4.1.7. How to change dtb files


In some scenarios, it is required to manually change the dtb file used by the target. For example, J721E GP EVM uses HDMI and Display port displays. In order to use these displays, user needs to use desired device tree overlay (dtbo)

Specify dtb File

The dtb and dtbo files are located on the target filesystem under “/boot” directory. First, identify the dtb file to be used, e.g., k3-j721e-common-proc-board.dtb for J721E GP EVM. Then identify a list of dtbo to be used e.g. k3-j721e-common-proc-board-infotainment.dtbo for infotainment daughter card.

Then, modify “uEnv.txt” on the boot partition to specify fdtfile with the desired dtb file name, and overlay_files with list of dtbo files.

After the dtb file is changed, reboot the EVM so that the new dtb file will be used for booting the EVM.

Device tree options

Depending on the use case, user would want to pass different device trees to the kernel. Starting with 4.19 kernel, device tree overlay support has been added. This allows supplying additional device tree fragments (aka overlays) to be applied on top of the base device tree.

Typically, base dtb describes the base board on which the kernel is supposed to run. It contains the hardware description of the SoC, i.e. embedded interconnect, all peripherals,registers, memories, interrupts, etc. Also, it contains any board specific hardware description like pinmux, board mux, PHYs, PMIC, etc.

All the additional daughter cards are modelled as separate device tree overlay. It contains the hardware description of all the peripherals available on the adapter card. Bootloader does not support auto loading of these overlays, so user has to specify the list of overlays, i.e. dtbo files to be applied before passing the final device tree to kernel.

Typical usage for device tree has been to describe the hardware using standard bindings. However, for the application use cases, you may want to pass additional data to the kernel drivers. e.g. In a virtualized environment, you may want to describe which display pipelines are to be used by the display driver. Device nodes is a good way to to this. Processor SDK has few use case specific dtbo files which describe these additional properties.

Following table describes list of device tree blob (dtb) and device tree overlay(dtbo) files available for different platforms and any associated dependencies.


Name of file





Base DTB for J721e EVM beta version




Base DTB for J721e EVM alpha version




Overlay for IVI adapter card

IVI card needs to be connected



Overlay for sharing DSS with Linux and RTOS

#3 DTBO should be applied before this



Overlay for running Processor SDK RTOS demos




Overlay for running PCIe Backplane demo




Base DTB for J7200 EVM


uEnv.txt options

uEnv.txt file from the boot partition of SD card describes the base DTB to be used and any other overlay DTBOs to be applied additionally. Processor SDK comes with few ready made uEnv.txt files for quick consumption to run certain application demos.

Following table describes usage of uenv.txt and associated dependencies for booting the board in different scenarios. Note that the u-boot supports detecting the right version of the board (alpha/beta) and can load the required base dtb file correctly. There is no need to specify the fdtfile in the uenv.txt.

Name of file

Usage scenario



Use for booting the common processor board without support for daugter cards. Even if you have daughter cards connected, you can boot using this, kernel will not use the extra device functionality.



Use for running shared display use cases with Linux and RTOS

HDMI monitor connected via infotainment daughter card.


Use for running hypervisor use cases.

HDMI monitor connected via infotainment daughter card. DP monitor connected to DISPLAY0 Display Port.


Use for running Processor SDK RTOS demos.

All the R5 and C6x firmware symlinks updated in filesystem