Last updated on 2019-11-05

Booting Turris Omnia over serial


This howto is targeting really advanced users. Under normal circumstances you would never ever need this except if you reflashed your NOR (not easily accessible) with something that is not working.

Turris Omnia is using U-Boot to boot. That U-Boot is typically loaded from the beginning of NOR memory and takes care of the rest of booting process. If you try to flash it with different U-Boot and your new U-Boot is corrupted, you’ll end up with unbootable device. To fix that, there is an option to switch Omnia into a mode in which it will download U-Boot over serial line and boot it.


You’ll need a computer running Linux and working serial cable connected to your Omnia. How to connect serial cable is documented in other part of this documentation.

You will also need some binaries from our repository. They can be all found in

  • uboot-turris-omnia-uart-spl.kwb - U-Boot to be send over serial line
  • x86-64/kwboot - utility that will send the image
  • x86-64/sendbeacon - utility that will switch Omnia into boot over serial mode

After downloading those, you also need to make kwboot and sendbeacon executable, for example using chmod u+x ./kwboot ./sendbeacon.


For the purpose of this tutorial, it is assumed that you have all the binaries in your current working directory and that your serial line is ttyUSB0.

  1. Disconnect your Omnia from power supply
  2. Run ./sendbeacon /dev/ttyUSB0 and connect the power supply
  3. This will trigger the boot over serial mode of your Omnia
  4. Run the following command
./kwboot -t -b uboot-turris-omnia-uart-spl.kwb -B 115200 /dev/ttyUSB0

If everything works well, you should see U-Boot being transferred to your Omnia and once done, you’ll see U-Boot prompt and you can use that to recover your device.

Sometimes the kwboot command fails on the first try, but you can just run it again and again till it succeeds.

NOR recovery

Once you have U-Boot running, you can get various images for example via tftp and write it to nor.

To download image from TFTP server you need to get your network started, decide where to load it and load it. Assuming you have TFTP server running on computer with ip on WAN network, following U-Boot commands will get you image into RAM.

setenv autoload no
setenv serverip
tftpboot ${kernel_addr_r} image

Now you have a file originally called image in RAM on your router. To write to NOR you have to know where it belongs.

To reflash U-Boot, your image file on TFTP will be uboot-turris-omnia-spl.kwb and you need to write it from the beginning of the NOR.

sf probe
sf update ${kernel_addr_r} 0 ${filesize}

To recover rescue system, your image file will be omnia-initramfs-zimage and you need to start writing it after first megabyte that is reserved for U-Boot

sf probe
sf update ${kernel_addr_r} 0x00100000 ${filesize}

After that, you can call reset command or hit a reset button and see your router booting again.