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

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 tool 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 cards 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 straight away, 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 or there. The documentation shows the interface as shown below.

burn_card-maker-english

But after starting the program in Windows 7, and changing the 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 creating 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 the recovery menu with the pinhole or other method for your TV box, and the firmware update will start automatically.

Good Luck!

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