96Boards - Poplar

The official Mender documentation explains how Mender works. This is simply a board-specific complement to the official documentation.

Board description

Poplar is the first development board compliant with the 96Boards Enterprise Edition TV Platform specification. Developed by HiSilicon, the board features the Hi3798C V200 with an integrated quad-core 64-bit ARM Cortex A53 processor and high performance Mali T720 GPU. Its high performance specification also supports a premium user experience with up to H.265 HEVC decoding of 4K video at 60 frames per second.


URL: https://www.96boards.org/product/poplar/

Test results

The Yocto Project releases in the table below have been tested by the Mender community. Please update it if you have tested this integration on other Yocto Project releases:

Yocto Project Build Runtime
sumo (2.5) :test_works: :test_works:

Build Means that the Yocto Project build using this Mender integration completes without errors and outputs images.
Runtime Means that Mender has been verified to work on the board. For U-Boot-based boards, the integration checklist has been verified.

Getting started


  • A supported Linux distribution and dependencies installed on your workstation/laptop as described in the Yocto Mega Manual
    • NOTE. Instructions depend on which Yocto version you intend to use.
  • Google repo tool installed and in your PATH.

Configuring the build

Setup Yocto environment

Set the Yocto Project branch you are building for:

# set to your branch, make sure it is supported (see table above)
export BRANCH="sumo"

Create a directory for your mender-poplar setup to live in and clone the
meta information.

mkdir mender-poplar && cd mender-poplar

Initialize repo manifest:

repo init -u https://github.com/96boards/oe-rpb-manifest.git -b ${BRANCH}

Fetch Mender repo manifest amendment:

wget --directory-prefix .repo/manifests/ https://raw.githubusercontent.com/mendersoftware/meta-mender-community/${BRANCH}/meta-mender-96boards/scripts/manifest-96boards.xml

Initialize Mender repo manifest amendment:

repo init -m manifest-96boards.xml

Fetch layers in manifest:

repo sync

Setup build environment

Initialize the build environment:

MACHINE=poplar DISTRO=rpb source setup-environment-mender

Configure Mender server URL (optional)

This section is not required for a successful build but images that are generated by default are only suitable for usage with the Mender client in Standalone deployments, due to lack of server configuration.

You can edit the conf/local.conf file to provide your Mender server configuration, ensuring the generated images and Mender Artifacts are connecting to the Mender server that you are using. There should already be a commented section in the generated conf/local.conf file and you can simply uncomment the relevant configuration options and assign appropriate values to them.

Build for Hosted Mender:

# To get your tenant token:
#    - log in to https://hosted.mender.io
#    - click your email at the top right and then "My organization"
#    - press the "COPY TO CLIPBOARD"
#    - assign content of clipboard to MENDER_TENANT_TOKEN
MENDER_SERVER_URL = "https://hosted.mender.io"
MENDER_TENANT_TOKEN = "<copy token here>"

Build for Mender demo server:

# https://docs.mender.io/getting-started/create-a-test-environment
# Update IP address to match the machine running the Mender demo server

Building the image

You can now proceed with building an image:

bitbake rpb-console-image

rpb-console-image is defined in the 96boards Reference Platform Build layer

Replace rpb-console-image with your desired image target.

Using the build output

After a successful build, the images and build artifacts are placed in:

  • tmp-glibc/deploy/images/poplar/rpb-console-image-poplar.sdimg.gz
  • tmp-glibc/deploy/images/poplar/rpb-console-image-poplar.mender

The disk image with .sdimg.gz suffix is used to provision the device storage for devices without Mender running already. Please proceed to the official documentation on provisioning a new device for steps to do this.

On the other hand, if you already have Mender running on your device and want to deploy a rootfs update using this build, you should use the Mender Artifact files, which have .mender suffix. You can either deploy this Artifact in managed mode with the Mender server (upload it under Releases in the server UI) or by using the Mender client only in Standalone deployments.

Flash instructions


  • Connected to serial console (micro USB J9 connector)
  • Ethernet cable connected to RJ45 (J1) on same network as PC
  • TFT server running on PC
  • Copy rpb-console-image-poplar.sdimg.gz to your TFT server directory

Halt boot the boot procedure in U-boot on the serial console, you should now have access to the U-boot command line interface:

Hit any key to stop autoboot:  0                                                                                                            

Setup TFT server and client IP address in U-boot:

setenv serverip
setenv ipaddr

Transfer disk image to RAM using TFTP:

tftp 0x08000000 rpb-console-image-poplar.sdimg.gz

Write disk image to eMMC:

gzwrite mmc 0 0x08000000 0x$filesize 100000 0

The write operations should take around 5 minutes, once completed power-cycle or reset the device and you should have a Mender compatible image running on your device with the Mender client.


If you do not have an working U-boot on your board or something goes wrong during the flashing procedure you can create recovery USB flash drive based on the these instructions.

The flashboot.bin file mentioned in linked instructions is generated during a Yocto build and can be found at:

  • tmp-glibc/deploy/images/poplar/fastboot.bin


Known issues

The device does not have a fixed MAC address and is “randomized” on each boot. As the default device identity is based on the MAC address it becomes problematic when connecting to a Mender server.

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