Boot issue with X96 Max Plus Q2 4G/32G/1000M (stock firmware 20201209-1446)

I got a X96 Max Plus 4GB/32GB/1000M yesterday (from geekbuying).

Stock firmware is “X96Max_Plus_Q2_20201209-1446”, device name is “X96Max_Plus_Q2” (according to Android “About Phone”).

I tried to boot 19.1-Matrix_rc2 from SD card, no luck so far: Depending on the boot method, I end up in the Android Recovery console, or the boot hangs with a black screen or with the X96 logo shown. I never saw any CoreElec boot logo, so obviously it got stuck very early.

I tried a whole range of DTBs, to accomodate for fake hardware, e.g.:

  • sm1_s905x3_4g_1gbit.dtb
  • sm1_s905x3_2g_1gbit.dtb
  • sm1_s905x3_2g.dtb
  • sm1_s905x3_odroid_c4.dtb
  • g12a_s905x2_2g_1gbit.dtb

None of them had any effect.

After the tests I verified that the card was okay by booting with an X96 mini (using gxl_p281_1g.dtb). That worked fine, as usual.

How I tried to boot:

  1. Power off, insert card, power on with holding the reset button in AV port with a toothstick. I held the button pressed until the end. First the X96 logo showed up, then I ended in the “Android Recovery” console.
  2. In the Android Recovery console, when I “Reboot to bootloader”, I end up with the X96 logo. It hangs there.
  3. I also tried to press the reset button during power on only for a few seconds. Made no difference, again in “Android Recovery”.
  4. Furthermore, I installed the “Reboot to LibreELEC” apk (version 4.0) and tried to boot from there. Boot got stuck as well, with a empty black screen.
  5. I used the “Update” app, selected some zip file and started the update. This got me into the “Android Recovery” console again.

Again, stock firmware is

X96Max_Plus_Q2_20201209-1446

Android Recovery says:

Amlogic/franklin/frankling
9/PPR1.180610.011/20201209
userdebug/test-keys

AIDA64 and “Fake Device Test” didn’t give me any clue that the hardware is fake, so at the moment I think it’s indeed a S905X3 with 4GB and 32GB. A speed test showed an downstream of 250 MBit/s, so it’s pretty sure indeed a 1GB ethernet interface as well.

I haven seen this firmware version 1446 from 9. December 2020 mentioned in this forum. Only references I found so far were from Slimbox. It sounds like it’s possible to burn a Slimbox firmware on a Max+ Q2 box with this firmware.

I haven’t tried yet.

Next time do not buy cheap chinese devices from geekbuying.

Lesson learned…

I beg to differ: Lesson learned

In fact I bought this box fully conscious that getting it to work might be an adventure and even impossible. Bought it for fun, one might say.

Furthermore, I think the information I gave might help other ones to evaluate the risk of doing such a deal.

@Portisch, I wonder whether the SDIO board might help me debugging what’s going on here?

We have some more users with this type of hardware working fine with last rc4 release.

You can try to recover Android completely by Burncardmaker and when Android boots up again start again to get CE running on uSD or USB.

It looks like the UART header is next to the HDMI port (4pin). So you can open the device and connect a TTL UART converter if you need to.

Strange, the box fails to pick up the firmware from the uSD.

I used Burncardmaker 2.0.2, tried two different uSD cards and two different firmware images (X96Max_Plus2_20200901-1005.img and X96Max_Plus_Q2_20201209-1446.img).

When I insert the uSD card and power on the box, the box simply boots into normal operation, without attempting a firmware upgrade.

I also tried and pushed the reset button while powering on. In this case the box boots into Android Recovery console. Just as with the CoreELEC image inserted.

The SD card slot works otherwise, I was able to read from another uSD card from within Android.

It looks like the box ignores any uSD card while booting.

I have a X96 Max Plus Q2 4G/32G/gbe device, too. I bought it from Taobao.
Boot using “sm1_s905x3_4g_1gbit.dtb” is successful on CoreELEC 19, except Wifi & BT not supported. It was in March. In 20210419 nightly build, Wifi & BT are working. The CE team added the driver. Thanx to them.
I can assure you CoreELEC 19 is working on the device, despite some minor issues.
My advice is try another SD card or use a external card reader. I have two SD cards, one is 4GB, the other is 8GB. the former works on X96 internal card reader, while the later only boot on external card reader.
FYI.

I bought X96Max plus.Chips used as s905x4.The file cannot be used.Coreelec. You have to wait for the files to support it.

Thanks for that hint. I tried to reboot from my two prepared uSD cards (16GB and 32GB) with an external reader as well. Firmware upgrade doesn’t start, once again a normal reboot into Android only.

OTOH, from within Android, the two cards can be read without any problems. With the internal reader as well as with an external. I can see the aml_sdc_burn.UBOOT file, the aml_sdc_burn.ini and the img file as well.

I have no doubts for that.

It’s only that I don’t manage to get CE to boot nor to install another Android firmware using the uSD method.

I guess I’ll have to try and upgrade the firmware via USB.

I’m pretty sure that my box has a S905X3, as it was sold. AIDA show a CPU Clock Range of “100-1908 MHz” (X4 should go up to 2000 MHz), a CPU Revision “r1p0” (which ought to be an X3) and an Android API Level 28 (X4 should use 29).

Mine stock firmware seems the same with yours. This is a screenshot from “Device Info HW” which is available from Google Play Store.

Success! I successfully downgraded the firmware using AML USB Burning Tool to the version that’s linked on the product page on Geekbuying (“X96Max_Plus2_20200901-1005”).

After this firmware downgrade is was able to boot CE from uSD using the toothpick reboot. Using CoreELEC 19.1-Matrix_rc4, everything seems to work, including WIFI (tested) and Bluetooth (listed, but not tested).

I’ll try to upgrade back to 20201209-1446 and try whether I’m able to boot into CE from this version after this down- und upgrade.

You use Aml burning tool .You have to use License File Or not?How do you do the program?thank.

Not sure what you mean: In the end I more or less followed the information about Firmware updates for the box that GeekBuying has on their product page. This article contained links to the firmware and the burning tool: X96 MAX Plus Amlogic S905x3 Android 9.0 8K Video Decode TV Box 2.4G+5.8G WiFi Bluetooth 1000Mbps LAN Firmware Updated 20190625 -

I can install the old firmware.But the machine does not turn on.Can’t do anything at all.Wait a long time for the logo to hold.Pressing the reset button has no effect.What should I do?Now brick Four machines already. Thank you.

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