Boot the SmartQ 5 from SD card


Update: This information is old, please read a more recent post on this topic.

I made a modified Qi bootloader for the SmartQ 5 MID that can boot from the
external SD card, as a convenient way of developping or testing OS, or for system rescue purposes in case of internal flash corruption. This is the bootloader operation:

The SmartQ Qi bootloader is written to the end of the SD card. Create partitions to suit your preferences, make at least one ext2/ext3 partition to install the root filesystem and optionally a swap partition, but always remember to reserve 1 MiB of free, unpartitioned space at the end of the SD card. To be precise, at least the latest 1042 blocks (512 bytes each) must be reserved.

The precompiled bootloader and a kernel, installation script and source code are here:

Look at the script in order to make a bootable SD card:

./ /dev/SD_CARD_DEVICE qi-smartq-20090603.bin

To boot from the SD card, keep the “move” (also known as fullscreen) button pressed and then press the “power” button.

There is no battery check at the moment, look for the next release, I’m working in that.

Filed under: Embedded, Software — Tags:


  1. Comment by Anonymous

    2009-06-10 @ 23:59

    Hi there,

    I tried to follow your guide and boot a q7 with a 8gig sdhc sd card. It never booted right from the sd card. it always used the internal sd card.

    I can provide you the ttySAC0 output if would help you!



  2. Comment by Roberto

    2009-06-11 @ 11:29

    The boot manager is compiled for a Q5, I’m not sure if it will work on a Q7 without making some changes first. If you have some free time go to the #mer channel on, there are people with SmartQ devices and I’m usually there too (zenvoid).

  3. Comment by Roberto

    2009-06-12 @ 11:37

    You are right about uImage-SMDK6410.bin (it should be linux-SMDK6410.bin for all partitions, it is a bug). Check during next days for the next release…

  4. Comment by Bob Wolfe

    2009-06-12 @ 11:02

    Hi, I reshipped this article to SmartQ Fans Forum :

    I tested but it is not works on my Q5. My SDHC card is 8G, with 4 partitions. part 1 is 1G vfat , part 2 is 5G ext3 rootfs. I copied linux-SMDK6410.bin to mmcblk1p2:/boot/ , reboot, QI blink from yellow led to green , and soon go dark forever. I rename linux-SMDK6410.bin to uImage-SMDK6410.bin but got the same result.

    do not know what I miss.



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