Booting Firmware Update images

When Firmware Update (FWU) is enabled there are at least 2 new images that have to be loaded, the Non-Secure FWU ROM (NS-BL1U), and the FWU FIP.

The additional fip images must be loaded with:

--data cluster0.cpu0="<path_to>/ns_bl1u.bin"@0x0beb8000     [ns_bl1u_base_address]
--data cluster0.cpu0="<path_to>/fwu_fip.bin"@0x08400000     [ns_bl2u_base_address]

The address ns_bl1u_base_address is the value of NS_BL1U_BASE. In the same way, the address ns_bl2u_base_address is the value of NS_BL2U_BASE. Booting an EL3 payload

The EL3 payloads boot flow requires the CPU’s mailbox to be cleared at reset for the secondary CPUs holding pen to work properly. Unfortunately, its reset value is undefined on the FVP platform and the FVP platform code doesn’t clear it. Therefore, one must modify the way the model is normally invoked in order to clear the mailbox at start-up.

One way to do that is to create an 8-byte file containing all zero bytes using the following command:

dd if=/dev/zero of=mailbox.dat bs=1 count=8

and pre-load it into the FVP memory at the mailbox address (i.e. 0x04000000) using the following model parameters:

--data cluster0.cpu0=mailbox.dat@0x04000000   [Base FVPs]
--data=mailbox.dat@0x04000000                 [Foundation FVP]

To provide the model with the EL3 payload image, the following methods may be used:

  1. If the EL3 payload is able to execute in place, it may be programmed into flash memory. On Base Cortex and AEM FVPs, the following model parameter loads it at the base address of the NOR FLASH1 (the NOR FLASH0 is already used for the FIP):

    -C bp.flashloader1.fname="<path-to>/<el3-payload>"

    On Foundation FVP, there is no flash loader component and the EL3 payload may be programmed anywhere in flash using method 3 below.

  2. When using the SPIN_ON_BL1_EXIT=1 loading method, the following DS-5 command may be used to load the EL3 payload ELF image over JTAG:

    load <path-to>/el3-payload.elf
  3. The EL3 payload may be pre-loaded in volatile memory using the following model parameters:

    --data cluster0.cpu0="<path-to>/el3-payload>"@address   [Base FVPs]
    --data="<path-to>/<el3-payload>"@address                [Foundation FVP]

    The address provided to the FVP must match the EL3_PAYLOAD_BASE address used when building TF-A. Booting a preloaded kernel image (Base FVP)

The following example uses a simplified boot flow by directly jumping from the TF-A to the Linux kernel, which will use a ramdisk as filesystem. This can be useful if both the kernel and the device tree blob (DTB) are already present in memory (like in FVP).

For example, if the kernel is loaded at 0x80080000 and the DTB is loaded at address 0x82000000, the firmware can be built like this:

CROSS_COMPILE=aarch64-none-elf-  \
make PLAT=fvp DEBUG=1             \
RESET_TO_BL31=1                   \
PRELOADED_BL33_BASE=0x80080000    \
all fip

Now, it is needed to modify the DTB so that the kernel knows the address of the ramdisk. The following script generates a patched DTB from the provided one, assuming that the ramdisk is loaded at address 0x84000000. Note that this script assumes that the user is using a ramdisk image prepared for U-Boot, like the ones provided by Linaro. If using a ramdisk without this header,the 0x40 offset in INITRD_START has to be removed.


# Path to the input DTB
# Path to the output DTB
# Base address of the ramdisk
# Path to the ramdisk

# Skip uboot header (64 bytes)
INITRD_START=$(printf "0x%x" $((${INITRD_BASE} + 0x40)) )
INITRD_SIZE=$(stat -Lc %s ${INITRD})
INITRD_END=$(printf "0x%x" $((${INITRD_BASE} + ${INITRD_SIZE})) )

CHOSEN_NODE=$(echo                                        \
"/ {                                                      \
        chosen {                                          \
                linux,initrd-start = <${INITRD_START}>;   \
                linux,initrd-end = <${INITRD_END}>;       \
        };                                                \

echo $(dtc -O dts -I dtb ${KERNEL_DTB}) ${CHOSEN_NODE} |  \
        dtc -O dtb -o ${PATCHED_KERNEL_DTB} -

And the FVP binary can be run with the following command:

<path-to>/FVP_Base_AEMv8A-AEMv8A                            \
-C pctl.startup=                                     \
-C bp.secure_memory=1                                       \
-C cluster0.NUM_CORES=4                                     \
-C cluster1.NUM_CORES=4                                     \
-C cache_state_modelled=1                                   \
-C cluster0.cpu0.RVBAR=0x04001000                           \
-C cluster0.cpu1.RVBAR=0x04001000                           \
-C cluster0.cpu2.RVBAR=0x04001000                           \
-C cluster0.cpu3.RVBAR=0x04001000                           \
-C cluster1.cpu0.RVBAR=0x04001000                           \
-C cluster1.cpu1.RVBAR=0x04001000                           \
-C cluster1.cpu2.RVBAR=0x04001000                           \
-C cluster1.cpu3.RVBAR=0x04001000                           \
--data cluster0.cpu0="<path-to>/bl31.bin"@0x04001000        \
--data cluster0.cpu0="<path-to>/<patched-fdt>"@0x82000000   \
--data cluster0.cpu0="<path-to>/<kernel-binary>"@0x80080000 \
--data cluster0.cpu0="<path-to>/<ramdisk.img>"@0x84000000 Obtaining the Flattened Device Trees

Depending on the FVP configuration and Linux configuration used, different FDT files are required. FDT source files for the Foundation and Base FVPs can be found in the TF-A source directory under fdts/. The Foundation FVP has a subset of the Base FVP components. For example, the Foundation FVP lacks CLCD and MMC support, and has only one CPU cluster.


It is not recommended to use the FDTs built along the kernel because not all FDTs are available from there.

The dynamic configuration capability is enabled in the firmware for FVPs. This means that the firmware can authenticate and load the FDT if present in FIP. A default FDT is packaged into FIP during the build based on the build configuration. This can be overridden by using the FVP_HW_CONFIG or FVP_HW_CONFIG_DTS build options (refer to Arm FVP Platform Specific Build Options for details on the options).

  • fvp-base-gicv2-psci.dts

    For use with models such as the Cortex-A57-A53 or Cortex-A32 Base FVPs without shifted affinities and with Base memory map configuration.

  • fvp-base-gicv3-psci.dts

    For use with models such as the Cortex-A57-A53 or Cortex-A32 Base FVPs without shifted affinities and with Base memory map configuration and Linux GICv3 support.

  • fvp-base-gicv3-psci-1t.dts

    For use with models such as the AEMv8-RevC Base FVP with shifted affinities, single threaded CPUs, Base memory map configuration and Linux GICv3 support.

  • fvp-base-gicv3-psci-dynamiq.dts

    For use with models as the Cortex-A55-A75 Base FVPs with shifted affinities, single cluster, single threaded CPUs, Base memory map configuration and Linux GICv3 support.

  • fvp-foundation-gicv2-psci.dts

    For use with Foundation FVP with Base memory map configuration.

  • fvp-foundation-gicv3-psci.dts

    (Default) For use with Foundation FVP with Base memory map configuration and Linux GICv3 support.

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