Step 2 – Getting Pickle Linux Booting – Attempt 2.5

21 10 2012


So today I mounted the BeagleBoard-xm to the LOX board. It was quite the adventure in dexterity.  Nothing complicated just the screws and mounting hardware kept moving around.

Once I got that all done I plugged in the 12 V power supply to the LOX board and it powered the Beagleboard-xm successfully.  IRonically all that work I did trying to get the exact 5V to test the BeagleBoard were moot in the long run because the folks that make the LOX board put a voltage regulator on the LOX board that accepts 6-40 volts! GOOD WORK GUYS!

The next portion of getting the board officially booted was to get a console session.  According to the pickle linux site that is a matter of using PuTTY and a straight through serial cable.  Long story short is it took me 3 trips to work to find a straight through serial cable to work but setting PuTTY up with the following configuration gave me a console login!

PuTTY Config

That fired up and I saw a Login! BOOT SUCCESS!

Step 2 – Getting Pickle Linux Booting – Attempt 2.4

20 10 2012

Spoier Alert: IT WORKED!

Subtitled: “The Semi Colon Affair”

– – –

Well this morning I finally got the Pickle Linux to boot. Well at least the rights lights turn on and flash around. I still haven’t gotten video output/console session yet but that is of little worry at this point. So why did I call it “The Semi Colon Affair”…simple.  It was a stupid mistake that I should have caught the first time through. But I didn’t, nor the 2nd, nor the 3rd, 4th, 5th, 6th, etc.

So what happened?  Well I noticed this morning when I did and fdisk -l in my knoppix linux environment that even AFTER running “dd” toolset to create the microSD card that there were no valid partitions on the disk.  I had noticed this in passing in Windows but I honestly wasn’t sure what I was SUPPOSED to see so I kept trucking along.  But this time in linux it finally hit me that this is strange.  Linux (and the fdisk -l tool specifically) SHOULD be able to see everything. And no matter what the format of the disk should be it NEEDS partitions and more specifically a partition table to be read much less boot. This immediately made me realize that the image file I was using to put onto the disk was LIKELY my culprit.

I immediately assumed that the original downloaded file was corrupt so I went to download the file again from the pickle linux site. I tried wget from linux to see if the un-compression process on windows was corrupting it somehow.  So I hovered over the link and it reads:

Great. So I typed it into wget and let it run. At some point I also decided to download via my original windows machine and
I saw the file downloaded is named:


::blink blink::

I had seen pickle-current.gz in my original download folder and assumed I had 1/2 uncompressed it. But clearly this was the file that came down via IE to my computer.  So I did an experiment…

I changed the name to pickle-curent.tgz (as the file says it should be). I opened it with 7-Zip and sure enough there was a pickle-current.tar…

I extracted it… and opened pickle-current.tar with 7-Zip again…. and sure enough in that was a… drum roll please….. pickle.img


So I used win32DiskImager.exe to write THAT pickle.img file to my microSD card.  In windows it now showed as an about 70 mb disk mounted (which is what my reading told me it should have done). So I ejected it and then put it into the BeagleBoard-xm and..

Low and behold the power light came on! The 2 SD card lights started blinking and it looked normal! It booted!!!!!  But no output on the HDMI port.

So now the next step is to get a serial cable hooked up to get into the console via the directions on the pickle linux page.


Assumptions. And a weird download file.

So when I downloaded the original pickle-current.gz file on my computer I noticed the file that it extracted had no file extension and was named wrong (pickle-current NOT pickle). Well this didn’t tip me off anything was wrong. For 1 file extensions between OSes don’t always follow and file name changes are pretty common in the open source community where documentation tends to lag behind actual changes.  So I went ahead and put a .img file extension on the pickle-current fie I extracted. It was the right size and the win32DiskImager didn’t complain about a bad file type so I assumed I was ok. It wasn’t. I clearly didn’t run an MD5 checksum against the file. I’ve never done it and never run into an issue. But in this case it would have told me immediately something was wrong.

My assumptions got me down the wrong path but the crux of the issue is that Windows 7 + IE 9 downloaded a pickle-current.gz file INSTEAD of the proper pickle-current.tgz file.  Therefore, 7-Zip handled it as the INCORRECT file type.

I just tried it with Firefox and it seemed to save the file as .tgz correctly and I tried IE 9 once again and by default it seems to want to make it a .gz file.  STRANGE!


If you are using Windows…

The Steps I Took…

  1. Download the file via Firefox OR rename the file to .tgz if you use IE 9
  2. I used 7-Zip to un-compress the pickle-current.tgz to a pickle-current.tar
  3. I used 7-Zip to un-compress the pickle-current.tar to pickle.img
  4. I used an external card reader per the raspberry pi page
  5. I used win32DiskImager.exe to copy to the pickle.img to the microSD card

Indicators that it Worked:

  1. The file progression with 7-Zip was pickle-current.tgz -> pickle-current.tar -> pickle.img (any other file name progression or lack of extension probably means something is wrong)
  2. After the .img was written to the disk 2 partitions are available.  Windows will ONLY mount the 70 mb partition labeled “boot” (In other words when you are done in “My Computer” Windows will show you a single drive letter (H: in my case) and it will be labeled “boot” and will only be around 70 mb in size)
  3. I didn’t check but I expect windows would see the 2nd partion using disk manager. I expect it is an ext2 parition.

Step 2 – Getting Pickle Linux Booting – Attempt 2.3

19 10 2012

Linux Time!

I don’t mind linux and enjoy using it I was just trying to avoid having to create a whole linux environment that I don’t have handy.  Most of my linux playing is done in virtual machines (because I’m lazy) but I wasn’t having much luck/ease getting my setup to pass the whole SD card and not just the partitioned sections.  So I decided the easiest way was going to be a hardware based solution.  I decided a copy of a live CD that includes dd is really all I need so I downloaded the most recent version of Knoppix 7.0.

While waiting for the almost hour long download to happen (thanks free mirrors!) my power blinked and so my download stopped and I had to start over.  Opps.  So I got the Knoppix CD downloaded and burnt to a CD and booted in.  It took me a while to figure out if the OS was seeing the SD card but it was.  So I copied the pickle-current.img to a USB stick and started the dd command… and it was running…for a good 15 minutes…. and the laptop just died.  Turns out I mixed up the cables and it wasn’t plugged in. D’oh!

So I’m rebooting the machine now and I will write down the commands I used on this page while I do it all over!

  1. Boot Knoppix 7.0
  2. Open a terminal window (live cd = always running as root = easier!)
  3. run “df -h” to see what the USB stick had mounted as (/media/sdc1 in my case)
  4. “fdisk -l” to identify the SD card ( /dev/sde in this case now) — I can tell by size and that it tells me there is no valid partition table on it :)
  5. “cd /media/sdc1” (to get into the directory of hte pickle-current.img file)
  6. “ls” (to make sure i can see the pickle-current.img file)
  7. “dd bs=4M if=pickle-current.img of=/dev/sde” — This does the actual copy (see this link for where I pulled all this info from)

And now the lights on the card reader are blinking, dd appears to be doing nothing, and the laptop is plugged in. Hope this time. Hope.

As much as I would like to stay up and see this through tonight I am going to go to sleep.  I’ll take the card out tomorrow morning and see if it boots. Here is hoping!

UPDATE: It finished right as I was heading to bed but sadly… it didn’t boot either. Now I’m suspecting a bad download or incomplete .img file. It could still be me not using the dd command correctly but that is alot of different imaging methods to fail.  So I’ll start the pickle image download again right now and let it run over night.

UPDATE 2: OR Maybe I mis-understood and expected to see something via the HDMI out when I actually need to be looking at the serial port for the console session.  I brought some serial cable’s home to try and make sure they are straight throughs.  If they are then I’ll go ahead and try that tomorrow.  It is entirely possible that the image has worked every time and I’m looking for the wrong outut. Entirely possible!

Step 2 – Getting Pickle Linux Booting – Attempt 2.2

19 10 2012

Short Version: Windows didn’t work to get the pickle-current.img onto the microSD card successfully to boot.

Longer Version:  Using win32DiskImager.exe and the pickle-current.img ended up with just a power light on the beagleboard-xm.  Even after the correct power was applied. My next leading candidate was essentially a badly written image to the microSD card itself since my demo card too was a Kingston card.  Anyway, so I dug around a bit and found this article on how to get a microSD card to boot for the raspberrypi (another ARM based board)…

It certainly sounded like my problem so I took it to heart.  I looked for my external card reader but couldn’t find it so I proceeded anyway.

  1. I first formated the card using the Panasonic tool (including an overwrite) of the card.  Then I used win32DiskImager.exe to copy the image onto the card again.  — No dice. Same single power light on.
  2. I then found my external card reader and did a quick format with the utility again and copied the image over with win32DiskImager again. — No dice.  Same single power light on.
  3. Then I tried to do another complete overwrite, copy image with win32DiskImager.exe — No dice. Same single power light on.

Well that didn’t pan out like I had hopped. So I searched some more and came up with this website:

About more generically how to get your card ready for the RaspberryPi.  I went ahead and downloaded the “flashnul” utility. And then I tried….

  1. Quick format in Panasonic then the flashnul utility to copy the image over.  — No dice. Same single power light on.
  2. Full Overwrite in Panasonic then the flashnul utility to copy the image over. — No dice. Same single power light on.

Actually I may have only tried one of those permutations.  But the key is I gave up on Windows at this point.  I had tried to look at the disk and see what I could see as far as partitions, etc and none it was lining up so I abandoned ship.

The next attempt is going to involve Linux. I promise!

Bat Phone – A Hitch in My Giddy Up

11 10 2012

My Grandstream 701 arrived today! YAY.  And in 5 minutes I had the credentials put in and was making phone calls manually. Sadly the off hook dial action didn’t work as hoped.  I’m thinking it wants an ‘internal’ extension rather than a 10 digit number.  So I’ll see what I can see in the device or if I have to change SIP providers somehow or use a different nomenclature. Next up….

Step 2 – Getting Pickle Linux Booting – Attempt 2.1

10 10 2012

Ok so Pickle Linux didn’t boot. Right now I have 3 candidates to check:

1) Card Incompatible — It is a Kensington N0043-012.A00LF card — I found this thread on the internet that indicates that their BeagleBoard came with a Kensington card s0 this isn’t the top of my list. Both cards are 4GB SDHC Kensington cards so I think this should be good.

2) Power Supply Issue — I read somewhere that things might not boot if using the USB OTG power supply. So right now this is my first thing to change.  Once I can get the board to boot with their test OS then I will try Pickle Linux again.  I’m 50/50 as to whether or not this is the ONLY issue I am having.

3) Image on SD Card is Incorrect — It is possible the utility I picked to write the pickle-current.img to the card didn’t do it write. Didn’t set some boot flag that the ‘dd’ utility does, etc.  This is the other half of my likely candidate. If the power supply doesn’t let it boot this is the next place I’m going to look.

UPDATE: With the new Creative Labs 1.5amp powersupply that will boot the test image I’m ruling out Power Supply as the issue. It still just shows 1 green light when the proper power is applied.  Now I’m onto theory #3 which is the image on the card isn’t correct or I didn’t do something correct to get it booting.  More on that in the next post….. Attempt 2.2!

Step 2 – Getting Pickle Linux Booting – Attempt 1

10 10 2012

The next big step is to get Pickle Linux loaded onto an SD card and booting on the BeagleBoard-xm.  According to the PickleJar website this should be as simple as extracting the pickle.img image and writing to a microSD card. They recommend I use the ‘dd’ tool in Linux to do this task. Well I mostly have Windows hardware boxes around the house and run my Linux boxes in virtual machines. None of those virtual machines have SD card readers attached to them and I’m not sure how Windows Host OS would pass a potentially unformatted and therefore no drive letter SD device to the virtual machine. So I decided to avoid that path.  I started to work on making a Linux box with a live CD and then re-googled how to do it on Windows.

I found the Image Writer for Windows project . I downloaded the Unzipped it and installed the win32DiskImager application.

I then opened the pickle.gz file with 7-zip and ended up with a file “pickle-current” without an extension on it. I renamed it “pickle-current.img”. Opened win32diskimager, selected the “pickle-current.img” image to write and the drive E: that the SD card was on my computer. Agreed to wipe everything from the card and it took a good long 20 minutes to write the image. It claimed it was successful.  GREAT!

I plopped the card into the BeagleBoard-xm and rebooted….. nothing. Well 1 of 3 LEDs came on and nothing was on the screen. When the included SD card at least booted I had 3 LEDs on.  1 in the corner and 2 right about the SD card. In this case I only got the power one.  I called it quits and went to bed.