NAND ecc-strength (was Re: NAND timeout issues with blank chip and Marvell NFC)

Chris Packham Chris.Packham at
Sun Apr 29 15:17:08 PDT 2018

Hi Boris & all,

Permit me a slight tangent.

On 27/04/18 18:16, Boris Brezillon wrote:
>> The one problem it does have in this configuration is the familiar
>> "nand: WARNING: pxa3xx_nand-0: the ECC used on your system is too weak
>> compared to the one required by the NAND chip". From what I read in the
>> Marvell datasheet even though the chip requires 8-bits of ECC per 540
>> bytes of data the 16-bits per 2048 bytes of data implemented by the
>> controller should satisfy this.
> No, it's not true. Well, it will work for some time, and then fail when
> too many erase cycles have been done on a block. You should always try
> to at least meet the chip requirements. Anyway, that's not really the
> issue here.
>> If I set marvell,nand-keep-config or nand-ecc-strength = <8>. I get ECC
>> errors reported (probably due to the change in configuration) and
>> ultimately the mount fails "mount: mounting ubi0:user on /flash failed:
>> Invalid argument" I haven't really dug into where that's coming from.
> For the ECC change, that's not surprising, since u-boot probably writes
> things in the 4bit/512 config.

So this raises a bit of concern. A certain NAND flash vendor has 
released an end of life notice for some of their chips (I won't name 
them specifically because I'm not sure if there is a NDA in place). The 
suggested replacement part requires 8bit/540byte ECC whereas the old one 
required 4bit/540byte.

The first problem I face is how do we handle the possibility of having 
either chip installed. Since the current dtb has ecc-strength = <4> do 
we need the bootloader to modify this on the fly this based on some 
identifier that distinguishes old from new? Or is there some way of 
saying ecc-strength = <pick a value appropriate for the chip>.

The second problem is that, if I understand correctly, the Marvell NFCv2 
BCH implementation is always 16bit/2048bytes. So even if I get the dts 
to say the right thing the hardware based ECC will ignore it.

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