Mars CM - Getting Started guide missing?

I just received my Mars CM in the mail today (Yay!).

I tried accessing the Get Started site mentioned on the side of the box, which is — but that URL gives me a ‘Page Not Found’

There seems to be barely any documentation on the CM besides the Introduction page, and I attempted to boot the device on a Compute Module 4 IO board two different ways:

  1. Out of the box (I have a model with 4 GB RAM / 16 GB eMMC) — the green LED on the CM started blinking two blinks, then off for a second, repeating, but I got no HDMI output. The Ethernet lights were blinking, but I didn’t see a new device on the network.
  2. Using the Official Image. Same result.

I was wondering if there will be a Mars CM-specific image? Or is there something else involved in bringing up the CM the first time?



It looks like Serial Console access is the same as on the regular Mars, so now I can see console output on my Mac connected directly to UART… it does seem to be booting with a factory image on the built-in eMMC.

I can’t figure out a login, however. Tried user/user, user/starfive, riscv/starfive, root/root…

Aha! It’s root / milkv!


I am tracking some of my bringup work over here: Milk-V Mars CM · Issue #22 · geerlingguy/sbc-reviews · GitHub

For now just shooting blindly, let me know if there are any official docs sitting around :slight_smile:

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Welcome Jeff,
passwords aren’t the only thing to read carefully, I spent 24 hours configuring my Mars SBC.

If you use the Debian image provided by MilkV, you will enter the graphical environment from the first start. I saw on GitHub that you have already solved it, the best advice we can leave to those who will follow in our footsteps is to open the terminal and type:

sudo apt remove gparted

At this point you can expand the ext4 partition, the last one in the list, and assign the free space. The second step, to get around the slowness of APT, could be the following:

sudo nano /etc/apt/sources.list

and replace the content with:

deb unstable main

At this point with the command:

sudo apt update && sudo apt full-upgrade

you will get an updated system but you will no longer be able to use the graphical environment. The only way around this is to install the individual programs you need, e.g. if you need a file manager or a text editor:

sudo apt install pcmanfm


sudo apt install gedit

Nautilus and other programs require an updated version to install. I hope that a new image will be available soon with the updated kernel as well.

I’ll give you one last piece of advice: if you’re interested in using the graphical environment with Linux, avoid Armbian, it works too slowly.

I apologize for the banal examples, I know I’m responding to an expert user, I hope they help others.

You have to cool the SoC actively, a passive heatsink must be bulky to be effective, with my SBC it works very well inserted into aluminum Raspberry Pi 3B cases.

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Regarding cooling, I’ve put on a small heatsink (a little larger than the SoC), and then a 120mm Noctua 5V fan running full blast off a USB port. A bit overkill but if it works, it works!

cat /sys/class/thermal/thermal_zone0/temp

44553 with .

    ,g$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$P.       -------------- 
  ,g$$P"     """Y$$.".        OS: Debian GNU/Linux bookworm/sid riscv64 
 ,$$P'              `$$$.     Host: Milk-V Mars 
',$$P       ,ggs.     `$$b:   Kernel: 5.15.0 
`d$$'     ,$P"'   .    $$$    Uptime: 58 mins 
 $$P      d$'     ,    $$P    Packages: 1210 (dpkg) 
 $$:      $$.   -    ,d$$'    Shell: bash 5.2.2 
 $$;      Y$b._   _,d$P'      Resolution: 1024x768 
 Y$$.    `.`"Y$$$$P"'         Terminal: /dev/pts/0 
 `$$b      "-.__              CPU: (4) @ 1.500GHz 
  `Y$$                        Memory: 378MiB / 3893MiB 

Linux mars 5.15.0 #1 SMP Tue Jul 18 15:03:52 UTC 2023 riscv64 GNU/Linux

That’s for the Mars, the CM has its own quirks to deal with (built-in eMMC, WiFi option, compatibility with different IO boards, etc.). Much of the Mars documentation is relevant, but there’s a lot more that should be said about the CM to help people get started with it more easily.

Also the docs/mars-cm page needs to be created so people getting the retail box don’t hit a 404 page.

Yep, just noticed that. Sorry. Nothing to see here!

Updating xwayland the system slows down to the point of being unusable.

While waiting to use the Milk-V Mars SBC, do I need to switch to HarmonyOS? At least it doesn’t cause problems, it has an additional layer of abstraction from the kernel.

Hi Jeff,

We greatly appreciate your testing of our product.

We have released the firmware for Mars CM and have also supplemented the documentation for re-flashing: