RockPi 4 – Write image to SPI flash from USB OTG port

Install sgminer-arm on Rock Pi 4

In this tutorial we (RockPi 4) write image to SPI flash from USB OTG portt. ROCK Pi supports maskrom mode, which is a special running mode the CPU is waiting for command from USB OTG port. The PC tool we use to communicate with ROCK Pi in maskrom mode is rkdevelop tool, an open source tool by Rockchip.

Recommended: What is ROCK Pi 4 ?

RockPi 4 – Write image to SPI flash from USB OTG port

Requirement

  • ROCK Pi 4 mainboard
  • SPI flash soldered on ROCK Pi 4
  • Power adapter
  • USB Male A to Male A cable(important) USB-C has been seen as not working, an adaptor for USB-C to USB-A has worked. See discussion.

Make sure rkdeveloptool is set up on host computer

Linux

To build rkdeveloptool on a debain based Linux distribution, follow the instruction below:

Install build dependecy:

 sudo apt-get install libudev-dev libusb-1.0-0-dev dh-autoreconf

Clone the source code and build:

 git clone https://github.com/rockchip-linux/rkdeveloptool
 cd rkdeveloptool
 autoreconf -i
 ./configure
 make

If you encounter compile error like below

   ./configure: line 4269: syntax error near unexpected token `LIBUSB1,libusb-1.0'
   ./configure: line 4269: `PKG_CHECK_MODULES(LIBUSB1,libusb-1.0)'

You should install pkg-config libusb-1.0

   sudo apt-get install pkg-config libusb-1.0

Then re-run

   autoreconf -i
   ./configure
   make

Now you have rkdeveloptool executable at the current directory.

 sudo cp rkdeveloptool /usr/local/bin/

MacOS

To build rkdeveloptool on macOS, you need homebrew(or similar package manager) to install required packages.

Install build dependency:

   brew install automake autoconf libusb

Clone the source code and build:

   git clone https://github.com/rockchip-linux/rkdeveloptool
   cd rkdeveloptool
   autoreconf -i
   ./configure
   make

If you encounter compile error like below

   ./configure: line 4269: syntax error near unexpected token `LIBUSB1,libusb-1.0'
   ./configure: line 4269: `PKG_CHECK_MODULES(LIBUSB1,libusb-1.0)'

You should install pkg-config libusb-1.0

   brew install pkg-config

Then re-run

   autoreconf -i
   ./configure
   make

Now you have rkdeveloptool executable at the current directory.

   sudo cp rkdeveloptool /usr/local/bin/

Boot the board to maskrom mode

Empty SPI flash

To boot ROCK Pi into maskrom mode is simple, you don’t need to press any key

  • Power off the board and remove any bootable storage media, remove microSD card, remove eMMC module.
  • Plug the USB Male A to Mail A cable to ROCK Pi 4 OTG port(the upper USB3 port), the other side to PC
  • Power on the board

Update SPI FLash with bootloader inside

If the SPI flash already contains a bootable bootloader, you need to disable the SPI flash at boot time by shortcut the SPI1_CLK to GND. Use wire to connect PIN 23 and 25. Checkout the Pinout.

Shown as following:

  • Use cable to connect PIN23 and PIN25
  • Power off the board and remove any bootable storage media, remove microSD card, remove eMMC module.
  • Plug the USB Male A to Mail A cable to ROCK Pi 4 OTG port(the upper USB3 port), the other side to PC
  • Power on the board
  • Remove the cable and disconnect PIN23 and PIN25

Now on your Linux PC, lsusb command show show the following usb devices

   Bus 003 Device 005: ID 2207:330c

It means the device is in maskrom mode now.

  • Now we can proceed the next step to flash.

Write to SPI flash via USB

On your PC, run the rkdeveloptool

   rkdeveloptool ld        # List the device
   DevNo=1  Vid=0x2207,Pid=0x330c,LocationID=305    Maskrom

Download the SPI loader (flash helper, important) to init the ram and prepare the flashing environment etc. If you don’t have it, you can download it from here

   rkdeveloptool db rk3399_loader_spinor_v1.15.114.bin

Write the packed SPI image of u-boot and trust.img, start to write from offset 0.

   rkdeveloptool wl 0 /path/to/uboot-trust-spi.img

Reboot the device

   rkdeveloptool rd

Now the device should boot from the SPI flash now.


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Hi, I'm Harshvardhan Mishra. Tech enthusiast and IT professional with a B.Tech in IT, PG Diploma in IoT from CDAC, and 6 years of industry experience. Founder of HVM Smart Solutions, blending technology for real-world solutions. As a passionate technical author, I simplify complex concepts for diverse audiences. Let's connect and explore the tech world together! If you want to help support me on my journey, consider sharing my articles, or Buy me a Coffee! Thank you for reading my blog! Happy learning! Linkedin

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