Deleted Bootloader

Hi, I recently bought x96 mini. It has newest coreELEC, however the Bootloader is deleted/skipped. I would like to boot armbian, but can’t. The hard reset button does nothing. Do you have some solution?

Re-flash the firmware

I would love to, but the coreELEC is installed on eMMC + I cannot use the Burning tool because the reset button doesnt work and because of that I cant connect it to PC.

to put it in perspective: the push button works (we checked with a multimeter) but the x96 mini probably doesn’t register it

The bootloader is not “disabled”, it’s just that the bootcmd set by CoreELEC is incompatible with the image you want to boot (Armbian)

You can use fw_setenv through SSH to update the bootcmds, do note this is dangerous as it might lock you out and make booting the box entirely impossible, which can only be rescued by soldering UART and edit the bootcmd or re-flash Android (you want to re-flash Android anyway so I don’t think this makes extra loss)

All of the following methods are dangerous and their risk increases one by one, do not expect any support as they really should only be used when you know what you’re doing and all normal ways to do it are out of reach

Method 1. Setting the bootcmd to explictly reboot to update mode. Risk: the box might be trapped into endless boot loops if this does not work. But the you should at least be able to recover from this with an external drive/SD card with CE
fw_setenv bootcmd reboot update

Method 2. Setting all bootcmds from your Armbian image, one by one. Risk: you might get some of them wrong, and there’s no going back to CE. Open aml_autoscript on your Armbian boot drive, find all those lines starting with setenv, you’ll need to swap all of setenv to fw_setenv then type these fw_setenv lines one by one.

Method 3. Clean the bootloader, this will force the box into low level burning mode since it can’t boot at all. Risk: if you can’t get USB Burning Tool to recognise the box after this… You’re screwed since there’s basically no way to recover from it.
dd if=/dev/zero of=/dev/mmcblk0 conv=fsync