.
Download:

#user@localhost:~$
git clone https://github.com/RobertCNelson/armv5_devel
cd armv5_devel/

For v4.14.x (Longterm 4.14.x):

#user@localhost:~/armv5_devel$
git checkout origin/v4.14.x -b tmp

For v4.19.x (Longterm 4.19.x):

#user@localhost:~/armv5_devel$
git checkout origin/v4.19.x -b tmp

Build:

#user@localhost:~/armv5_devel$
./build_kernel.sh

Root File System

Debian 10

User Password
debian temppwd
root root

Download:

#user@localhost:~$
wget -c https://rcn-ee.com/rootfs/eewiki/minfs/debian-10.4-minimal-armel-2020-05-10.tar.xz

Verify:

#user@localhost:~$
sha256sum debian-10.4-minimal-armel-2020-05-10.tar.xz
#sha256sum output:
2669f496afd6992688f620f30689ef385a8bde2b2a4cddc3582d79f8dad27d5f  debian-10.4-minimal-armel-2020-05-10.tar.xz

Extract:

#user@localhost:~$
tar xf debian-10.4-minimal-armel-2020-05-10.tar.xz

Setup microSD card

We need to access the External Drive to be utilized by the target device. Run lsblk to help figure out what linux device has been reserved for your External Drive.

#Example: for DISK=/dev/sdX
lsblk
NAME   MAJ:MIN RM   SIZE RO TYPE MOUNTPOINT
sda      8:0    0 465.8G  0 disk
├─sda1   8:1    0   512M  0 part /boot/efi
└─sda2   8:2    0 465.3G  0 part /                <- Development Machine Root Partition
sdb      8:16   1   962M  0 disk                  <- microSD/USB Storage Device
└─sdb1   8:17   1   961M  0 part                  <- microSD/USB Storage Partition
#Thus you would use:
export DISK=/dev/sdb
#Example: for DISK=/dev/mmcblkX
lsblk
NAME      MAJ:MIN   RM   SIZE RO TYPE MOUNTPOINT
sda         8:0      0 465.8G  0 disk
├─sda1      8:1      0   512M  0 part /boot/efi
└─sda2      8:2      0 465.3G  0 part /                <- Development Machine Root Partition
mmcblk0     179:0    0   962M  0 disk                  <- microSD/USB Storage Device
└─mmcblk0p1 179:1    0   961M  0 part                  <- microSD/USB Storage Partition
#Thus you would use:
export DISK=/dev/mmcblk0

Erase partition table/labels on microSD card:

sudo dd if=/dev/zero of=${DISK} bs=1M count=50

Create Partition Layout:
With util-linux v2.26, sfdisk was rewritten and is now based on libfdisk.

#Check the version of sfdisk installed on your pc
sudo sfdisk --version
#Example Output
sfdisk from util-linux 2.27.1
#sfdisk >= 2.26.x
sudo sfdisk ${DISK} <<-__EOF__
1M,48M,0xE,*
49M,,,-
__EOF__
#sfdisk <= 2.25.x
sudo sfdisk --unit M ${DISK} <<-__EOF__
1,48,0xE,*
49,,,-
__EOF__

Format Partition:

for: DISK=/dev/mmcblkX
sudo mkfs.vfat -F 16 -n BOOT ${DISK}p1
sudo mkfs.ext4 -L rootfs ${DISK}p2
 
for: DISK=/dev/sdX
sudo mkfs.vfat -F 16 -n BOOT ${DISK}1
sudo mkfs.ext4 -L rootfs ${DISK}2

Mount Partition:
On most systems these partitions may be auto-mounted…

sudo mkdir -p /media/boot/
sudo mkdir -p /media/rootfs/
 
for: DISK=/dev/mmcblkX
sudo mount ${DISK}p1 /media/boot/
sudo mount ${DISK}p2 /media/rootfs/
 
for: DISK=/dev/sdX
sudo mount ${DISK}1 /media/boot/
sudo mount ${DISK}2 /media/rootfs/

Install Bootloader

Copy at91bootstrap/u-boot binaries to the boot partition

#~/
sudo cp -v ./at91bootstrap/binaries/at91sam9x5ek-sdcardboot-uboot-3.8.10.bin /media/boot/BOOT.BIN
sudo cp -v ./u-boot/u-boot.bin /media/boot/

uEnv.txt based bootscript

Create “uEnv.txt” boot script: (nano uEnv.txt)
Make sure to un-comment which board you have with the fdtfile variable otherwise /dtbs/at91sam9g25ek.dtb will be used by default.

#~/uEnv.txt
#ariag25 board
#fdtfile=/dtbs/at91-ariag25.dtb
 
#SAM9G15-EK
#fdtfile=/dtbs/at91sam9g15ek.dtb
 
#SAM9G25-EK
#fdtfile=/dtbs/at91sam9g25ek.dtb
 
#SAM9G35-EK
#fdtfile=/dtbs/at91sam9g35ek.dtb
 
#SAM9X25-EK
#fdtfile=/dtbs/at91sam9x25ek.dtb
 
#SAM9X35-EK
#fdtfile=/dtbs/at91sam9x35ek.dtb
 
#Default u-boot settings:
#console=ttyS0,115200
#optargs=console=tty0
 
#mmcroot=/dev/mmcblk0p2 ro
#mmcrootfstype=ext4 rootwait fixrtc
 
#Run custom u-boot commands early:
#uenvcmd=

Copy uEnv.txt to the boot partition:

#~/
sudo cp -v ./uEnv.txt /media/boot/

Install Kernel and Root File System

To help new users, since the kernel version can change on a daily basis. The kernel building scripts listed on this page will now give you a hint of what kernel version was built.

-----------------------------
Script Complete
eewiki.net: [user@localhost:~$ export kernel_version=5.X.Y-Z]
-----------------------------

Copy and paste that “export kernel_version=5.X.Y-Z” exactly as shown in your own build/desktop environment and hit enter to create an environment variable to be used later.

export kernel_version=5.X.Y-Z

Copy Root File System

#user@localhost:~$
sudo tar xfvp ./debian-*-*-armel-*/armel-rootfs-*.tar -C /media/rootfs/
sync
sudo chown root:root /media/rootfs/
sudo chmod 755 /media/rootfs/

Copy Kernel Image

Kernel Image:

#user@localhost:~$
sudo cp -v ./armv5_devel/deploy/${kernel_version}.zImage /media/boot/zImage

Copy Kernel Device Tree Binaries

#user@localhost:~$
sudo mkdir -p /media/boot/dtbs/
sudo tar xfvo ./armv5_devel/deploy/${kernel_version}-dtbs.tar.gz -C /media/boot/dtbs/

Copy Kernel Modules

#user@localhost:~$
sudo tar xfv ./armv5_devel/deploy/${kernel_version}-modules.tar.gz -C /media/rootfs/

File Systems Table (/etc/fstab)

#user@localhost:~/$
sudo sh -c "echo '/dev/mmcblk0p2  /  auto  errors=remount-ro  0  1' >> /media/rootfs/etc/fstab"
sudo sh -c "echo '/dev/mmcblk0p1  /boot/uboot  auto  defaults  0  2' >> /media/rootfs/etc/fstab"

Remove microSD/SD card

sync
sudo umount /media/boot
sudo umount /media/rootfs

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