Updating Firmware

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Firmware Upgrade Quick-Start

Your Raptor Computing Systems POWER9 mainboard contains three primary firmware components -- a system control FPGA bitstream, the BMC software stack, and the host PNOR. The BMC and host PNOR are easily upgradeable over a network connection In contrast, the FPGA is rarely changed. Should an FPGA upgrade be desired, a direct SPI programming connection to a Flashrom compatible system is required via J10107.


NOTE: The BMC should never need to be fully reprogrammed. Erasing the entire BMC Flash device will also erase U-Boot and its associated environment variables, requiring that they be reloaded from information printed on the mainboard itself. In particular, from the factory, the IPMI MAC address is stored in both the U-Boot loader via the default environment variable string, and the currently active U-Boot environment variables. This IPMI MAC address may also be found on the mainboard below CPU0 should you need to reprogram it for any reason.

The preferred method of BMC update is to take the BMC update files that you have either compiled or obtained from official Raptor Computing Systems sources, and to upload them to the BMC. Once uploaded, the BMC is able to self-update.

Upgrade by transferring the following two files to /run/initramfs/ on the BMC:

  • image-kernel
  • image-rofs

After transfer, reboot the BMC via the 'reboot' command over SSH or the local BMC serial console.

Default BMC login information is contained in the User's Guide. scp or any similar utility is capable of transferring the upgrade files.


The host PNOR device, which contains hostboot, skiboot, and other host-level firmware components required to IPL your POWER9 system, is able to be modified in its entirety via the BMC.

With chassis power off, but standby power on, transfer the upgrade .pnor file to the BMC's /tmp/ directory. Once the transfer is complete, log in to the BMC via SSH.

Execute the following command: pflash -E -p /tmp/<your PNOR file>

If no errors occur, the upgrade is complete. You may now power on and use your updated system.


Referencing the schematics provided on the included DVD, connect your SPI programmer to J10107. Apply standby power to your system but do not turn it on.

Using a current version of Flashrom, flash the new FPGA firmware binary to the on-board storage device. Complete the upgrade by removing all power.

Wait for all LEDs on your system to extinguish, then reapply power. The upgrade is now complete and and you may use your system normally.