|Version 7 (modified by dkg, 6 years ago) (diff)|
ALIX compact system boards
getting it working with a netboot installer
During memory test, 3 front LEDs are all lit.
I was working with an Alix.2 device. It starts out with the BIOS running at 38400 8n1. If you hit "S" during the initial memory test, it allows you to configure the BIOS. i switched the mode to 115200 8n1 (press "1" in the BIOS setup) to match my netboot environment.
I tried to get PXEboot working by just pressing "N" during the memory test, but got the message:
No boot device available, press Enter to continue.
When i switched to regular, repeatable PXE netboot ("E" in BIOS setup), and had a network cable plugged into LAN1 (the NIC nearest the power jack), i could get a reliable netboot -- at least, i could reliably get the PXE stack to pull the initial file recommended from the correct TFTP server.
I tried booting with pxegrub, but it never even got to the point of requesting the menu.lst file -- i suspect that version of grub doesn't quite know what to do when there is no graphical console, but only a serial port.
Anyway, PXELinux from syslinux worked fine. The relevant part of the config was:
SERIAL 0 115200 0 DEFAULT install LABEL install kernel debian-stable/linux append vga=normal initrd=debian-stable/initrd.gz -- console=ttyS0,115200n8
One minor problem i noticed during the PXE boot process was the following line, output before the initial DHCP query:
Press <Shift-Tab> key to display network boot option menu
but that doesn't ever seem to do anything.
after installation fixup
fixing the hwclock
the hwclock was set initially to 1999 -- this causes problems when fetching new package listings, and when verifying OpenPGP signatures.
I fixed this just now with:
date 121001122007 hwclock --systohc
unfortunately, this doesn't seem to persist across power interruptions.
to get the board properly in the case, i needed to remove the screw posts on the DB9 connector. To be able to have access to the USB ports, i also needed to nibble out the hole in the case between the power jack and LAN1.
- front-panel LEDs: i expected to see an LED indicating writes to the CF. i don't see that happening during the installer. Is this an OS-level thing?
- how much power does this thing actually draw? Could we power it from any other bus from another computer?
- benchmarks: how can we characterize the performance of this hardware relative to machines it might replace?
- choice of kernel: the debian installer chose the -486 line of kernels -- can these boards work with -686 or some other more specialized version?