NixOS on ARM/OLIMEX Teres-A64

From NixOS Wiki
OLIMEX Teres-A64
The King Himself
Manufacturer OLIMEX, Ltd
Architecture AArch64
Bootloader Upstream U-Boot[1]
Boot order SD, eMMC
Maintainer KREYREN

Teres-1 (often referred as teres-a64) is an open-source hardware and software netbook design based on the Allwinner A64 SoC.

It can boot from SD or from the included and slow af eMMC module (insane people use only).


Stable, production-ready and suitable for mission critical environment

For U-Boot use armbian's distribution as currently the nixos's version is outdated and broken

Installation instructions

UEFI (recommended)

Note: This method assumes that you have your bootloader flashed in eMMC or SPI

Refer to the download page and download the installer to your preference, then proceed to follow instructions in the NixOS manual on how to flash the installer on e.g. USB drive

EXTLINUX (legacy)

To use the generic installation image for your board, you will need to copy it verbatim to an SD card.

sudo dd if=sd-image-aarch64-linux.img of=/dev/DEVICE conv=sync status=progress

This board requires the installation of u-boot at a specific location on the storage where NixOS was written to.

sudo dd if=u-boot-sunxi-with-spl.bin of=/dev/DEVICE bs=1024 seek=8

Serial console

Serial console can be accessed by default on BAUM 115200 using the TERES-USB-DEBUG cable (or make one it's 3 pole jack with pl2303 converter, can be made work off of single board computer, etc..) in headphone jack port and accessed through:

   $ picocom -b BAUD /dev/SERIAL-DEVICE # Often set as /dev/ttyUSB0 @ baud of 115200

Currently the sdcard has set this by fault, but if you use custom configuration and want to maintain the serial console functionality then you need to append it to the kernel CLI through:

   boot.kernelParams = ["console=ttyS0,115200n8"];

Compatibility notes

Mainline kernel on NixOS
  • Works
  • Expected to work without issues with exceptions, see sunxi wiki
  • Works, currently requires non-libre firmware for RTL8723BS which is projected to be mitigated
Audio (reproductors)
  • Unknown
Audio (audio jack)
  • Unknown
3D Acceleration
  • Works
  • Unknown
  • Works
  • Works
SdCard reader
  • Works
FOSS Bootloader
  • Works - U-Boot/TowBoot


Downstream Kernel

Note: Keep in mind that using non-upstream forks of the kernel always incurs some risk as far as security goes.

USB booting with U-Boot

You will need to either have mainline U-Boot installed to the eMMC or to an SD card.

Stop the boot process when prompted (by pressing a key). Then, do the following:

Hit any key to stop autoboot:  0
=> setenv boot_targets usb0
=> boot

This sets the boot order for this boot only. U-Boot can boot (among others) either of the NixOS sd-image or EFI iso from USB.


Refer to the device's sunxi-linux wiki page for more details:

For u-boot installation refer to the u-boot documentation for AllWinner devices:

For TowBoot installation refer to the TowBoot wiki:


0. The Sunxi Linux Wiki Page for the device

1. Official product page

2. linux-sunxi wiki page

3. U-Boot documentation for the SoC

4. Armbian product page for Teres

5. Teres-A64 section on the OLIMEX forum