Can I boot from the CF card slot?

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Can I boot from the CF card slot?

Postby quotaholic » Mon Mar 30, 2009 12:00 am

No one has successfully accomplished this as of yet. Boot from a USB drive (cd-rom, thumb drive, usb hard drive) or the internal flash memory aka "hard drive 1" in the bios.
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Can it be accomplished via Grub?

Postby volkswagner » Mon Mar 30, 2009 8:08 am

Here I go again.

What we really need to open these units up:

  • Linux on Boot USB with Functioning Touch Panel and virtual Keyboard.

Has anyone tried adding Linux as a dual boot?  Can we install grub on the internal IDE-flash, then point it to the CF card containing our Linux partition?  Does the CF slot show up in fdisk?
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Re: Can I boot from the CF card slot?

Postby quotaholic » Mon Mar 30, 2009 9:34 am

Good questions,

I tried five different ways of doing something similar. Each failed. Each time I tried a /boot partition as the first partition on the internal flash. Then swap and the rest on the flash card. Each time the graphical partitioner saw all the targets and indicated it had it finished. However upon inspection things went terribly wrong. What I got did not match what I ordered. In one case the cf card was changed to swap when I told the partition util that it was to be ext3.

This was using a live cd from a usb cdrom.

Has anyone else experienced similar or different?

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Re: Can I boot from the CF card slot?

Postby angrymeat » Mon Mar 30, 2009 10:00 am

I imagine swap would eat a cf card alive . I know installing xp on a cf without ewf enabled will kill a flash in about a week.
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Re: Can I boot from the CF card slot?

Postby quotaholic » Mon Mar 30, 2009 10:34 am

In ext3 there are partition options (depending on partition util) that allow you to prevent write backs. Although that was my aim it never happened. Good to know about xp! I read a few forums of guys running fanless itx based servers running off flash cards and ide adapters. A few of them reported 6 months and running on a flash card linux. Most of them prevented write backs.

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Re: Can I boot from the CF card slot?

Postby angrymeat » Mon Mar 30, 2009 10:36 am

thats the trick preventing the writebacks :) if you run it all full on they die pretty quick.
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Re: Can I boot from the CF card slot?

Postby david_halliday » Wed Apr 01, 2009 10:02 pm

OK I did a simple but conclusive test to prove you can not boot from CF (without hacking bios at least).

1) Made bootable CF card (actually win98 with ghost)
2) Proved it booted OK using it as an external USB HDD
  USB --> External HD Enclosure --> Addonics CF-IDE  Adapter --> CF Card
3) Set Bios to boot from USB, CDROM, HDD2
4) Insert CF and boot

Fails with unable to find boot device.

This is both good and bad, the bad side is that to bot we will need to use USB or internal flash at least to get CF drivers working before a chroot.

The good is that since HD2 is not the CF, the internal connector for Flash is probably capable of master and slave so it may be possible to connect two devices to this with the correct cable and wiring.

Dave.
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Re: Can I boot from the CF card slot?

Postby quotaholic » Wed Apr 01, 2009 10:13 pm

Thank you for that Dave, I had always thought that hd2 was the cf slot but with a raised eyebrow if you know what I mean.

great info!

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Re: Can I boot from the CF card slot?

Postby Foxx » Wed Apr 08, 2009 8:57 pm

I took apart one of my WebDT GX 366s' and located some interesting points on the motherboard. HDD2 is actually a CF style set of pads under the main Compact Flash slot. There is not enough room to install an internal CF slot and put a card in it. This explains why there is a 'Boot from HDD2' option in the BIOS. There is a questionable switch on the motherboard. Its a SPDT switch, and wen set to the the non-default position I dont see any noticable boot order change. I was hoping it would bring the onboard CF card to live bridged over HDD2, but it didnt. One thing I did notice is that my right speaker was making a hissing noise as if it was picking up some EMF from something.

I will post detailed pics and information with my findings in a few days, please be patient.
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Re: Can I boot from the CF card slot?

Postby Foxx » Fri Apr 10, 2009 1:28 pm

Correct.
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Re: Can I boot from the CF card slot?

Postby Foxx » Mon May 04, 2009 10:32 pm

I have verified that the DT366 Compact Flash is not bootable, even though it is on the USB Bus. It is not tied into the IDE. Unfortunately I removed my CF header and placed one on HDD2 assuming it was CF compliant, and it is not. It blew out my card. Oh well, at least we learned something from the FUBAR.

I will post more details when I have them.
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Re: Can I boot from the CF card slot?

Postby plane_crazy » Sun May 24, 2009 10:27 am

Is it possible that HDD2 is 5V whereas HDD1 is 3.3V? If that where the case it would be possible to use an IDE HDD.

Is there not some place where we can get some of this technical info. What about the company that actually manufactures these units?

Bruce
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Re: Can I boot from the CF card slot?

Postby quotaholic » Sun Feb 14, 2010 11:59 am

One requires a support contract for even talking to DT Research. They do not support older models that have reached end of life cycle. On the DT360 platform member evilBob has figured out a way to use a 64mb internal flash in combination with a CF card to install a full linux distribution, Kubuntu, to his 360.
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