Watchguard x750e - can't get it to boot up my CF - PLEASE HELP



  • Hi all,

    I'm new here and this is my first posting. I'm trying to refurbish a WG x750e Core for using pfSense 2.0.1 but can't get it to boot the CF card.
    Since a week I'm browsing this Forum and the web but nothing did help me out of this mess yet.

    I have tried 2/4/8 GB CF's and also an old 512MB one but none is booting. Only the original 128MB CF is accepted.
    I have even rebuild this one for using FreeDOS to access and/or flash the BIOS but that's the only card bootable so far.
    In case one of you has an original BIOS for this box I would be happy if you send me this. Mine is saying "BIOS File check sum error" and so I can't revert to the backup I have made.

    Changing the BIOS settings to CHS Mode and 2 heads for the CF does not help. Also no of the PIO mode or UDMA settings in the BIOS made a change on this situation.
    Please help a give me some hint if you have one of those x750e running and an idea what I could try else.

    BTW: I have made a PS/2 Keyboad and VGA cable for fully accessing the box during boot so that is no an issue to me.

    Cheers and thanks in advance,
    Gero

    PS: Congratulations to all and specialy to Steve at this way. You all have made a lot of good stuff for pfSense here and I like Steve's posts at nettechonline.net


  • Netgate Administrator

    @Gero:

    PS: Congratulations to all and specialy to Steve at this way. You all have made a lot of good stuff for pfSense here and I like Steve's posts at nettechonline.net

    I never wrote any of the posts at nettechonline, it was all lifted from the forum.  ::)

    First off please list what bios revision you have. It may be different (although it would be the first).
    Inside the box there is a label with either a date (21/12/05) or an X number (X017) from memory depending on the age of your box.

    Steve



  • Hi Steve,

    thanks for your quick reply, I was hoping you would take note of my post. ;-)

    The original BIOS on the BOX was labeled X107 (further details I can tell on Monday when I'm back to work). The box is not in original condition as I have also taken the FreeDOS images of this post.
    http://forum.pfsense.org/index.php/topic,20095.msg233736.html#msg233736 and tried to used those to see if they would help my box boot bigger CF cards.

    None of those modified BIOS images does help me to boot the bigger CF cards, they all seam only to redirect the console output to COM1.

    I sincerely also could not find any detailed explanation of the different BIOSes within that FreeDOS image. So far I can only say that some do not work or flash on my box and only X750EB4 and X750EB6 seam to work.

    One of those bricked my box as I could not boot any more after flashing it but I have also an external USB Flasher board which was my last rescue when I took out to flash module and reburned it with the B6 image outside the box. After that I the box could boot normaly again.

    As I said, the problem with the console redirect to COM1 is not mine. I can access the BIOS settings with the PS/2 Keyboard and VGA adapter cables I have made myself.

    The current condition is: The box does detect the newer and bigger CF cards, they all show up correctly during boot detection. I have put the different pfSense nanoBSD images on them either using FreeBSD 8 or debian 6 because I thought dd would do the job much better and I could use FreeBSD to modify the image later to include the LCD modification and the Disarm/Arm LED f‚ix.

    So far neither a 2 / 4 or 8 GB CF card did boot in the X750e Core. They all show up "No Disc / Boot device found" after the POST of the BIOS.

    Any idea what I should do next?

    Cheers,
    Gero


  • Netgate Administrator

    Hmm,
    I have used all of those bios images successfully but none were designed to do anything more than allow access to the bios via the serial port. The later versions simply enabled more options, most of which didn't work or caused the box the crash!
    After first flashing the bios I have occasionally had to manually clear the CMOS with the jumper before it will boot.

    So here is what I did:
    Flash the new bios with the /cc option to clear the cmos. All bios settings should now be default.
    Boot up the machine with the new CF card in and the IDE channel set to auto.
    The machine will detect the card and show the correct size but it will not boot.
    Now go into the bios and set the IDE channel to manual, CHS and set the heads to 2.
    The bios will now show completely the wrong size for your CF card, that's OK you've told it heads are 2 but left Cylinders and Sectors as detected.
    Save those settings and reboot.

    Steve



  • Bad!

    sounds like mine is then some how "different" then yours.

    I'm almost sure I did all this twice but will try it again on Monday.

    The open question now is: Shall I care about the modified BIOS?
    The backup of the original one is claiming a bad check sum so I can't revert to it.
    The modified one (currently B6 if I rememeber right) is not causing any thing wrong but I can't say what is different and if it would cause any trouble some day.

    Would it make sense to put a HDD on and check that?
    Maybe if this woud boot up correctly I could check the CF card from there when I put a clean FreeBSd on it. Which version of FreeBSD should I take for that?

    Thanks a lot for your help so far, I will post my next actions for sure.

    Cheers,
    Gero


  • Netgate Administrator

    I can send you a copy of my original bios if you need it but I don't think it will help.
    Is the cmos battery OK? Is it remembering the settings?
    Can you tell us the brand and type of CF cards you tried, somebody else had a problem with new cards.

    Steve



  • @Gero:

    The current condition is: The box does detect the newer and bigger CF cards, they all show up correctly during boot detection. . . .

    So far neither a 2 / 4 or 8 GB CF card did boot in the X750e Core. They all show up "No Disc / Boot device found" after the POST of the BIOS.

    I'm not familiar with the quirks of the X750e Core. Given the above information I would suspect the CF doesn't have a bootable partition. Did you dd to a partition on the CF (wrong) or to the whole CF (correct)?



  • Hi both,

    thanks for your help so far. I appreciate you support.

    CMOS battery should be ok IMHO, it remembers all the given settings even over a night and also CMOS clear jumper was used at some point during my testings.
    I would agree with Steve that the BIOS itself it not an issue in my case but could imaging that the CF's I'm using are kind of 'to new'.

    The original (128MB) CF ist nothing special but those that I bought and I'm trying to use now are Transcend 'Ultra-Speed 133X' types which would also support UDMA mode AFAIK.
    Autodetect in any case always detects them all correctly but that is all.

    Because of that I have also tried to use an older 512MB Kingston CF card which at least can go as far as it shows (very slowly after PCI device list) a message like "BTX Loader 1.00 BTX Version 1.02" but thats all. Even after leaving it running for a night it does not produce any further output neither to the console on COM1 nor to the VGA monitor attached.

    I have done 'dd' always to the whole CF device e.g. 'of=/dev/hda' or 'of=/dev/ad8' either usind Debian 6 or FreeBSD. That shoul be ok in my understanding and not the source of the problem.
    I have also tried when extracting the gzip image first and then used this to write the CF. In any case the question is right abot this and I will double check my procedure to be sure that is not causing the problem even I woul almost lay my hand on fire that this is not my trouble cause. I might need to learn how to check the CF afterwards while mounting it on FreeBSD to be sure.

    I might get soon my hands on an older Firebox X700 which is known to be running pfSense 2.0.1 from such bigger and newer CF cards w/o any issues. Maybe I'll try to pull the BIOS off that and make a clone using my enternal USB flasher board (SEEIT EPRUSB). In case the BIOS is the problem and the X750e accepts the copy of the X700 BIOS this could be a solution for me.

    I'll keep you all updated (Monday afternoon CET) about this in case some one else will step into the same trap some day.

    In the mean time, thanks for all our efforts & Cheers,
    Gero


  • Netgate Administrator

    @Gero:

    those that I bought and I'm trying to use now are Transcend 'Ultra-Speed 133X' types which would also support UDMA mode AFAIK.

    Like this one (see attachment)?

    I don't believe the 133x cards do support UDMA but even if they do you should get part way through the boot process and then halt.
    I have booted from a Sony 300X card which is UDMA compatible without problems as long as UDMA (or DMA) is disabled either in the bios or in /boot/loader.conf, which it is by default.

    Steve

    ![Transend CF.JPG](/public/imported_attachments/1/Transend CF.JPG)
    ![Transend CF.JPG_thumb](/public/imported_attachments/1/Transend CF.JPG_thumb)


  • Netgate Administrator

    @Gero:

    Because of that I have also tried to use an older 512MB Kingston CF card which at least can go as far as it shows (very slowly after PCI device list) a message like "BTX Loader 1.00 BTX Version 1.02" but thats all.

    Where do you see that message? I do not see that at all.
    Perhaps you are using the wrong image?

    Steve



  • Hi Steve, all,

    sorry I'm late with my updated post, anyhow things are getting better now:

    • The original BIOS of the X750e Core was labeled X017 not as I said before (X107).
    • The BIOS of the older X700 labeled "WG-X66A" from "2003-11-05" does not run on the X750e Core. It neither shows a display output nor does the little LED bar on the board change states further then 0-0-1-1-1-1-0-0 (as see from LD1 to LD8)
    • The Original BIOS backup I made (using FreeDOS and AWDFLASH) a few days before was accepted by my USB Flasher Board. AWDFLASH was saying "Bad Check sum" as I mentioned before. Now this X750e is running the original BIOS again.

    The 512MB Kingston CF card I was seeing before only showing the BTX loader 1.0 boot message is now able to boot and redirects the output to COM1 after that particular message. I now could seen all the kernel boot messages! I swear it was not doing this before.  :-[  To my excuse I might have to say that I can't with sureness say I was doing the 'CHS' and '2 Heads' change exactly after 'Auto Detect' before. However…
    While booting the 512MB CF card this time I saw at the end this message:

    [i]Fatal trap 18: integer divide fault while in kernel mode
    instruction pointer    = 0x20:0xc0a88c3b
    stack pointer          = 0x28:0xc10208a8
    frame pointer          = 0x28:0xc1020920
    code segment            = base 0x0, limit 0xfffff, type 0x1b
                            = DPL 0, pres 1, def32 1, gran 1
    processor eflags        = interrupt enabled, resume, IOPL = 0
    current process        = 0 (swapper)
    trap number            = 18
    panic: integer divide fault
    Uptime: 1s
    Cannot dump. No dump device defined.
    Automatic reboot in 15 seconds - press a key on the console to abort
    –> Press a key on the console to reboot,
    --> or switch off the system now.

    Before this I was seeing on the beginning of the boot process:

    ACPI Error (tbxfroot-0308): A valid RSDP was not found [20070320]
    MPTable: <oem00000 prod00000000="">ioapic0: Assuming intbase of 0
    ioapic0 <version 2.0="">irqs 0-23 on motherboard
    wlan: mac acl policy registered
    ACPI Error (tbxfroot-0308): A valid RSDP was not found [20070320]
    ACPI: Table initialisation failed: AE_NOT_FOUND
    ACPI: Try disabling either ACPI or apic support.</version></oem00000>

    So the conclusion is: Either my 512MB CF card is not good enough or there is some thing else wrong with that.

    I then swaped the CF card and took the 2GB one I was trying last week a few hundred times. This was in clean condition (no initial setup done yet) this time.
    PROCEDURE: Swap CF card ; Enter BIOS Setup ; Auto Detect Boot Device ; Change to Manual mode ; Change to CHS mode ; Change to '2 Heads' leaving all the rest untouched ; Save settings and Reboot

    Now I saw the pfSense normal boot process on the COM1 console output and could not beleve my eyes. IT IS WORKING!!! ;D

    As for now, I have pfSense 2.0.1 RELEASE running on this Firebox x750e Core on a 2GB Kingston CF Card.
    Next I will try to use those 8GB '133x' type ones which are intended to be used for that and(!) following my own procedure as from above.

    BTW: All CF cards run very well on the older X700 w/o any issue. I don't know if swaping them around after initial config will cause any trouble as the NIC's devices are named different.
    For today I'll have to stop doing any thing further, I will update here as soon as I know more.

    Cheers,
    Gero



  • Hi Steve,

    yes the CF card your picture is showing is exactly the same as mine. The 8GB one is also having the same label.

    I can now confirm a clean 4GB Transcend 133X CF card does work on the Firebox X750e Core!

    The TRICK seams to be to enter the BIOS after insertion of the CF card and then do the 'HDD-Auto detect' in 'Standard CMOS Setup' followed by the 'CHS' mode and '2 Heads' settings change.

    Thanks for your help, I will next do the LCD and Arm/Disarm LED setup.

    BTW: The ACPI error messages come up lightly different from this CF card.

    ACPI Error: A valid RSDP was not found (20100331/tbxfroot-309)
    MPTable: <oem00000 prod00000000="">ioapic0: Assuming intbase of 0
    ioapic0 <version 2.0="">irqs 0-23 on motherboard
    netisr_init: forcing maxthreads to 1 and bindthreads to 0 for device polling
    wlan: mac acl policy registered
    ipw_bss: You need to read the LICENSE file in /usr/share/doc/legal/intel_ipw/.
    ipw_bss: If you agree with the license, set legal.intel_ipw.license_ack=1 in /boot/loader.conf.
    module_register_init: MOD_LOAD (ipw_bss_fw, 0xc0710010, 0) error 1
    ipw_ibss: You need to read the LICENSE file in /usr/share/doc/legal/intel_ipw/.
    ipw_ibss: If you agree with the license, set legal.intel_ipw.license_ack=1 in /boot/loader.conf.
    module_register_init: MOD_LOAD (ipw_ibss_fw, 0xc07100b0, 0) error 1
    wpi: You need to read the LICENSE file in /usr/share/doc/legal/intel_wpi/.
    wpi: If you agree with the license, set legal.intel_wpi.license_ack=1 in /boot/loader.conf.
    module_register_init: MOD_LOAD (wpi_fw, 0xc0883050, 0) error 1
    ipw_monitor: You need to read the LICENSE file in /usr/share/doc/legal/intel_ipw/.
    ipw_monitor: If you agree with the license, set legal.intel_ipw.license_ack=1 in /boot/loader.conf.
    module_register_init: MOD_LOAD (ipw_monitor_fw, 0xc0710150, 0) error 1
    ACPI Error: A valid RSDP was not found (20100331/tbxfroot-309)
    ACPI: Table initialisation failed: AE_NOT_FOUND
    ACPI: Try disabling either ACPI or apic support.
    cryptosoft0: <software crypto="">on motherboard</software></version></oem00000>

    The ipw_monitor message is new when I compare to the 512MB CF card. I guess this is only needing a change of the loader.conf
    The ACPI Error messages seams to be similar to the failing 512MB CF. That sounds to me that this is not the cause why that falls in to the Fatal trap 18

    Cheers,
    Gero


  • Netgate Administrator

    Excellent!  :)

    None of those errors are a problem.

    The default setting in the bios is ACPI disabled which is why pfSense can't see it. Not a problem.

    The IPW and WPI messages are simply part of Intel's liscence agreement and can safely be ignored. Or as you say add the required agreement to /boot/loader.conf.local

    You may have run out of space on the 512MB card. Some newer CF cards are smaller than the images (though the images have been shrunk yet again for 2.0.1) it's safe to use a smaller image on a larger card.

    Steve



  • Last report for today:

    The NIC configuration is some what strange or at least confusing:
    Interfaces msk0 to msk3 are the ports 4 to 7 on the Firebox X750e Core but they are listed first on boot messages.
    That to me was making me believe they would be 0 to 3 instead.

    For port numbers 0 to 3 you must use sk0 to sk3 instead of what is shown in boot messages.

    I'm finally having fun now with pfSense thanks to Steve. Where can I click here for my acknowledgement and donation? ;)

    Cheers,
    Gero


  • Netgate Administrator

    @Gero:

    Where can I click here for my acknowledgement and donation? ;)

    Here.  ;)

    Are you aware of the bug in the msk driver? You should use the sk interfaces as a preference until the release if pfSense 2.1, which should include a fix.

    Steve



  • Yep!

    Not a minute ago I saw that on some of your other postings.  :o  I'll be ok with only sk0 to sk3 for a while.

    Do you think changing to 2.1 will be some thing I can do by remote? I'd like to send one of the two boxes around the world and it would be nice if I could do that from far with no issue.
    Other way would of course be to prepare a new CF card and send that out with some replacement instructions.

    Cheers,
    Gero


  • Netgate Administrator

    @Gero:

    Do you think changing to 2.1 will be some thing I can do by remote?

    Theoretically yes. However it's a big change moving the code base from FreeBSD 8.1 to 9.X. I upgraded from 1.2.3 to 2.0 by simply clicking 'upgrade' in the webgui which was a similar change. However 'your millage may vary'!

    Steve


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