IOT-GATE-iMX7 and SBC-IOT-iMX7: Linux: Manual Installation: Source: Network

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This article provides an introduction on how to install the Linux kernel and the example root filesystem image on the IOT-GATE-iMX7 Internet of Things Gateway or CompuLab SBC-IOT-iMX7 Internet of Things Single Board Computer eMMC internal storage device using network interface as the installation source.

Preparation steps

  • Obtain a PC workstation with a USB port.
  • For networked installation you need to install a TFTP server on the host PC. For Windows machines we recommend TFTPD32 included in the Linux package (link below) under the utilities subdirectory.
  • Download the BSP binary package for IOT-GATE-iMX7 and SBC-IOT-iMX7 from CompuLab website. Use either IOT-GATE-iMX7 or SBC-IOT-iMX7 product web page for downloading. Unzip the package to a directory on your host workstation.
  • All image files mentioned below can be found in the install subdirectory.
  • Use the standard microUSB-to-USB cable to connect the host PC to the micro USB connector marked Console on IOT-GATE-iMX7 rear panel (connector P3 on SBC-IOT-iMX7).
  • Make sure the new /dev/ttyUSBx device file is created by using the ls /dev/ttyUSB* command. x is the last number of the ttyUSB device.

Preparing installation media

  • Connect the first Ethernet port marked as Eth on IOT-GATE-iMX7 rear panel (connector P15 on the SBC-IOT-iMX7) to your local network using the standard Cat 5 LAN cable.
  • Make sure the dedicated TFTP server as well as NFS server (may be the same machine) are connected to the local network too.
  • Put kernel.img, ramdisk.dtb, ramdisk.img from the unzipped BSP binary package to a location accessible by the TFTP server:
    - On Windows machine: copy files to the same folder and point the TFTP server to that folder
    - On Linux machine: copy files to the TFTP server root directory, usually /tftpboot or /tftproot.

Boot into the installation environment (ramdisk)

  • Start terminal emulation software on your PC with the following serial port settings:
Baud Rate Data Bits Stop Bits Parity Flow Control
115200 8 1 none none
  • Make sure no removable media (e.g. USB storage, micro SD) is plugged.
  • Turn on the device. Press a key to prevent a possible autoboot and get into the U-Boot command prompt.
Admolition note.png If the boot settings of your device are different than the default, you may need to press and hold Ctrl-C while turning the device on, in order to get command prompt.
  • You can use U-Boot dhcp command to obtain an IP address or manually set ipaddr environment variable:


CL-SOM-iMX7 # setenv ipaddr <device ip address>
  • Set the serverip environment variable:
CL-SOM-iMX7 # setenv serverip <tftp server ip address>
  • Use the following U-Boot commands to boot Linux:
setenv loadaddr 0x80800000
setenv fdtaddr 0x83000000
setenv ramdisk_addr 0x82000000
setenv bootargs 'root=/dev/ram0 rw ramdisk_size=16384 console=ttymxc0,115200 ip=dhcp vram=16M'
tftpboot ${loadaddr} kernel.img && tftpboot ${fdtaddr} ${fdtfile} && tftpboot ${ramdisk_addr} ramdisk.img
bootz ${loadaddr} ${ramdisk_addr} ${fdtaddr}

Install Linux Images

The next step is installing the kernel and Debian Linux images.

Mount an NFS drive

  • Copy the rootfs.tar.bz2, imx7d-*.dtb and the zImage from the unzipped BSP binary package to a directory exported through NFS.
  • Obtain an IP address for the device:
    • Using DHCP:
      root@cl-ramdisk:~# ifup eth0
    • If you do not have a DHCP server, you can set a static IP address using ifconfig:
      root@cl-ramdisk:~# ifconfig eth0 <ip address>
  • Mount the NFS share:
root@cl-ramdisk:~# mount -o nolock <host ip>:/path/to/nfs/share /mnt/install

Install Images on eMMC

  • Unmount all eMMC partitions:
root@cl-ramdisk:~# umount -l /dev/mmcblk2p*
  • Clean up the on the eMMC flash:
root@cl-ramdisk:~# dd if=/dev/zero of=/dev/mmcblk2 bs=1M count=1
root@cl-ramdisk:~# hdparm -z /dev/mmcblk2
  • Create two partitions for the Linux kernel (EXT2 100M) and root file system (EXT4 the rest of the disk) on the eMMC flash:
root@cl-ramdisk:~# echo -e "n\np\n1\n\n+100M\nn\np\n2\n\n\nw\neof\n" | fdisk /dev/mmcblk2
  • Format the first partition with EXT2 file system:
root@cl-ramdisk:~# mkfs.ext2 -L boot /dev/mmcblk2p1
  • Format the second partition with EXT4 file system:
root@cl-ramdisk:~# mkfs.ext4 -L rootfs /dev/mmcblk2p2
  • Mount both partitions:
root@cl-ramdisk:~# mkdir -p /media/boot && mount /dev/mmcblk2p1 /media/boot
root@cl-ramdisk:~# mkdir -p /media/rootfs && mount /dev/mmcblk2p2 /media/rootfs
  • Copy zImage and imx7d-*imx7.dtb to the first (EXT2) partition:
root@cl-ramdisk:~# cp /mnt/install/zImage /mnt/install/imx7d-*.dtb /media/boot && sync
  • Extract the content of rootfs.tar.bz2 onto the second partition:
root@cl-ramdisk:~# tar --numeric-owner -xpf /mnt/install/rootfs.tar.bz2 -C /media/rootfs && sync
  • Unmount both partitions:
root@cl-ramdisk:~# umount /dev/mmcblk2p1
root@cl-ramdisk:~# umount /dev/mmcblk2p2

After Installation

  • Reboot the device
  • Press a key to prevent a possible autoboot and get into the U-Boot command prompt.
  • Use the following U-Boot commands to configure eMMC as the main storage for both Linux kernel and root filesystem images:
env default -a
setenv bootdelay 3
setenv kernel zImage
setenv loadaddr 0x80800000
setenv fdtfile imx7d-sbc-iot-imx7.dtb
setenv fdtaddr 0x83000000
setenv mmcroot "/dev/mmcblk2p2 rootwait rw"
setenv loadimage 'load mmc 1:1 ${loadaddr} ${kernel}'
setenv loadfdt 'load mmc 1:1 ${fdtaddr} ${fdtfile}'
setenv bootargs "console=ttymxc0,115200 root=${mmcroot}"
setenv bootcmd 'run loadimage; run loadfdt; bootz ${loadaddr} - ${fdtaddr}'
  • To save this configuration:
  • To boot Linux type:
run bootcmd

See also