NixOS on ARM/Tinker Board

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NixOS on TinkerBoard
Manufacturer ASUS
Architecture ARMv7
Bootloader Upstream u-boot
Maintainer tomberek


@dezgeg's porting efforts to ARMv7 works on the TinkerBoard, with some modification for u-boot and DTB paths. Support for this board is a work in progress. Please contact me (@tomberek) for comments/thoughts/feedback/etc.

Board-specific installation notes

First follow the generic installation steps to get the installer image on an SD card.

The Tinker Board seems to look for U-Boot at a specific offset rather than in a file. So copy the initial 4MB from the TinkerOS image and then copy it to the NixOS image while skipping the MBR/partition table in the first 512 bytes. It turns out the bootstrap section of the MBR is also needed, so copy that as well.

These commands may use either the /dev/sdX or the file images and later copied to SD cards - this was discovered iteratively, thus was performed on the sd cards directly. Use with caution. (Assumes /dev/sdc is TinkerOS and /dev/sdb is NixOS images or devices respectively).

dd if=/dev/sdc of=tinker_sector bs=512k count=8 status=progress # grab tinker initial sectors
dd if=tinker_sector of=/dev/sdb bs=512 skip=1 seek=1 count=8191 # copy the img and env blobs
dd of=/dev/sdb if=tinker_sector bs=428 count=1 # bootstrap code from begining of MBR

It turns out that getting into U-Boot using the TinkerOS image, halting the boot process, replacing SD cards with the NixOS image fails, but the error message suggests the extlinux merely has a different name for the DTB than NixOS has packaged. Simply copy from the nixos dtb file `/boot/nixos/<hash>-dtbs/rk3288-tinker.dtb` to `rockchip-tinker_rk3288.dtb`.

Then, install using the installation and configuration steps.

Serial console

Your configuration.nix will need to modify the default boot.kernelParams configuration to use the serial console.

boot.kernelParams = [
    "console=ttymxc0,115200n8" # HDMI?
    "console=tty0"             # Primary Console?
    "console=ttyS1,115200n8"   # Serial port?
    "console=ttyS2,115200n8"   # Serial port pins 8+10


  • Build U-boot from upstream
  • upload images/blobs
  • host binary cache