Some time passed since I got that board. And some things changed as well.
I went through U-Boot and submitted a bunch of changes. Most of them were small tweaks to RockPro64 board configuration:
- enable USB OHCI host (so USB 1.1 things can be plugged directly into ports)
- enable USB keyboard
- enable RNG support
- enable SPI boot
- start USB support
With above changes I have all firmware parts stored in on-board SPI chip and do not have to worry about storing whatever on removable media. Also do not need serial console to play with U-Boot as everything can be done with USB keyboard and HDMI monitor.
To be able to work comfortably with RockPro64 board I mounted it in acrylic case from Pine A64 and then added some tweaks.
Breadboard wires and switches
Black and white cables are SPI clock and ground. Using button I can short them during boot so on-board flash gets ignored and U-Boot gets loaded from SD card.
Two orange wires are serial Rx line going through hardware switch. The reason is simple: for some reason board does not boot when Rx line is used during first power on (right after power plug insert, not after pressing Power button). So instead of disconnecting wire each time I can just move switch left, power on, wait for U-Boot messages, switch right and have both directions of serial console working.
Too bad that there no Power/Reset pins as I would move buttons to breadboard as well to make them more reachable.
Next to the board I have a bunch of USB hubs:
- USB-C to USB-A/HDMI/Power one from one of previous Linaro Connects
- USB 3.0 one connected with microUSB cable so work as USB 2.0 one
- USB 1.1 one
Each of them was in use when I played with enabling USB keyboard as I do not have USB 2.0 keyboard and needed a way to connect standard 1.1 one.
Tincantools SPI Hook works as serial console and there is PCI Express x8->x8 (open ended) riser so I can play with different PCIe cards.
And there is a jumper on ‘disable eMMC’ pins as I lack such module.
Next step would be testing distribution installers a bit. And check how they work. I did some attempts already and waiting for fixes to be merged.