Balena Etcher won't detect my Balena Fin, on a different computer it does

I’m using NixOS and I’d like to flash an image to my BalenaFin. I tested Balena Etcher on a Mac computer and it detected the target and I successfully flashed BalenaOS to it.

The way NixOS runs appimages is somewhat unique, and I suspect this is a distro specific issue which I don’t expect the community here to help me solve (NixOS runs such appimages in an chroot environment).

The issue is that I do see the compute module when I run lsusb:

$ lsusb | grep BCM
Bus 001 Device 047: ID 0a5c:2764 Broadcom Corp. BCM2710 Boot

But in contrast I don’t see any new device when I run:

$ df -h
Filesystem      Size  Used Avail Use% Mounted on
devtmpfs        792M     0  792M   0% /dev
tmpfs           7.8G   80M  7.7G   2% /dev/shm
tmpfs           3.9G   12M  3.9G   1% /run
tmpfs           7.8G  552K  7.8G   1% /run/wrappers
/dev/nvme0n1p3  938G  483G  452G  52% /
tmpfs           7.8G  104K  7.8G   1% /tmp
/dev/nvme0n1p1  511M  160M  352M  32% /boot
tmpfs           1.6G  304K  1.6G   1% /run/user/1000

I also tried launching Balena etcher with sudo and it didn’t detect it either.

Can I conclude that there’s something wrong with my Linux PC’s hardware not detecting the device? Or is everything OK?

Ideally there was some support for a non gui app to flash images to the devices. I noticed there was in the past an etcher cli, but it’s deprecated now. Can I still use it with the latest Balena Fin hardware?

If it’s considered that BalenaFin is detected properly I’ll try to get help at NixOS’ forums.

I managed to install etcher-cli outside a chroot environment (unlike the not deprecated Balena Etcher) and I encountered the following error:

x No available drives were detected, plug one in!

So I think that’s there is something wrong if I don’t see a new device in df -h

The issue was sort of solved, though there’s an issue open at Etcher’s bug tracker:

Hi @doronbehar ,

Thanks for raising the issue! One of our colleagues tried a similar setup and this is what he found:

I ran a live system via a USB stick with NixOS 21.05 (Okapi) on a machine that normally works with the Fin under Linux. I could get the appimage to run by installing appimage-run and running sudo appimage-run ./balenaEtcher-1.5.122-x64.AppImage . The Fin was detected and started to initialise, but then the USB subsystem stopped responding (this happened both times I tried it).

I tried the same exercise from a live Ubuntu 20.04 system and the USB system also locked-up.
So it seems that you can’t initialise a Fin on a system running from USB storage

Etcher runs rpiboot so it can flash the balenaFin, but it seems it can’t do so in that specific setup. The etcher team is now looking at this.