Installing Manjaro on Amlogic S912 Android TV Box (Nexbox A95x A2) 🌱

I love the idea of the Raspberry Pi, but there are some cheaper alternative single board computers that offer a similar experience for a fraction of the cost. While the community support isn't quite what it is for the Pi, there are a ton of projects you can accomplish on the cheap with these little hidden gems. Keep an eye on AliExpress and Amazon and you can find SBC's sporting quad core ARM process with 2-4 GB of RAM for under $30, including a power supply and IR remote control.

The box used in this video is a Nexbox A95x A2 I picked up used on eBay for $21 shipped. It sports an Octa Core Amlogic S912 @ 2GHz and 2 GB of DDR3 RAM.
https://www.gearbest.com/refurbished-product/pp_009840550154.html?wid=1433363

Things You Will Need

Downloads and Flashing to MicroSD

  1. Download Manjaro ARM Download
  2. Download Balena Etcher Download
  3. Run Balena Etcher
  4. Burn Manjaro image to microSD card
  5. Safely remove microSD and re-insert
  6. Ignore/close the Windows dialogs to format the inserted microSD card

Configure MicroSD Card for Manjaro

  1. Open the readable partition of the microSD card in Explorer
  2. Edit uEnv.ini in a text editor
    1. Update the FDT line to point to a working .dtb file for your device
      # For AML
      FDT=/dtbs/amlogic/meson-gxm-q200.dtb
      APPEND=root=LABEL=ROOT_MNJRO rootflags=data=writeback rw console=ttyAML0,115200n8 console=tty0 no_console_suspend consoleblank=0 fsck.fix=yes fsck.repair=yes net.ifnames=0 bootsplash.bootfile=bootsplash-themes/manjaro/bootsplash
    2. Save
    3. Close
  3. Safely remove microSD
  4. Insert microSD card to Android TV box

Booting to Manjaro for the First Time

  1. Plug the power adapter into the Android TV box
  2. If the device has never booted from external storage before the stock Android OS will load
  3. In Android, navigate to the application drawer > Run Update & Backup
  4. Select Local > Navigate to the microSD card > aml_autoscript.zip
  5. Select Update
  6. The system will reboot and should then begin booting Manjaro from the microSD card
  7. You should see the Manjaro terminal running startup scripts
  8. When prompted, set the keyboard layout
  9. When prompted, input a username and password
  10. Then when prompted, set a root password
  11. Confirm the root password
  12. Follow any additional the prompts to setup
  13. Manjaro will boot into the desktop environment