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Some i.MX 7S are not booting without extra reset cycle

Question asked by Peter Lischer on Jul 11, 2016
Latest reply on Jul 14, 2016 by Peter Lischer

After starting a first small production lot, we have several i.MX 7S systems that are not booting after the power rails are ramped up. The systems boot always successful if the POR_B signal is cycled a second time (over an external reset button). It does not help if the POR_B signal is kept low for several seconds and released later (by holding the reset button during power up). Only if there is a second reset cycle, the system boots successful.

 

We can put the SoC into the USB download mode even without the extra reset cycle. In this USB download mode, we are able to connect with the DDR Stress Test tool (Version 2.5.2). It is possible to do successful memory read and writes. But the DDR stress test always hangs even at the lowest possible speed (350MHz). The last output we get is the following: 

 

DDR Stress Test Iteration 1
DDR Freq: 349 MHz
t0.1: data is addr test

 

If we do a reset cycle before entering the USB download mode, the DDR stress test is running successful until a frequency of 622MHz without issues. Therefore, I do not think the issue is related to the DDR RAM. 

 

The system boots perfectly from the NAND flash if a second reset cycle is issued. Without this reset cycle, there is no serial output from the U-Boot. Measuring the NAND data lines with a scope shows, that the NAND communication stops after a few milliseconds. It seems that the SoC loads the DCD table, but then crashes.

 

The power up sequence seems to be OK, also the oscillators are starting as expected. There is no voltage rail missing. The issue seems to be somehow temperature related. At some temperatures, the system works without the additional need for a reset cycle.

 

What could cause such a behavior? In which direction should I do my further investigations? Do you have any further inputs for resolving the issue? I checked for the latest errata (Rev. 0, 05/2016). I was not able to find anything related to such an issue.

 

Thank you in advance for any help.

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