Building Android Jelly Bean for A13-OLinuXino-WIFI Step by Step Tutorial


Akshay Mathur sent us very detailed step by step tutorial how to build Android Jelly Bean for A13-OLinuXino-WIFI.

A13-OLinuXino-(WIFI) Debian Build with Kernel 3.4.90+



A while ago we put on our Forum wishlist for the next Debian release, now in this Debian release we implemented most of the requests we read on the forum.

Here is Debian image for A13-OLinuXino-(WiFi) with Kernel 3.4.90+

Here is Building description.

Here is List of installed packages.

Here is image description.

New A13-SOM-LTE design on GitHub



What you see on the picture above is A13-SOM-LTE shield which enables 100 Mbit 4G Internet access to A13-SOM.

The LTE shield is specially designed for 4G module from partner we work with. This is the first prototype and some tests should be completed but it’s matter of weeks or months these modules to be released. We still have no price on the 4G module as these are very new but we are assured to have them on the very low cost, so with A13-SOM to enable wearable cloud technology.

100Mbit is enough to listen music, watch videos, log large amounts of data to cloud storage.


A13-SOM-LTE shield is OSHW, the schematic and CAD files are on GitHub.


A13-SOM-XXX Debian build with Kernel 3.4.90+ and many new features


Here is Debian image for A13-SOM-256 with Kernel 3.4.90+

Here is Debian image for A13-SOM-512 with Kernel 3.4.90+

Here is Building description.

Here is List of installed packages.

Here is image description.

A13-SOM Android 4.2.2 NAND Flash image


We completed Android 4.2.2 NAND Flash image for A13-SOM-512 note that this image will not work on A13-SOM-256 as Android require lot of RAM, also to may use this image you need A13-SOM-WIFI-4GB shield to store the image.

New Product in Stock: A13-SOM-256, A13-SOM-512, A13-SOM-WIFI, A13-SOM-WIFI-4GB


A13-SOM-256 and A13-SOM-512 the smallest SOM modules for Allwinner A13 Cortex-A8 processors are now in stock.


A13-SOM-WIFI add internet connectivity, A13-SOM-WIFI-4GB adds also 4GB NAND to run Android.

Meet A13-SOM the smallest Allwinner SOM which cost only EUR 18 in single quantity and run with 1Ghz Cortex-A8 processor



A13-SOM is very small only 61 x 33 mm module which contains everything to run Linux:

  • A13 Cortex-A8 processor running at 1Ghz
  • 256 or 512MB of DDR3 memory
  • micro SD-card
  • power supply
  • console UART
  • A13 GPIO ports on connectors

The module needs single 3.3V / 150mA power supply to run Debian Linux.

All free ports of A13 are available on 4 connectors with 0.05″ step.

A13-SOM-256MB cost EUR 18 for single quantity and goes down to EUR 12 for 1000 pcs.

A13-SOM-512MB cost EUR 21 for single quantity and goes down to EUR 14 for 1000 pcs


A13-SOM-WIFI is shield to connect to A13-SOM and have these features: RTL8188CU wifi module, USB-OTG, optional 4GB NAND, optional 8MB SPI Flash, LCD connector. The LCD connector supports all our parallel RGB LCDs like A13-LCD4.3″TS, A13-LCD7″TS, A13-LCD10″TS.

A13-SOM-WIFI cost EUR 10 in single quantity, A13-SOM-WIFI-4GB cost EUR 17 in single quantity, A13-SOM-WIFI-8MB cost EUR 12.00 in single quantity

A13-SOM and A13-SOM-WIFI will be in stock by May 15th.

A13-SOM-LTE a 4G LTE 100Mbit shield is in development.

A13-SOM is perfect where space is limited, basically you can do with it same what you can do with A13-OLinuXino but in much smaller and compact form.


Getting started with A13-OLinuXino blog post on element14



We spotted blog post on element14 about Getting started with A13-OLinuXino

Building Debian Linux bootable SD card with hardware accelerated video decoding and Kernel 3.4 for A13-OLinuXino


1. Setup of the toolchain

You should make sure you have the tools for building the Linux Kernel and install them if you don’t have them. To install new software you should be with super user rights on your Linux machine, so do this type in a terminal.

$ sudo su

you will be asked for your password and then your prompt will change to # which means you are now the super user, all future commands should be run in this mode.

First update apt-get links by typing:

# apt-get update

Install the toolchain by typing the following.

# apt-get install gcc-4.7-arm-linux-gnueabihf ncurses-dev uboot-mkimage build-essential git

This will install: GCC compiler used to compile the kernal, the kernel config menu
uboot make image which is required to allow the SD card to book into the linux image, Git which allows you to download from the github which holds source code for some of the system, some other tools for building the kernel.

Note that if you use debian may be you will need to add:

deb squeeze main

in the file below:


after the installation you now have all tools to make your very own A13 kernel image!

2. Building Uboot

For problems around u-boot use Linux-Sunxi mailing list at Google Groups:!forum/linux-sunxi

First let’s make the directory where we will build the A13-OLinuXino linux:

# mkdir A13-OLinuXino_kernel_34/
# cd A13-OLinuXino_kernel_34/

Then let’s download the uboot sources from GitHub repository, note there are lot of branches but you have to use sunxi branch.
Note that the A13-OLinuXino board u-boot is tested with the next branch:

# git rev-parse --verify HEAD

Download u-boot sourses:

# git clone -b sunxi

After the download you should have a new directory

# cd u-boot-sunxi/

With the following command you can start the uboot build:

# make A13-OLinuXino CROSS_COMPILE=arm-linux-gnueabihf-

At the end of the process you can check if everything is OK by

# ls u-boot.bin u-boot-sunxi-with-spl.bin spl/sunxi-spl.bin
spl/sunxi-spl.bin u-boot.bin u-boot-sunxi-with-spl.bin

If you got these files everything is complete, well done so far

# cd ..

You should be in the following directory


3. Building kernel sources for A13-OLinuXino

For problems around kernel use Linux-Sunxi mailing list at Google Groups:!forum/linux-sunxi

Kernel sources for A13 are available on GitHub. Note that the following building is made with the revision below:

# git rev-parse --verify HEAD

You can download the kernel sources using the following command:

# git clone

After the download go to the kernel directory

# cd linux-sunxi/

Here you need from A13 configuration file a13_linux_defconfig. The file contains all kernel module settings.

Download a13_linux_defconfig

then copy a13_linux_defconfig file to configs directory:

# cp a13_linux_defconfig linux-sunxi/arch/arm/configs/.

and make:

# make ARCH=arm a13_linux_defconfig

The result should be:

configuration written to .config

If you wish to make your changes in the kernel configuration do:

# make ARCH=arm menuconfig

The menuconfig changes a .config text file, which you can view/edit even with a text editor like vi,nano.

With this command you can add or remove different modules for the different peripherals in the kernel. Be careful when use this as this may cause the kernel to not work properly.

Note that before compiling kernel you have to do a patch related with I2C speed. The patch changes i2c speed from 200kHz to 100kHz.

If you want to use some of olimex’s i2c modules on UEXT then you need from this patch.

download the patch sunxi-i2c.patch

and apply the patch:

# patch -p0 < sunxi-i2c.patch

Now you can continue with kernel image compiling

# make ARCH=arm CROSS_COMPILE=arm-linux-gnueabihf- -j4 uImage

when this finish’s you will have uImage ready and the result should be:

Image Name: Linux-3.4.75+
Created: Mon Sep 16 13:39:04 2013
Image Type: ARM Linux Kernel Image (uncompressed)
Data Size: 5450904 Bytes = 5323.15 kB = 5.20 MB
Load Address: 40008000
Entry Point: 40008000
Image arch/arm/boot/uImage is ready

Now you can build the kernel modules:

# make ARCH=arm CROSS_COMPILE=arm-linux-gnueabihf- -j4 INSTALL_MOD_PATH=out modules
# make ARCH=arm CROSS_COMPILE=arm-linux-gnueabihf- -j4 INSTALL_MOD_PATH=out modules_install

DONE! At this point you have uboot and kernel modules.

The uImage file is located in linux-sunxi/arch/arm/boot/

The kernel modules are located in

where 3.x.xx is kernel version

in our case the directory with modules is:


4. Format and setup the SD-card

We suggest 4GB class 10 micro sd-card but you can use any card between 2GB and 16GB. Note that if your card is Class 4 or 6 the Linux performance will suffer.

First we have to make the correct card partitions, this is done with fdisk.

Plug SD card into your SD card reader and enter in the terminal

# ls /dev/sd

Then press two times <TAB> you will see a list of your sd devices like sda sdb sdc note that some of these devices may be your hard disk so make sure you know which one is your sd card before you proceed as you can damage your HDD if you choose the wrong sd-device. You can do this by unplugging your sd card reader and identify which “sd” devices remove from the list.

Once you know which device is your sdcard like sda use this text instead of the sdX name in the references below:

# fdisk /dev/sdX

then do these steps:

1. p
will list your partitions

if there are already partitions on your card do:

2. d enter 1
if you have more than one partitition press d while delete them all

3. create the first partition, starting from 2048
n enter p enter 1 enter enter +16M

4. create second partition
n enter p enter 2 enter enter enter

then list the created partitions:
p enter
if you did everything correctly on 4GB card you should see something like:

Disk /dev/sdg: 3980 MB, 3980394496 bytes
123 heads, 62 sectors/track, 1019 cylinders, total 7774208 sectors
Units = sectors of 1 * 512 = 512 bytes
Sector size (logical/physical): 512 bytes / 512 bytes
I/O size (minimum/optimal): 512 bytes / 512 bytes
Disk identifier: 0x00000000
Device Boot Start End Blocks Id System
/dev/sdg1 2048 34815 16384 83 Linux
/dev/sdg2 34816 7774207 3869696 83 Linux

7. w

write changes to sd card
now we have to format the file system on the card:

the first partition should be vfat as this is FS which the Allwinner bootloader understands

# mkfs.vfat /dev/sdX1

the second should be normal Linux EXT3 FS

# mkfs.ext3 /dev/sdX2

5. Write the Uboot and sunxi-spl.bin

You should be in /home/user/A13-OLinuXino_kernel_34/# directory

Note that you have to write u-boot-sunxi-with-spl.bin in /dev/sdX (not sdX1 or sdX2)

# dd if=u-boot-sunxi/u-boot-sunxi-with-spl.bin of=/dev/sdX bs=1024 seek=8

6. Write kernel uImage you build to the SD-card

You should be in the directory below

/home/user/A13-OLinuXino_kernel_34/# directory

# mount /dev/sdX1 /mnt/sd

copy the Kernel uImage to root directory in partition 1

# cp linux-sunxi/arch/arm/boot/uImage /mnt/sd

7. Write script.bin file

script.bin is a file with very important configuration parameters like port GPIO assignments, DDR memory parameters, Video resolution etc,

download the script.bin file

# cp script.bin /mnt/sd
# sync
# umount /dev/sdX1

8. Debian rootfs

The Linux Kernel and Uboot are ready, now we have need from Linux distribution rootfs.

Basically the only difference between the different Linux distributions is the rootfs, so if you put Debian rootfs you will have Debian, if you put Ubuntu rootfs it will be Ubuntu etc.

How to build one is a long topic, the good thing is that there are many already pre-built so we can just download one and use.

exit the kernel directory

# cd ..

You should be in the directory below

# /home/user/A13-OLinuXino_kernel_34/

download debian rootfs – a13_olinuxino_debian_fs_kernel_34_75_rel_9.tgz

mount your sd card EXT3 FS partition:

# mkdir /mnt/sd
# mount /dev/sdX2 /mnt/sd

and unarchive the rootfs

# tar xzvf a13_olinuxino_debian_fs_kernel_34_75.tgz -C /mnt/sd
# ls /mnt/sd

the right result should be:

bin dev home lost+found mnt proc run selinux sys usr
boot etc lib media opt root sbin srv tmp var

Now you have to replace the new generated kernel modules from /home/user/A13-OLinuXino_kernel_34/linux-sunxi/out/lib/modules/ to the new debian file system

# rm -rf /mnt/sd/lib/modules/*
# cp -rfv linux-sunxi/out/lib/modules/3.x.xx+/ /mnt/sd/lib/modules/

where x.xx is the kernel version
in our case:

# cp -rfv linux-sunxi/out/lib/modules/3.4.75+/ /mnt/sd/lib/modules/
# sync
# umount /mnt/sdX2

at this point you have Debian on your SD card second partition and
you have an SD card ready to boot debian on A13-OLinuXino

Connect USB-SERIAL-CABLE-F to UEXT Tx.Rx and GND, or connect a VGA screen. Put the SD-card in A10-OLinuXino-Micro and apply 5V power, you should see Uboot and then Kernel messages on the console

default username/password is : root / olimex

For these who do not want to go through all these steps the prebuilt image is linked on our A13-OLinuXino WiKi page.

New Debian image with Armel and Mono-complete is available


There are lot of people who do .NET programming and the Linux alternative MONO. For some weird reason MONO is not working on armhf default Debian distribution which we use (as armhf performs better we ignored so far armel).

We got number of requests from customers who want to program OLinuXino with MONO if we can help with building armel Debian distribution and Dimitar Gamishev completed this few days ago.

With Debian armel mono-complete is installing without problems and we prepared image with it pre-installed. The image is on the Wiki page. Note this Debian should be slower than official armhf Debian as do not use the float point co-processor. Anyway if you want to develop with .NET and MONO armel is the only option. I bet armhf doesn’t work with MONO for some silly library reason, if someone have more knowledge he may dig a bit and fix what is wrong, but for the moment we have something which works!

We are going to release armel for A10 and A20 too, please be patient these images are huge and we triple check all GPIOs and other features work correctly before upload to WIKI.

1. Install on SD card

Note: You should use 4GB Class10 fast micro sd-card to write this image.

The image is Debian linux with kernel 3.4.67+

Default login/password: rootolimex

The file A13_debian_armel_34_67_WIFI_GCC_GPIO_IN_OUT_I2C_100KHz_UVC_python_TS_release_1.7z is an archive of A13_debian_armel_34_67_WIFI_GCC_GPIO_IN_OUT_I2C_100KHz_UVC_python_TS_release_1.img file.

So in order to write the image on SD card you have to unzip A13_debian_armel_34_67_WIFI_GCC_GPIO_IN_OUT_I2C_100KHz_UVC_python_TS_release_1.7z file:

1.1 For Windows

Use 7zip and then use Win32DiskImager.exe for image writing.

1.2 For Linux

Use p7zip package. If you have no installed 7zip then type

#apt-get install p7zip

Copy A13_debian_armel_34_67_WIFI_GCC_GPIO_IN_OUT_I2C_100KHz_UVC_python_TS_release_1.7z file in your directory and unzip it with

#7za e A13_debian_armel_34_67_WIFI_GCC_GPIO_IN_OUT_I2C_100KHz_UVC_python_TS_release_1.7z

The output should be a new 4GB file named A13_debian_armel_34_67_WIFI_GCC_GPIO_IN_OUT_I2C_100KHz_UVC_python_TS_release_1.img

Put 4GB SD card in your card reader and type:

# ls /dev/sd

Then press two times <TAB> you will see a list of your sd devices like sda sdb sdc note that some of these devices may be your hard disk so make sure you know which one is your sd card before you proceed as you can damage your HDD if you choose the wrong sd-device. You can do this by unplugging your sd card reader and identify which “sd” devices remove from the list.
Once you know which device is your sdcard like sda use this text instead of the sdX name in the references below:

#dd if=A13_debian_armel_34_67_WIFI_GCC_GPIO_IN_OUT_I2C_100KHz_UVC_python_TS_release_1.img of=/dev/sdX

The main installed packages are listed below:

  • Mplayer CLI
  • GCC 4.6
  • dpkg
  • git
  • i2c-tools
  • perl
  • Python 2.7
  • mono-complete
  • sunxi-tools (in /opt/sunxi-tools/)

The main tested onboard hardware modules are:

  • GPIO – they are located in /sys/class/gpio directory. Note that first you have to export GPIOs.
  • LCD – 4.3″(480×272), 7″(800×480), 10″(1024×600)
  • Touch_screen – you need calibrate LCD before using touch screen. Type: ts_calibrate and then test it with ts_test
  • ASIX8877 USB-LAN
  • WEB camera A4TECH
  • TL-WN721(TP-LINK USB wireless)
  • WIFI_RTL8188
  • USB_OTG – low/full/high USB host
  • USB_HOST1,2,3 – low/full/high USB host
  • mico_SD_card – used to boot Linux
  • Headphone OUT – Audio output for 60 ohm headphones
  • MIC IN – microphone input
  • I2C2(100KHz) – /dev/i2c-2
  • I2C1(100KHz) – /dev/i2c-1
  • UART1 – /dev/ttyS0
  • UART3 – /dev/ttyS1

Changing A13-OLinuxino LCD or VGA resolution

The default SD card setup is made with settings for LCD 7”(800×480). If you want to change some other LCD or VGA resolution then you have to start script file in /root directory.
# ./

and choose the desired resolution of desired interface(LCD or VGA)
The supported resolution are:

1. 4.3”(480×272)
2. 7”(800×480)
3. 10”(1024×600)

0. 1024×768
1. 800×600

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