Friday, January 13, 2012

Debian Wheezy on WM8505

Installing Debian-Wheezy on microSD card is just simply extracting the two gzip archives into two separate partitions (see below).

$ sudo tar xzpvf wm8505-debian-wheezy-lxde.tar.gz -C /media/extpart/ ; sync
$ sudo tar xzpvf wm8505-kernel-3.0-fatpart.tar.gz -C /media/fatpart/ ; sync

At least 1GB card is needed for the installation, 2GB recommended. The first partition should be a FAT32 (or FAT16) where the "script" folder, containing the "scriptcmd" and "uImage" (linux kernel image) files, is located.The second partition should be an ext2 (or ext4) partition where the root file system will be extracted. Visit these sites for more references:, ,

username: root
password: root

* initial installation using debootstrap
* with minimal LXDE, dillo, build-essential, python, minicom, etc.

* wi-fi / ethernet working ; touchscreen NOT working


side note:

Recovering "wload" and "u-boot"  without a flash programmer.
However, this procedure needs an already working SPI Flash chip.
( I got mine from another unit. )

I soldered them both in a piggy-back connection, except for their #CS pins (pin 1 = chip select). I also soldered a wire on the pin-1 pad on the board and covered it with a kapton tape as an insulation. The other end of the wire is initially connected to the #CS pin of the working chip. The working chip will be only needed for the first boot until we got to u-boot console prompt (needs serial/uart connector).

After getting to the console(i.e press Enter key on the serial console while booting), transfer the #CS wire to the chip that needs to be reprogrammed (use SPDT switch, if needed).
Then, execute these commands (assuming that "wload.bin" and "u-boot.bin" binaries are already saved in the FAT partition of the SD card)


fatload mmc 0 0 wload.bin
erase ffff0000 +10000
cp.b 0 ffff0000 10000

fatload mmc 0 0 u-boot.bin
erase fff80000 +50000
cp.b 0 fff80000 50000

...  here's the serial log for this process.


  1. Hello, where did you buy your wm8505 tablet board?

    Can this also run android?

    Thanks for any pointers.

  2. I couldn't boot my kernel image without an initrd file. I tried many uboot combinations without success. I write uboot messages to cmd file and I see them but booting doesnt start. It just hangs.

    I only didnt try rootwait. I'll try that and see what happens. What can be the problem do you think?

    BTW, very nice blog. I bookmarked it;)

  3. @pic.micro23,
    I bought it locally (second hand).
    It was previously running on Android 1.6 OS.
    If you are still planning to buy one of these cheap tablets, consider those w/ WM8650, instead of WM8505.

    "rootwait" parameter is indeed needed.
    original uboot parameter, iirc, is using "rootdelay=x" instead. I think it's better to use "rootwait"

  4. It was about rootwait, I got it, silly me :)

    Can you please give me the link of your kernel source? I've got a problem about wireless drivers I guess I need to recompile.

    1. This comment has been removed by the author.

    2. Hello, same here,

      my problem really resides in the fact that
      i am trying to run it on a "Wireless
      Notebook", a cheap clone of eeepc with
      wm8505 cpu and 128 MB Ram. Everything runs
      smooth, thanks by the way for the great job,
      exept the fact that i don't know where to
      find either sources or precombiled drivers
      for the wireless card it has. The rt3070sta
      if i remember it correctly, that is being
      used in projectgus build, works good but it
      is for a different kernel.

      Any suggestions would be great.

      Thanks again for the great job.

    3. As being new to all this, i found the script after posting the comment. So now i have a working wireless card. Thanks.

  5. Hi Guy, I followed the procedures to install Debian Wheezy on my WM8505, however I got the message "Kernel panic, unable to mount rootfs". Could you help me?? I took a look at my scriptcmd and he's set up this way: "setenv bootargs root=/dev/mmcblk0p2 rw rootwait"
    It would be necessary to modify this line?

  6. How can I connect by WiFi?
    My smartbook doesn't have touchscreen, camera
    But if I type "iwlist wlan0 scan" it shows the wireless network of my house.

    1. fabian, theck out this:
      I know it's for the raspberry pi, but the tutorial works fine if you have wireless using WEP, if not, just google debian wifi and the type of security you have, if any.

  7. I have a few questions, I have a cvs netbook that I installed this version of debian on and everything works great until I try to either update the system, or install anything that includes multiple libraries, then slim needs to be purged and uninstalled, and reinstalled. Then you get stuck with a black screen with X shaped cursor. I was wondering if this was a driver issue or was something being messed up with the display manager?
    When I try to run X, it just goes to that screen, even without slim, never going past the X mouse cursor with black background. Any clue on how to fix this?
    Also, does sound work in this version? I havnt been able to find any kernel drivers to add for modprobe, and modprobe is messed up due to needing /lib/modules/3.0.0-yus/modules.dep
    after you add the 3.0.0-yus folder and modules.dep, modprobe works fine. also locales is missing too, so it shows warnings on trying to install certain things.
    sorry for being picky, but figured I'd mention the stuff, but other than that, the system's great so far, just need to figure out the black desktop/X mouse cursor problem. Keep up the good work and thanks for the files. :P

    1. Ive narrowed the issues down to openssl and mainly libssl1.0.0

      I tried compiling openssl from source, but it didnt make any difference, and if you update everything, it still goes to the black desktop/X mouse cursor.

  8. This kernel don't have ppp-generic, where to find kernel source of them, and some how-to cross compiling for current kernel


  9. here's the kernel used in this distro as listed in yus-repo folders:

    here's a howto on cross compiling kernels for the wm8505:

  10. here's the instructions for the gitorious link, and the link for the arm compiler toolchain:

  11. Wow! Worked great for on the SYNET7WID netbook.
    Keep up the good work!

  12. hi i have a uestion how i extract the fatpart and the extpart?

  13. Is the 5ºst time i came here for files. The SOC wm8505 is the computer that has stayed with me more time :-) but im sorry, next one will be Raspi no more crappy hardware. Thank you so much for your effors to let us unleash the POWER of this tiny device. Regards.

  14. Hello, I have one of these Sylvania netbooks and I have followed your tutorial with the result of me getting into the desktop. Whenever I try to run the wifi script and then use terminal to connect to the wifi network (in my case it's open wifi, no password), it will fail to keep and of the settings and will never connect to it. Even when I try scanning for a wifi network it will find the network, but will not connect to it. The commands I tried were iwconfig, ifconfig, and several others. Help would be appreciated.

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  16. How can i get packages today? E.g. like ssh, neofetch, ...? It is running fine at my Jaytech Jaybook 9901.