Rock 3A not booting with any image

Hello there, I’ve been trying to get my ROCK 3A to boot for the past week.
I’ve tried both the 16GB eMMC module and various microSD cards, (4-64GB), as well as various USB-PD/QC chargers, all supporting 9V/3A and 12V/2A, and different cables.

What I do is as follows:

  1. Format eMMC/SD with SD Format Tool
  2. Flash the eMMC/SD with one of the official images (list below) using balenaEtcher (on macOS)
  3. Plug in HDMI and eMMC/SD to ROCK 3A
  4. Plug in USB-C power to ROCK 3A
  5. Wait for up to 60 min

…and nothing happens. The green light works, but the blue one never lights up, and there’s no picture on my HDMI monitor either.

This is the list of images I tried:

  • rock3a_debian_buster_xfce4_arm64_20211113_0127-gpt.img
  • rock3a_ubuntu_focal_server_arm64_20211113_0103-gpt.img
  • rock3a_ubuntu_focal_server_arm64_20210914_0859-gpt.img
  • rock3a_debian_buster_xfce4_arm64_20210914_0334-gpt.img
  • Armbian_21.11.0-trunk_Rock-3a_bullseye_legacy_4.19.193.img.xz

I would love to hear any feedback on what I might be potentially doing wrong or what I could try differently.
Please let me know if I can provide more details to help diagnose this

Can you try this? Short-circuit the FSPI_CLK pin and GND pin to make SPI Nor flash unavailable. See https://wiki.radxa.com/Rock3/FAQs

I tried, it doesn’t seem to work. Is there anything else I can try, or is my Rock 3 defective?

Have You tried to connect compatible uart console cable and view messages?
That helps a lot to see what is going on. Get any CH340 and try that.

If you have any uart console cable, you can check this guide.https://wiki.radxa.com/Rock3/dev/serial-console to setup serial tool.

Would you please do one more test? Check if maskrom device is detected. Please see part " Boot the board to maskrom mode" of https://wiki.radxa.com/Rock3/install/spi.

Hello,
I experienced exactly the the same problem. Used a SD card first, including the short-circuit as explained in the FAQ. Secondly I tried it using the eMMC module (had to purchase a USB3 enabled SD card converter, the build-in SD-card reader failed to connect the eMMC module).
Now Etcher is flashing the eMMC successfully, but still no boot: green led is flashing, blue isn’t. Tried that with and without the short-circuit without any changes.
According the video by Expaining Computers on Youtube, the short circuit is not required when using the eMMC.
I am not familiar with the debugging, don’t have a USB 3 male-male cable available.
Any suggestions?

I already have more than one rock3A board and for each all I had to do was to burn micro sd image and just plug right power source. With uart cable You will see all messages from first phase of boot where no hdmi output is available, this helps a lot to see what is going on, when some faulty image is burned it could give some output before it die. Some images have broken or limited hdmi output, not everything starts with blue lights.

I encourage you to get any cheap CH340G usb-uart cable - it cost as little as 1-2$ and work great. that helps a lot.

if You burned sd card with official images (try few) and none of them boots with blue led then it’s probably wrong power source. This is just guessing, but board should boot without anything else than power and SD card. Cellphone chargers (especially those pd-capable) sometimes are not working, also I could not connect rock3A to my power usb-c port on my lenovo with data cable - it try to sense what is there and cause boot loop. Also I got one or two chargers that were just not stable.

Good luck! :slight_smile: