Unable to boot from CF-SATA adapter



  • I have put together a box using an Asus AT5NM10T-I mini-itx motherboard with a Syba SD-ADA40001 compact flash-SATA adapter and a 4G compact flash card.

    http://www.asus.com/Motherboards/Intel_CPU_on_Board/AT5NM10TI/
    http://sybausa.com/productInfo.php?iid=383

    I transferred the pfSense 2.0.1 4G nanobsd image for i386 to the compact flash card from my Mac using dd as per the installation docs.

    I have a monitor hooked up to the VGA port and a laptop running puTTY hooked up to the serial port. When I boot the machine, I see the BTX loader start on the VGA screen and it switches over to the serial terminal as expected. On the serial terminal, I see the boot process starting:

    1  pfSense
    2  pfSense
    
    F6 PXE
    Boot:  1
    /boot.config: -h
    Consoles: serial port
    BIOS drive C: is disk0
    BIOS 639kB/3135040kB available memory
    
    FreeBSD/i386 bootstrap loader, Revision 1.1
    (root@FreeBSD_8.0_pfSense_2.0-snaps.pfsense.org, Mon Dec 12 18:43:24 EST 2011)
    Loading /boot/defaults/loader.conf
    /boot/kernel/kernel text=0x8a1d18 data=0x3c9e54+0x9b6a0 \
    -
    Hit [Enter] to boot immediately, or any other key for command prompt.
    Booting [/boot/kernel/kernel]...
    \
    

    At this point, it freezes. The spinner does not spin, the kernel does not boot and the VGA screen displays the message "BTX halted".

    I have tried changing BIOS settings such as SATA configuration IDE vs AHCI etc but so far I haven't had any luck.

    I have seen this thread from about a year ago with similar hardware:

    http://forum.pfsense.org/index.php/topic,32485.0.html

    but it doesn't look like there was any resolution at the time.

    Has any got pfSense working with a similar hardware setup?

    Any suggestions would be most appreciated.

    Thanks,

    Pete


  • Rebel Alliance Developer Netgate

    If you used the NanoBSD image, it's switched to serial output at that point.

    You probably want to use a NanoBSD+VGA image for that system.



  • Hi Jimp, thanks for the quick response.

    As I mentioned in the original message, I do have a laptop connected via serial, and the output that I pasted was from the serial connection. The kernel is definitely not booting.

    I will be running the box headless and would prefer to use the serial connection rather than digging out a monitor and keyboard on the rare occasion when it is necessary to access the console. However, I will give the vga image a try as you suggest.

    Thanks,

    Pete


  • Rebel Alliance Developer Netgate

    Ah, I missed that, seeing VGA several times my brain just skipped that sentence about serial.

    Do you have a different storage medium to try to see if it's the adapter that isn't working properly?

    Any BIOS options for SATA that might control what mode it runs in? AHCI vs Legacy or something along those lines, if you have the choice, try toggling it.



  • @jimp:

    Any BIOS options for SATA that might control what mode it runs in? AHCI vs Legacy or something along those lines, if you have the choice, try toggling it.

    I have tried configuring SATA as both IDE (Compatible and Enhanced) and AHCI. Neither works. I have tried disabling 32-bit transfers and block mode but that didn't help. PIO and DMA are both set to auto. Plug and Play is turned off, power management is disabled, all unnecessary ports are disabled.

    @jimp:

    Do you have a different storage medium to try to see if it's the adapter that isn't working properly?

    The only thing I have handy is a USB flash drive. I will give the memstick image a try and see if that works…

    Thanks,

    Pete



  • Partial success booting the memstick image from a Corsair USB flash drive.

    The kernel boots, but it eventually fails with a root mount error. I will look into this separately.

    I would prefer to boot from an internal device though and would like to get the CF-SATA adapter working if at all possible. If not, I think I have a 2 1/2" SATA HDD lying around somewhere at home. I'd prefer not to have any moving parts but i could use it as a last resort…

    Thanks,

    Pete


  • Netgate Administrator

    This is a long shot but does your CF card support UDMA?

    You may need to disable it somehow. I'm not sure how a CF card on the end of SATA cable in IDE mode handles DMA though! My own box won't boot from CF if I enable UDMA on the IDE interface.

    http://doc.pfsense.org/index.php/DMA_and_LBA_Errors

    http://doc.pfsense.org/index.php/Booting_Options#Disable_DMA_for_IDE_drives

    Steve



  • @stephenw10:

    This is a long shot but does your CF card support UDMA?

    Hi Steve,

    Thanks for your reply.

    In the BIOS, I had the DMA mode set to auto (the default). It detected the settings as follows:

    Async DMA: Multiword DMA-2
    Ultra DMA: Ultra DMA-5

    I changed the DMA mode from auto to MWDMA2 to force it to use the detected Async DMA instead of Ultra DMA and… Success! The system now boots. I have been able to assign my interfaces and so far, everything looks great.

    Thank you again for your help, and thanks also to Jimp for the suggestions.

    Pete


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