Is there any corruptible firmware in a Pi?

Lately a Raspberry Pi 2 running FreeBSD-current crashed hard during
compilation. On restart, it tried to enter single-user mode, but then
reported "out of memory" and became stuck in the "Enter full pathname of shell
or RETURN for /bin/sh" loop. Power cycling was the only way out.
Thinking the kernel had become corrupted I tried a total of three others,
two of which were known to work, and all reported "out of memory", despite
the kernel reporting
real memory = 989851648 (943 MB)
avail memory = 953241600 (909 MB)
I'm starting to wonder if something is wrong with the Pi itself, or perhaps
some firmware. It's hard to imagine software damaging hardware, but it does
seem possible the crash might have scribbled on some on-board configuration
flash if there is any (to the best of my knowledge there isn't).
Config.txt looks normal and all filesystems seem clean. U-boot behaves
normally and the FreeBSD loader seems to work as it should. There are
no error messages on the console until after the kernel boot.
Thanks for reading and any thoughts!
bob prohaska

Reply to
bob prohaska
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Bob, perhaps you could try testing with a standard NOOBS OS installation. There is firmware, at least judging by some of the files and messages, and perhaps this might fix it. No guarantees, mind!
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Cheers, 
David 
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Reply to
David Taylor
shell
this means you tried different kernel on different SD cards or different ke rnels on the same sd card?
could be that the sd card is broken...
Bye Jack
Reply to
jack4747
I've had an SD card go out on a RaPi with simular type symptoms. Try a different SD card.
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Doug McIntyre 
doug@themcintyres.us
Reply to
Doug McIntyre
As I understand it, the only firmware in the Pi SoC itself is a small boot ROM, enough to load bootcode.bin from the SD card (or USB storage/ethernet in the case of Pi3). All other code is thus replaced by changing your SD card.
There may be some firmware in the LAN9514 USB hub/ethernet, but it's likely ROM. There might be some other code memories scattered around the BCM283x SoC, but they'll be ROM also.
Theo
Reply to
Theo
Maybe a hardware fault has developed and that is what caused the crash?
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RoRo
Reply to
Robert Roland
AFAIK, the source for bootcode.bin is not available (to the general public and users). So while it technically isn't firmware, it is a proprietary binary blob that we users have no control over.
Exactly.
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Torfinn Ingolfsen, 
Norway
Reply to
Torfinn Ingolfsen
Different kernels, same card. Since u-boot got far enough to start the FreeBSD loader, load the kernel and start it the odds of a bad card seemed rather small. The error appeared when starting a single user shell.
It has since developed there's a problem with the FreeBSD sources and the trouble is, at least provisionally, being blamed on that. I'll wait a bit longer before re-imaging it,
Thanks for reading!
bob prohaska
Reply to
bob prohaska
The shell is not in the kernel, but in userspace. So if that is damaged, different kernels will not make a difference
Reply to
Stefan Enzinger

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