2GB NanoBSD (no VGA) flash issues (and upgrade issues) with 2.2.2



  • So far we've had multiple issues when running both the auto-upgrade from a version prior to 2.2.1, or when manually flashing the image from http://files.bgn.pfsense.org/mirror/downloads/pfSense-2.2-RELEASE-2g-i386-nanobsd.img.gz, on an ALIX.2D13 system. Using the 2GB version, I flashed 2.2.2 to the existing CF card, tried to boot with serial attached, and I get mostly grey output line after line, unreadable, never finishes booting. This is the same result when booting the upgraded slice when upgrading (in this case from 2.0.2 but I've seen the same from 2.1.5) from the GUI using the auto-update link from the dashboard (rebooting and using serial to manually boot from original slice with 2.0.2 works to return functionality temporarily). Both machines have auto-upgraded several times in the past without issue.

    So far, flashing CF with 2.2.1 and then auto-upgrading to 2.2.2 seems to work (once, working on testing second one), but the 2GB i386 2.2.2 CF image seems to be corrupt since it won't boot freshly flashed (and I checked with physdiskwrite.exe that it wrote all sectors of the image, and Disk Management in Windows shows 10MB unused even at the end of the drive). I've had one issue after a coworker had the same issue, on two different boxes now.

    Anyone have any ideas what might be causing these issues? Is the .img file really corrupt or is something else going on?



  • are u using 115200 baud rate on your serial adapter?



  • No, I was using 9600 like I've used with every one of these 50+ ALIX units we have in service (including this one with 2.0.2), but I happened to dink around with the speed while you were posting a found that it magically changed with no good explanation…thanks! Working on tweaking now, and no idea why the upgrade failed, but making progress...



  • The device names in the default config have also changed - they are no longer the "vr" devices on an Alix 2D13. So once you get the console working at 115200 I expect, on a newly flashed system, that you will see it prompting to assign interfaces.
    That is a really big pain/nuisance for me, with about 10 of these, but for you with 50+ it will not be good. In the past we could flash a standard image onto a CF card, put it in an Alix 2D13, then plug a network cable it LAN, go to 192.168.1.1 and configure away. Now you always have to have a serial console. That can be a pain for disaster recovery at a remote site.
    This pull request https://github.com/pfsense/pfsense/pull/1602 allows the system to look for various common network devices on a factory default boot, allowing things to come up directly on a variety of hardware, including Alix 2D13. It is waiting… I believe the devs might have some other solution to this problem - but whatever, it would be really good to have the factory default boot functionality for 2.2.3



  • @phil.davis:

    The device names in the default config have also changed - they are no longer the "vr" devices on an Alix 2D13. So once you get the console working at 115200 I expect, on a newly flashed system, that you will see it prompting to assign interfaces.

    Ahhhh! I did end up getting it to do that. Is that only after flashing? I imagine something else is going wrong with the upgrades that are failing, since theoretically a working config should upgrade and figure out the device names, right? After flashing the firmware I was expecting it to boot up and let me go to 192.168.1.1 like I have for years with the NetGate ALIX boxes, there was no indication anywhere I saw that this was going to be an issue with this version–pretty poor communication on this, I don't recall seeing any warning that says "auto-selecting ports is totally screwed up!" though there's a chance I could have missed it. I always try to have a serial cable and adapter but rarely considered it a 100% necessity.

    Interestingly, I flashed 2.2.1, upgraded to 2.2.2 just now, and from serial with 2.2.1 and also from the 2.2.2 Interfaces assignment screen, it still shows the interfaces as vr0, vr1, and vr2. But I had to manually assign them from serial to get to the point I could restore the firmware from the default GUI.

    Thanks for the pointers!



  • Upgrades should go fine - the vr* interfaces are already in the config of the upgraded system. I have upgraded 10 Alix 2D13 to 2.2.2 all without trouble.
    The change to factory default behavior is documented in just 1 line I can find:
    https://doc.pfsense.org/index.php/2.2_New_Features_and_Changes

    Change default NICs from vr to em – vr is on the way out and em is the most common NIC in use today.

    A reader needs to already know a bit about pfSense and default interface assignment… to understand the ramifications of this 1-line statement  :)


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