Ubuntu on Panda using an external usb hard drive

thanks Rob

Another option for using a usb hard drive is posted here.

1. Get a hard drive

  • for example:

  • Vertex Plus OCZSSD2-1VTXPL1 120GB SATA 3.0Gb/s 2.5" Internal Solid State Drive link

  • Consus P 2.5" SATA to USB/eSATA Drive Enclosure link

2. Format the hard drive

  • I just used the desktop Disk Utility to create and format an ext4 partition. The ubuntu image was using ext4.
    I only created one partition, but should create multiple partitions for booting to different configurations.

3. Put Ubuntu on an sd card

  • Download an ubuntu image file and extract the panda.img

    Copy the panda.img to the sd card using dd:

    $ sudo dd bs=64k if=panda.img of=/dev/sdX
    where sdX is the device name of the sd card

4. Copy the file system from the sd card to the hard drive

  • In this case, the sd card file system partition is named "rootfs"
    and the usb hard drive partition is named "fs"

    Become root
    $ su
    <enter password>
    $ cd /media/rootfs
    $ tar cpf - . | ( cd ../fs;tar xpf -)

5. Create a uEnv.txt file in the boot partition on the hard drive

  • Rename boot.scr to a different name so that it won't be used.

    Create uEnv.txt using boot.txt as a reference, and change the "root=" parameter to point to the hard drive device partition you want to use, as it is known on the panda (/dev/sda1).

    root=/dev/sda1 or
    root=LABEL=fs (more descriptive when using multiple partitions)

    The following is a uEnv.txt for the linked release above:

     bootcmd=fatload mmc 0:1 0x80200000 uImage; fatload mmc 0:1 0x81600000 uInitrd; fatload mmc 0:1 0x815f0000 board.dtb; bootm 0x80200000 0x81600000 0x815f0000
     bootargs=console=tty0 console=ttyO2,115200n8 root=/dev/sda1 rootwait ro earlyprintk fixrtc nocompcache vram=48M  omapfb.vram=0:24M mem=456M@0x80000000 mem=512M@0xA0000000"

6. Plug the usb hard drive into the panda and boot.


  • Using a usb hard drive will only leave one usb port for the keyboard and mouse. You will need to get usb hub or keyboard with extra usb ports to be able to use a keyboard and mouse.

  • With this release, 11.11, I noticed situations where blocky text is displayed and won't go away until reboot. Not sure what this is due to, but I don't see it when operating from the sd card.


BryanHonza/PandaUsbHdd (last modified 2011-12-08 16:57:47)