Pinebook Pro

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Revision as of 10:56, 29 October 2019 by Arwen (talk | contribs) (→‎Bootable Storage: Added boot sequence details in preparation for describing how the RK3399 boots.)
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User Guide

Introducing PineBook Pro

Pinebook Pro running stock Debian with MATE

The Pinebook Pro is a Linux and *BSD ARM laptop from PINE64

It is built to be a compelling alternative to mid-ranged Chromebooks that people convert into Linux laptops. It features an IPS 1080p 14″ LCD panel, a premium magnesium alloy shell, high capacity eMMC storage, a 10,000 mAh capacity battery, and the modularity that only an open source project can deliver.

Key features include: the RK3399 SOC; USB-C for data, video-out and power-in (3A 5V); privacy switches for the microphone, BT/WiFi module, and camera; and expandable storage via NVMe (PCIe 4x) with an optional adapter.

The Pinebook Pro is equipped with 4GB LPDDR4 system memory, high capacity eMMC flash storage, and 128Mb SPI boot Flash. The I/O includes: 1x micro SD card reader (bootable), 1x USB 2.0, 1x USB 3.0, 1x USB type C Host with DP 1.2 and power-in, PCIe 4x for an NVMe SSD drive (requires an optional adapter), and UART (via the headphone jack by setting an internal switch).

The keyboard and trackpad both use the USB 2.0 protocol. The LCD panel uses eDP MiPi display protocol.

Many different Operating Systems (OS) are freely available from the open source community and partner projects. These include various flavors of Linux (Ubuntu, Debian, Manjaro, etc.) and *BSD.

Software and OS Image Downloads

Pinebook Pro

Under 'Pinebook Pro Software and OS Image Download Section' you will find a complete list of currently supported Operating System images that work with the Pinebook as well as other related software.

The list includes OS images and descriptions of:

Quick Links to OS Images Build Sources

Some of the provided OS images are still in beta or nightly build and only fit for testing purposes. These images ought to be avoided for normal usage - use them at your own risk


The Pinebook Pro is available in two keyboard configurations: ISO and ANSI. Both the keyboard and trackpad in the Pinebook Pro use the USB 2.0 protocol and show up as such in xinput. The keyboard features function (Fn) keys in the F-key row, which include display brightness controls, sound volume, trackpad lock, and other functionality. There is also a custom PINE64 logo key that functions as Menu/Super key. It has also a secondary functionality for setting the privacy switches.

The keyboard firmware is open sourced can be flashed from userspace using the provided utility.

Documentation for the keyboard can be found in Datasheets for Components and Peripherals.

German umlaute and the like

On the UK Layout you can type umlaute by pressing [AltGr]+["] followed by [A], [O], [U], [a], [o] or [u]. The key combination [AltGr]+[s] generates the letter 'ß'.

Privacy Switches

There are three privacy switches mapped to the F10, F11 and F12 keys on the Pinebook Pro keyboard. They de/activate the following:

Privacy switch function and description
Combination Effect Description
PINE64 logo key+F10 Microphone Privacy switch CAPs lock LED blinks. 2 blinks = enabled, 3 blinks = disabled
PINE64 logo key+F11 WiFi Privacy switch NUM lock LED blinks. 2 blinks = enabled, 3 blinks = disabled. Re-enabling requires reboot.
PINE64 logo key+F12 Camera privacy switch CAPs lock and NUM lock LEDs blink together. 2 blinks = enabled, 3 blinks = disabled

(Press the PINE64 logo key plus Fn (10/11/12) for 3 seconds)

The keyboard uses special firmware that operates separately of the operating system. It detects if either the F10, F11 or F12 key, and the Pine key were pressed for 3 seconds. This disables the peripherals as listed above by cutting off their power. Which has the same result as cutting off the power to each peripheral with a physical switch. This implementation is very secure since the firmware that determines whether a peripheral gets power is not a part of the Pinebook Pro’s operating system. So the power state value for each peripheral cannot be overridden or accessed from the operating system. The power state setting for each peripheral is stored across reboots.


The trackpad is large, smooth (metallic to-the-touch), and has two actuating buttons. It is the only component of the Pinebook Pro held in place with strong adhesive tape. It supports multi-touch functionality.

The trackpad firmware is open sourced can be flashed from userspace using the provided utility.

Documentation trackpad can be found in Datasheets for Components and Peripherals.

Power Supply

Input Power: DC 5V @ 3A 3.5mm OD/ 1.35mm ID Barrel jack or USB-C 15W PD quickcharge


In total there are four LEDs on the Pinebook Pro, three of which are placed in the top left side of the keyboard, and one near the barrel-port:

1. The red LED next to the barrel-port indicates charging. It will illuminate when mains power is supplied to the Pinebook Pro from either the standard power supply unit or a USB-C smartphone charger.
2. The power indicator LED on the Pinebook Pro supports three different colours: green, amber and red. It is also capable of flashing/blinking to indicate activity. In the default Debian with MATE build, green LED means power and red means suspend (amber is unused).
3. The Num lock, green LED.
4. The Caps lock, green LED.

(The Num and Caps lock LEDs have a secondary function. When the privacy switches get activated they blink to confirm that switch has been activated.)





Bluetooth and WiFi


LCD Panel


Using the PineBook Pro

Bypass Cables

The mainboard features two (disconnected by default) bypass cables that are only to be used with the battery disconnected. The female (10) male (6) ends of the bypass cables can be connected to provide power to the mainboard if you need to run the laptop without a battery. Please refer to this engineering notice.

WARNING: Do not connect the bypass cables with the battery connected. Using the bypass cables with the battery connected can permanently damage the computer.

Pinebook Service Step-by-Step Guides

Placeholder for Pinebook Pro specific guides

Under 'Service Guides for Pinebook' you can find instructions guides concerning disassembly of:

Note: The installation process on Pinebook Pro similar to 14" Pinebook

Note: The installation process is the reverse order of removal guide

  • 14″ Pinebook Lithium Battery Pack Removal Guide
  • 14″ Pinebook LCD Panel Screen Removal Guide
  • 14″ Pinebook eMMC Module Removal Guide

Technical Reference

Accessing the Internals - Disassembly and Reassembly

Pinebook Screw stand-offs correct placement and location

WARNING: Do not open the laptop by lifting the lid while the Pinebook Pro bottom cover is removed - this can cause structural damage to the hinges and/or other plastic components of the chassis such as the IO port cut-outs.

When disassembling the laptop make sure that it is powered off and folded closed. To remove the bottom cover of the Pinebook Pro, first remove the ten (10) Phillips head screws that hold the bottom section of the laptop in place. Remove the cover from the back where the hinges are situated by lifting it up and away from the rest of the chassis.

During reassembly, make sure that the back-screw standoffs are in place and seated correctly. To reassemble the Pinebook Pro, slide the bottom section into place so it meets the front lip of the keyboard section. Secure the front section (where the trackpad is located) in place using the short screws in the front left and right corners. Then proceed to pop in the bottom pannel into place. Secure the bottom section (where hinges are located) by screwing in the left and right corners. Then screw in the remaining screws and run your finger though the rim on the chassis to make sure its fitted correctly.

Pinebook Pro Internal Layout

Main chips

  • RK3399 system-on-chip (1)
  • LPDDR4 SDRAM (21)
  • SPI NOR flash memory (29)
  • eMMC flash memory (26)
  • WiFi/BT module (27)

Mainboard Switches and Buttons

There are two switches on the main board: disabling the eMMC (24), and enabling UART (9) via headphone jack.

The Reset and Recovery buttons (28): the reset button performs an immediate reset of the laptop. The Recovery button is used to place the device in maskrom mode; this mode allows flashing eMMC using Rockchip tools (e.g. rkflashtools).

PBPL S.jpg

Key Internal Parts

Numbered parts classification and description
Number Type Descriptor
1 Component RK3399 System-On-Chip
2 Socket PCIe 4X socket for optional NVMe adapter
3 Socket Speakers socket
4 Socket Trackpad socket
5 Component Left speaker
6 Connector Male power bridge connector
7 Socket Keyboard Socket
8 Component Optional NVMe SSD adapter
9 Switch UART/Audio switch - outputs UART via headphone jack
10 Socket Female power bridge socket
11 Socket Battery socket
12 Component Trackpad
13 Component Battery
14 Component Right speaker
15 Socket Micro SD socket
16 Socket Headphone / UART jack
17 Socket USB 2.0
18 Socket Daughterboard-to-mainboard ribbon cable socket
19 Cable Daughterboard-to-mainboard ribbon cable
20 Component microphone
21 Component LPDDR4 RAM
22 Socket Mainboard-to-daughterboard ribbon cable socket
22 Socket Mainboard-to-daughterboard ribbon cable socket
23 Socket Microphone socket
24 Switch Switch to hardware disable eMMC
25 Antenna BT/WiFI antenna
26 Component eMMC flash memory module
27 Component BT/WiFi module chip
28 Buttons Reset and recovery buttons
29 Component SPI flash storage
30 Socket eDP LCD socket
31 Socket Power in barrel socket
32 Socket USB 3.0
33 Socket USB type C

Bootable Storage

The Pinebook Pro is capable of booting from eMMC, USB 2.0, USB 3.0, or an SD card. It cannot boot from USB-C. The boot order of the hard-coded ROM of its RK3399 SoC is: SPI NOR, eMMC, SD, USB OTG.

At this time, the Pinebook Pro ships with a Debian + MATE build with uboot on the eMMC. Its boot order is: SD, USB 2.0, eMMC. Booting off USB 3.0 storage is not currently available, but will be in the future.

(An update has been pushed for the default Debian + MATE build that improves compatibility with booting other OSs from an SD card. In order to update, fully charge the battery, establish an internet connection, click the update icon in the toolbar, and then reboot your Pinebook Pro. Please see this log for details.)

Please note that PCIe, the interface used for NVMe SSD on the Pinebook Pro, is not bootable on the RK3399 and therefore is not a part of the boot hierarchy. It is possible to run the desired OS from NVMe by pointing extlinux on the eMMC to rootfs on the SSD. This requires uboot, the Kernel image, DTB, and extlinux.conf in a /boot partition on the eMMC.

The eMMC storage will show up as multiple block devices:

  • mmcblk1boot0 - eMMC standard boot0 partition, may be 4MB
  • mmcblk1boot1 - eMMC standard boot1 partition, may be 4MB
  • mmcblk1rpmb - eMMC standard secure data partition. may be 16MB
  • mmcblk1 - This block contains the user areas

Only the last is usable as regular storage device in the Pinebook Pro. The device number of "1" shown above may vary, depending on kernel.

Boot sequence details

The RK3399's mask ROM boot code looks for the next stage of code at byte off-set 32768. This is where u-Boot code would reside on any media that is bootable.

Pinebook Pro Dimensions

  • Dimensions: 329mm x 220mm x 12mm (WxDxH)
  • Weight: 1.26Kg

SoC and Memory Specification

Rockchip RK3399.png
  • Based on Rockchip RK3399

CPU Architecture

  • big.LITTLE architecture: Dual Cortex-A72 + Quad Cortex-A53, 64-bit CPU
    • Full implementation of the ARM architecture v8-A instruction set (both AArch64 and AArch32)
    • ARM Neon Advanced SIMD (single instruction, multiple data) support for accelerated media and signal processing computation
    • ARMv8 Cryptography Extensions
    • VFPv4 floating point unit supporting single and double-precision operations
    • Hardware virtualization support
    • TrustZone technology support
    • Full CoreSight debug solution
    • One isolated voltage domain to support DVFS
  • Cortex-A72 (big cluster):
  • Cortex-A53 (little cluster):
    • Quad-core Cortex-A53 up to 1.5GHz CPU
    • In-order pipeline with symmetric dual-issue of most instructions
    • L1 cache 32KB Icache and 32KB Dcache for each A53
    • L2 cache 512KB for little cluster

GPU Architecture

  • ARM Mali-T860MP4 Quad-core GPU
  • The highest performance GPUs built on Arm Mali’s famous Midgard architecture, the Mali-T860 GPU is designed for complex graphics use cases and provide stunning visuals for UHD content.
  • Frequency 650MHz
  • Throughput 1300Mtri/s, 10.4Gpix/s
  • OpenGL® ES 1.1, 1.2, 2.0, 3.1, 3.2., Vulkan 1.0*., OpenCL™ 1.1, 1.2., DirectX® 11 FL11_1., RenderScript™.

System Memory

  • RAM Memory:
    • LPDDR4
    • Dual memory channels on the CPU, each 32 bits wide
    • Quad memory channels on the RAM chip, each 16 bits wide, 2 bonded together for each CPU channel
    • 4GB as a single 366 pin mobile RAM chip
  • Storage Memory:
    • 64GB eMMC module, can be upgraded to a 128GB eMMC module. (The initial PINE64 community build version shipped with a 128GB eMMC.)


  • Lithium Polymer Battery (10,000 mAH)


  • 14.1" 1920x1080 IPS LCD panel

Video out

  • USB-C Alt mode DP up to 3840x2160 p60


  • 3.5mm stereo earphone/microphone plug
  • Build in stereo speakers


  • WiFi 802.11 b/g/n/ac with Bluetooth 5.0

Expansion Ports

  • MicroSD card:
    • Bootable
    • Supports SDHC and SDXC cards, up to 256GB
    • Version SD3.0, up to 50MB/s
  • USB ports:
    • 1 x USB 2.0 Type-A Host Port, bootable
    • 1 x USB 3.0 Type-A Host Port, can be bootable based on uboot software
    • 1 x USB 3.0 Type-C OTG Port, (includes laptop charging function), is not bootable
  • Headphone jack switchable to UART console mux circuit
  • Optional NVMe adapter:
    • PCIe 2.x, 5GT/s per lane
    • 4 PCIe lanes
    • Maximum length for M.2 card is 80mm (M.2 2280)
    • Does not support SATA M.2 cards
    • Does not support USB M.2 cards

Pinebook Pro Schematics and Certifications

  • Pinebook Pro Certifications:
    • Not Yet Available

Datasheets for Components and Peripherals

Other Resources