|Dimensions||133mm x 80mm x 19mm|
|Release Date||February 2016|
|SoC||A64 @ 1152MHz|
|DRAM||512MiB/1GiB/2GiB DDR3L @ 672MHz (Samsung K4B2G1646Q-BCK0 / Samsung K4B4G1646Q-HYK0 * 2 / Samsung K4B4G0846E * 4)|
|Power||DC 5V @ 2A, 3.7V Li-Ion battery connector, Euler connector|
|Video||HDMI (Type A - full)|
|Audio||3.5mm headphone/microphone plug|
|Network||(optional) WiFi 802.11 b/g/n (Realtek 8723BS), 10/100/1000Mbps Ethernet (Realtek 8211E) (plus version), 10/100Mbps Ethernet (Realtek 8201FN) (non-plus version)|
|USB||2 USB2.0 Host|
The Pine64 is a cost-optimized board sporting ARMv8 (64-bit ARM) capable cores.
There is a pine cone like logo next to the uSD slot, also it says "Pine64" under the logo. Also on the SoC there is a quite prominent "A64" print.
On the back of the device, the following is printed:
Designed in Silicon Valley, California. Built in Silicon Delta, China.
The PCB has the following silkscreened on it:
A64-DB-Rev B 2015-12-17
In android, under Settings->About Tablet, you will find:
- Model Number: Pine A64
- Build Number: tulip_t1-eng 5.1.1 LVY4BE 20151210 test-keys
So far there are three different models:
- The Pine64 with 512MB DRAM
- The Pine64+ with 1GB DRAM
- The Pine64+ with 2GB DRAM
The last two seem to be identical apart from the installed DRAM size. Differences between the Pine64 and the Pine64+ are:
- The Pine64 only supports Fast Ethernet. So the PHY chip will be a Realtek 8201 instead of the 8211 on the bigger model. The 8211 speaks RGMII, while the 8201 is using the MII interface. This requires differences in the DT.
- The smaller model will lack the connectors for the touchscreen, LCD screen and the camera port.
There are Linux images using an updated and enhanced version of Allwinner's BSP kernel, that work reasonably well and provide a graphical GUI along with support for most features of the board.
Upstream kernel support is work in progress, so far there is a "close-to-mainline" branch (based on 4.7-rc1) which supports UART, MMC (uSD card), GPIO, I2C and Ethernet (missing USB and any kind of graphics or sound support). Out-of-the-box arm64 distributions boot reasonably well with this kernel.
This firmware log and 4.4-rc kernel dmesg provides some information about the system.
 Here are links to current images that are community supported:
- Ubuntu Base image by Longsleep (from pine64.pro)
- Ubuntu Minimal image by ayufan (from pine64.pro)
- Arch Linux image Mainline XFCE (from pine64.org)
- Debian Jessie with Mate DE by Lenny Raposo (from pine64.org)
(You should also cross-check the Wiki page that's linked under Manufacturer Images.)
Developers: Get apritzel's github basic image first. For instructions see the README.md in there for now.
This image is intended for developers and comes with the following:
- BSP Linux Kernel 3.10.65+
- BSP U-Boot
- Ubuntu Ubuntu 16.04 (Xenial Xerus) aarch64
- HDMI at 1080P
- HDMI analog audio (alsa, pulseaudio)
- Ethernet (including 1000M)
Allwinner's BSP contains an arm64 Linux kernel based on Linaro's LSK-3.10.65 (includes Linaro and Android patches). It has traces (commented or not-configured code parts) of nasty experiments (like entering the kernel in AArch64 EL3 or running in secure EL1). This released/leaked code does not exactly match what's on the provided Android images. The BSP kernel is entered in non-secure El1, thus denying any kind of virtualization (like KVM).
You can build things for yourself by following our Manual build howto and by choosing from the configurations available below.
The Allwinner provided BSP package contains U-Boot source code, which contains a 32-bit port based on the 2014.07 release. The code as in the tarball does not even compile, also the whole port is severely crippled, just enough to boot an Android system from MMC. Limitations include: missing booti support (no direct kernel image load, only Android kernel images can be used), no network support, only loading data from Android partitions (no filesystem support), completely non-standard DT bindings, no support for easy FDT loading, etc. For the complete rant see the Wiki history ;-)
However the existing code base was fixed and extended by longsleep to allow loading kernels directly (using booti and proper FDT support) and adding filesystem support, thus overcoming the most severe limitations. The most current code base can be found here.
At the moment this U-Boot version is required to boot BSP kernels.
The board is fully supported since v2017.07. Use the
pine64_plus_defconfig target to build a U-Boot image. This includes support for the 512MB "non-plus" version, which will be detected at runtime.
You need an ARM Trusted Firmware build (bl31.bin, see below), which will be included in the FIT image.
booti command is supported to load Linux arm64 kernel images, also
bootefi is available to launch Aarch64 EFI applications (like grub2). There is no support for launching 32-bit kernels, though support for this is technically possible and might be added in the future.
In contrast to the BSP version, the mainline port is a 64-bit version, so the Allwinner provided boot0/ATF pair will not boot this without further changes/patches.
There is a README file in the U-Boot tree describing in more detail how to compile U-Boot for the board. This should be in sync with what the current U-Boot code base supports.
ARM Trusted Firmware (ATF)
All 64-bit Allwinner SoCs require a build of the BL31 part of the ARM Trusted Firmware. This provides proper SMP handling, including the reference implementation of the PSCI runtime, also errata workaround, among other things. ATF is a BSD licensed Open Source project hosted on Github.
To build the required bl31.bin file, check out the master branch and build it for the A64 target with an AArch64 cross compiler:
$ git clone https://github.com/ARM-software/arm-trusted-firmware $ cd arm-trusted-firmware $ make CROSS_COMPILE=aarch64-linux-gnu- PLAT=sun50i_a64 DEBUG=1 bl31
You will need the bl31.bin file, either copy it from the build/sun50i_a64/debug directory into the root of the U-Boot tree or let the BL31 environment variable point to it.
The mainline Linux kernel supports the Pine64 quite well, at least for headless systems (serial console, ssh). Basic graphic framebuffer support can be achieved via simplefb/efifb already, native Display Engine support is progressing nicely.
- Basic support has been merged into Linux v4.10-rc1, though this does not support MMC, so can only be used with an initrd. Also it lacks support for any other peripheral except I2C and UART (serial console).
- MMC and USB support was merged into 4.11-rc1, which brings the support into some kind of usable state, though Ethernet support is still missing.
- The Ethernet driver was finally added in the 4.15 release.
For a quick experience, grab a firmware image and flash it to a micro-SD card:
# zcat pine64_firmware-20171130.img.xz | dd of=/dev/sdX bs=1k seek=8
(replacing sdX with the device name of your micro-SD card). This image contains a mainline U-Boot version, an ARM Trusted Firmware version (for 64-bit initialization, PSCI support and basic PMIC setup), plus the device trees for both board variants. Kernels can be loaded using the normal U-Boot ways (loading via TFTP, MMC, USB, then using booti). Also executing EFI binaries is supported (bootefi). Letting the U-Boot time-out pass will scan attached storage devices, also queries PXE servers.
For basic support the device tree from U-Boot can be used for the kernel as well, just provide $fdtcontroladdr as the respective booti argument.
To build a kernel for the board, clone the recent mainline Linux tree and build a "defconfig" kernel like this:
$ export CROSS_COMPILE=aarch64-linux-gnu- $ ARCH=arm64 make clean defconfig $ ARCH=arm64 make -j4 Image
Tips, Tricks, Caveats
The A64 SoC is wired to come out of reset in 32-bit secure supervisor mode. As other Allwinner devices, the A64 SoC starts executing BROM code (mapped at address 0), which is consequently ARM32 code. The ROM covers the first 64KB, but uses less space for the normal non-secure boot version. If the code does not detect a FEL condition (no or invalid SD card inserted), it will load 32KB from sector 16 (8 KByte) of the microSD card to SRAM and will execute this. At least the first instructions of this code need to be still 32-bit ARM code.
Mainline U-Boot resets to AArch64 as early as possible, and runs the following code (including ATF and U-Boot proper, then the kernel) in 64-bit mode.
Legacy BSP boot sequence
The Allwinner firmware runs mostly in AArch32, with boot0 loading U-Boot (32-bit also) from the microSD card at sector 38192 (19096 KByte). It also loads a (hacked) version of ARM Trusted Firmware (ATF) into DRAM and code for the arisc management core into SRAM. Finally it does a RMR write to warm-reset the SoC in AArch64 execution state and jumps to the ATF entry point by putting its address in the RVBAR register. ATF will then initialize the boot core for non-secure execution and drop to non-secure AArch32 EL1 to run U-Boot.
U-Boot then runs happily in 32-bit. Only just before it starts the kernel, it uses a custom smc service call back into (Allwinner's version of) ARM Trusted Firmware to hand over the kernel entry point. The ATF code will then return into _AArch64_ non-secure EL1, but using the provided kernel entry point instead of returning to U-Boot.
The Pine64 board will fail over to FEL mode if it doesn't detect a card present in the µSD slot.
A tricky and potentially confusing part is that the only Micro USB receptacle (labelled as "POWER JACK") is used exclusively for providing power to the board, and is not connected to any USB controller in the SoC. The actual USB OTG controller in the SoC is connected to the upper USB host receptacle. So it needs a somewhat special USB cable (A male to A male) or an adapter (A male to Mini/Micro B female) to connect your Pine64 board to your desktop PC, which is running the sunxi-fel tool.
As soon as you boot your Pine64 into FEL mode (remember, don't insert a SD card) you should find a new USB device:
$ lsusb Bus 001 Device 005: ID 1f3a:efe8
$ ./sunxi-fel version AWUSBFEX soc=00001689(A64) 00000001 ver=0001 44 08 scratchpad=00017e00 00000000 00000000
For actually loading software via FEL mode, refer to the generic A64 FEL booting instructions.
SPI NOR Flash
It should be possible to have an extra hardware accessory, pluggable into the Raspberry Pi compatible expansion header to add a small SPI NOR Flash on SPI0 pins. It can store a bootable firmware and provide all the fashionable "industry standards" compatibility for running AArch64 server grade Linux distributions (not exactly now, but maybe some time in the future). The Bootable SPI flash page provides additional details.
A driver model compatible SPI driver for u-boot is currently being worked on. The Pine64+ board has been tested and is fully supported by this driver.
Some of the default reset voltages after cold boot are not exactly matching the board specification. For example, the voltage on the Euler connector's "3.3V" pin is in fact 3.0V (DCDC1) until Allwinner's bootloader configures the PMIC. In the current "upstream" firmware stack ARM Trusted Firmware sets up the PMIC and programs DCDC1 to the specified 3.3V. It also enables DC1SW to power the Ethernet PHY.
The DRAM voltage is provided from DCDC5, which can be set to 1.5V by default according to the AXP803 manual. Moreover, the AXP803 manual is explicitly recommending to use DCDC5 specifically for DRAM. This is safe even with 1.35V DDR3L chips, because they are compatible with 1.5V too. However the default reset voltage appears to be in fact set to 1.24V at least in the pre-production batch of Pine64 boards, because the DCDC5SET pin is left floating there.
DC5V/BAT POWER jumper
On the 1GB and 2GB Pine64+ variants a DC5V/BAT POWER switch can be used to bypass the MT3608 boost converter (input voltage to 5V). If the board is powered from DC-IN (micro-USB or Euler connector), the DC5V setting connects the input voltage to the USB power supply rails, in BAT setting 5V is generated from any of the connected power sources (e.g. battery or DC-IN). The USB ports are current-limited to about 650mA per port in either setting.
Please be aware that when using the jumper in DC5V position an insufficient supply voltage is directly visible on the USB ports. If the Pine64+ is running on battery, the USB ports are only powered when the BAT setting is used.
Gigabit PHY issue
A couple of Pine64+ (both 1GB and 2GB variants) is affected by Gigabit Ethernet problems. In GbE mode transfer speeds are low, many retransmits happen and packets get lost. In the meantime it's confirmed that this is a hardware issue. If you're affected you can try to force Pine64+ in Fast Ethernet mode (using ethtool -s eth0 speed 100 duplex full or an Ethernet cable with just 2 cable pairs) but it's unlikely that other software fixes cure the problem. Please refer to the aforementioned thread how/whether Pine64 comes up with a solution.
CPU clock speed limit
The voltage-frequency table for Allwinner A64 can be found in FEX files included in the A64 SDK:
; dvfs voltage-frequency table configuration ; ; max_freq: cpu maximum frequency, based on Hz ; min_freq: cpu minimum frequency, based on Hz ; ; lv_count: count of lv_freq/lv_volt, must be < 16 ; ; lv1: core vdd is 1.30v if cpu frequency is (1104Mhz, 1152Mhz] ; lv2: core vdd is 1.26v if cpu frequency is (1008Mhz, 1104Mhz] ; lv3: core vdd is 1.20v if cpu frequency is (816Mhz, 1008Mhz] ; lv4: core vdd is 1.10v if cpu frequency is (648Mhz, 816Mhz] ; lv5: core vdd is 1.04v if cpu frequency is (480Mhz, 648Mhz] ; lv6: core vdd is 1.04v if cpu frequency is (480Mhz, 648Mhz] ; lv7: core vdd is 1.04v if cpu frequency is (480Mhz, 648Mhz] ; lv8: core vdd is 1.04v if cpu frequency is (480Mhz, 648Mhz]
Based on the data from this table, 1152MHz @1.3V is the fastest cpufreq operating point. Additionally, the AXP803 PMIC uses 1.1V default voltage for DCDC2/DCDC3 (VDD-CPU). Which means that the the CPU can be safely clocked up to 816MHz before the PMIC is initialized.
USB controllers and ports
The A64 SoC includes two USB 2.0 EHCI/OHCI host controllers. The first host controller (HCI0) is connected to a PHY switch, which can be toggled between driving a normal USB PHY (connected to the lower USB receptable on the board) and HSIC pins on the SoC, which allow connecting on-board USB peripherals (often a hub), though this is not used on the board.
The second host controller (USB-OTG-HCI) shares a USB PHY with the (separate!) OTG controller and is connected to the upper receptable on the Pine64 board. So this socket can either be driven by a normal host controller interface or by the OTG controller - which provides a host mode as well, though apparently not without issues.
Serial port / UART
The board connects 4 of the SoCs UART to easily accessible header pins. There is UART2 on the RPi connector, also UART3 and UART4 on the Euler connector. UART0 is the main UART used by Allwinner's firmware for boot and debug messages and is accessible on pins 29 (TXD), 30 (RXD), 25/34 (GND) on the Euler connector (this is not mentioned in the official connector description). Better always use UART0 on the EXP connector nearby, accessible on pins 7 (TXD), 8 (RXD), 9 (GND). The RX pin on there is connected via a FET to the SoC's pin, so it prevents injecting power via this line.
All of the UARTs use 3.3V voltage levels. Look at our UART howto for further instructions.
A connected UART cable to Euler pins is leaking power and this causes some annoyances. For example, unplugging and plugging back a power cable does not reboot the board cleanly. Thus using UART0 on EXP connector instead is highly recommended. If you still want to use the Euler connector availability of a reset button is recommended for doing any reasonable software development.
The board does not have a hardware reset button out of the box, but a button can be easily connected to the appropriate pin on the expansion connector. Also a standard micro switch (upright version) can be soldered on the board next to the USB sockets to ease early development ;-)
Pine64+ (2 GB)
Pine64+ (1 GB)
Pine64 (512 MB)
- Pine Inc produces also a SoM variant + baseboard called SoPine 64. Schematics and some documentation are provided. Obvious changes are 2GB LPDDR3 DRAM (boot0 available), 128 Mb SPI flash on the SoM and the opportunity to use eMMC on the baseboard.
- Pinebook has been announced in Nov 2016. 2017 production batches will use 2GB LPDDR3 while the 2016 prototype boards have 4 DDR3L modules on the logicboard. Some iozone numbers for the onboard eMMC from a preliminary developer sample are available here (take this with a grain of salt since production batches might contain a different eMMC module).
- wiki.pine64.org Further info on the hardware and firmware.
- forum.pine64.org Discussion on pine64
- Pine A64 512MB Rev B Board Schematic
- Pine A64+ 1GB Rev B Board Schematic
- Pine A64+ 2GB Rev C Board Schematic
- SoPine A64 Compute Module Schematic
- SoPine Baseboard “Model A” Schematic
- Pinebook Logicboard Schematic