goddfre
Posts: 5
Joined: Sat Aug 15, 2015 12:27 am

Unable to boot anything but NOOBS

Sat Aug 15, 2015 3:57 am

I'm trying to install some version of Ubuntu on my Raspberry Pi 2 Model B. I have tried both Ubuntu Mate and Ubuntu Trusty, but neither time I have been able to get it to boot successfully (nothing shows up on my monitor, but green and red lights are blinking).

The only time I have successfully managed to boot an operating is installing Raspbian through NOOBS. I am pretty sure I have properly formatted the SD card using the official SD formatting software (https://www.sdcard.org/downloads/formatter_4/). I've also tried scripts such as Pi Filler, which claim to automatically format and install any image on the SD. However, no matter what I try, I have not been able to get anything other than NOOBS and Raspbian on my Pi.

I'm using a 16 GB class 4 SD card on Mac OS X 10.10. Can anyone offer me any advice as to what I could be doing wrong? Any help would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks!

SimonSmall
Posts: 220
Joined: Tue Oct 09, 2012 8:13 pm

Re: Unable to boot anything but NOOBS

Sat Aug 15, 2015 11:33 am

Firstly, your Pi boots with NOOBS, so you know that nothing is faulty. The Pi MUST boot from a correctly formatted SD card that has the correct boot files on it. The sdcard.org formatter just creates a "clean" format on the card ready to put files on to.

Your problem is with writing "some version of Ubuntu" to the card. This version needs to have the correct boot files on the boot partiton (a small partition formatted as fat; this can be read by Windows or a MAC). You also need the other files in the root partition (this cannot be read or even seen by Windows). In addition, the executable files need to have been created for the ARM processor that the Pi uses, not for an x86 processor like most laptops and desktops.

Where did you get your Ubuntu distributions from? That will help us to identify what your problem is

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kusti8
Posts: 3439
Joined: Sat Dec 21, 2013 5:29 pm
Location: USA

Re: Unable to boot anything but NOOBS

Sat Aug 15, 2015 12:09 pm

Did you follow the exact instructions here:
https://www.raspberrypi.org/documentati ... ges/mac.md
There are 10 types of people: those who understand binary and those who don't.

Joe Schmoe
Posts: 4277
Joined: Sun Jan 15, 2012 1:11 pm

Re: Unable to boot anything but NOOBS

Sat Aug 15, 2015 12:49 pm

I think we need to leave the ugly Windows/Mac/whatever legacy behind us and concentrate on giving instructions that work on the Pi. As we say, once you have got the Pi up and running (as this OP clearly has), then you really don't need any of those other systems.

Thus, the instruction sequence should go like this:
  1. Have 2 SD cards available to work with. Also, a USB SD card reader/writer.
  2. Use your Windows/Mac/whatever to get NOOBS Lite Raspbian up and running on one of those cards. This is a one time only process and needs never to be repeated. It is virtually foolproof and requires no additional tools/software to be installed on the PC or Mac and, in fact, very little work on any platform other than the Pi. The truly nice thing about NOOBS is that most of the work of getting the OS up and rolling is done on the Pi itself.
  3. From here on in, use that system as your base system to explore setting up and using other OSes using the other SD card.
  4. Boot whichever of these cards suits your fancy of the moment. Don't lose either one.
Following this procedure should get you up and running on any of the various flavors of Ubuntu that are floating around out there in no time.
And some folks need to stop being fanboys and see the forest behind the trees.

(One of the best lines I've seen on this board lately)

goddfre
Posts: 5
Joined: Sat Aug 15, 2015 12:27 am

Re: Unable to boot anything but NOOBS

Sat Aug 15, 2015 2:28 pm

SimonSmall wrote:Firstly, your Pi boots with NOOBS, so you know that nothing is faulty. The Pi MUST boot from a correctly formatted SD card that has the correct boot files on it. The sdcard.org formatter just creates a "clean" format on the card ready to put files on to.

Your problem is with writing "some version of Ubuntu" to the card. This version needs to have the correct boot files on the boot partiton (a small partition formatted as fat; this can be read by Windows or a MAC). You also need the other files in the root partition (this cannot be read or even seen by Windows). In addition, the executable files need to have been created for the ARM processor that the Pi uses, not for an x86 processor like most laptops and desktops.

Where did you get your Ubuntu distributions from? That will help us to identify what your problem is
How do I create/specify the boot and root partitions? I have not seen any tutorial mention this before, this is probably what I'm missing. What I'm doing is just wiping/formatting the disk, then writing everything to a single partition using "sudo dd...".

I downloaded Ubuntu Mate from https://ubuntu-mate.org/raspberry-pi/ and Ubuntu Trusty from https://wiki.ubuntu.com/ARM/RaspberryPi. Both say that they are OSes for the Raspberry Pi, so I don't think it's a problem with the image that I'm trying to install.
kusti8 wrote:Did you follow the exact instructions here:
https://www.raspberrypi.org/documentati ... ges/mac.md
Yes, I did.

drgeoff
Posts: 9888
Joined: Wed Jan 25, 2012 6:39 pm

Re: Unable to boot anything but NOOBS

Sat Aug 15, 2015 2:57 pm

goddfre wrote:What I'm doing is just wiping/formatting the disk, then writing everything to a single partition using "sudo dd...".
If that is literally what you are doing, that is the problem.

The image needs to be written to the whole disk, not a partition. It seems that Mac users are more prone to making that error.

See the line

Code: Select all

Identify the disk (not partition) of your SD card e.g. disk4 (not disk4s1).
at https://www.raspberrypi.org/documentati ... ges/mac.md
Last edited by drgeoff on Sat Aug 15, 2015 3:06 pm, edited 2 times in total.

RobHenry
Posts: 452
Joined: Fri Sep 21, 2012 9:04 pm
Location: UK

Re: Unable to boot anything but NOOBS

Sat Aug 15, 2015 2:58 pm

goddfre wrote:
How do I create/specify the boot and root partitions? I have not seen any tutorial mention this before, this is probably what I'm missing. What I'm doing is just wiping/formatting the disk, then writing everything to a single partition using "sudo dd...".
The partitions are part of the image so if the dd command is correct then you don't need to do anything explicit to create them.

It is common for people to specify a partition on the card as target of the dd command, rather than the whole device (/dev/sda1 vs. /dev/sda, for example).

Please tell us the exact command you are issuing with dd as that is probably where your problem lies.

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kusti8
Posts: 3439
Joined: Sat Dec 21, 2013 5:29 pm
Location: USA

Re: Unable to boot anything but NOOBS

Sat Aug 15, 2015 2:59 pm

Can you list the exact steps that you did, and the output of every command to make sure that you didn't make a small careless mistake (it's happened too many times to me ;) )?
There are 10 types of people: those who understand binary and those who don't.

goddfre
Posts: 5
Joined: Sat Aug 15, 2015 12:27 am

Re: Unable to boot anything but NOOBS

Sat Aug 15, 2015 3:02 pm

I found the problem. I just changed the config file to force hdmi output and it worked.

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