Installing onto Soekris hdd from USB
I'm having a really hard time figuring out how to get pfSense installed into a hdd mounted in a Soekris 6501-50 from a USB stick. When I run pfSense directly off the USB drive as an embedded image, it works flawlessly (and that's what we're doing now). However, when I replace that image with a memstick image (either VGA or console), the output through the console / serial port on the Soekris doesn't work (it looks like the pfSense image is configured to use VGA or something - I can't get it to a point where I can configure pfSense initially).
I also attempted to boot the Soekris from the flash drive with the embedded image when the hdd is also plugged in, hoping I could somehow install pfSense onto hdd that way.
Unfortunately, pfSense gets confused during the boot-up process and doesn't know which "disk we're booting from" and I've been unable to get past that hurdle.
The memstick serial image is for this situation but you seem to imply you've tried that already?
You can install to the drive in another box, enable serial console then transfer the drive back.
Check that your comBios is the latest one, find a USB stick that is recognized by the comBios, install the full version of the latest pfSense version on a different HDD using "pfSense-memstick-serial-2.1-RELEASE-i386.img" image and the "Win32DiskImager" software to write it to the USB stick.
Yes, I tried both Serial/console memstick image, as well as the VGA memstick image, and both acted (to me) as if they were configured for VGA (as the console output stopped working at a point early on in the boot process).
I will try doing a fresh install of pfSense with a memstick on another embedded PC I have later today, and see if that works. If it does, I'll take that embedded PC over to the client's office tomorrow and do exactly what you suggested - use my embedded PC with their hdd to perform the install and then switch the hdd back over to their Soekris device.
Thanks for the response. The steps you've suggested are almost exactly what I have done. I'm not positive that the bios is updated to the latest version, but this is a brand spakin' new Soekris device.
I'll respond later today if I have trouble getting pfSense installed onto my own embedded PC using either the VGA or the console memstick image.