Banana Pi BPI-R2’s U-boot & Linux 4.4 Source Code & MediaTek MT7623N Datasheet Released

Banana Pi BPI-R2 is a multimedia router board powered by MediaTek MT7623N quad core processor with 2GB RAM, 5 Gigabit Ethernet ports, up to two SATA ports, two USB 3.0 ports, HDMI output, and I/O headers. The board is not for sale yet, but the company has recently released the source code with U-boot and Linux 4.4.70, as well as a datasheet for MediaTek MT7623N processor.

The source code can be found on Github, so let’s see if we can build it:


After a couple of minutes, the build would end with:


For the very last step, it asks you to login as root / sudoer, which it should not do… But we end up with the images, so at least it builds:


MediaTek has also been active by committing patchsets for MT7623 to the Linux Kernel Mailing List, so mainline Linux is an eventual possibility for BPI-R2 board. We just don’t have a clear view of what works and what doesn’t with mainline.

Mediatek MT7623N PCIe Subsystem Block Diagram

The datasheet is a 1,235-page document, but the name “MT7623N Datasheet for Development Board” implies that it may actually be a subset of another larger and more complete datasheet. Nevertheless, it looks to have enough information to control peripherals like GPIOs, I2C, PWM, UART, timers, GMAC, USB, etc… You’ll also find BPI-R2 schematics (PDF only) in the board’s Wiki.

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Willy
Willy
3 years ago

Good. Maybe it will be time that I replace my home firewall (14 years-old Via C3-533, 5*100 Mbps, 128MB RAM, 32 MB flash, kernel 2.4, last rebooted 3 years ago to move to my new house). I just strongly doubt such a board will be as reliable and will last that long :-/ But at least with a mainline kernel I could hope to get issues fixed over time.

tkaiser
tkaiser
3 years ago

Willy :
But at least with a mainline kernel I could hope to get issues fixed over time.

You should keep in mind that what happened above is the result of an absolutely unnecessary and time wasting procedure: poking those ignorant Sinovoip guys over and over again to get such basic stuff like schematics, sources or even a simple boot log. But they don’t get it, their level of ignorance is simply to high.

Wrt mainline kernel and MTK there are interesting insights available: https://forum.armbian.com/index.php?/topic/4567-board-bring-up-banana-pi-r2/#comment-34726

Mum
Mum
3 years ago

Hopefully the microUSB port is there for OTG (or USB uart?) and not for power 😉

tkaiser
tkaiser
3 years ago

Mum : Hopefully the microUSB port is there for OTG (or USB uart?) and not for power Please visit the official documentation of this device: bananapi.gitbooks.io/banana-pi-bpi-r2-open-source-smart-router/content/bpi-r2-quick-start.html Scroll down to the bottom to read ‘Finally, at the very left of the bottom edge is the USB power connector. Plug in a regulated power supply that is rated at 5V ±5% / 2000mA (or 2A). Any number bigger than 700 mA will also work.’ The official documentation tells you can use Micro USB to power the board and 5V/700mA are fine. They know that this is wrong, they have been told several… Read more »

CampGareth
CampGareth
3 years ago

Still 32-bit so no good for my storage needs, but if it’s cheaper than the £100 low end Intel processor models you see floating around it could see some success and would be a nice replacement for my current overkill pfsense box… heck at that power consumption it’d be a good replacement for a cheapo 5 port switch, except it’d be managed too.

tkaiser
tkaiser
3 years ago

CampGareth :
pfsense box…

The pfSense folks are working on a single ARM device worth the efforts: EspressoBin. And that’s for three simple reasons: sources available long before product launched, correct documentation available long before product launched, a manufacturer listening and caring. That also pretty much describes the main difference to SinoVoip here.

willy
willy
3 years ago

tkaiser : You should keep in mind that what happened above is the result of an absolutely unnecessary and time wasting procedure Yes, I’ve read some of your insisting posts on the subject quite a few times. But let’s try to stay positive, ultimately it worked. I know that sinovoip is ignorant about what opensource and community-driven development is, I just hope that they’ll sell more of their open products than the closed ones so that they start to realize how much more profitable they could be by being open and by pressuring their SoC vendors on this (ie: simply… Read more »

tkaiser
tkaiser
3 years ago

willy : start to realize how much more profitable they could be by being open and by pressuring their SoC vendors on this (ie: simply not consider the closed ones) Huh? Exactly the opposite has happened here. MTK opens themselves currently, SinoVoip got sources from MTK 4 months ago, nothing relevant except a few fixes and increasing kernel number has happened since then. SinoVoip did not provide any real information (I really don’t know why they’re not able to understand that correct information/specifications matter) and only told ‘wait and see’, ‘when finish we github’. Not the SoC vendor is the… Read more »

Mum
Mum
3 years ago


Well they released the schematics, right? No one said the schematics had to be useful… 😉

@tkaiser: I was actually being sarcastic about USB for power in a “oh no not again” way. I agree it’s completely stupid. At least they seem to know this, because all the photos show it powered via the barrel connector. Too bad for the person who buys it and tries to power with microUSB and has endless problems…

tkaiser
tkaiser
3 years ago

Mum : @Jean-Luc Aufranc (CNXSoft) Well they released the schematics, right? No one said the schematics had to be useful… Yes, exactly that happened and is another proof that they do not understand why someone is asking for schematics, for sources (sources always also are documentation) or for correct(!) information/documentation and why they should provide this stuff. They are not able to understand that this is the most basic requirement to be able to help them. Since they’re too stupid/ignorant to ever fix this copy&paste crap collected in their ‘technical documentation’ wiki I really hope they were smart enough to… Read more »

BIRD TECHSTEP
BIRD TECHSTEP
3 years ago

~85$ Next week on Aliexpress.

I waiting.

willy
willy
3 years ago

@tkaiser
I agree with you. I *thought* they started to understand. The simple fact that they removed values from the schematics and reject PRs for security updates proves the opposite and is lamentable.

Such companies solely exist thanks to review sites like cnxsoft. Maybe it would be time to get some pages to vote for good/bad/improving behaviour for each vendor. End users value the price and features first, expecting to meet little trouble. When you see 90% down vote due to trouble, you tend to avoid that vendor.

Mum
Mum
3 years ago

willy : Such companies solely exist thanks to review sites like cnxsoft. Maybe it would be time to get some pages to vote for good/bad/improving behaviour for each vendor. End users value the price and features first, expecting to meet little trouble. When you see 90% down vote due to trouble, you tend to avoid that vendor. Sorry but I don’t agree. They would still exist even without websites blindly re-posting their press releases. The reason is that AliExpress has brought every poorly designed product within the reach of someone with an internet connection and a means to pay. It… Read more »

tkaiser
tkaiser
3 years ago

willy : Such companies solely exist thanks to review sites like cnxsoft. I don’t agree here. While I think this specific blog post was not necessary (since creating the impression SinoVoip would’ve released anything on their own while in reality again community wasted huge amounts of time and efforts to poke them) the average Banana customer doesn’t read blogs like CNX. The problem is SinoVoip’s level of ignorance, they simply don’t get what’s going on. They’ve even a good reputation since community did their work turning their paperweights into something useful. The R2 predecessor R1 is the best example. At… Read more »

Paul
Paul
3 years ago

willy : @tkaiser Maybe it would be time to get some pages to vote for good/bad/improving behaviour for each vendor. End users value the price and features first, expecting to meet little trouble. When you see 90% down vote due to trouble, you tend to avoid that vendor. I second that, but fear there maybe few boardmakers left, unlazy enough to publish full and accurate specification of their products. e.g. they may just say it has 802.11ac but not give the data rate, so when the purchaser then tells the seller it only does 100 bytes/sec, they can say your… Read more »

Willy
Willy
3 years ago

While I think this specific blog post was not necessary (since creating the impression SinoVoip would’ve released anything on their own while in reality again community wasted huge amounts of time and efforts to poke them) the average Banana customer doesn’t read blogs like CNX. Well, you hardly find information on such products in your local store. They only exist on the net. RPi is almost the only exception. The average Banana customer is absolutely clueless and attributes community work to the board maker. And that’s why community is at fault. On this one I totally agree. That’s why I’m… Read more »

jim st
jim st
3 years ago

A paper with the components on it is not a schematic. Don’t give them credit for that. Also the DXF which might have had more information is missing, no BOM. So not very open source. One could take a sample board and fix the schematic if one were to be trying to duplicate it as in an open design, but the only ones they screw with what they have up now are buyers, not potential competition. Puzzling why they did this. I’ve got an R1 which I played with a bit, but won’t invest more in it till something better… Read more »

Paul
Paul
3 years ago

jim st :
I’ve got an R1 which I played with a bit, but won’t invest more in it till something better than openwrt runs on it with real support.

and what might that ‘better than openwrt’ be ?

tkaiser
tkaiser
3 years ago

@Willy
Lion Wang, the SinoVoip CEO, gave some insights into why his company isn’t able to meet basic requirements over in comments thread for BPi M2 Berry.

I’ve never seen this level of ignorance, they really don’t get at which low level they’re failing and show no will to improve on such basic things. And the M2 pull request with tons of security fixes is still not merged. That’s such an easy benchmark…

tkaiser
tkaiser
3 years ago

Willy : Well, you hardly find information on such products in your local store. They only exist on the net. RPi is almost the only exception. At least in Germany that’s different, the Banana brand is available at various local stores lying next to Raspberries. And the ‘infomation’ shown there is partially the result of SinoVoip having hired a retard being responsible for ‘technical documentation’ while only able to do copy&paste without understanding. That way their next product will be advertised with ‘RAM: 1GB DDR3 SDRAM with 733 MHz’ while it’s 576 MHz max in reality (the 733MHz are ‘copy&paste… Read more »

lionwang
3 years ago

@tkaiser @tkaiser why we not merging pull requests on github ?? for allwinner have update tinaLinux kernel ,we need to update our code from allwinner , we must do this work at first . and facat have build a github for BPI-M2 Ultra ,we have all place at https://bananapi.gitbooks.io/bpi-m2-ultra-open-source-single-board-computer/content/bpi-m2ultrasourcecodeongithub.html why we use micro USB for power ? when we design hardware , we all compatibility DC and micro USB interface. if you are maker ,you can easy to find micro USB adapter , if you want to do a real product ,you can use DC port.Different applications, different choices. open… Read more »

mdel
mdel
3 years ago

@tkaiser i’m only commenting based on your comments so so it may be out of place, but seeing how you describe that company as being unresponsive or willing to ignore community work, why do you force yourself to get involved in their products ? I’d understand that you like providing a “proper linux experience” for every device that comes along, but at some point it would be more valuable to pick and choose your targets, especially when you identify a company that is not willing to help in any way. And i would advise taking a step back when writing… Read more »

lionwang
3 years ago

@mdel I fully respect all the work that armbian does.Thanks to the developers who contributed to armbain.I also contact igor to provide all the samples and are willing to work closely with them. They are ahead of us in open source.We are learning from each other. What we can do now is work closely with chip makers.Design hardware, consummate drive, this is our basic job.It is also for the better development of the open source community.So there’s definitely a lot of demand that’s not going to satisfy the mainstream open source community, but our capabilities can only be done here.… Read more »

tkaiser
tkaiser
3 years ago

@mdel I agree with you in many points and you can be assured that I will from now on switch to ignore mode. Since in SinoVoip forum posts get censored it was somewhat important to get the whole level of ignorance publicly documented which is done now. 🙂 This is a proof that you can’t help them since they consider being asked for most basic stuff an attack. Same with information, they simply aren’t able to understand why it matters to provide correct documentation. Now that’s done simply let’s forget about them. At least in Germany they’ll have to deal… Read more »

CampGareth
CampGareth
3 years ago

@lionwang Could you add some information to your READMEs on github? I should be able to at a glance figure out what the repository is about, how to use its contents etc. but I can only make guesses and poke bits of it to see what they do. Here’s an example of a better README (though by no means the best): https://github.com/mholt/caddy It has a project description, key features, instructions for installing and running, links to further documentation, instructions for contributing… I appreciate that you’re new to open source and that it basically isn’t a thing behind the great firewall,… Read more »

tkaiser
tkaiser
3 years ago

@CampGareth Nice try to get SinoVoip improving on Github usage. Better look through this https://github.com/BPI-SINOVOIP/BPI-M3-bsp/issues/3 and especially all the other still open issues over there to get the idea what to expect. Issue #2 is also telling since of course the only documentation ever provided was wrong as usual (‘copy&paste gone wrong’ as every time… and the person responsible for this mess is still in place destroying all the hard work the few brave souls inside this company or soon MTK staff do) Besides that the great firewall or being in China is no excuse to fail at this low… Read more »

CampGareth
CampGareth
3 years ago

@tkaiser
/me gives self the “an attempt was made” sticker.

Wondered how they’d respond to a kinder voice, the answer… remains to be seen. The next attempt will swear at them every other word, while attempting to be constructive, much like “what the f*** should I have for dinner” etc. Maybe we’ll find the balance ;D

LinAdmin
LinAdmin
3 years ago

lionwang :
@tkaiser
We can’t get everything done in the first place.

I agree that it all needs quite some time and effort. However, could you please explain why SinoVoip publishes a schematic where component values are deleted? Can you give a date when by latest a complete schematic will be published?
Thank you!

willy
willy
3 years ago

@LinAdmin
… and why people who kindly propose pull requests to update their outdated kernels to the latest security fixes are simply ignored, leaving all their customers exposed to random bugs and even critical flaws ? That’s the most insulting attitude to have towards people who provide quality work on their spare time.

lionwang
3 years ago

@CampGareth

thank you , i will let my colleague to do this work .

tkaiser
tkaiser
3 years ago

@willy
This is most probably the reason why they feel the need to ignore your and all of our work: https://github.com/tinalinux/linux-3.10/blob/r18-v0.9/Makefile

LinAdmin
LinAdmin
3 years ago

@lionwang:

Just wondering why you preferred not to answer my polite question?

Willy
Willy
3 years ago

@tkaiser
I don’t understand your point regarding this makefile. What did you mean ? That they’re reusing someone else’s kernel or that they have some binary dependencies on this outdated one ?

tkaiser
tkaiser
3 years ago

@Willy The Banana folks said they’re not able to merge community pull requests with security fixes (bringing their smelly OS images for their M2 Ultra from 3.10.65 to 3.10.106) since ‘for allwinner have update tinaLinux kernel ,we need to update our code from allwinner , we must do this work at first’. The above is this new tinalinux kernel release (for another SoC but same business unit being responsible for). And Allwinner chose to provide something still being a 3.10.65 version with some stuff being fixed (eg. Dirty COW is fixed in this new 3.10.65 as it has been in… Read more »

willy
willy
3 years ago

@tkaiser Got it. Indeed it simply shows they are only able to route PCBs and place components on a board, but have zero clue about software, which is a bit sad for a board vendor! I can accept that some board vendors solely rely on the SoC vendor’s software, but only if this one acts responsibly (ie: follows updates). That’s definitely not been the case with allwinner, providing outdated BSPs. I doubt it will be much better with MTK given that such vendors generally rely on contractors to port to mainline and on the board vendors to report bugs that… Read more »

lionwang
3 years ago

@LinAdmin
you can send mail to [email protected] .

lionwang
3 years ago

Tkaiser ,You are not a god of the open source community, please keep the basic respect for others ,At least let others don’t hate you

Now everyone know why you never says a bad word about orange PI.

http://www.cnx-software.com/2017/07/15/office-factory-business-model-and-ambitious-plans-of-shenzhen-xunlong-software-orange-pi-maker/
You don’t need to take a wrong way to achieve the purpose of you

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