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If I open the dtb files in /boot/overlays either with nano or vi I do see strange characters in the files: ^@^@^A^G^@^@^@8^@^@^@ ^@^@^@(^@^@^@^Q^@^@^@^P^@^@^@^@^@^@^@'^@^@^@ ^@^@^@^@^@^@^@^@^@^@^@^@^@^@^@^@^@^@^@^A^@^@^@^@^@^@^@^C^@^@^@ ^@^@^@^@brcm,bcm2708^@^@^@^@^@^@^@^Afragment@0^@

Any idea what is happening ? I do access the files via ssh

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    Aren't the .dtb files binary (contrary to dts) ? Binary files will seem to contain garbage if opened with a text editor - you can try this with notepad on Windows too.
    – flakeshake
    Dec 9 '15 at 13:48
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The .dtb are the compiled versions of the text files. They are not intended to be read.

You will need to find the corresponding .dts files.

Look for the .dts files on github under https://github.com/raspberrypi/linux/tree/rpi-4.1.y/arch/arm/boot/dts/overlays

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You will need to convert the binary device tree file (.dtb) into a device tree source file (.dts). You can use a device tree compiler to do the conversion:

dtc -I dtb -O dts -o devicetree.dts /path/to/devicetree.dtb

You can also attempt to find the source file used to make your device tree binary, but the only way to be certain you have the correct source is to use the compiler.

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  • Surely it is the other way around? You compile a text source to a binary (blob).
    – joan
    Dec 9 '15 at 20:43
  • You can also de-compile it from a blob to a source file.
    – Tim
    Dec 9 '15 at 20:52
  • So you can, that would be useful if you cannot locate the source file.
    – joan
    Dec 9 '15 at 21:12

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