Above average nerdiness

First adventures with an ix2-200 NAS

A few months back I bought a 2TB iomega ix2-200 ostensibly to  use for backups. I chose this particular model because it was cheap – only AU$289 from a store here in Melbourne. Many other similar models cost more than that and they don’t even include the disks. I did actually use it for backups for a while before getting curious and finding out how to get a shell on the underlying OS. This turned out to be simple – username root, password soho<whatever you set for admin password>. From here it was easy enough to find that it was running a modified Debian (EMC Lifeline 2.1) under the hood.

Before I could let it just get back to the the lowly task of backing up all my data, I next did the obvious thing and took it to bits to see what was inside. I already new it was running a Marvell Kirkwood 88F6821 SoC and that it had 256MB of RAM. I discovered that it also had a 32MB NAND flash and an RS-232 header. I decided that it would be cool to try and get it to run something like FreeNAS so that I could ZFS, so I soldered up some sockets to a 3.5mm stereo jack and used my TTL-232R-3V3-AJ USB serial adaptor and using minicom, I could then get access to the uBoot boot loader.

ix2-200 PCB

ix2-200 PCB with serial connector attached

I found the pin outs at NAS-Central.

I tried working with FreeBSD for a while, but with only 256MB of RAM system performance with ZFS would have been terrible so abandoned that idea and decided to give btrfs a go under Linux. Debian for ARM is easy to get a hold of and I ended up following the instructions by Diogo Gomez for installing Debian on the iomega iConnect. This got me to the stage of booting Linux from a USB stick. Next, in part one I’ll cover getting linux installed to the hard disks.

2 responses to “First adventures with an ix2-200 NAS

  1. Georges Allibert February 11, 2012 at 9:44 pm

    How do you use minicom, assuming that the cable is plugged in correctly? I don’t manage to access through the serial interface. Thanks for your help and your inspiring article :-).

    • nigelr February 12, 2012 at 10:40 pm

      With the cable I have, I use:

      minicom -D /dev/ttyUSB0

      but the actual device name will depend on your machine. The default settings should get you in, although you might want to disable the init/reset stuff via minicom’s menus

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