Installing pfSense on Meraki MX-70



  • Have two of the MX-70 units and the hw itself is very compatible including the LCD, but I cannot get it to book from the SSD drive or even a HDD, the bad part is I have no video and cannot get the console to output anything but garbage. I was hoping someone out there may have worked with this unit before and knows how to get it to boot pfSense or why its not booting. The only thing I have to go on is when booting, after the post beep it beeps twice, short ones, I tried different memory, different hard drives, different pfSense versions, both x86 and x64. Tried embedded and standard kernel. Hoping someone has some insight as to getting this to work. Its a great unit but currently the pain in my rear.


  • Netgate Administrator

    @ghostshell:

    the hw itself is very compatible including the LCD

    Have you tested it to be compatible or it just appears to be? It looks like a Lanner box.

    It might have a locked down BIOS preventing other boot devices. Does it have other boot options? USB? CF maybe? Can we see a picture of the board?

    Steve



  • I have installed it before using NanoBSD/embedded edition (Serial Console)

    There are actually console pads on the board to the left of the USB ports if you open the device. I, being cheap, desoldered the jack from the opposite side of the board, and soldered it there. Used a Cisco console cable. If I were to do it all over again, I would solder wires to the board, complete the install and then desolder the wires but ya know, I got caught up in the adventure.

    -Quake



  • Can you give me any pointers to TTY to this thing?

    I don't have a CF reader, so I connected an old 2.5" HDD to the SATA cable inside and did a DD of the nanobsd.  To my shock, the unit booted up with the pfSense tones on the first try (I was seriously shocked).

    Subsequent boots don't play the tones, so I wonder if I borked the image by not configuring it.  I've never done the nanoBSD, but I know my way around the CLI once I get a console on the VGA version.

    I'm using this command to connect.  This exact command works when I console into DLink switches using the same USB -> RJ45 cable:

    screen /dev/tty.usbserial-AH06763H 115200

    Any help is greatly appreciated.  I just need to grab a CF reader, but still interested to see how this SATA drive booted if I can get it to boot again.


  • Netgate Administrator

    What Nano image did you use? It would need to be the Nano Serial image to give a serial console by default.

    If you got the startup tune though it must have em NICs that it assigned by default. One of them should be LAN and handing out DHCP with access to the gui on 192.168.1.1.

    Steve



  • Try plugging a usb keyboard in and blindly hitting F1, Escape, Delete, Enter. (The usuals)  No particular order and I'm never quite sure which key works as I spam em all. It may just be hung up at one of those press F1 to continue type bios screens. Maybe cmos battery is dead. Worth a shot anyway.

    For reference, WAN is bound to port labeled Internet 1, and LAN is bound to port labeled Internet 2.



  • Serial garbage means your settings are wrong.



  • I've gained a little understanding as I've gone on to console other devices. You said you're having trouble TTYing this thing. I want to point out that it's using RS232. So head over to Amazon or Ali Express and pick up a USB to RS232 adapter. I bought one that does TTY, RS232, and RS485. I already had a RS-232 adapter because I'm a network technician so after I soldered on a console port I plugged in my Cisco blue cable and off I went.



  • @quakeitup:

    I have installed it before using NanoBSD/embedded edition (Serial Console)

    There are actually console pads on the board to the left of the USB ports if you open the device. I, being cheap, desoldered the jack from the opposite side of the board, and soldered it there. Used a Cisco console cable. If I were to do it all over again, I would solder wires to the board, complete the install and then desolder the wires but ya know, I got caught up in the adventure.

    -Quake

    Are there any pics or diagrams to show where and what wires need to soldered where?  I am having a hard time finding where to solder my RS232 cable to so I can get a console session to see what is preventing mine from booting.  Thanks.


  • Netgate Administrator

    If you look at other similar Lanner boxes the RJ-45 console port is just next to the USB ports as quakeitup said.

    Can you post pics of that area of the pcb? Maybe we can make some suggestions.

    Steve



  • I have verified where the serial connection is, but haven't been able to get a serial connection  by soldering wires from a serial cable into the board.  The system starts up with a single beep followed by 2 quick beeps.  The behavior is almost like the system is stuck in the POST process.


  • Netgate Administrator

    If console re-direct is enabled by default and is on that port (either of which may not be true) then I would expect to need to hit TAB to enter the BIOS setup.

    Have you tried just booting a pre-installed boot drive of some type?

    Steve



  • Sorry, I don't frequent the forums much. When it comes to the pinout. It is such that soldering a console port to it works with a cisco blue console cable. So you should be able to figure out the pinout.

    Console redirect is not enabled on Meraki but I did pull the bios image and modify it to allow console redirect. I'll find the image on my desktop this evening and if it's not against any rules I can post a link. (As soon as I remember)

    For those who have no desire to solder a console port on their MX, I did create an img you can write to a usb flashdrive, that will boot into freedos, beep 3 times, patch the bios, then beep 3 more times to let you know it's safe to shutdown.
    This is good for disabling halt on error which is never useful on a headless machine imo.



  • Here is the modified bios rom. You can use Rufus for Windows or your img writer of choice. If you just want the .rom file extract the .img file. It's name is MERAKI.ROM and is 2MB. This image works on MX50s and 70s. I just altered the console redirect and halt on error flags. The rest is stock.

    If your curious open the autoexec.bat to see what it's doing.

    Read the README.txt file and note that I'm not responsible for any damage to your system. I've tested this on multiple MX's without issue and had some customers use the .img to flash without a console. Do NOT power off your MX during the flash process until you hear the second set of beeps. Do not walk away from your MX during the flash process. It only take a minute or two.

    MerakiBios.img
    https://drive.google.com/open?id=12akcGuWcBqW2q3b-yuWUPUjq2Ey2pAeb

    Cheers,
    QuaKe



  • @quakeitup
    Hi quakeitup, do you know if this is image is compatible with Mx64? Where can I find flashing instructions and tools for this? Thank you.


  • Netgate Administrator

    Almost certainly not. the mx50 and mx70 look to be nearly identical re-branded Lanner boxes. The mx64 is completely different.

    Steve



  • @alep11 StephenW10 is correct, the MX64 is a powerpc processor I believe. I know the MX60, Z1 and MX80 are for sure. If anything works on it, would be OpenWRT/LEDE.