"No Boot device available" on newly flashed CF and on old one after FW update



  • Hi!

    I have some trouble with my pfsense installation on a soekris net4801 an I assume that I am missing a simple thing, so after reading through the forums and google, I hope to get a hint from one of you.

    At home I have  (had) a working installation of
    pfsense 1.01 on
    soekris net4801 (BIOS …erm, pretty old)
    installed on a 256 MB CF card.

    As I wanted to upgrade to the current version of pfsense I took another Compact Flash card (SanDisk 4GB) and flashed
    pfSense-1.2.3-RELEASE-4g-nanobsd.img.gz
    according to a description I found on the net. There were no errors.

    Inserted in the soekris it wouldn't boot due to an "No Boot device available, enter monitor." error.

    I assumed that ther emight be an issue with the very old BIOS and the size oft the 4GB CF card and decided to update the net4801's BIOS first (I upgraded to 1.31 instead of 1.33 because of a human error and then it was too late to get the most recent one).
    Flashing worked as expected (hoped) and after typing "reboot" my little box rebootet without any error until it should boot the CF card. At that point it stopped with a message:

    comBIOS ver. 1.31  20070408  Copyright (C) 2000-2007 Soekris Engineering.

    net4801

    0128 Mbyte Memory                        CPU Geode SC1100 267 Mhz

    Pri Mas  KTC CF                          LBA 503-16-63  253 Mbyte

    Slot  Vend Dev  ClassRev Cmd  Stat CL LT HT  Base1    Base2  Int
    –-----------------------------------------------------------------
    0:00:0 1078 0001 06000000 0107 0280 00 00 00 00000000 00000000
    0:06:0 100B 0020 02000000 0107 0290 00 3F 00 0000E101 A0000000 10
    0:07:0 100B 0020 02000000 0107 0290 00 3F 00 0000E201 A0001000 10
    0:08:0 100B 0020 02000000 0107 0290 00 3F 00 0000E301 A0002000 10
    0:18:2 100B 0502 01018001 0005 0280 00 00 00 00000000 00000000
    0:19:0 0E11 A0F8 0C031008 0117 0280 08 38 00 A0003000 00000000 11

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

    No Boot device available, enter monitor.

    comBIOS Monitor.  Press ? for help.

    Trouble is, this now happens with both CF cards, including the one that worked before upgrading the BIOS.  :(
    (Even bigger trouble is what my wife might do to me if I can't get that fixed soon enough.)

    I tried "boot", "boot 80", "boot c:1", which all resulted in the above error message. "boot c:2" resulted in no action combined with no message.

    In some documentation I had found in the wiki earlier was a hint to set the correct C/H/S as seen by net4801. I tried to do that in a virtualized (VMWare) Fedora environment but I couldn't remember how to find out which device name the CF has. I had used that earlier to dd the image, but … forgot.

    Thanks for reading so far! I appreciate any hint how to solve this issue, including the linux command to find my CF device.


  • Rebel Alliance Developer Netgate

    How exactly did you write the image to the card?



  • I have some good news (for me :) ): I flashed the most current BIOS and set the BootDrive to "80 81 f0 ff". The old installation on the 256 MB CF seems to be working again (booting up properly, but I couldn't yet test functionality back home).

    The 4 GB CF with the current embedded image still won't boot to pfsense, but it is getting further now:

    comBIOS ver. 1.33  20080103  Copyright (C) 2000-2007 Soekris Engineering.

    net4801

    0128 Mbyte Memory                        CPU Geode SC1100 267 Mhz

    Pri Mas  SanDisk SDCFX3-4096            LBA Xlt 995-128-63  4013 Mbyte

    Slot  Vend Dev  ClassRev Cmd  Stat CL LT HT  Base1    Base2  Int
    –-----------------------------------------------------------------
    0:00:0 1078 0001 06000000 0107 0280 00 00 00 00000000 00000000
    0:06:0 100B 0020 02000000 0107 0290 00 3F 00 0000E101 A0000000 10
    0:07:0 100B 0020 02000000 0107 0290 00 3F 00 0000E201 A0001000 10
    0:08:0 100B 0020 02000000 0107 0290 00 3F 00 0000E301 A0002000 10
    0:18:2 100B 0502 01018001 0005 0280 00 00 00 00000000 00000000
    0:19:0 0E11 A0F8 0C031008 0117 0280 08 38 00 A0003000 00000000 11

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

    1  FreeBSD
    2  FreeBSD

    Boot:  2 #########################

    There was a third option "5  Disk 0" before last reboot.

    @jimp:

    How exactly did you write the image to the card?

    I installed Fedora 13 in a virtual box (VMWare Server) on a Windows 7 System with a USB card reader attached. VMWare maps the USB Port to Fedora.

    Running Fedora I found out where the CF card was (the command I don't remember anymore) and then I used the "Linux: Use this command:" command from the HowTo:
    "zcat pfsense-embedded.img.gz | dd of=/dev/sd[a] bs=16k"

    (and now I see the dmesg command I was looking for!)

    Afterwards I tried to access the configuration file but after half a night spent trying to make Fedora rw-mount the CF card with ufs2 I gave up. I don't think that I might have destroyed something there though, cause I only could mount read only.

    As a last desperate try I used MS Windows' diskpart to activate the one partition it showed, but that didn't work either. Should I re-flash the pfsense image to "undo" that change?

    I wanted to try this Disk Geometry Thing ysterday, which I can do tonight - now that I found dmesg again.  :D


  • Rebel Alliance Developer Netgate

    Yeah that looks like a better boot, but not ideal.

    I know when the ALIX units hit that (#####) it means they needed a more up-to-date BIOS to boot the new images.

    Not sure if you'll be able to make that work on that old of a board or not. You might have to try this (but beware of the warnings)
    http://doc.pfsense.org/index.php/NanoBSD_on_WRAP


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