Replacing the bootable SD card on a Cubietruck (and perhaps other ARM Linux boxes)

Replacing the bootable SD card on a Cubietruck (and perhaps other ARM Linux boxes)

Once upon a time, a good friend of mine (Hi, Kevin!) bestowed upon me the gift of a Cubietruck/Cubieboard3. That device has been in faithful service at my house ever since. I've experimented with different services on it, used it as a second workstation, and most recently it has been pressed into service as the box from which music goes to the stereo.

It's been really useful. As of late, however, I've struggled to do much more with it than stream music. The problem is that the default distribution for it has been aging. Most of the OS was upgradeable, but the kernel was another and far more tedious story. As a matter of fact, it seemed like too much trouble to be worth it.

Now my friend has an entire cluster of those devices and has been more diligent in keeping up with the times. Fortunately for me, he's also willing to share his findings. So he pointed me at Armbian. It's a modern distribution that runs on the Cubietruck. Not only is it muuuuch more current, it's also a breeze to install. I highly recommend it if you have a Cubietruck or other ARM based system supported by Armbian.

The Getting started instructions worked perfectly. That included installing to the hard drive. Not much else to say.

There was only one problem and it was self-inflicted.

I had used a 32GB SD card to try it out. That card was extremely over-sized, but I still needed an SD card to make the boot happen correctly. I forget the details of why that is, but in the end, I had other uses for the 32GB SD card and wanted to free it up.

I thought about moving the partition around and resizing it. parted and dd and fdisk etc are all very fun, but I've gotten over that kind of fun a long time ago.

What I ended up doing was simpler and quicker. Here are the steps.

  1. Dig out an SD card (2GB should be big enough for the server image) and burn the Armbian image to it.
  2. Pull the current SD card from the Cubietruck and mount it on your workstation
  3. Find the file named <your mount point>/boot/armbianEnv.txt and look for the line with rootdev. It should look something like rootdev=UUID=e10b5342-afde-458b-a396-01515de43813
  4. Cut that line for pasting
  5. Mount the new SD card and find the same <your mount point>/boot/armbianEnv.txt file and replace the rootdev line with the one in your paste buffer
  6. Put the new SD card into the Cubietruck and reboot.


This should work for swapping to a bigger or smaller card as need.

Glad I have that 32GB card freed up again.