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Just Because I Can

Installing Debian manually to external SSD on A20-OLinuXino-LIME2-eMMC board.



If you do not know what is this, then stop reading.


Its an ARM board details on the Wiki


If you havent read the title of this post… now it’s time that you do so.

Make bootable microSD card


dd if=a20-lime2_mainline_uboot_sunxi_kernel_3.4.103_jessie_emmc_rel_9.img of=/dev/mmcblkX

SATA disk cables

For this to work you will need SATA data cable (if you are a real geek, like me, than you have that lying around somewhere) and the SATA power cable, you can order those things right here.

Power cable can be made right at home, I used one molex(male) to SATA (I had that from old motherboard or PSU), and then I made (soldered) a USB(male, A-type) to MOLLEX(female):

MOLLEX has 4 pins:

  • yellow is 15V
  • middle black two are ground
  • red is 5V

I used only the red one and the neighboring black one

USB has also 4 pins:

  • red is 5V
  • white and green data
  • black is ground

I soldered red to red and the selected black to black

Note #1: if you havent got all the right colors on the either of Mollex or USB, check and recheck Google, if not done wright you might kill your HDD/SSD or even Lime2 board.

Note #2: you can also solder the male molex directly to the USB (mind the colors!!), I just wanted to preserve my precious molex-to-sata power cable.

Now you just need a 5V USB/phone charger to connect to your usb-to-molex cable and it to the molex-to-sata power cable and then it to the Lime2.


Insert microSD made previously and plug in the power cable to start the board booting.

Run theese commands on board as root:

With fdisk create new DOS partition table and create 3 partitions (boot, swap and root)

fdisk /dev/sda

Format the partitions

mkfs.vfat /dev/sda1
mkswap /dev/sda2
mkfs.ext4 /dev/sda3

Copy over the relevant data

mkdir /mnt/boot
mount /dev/sda1 /mnt/boot
cp -av /boot/* /mnt/boot/
mkdir /mnt/root
mount /dev/sda3 /mnt/root
find / -mindepth 1 -maxdepth 1 \( -not -name boot -not -name mnt -not -name proc -not -name run -not -name dev -not -name sys \) -exec cp -av "{}" "/mnt/root""{}" \;

Replace/add the some relavant things…

sed -i 's/mmcblk0p2/sda3/g' /mnt/boot/uEnv.txt
sed -i 's/mmcblk0p1/sda1/g' /mnt/sda3/etc/fstab
echo '/dev/sda2 none swap defaults 0 0' >> /mnt/sda3/etc/fstab

Edit: /mnt/boot/boot.cmd

  • from official image I changed the root= for the bootargs
  • added scsi scan (I found this somewhere on the internet)
  • changed mmc occurrences to scsi


setenv bootm_boot_mode sec
setenv bootargs console=ttyS0,115200 root=/dev/sda3 rootwait panic=10
scsi scan
load scsi 0:1 0x43000000 script.bin || load scsi 0:1 0x43000000 boot/script.bin
load scsi 0:1 0x42000000 uImage || load scsi 0:1 0x42000000 boot/uImage
setenv machid 10bb
bootm 0x42000000

Convert the boot.cmd to boot.scr

apt-get install u-boot-tools
mkimage -A arm -O linux -T script -C none -a 0 -e 0 -n 'Execute boot commands' -d /mnt/boot/boot.cmd /mnt/boot/boot.scr

Restart and press any key at u-boot boot time to stop at u-boot shell, and run:

run bootcmd_scsi0

Watch for the errors… or it will boot into the system on /dev/sda3 (sda - your hard drive; 3 - third, root partition)

If you are happy with it you can copy the /boot/boot.scr from the /dev/sda1 partition to the same place at /dev/mmcblk0p1 partition, and it will automagicaly boot into the system on hard drive.

At this point there are few notes: the /dev/sda1 is unused and you do need /dev/mmcblk0p1 as boot partition, I have no idea yet how to use the /dev/sda1 as boot or even internal /dev/mmcblk1p1 for the boot partition, but for now it does not bother me to have extra mmc card in the slot.

Wiki page for A20-OLinuXino-LIME2, which I havent read.. yet

Official torrent to the Debian Jessie Image for LIME2-eMMC