First adventures with an ix2-200 NAS
June 29, 2011
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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 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.