HP Chromebook 11A G6 EE (Barla) Firmware Errors


I have an HP Chromebook 11A G6 EE with a Barla board that i would like to run linux on. I bought this device because it is compatible with MrChromebox’s script (i read that this was the way to go to run linux from a usb drive on a Chromebook)

I can follow the installation instructions to run the firmware-util.sh script as the Chronos user. Everything works almost exactly as the site describes and it tells me everything was succesfull and rw_altfw_stoney-mrchromebox_20200107.bin was succesfully installed.

But it did not present me with this option however:

Users will have the option to set the default boot device (internal storage [default] or USB/SD)

After reboot, pressing Ctrl-L to access Legacy boot mode, I am presented with two choices: 1) U-Boot and 2) TianoCore

When I press 2) nothing happens, the system freezes and I can’t press 1) anymore. Only option left is pressing the power button for a couple of seconds.

When I press 1) i get into U-Boot 2018-09-g6b2672298d but it throws an error:

Error: Invalid Boot Flag (found 0x0000, expected 0xaa55)
Kernel loading failed

Anything I can try here? Maybe some older/newer version of the script? I saw one guy having the same problem that disappeared after updating his ChromeOS and re-running the firmware script. So I updated my ChromeOS to the latest version and reran the script … but I still can’t boot into TianoCore

Thank You!

On the Device Compatibility page I see this “Stoneyridge: Some StoneyRidge devices (CAREENA? BARLA?) may not currently have functional Legacy Boot Mode due to bugs in Google’s firmware.”

I guess this is me. So now my question is: Can I update the Google Firmware so it DOES work?
Or can I try and unlock the device’s Write Protection and install the Full Rom Firmware?

What is my best option here? If I have these problems with the bootloader, is it wise to go one step beyond and go for the Full Rom? Or will the defective bootloader be a game stopper?

Basically no. Firmware is known as firmware because it rarely gets updated and the RO portion of it has never been updated since the day your Chromebook was manufactured. Just because those bugs may have been fixed for later models of Chromebooks, does not mean it was (or ever will) be fixed for your particular family of Chromebooks.

Yes, do this, or use submarine. Submarine is more technical and not documented in detail yet, but installing full ROM will require you to disable hardware write protection according to the method for your device.

By installing MrChromebox’s full ROM UEFI firmware, it will replace Google’s firmware entirely. Whether any part of it is defective or not becomes irrelevant. Like I said above, a portion of Google’s firmware is RO, which is why you’ll have disable write protection first.

Thank you sadlerm, that clears some things out …

I was already trying to figure out how to disable hardware write protection…

According to the pages I can either temporary disable CR50 temporarily or permenantly…

  • I can’t figure out if my device’s CR50 is battery powered or not. (do they mean removing the chromebook battery or should there be a CMOS-like battery like in desktops?) I can always trial-error this, if my device won’t blow up if I start it without the battery :wink:

  • I can use CCD IF I can find or make a SuzyQable (my device is compatible, the debug port is on the right). Neither the cable nor the parts are easily obtained in my area. There is one guy who sells them but I have to wait for a month (US import)… still searching for a European supplier of a USB-C Male Breakout board. Doesn’t seem that hard to make …

But hey: never heard of submarine. Where would I find information on this and what would be the ‘general idea’ that I would be attempting using this method? Can you point me to a page so I can start researching this option first?

Yes, or just disconnecting it from the motherboard. The information is listed on the docs: Disabling Write Protect via Battery | Chrultrabook Docs

MrChromebox’s wiki goes into more detail about why this works, i.e. disconnecting the battery and booting to disable hardware write protect. You can read that here: Firmware Write Protect - MrChromebox Wiki

It is done. I am now running Tails from the usb-c drive. I feel empowered :wink: Couldn’t have done it without your excellent guidance. Thank you so much sadlerm! <3

This is cool stuff. Now I need to replug my battery and find how I can install it on the disk.

Had a moment of doubt there because I forgot to reconnect my keyboard so nothing was reacting :slight_smile: (the keyboard comes off to disconnect the battery on my model, already figured that out earlier)

I also backed up the stock firmware and i did order the components for the debug (SuzyQ) cable, so I will be testing if I can disable the WP permenantly later. This has become a fun project ^^

Cheers m8!

1 Like

Uh oh, you do realise that you don’t have to use the debug cable if you’ve already installed MrChromebox’s firmware after unplugging the battery? I feel obligated to say this just in case it’s not too late for you to get a refund or something.

The relevant line you may have missed in MrChromebox’s wiki is this:

NOTE: If one disables the software write protection and does not enable it back, then even if the hardware write protection is re-enabled, the firmware chip will remain unprotected.

As you can see, even though plugging the battery back in has reenabled hardware write protection, software write protection is still disabled. This means that any subsequent updates of MrChromebox’s firmware that you want to flash will not require you to unplug the battery again, or in fact use a SuzyQ.

Oh my, you are right. I should have just tried this first, then order… and now I have deliberately chosen a supplier that has quick delivery to Europe, it’s already shipped, just got the message :slight_smile:

But no biggy, maybe I can help other people with it, or sell it here in Europe because cable and parts are a lot harder to find here. Plus: it’s a fun little project in-and-on-itself to build that cable. Most expensive part about it is the delivery cost …