WGX550e Won't Boot to FreeDOS



  • Hello pfSense community! I recently purchased a WatchGuard x550e from a working environment (all warranty info in tact) that boots to stock OS no problem. It came with a 512MB card, so I purchased a 256MB SanDisk CF card and wrote FreeDOS to it, the problem is that WG does not show me the FreeDOS output in my terminal.

    I'm using 9600,8,1,none for my settings, and have tried PuTTy, CoolTerm, and TeraTerm. If I put the original card in and use 11520,8,1,none I get the WatchGuard login prompt so I know my cables are good.

    Has anyone else run into this issue?

    Hope someone can help.

    EDIT: Yes I have searched, and yes I am using Win32DiskImager. My CF brand is SanDisk, just like what the WG shipped with (except I'm using a 256 as the 512 will not work for the flash). I have tried writing the image multiple times, and can browse it just fine in Windows Explorer.

    EDIT2: I found this on the Wiki: "Connect up a serial console cable (null modem cable) set to 9600 8N1. Turn on the firebox. When it has booted into FreeDOS it will beep three times. If you can't see a dos prompt after the beeps you are connected wrong. If your serial console works fine with the Watchguard OS but not FreeDOS you may have a null modem cable that doesn't support hardware flow control."

    So perhaps that last part is the problem?



  • Dude, Watchguard is no hardware sold in the pfSense store and FreeDOS is not pfSense, not even FreeBSD based.
    It's like asking why my PC doesn't boot Linux. Has nothing to do with the purpose of this forum.
    Your answer might be in a watchguard forum somewhere, not the pfSense forum.



  • @thatoneguy:

    EDIT2: I found this on the Wiki: "Connect up a serial console cable (null modem cable) set to 9600 8N1. Turn on the firebox. When it has booted into FreeDOS it will beep three times. If you can't see a dos prompt after the beeps you are connected wrong. If your serial console works fine with the Watchguard OS but not FreeDOS you may have a null modem cable that doesn't support hardware flow control."

    So perhaps that last part is the problem?

    Yes.  You need the correct cable to see FreeDOS work. Then after that the pfSense software should work fine with the cable you are using now.. or the one you had to purchase/build/borrow to make FreeDOS work.

    There are a couple of posts from users that built all the extra commands into the FreeDOS command that made things very automatic when they couldn't see what was happening. (including myself on one box) But its been a while and you would seriously be on your own with that.



  • @thatoneguy:

    Hello pfSense community! I recently purchased a WatchGuard x550e from a working environment (all warranty info in tact) that boots to stock OS no problem. It came with a 512MB card, so I purchased a 256MB SanDisk CF card and wrote FreeDOS to it, the problem is that WG does not show me the FreeDOS output in my terminal.

    I'm using 9600,8,1,none for my settings, and have tried PuTTy, CoolTerm, and TeraTerm. If I put the original card in and use 11520,8,1,none I get the WatchGuard login prompt so I know my cables are good.

    Has anyone else run into this issue?

    Hope someone can help.

    EDIT: Yes I have searched, and yes I am using Win32DiskImager. My CF brand is SanDisk, just like what the WG shipped with (except I'm using a 256 as the 512 will not work for the flash). I have tried writing the image multiple times, and can browse it just fine in Windows Explorer.

    EDIT2: I found this on the Wiki: "Connect up a serial console cable (null modem cable) set to 9600 8N1. Turn on the firebox. When it has booted into FreeDOS it will beep three times. If you can't see a dos prompt after the beeps you are connected wrong. If your serial console works fine with the Watchguard OS but not FreeDOS you may have a null modem cable that doesn't support hardware flow control."

    So perhaps that last part is the problem?

    If you are trying to use the 512 card that came with it or any 512 card for that matter you will need to use the CF Image that I made for the 512mb card. you can get it here https://drive.google.com/open?id=0B6eYWGFWxDP7ZVFXRXp0djZzWVE You will need to flash it with win32disk imager. Once you have flashed that to it, put it back in the box, boot it up and connect to the box with 9600 8N1 and wait for the beeps then press enter. you should get a c:/> next type cd bios. then follow the steps on the wiki doc that was posted.



  • @jahonix:

    Dude, Watchguard is no hardware sold in the pfSense store and FreeDOS is not pfSense, not even FreeBSD based.
    It's like asking why my PC doesn't boot Linux. Has nothing to do with the purpose of this forum.
    Your answer might be in a watchguard forum somewhere, not the pfSense forum.

    Umm.. yes, I'm well aware, I thought this section was for help flashing PFSENSE onto other hardware…?

    @chpalmer:

    Yes.  You need the correct cable to see FreeDOS work. Then after that the pfSense software should work fine with the cable you are using now.. or the one you had to purchase/build/borrow to make FreeDOS work.

    There are a couple of posts from users that built all the extra commands into the FreeDOS command that made things very automatic when they couldn't see what was happening. (including myself on one box) But its been a while and you would seriously be on your own with that.

    I couldn't find anything, I'll try searching harder for an automated solution as you mentioned. Thanks!

    @Alup:

    If you are trying to use the 512 card that came with it or any 512 card for that matter you will need to use the CF Image that I made for the 512mb card. you can get it here https://drive.google.com/open?id=0B6eYWGFWxDP7ZVFXRXp0djZzWVE You will need to flash it with win32disk imager. Once you have flashed that to it, put it back in the box, boot it up and connect to the box with 9600 8N1 and wait for the beeps then press enter. you should get a c:/> next type cd bios. then follow the steps on the wiki doc that was posted.

    I was not trying to use the 512mb card, I mentioned that I purchased a 256mb card, but I'll try your image just the same. Thank you for the suggestion and link!



  • In case the issue IS you cable, I can tell you what I use.

    I use this https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00CLX4LL8 adapter then use a cisco console cable to connect to my computer. This Cable https://www.amazon.com/dp/B005S2KPPU/

    That is the easiest way I have found to have a FULL NULL MODEM cable. Plus it allows you to just plug your console cable in the front, this allows you to have 1 cable to manage all your devices.

    At work we use these adapters on all the servers and serial port firewalls/appliances, since we use Cisco equipment almost exclusively, We have ALOT of these console cables.

    Just a note, the YELLOW Cisco console cable is NOT the same cable. DO NOT USE IT. I do not know what this cable was intended for but we used one one time and straight out fried a serial port on both server and the laptop that was in the connection.


  • Netgate Administrator

    It's almost certainly the cable issue.

    FreeDOS and the BIOS require hardware flowcontrol connections in the cable. pfSense and the Watchguard OS can use software flow control so will work with cables with only 3 pins wired.

    Steve



  • thatoneguy,

    Did my image work for you?



  • I just received a triplite null modem cable from Amazon, and I still can't get a FreeDOS prompt to flash the BIOS. I even removed my USB -> Serial adapter and pulled out my old Panasonic CF-29 toughbook which has a serial port. I can't even get a FreeDOS prompt with 9600 8N1, settings using a stock FreeDOS image, or any image posted here. What is going on? The Watchguard boots fine with the stock 512 card, and I can serial to the WatchguardOS. I was the first person to open this unit too as I had to break the stickers…

    EDIT: Alup, I did finally get that 512MB image to work. For whatever reason, my 256MB SanDisk card was just not working. Brand new, so not sure what was up there. I flashed your 512MB image to my 512MB card, connected directly from my COM port to the x550e with my null modem cable, and on the third reboot... BOOM! FreeDOS. Flashing the BIOS, rebooting with 115200 8N1 (to get into the CMOS features of the BIOS) was suspect at best, but finally managed to get it working. Thank you for all participants in this thread. I'm up and running pfSense 2.3.2!



  • Glad to see you got this thing running! waves


  • Banned

    @thatoneguy:

    For whatever reason, my 256MB SanDisk card was just not working. Brand new, so not sure what was up there.

    Not necessarily the case. Booting a CF on these damned things requires sacrificing virgin blood at full moon while doing some ritual dances at the cemetery (plus having a unicorn with you helps a lot). About 1/20 works, the smaller and older, the better.

    YMMV  :P



  • @doktornotor:

    @thatoneguy:

    For whatever reason, my 256MB SanDisk card was just not working. Brand new, so not sure what was up there.

    Not necessarily the case. Booting a CF on these damned things requires sacrificing virgin blood at full moon while doing some ritual dances at the cemetery (plus having a unicorn with you helps a lot). About 1/20 works, the smaller and older, the better.

    YMMV  :P

    I do not believe that is the case. I have not found a single cf card that would not boot in this thing. The freedos image that Steven made does not seem to work on certain cf cards. What I did was use rufus to make a stock cf card bootable via freedos, then i extracted Stevens image and just put the files on the root of the cf card. This has worked every single cf card I have used.


  • Netgate Administrator

    @doktornotor:

    Booting a CF on these damned things requires sacrificing virgin blood at full moon while doing some ritual dances at the cemetery (plus having a unicorn with you helps a lot).

    Ha. It has seemed like that at times,  ;D

    Personally I've never had much issue with it. I guess I do have a load of ancient and tiny CF cards gathering dust. Who needs more than 8MB right?  :P

    Steve


  • Banned

    Yeah, as you noted elsewhere, it worked a lot better once flashed with a fixed BIOS. The catch 22 is getting something to boot to flash the BIOS. Still have the thing somewhere collecting dust, not using it since it started to behave unpredictably due to its age.