Troubleshooting the Parallella at Startup

Hardware related problems and workarounds

Troubleshooting the Parallella at Startup

Postby gceline » Mon Mar 17, 2014 3:24 pm

Some steps to help diagnose why your Parallella board is not doing what it should!

Is the power supply suitable?

PSU should be 5VDC and able to supply at least 2A, with a 2.1mm x 5.5mm connector and the polarity should be center positive.

  • Did the green LED light up? If the LED is off, or flashing, you have a power problem. CAREFUL: Connecting a 12VDC power supply will fry the board (starting with the fuse!)
  • We have had many issues with sub-standard PSUs – make sure you have a good one and try a couple to ensure power is not the problem.

Is the board booting?

  • Is there any sign of life – do the LEDs on the Ethernet connector light up and flash? This is a good sign and the board is alive and at minimum able to read the flash and start to boot — the next step would be to read the SD card and boot Linux.
  • If nothing happens (no power to USB and no HDMI display) it is possible the board is not booting properly - this can be because the files in the BOOT partition of the SD card are missing or incorrect. Go back to the instructions for preparing the SD card and make sure you copy three files into the BOOT partition and also rename the FPGA image file to parallella.bit.bin.

HDMI and USB working?

The HDMI or USB will only show signs of activity after the Linux boot starts.

HDMI

If the HDMI monitor detects activity, usually it will change state from sleep to active mode which can be seen on the power indicators – this is a sign that the board is active.

Most HDMI screens seem to work great, but make sure the HDMI input is selected as this is not always automatic. HDMI to DVI converters are sometimes problematic, but we seem to get them to work most of the time. There is little indication the HDMI is working till the linux penguins show up in the top left corner.

USB

USB can be detected by simply plugging in a device that will detect power like a mouse, USB stick or keyboard with a power LED – the mouse laser LED should light up. Sometimes the board does wake up and not power the USB, so reset the board a couple of times and see if this resets the power.

WARNING: loading the USB too much will burn out the board – use a powered hub and make sure you power the board and hub off a single switch (power strip)

Overheating

The need for a fan is an unfortunate reality: Parallella consumes ~5 Watts, which is simply too much for such a small board without any kind of custom fitted heat sink or fan. The good news is that the amount of airflow needed is minimal, so almost any fan will do.

Here are a few example fans that we have used in the past:



You can connect a serial cable to see the console some debug messages during boot — this will tell you if the board is alive and starting to boot.

How do I connect a UART serial cable to Parallella?

The Parallella board has a three pin 3.3V UART header located next to the RJ45 connector. The RXD pin is an input to the board and the TXD pin is an output from the board. The default UART configuration is as follows: (BAUD_RATE=115,200, DATA_BITS=8, STOP_BIT=1, PARITY=NONE, FLOW=XON/XOFF). See also the wiki Parallella UART Connection page.

An example cable that can be used.

After power up, messages will appear in the serial terminal. If the SD card/image is all good, the Linux boot will start and after a while the the Linaro prompt will appear. Your board is working – check the peripherals.

If the zynq_uboot# prompt appears, the board is unable to load Linux from the SD card. In which case you could try to prepare the BOOT partition again, and perhaps try a different SD card.
Last edited by gceline on Thu Aug 07, 2014 5:20 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Troubleshooting the Parallella at Startup

Postby ubii » Mon Mar 17, 2014 5:52 pm

For folks using the Adafruit USB to TTL serial cable (http://www.adafruit.com/products/954), connect the following wires to the UART header, starting from the outside edge of the board.

black --> GND
green --> RX
white --> TX

Please note that the red wire should never be used as it draws 5V directly from the USB port.

I highly recommend that folks monitor the temperature of the Zynq chip, at least initially, especially those who are encountering stability issues. This way, the user can see how variables such as ambient temperature, different heatsinks and/or fans, enclosures, and system load affect temperature. The follow two methods can be used to monitor temperature of the Zynq chip.

https://github.com/parallella/parallell ... ster/xtemp

viewtopic.php?f=23&t=930&p=6242#p6242
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Re: Troubleshooting the Parallella at Startup

Postby Amiejay » Tue Apr 01, 2014 3:31 am

Great - thanks for providing that pinout for the console port. The Adafruit cable is pretty common at this point, given that actual RS232 ports are becoming few & far between.

I'm sure it'll save some time later. ;-)

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Re: Troubleshooting the Parallella at Startup

Postby profmaad » Tue Apr 01, 2014 5:12 am

After finally getting my board up and running, I wanted to share the main issue that I had.

The root FS image, as provided at the moment, contains a lot of history of being used on different boards.
Consequently, due to the way the distribution handles network interface names, the ethernet interface on the board might not be indentified as eth0, but more likely as something like eth4.
This led to me being unable to connect to the board in a headless setup.

The symptoms I kept seing for this is the green power LED coming on, then later the green ethernet LED coming on and blinking (when doing things like a broadcast ping). The amber ethernet LED would never come on, no matter the combination of ethernet cable and switch.

To fix this issue, one has to mount the root FS from the SD card on a machine and edit /etc/udev/rules.d/70-persistent-net.rules.
Remove all the existing rules assigning specific interface names to for MAC addresses. Afterwards, the parallellas ethernet interface should be named eth0.
Then it can be configured via /etc/network/interfaces.

I hope this can help people bring up their board headless, without having to use a serial-to-USB adapter.
Last edited by profmaad on Tue Apr 01, 2014 11:23 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Troubleshooting the Parallella at Startup

Postby shodruk » Tue Apr 01, 2014 11:17 am

profmaad wrote:Alternatively, one can remove the existing associations from /etc/udev/rules.d/70-persistent-net.rules, which should ensure that the ethernet interface is assigned eth0.


I recommend that method.
easy way:

sudo rm /etc/udev/rules.d/70-persistent-net.rules
sync
sudo reboot
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Re: Troubleshooting the Parallella at Startup

Postby nmalinoski » Thu Apr 24, 2014 1:59 am

gceline wrote:HDMI

If the HDMI monitor detects activity, usually it will change state from sleep to active mode which can be seen on the power indicators – this is a sign that the board is active.

Most HDMI screens seem to work great, but make sure the HDMI input is selected as this is not always automatic. HDMI to DVI converters are sometimes problematic, but we seem to get them to work most of the time. There is little indication the HDMI is working till the linux penguins show up in the top left corner.

I appear to be having a video issue with an HDMI<->DVI adapter and a 16:10 Asus monitor. The setup worked fine with a RasPi, so I'm just wondering if it's a configuration issue.
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Re: Troubleshooting the Parallella at Startup

Postby shodruk » Thu Apr 24, 2014 12:44 pm

nmalinoski wrote:I appear to be having a video issue with an HDMI<->DVI adapter and a 16:10 Asus monitor. The setup worked fine with a RasPi, so I'm just wondering if it's a configuration issue.


Please try this setting.

viewtopic.php?f=48&t=844&start=30#p6922
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Re: Troubleshooting the Parallella at Startup

Postby optimaler » Mon Apr 28, 2014 5:50 am

So, I've observed the same thing that profmaad was experiencing earlier, with eth0 not always coming up at boot (and having to subsequently hit the restart button until it does). This is causing me extra grief because I have 8 boards.

I've tried the fix Shodruky tried, but it seems there's something funny with it. Is there some other reason why the ethernet would not come up, or another location that the MAC address info is being stored for udev? I mean, it's not the end of the world if I need a reboot, but I'd like to have the boards reliably come up if I issue a "reboot".
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Re: Troubleshooting the Parallella at Startup

Postby shodruk » Mon Apr 28, 2014 10:54 am

optimaler wrote:So, I've observed the same thing that profmaad was experiencing earlier, with eth0 not always coming up at boot (and having to subsequently hit the restart button until it does). This is causing me extra grief because I have 8 boards.

I've tried the fix Shodruky tried, but it seems there's something funny with it. Is there some other reason why the ethernet would not come up, or another location that the MAC address info is being stored for udev? I mean, it's not the end of the world if I need a reboot, but I'd like to have the boards reliably come up if I issue a "reboot".


I suspect the serial terminal interferes with booting.
My Parallella always boots normally with these settings.

(clear udev rules)
viewtopic.php?f=50&p=7076#p6840

(disable serial terminal)
viewtopic.php?f=48&t=844&start=30#p6922
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Re: Troubleshooting the Parallella at Startup

Postby shodruk » Tue Apr 29, 2014 10:20 am

I newly installed ubuntu-lxde-14.03.06-p16g1.img,
just applied these settings,
it booted 20/20 times normally! :D

(clear udev rules)
viewtopic.php?f=50&p=7076#p6840

(disable serial terminal & enable devtmpfs)
viewtopic.php?f=48&t=844&start=30#p6922
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