U-Boot display support for i.MX6

Published on October 4, 2012

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In our continuing efforts to improve the "out of the box experience" for users of the SABRE Lite and Nitrogen6X boards, we finally have display support for U-Boot:

We also have autodetection, so you won't have to go through all of this nonsense for much longer.

This was a primary driver for why we chose to place U-Boot in SPI-NOR on these boards. With this software update, you'll be able to power on the device and see an attached display light up right away.

If you've already gone through some of this, we're sorry it took so long.

The video shows a version of the U-Boot boot loader with support for any of four displays on the SABRE Lite and Nitrogen6X i.MX6 boards:

The patch set shows the details of how this is done, but in general:

  • An HDMI monitor is detected using the Hot Plug Detect pin
  • Each of the other panels is detected by detecting the corresponding touch controller
Since three different touch controllers are used on the three touch displays, detection of the device on the I2C bus is used as a stand-in for the display itself.

Once the display is initialized, you'll see a logo and a banner with the U-Boot source code version. If no bootable media is found (if the file /6q_bootscript isn't located on SATA or SD card), you'll also see an error message, the serial port settings, and a URL for where to get more information.

The next couple of blog posts will show how something similar can be done to configure the Linux kernel and tell you how to get and install the software.

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