Upgrading from Flickernoise 0.1 without a JTAG cable

Since Flickernoise 0.1 does not support software flashing, the procedure is a little more complex than normal. The trick is to boot a newer version of Flickernoise (>= 0.2) from the network, and use that one to reflash the board.

STEP 1: Install a TFTP server
Install the TFTP server package for your distribution, and configure it.

STEP 2: Prepare the boot image
Take the Flickernoise FBI (Flash Boot Image) file from the MSD archive, and remove its FBI header.
$ dd if=flickernoise.fbi of=boot.bin bs=1 skip=8
Then, move it to the TFTP server directory:
$ mv boot.bin /var/lib/tftpboot

STEP 3: Boot the board from the network
Set up your computer to have the IP address, and connect it to the board. Boot the board (press the middle pushbutton) with a USB keyboard connected to it, and when you see the BIOS splash screen, press the F8 key to boot from the network.

BIOS splash screen

STEP 4: Erase the old flash filesystem
Flickernoise 0.1 uses a read-only FAT filesystem on the flash, while Flickernoise 0.2 introduced full YAFFS2 support. You will therefore need to format (erase) the flash disk partition.

For this, you will need to obtain a shell on the board. This can be simply done by enabling the telnet server and connecting to it. You need to set up a login and password to enable telnet access. Click the “Settings” button at the bottom of the control panel, and enter a login and password in the dialog box.

System settings dialog box

Once this is done, you can use telnet to connect to the board:
Enter the following commands at the RTEMS shell prompt:
# unmount /flash
# erase /dev/flash5
# mount -t yaffs /dev/flash5 /flash

Telnet session

STEP 5: Transfer the new flash images to the board
Simply use an FTP client to connect to the board (, and upload the contents of the MSD archive, e.g. in the /ramdisk folder. Use the login and password you just set up to authenticate to the FTP server.

STEP 6: Flash
In the control panel, click “About”, then “Flash”. Select the images you have just uploaded, and click the “Program flash” button.

Flickernoise flash programmer

You’re done! If you have upgraded the bitstream, you need to select “Shutdown” (in the control panel), then “Power off” and then power the board on again. Since a disk cache is used by the RTEMS operating system, always use “Shutdown” to turn off the board to prevent data loss.

And while you have the FTP connection open, you can also use it to upload the default Flickernoise patches to the flash…

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