IBASE FWA7204-1G (Pfsense Installation)



  • Hi Guys,

    I have this IBASE FWA7204:

    http://www.ibase.com.tw/FWA7204.htm

    This Appliance used to have a HackStrike OS running, however the disk went faulty - so instead of throwing away this device thought about installing Pfsense on a new disk and utilize it. Searching through this forum there is a post where someone says that he managed to install it on this device.

    Can someone guide me what needs to be done to install Pfsense from scratch on this appliance?

    Regards

    o



  • I suggest you get yourself a good quality Compact Flash card of 4GB or more to use as the boot device.

    If your search the forums and the pfSense documentation wiki (see home page for link) for embedded pfSense or nanoBSD you should find a number of articles which discuss the installation procedure for that variant of pfSense and the limitations of that version.

    If the box has a "real PC" BIOS you shouldn't have much trouble getting pfSense to work but if the BIOS is the bare minimum to work on that box with particular software you might have some challenges.



  • Thanks wallabybob,

    I dont think this device can take a CF card (however if anyone managed - id appreciate a know how)

    as in BIOS - i can see onboard a Pheonix BIOS chip - so that might help me - however opon booting with serial - i dont have the option to enter the BIOS.

    Regards

    o



  • OK, Im in the BIOS - whats next - copy the ISO to a USB or?

    Any help would be appreciated especially from someone who installed pfsense on FWA7204 before



  • @ollie01:

    I dont think this device can take a CF card (however if anyone managed - id appreciate a know how)

    The web page your first post linked to (http://www.ibase.com.tw/FWA7204.htm) says

    Storage: Compact Flash via IDE ports

    and (under features)

    Compact Flash socket, 2 COM ports

    So I would take this to mean the motherboard has a Compact Flash socket connected to an IDE port so a Compact Flash can be used as a "hard drive".

    This is a fairly common way of using CF cards. I'd be interested if the web page means something entirely different  :)

    On eBay I bought a number of adapters that allow a Compact Flash to be plugged into a motherboard 40 pin IDE socket. So if I have wildly misinterpreted the web page you could probably get a suitable adapter allowing a CF to be used as a boot device.



  • @ollie01:

    OK, Im in the BIOS - whats next - copy the ISO to a USB or?

    Any help would be appreciated especially from someone who installed pfsense on FWA7204 before

    Nothing.  Just ensure that the BIOS is set to boot of the CF card and that the serial port is enabled.

    Now, you need a laptop/ desktop with a serial port (can be a USB to serial supported by your OS).
    You also need a NULL modem cable to connect the 2 units.  Since you're in the bios, you should have both and the terminal program as well.

    You need to flash the CF card with the embedded pfsense (NanoBSD for pfsense 2.0).  Use Physdiskwrite GUI for Windows and either a CF card reader connected by USB or via a CF to IDE/ SATA adapter connected internally.

    Once done, pop it into the machine.  Hook up the NULL modem cable and configure the terminal program on your desktop (usually putty) for 9600/8/N/1.

    Fire up the unit and wait for the setup prompt on the terminal console.  The rest is almost exactly identical to a regular installation of pfSense except that you don't need to install the OS.

    The easiest method is simply to configure the LAN interface and IP first.  Then use the desktop to connect via ethernet and access the WebGUI for the rest of the stuff.



  • Thanks for your help guys,

    this is what i've done so far….

    Changed the BIOS to boot from USB-CDROM. Connected a USB CDDROM to the FWA7204 USB port, and burnt this iso on CD pfSense-1.2.3-RELEASE-LiveCD-Installer.iso.

    I can see the POST of the FWA7204 - however the installation does not occur. Is this a problem since im connected with serial?



  • @ollie01:

    Thanks for your help guys,

    this is what i've done so far….

    Changed the BIOS to boot from USB-CDROM. Connected a USB CDDROM to the FWA7204 USB port, and burnt this iso on CD pfSense-1.2.3-RELEASE-LiveCD-Installer.iso.

    I can see the POST of the FWA7204 - however the installation does not occur. Is this a problem since im connected with serial?

    Yes, it is a problem because the full installation (LiveCD) requires VGA output for the installation process.

    You'll need to use the embedded variant OR install the full version on the HDD in another computer, set the console to redirect to serial in the webgui then plug it into the FWA.



  • Thanks dreamslacker,

    embedded variant = pfSense-2.0-RC1-2g-i386-20110226-1633-nanobsd.img?

    Regards

    o



  • @ollie01:

    Thanks dreamslacker,

    embedded variant = pfSense-2.0-RC1-2g-i386-20110226-1633-nanobsd.img?

    Regards

    o

    Yes.  2g implies that it is a 2GB image.  Depending on your CF card, you might need to go 1 size down.



  • I've got a 40GB HDD attached to the FWA… can i still proceed with the install?

    or the HDD installation from another PC would be better?



  • @ollie01:

    I've got a 40GB HDD attached to the FWA… can i still proceed with the install?

    or the HDD installation from another PC would be better?

    You can perform a full install on another PC and enable the serial console before powering off and transferring the HDD over to the FWA.
    Note that you will need to access the FWA by serial and re-configure the interfaces after that.



  • Thanks dreamslacker,

    your advice has been really helpful to get me on the right track.

    Is there a guide i should follow, to install pfsense on a HDD from another pc?



  • Just to confirm i will be doing this the rigth way:

    #1 - Connect FWA HDD to my PC
    #2 - Boot with the ISO downloaded from Pfsense on my PC
    #3 - Initiate the installation
    #4 - Enable the Serial Console

    #5 - Connect the HDD back to the FWA
    #6 - Boot up and configure the interfaces

    As in FULL installation i would presume this will do: pfSense-2.0-RC1-i386-20110226-1530.iso.gz

    Is the above correct?



  • Effectively, yes.



  • OK,

    I'm at point #4 - dumb question - how do you enable the serial console?

    Regards
    o



  • @ollie01:

    I'm at point #4 - dumb question - how do you enable the serial console?

    System -> Advanced, click on Admin Access, scroll down to Serial Communications



  • Ok guys, Pfsense installed and connected to FWA - Once setting up Putty to connect - can see pfsense booting up and got this:

    ad0: 152627MB <samsung hm160hc="" lq100-10="">at ata0-master UDMA100
    GEOM: ad0s1: geometry does not match label (255h,63s != 16h,63s).
    Trying to mount root from ufs:/dev/da0s1a
    ROOT MOUNT ERROR:
    If you have invalid mount options, reboot, and first try the following from
    the loader prompt:

    and then remove invalid mount options from /etc/fstab.

    Loader variables:
    vfs.root.mountfrom=ufs:/dev/da0s1a
    vfs.root.mountfrom.options=rw

    Manual root filesystem specification:
     <fstype>: <device>Mount <device>using filesystem <fstype>eg. ufs:/dev/da0s1a
                          eg. cd9660:/dev/acd0
                          This is equivalent to: mount -t cd9660 /dev/acd0 /

    ?                  List valid disk boot devices
      <empty line="">Abort manual input

    Any ideas?

    NB: I've tried this option but problem persists (set vfs.root.mountfrom.options=rw
    )</empty></fstype></device></device></fstype></samsung>



  • ufs:/dev/ad0s1a

    That solved my problem… incase anyone meets the same issue on IBASE.



  • Thanks guys, pFsense installed and working perfectly¬!



  • Congrats.
    Looks like I forgot to warn you about leaving only and only the installation HDD hooked up to the surrogate computer.  Otherwise, the boot time options will try and find the previous mounting point (non-ad0) when you transfer it.


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