Help needed for getting "external" images to work on mSD

Hey there,
I noticed that the firefly images always have an unrecognized partition table by linux.
I want to try out some images but I don't know how. Just using dd is obviously not working.

Could someone provide some info or a hint, where to look for a guide?


  • Unrecognized partition table? On SD card? Where? Just take the image and use Win32DiskImager to flash it to a MicroSD card.
  • edited June 2019
    If I take one of your images and flash it via dd on a sdcard, it works on the board, e.g. ubuntu boots.
    But I can't read this sdcard via Linux on my desktop, the sdcard seems to be blank, no partitions shown via lsblk and partprobe doesn't help.

    Now, if I take an image from e.g. libreelec, then put the correct dtb file and edit extlinux.conf to point to the correct dtb (from here: ), the board doesn't boot, like if it couldn't read the microSD because (what I think) something is missing.

    I thought that I would need something special, like some uboot firmware before the actual partitions and/or partition table.
  • @loverpi please tell me, if you don't want to comment (because I don't know something?) or can't (because you have no idea how to help?) or something else.

    Maybe the libreelec image is missing gpt+uefi bootloader?
    But why can't I just load your images in a loop devices and use a partition manager to modify anything?
    What am I doing wrong?
  • Images are tightly integrated things. They use different bootloaders and boot commands. You can't mix and match.
  • edited June 2019
    So, you're telling me that I can't take your images and modify them.
    But even if I want to test, you don't tell me, how to read or modify your images.

    You also don't tell, what the libreelec image might be missing.

    So, you actually don't want to help, you just reply, so I don't annoy you.
    That's how I sadly take your reply :neutral:
  • Hi Loader009, I just got my board yesterday and have been looking at this a little bit. The image files aren't standard partition tables, so you need special tools to build or work with them. Take a look here: for tools required to pack / unpack an image. So far, I've Just been able to unpack the rootfs and mount it up on a linux box. I have no idea yet if the rk3399 will boot it if I modify it in any way, repack it, and flash it back to the rk3399. I have already had issues with this thing being picky even with what I thought were supported firmware builds. Some work for me and some won't flash or boot.
  • I should also mention, if you are looking to build your own firmware for rk3399, this is probably the place to start: . 
  • @Loader009 We do not have the bandwidth to teach people basics of embedded systems. If you have a specific question, we can help you. If you broadly ask why doesn't xyz image work with abc image, that's too generic for us to answer and even if we do, you won't be able to take action on it short of us doing it for you.
  • @loverpi ; honestly, if I'd found this conversation before buying this product, I'd probably have chosen the other one I had my eye on. This is a poor example of how to treat your customers. You could have at least done as I had, and taken the time to point to already existing documentation of firmware format, which explains what the original poster was asking. I understand the lack of bandwidth to individually train customers the basics of embedded systems, but you can at least point to the documentation and let them decide for themselves if it's a task they are up to do on their own or if it's out of their reach. 
  • @aheisner This forum is not really for customer service. We are engineering support so pardon our frankness. We do not mean anything negative towards him/her. Upstream is our focus which is about to be ready with Linux 5.3. We don't really support things created from Rockchip's SDK since it is "proprietary garbage" in our opinion. For that it is better to reach out to T-Firefly.
  • Granted that the forum isn't for customer service, I'm just trying to give advice on avoiding frustrating customers further. My interest in the thread was close to @Loader009, in that I wanted to look at or possibly modify the image from a Linux box, and at first attempt I had no idea what format the image is in. Pardon my frustration, but it comes from finding that there is plenty of documentation on the image format readily available, and knowledge of the image format must be had by loverpi engineering to produce them yet the information wasn't made available on request.  
  • We don't bother with the images based on Rockchip's SDK because it's impossible to figure out how they managed to mess up the standards. We like to follow standards and do things the standards compliant way so people don't have to learn proprietary methods specific to a vendor. The current images are so convoluted is design that we would have to spend a week just tearing it apart to do any basic changes. My advise is to wait for our images based on upstream which follows a sane process that is the same as our other boards.
  • Well, all I wanted to know, you answered now.

    The important thing: it is a proprietary RockChip format, that's why I couldn't read it.
    The next important thing: this will change in the future.

    Now I will take some time and try the SDK, if I can't use it properly, I will wait for your version.
    But anyway, all I wished for was the informations @aheisner provided, thanks!

    @loverpi I wasn't sure what this forum was exactly for, now I know it.
    My pardon if I annoyed you, but this helped me for the moment.
    Libre Computer looks to have closed communication about this board and/or recommends to contact loverpi. Since I am one of the bakers on indiegogo, I (of course) try the best way to reach out some help. It looks like everyone recommends to contact someone else.
  • @loverpi , I'm happy to hear that your work is based more on standards, that seems like the right thing to do. On that topic though, maybe you can help with a related problem I have with my rk3399-PC... I'm unable to flash and boot your image found at (which was removed very recently), and once I did get it to flash it wouldn't boot and I had to recover using maskrom method and use t-firefly's image from

    I'd much rather use a cleaner, standards based image if possible. I assume both images I currently have (working and non-working) are based on rockchip's SDK and the cleaner, less convoluted ones you mention are still a work in progress? Or are these images the better ones, not based on rockchip's SDK? I haven't tried to build an SDK based image to see if it looks different than these because the process looks to be really painful and messy.

    It seems like the only available tools to work with the current images (to pack / unpack) aside from the rockchip SDK are the ones from t-firefly rk2918_tools github link above, is there a better way or should we just wait on your new image which I would guess would have better tools to work with it? I'm sure there's going to be some interest in being able to take apart the image and put it back together with some changes to the rootfs (for example, to flash many units and not have to manually install and configure additional software on them).
  • Firefly RK3399 is not Renegade Elite. Two completely different boards. That's why the images do not work.
    We evaluated using Linux 4.19 LTS to build a "clean" image but it was too much work since we would have to maintain a huge patch set. Once Linux 5.3 rolls out, we will patch whatever is missing onto that and release a "clean" image.
  • Lol, wow. I knew there were two different boards, I guess I missed that because I didn't realize the only images currently available are from t-firefly. At least I get some use of the board while I wait for your good image. Also very good to know it can be easily un-bricked from such a bone headed mistake. 😁
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