Banana pi BPI-M2 Ultra quad core single-board computer with allwinner R40/V40 design

Hello everyone, I purchased a BPI M2U in Taiwan about 3 weeks ago and have been slowly getting around to putting it in operation as I found my previous experience with a Cubieboard1 a bit challenging. In that case, I had to do a complete compile from scratch and install both U-Boot and the Linux image.

From what I can see, the Banana Pi M2U arrived without U-Boot or Linux installed, so I am wondering again what to exactly do.

I have located and downloaded a Linux “raw image”, but Banana Pi doesn’t offer any suggestion of how I should ‘dd’ the image to a microSDcard (class 10 or better). I can try doing what worked with the Cubieboard or what may have worked with another Banana Pi board, but it certainly would be nice to verify that the process is identical.

I presume the absence of U-Boot because the serial port at baud 115200 does not do anything in Putty, whereas I get U-Boot reports in Cubieboard even when I don’t have and microSDcard inserted.

But I do find it a bit annoying that BananaPi doesn’t have anything to say about the need to or the lack of need to install U-Boot.

++++++++++++++ In short, for each and every version of the Banana Pi, it would be extremely helpful if you provided the basics of getting an operating system up and running. Each seems to require its own recompile of U-Boot and Linux. Sunxi-Allwinner is very helpful, but many new users either would not go there or become lost in the added depth of technical info.

I’d really hate to install the wrong version of U-Boot and do significant damage to a new board. That’s why I turn to you for guidance.

I attempted to ‘dd’ an image of Debian for the BPI M2U to a microSDcard and determine if the board would start.

I get a BPI splash screen and then an attempt to boot with several fails scrolling quickly pass.

Video is working in HDMI, keyboard works, login to Root via Banana Pi works. But I am not getting a full GUI version. I check runlevel and it returns N 5.

++++++++++ The good news is that apparently I don’t have to install U-boot to get started. It’s installed on the SDcard with Linux. Also, the board seems to be in working order. I presume that I may have a headless version of Debian Linux, though I thought otherwise.

I will try to dd a different image to microSDcard and start over.

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ A few hours later Reloaded my microSDcard with Ubuntu Mate and everything is working okay.

Anybody wondering where to get started should use Banana Pi downloads of Linux and copy the raw image to a microSD card. Plug in the card, and you should be good to go.

Windows, Linux, and Apple all have different methods to copy the ‘raw image’ to a microSDcard.

I used Linux and " dd if= (the raw image file name) of= (the microSDcard location) bs=10MB " Be patient as it takes a few minutes to copy everything, don’t interrupt the process.

Hopefully this entry will help newcomers that can’t seem to find where to begin.

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