Pinebook Pro Troubleshooting Guide

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Hardware Compatibility page

Pinebook Pro Software Release


Tips, tricks and other information for troubleshooting your Pinebook Pro

If something has gone wrong, the key thing is remain calm and not do anything hasty and make things worse, particularly when flashing the eMMC or firmware. Try and make a record of all the things you did in the run-up to the problem (even to the point of using a camera to take a note of errors on the screen, this record can be vital later).

Manjaro Updates Fail With 404

If you have an old Manjaro installation then it will have the wrong repositories/mirrors set up and they won't work. Set up new repositories by following these instructions: https://forum.manjaro.org/t/another-mirror-transition-manual-intervention-required/132302

Power And Boot

New from the factory - Pinebook Pro won't boot / power on

  • Some Pinebook Pros came from the factory with the eMMC switch in the disabled position. It should be switched towards the back / hinge to enable the eMMC.
  • The eMMC may have come loose during shipment. Open the back and verify that the eMMC is firmly seated.
  • You may want to try unplugging the SD card daughterboard ribbon cable and see if it powers on (remove the battery and peel off a bit of the tape before unplugging it to avoid damage). If it does, try reseating it on both sides. It might have come loose during shipping.
  • It's possible that your eMMC is empty from the factory. Simply create a bootable SD card and see if your Pinebook Pro boots. If so, you can then write an OS image to the eMMC.

Pinebook Pro will not power on after toggling the eMMC enable/disable switch

  • This may happen if you meant to toggle the UART/Headphone switch (9) towards touchpad for headphone use and instead you toggled the eMMC enable/disable switch (24).
  • After reenabling eMMC by toggling switch (24) towards hinge, if Pinebook Pro does not turn on then press the RESET button (28). It is clearly marked 'reset' on the PCB board.

Pinebook Pro will not power on after removing and replacing EMI shielding

  • Closely inspect that the shielding is firmly seated in the clips on all sides. You can be seated in the clips on one axis, and have missed on an another axis.

Pinebook Pro won't boot when using UART console cable

  • If you're using the UART cable sold on the Pine Store, you may want to see if it boots after you disconnect it. Some users report that custom-made cables based on FTDI UART adapters do not cause this issue.
  • Make sure your USB to serial UART device is 3.3v. Many are 5v and some even +-12v. Pinebook Pro's only support 3.3v and may act eratically when using higher voltage. Further, higher voltage could permananetly damage the Pinebook Pro's SoC.

Pinebook Pro will not sleep with lid closed

A problem with the positioning of the lid magnet has been identified by several forum users in mid-2020 models of the Pinebook Pro. The magnetic field from the lid magnet operates a hall effect sensor located on the daughterboard (smallboard), which causes the Pinebook Pro to sleep when the lid is closed. If the magnet is not positioned correctly, the Pinebook Pro will not sleep when the lid is fully closed, but may sleep if the lid is open about an inch. If you experience this problem, repositioning of the magnet may be necessary.

Lid Magnet Repositioning Step-by-Step

  • Read these steps thoroughly before starting. This is a somewhat laborious process involving fragile parts!
  1. Remove bottom cover.
  2. Disconnect LCD and webcam ribbon cable from main board. Flip the small black strip on the connector upward and the ribbon cable can be easily removed. Do not pull the cable out without first raising the black retaining mechanism.
  3. Remove the small black plastic standoffs on each hinge and set aside.
  4. Remove the three screws from each hinge on the display assembly.
  5. Move the hinges upward to a 90 degree angle independently from the main body. Then lift the main body to the same 90 degree angle and you should be able to separate the display assembly from the main body. Set the main body aside.
  6. Remove the plastic hinge cover on the display assembly. There's not really an easy way to do this, just work slowly and deliberately so as not to damage the sensitive cable inside. Start from either end and work your way inward. Use a small flathead screwdriver or similar tool to get started.
  7. Remove the hinges from the display assembly.
  8. Remove the rubber bumpers at the top corners of the display assembly to expose two screws. Remove the screws.
  9. Starting at the corners, separate the bezel from the lid. The clips that hold it in place are similar to those found on the hinge cover. Again, slow deliberate work will get it done. Work from the top down. Take care not to damage the cables in the bottom.
  10. With the bezel separated from the lid, feed the cable through the slot and set the bezel aside.
  11. Without removing the LCD panel completely, lift and move the panel slightly to the left, taking care not to damage the cable running underneath up to the webcam. This will give you room to remove the magnet without risking damage to the panel.
  12. The magnet is a silver colored bar near the bottom right side of the lid. Pry the magnet out with a small flathead or similar tool and set it aside. There is some adhesive but it's not very strong.
  13. Put the LCD panel back where it belongs. Note the foam pads on either side of the panel. The magnet is the same width as the foam pad that keeps the panel in place, and should fit perfectly in the same channel.
  14. The magnet should be placed about 1 to 1.5cm lower than where it was originally. There should be no need for adhesive, as the magnet will stick to the LCD panel. For reference, the hall effect sensor that the magnet interacts with is in between the USB port and audio jack.
  15. Reassemble using these steps in reverse order.

Your PineBook Pro should now sleep properly when the lid is closed.

WiFi And Bluetooth

WiFi issues

  • First, check the privacy switches to make sure your WiFi is enabled. They are persistant. See Privacy Switches
  • Next, you may have to modify the /etc/NetworkManager/NetworkManager.conf as root user, and replace managed=false with managed=true. Then reboot.
  • For connections that drop and resume too often, it might be due to WiFi power management from earlier OS releases. Later OS releases either removed WiFi power management, or default to full power. (Power management can be turned off via command line with iw dev wlan0 set power_save off or iwconfig wlan0 power off, although it is not persistent through re-boot.)
  • For connections that drop under load on the default Debian, remove iwconfig wlan0 power off in the file /etc/rc.local.
  • If WiFi is un-usable or often crashes when using an alternate OS, then it might because its WiFi firmware is not appropriate for the WiFi chip in the Pinebook Pro. Try the latest firmware patch from https://gitlab.manjaro.org/tsys/pinebook-firmware/tree/master/brcm
  • After re-enabling WiFi via the privacy switch, you have to reboot to restore function. There is a work around for the default Debian, (and may work with others);

        sudo tee /sys/bus/platform/drivers/dwmmc_rockchip/{un,}bind <<< 'fe310000.dwmmc'

Bluetooth issues

  • When connecting a Bluetooth device, such as a Bluetooth mouse, it does not automatically re-connect on re-boot. In the Bluetooth connection GUI, there is a yellow star for re-connect on boot. Use that button to enable a persistent connection. It can be changed back later.
  • Bluetooth-attached speakers or headset require the pulseaudio-module-bluetooth package. If not already installed, it can be installed with a package manager or with:
sudo apt-get install pulseaudio-module-bluetooth
  • When using Bluetooth-attached speakers or headset and 2.4Ghz WiFi at the same time, you may experience stuttering of the audio. One solution is to use 5Ghz WiFi if you can. Or you may try using a different 2.4Ghz channel, perhaps channel 1 or the top channel, (11 in the USA, or 13/14 in some other countries).


Sound

Sound issues

  • Many reports of no sound are due to the OS, incorrect settings, or other software problems (eg. PulseAudio). So first test to see if it is a software or hardware problem, by trying another OS via SD card. (For example, if Debian is installed on the eMMC, try Ubuntu on SD.)
  • If you cannot get sound from the headphone jack, but can get sound from the speakers, then the headphone / UART console switch may be set to the UART mode. You can open the back and check the position of the switch. If set to UART mode, switch it to headphone mode. See the parts layout for the location and correct position of the switch.
  • When using the USB C alternate DisplayPort mode, it is possible that the audio has been re-directed through this path. If your monitor has speakers, see if they work.
  • See manjaro-arm/pinebookpro-post-install /var/lib/alsa/asound.state for some ALSA tweaks.
  • See manjaro-arm/pinebookpro-audio for how to handle 3.5mm jack plug/unplug events with ACPID.
  • Serveral users have reported that one internal speaker had reversed polarity. Thus, sound from the speakers is like an echo effect.
    • Their is a software fix using alsamixer and then enable either "R invert" or "L invert", however, now the headphones have incorrect audio.
    • The permanent fix is to re-wire one speaker, though this requires soldering small wires.


Keyboard And Trackpad

Keys not registering / missing keys when typing

This issue occurs when your thumb or edge of the palm makes contact with left or right tip of the trackpad when you type. This is due to the palm rejection firmware being too forceful. Instead of only disabling the trackpad, so your cursor does not move all over the screen, it disables both the trackpad and the keyboard.

Using Fn+F7 to disable the touchpad will keep it from also disabling the keyboard.

A firmware update has been released to address this.

Key Mapping

Pinebook Pro gets stuck after first reboot in Trackpad Firmware Update

This refers to the firmware update shown here: https://github.com/ayufan-rock64/pinebook-pro-keyboard-updater#update-all-firmwares

ANSI Fn + F keys wrong for F9, F10, F11 and F12

There appears to be a minor firmware issue for ANSI keyboard models of the Pinebook Pro. Some discussion and fixes have been proposed;

 

USB docks & USB C alternate mode video

The Pinebook Pro uses the RK3399 SoC (System on a Chip). It supports a video pass through mode on the USB C port using DisplayPort alternate mode. This DisplayPort output comes from the same GPU used to display the built-in LCD.

Here are some selection criteria for successfully using the USB C alternate mode for video:

  • The device must use USB C alternate mode DisplayPort. Not USB C alternate mode HDMI, or other.
  • The device can have a HDMI, DVI, or VGA connector, if it uses an active translater.
  • If USB 3 is also desired from a USB dock, the maximum resolution, frame rate and pixel depth is reduced to half the bandwidth. For example, 4K @ 30hz instead of 60hz.
  • USB docks that also use USB C alternate mode DisplayPort will always have USB 2 available, (480Mbps, half-duplex).

Screen

Also see above about external screen using USB-C adaptor

After changing builtin LCD resolution, blank screen

Some people find that the text or icons are too small, so they attempt to change the resolution of the built-in display. Afterwards, the display is blank.
Use the following to fix when logged into a text console as yourself, (Control-Alt-F1 through F6). After listing the resolutions, select the native resolution, (1920x1080 aka 1080p).

export DISPLAY=:0.0
xrandr -q
xrandr -s [resolution]

Once your resolution is restored, try using the Tweak app to set scaling, instead.

If the above fix did not work, you can try this:

  • Using a text console, (Control-Alt-F1), login with your normal user ID
  • Edit the file nano ~/.config/monitors.xml
  • Change the "width" value to "1920"
  • Change the "height" value to "1080"
  • If there is more than one monitor configuration listed, edit that one too.
    Be careful to make no other changes. If needed, exit without saving and re-edit.
  • Save the file and exit.
  • Login using the GUI and test
  • If you are still loggied in via the GUI, you will have to reboot using sudo shutdown -r now
    After the reboot, you should be able to login to the GUI login and have the resolution back to normal.

When you have restored usability to your Pinebook Pro's graphical screen, see this section on improving readability and usability:
Improving readability

Outer Shell

Cracks in the plastic

There have been multiple reports of cracks in the plastic keyboard and trackpad part of the case. These are generally near:

  • Hinges
  • USB ports
  • Top side, around the corners

This seems to apply to the first batches in 2019. Later versions of the keyboard and trackpad have used better plastic. With replacements now in the Pine64 Store, it's possible to simply order a replacement.

There have been a few reports of cracks in the plastic around the LCD display, but these appear to be less common. There are replacement LCDs with top cases available in the Pine64 Store.