How to Create a Bootable Recovery SD Card for Amlogic TV Boxes

Orange Pi Development Boards

I reviewed Rikomagic MK22 TV box about two weeks ago, and with the firmware I had, online firmware update was not enabled, and the company only released .IMG firmware for Amlogic USB Burning Tool, a windows only tools that’s not well designed, and requires some procedure that vary slightly from boxes to boxes which in some cases forces to buy a male to male USB cable.

I’ve now started reviewing R-Box Pro TV box also based on Amlogic S912 processor, online firmware update is not working either, and again I only managed to find .IMG firmware for the box on GeekBuying. However, I’ve been informed that “USB Burning Tool” firmware can now be flashed through a micro SD card, or USB flash drive with all recent Amlogic TV boxes, so I’ve tried this method instead of R-Box Pro, and decided to report my experience in this post following some instructions on Freaktab made by user Calc. I’ll show instructions in Linux (which could be further streamlined), and then Windows.

Linux Method

After downloading and extracting the rar’ed firmware file (twice), I ended up with a single img firmware files (aml_s912_q6330-R-BOX-PRO-3gddr-mac-20161015.img).

First we’ll need to have a tool to extract some files from the firmware. Create aml-upgrade-package-extract.c with the code below which I found on Freaktab too and slightly modified it to parse the firmware filename:


Now compile the tool with gcc:


and run the thing on the firmware file:


It will extract a bunch of files:


You’ll just need aml_sdc_burn.ini and aml_sdc_burn.UBOOT, plus the IMG file itself to create a bootable mass storage device.

Now find the device for your micro SD card (formatted with FAT32) with lsblk:


In my case it’s /dev/sdd, but I’ll use /dev/sdX in the instructions below, just change the command with yours.


and finally re-mount the SD card/flash drive, copy the firmware file and aml_sdc_burn.ini to the root of the device, and rename the firmware to aml_upgrade_package.img to match the string in aml_sdc_burn.ini:


Now make sure no other USB devices or SD card are inserted in the TV box, and insert your bootable (micro) SD card or USB flash drive into the TV box. If your TV box is fully bricked, you have nothing to do, and the update should start straightaway, but if it is partially bricked or just working fine, you still need to press the recovery button, apply power, and release the button in order to enter recovery mode. The upgrade should then start automatically as shown below.

micro-sd-card-firmware-update

Patiently wait for the update to complete and you should be all good. Please note that I first tried with a USB flash drive, and the method did not work. Once the update is complete, you’ll see the “Android success” logo.

amlogic-firmware-update-successAt this point, remove the micro SD card, and power cycle the board to complete the final steps of the update, and within one or two minutes you should get the Android launcher. If instead the firmware ends with “Android failure” logo showing a red cross, verify your firmware MD5 (e.g. with md5sum in Linux) to make sure it’s not corrupted. If it is, re-download the file and/or re-copy the file to the micro SD card.

Windows Method: Burn Card Maker

If you are a Windows user it’s much easier as you just need to use Burn_Card_Marker tool (bootcardmaker.exe), which you can download here. The documentation shows the interface as shown below.

burn_card-maker-english

But after starting the program in Windows 7, and changing language with the top menu, second option to English, it stayed in Chinese language and looked like the screenshot below instead.

burn_card_maker_v2-0-2

[Update: After changing the Language to English, select the third option in the top menu to apply the change…amlogic-card-maker-menu

…restart the app, and it will be in English.]

It’s not really a big issue, but you can still select your SD card device (F: drive in my case), load the file, and press “Make” button to start create a bootable recovery (micro) SD card.
amlogic-create-bootable-card

You’ll get a “Success!” pop-up window and the end, and the content of the SD card will show the firmware, and the two aml_sdc_burn files.

burn-card-maker-files

Now you can insert the micro SD card in the TV box, enter recovery menu with the pin hole or other method for your TV box, and firmware update will start automatically.

Good Luck!

Support CNX Software - Donate via PayPal or become a Patron on Patreon

42
Leave a Reply

avatar
42 Comment threads
0 Thread replies
17 Followers
 
Most reacted comment
Hottest comment thread
25 Comment authors
aljagErvinHughStefansketchman Recent comment authors
  Subscribe  
newest oldest most voted
Notify of
GanjaBear
Guest
GanjaBear

On a 2GB card, the partition start had to be moved or UBOOT didn’t fit. (mount failure after dd’ing)

I wonder if getting Update&Recovery to reboot via a random .zip file on the card would work?

GanjaBear
Guest
GanjaBear

@cnxsoft Copying aml_sdc_burn.UBOOT is probably redundant, no?

> cp aml_sdc_burn.ini aml_sdc_burn.UBOOT [device-mount-point]

FGBonn
Guest
FGBonn

Hi, what if i dont have the IMG file, but have an OTA zip?? is there a way i can flash?

AARON
Guest
AARON

I followed the steps to make a bootable SD card, and I can confirm that it in fact does NOT start right away. All it does is go to the recovery menu.

balbes150
Guest
balbes150

AARON :
I followed the steps to make a bootable SD card, and I can confirm that it in fact does NOT start right away. All it does is go to the recovery menu.

In Linux, you can try to create boot card of these files for this manual. You need to follow two boot loader entries.

dd if=u-boot.bin.sd.bin of=/dev/mmcblk0 conv=fsync bs=1 count=442

dd if=u-boot.bin.sd.bin of=/dev/mmcblk0 conv=fsync bs=512 skip=1 seek=1

https://yadi.sk/d/U41GQWcJsapLV

Vin
Guest
Vin

I have also the rbox pro but the 2g variant downloaded the latest firmware.unzip the file and got the .img file downloaded burn card maker tool and make a bootable sd card. When i used it in the sd card and reset using the toothpick method the robot logo and x appear and does nothing. When i create it to a 4gig usb disk it just went to the stock recovery. Pls help me

Vin
Guest
Vin

@cnxsoft
Yes all option are tick in the burn card maker. R-BOX Pro 2+16GB PC Upgrade Firmware–>this is what i downloaded from geekbuying website. For the sd card i used 8 gig and for the usb disk its 4db. So im wondering what am i missing

davidMetal
Guest
davidMetal

I too cannot make the SD Upgrade work… I spent 4 hours last night using the tools and step described above. I insert the 4gb SD card and press the reset button – I get a green android with red cross only.
If I remove the SD and go to recovery, I navigate to the SD card but the .IMG file is not visible at all… I am assuming because it is looking for a .ZIP file instead…

Life would be ALOT EASIER if they simply provided the .ZIP version instead (right)??? There would be no need for SD burn tools. I am trying to re-download the IMG file again and go through the steps again. I have no idea why! can someone provide feedback?

davidMetal
Guest
davidMetal

@cnxsoft
Thank you @cnxfsoft.
I appreciate your response.
I will review the downloaded file again using MD5 to confirm it is not corrupted.

I was also thinking – the file name of the latest R-Box Pro 3g on the geekbuying site includes “(” “)” parenthesis…

I have a theory if I remove the non alpha characters before I use the burn tool I may have better luck? Unfortunately, I will not have a chance to try it again for another 2 days. 🙁

I will keep you posted if this works.

davidMetal
Guest
davidMetal

@cnxsoft
Thank you @cnxsoft
I figured out why the SDCard process did not work!
The filename from Geekbuying had named the firmware file with special characters… I removed “(” and “)” and “+” and the upgrade by sd card worked.

I still have NO WIFI but this is seperate to the topic on this page. I am so furious the wifi does not work! >:(

Phatboyj
Guest
Phatboyj

@cnxsoft
Will this method work to flash a Mecool BB2-Pro s912 Box with 3Gb DDR4 16GB Rom

or is there a specific method for said box?

preferably for Win10

Thanks in advance,
Phatboyj

.

Poetatoman
Guest
Poetatoman

Hello, I have a question about my boxes for anyone that might be able to help.
I have purchase 4 separate Mini M8S II S905X boxes that have identical pre-installed setups. They came with Kodi 16 installed and I updated ONE of them to Kodi 17. After this ALL of the installed content associated with Kodi was gone. Being a newbie to these type boxes but a veteran of computer world, I spent weeks of “finding” the required installation procedures and files out of all the “crap” all over the internet, then installing all the accessories, a new skin, figuring out customizing new skin, testing all the apps (which Kodi has now shut off access to some in version17), and setting the cache correctly with ares wizard.
Now finally down to the question:

Is it somehow possible to download my entire systems settings, programs AND zip files COMPLETELY from this machine to a SD card and then install ALL that info including settings on these 3 other identical machines? Or use a USB to USB cable and somehow copy the system from the one to the other?

If so ANY instructions or links would be GREATLY appreciated!

This would undoubtedly save me a week of setup on each machine. I did a backup of this machine on a USB stick. Using the system backup AND then the Kodi backup. Then inserted the USB into the other machine. It wouldn’t find the backup file. I then installed Kodi 17 on the second machine and tried again. I also tried backup with ares wizard and still the second machine would not use the backup.

Theguyuk
Guest
Theguyuk

@Poetatoman
If you go on Google Play, you can install the Complete Kodi setup Wizard by The app guru

It can install or remove builds with a button click. I recommend it to you 🙂

Poetatoman
Guest
Poetatoman

Yes, However I lose ALL my custom skin settings, favorites list, optional programs, ect., PLUS the last 4 weeks of work just to start all over again, no thanks…

I’m looking to copy my entire ROM to SD and then copy that to the 3 other identical machines.
So far I’ve tried:
1. ROM Manager, (which was GREAT at fixing permissions to everything and I’m pretty sure it accomplished rooting. It has the option of Installing ROM from SD card, but NOT to save current ROM to SD card.) I also don’t really understand how to use it which may be my problem on this one.
2. TWRP Manager (which states upon startup that the program is NO LONGER able to choose SD for backup and MUST use the ROM drive which makes NO sense. 4.7 GB of info backing up to an 8 GB ROM with 4.7 GB already there. Not sure how that would even work.
3. Superuser which seems to just want you to upgrade to PRO to even use it so is USELESS to me.

Poetatoman
Guest
Poetatoman

Thanks for this input, but I am not trying to ONLY back-up just the Kodi program. I purchased 4 identical Amlogic S905X boxes. After 4 weeks of customizing 1 of them, I now want to “copy” the ENTIRE BOXE’S ROM from this 1 machine to the other 3 directly, with USB, OR with SD. Kodi PLUS ALL the other base programs other than Kodi that come on before Kodi.
I see many ways of downloading other peoples AND update .img files for this machine. I am trying to find out if there is any program or hardware which will copy this particular box’s ENTIRE SYSTEM. Then put it on the other boxes. It seems that this (should) be possible. After all the producer made 1 and then copied that system to thousands after it. Would this technology make it out to the public or is it just done by the manufacturer ONLY? Thanks again! The MBOX’s main backup won’t load into another machine either.

Umar Amin
Guest
Umar Amin

Hi
I just reinstalled the software of my Android tv box i.e CSA93 32 GB ROM 3 GB ram. But after reinstalling I lost my connection to WiFi.

Neither my wifi is connects nor its highlighting.

So pls guide me which firmware I should install.

Regards
Umar amin

Meakai
Guest
Meakai

Not so sure about TWRP Manager, but regular TWRP works for me.
Boot into recovery, select storage and backup the data partition only, or the boot,system and data partitions to ensure that all boxes are identical. Boot into recovery, select storage and restore on the other three boxes.

Just search for TWRP+S905X

Ibraheem
Guest
Ibraheem

Hi, I have H96 pro plus, and tried the bootable card method, and on the boot, it only showed H96 logo and then no more display, and no further activity, plus my box doesn’t load/boot, only blue light appears and that’s it, any suggestion how to recover from this?

lev2k
Guest
lev2k

Does somebody have a download link for a “Wetek Core” full .img file?
Not just the ***** OTA file…

Mark
Guest
Mark

Just have to say how pleased I am to see some source code. I received a H96 Pro+ a couple of days ago and decided to upgrade the firmware shortly after getting the box up and running. In exploring the procedure for performing the upgrade, I was shocked at how many folk are willing to download an executable from some file-sharing site and run it on their workstation. That’s putting a lot of trust in several parties. My workstation is just too important to me for that kind of recklessness.

But your snippet of C source is perfectly readable. I don’t have to trust it, because I can understand exactly what it is doing. Thanks for sharing it. I’ll sleep more soundly tonight.

Ted
Guest
Ted

Hello
Have anyone here been able to update the firmware on a Rikomagic media player using the SD (microSD) card method ? thanks

redsparow
Guest
redsparow

Hello,

I do it for my bricked MINI M8S PRO 2G/32G s912 but burning failed
I change erase_flash on aml_sdc_burn.ini file to “1” but after few houres a screen is blocked with message “upgrading…”

I also tried with USB BURNING TOOL but i have this error after few seconds:

[23:22:06 454][HUB3-2][Inf]————-ERASE FLASH———–
[23:22:06 454][HUB3-2][Inf]–disk_initial 1
[23:22:06 454][HUB3-2][Inf]–Send command success
[23:22:07 641][HUB3-2][Err]–failed:[23:22:07 641][HUB3-2][Err]–Check command return failed

Any idea?

Regards

[23:22:07 673][HUB3-2][Err]–[0x30201004]UBOOT/Disk initialize/Send command/Error result

Sandor
Guest
Sandor

Hi,

First of all; thank you for sharing this information!

I tried creating a bootable sdcard (8GB microsd) using the instructions below. But for some reason the card becomes unreadable/unmountable with these parameters.

sudo umount /dev/sdd1
sudo dd if=aml_sdc_burn.UBOOT of=/dev/sdd bs=1 count=442
sudo dd if=aml_sdc_burn.UBOOT of=/dev/sdd seek=1 skip=1 bs=512
sync

Not sure what I am doing wrong. I checked the dd manual and information on this website: http://linux-sunxi.org/Bootable_SD_card but that did not make clear for me how I should change the command to work with my particular card. Could someone please guide me in the right direction? I have no access to a windows machine; was thinking about running the bootcardmaker.exe tool in Wine or another VM but the link to the file on Mediafire seems to be expired.

Any help would be much appreciated.

Sandor

Robert
Guest
Robert

@Poetatoman
you could use ares backup to make a full system and kodi backup to usb… install ares on the other boxes and use the restore function to make em all duplicates

GanjaBear
Guest
GanjaBear

@Sandor

Have you seen the very first comment in this thread? It’s probably a safe bet your problem is the same and it’s necessary to move the start of the 1st partition to make more room for uboot.

As for the latter part of the comment, I was simply musing on how to get this method to work with no reset switch present. I guess it’s not possible.

sketchman
Guest
sketchman

Doesn’t work for me with a USB thumb drive. First time I flashed with an SD card. Right now I don’t have one. It just boots into TWRP. Won’t do anything else.

Stefan
Guest
Stefan

Hi and sorry for my english.
Android or another Linux distro can run directly from SDCARD ?
I have a S802H box with bad NAND and can’t replace because pcb trace (pad) are broken.

I tried with image for ODROID C1 (S905) but is not same CPU.
Many thanks!

EEEE I3000000032940xf100110003877500EEEE I400000004294_M8_BL1_10221D113B323EEEE I3000000032940xbbbb000026A22525EEEE I3000000032940xf100110003877500EEEE I400000004294_M8_BL1_10221D113B323EEEE I6000000062940 stage is skipped63936475EEEE I3000000032940xbbbb000126B22525
———————————————————————–
* Welcome to Hardkernel’s ODROID-C… (Built at 19:33:00 Dec 8 2014) *
———————————————————————–
CPU : AMLogic S805
MEM : 1024MB ([email protected])

Stefan
Guest
Stefan

@cnxsoft
Many thanks for response!
I’ll try but I don’t know if I can do something.

Hugh
Guest
Hugh

@Sandor
Perhaps you are having trouble because you are following instructions from linux-sunxi. They are for Allwinner Technology firmware. Perhaps AMLogic firmware expects a different format.

Hugh
Guest
Hugh

@cnxsoft
Thanks for this article. I’m trying to figure out how to update an S912 box.

In you C code, you try to report strerror when the fopen fails. Unfortunately you use errno after a printf and that printf might have disturbed errno. The simplest fix is to combine the two printfs into one so that errno is fetched before the printf is called.

Just to be bulletproof, I’d put “errno = 0;” immediately before the fopen.

Ervin
Guest
Ervin

@lev2k

Did you find IMG for Wetek Core? I need the same (hard brick).

aljag
Guest
aljag

work for h96 pro plus
but for h96 max plus notwork and when push make button error
L100aml_sdc_burn.uboot and bootloader.partion all not in package