Armbian OS – Bricked Device Recovery

My box wont boot/stuck on a splash screen/is a brick what do I do?

If this happens, it usually means your onboard emmc/NAND storage area has become corrupted somehow OR if you have your SD Card/USB stick, thats trashed somehow. To figure which, take your SD card/USB stick out and see if it boots look at these 2 options:

OPTION A – if your box DOES boot to Android OS WITHOUT your SD Card/USB stick plugged in, then the problem is with your SD Card/USB stick. Quick fix is to check you are using the correct DTB and have correctly edited uEnv.ini and extlinix.conf (maybe try a different DTB if its never booted). If your box was previously booting off the SD card/USB stick, then re-image the SD card/USB stick with Armbian and make sure you have the correct DTB and all should be good again. Instructions here.

OPTION B – If your box DOES boot WITH the SD Card/USB stick BUT NOT to the eMMC/NAND stored OS then the emmc/NAND area on your  box is corrupted in some way and its therefore not multibooting. As such you  will most likely need to re-flash the internal emmc/NAND with the correct ROM/image for your box. Instructions below.

Getting a system recovered – notes

So for example, with an Amlogic based box, lets say the MeCool M8S Pro w box (Amlogic based box) you would find an original ROM for that system via a google hunt and download it (expect about a 1GB to 2GB download). You would also need the Amlogic USB Burning tool

With the Amlogic USB Burning Tool, Id recommend version 2.1.6.8 or later as it starts up in English (though you can find a language menu and select English on older versions). Install this on a Windows based computer.

You will will need a USB cable that will plug into both the USB port of your computer AND the USB port of your Amlogic based TV Box. This is how it will communicate to re-image the emmc/NAND.

On the TV boxes, there is usually a reset button, however, there are multiple methods:

  • A tiny hole in which you need to stick a paperclip or something to press the reset button.
  • A button hidden down the bottom of the 3.5mm A/V jack.
  • 2 pins/jumpers on the physical circuit board  that need to be shorted.
  • A button combination on the remote control while powering on your device e.g. hold down/press a button on the supplied remote before/during powering on the box.
Flashing your emmc/NAND

Lets pretend you have method 1 from above, the paperclip version.

For an Amlogic based system (Other makes will have their own software, but it will be a variation on doing this).

1) Install the USB Burning tool to your Windows PC/Laptop.

2) Open the USB Burning tool and go to File > Import Image, then select the image file you have downloaded (Unzip or Unrar the file if its compressed).

DONT power your TV box from the supplied mains adapter!! (The Amlogic boards arent expecting that it appears, so dont go into recovery mode on mains power. It wont hurt your box, it just wont go into recovery).

3) Plug one end of your USB cable into your Windows PC.

4) Push down the reset button (or whichever method you need to use) with the paperclip on the TV Box and at THAT point, plug in the USB cable. This should now power on the box, but it may display a blank screen.

On some box’s/boards ONLY 1 of the multiple USB ports they have will be usable/activate for the flashing process. As such, try your other ports if it doesnt appear in your flashing software.

5) You should hear a ding/chime from your Windows PC and the Amlogic USB Burning tool should now say something like HUB Connected.

6) In the USB Burning tool you should have it set at “Normal Erase” but Ive also done “Full Erase” before…. I dont quite know the difference… but Normal Erase seems to be fine, try Full if if doesnt work on Normal.

7) Press the start button and wait about 5 minutes until the USB Burning tool says 100% success. Wait about another 20 seconds. Press Stop and unplug your TV Box.

Next time you power on the box, it should start booting into Android.

Now you are back at a working box and can start your installation procedure Armbian OS – Installation.

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