Unable to boot Android from SD Card on VIM3L | Missing Partition Table

Hello there,

Ive been reading the instructions how to create a bootable sd card, but Etcher is throwing the error bellow, saying not a bootable image. Rufus is throwing the same error…

So I downloaded a tool called Burn CD Card Maker v2.0.3 to transfer the img file to the sd card.
Plug in card, press and hold power press reset count to 3 and release power…all OK…
I am following the steps from topic Boot Images from External Media | Khadas Documentation and I am passing the first loading screen with Android logo, but the second screen with 4 color dots (or smt alike) is staying forever and doing nothing. I waited around 5-6 hours over night to complete but in the morning it was where I left it.

I dont want to use krescue and boot from internal storage. I need a separate OS that I can use from the SD card.

Downloaded raw iamge and non-raw iamge from the Khadas ftp download portal - both showing the same error like in the picture.

I am also testing an Android image from Odroid website with Etcher - no errors there - image is recognized and burned to the sd card, so the Etcher application is working fine.

What could be the problem? How can I create a bootable sd card and isntall Android on the VIM3L device?


@hristvic what image did you flash, anything with eMMC marking is made for flashing via USB-C cable

you should only flash those marked with SD-USB with rufus or etcher

cheers :slightly_smiling_face:

Image downloaded from Index of /products/vim3l/firmware/Android. I tried both raw and non-raw images but no luck.

I cannot seem to find another source with images, suitable to SD cards.

Flashing via sd card Upgrade Android Or Ubuntu Via An SD-Card | Khadas Documentation is not showing a location from where to download the image.

Where should I look for the correct image?

@hristvic that is eMMC image, its in raw binary image (not the regular disk image)

you need to flash with a USB-C cable, please check my above post for the guide “flashing via USB-C cable”

or you can try to use Krescue:

*** note that Krescue can be flashed to your SD card via etcher

I am puzzled.

Is there an Android image that I can burn via Etcher (Rufus, or whatever) and boot from it on the vim3l - yes or no? If yes - where is it?

If no - then I am forced to install other OS on the eMMC via usb or krescue. This is not a good user experience…

I dont want to use krescue to install Android onto the eMMC. Just on a regular SD card. Is that simple?

Hey ! You cannot boot Android from sd to the system, you can only install the Android system in eMMC with sd.
Here is the instruction …

These instructions are not working!

At least not working with the existing images…

Please share an image that will work either with Etcher, Rufus or Burn Card Maker…

You can install any Android image designed to be flashed to eMMC, normally using the USB Burning Tool, a PC and USB-A-to-USB-C cable, using instead the Amlogic Burn Card Maker.
Simply use the BCM to flash the image to a quality uSD card of sufficient size. You can preformat your uSD card to FAT32, if not, tick the Partition and Format option in the BCM.
I use these BCM settings…

Once the Burn Card Maker(BCM) has finished, eject the card from PC and insert the uSD card in to the VIM3(3L)'s card slot. Press and hold power button(don’t release), while holding, briefly press the reset button, continue to hold the Power button for 10 seconds then release. The VIM3(3L) should begin update process with a progress indicator. Note: I cleared the eMMC prior to update using the “Interrupt” method seen here. If you clear the eMMC prior, you will not need to use the buttons, just insert card, apply power and the update should begin.
I just used the BCM to install the latest VIM3 Android(2021) to eMMC. If you have VIM3L, select appropriate image. Sorry, I do not have the VIM3L.

Note: Once the update is complete, you may wish to eject the uSD card, but it is not necessary, device should reboot and the newly installed Android(or other OS) should boot up.

As Vladimir.V.V says, there are no Android versions that can boot and run from SD card. Very few of those exist for Amlogic devices of any make.

Odroid N2 device is capable to boot from SD card and run Android successfully. I didnt knew that booting and running OS from SD card is a rare feature…

Thanks for the comments, but my goal is to run Android from the SD card, not from the internal emmc.

Hope to see the dual boot option in the near future.

Yes, I have seen a few Android that boot and run from SD card. Have not seen yet on Khadas SBCs. Perhaps you could make a request to one of the Khadas Team. :slightly_smiling_face:

Thanks all!

Please note, that if you are reading this, at the time of this topic, you are unable to run Android from external SD card on Khadas SBC device.

We are waiting to get dual boot option, but its not ready yet.


It should also be noted that the N2 comes with no eMMC, so any image released by Hardernel must be able to boot and run from SD card. That will almost always be slower than eMMC. Maybe that is why Khadas has yet to offer an Android for boot/run from SD card.

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Khadas has marketed these devices as Android boxes and not SBCs. All Android boxes have primarily some on board nand or emmc storage and their primary boot device is never an sdcard.

For that, we go to rpi, radxa devices or hard kernel etc.

I am completely agree with you.

Thanks for the clarifications and details regarding the difference in the nature of these devices, I realize the difference now.

Hope to see dual boot or boot from SD soon enough from Khadas Team.

I believe that is true specifically for the VIM3L. “A” it is the only one that comes with a box. :smile:

IMO, the rest comfortably fit the, very broad, term SBC. With GPIO and a multitude of other headers and the documentation, hard to see just an Android box.

You’re right, even in their website they write SBC after vim3 name however in reality i see that they treat all their devices like android boxes

  1. Preloaded android
  2. Reference android boards on Google website
  3. Primary booting from emmc ( which suits android more)
  4. Better drivers and video capabilities on android
  5. More frequent updated images for android
  6. Lack of usb ports( some linux aimed sbcs have 4 or 5)
  7. Not much interest of khadas in armbian/twister/dietpi OS
  8. Touch based official display accessories which are aimed at android more
  9. Coreelec and libre elec are better supported but they look more android than linux.
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I am curious, when you got your Khadas device, were you buying an SBC or an Android box? My interest in the Khadas line was as an SBC. I saw it as a device that allowed for more tinkering and versatility than your average Android TV box.

Other SBCs come with eMMC, so not sure that is a determing factor on its own.
Of course, it is true that even “Android boxes” are SBCs.

Offering Android on one’s SBCs will broaden market appeal. Why limit one’s market?
I think the point is somewhat mute, as people make buying decisions based on a whole host of varying criteria. I think Khadas markets to both groups. Many makers have selected the Khadas line as the heart of their “non-Android TV box” projects.

I have been around TV boxes for many years now, never seen one with the kind of support longevity that even the original Khadas SBC, the VIM1, enjoys, either from the manufacturer or the community. That fact alone would suggest something far greater than an Android TV box. Many OS options provided by Khadas.

We all see the world through our own set of preconceptions and expectations. I see the Khadas line as SBCs. I am not alone, others see SBC too.
To each their own. :slightly_smiling_face:

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I personally ordered it to use as SBC. But what I read on forums of armbian and other places like radxa and hard kernel led me to believe khadas is more tvbox oriented than SBCs. But yeah, it’s probably a mix of both. Essentially it’s a mini pc/Dev board which you can convert to anything you wanna use

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@Yasir_Javed I feel you opinion maybe tainted due to the consistent use of Media Oriented Amlogic and Rockchip SoCs
but to be fair and square the RK3399 is marketed as a low power ARM SoC for chromebooks, so when you use something that IS meant for desktop use, its what gives the label of Computer when used in a Single board computer.

btw. Am I the only one who uses to both extremes of just playing silly games and small scale computer clusters ? :grinning_face_with_smiling_eyes: