Gifted a Jetson TK1. Powers on but no way to set it up

Hey there, this is a shot in the ‘dark’ so to speak, but I was gifted a Jetson TK1 and spent a couple days trying to set it up with a friend. It powers on with the green power LED flashing and fan turns on. However, when I plug the HDMI port into a monitors there is no signal reaching the monitor. Nor is there a signal when plugging through serial or USB into a Mac or PC (just trying everything). I used a multimeter to test some GPIO pins and the front panel header and got the right voltages using this: ( I also tried the Force Recovery Boot to no avail. There doesn’t seem to be a way to get any signal out of this thing other than pins.

My friend is simultaneously working alongside me with a new Nano and we are stumped as to how to get this TK1 to boot. Neither of us run a Linux OS, but I’m hesitant to sink time into doing a VM on my Mac only to plug in the flashed SD card and not have the TK1 do anything.

The hardware was part of some recovered from a failed business so the history of the hardware is not known and it didn’t come with anything other than the board. On another TK1 in the package the fan does not run when plugged in, but the power LED lights up. However, the same multimeter testing got the expected voltages at pin 1 and the front panel header.

I know this is a broad sort of problem and any comments are greatly appreciated as the Jetson world is brand new for my friend and I (luckily we also have the Nano to develop on as well).



I think you misunderstand something.

  1. There is no “recovery boot” on jetson platform. We only have “recovery mode”. And the purpose of recovery mode is putting the device into a state that it can be flashed with the driver package from the x64 host. Under that state, the device is like a brick and would of course have no response.

According to your comment, I don’t see you do any flash to the board yet… if the board is not getting flashed, then no OS is there.

You can refer to this video to know how to flash the board. But VM is not supported.

  1. Honestly, tk1 is kind of out-of-date in comparison with all the other products now. It has a 6-year gap between jetson nano and actually it does not have software update anymore.

If don’t insist using jetson tk1, I would suggest you can directly start your development from nano…

Added information which might help: Don’t use the SD card for boot. The TK1 has its own internal eMMC, and if there is something which might affect boot in the SD, then boot would fail (or at least it wouldn’t reach the eMMC memory).

FYI, the DB-9 connector default setting is a serial UART at 115200 for speed, and 8-bit, no parity, and 1 stop bit. If you have a serial console program, then this should show at least some slight output during any attempt to boot. If you accidentally hit a key at the wrong time (assuming serial console is working), then boot would halt to drop you into a U-Boot shell.

Also, make sure your monitor is a “true” HDMI monitor. Adapters to VGA won’t work most of the time (unless you get lucky with a default mode).

Recovery mode (holding the recovery button down while starting power or tapping the power reset key, then releasing the key) doesn’t change the Jetson other than putting it in a simplified mode which flash software can understand (the TK1 becomes a custom USB device which the “driver package” understands…that package runs on a Linux PC).

@WayneWWW, thanks for the response and the video link. And the bolded “VM is not supported” is exactly the sort of info I couldn’t find and sought from the knowledgeable people of the forums. It is greatly appreciated. We have hit the ground running with the Nano so if I learn something along the way maybe i can resuscitate some of the TK1s. Cheers.

@linuxdev Thank you for adding that information about the hardware and serial UART. I know it’s obvious to those with experience, but the question of whether the flash could affect the boot knowing there was internal an eMMC was just something I couldn’t answer or definitely find the answer to (with any confidence on my end). I do have ‘true’ HDMI monitors (tested on 3 with 3 different cables), but I haven’t ever run a serial console program, at least not that I can remember. I think, per the rec from @WayneWWW, we are going to work with the new Nano and if someday we figure something out and can revive these TK1s then we will revisit. Thanks again for taking the time to answer my question clearly and quickly. Cheers.

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