NTech NBox 3S

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sloppyturtle19
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NTech NBox 3S

Unread post by sloppyturtle19 » Sat Nov 09, 2019 12:57 am

Hello everybody!

I am not sure this is the right place to ask this but I'll try.

I have an NTech NBox 3S that has similar specs to the Odroid C2, so I thought maybe I will find help here.

This is the device: http://www.ntech.pt/index.php/mini-pc/nbox-3s

Now it came with Android Nougat and I would like to get rid of that and install Linux, preferably Arch. I found a release that fits the architecture but I can not get the box to boot from SD card. There is no boot switch or anything like that and the eMMC with Android on it is soldered onto the board. So I can't take it out.

I have a root shell in Android and poked around a bit but have no idea how the bootloader works.

Any ideas would be appreciated.

Thanks!

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mad_ady
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Re: NTech NBox 3S

Unread post by mad_ady » Sat Nov 09, 2019 1:50 am

It says it's a CPU QC A53 Amlogic S905W, so not identical to C2.

If you have access to the emmc pins you can try to disable it by setting Chip Select pin to 0. You'll also need to find the serial port and make sure it works.
With emmc invalidated it should try to boot from SD.

You'll need to flash an sd card with linux and procure a suitable uboot for your board. You can try with C2's uboot, but I think it does board validation and will not boot unless it's a HK board (protection against hardware piracy from competitors).This will be the hardest step - getting into uboot.

Who knows - with serial access you might be able to use the emmc uboot (press enter twice during boot) and be able to have it load a different OS from SD.
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Re: NTech NBox 3S

Unread post by sloppyturtle19 » Sat Nov 09, 2019 2:38 am

Thank you for your reply and yes I was wrong about the CPU.

Being a hardware noob I can't see all that much on the PCB and there don't seem to be accessible pins for the eMMC or a serial port.

The eMMC is a THGBMBG7D2KBAIL by Toshiba. I am attaching some pictures, maybe you see something that I don't?
photo_2019-11-08_17-32-41.jpg
photo_2019-11-08_17-32-41.jpg (99.75 KiB) Viewed 140 times
photo_2019-11-08_17-32-38.jpg
photo_2019-11-08_17-32-38.jpg (130.88 KiB) Viewed 140 times
photo_2019-11-08_17-32-34.jpg
photo_2019-11-08_17-32-34.jpg (184.96 KiB) Viewed 140 times
photo_2019-11-08_17-32-24.jpg
photo_2019-11-08_17-32-24.jpg (173.64 KiB) Viewed 140 times

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Re: NTech NBox 3S

Unread post by mad_ady » Sat Nov 09, 2019 2:28 pm

The thing on the bottom with 4 holes in the last picture looks like a serial port header. Have a look at this video for ideas: https://youtu.be/h5PRvBpLuJs
It should be 3.3V.

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Re: NTech NBox 3S

Unread post by sloppyturtle19 » Sat Nov 09, 2019 8:52 pm

Ok I have connected the board to an Arduino like so:

nbox TX ----> Arduino RX
nbox GND ----> Arduino GND

I have NOT connected nbox RX ----> Arduino TX, because it could fry my board right? I read that a voltage divider could be used.

This is the sketch on the Arduino:

Code: Select all

void setup() {
  Serial.begin(9600);
}

void loop() {
  if (Serial.available() > 0)
  {
    char data = Serial.read();
    Serial.print(data, DEC);
  }
}
It outputs a bunch of numbers, as expected:

Code: Select all

15-15-56-27-25-56-15-29-15-56-27-54-27-54-27-11-27-48-25-48-14-48-54-11-64-911
...and so forth.

When I instead use:

Code: Select all

Serial.print(data);
..without the decimal flag it just prints out garbage.

But I have no idea where to go from here?

Is it possible to decode this into something useful?

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Re: NTech NBox 3S

Unread post by mad_ady » Sat Nov 09, 2019 9:13 pm

You need to ensure that voltage is 3.3 and not 5V or it can fry your board.
Try all the baud rates, starting with 115200, which is the default rate on C2

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