summaryrefslogtreecommitdiffstats
path: root/www/docs/flash.t
blob: 20c31e16b3d90a97742efd72c32864731687d757 (plain)
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
12
13
14
15
16
17
18
19
20
21
22
23
24
25
26
27
28
29
30
31
32
33
34
35
36
37
38
39
40
41
42
43
44
45
46
47
48
49
50
51
52
53
54
55
56
57
58
59
60
61
62
63
64
65
66
67
68
69
70
71
72
73
74
75
76
77
78
79
80
81
82
83
84
85
86
87
88
89
90
91
92
93
94
95
96
97
98
99
100
101
102
103
104
105
106
107
108
109
110
111
112
113
114
115
116
117
118
119
120
121
122
123
124
125
126
127
128
129
130
131
132
133
134
135
136
137
138
139
140
141
142
143
144
145
146
147
148
149
150
151
152
153
154
155
156
157
158
159
160
161
162
163
164
165
166
167
168
169
170
171
172
173
174
175
176
177
178
179
180
181
182
183
184
185
186
187
188
189
190
191
192
193
194
195
196
197
198
199
200
201
202
203
204
205
206
207
208
209
210
211
212
213
214
215
216
217
218
219
220
221
222
223
224
225
226
227
228
229
230
231
232
233
234
235
236
237
238
239
240
241
242
243
244
245
246
247
248
249
250
251
252
253
254
255
256
257
258
259
260
261
262
263
264
265
266
267
268
269
270
271
272
273
274
275
276
277
278
279
280
281
282
283
284
285
286
287
288
289
290
291
292
293
294
295
296
297
298
299
300
301
302
303
304
305
306
307
308
309
310
311
312
313
314
315
316
317
318
319
320
321
322
323
324
325
326
327
328
329
330
331
332
333
334
335
336
337
338
339
340
341
342
343
344
345
346
347
348
349
350
351
352
353
354
355
356
357
358
359
360
361
362
363
364
365
366
367
368
369
370
371
372
373
374
375
376
377
378
379
380
381
382
383
384
385
386
387
388
389
390
391
392
393
394
395
396
397
398
399
400
401
402
403
404
405
406
407
408
409
410
411
412
413
414
415
416
#define _PAGE_ Rockbox in Flash - FAQ and User Manual
#include "head.t"
<p>
by Jrg Hohensohn aka [IDC]Dragon
<p>
1. Introduction<br>
2. Method<br>
3. Risks<br>
4. Requirements<br>
5. Flashing procedure<br>
6. Bringing in a current or personal build of Rockbox<br>
7. Known issues and limitations<br>
8. Movies and images<br>


<h2>1. Introduction</h2>
<p>
Flashing
in the sense used here and elsewhere in regard to Rockbox means
reprogramming the flash memory of the Archos unit. Flash memory
(sometimes called &quot;Flash ROM&quot;) is a type of nonvolatile
memory that can be erased and reprogrammed in circuit. It is a
variation of electrically erasable programmable read-only memory
(EEPROM).
</p>
<p>
When
you bought your Archos, it came with the Archos firmware flashed.
Now, you can replace the built-in software with Rockbox.
</p>
<p>
Terminology used in the following:<br>
<b>Firmware</b> means the flash ROM content as a whole.<br>
<b>Image</b> means one operating software started from there.
</p>
<p>
By
reprogramming the firmware we can boot much faster. Archos has a
pathetic boot loader, versus the boot time for Rockbox is much faster
than the disk spinup, in fact it has to wait for the disk. Your boot
time will be as quick as a disk spinup (e.g. 4 seconds from powerup
until resuming playback).
</p>

<h2>2. Method</h2>
<p>
The
replaced firmware will host a bootloader and 2 images. This possible
by compression. The first is the &quot;permanent&quot; backup, not to
be changed any more. The second is the default one to be started, the
first is only used when you hold the F1 key during start. Like
supplied here, the first image is the original Archos firmware, the
second is a current build of Rockbox. This second image is meant to
be reprogrammed, it can contain anything you like, if you prefer, you
can program the Archos firmware to there, too.
</p>
<p>
There are two programming tools supplied:
</p>
<ul>
	<li>
	The
	first one is called &quot;firmware_flash.rock&quot; and is used to
	program the whole flash with a new content. You can also use it to
	revert back to the original firmware you've hopefully backup-ed. In
	the ideal case, you'll need this tool only once. You can view this
	as &quot;formatting&quot; the flash with the desired image
	structure.
	</li>
	<li>
	The
	second one is called &quot;rockbox_flash.rock&quot; and is used to
	reprogram only the second image. It won't touch any other byte,
	should be safe to fool around with. If the programmed firmware is
	inoperational, you can still use the F1 start with the Archos
	firmware and Rockbox booted from disk to try better.
	</li>
</ul>
<p>
More technical details will be provided in the future, as well as non-user
tools. There's an authoring tool which composed the firmware file with the
bootloader and the 2 images, the bootloader project, the plugin sources, and
the tools for the UART boot feature: a monitor program for the box and a PC
tool to drive it. Feel free to review the
<a href="http://joerg.hohensohn.bei.t-online.de/archos/flash/flash_sourcecode.zip">sources</a>
 for all of it, but be careful when fooling around with powerful toys!
</p>

<h2>3. Risks</h2>
<p>
Well,
is it dangerous? Yes, certainly, like programming a mainboard BIOS,
CD/DVD drive firmware, mobile phone, etc. If the power fails, your
chip breaks while programming or most of all the programming software
malfunctions, you'll have a dead box. We take no responsibility of
any kind, you do that at your own risk. However, we tried as
carefully as possible to bulletproof this code. The new firmware file
is completely read before it starts programming, there are a lot of
sanity checks. If any fails, it will not program. Before releasing
this, we have checked the flow with exactly these files supplied
here, starting from the original firmware in flash. It worked
reliably, there's no reason why such low level code should behave
different on your box.
</p>
<p>
There's
one ultimate safety net to bring back boxes with even completely
garbled flash content: the UART boot mod, which in turn requires the
serial mod. It can bring the dead back to life, with that it's
possible to reflash independently from the outside, even if the flash
is completely erased. It has been used that during development, else
Rockbox in flash wouldn't have been possible. Most of the developing
effort went into this tooling. So people skilled to do these mods
don't need to worry. The others may feel unpleasant using the first
tool for reflashing the firmware.
</p>
<p>
To
comfort you a bit again: The flash tools are stable since quite a
while. Several people use them a lot and quite careless meanwhile,
even reflashed while playing. However, we don't generally recommend
that. ;-)
</p>
<p>
About
the safety of operation: Since we have dual boot, you're not giving
up the Archos firmware. It's still there when you hold F1 during
startup. So even if Rockbox from flash is not 100% stable for
everyone, you can still use the box, reflash the second image with an
updated Rockbox copy, etc.
</p>
<p>
The
flash chip being used by Archos is specified for 100,000 cycles (in
words: one hundred thousand), so you don't need to worry about that
wearing out.
</p>

<h2>4. Requirements</h2>
<p>
You need two things:
</p>
<ul>
	<li>
	The
	first is a Recorder or FM model. Be sure you're using the correct
	package, Recorder and FM are different! The technology works for the
	Player models, too. Players can also be flashed, but Rockbox does
	not run cold-started on those, yet.
	</li>
	<li>
	Second,
	you need an in-circuit programmable flash. Chances are about 85%
	that you have, but Archos also used an older flash chip which can't
	do the trick. You can find out via Rockbox debug menu, entry
	Hardware Info. If the flash info gives you question marks, you're
	out of luck. The only chance then is to solder in the right chip
	(SST39VF020), at best with the firmware already in. If the chip is
	blank, you'll need the UART boot mod as well.
	</li>
</ul>

<h2>5. Flashing procedure</h2>
<p>
Short
explanation: copy the firmware_*.bin files for your model from the
distribution to the root directory of your box, then run the
&quot;firmware_flash.rock&quot; plugin. Long version, step by step
procedure:
</p>
<ul>
	<li>
	download the correct package for you model,
	<a href="http://joerg.hohensohn.bei.t-online.de/archos/flash/flash_rec.zip">Recorder</a>
    or
    <a href="http://joerg.hohensohn.bei.t-online.de/archos/flash/flash_fm.zip">FM</a>,
	copy some files of it to your box:
	<ol>
		<li>
		&quot;ajbrec.ajz&quot;
		into the root directory (the version of Rockbox we're going to use
		and have in the firmware file)
		</li>
		<li>
		firmware_rec.bin
		or firmware_fm.bin into the root directory (the complete firmware
		for your model, with the bootloader and the two images). There now
		is also a _norom variant, copy both, the plugin will decide which
		one is required for your box.
		</li>
		<li>
		the .rockbox subdirectory with all the plugins for Rockbox
		</li>
	</ol>
	<li>
	Restart	the box so that the new ajbrec.ajz gets started.
	</li>
	</li>
	<li>
	Enter
	the debug menu and select the hardware info screen. Check you flash
	IDs (bottom line), and please make a note about your hardware mask
	value (second line). The latter is just for our curiosity, not
	needed for the flow. If the flash info shows question marks, you can
	stop here, sorry.
	</li>
	<li>
	Backup
	the current firmware, using the first option of the debug menu (Dump
	ROM contents). This creates 2 files in the root directory, which you
	may not immediately see in the Rockbox browser. The 256kB-sized
	&quot;internal_rom_2000000-203FFFF.bin&quot; one is your present
	firmware. Back both up to your PC.
	</li>
	<li>
	(optional)
	While you're in this Rockbox version, it is recommended to give it a
	test and play around with it, this version is identical to the one
	about to be programmed. Make sure that especially USB access and
	Rolo works. When done, restart again to have a fresh start and to be
	back in this Rockbox version.
	</li>
	<li>
	Use
	the F2 settings to configure seeing all files within the browser.
	</li>
	<li>
	Connect
	the charger and make sure your batteries are also in good shape.
	That's just for security reasons, it's not that flashing needs more
	power.
	</li>
	<li>
	Run
	the &quot;firmware_flash.rock&quot; plugin. It again tells you about
	your flash and the file it's gonna program. After F1 it checks the
	file. Your hardware mask value will be kept, it won't overwrite it.
	Hitting F2 gives you a big warning. If we still didn't manage to
	scare you off, you can hit F3 to actually program and verify. The
	programming takes just a few seconds. If the sanity check fails, you
	have the wrong kind of boot ROM and are out of luck by now, sorry.
	</li>
	<li>
	In
	the unlikely event that the programming should give you any error,
	don't switch off the box! Otherwise you'll have seen it working for
	the last time. While Rockbox is still in DRAM and operational, we
	could upgrade the plugin via USB and try again. If you switch it
	off, it's gone.
	</li>
	<li>
	Unplug
	the charger, restart the box and hopefully be in Rockbox straight
	away! You may delete &quot;firmware_flash.rock&quot; then, to avoid
	your little brother playing with that. Pressing On+Play can do it,
	or your PC. You can also delete the &quot;.bin&quot; files.
	</li>
	<li>
	Try
	starting again, this time holding F1 while pressing On. It should
	boot the Archos firmware, which then loads rockbox from disk. In
	fact, even the Archos firmware comes up quicker, because their
	loader is replaced by mine.
	</li>
</ul>
<p>
When
for any reason you'd like to revert to the original firmware, you can
do like above, but copy and rename your backup to be
&quot;firmware_rec.bin&quot; on the box this time. Keep the Rockbox
copy and the plugins of this package for that job, because that's the
one it was tested with.
</p>

<h2>6. Bringing in a current or personal build of Rockbox</h2>
<p>
Short
explanation: very easy, just play a .ucl file like &quot;rockbox.ucl&quot;
from the download or build. Long version:
</p>
<p>
The
second image is the working copy, the &quot;rockbox_flash.rock&quot;
plugin from this package reprograms it. The plugins needs to be
consistant with the Rockbox plugin API version, otherwise it will
detect mismatch and won't run.
</p>
<p>
It
requires an exotic input, a UCL-compressed image, because that's the
internal format. UCL is a nice open-source compression library. The
decompression is very fast and less than a page of C-code. The
efficiency is even better than Zip with maximum compression, cooks it
down to about 58% of the original size. For details on UCL, see:
<a href="http://www.oberhumer.com/opensource/ucl/">www.oberhumer.com/opensource/ucl/</a>

</p>
<p>
Linux
users will have to download it from there and compile it, for Win32
and Cygwin  the executables are in
<a href="http://joerg.hohensohn.bei.t-online.de/archos/flash">the packages</a>.
The sample program from that download is called &quot;uclpack&quot;.
We'll use that to compress &quot;rockbox.bin&quot; which is the
result of the compilation. This is a part of the build process
meanwhile. If you compile Rockbox yourself, you should copy uclpack
to a directory which is in the path, we recommend placing it in the
same dir as SH compiler.
</p>
<p>
Don't
flash any &quot;old&quot; builds which don't have the latest
coldstart ability. They won't boot. These instructions refer to
builds from cvs state 2003-07-10 on.
</p>
<p>
Here are the steps:
</p>
<ul>
	<li>
	If
	you start from a .ajz file, you'll need to descramble it first into
	&quot;rockbox.bin&quot;, by using &quot;descramble ajbrec.ajz
	rockbox.bin&quot;. IMPORTANT: For an FM, the command is different,
	use &quot;descramble -fm ajbrec.ajz rockbox.bin&quot;! Otherwise the
	image won't be functional. Compress the image using uclpack,
	algorithm 2e (the most efficient, and the only one supported by the
	bootloader), with maximum compression, by typing &quot;uclpack --2e
	--best rockbox.bin rockbox.ucl&quot;. You can make a batch file for
	this and the above step, if you like.
	</li>
	<li>
	Normally,
	you'll simply download or compile rockbox.ucl. Copy it together with
	ajbrec.ajz and all the rocks to the appropriate places, replacing
	the old.
	</li>
	<li>
	Just
	&quot;play&quot; the .ucl file, this will kick off the
	&quot;rockbox_flash.rock&quot; plugin. It's a bit similar to the
	other one, but it's made different to make the user aware. It will
	check the file, available size, etc. With F2 it's being programmed,
	no need for warning this time. If it goes wrong, you'll still have
	the permanent image.
	</li>
	<li>
	It
	may happen that you get an &quot;Incompatible Version&quot; error,
	if the plugin interface has changed meanwhile. You're running an
	&quot;old&quot; copy of Rockbox, but are trying to execute a newer
	plugin, the one you just downloaded. The easiest solution is to rolo
	into this new version, by playing the ajbrec.ajz file. Then you are
	consistant and can play rockbox.ucl.
	</li>
	<li>
	When
	done, you can restart the box and hopefully your new Rockbox image.
	</li>
</ul>
<p>
If
you like or have to, you can also flash the Archos image as the
second one, e.g. in case Rockbox from flash doesn't work for you.
This way you keep the dual bootloader and you can easily try
different later. You can download
<a href="http://joerg.hohensohn.bei.t-online.de/archos/flash">UCLs</a>
for the latest Recorder and FM firmware
<a href="http://joerg.hohensohn.bei.t-online.de/archos/flash">here</a>.

</p>

<h2>7. Known issues and limitations</h2>
<p>
Latest
Rockbox now has a charging screen, but it is in an early stage.
You'll get it when the unit is off and you plug in the charger. The
Rockbox charging algorithm is first measuring the battery voltage for
about 40 seconds, after that it only starts charging when the
capacity is below 85%. You can use the Archos charging (which always
tops off) by holding F1 while plugging in. Some FM users reported
charging problems even with F1, they had to revert to the original
flash content.
</p>
<p>
If
the plugin API is changed, new builds may render the plugins
incompatible. When updating, make sure you grab those too, and rolo
into the new version before flashing it.
</p>
<p>
There
are two variants of how the boxes starts, therefore the normal and
the _norom firmware files. The vast majority of the
Player/Recorder/FM all have the same boot ROM content,
differentiation comes later by flash content. Rockbox identifies this
boot ROM with a CRC value of 0x222F in the hardware info screen. Some
recorders have the boot ROM disabled (it might be unprogrammed) and
start directly from a flash mirror at address zero. They need the new
_norom firmware, it has a slightly different bootloader. Without a
boot ROM there is no UART boot safety net. To compensate for that as
much as possible the MiniMon monitor is included, it starts with
F3+On. Using that the box can be reprogrammed via serial if the first
~2000 bytes of the flash are OK.
</p>

<h2>8. Movies and images</h2>
<p>
 Jrg's AVI movie (1.5MB) <a href="flash/rockbox_flash_boot.avi">rockbox_flash_boot.avi</a>
showing his unit booting Rockbox from flash.
<p>
 Roland's screendump from the movie:<br>
<img src="flash/rockbox-flash.jpg" width="352" height="288">

#include "foot.t"