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Rock3/3a/getting started

< Rock3‎ | 3a(Redirected from Rock3/getting started/rock-3a)
    ROCK 3 >  ROCK 3 Model A >  Getting started

Getting Started

This guide is designed for ROCK 3A enthusiast. The purpose is to learn about ROCK 3A as well as how to prepare and set up for basic use. When you get a board, you need to know what model it is and which hardware version it is. The information is printed in the top side of the board. We will introduce the board information as much as possible.

Close look of ROCK 3A

  • ROCK 3A front view
  • ROCK 3A front with an angle view
  • ROCK 3A back view


Model ROCK 3 Model A


Quad-core Cortex-A55, freqency 2Ghz

Mali G52

Memory 2/4/8GB LPDDR4 3200MT/s, up to 1560MHz
Storage eMMC
μSD card (μSD slot supports up to 128 GB μSD card)
M.2 SSD (M.2 connector supports up to 8TB M2 NVME SSD)
Display HDMI 2.0 up to 4k*2k@60
MIPI DSI 2 lanes via FPC connector
Any two of HDMI, MIPI DSI can work at the same time, support mirror mode or extend mode.
Audio 3.5mm jack with mic
HD codec that supports up to 24-bit/96KHz audio.
Camera MIPI CSI 2 lanes via FPC connector, support up to 800 MP camera.
Wireless None. Optional ROCK Pi Wireless Module
USB USB 3.0 OTG X1, hardware switch for host/device switch, front one
Ethernet GbE LAN with Power over Ethernet (PoE) support
additional HAT is required for powering from PoE
IO 40-pin expansion header
5 x UART
1 x SPI bus
2 x I2C bus
6 x PWM
1 x ADC
1 x CAN
6 x GPIO
2 x 5V DC power in
1 x 3.3V DC power in
Others RTC
RTC battery connector for time backup(optional)
Power USB PD, support USB Type C PD 2.0, 9V/2A, 12V/2A, 15V/2A, 20V/2A.
Qualcomm® Quick ChargeTM: Supports QC 3.0/2.0 adapter, 9V/2A, 12V/1.5A
Size 85mm x 56mm

What you need


  • ROCK 3A main board
  • One of the Storage media below:
    • microSD, larger than 8GB
    • eMMC module, larger than 8GB
  • Power supply
    • The ROCK 3 is powered by Type-C port and has a wide range of input voltage, from 9V to 21V. ROCK 3 supports USB Type-C PD 2.0 with 9V/2A, 12V/2A, 15V/2A and 20V/2A. Besides, the Pi supports QC 3.0/2.0 with 9V/2A and 12V/1.5A.
    • The Type-C cable you using needs to support data communication. We call it USB Type-C charging data cable.
  • USB Keyboard and Mouse
    • With four USB-A connectors, ROCK 3 can be equipped with a full sized keyboard and mouse.
  • Monitor and HDMI Cable
    • ROCK 3 is equipped with a full sized HDMI connector. HDMI capable monitor is recommended.
    • HDMI EDID display data is used to determine the best display resolution. On monitors and TVs that support 1080p (or 4K) this resolution will be selected. If 1080p is not supported the next available resolution reported by EDID will be used. This selected mode will work with MOST but not all monitors/TVs.
  • USB to TTL serial cable
    • ROCK 3 exports a dedicated serial console for CPU, which can access the low level debug message.
  • USB Male A to Male A cable
    • If you want write image on ROCK 3 from USB OTG port or use fastboot/adb commands you need an USB Male A to Male A cable to connect ROCK 3 and PC.


  • microSD Card Reader
    • For flashing the image into microSD Card
  • USB type A to type A cable
    • This is needed for fastboot/adb commands.
  • USB to TTL serial cable
    • This is needed for serial console.
  • Ethernet cable
    • ROCK 3 supports Internet access via WIFI or Ethernet.
    • An Ethernet cable is used to connect your ROCK 3 to a local network and the Internet.
  • Camera Module
    • ROCK 3 supports camera function.
  • LCD Module
    • ROCK 3 supports LCD display function.
  • Audio cable
    • Audio can be played through speaker or headphones using a standard 3.5mm jack.

Starting the board for the first time

ROCK 3A can be started with eMMC Module or μSD Card. Now, you are presented with three options when installing your new operating system onto your ROCK 3A.


  • When starting system with eMMC Module

(Option a) Inster the eMMC Module into ROCK Pi eMMC USB Reader. Then plug the ROCK Pi eMMC USB Reader into host PC.

(Option b) Insert eMMC Module into eMMC to μSD card converter board. Insert the converter board into μSD Card Reader. Then plug the Card Reader into host PC.

  • When starting system with μSD Card

(Option c) Insert the μSD Card into μSD Card Reader. Then plug the Card Reader into host PC.

Write Image

  • Download the official Ubuntu/Debian system image from Downloads.
  • Download the flash tool, etcher, from Downloads. Choose the right version for your host operation system. Here we operate on host Ubuntu 16.04.
  • After unpacking the package, we run the tool by executing the command
$ ./etcher-etcher-electron-1.4.5-x86_64.AppImage

If you get an error message: "No polkit authentication agent found" you can try and start it with sudo, but do know that this is running the tool as root.

  • In the etcher window, click Select image.

Linux etcher select image.png

  • In the etcher window, click Select Drive.

Linux etcher select driver.png

  • In the etcher window, click Flash.

Linux etcher select flash button.png

  • In the etcher window, once it shows us Flash Complete! It is done and can be put into the RockPi.

Linux etcher show complete.png

3. Boot the board

  • Now insert the system storage media, uSD Card or eMMC Module into the socket on the board.
  • (Optional) Use the USB to TTL serial cable to setup a connection between PC and ROCK 3A board. See Serial Console.
  • Power on ROCK 3A by adapter with type C port.
  • ROCK 3A will boot with the green power Led on. And after a while, the another blue Led starts blinking.

4. Access from the Host PC/Laptop

Option 1: Serial console

Check Serial Console

Option 2: SSH

SSH server is enabled on port 22 of ROCK 3A default image.

Please use angryip to find your board IP address.

To access ROCK 3A by SSH, try

   ping rockpie.local
   ssh rock@rockpie.local

or if your router/network doesn't support Local Domain, you need to check your network/router administrator page and look for the ROCK 3A ip address.

   ping ip-of-device
   ssh rock@ip-of-device

Note: You can also get the IP of ROCK 3A from option 1 if you can not access network administrator page.

5.Network state

  • Look at network configure:
  $ sudo ifconfig
  • Test network:
  $ ping -c 5

6.WIFI Connection

Check WIFI Connection.


Check Bluetooth.


ROCK 3A has Power LED and User LED.

  • Power LED

The power LED is green. It is always on when ROCK 3A is given power by default,

  • User LED

The user LED is blue. By default, its blink status shows the running kernel.


ROCK 3A has one 40-pin expansion headers. Each pin is distinguished by color, more information click here

Development for GPIO. ROCK 3A supports libmraa GPIO library, click here to get more information.

Next Step