Hooking up the console

Recently, I came in contact with another edminiv2 owner, who goes by the nick rosbif, and who also likes to tinker. That gave me the impulse to proceed further, so I went and did what had to be done: hook up a terminal to the EDMini's serial console.

The serial is 3.3V, which is not standard RS232 but is, fortunately, common across many mobile phones. A web search will show that Nokia's DKU-5 USB cable is an ideal candidate to connect a modern PC to any 3.3V UART.

As rosbif pointed out, LaCie's been kind enough to populate the J2 UART+JTAG connector on their ED Mini, which made things easier yet.

Then there was a short phase of worry: if you connect the DKU-5 to the LaCie but not to the PC which will act as a console, then power up the LaCie, it will seem not to boot. Actually it does, but it stops at the bootloader prompt--and thus does not boot Linux nor LaCie's SW. If the DKU-5 is connected (whether or not you actually read the console from the PC) then the LaCie will boot without stopping at the u-boot prompt any more.

What do I learn from looking at the console?

First: the flash memory (a Macronix 29LV400CBCT in my case) isn't propery recognized. That means I can't reflash my unit from u-boot... yet.

Second: once the unit has completely booted, it prompts for a Linux login. I haven't tried much, but I can already tell that neither 'admin' nor the users added through the Web interface can log in. Maybe 'root' can, but I don't know root's password.

Third: with some care, we can boot from TFTP and NFS. To achieve this, one has to re-build the LaCie kernel, create a minimal rootfs (with /etc/console and /bin/busybox aliased as /bin/sh). I'll dive into more details later on.