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Author Topic: Installation on Soekris 6501 with SSD  (Read 4927 times)

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Offline caldwell

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Installation on Soekris 6501 with SSD
« on: February 28, 2012, 01:41:54 pm »
Trying to find out the best way to do this.  I've tried several images (including the memstick-serial image) on a 4GB USB drive.  None of them go past the boot process of the Soekris to show me any output on the serial port.  Not sure why.  Thought the serial image was geared to do that.

Even if I buy a SATA <-> mSATA converter, I'm wondering whether or not I'm going to be successful.  It seems to me that the standard ISO image (PC) is for VGA output.  It seems that the NANO image is for compact flash which is set to read only with minimal writes.

Neither of these fits my needs here, because the Solid State Drive is geared to be used just like a hard drive.  But I need serial output for the Soekris platform.

Can anyone provide help?  Working examples?  Pointers?

Thanks.

Offline catfish99

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Re: Installation on Soekris 6501 with SSD
« Reply #1 on: February 28, 2012, 02:29:17 pm »
I've been able to get pfsense installed on a Soekris 6501, so let me try to help and share some of the tips i've put together.

Take a look at the PDF I put together with a collection of notes regarding getting pfsense up and running on a 6501.

http://dl.dropbox.com/u/48937776/soekris6501-notes.pdf

Offline dreamslacker

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Re: Installation on Soekris 6501 with SSD
« Reply #2 on: February 29, 2012, 04:56:51 am »
Trying to find out the best way to do this.  I've tried several images (including the memstick-serial image) on a 4GB USB drive.  None of them go past the boot process of the Soekris to show me any output on the serial port.  Not sure why.  Thought the serial image was geared to do that.

It is a known issue that the 6501 BIOS does not currently support booting off USB devices.

You will need to use a mSATA or SATA drive.  You will need a way to either install the full version and enable the serial console OR load the nanobsd image on the drive.

For a mSATA drive, you will need a converter/ adapter to convert it to either SATA or USB for use on another computer.  It can then be regarded as a fixed disk drive during the installation process.

For full install:
Place the mSATA (or SATA) drive into another computer and run the liveCD installation.  Accept all the defaults and go into the WebGUI.  Head over to System -> Advanced -> Check 'Enable serial console'.
Shutdown the system and move the mSata unit onto the Soekris mSata port (the adapter is not required here).  For SATA drive, connect to the onboard SATA port instead.
Hook up your serial cable and reconfigure the interfaces and IP addresses over serial console on the first boot.

For NanoBSD installs:
Connect the mSata drive with adapter (or SATA drive) to another computer.  Follow the installation guides for installing the Nanobsd image onto the drive.  This typically just means running Physdiskwrite (for windows) or DD (for *nix OS) and targetting the mSata drive.
Move the drive to the Soekris and configure the interfaces and IP addresses over serial console as per the full install.

Offline caldwell

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Re: Installation on Soekris 6501 with SSD
« Reply #3 on: February 29, 2012, 10:15:30 am »
Trying to find out the best way to do this.  I've tried several images (including the memstick-serial image) on a 4GB USB drive.  None of them go past the boot process of the Soekris to show me any output on the serial port.  Not sure why.  Thought the serial image was geared to do that.

It is a known issue that the 6501 BIOS does not currently support booting off USB devices.


That's what is confusing.  The box has the latest firmware (1.41a), and the Soekris site says that they DO support booting off USB now.


Online dotdash

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Re: Installation on Soekris 6501 with SSD
« Reply #4 on: February 29, 2012, 10:59:08 am »
The 1.41a bios boots from USB just fine. If you got one of the first run with 1.40, you need to update the BIOS. I always change the Soekris bios to 9600 so it matches the output of the pfSense serial console. Nano should boot somewhat and fail- see my note in this thread: http://forum.pfsense.org/index.php/topic,46171.msg242728.html#msg242728
Once modified, it works fine. My biggest problem was finding suitable flash drives, I ended up ordering some from Soekris once they started carrying the little Sandisks.

Online dotdash

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Re: Installation on Soekris 6501 with SSD
« Reply #5 on: February 29, 2012, 12:14:59 pm »
There may be something wrong with the way you're writing the image. I've got a handful of 6501's in the field running from nano off a USB drive. You should get serial output at 9600 if the image is good. Try using physdiskwrite with the 2.0.1 nano image. I'm using the i386 image, but the Atom should run x64 if you wanted.

Offline caldwell

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Re: Installation on Soekris 6501 with SSD
« Reply #6 on: March 01, 2012, 08:46:58 am »
There may be something wrong with the way you're writing the image. I've got a handful of 6501's in the field running from nano off a USB drive. You should get serial output at 9600 if the image is good. Try using physdiskwrite with the 2.0.1 nano image. I'm using the i386 image, but the Atom should run x64 if you wanted.

I'm on a Mac and am simply doing 'dd if=img of=/dev/disk* bs=16k' to write.  I've done that before with pfsense and m0n0wall to compact flash with no issues.


Offline dendt

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Re: Installation on Soekris 6501 with SSD
« Reply #7 on: March 01, 2012, 01:42:28 pm »
I can confirm that installing works on the Soekris 6501. Did my first one today.

You have to use the image edited by jimp to have serial output beyond a certain point:
http://files.pfsense.org/jimp/pfSense-memstick-serial-2.0.1-RELEASE-i386.img.gz
This gives you serial access all throughout the boot sequence.

Write that image with physdiskwrite to a USB stick and boot.
You will see some garbled text at first, but be patient.

Choose 'i' for install and then quick/easy. It will auto install to the SSD.
Remove the USB stick when rebooting, set the interfaces and you're good to go.

em0 and em1 always seem to show an 'up' status, even when there isn't any cable plugged in. Strange, but the interfaces work.

Hope this helps.

Denis.

Offline caldwell

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Re: Installation on Soekris 6501 with SSD
« Reply #8 on: March 01, 2012, 04:15:21 pm »
I can confirm that installing works on the Soekris 6501. Did my first one today.

And I can confirm again that it doesn't work.

I went to the trouble of finding a 1GB USB drive AND a Windows machine and ran physdiskwrite of that image.  Same issue.  5-4-3-2-1.  NOTHING.

CURIOUSLY ENOUGH, I also loaded a m0n0wall 1.3x SERIAL image onto one of the USB drives, and it booted up first time.  No problems.  No issues of any kind.

So, please don't tell me it's the Soekris.  It is something in the pfsense boot loader.

The kern.cam.boot_delay is not a valid comBIOS monitor option for the Soekris bootrom, so that's a dead end.

Frustrating.

Online stephenw10

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Re: Installation on Soekris 6501 with SSD
« Reply #9 on: March 01, 2012, 04:29:59 pm »
You will see some garbled text at first, but be patient.

This implies that the bios serial output is at a different baud rate than the pfSense output. That would also exaplain why you are only seeing the bios output.

The pfSense output is 9600, 8N1.

Steve

Edit: I see there's already been some discussion of this.
« Last Edit: March 01, 2012, 04:33:18 pm by stephenw10 »

Offline wallabybob

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Re: Installation on Soekris 6501 with SSD
« Reply #10 on: March 01, 2012, 05:23:12 pm »
The kern.cam.boot_delay is not a valid comBIOS monitor option for the Soekris bootrom, so that's a dead end.
kern.cam.boot_delay is a FreeBSD boot loader option.
« Last Edit: March 01, 2012, 05:26:47 pm by wallabybob »

Offline dendt

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Re: Installation on Soekris 6501 with SSD
« Reply #11 on: March 02, 2012, 12:54:27 pm »
@ stephenw10:

That's what I thought also, so I changed the combios serial speed to 9600 8N1 (same as pfsense output).
BIOS output fine -> garbled output (only rotating dash that jumps around) -> pfsense loader screen with option selection -> output ok again.
So unless the serial speed is changing to something else than 9600 in between phases of booting, I don't know what it is.

Online stephenw10

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Re: Installation on Soekris 6501 with SSD
« Reply #12 on: March 02, 2012, 01:01:52 pm »
Hmm, the serial output from the bootloader is also at 9600.
Incorrect terminal emulation settings perhaps?  :-\

Steve

Offline spinalcrack

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Re: Installation on Soekris 6501 with SSD
« Reply #13 on: March 04, 2012, 04:08:03 pm »
I've had quite a bit of trouble too to get pfsense installed on a Soekris 6501. Tried several images and PXE boot / install and nothing seemed to be working..
Until I tried the image listed below. :)

You have to use the image edited by jimp to have serial output beyond a certain point:
http://files.pfsense.org/jimp/pfSense-memstick-serial-2.0.1-RELEASE-i386.img.gz
This gives you serial access all throughout the boot sequence.

Write that image with physdiskwrite to a USB stick and boot.
You will see some garbled text at first, but be patient.

Choose 'i' for install and then quick/easy. It will auto install to the SSD.
Remove the USB stick when rebooting, set the interfaces and you're good to go.

em0 and em1 always seem to show an 'up' status, even when there isn't any cable plugged in. Strange, but the interfaces work.

I set the serial speed to 9600 and used a Sandisk Cruzer Fit 8GB to install the image on (using a Windows machine and physdiskwrite). The boot seems a bit awkward, as the "countdown" screen is mangled.. but after that it boots just fine and I was able to install pfsense on the SSD  ;D

Offline caldwell

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SOLVED / Re: Installation on Soekris 6501 with SSD
« Reply #14 on: March 05, 2012, 08:08:26 pm »
In fiddling with it more, the bottom line I found is that this particular Soekris 6501 did not boot the Sandisk Cruzer 4GB drive automatically.  However, if I selected that disk from the boot monitor, it finally DID boot.

For the uninitiated, here are some of the pertinent steps:

**********************************************************
 2 Seconds to automatic boot.   Press Ctrl-P for entering Monitor.

(HIT THE CTRL-P at this point)

comBIOS Monitor.   Press ? for help.

> show

ConSpeed = 9600
ConLock = Enabled
ConMute = Disabled
BIOSentry = Enabled
PCIROMS = Enabled
PXEBoot = Enabled
FLASH = Primary
BootDelay = 5
FastBoot = Disabled
BootPartition = Disabled
BootDrive = 80 81 F0 FF
ShowPCI = Enabled
Reset = Hard
CpuSpeed = Default

Note the BootDrive items listed.

I told it to

>boot FF

(I think it was) which matched the drive ID for the USB drive.  You can try all of them, and if they're not valid, it won't break anything.

Once I did this, I got a decent amount of garbled output, but I had read enough other threads to know to just wait patiently.  Eventually, it showed the FreeBSD boot process, and I was able to start the INSTALL on the pfsense installation.  I chose the serial/no-vga kernel.  The SSD -did- show up as a valid drive to install to at that point.

I hope this helps someone else avoid some pain and frustration.

Thanks to all who offered pointers.