4700 Initrd

From Technologic Systems Manuals

When the board first boots you should see output similar to this:

 >> TS-BOOTROM - built Aug  4 2011 12:52:20
 >> Copyright (c) 2010, Technologic Systems
 >> Booting from microSD card ...
 >> Booted from: SD card                 Booted in: 1.78 seconds
 >> SBC Model number: TS-4700            SBC Sub-model number: 0
 >> CPU clock rate: 797MHz               RAM size: 256MB
 >> NAND Flash size: 256MB               NAND Flash Type: 0xdcec (Samsung)
 >> MAC number: 00:D0:69:44:1A:E9        SBC FPGA Version: 4
 >> CPU Temperature: 49 degC             MODE1 bootstrap: OFF
 >> RTC present: YES                     Date and Time: Nov 17 2015 00:57:09
 >> Base board type: 62 RevD             Base board FPGA Version: 0x0
 >> MODE2 bootstrap: ON                  SD card size: 7788MB
 >> XUARTs detected: 7                   CAN present: NO
 >> Linux kernel version: 2.6.29-ts4700- Linux kernel date: Aug 23 2011
 >> Bootrom date: unknown                INITRD date: Sep 1 2011
 >> ts4700ctl date: Aug 22 2011          sdctl date: not present
 >> canctl date: not present             nandctl date: Aug 24 2011
 >> spiflashctl date: not present        xuartctl date: Aug 22 2011
 >> dioctl date: Aug 5 2010              spictl date: not present
 >> dmxctl date: Jul 23 2010             busybox date: Aug 12 2011 (v1.18.3)
 >> ts4700.subr date: Aug 23 2011        daqctl date: not present
 >> linuxrc date: Aug 23 2011            rootfs date: Sep 1 2011
 >> MBR date: Aug 23 2011
 Type 'tshelp' for help

This is a busybox shell which presents you with a very minimalistic system. This filesystem is loaded into memory, so none of the changes will be saved unless you type the command


or mount a filesystem as read/write. This can also provide a simple mechanism for running your application in an entirely read-only environment. The linuxrc script will be the first thing executed as soon as the kernel is loaded. This sets the default IP address, loads a reloadable FPGA bitstream if one is present, starts the userspace ctl applications, and more. Read the linuxrc for more information.

While busybox itself doesn't contain much functionality, it does mount the Debian partition under /mnt/root/. It will also add common paths and load libraries from the Debian system. Many of the Debian applications will work by default. For example, if you are using the TS-4700 with a video interface (or a touchpanel like the TS-TPC-8390), you will see icewm startup. The linuxrc will determine if the baseboard is one that is recognized with video, and start X11 with icewm from Debian. This is why it has the Debian logo since it uses their theme files, but is not usable as Debian. This is also only provided as a demo of X11 and not intended to be used for development. Whether or not a Debian application will work in fastboot needs to be judged per application. If an application relies on certain paths being in certain places, or running services, you should instead boot to Debian to run them.

This shell when started on the COM port is what is blocking a Debian boot. If you close it by typing


the boot process will continue. If you are connected through telnet, this will instead open up its own instance of the shell so typing


will only end that session. Through any connection method you can relink the linuxrc to change it to boot by default to Debian.

The initrd has these boot scripts available:

Script Function
linuxrc-fastboot (default) Boots immediately to a shell in ramdisk. This will mount whichever boot medium you have selected to /mnt/root/. When you type 'exit', it will boot to that medium.
linuxrc-nandmount Same as the linuxrc-fastboot script, but will mount and boot the debian partition from NAND.
linuxrc-sdmount Same as the linuxrc-fastboot script, but will mount and boot the debian partition from SD.
linuxrc-sdroot Boots immediately to the Debian stored on either SD or NAND depending on which device you have currently selected.
linuxrc-sdroot-readonly Same as linuxrc-sdroot, except it will mount the Debian partition read only while creating a unionfs with a ramdisk. Changes will only happen in memory and not on disk.
linuxrc-usbroot Mounts the first partition of the first detected USB mass storage device and boots there.
Note: Keep in mind the boot medium is selected by the pinout on your baseboard, not through software.

For example, to set the linuxrc to boot immediately to Debian on SD or NAND, you would run this:

rm linuxrc; ln -s /linuxrc-sdroot /linuxrc; save

We recommend developing in Debian initially and then porting to the initrd if you prefer. While we set up the initrd so many Debian binaries will run, this is not intended for running "apt-get" and will cause unpredictable behavior.

The small default initrd is only 2Mbyte but there is space for approximately 300 Kbyte of additional user applications. The binaries on the initrd are dynamically linked against embedded Linux's "uclibc" library instead of the more common Linux C library "glibc". "uclibc" is a smaller version of the standard C library optimized for embedded systems and requires a different set of GCC compiler tools which are available here.

Along with busybox we include some TS specific applications that provide driver functionalities or otherwise provide convenience.

  • xuartctl - used to communicate with the xuarts.
    • Examples
      • xuartctl --server --port=0 --speed=115200 # 8n1 default
      • xuartctl --server --port=3 --speed=9600 --mode=9n1
    • See the xuartctl page for full documentation.
  • ts4700ctl - provides control for FPGA DIO, offboard ADC support, reloading the FPGA bitstream, feeding the watchdog, toggling LEDs, and more.
    • Examples
      • ts4700ctl --redledon --greenledoff
      • ts4700ctl --getdio
      • ts4700ctl --info
      • ts4700ctl --loadfpga /ts4700_bitstream.vme.gz # this is run by default by the linuxrc startup script
    • See the output of ts4700ctl --help for full usage
  • load_fpga - Allows you to reload the baseboard LFXP2 FPGA like those found on the TS-8100/TS-8900/TS-8820.
    • Example: load_fpga mybitstream.vme.gz
  • nandctl - provides an NBD server that is used for accessing the XNAND.
    • This is already running by default. See the nandctl page for more details.
    • Example: nandctl -X -z 131072 --nbdserver lun0:disc,lun0:part1,lun0:part2,lun0:part3,lun0:part4
  • peekpoke is an extremely useful utility that allows you to read and/or write memory in 8, 16, or 32 bit sizes.
    • Example: peekpoke 16 0x80004000 # read fpga id (0x4700)
    • Example: peekpoke 16 0x80004012 0x1800 # Enable green/red LEDs

We also provide the ts4700.subr which provides convenience functions in a shell script. These can be used from Debian by sourcing the subr file:

source /initrd/ts4700.subr
# Running /initrd/ts4700.subr will not do anything
# Once this is sourced you can run these commands in that shell 
# just like an application.  You can use these in
# your own shell scripts by sourcing this file.
  • printbin - Converts the first argument to a binary value
  • usbload - Loads the USB modules required for the USB host controller. Does not load all USB modules. This does not work from Debian, but udev will autodetect the correct drivers during Debian's startup and load them automatically.
  • save - Since the initrd is a ramdisk, this will allow you to commit the ramdisk to a persistent storage. The save command will detect your boot media, and write the currently booted initrd there. This does not work from Debian.
  • sdsave - This will write the currently booted initrd to SD regardless of boot device. This does not work from Debian.
  • nandsave - This will write the currently booted initrd to the XNAND regardless of boot device. This does not work from Debian.
  • sd2nand - Copies the kernel and initrd from the SD to the XNAND. Assumes there is a valid MBR and partition on the XNAND. This does not work from Debian.
  • nand2sd - Copies the kernel and initrd from the NAND to the SD card. Requires the SD card to already have the SD MBR and partition layout. This does not work from Debian.
  • setdiopin - Sets the output value of a #DIO pin. The first argument is the DIO number.
  • getdiopin - Gets the value of a #DIO pin. The first argument is the DIO number.
  • tshelp - Shows available commands
  • gettemp - Reads the LM73 temperature
  • backlight_on - Enables the PWM backlight for baseboards with PWM controlled backlights like the 8390/8400/8900
  • backlight_off - Disabled the backlight
  • backlight_low - Sets the PWM backlight to a low value
  • backlight_medium - Sets the PWM backlight to a medium value
  • backlight_high - Sets the PWM backlight to the highest value
  • speaker - The arguments on/off allow you to toggle a speaker on the baseboard like the 8390/8400/8900
  • do_splash - Shows the splash screen and plays the startup sound

By default, linuxrc will not insert the necessary modules into the kernel to mount and use USB devices within the initrd/busybox environment if there is no USB device present upon bootup (USB support is enabled by default within the Debian environment). The quickest way to get a USB device (like a USB thumb drive) to mount in the initrd/busybox environment is to ensure that it is plugged in before the SBC is powered up. In order to get hot-swappable USB devices regardless of device presence at bootup time, you must "modprobe" the necessary modules. This has been done for you in the ts4700.subr file with the usbload() function.

The compiled instance of busybox includes several internal commands listed below:

 BusyBox v1.18.3 (2011-08-11 15:25:09 MST) multi-call binary.
 Copyright (C) 1998-2009 Erik Andersen, Rob Landley, Denys Vlasenko
 and others. Licensed under GPLv2.
 See source distribution for full notice.
 Usage: busybox [function] [arguments]...
    or: busybox --list[-full]
    or: function [arguments]...
         BusyBox is a multi-call binary that combines many common Unix
         utilities into a single executable.  Most people will create a
         link to busybox for each function they wish to use and BusyBox
         will act like whatever it was invoked as.
 Currently defined functions:
         [, [[, ar, ash, basename, cat, chat, chgrp, chmod, chown, chroot, chrt,
         cmp, cp, cpio, cttyhack, cut, date, dc, dd, depmod, devmem, df,
         dirname, dmesg, dnsdomainname, du, echo, egrep, env, expr, false,
         fdisk, fgrep, find, free, grep, gunzip, gzip, halt, head, hostname,
         hush, hwclock, ifconfig, insmod, ipcrm, ipcs, kill, killall, ln, login,
         ls, lsmod, lsusb, md5sum, mdev, microcom, mkdir, mkfifo, mknod,
         modinfo, modprobe, more, mount, mv, netstat, nohup, ping, pivot_root,
         poweroff, printf, ps, pwd, rdate, reboot, rm, rmdir, rmmod, route, rx,
         sed, seq, setconsole, setsid, sh, sha1sum, sha256sum, sha512sum, sleep,
         stty, sync, sysctl, tail, tar, tee, telnetd, test, tftp, time, top,
         touch, tr, true, udhcpc, umount, uname, unxz, unzip, uptime, usleep,
         uudecode, uuencode, vi, watch, wget, xargs, xz, xzcat, yes, zcat