Hello to the Little Red Daemon

by Dermot Tynan in Microtransat

Posted on Wednesday, March 20, 2013 at 08:00

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Success! A login prompt!

After much tweaking and hacking with configuration files and kernel build options, I finally have a FreeBSD 8.3-RELEASE kernel and install running on a Wrap board. Technically, it's NanoBSD, which is a scaled-down FreeBSD install, which boots from Compact Flash. The WRAP board is the PC Engines forerunner to the ALIX. When National Semiconductor and AMD stopped making Geode chips, the guys at PC Engines had to stop making their very popular WRAP board. I still have a few of them tucked away, for emergencies such as this.

The board runs off twelve volts, and consumes an average of about 250mA. A miniscule amount, compared to some of the other equipment running around here, but on Beoga Beag, 250mA is a lot. I discussed that in Battery and Solar Design. The particular board I'm running here is a 1D board with 128MB of RAM, and the entire OS on a single 4GB compact flash card. In fact, the kernel, the root filesystem, and /usr all occupy less than 650MB of disk space! Try that with a Windows machine. The /cfg configuration partition is only about 3MB, and I have a custom partition called /app which contains all of the code for the particular application. It's also 650MB, which is overkill given that the application is probably less than 10MB in total. The remainder of the disk is given over to a logging partition.

The actual board which will set sail, will actually be an ALIX 3d2 board, as the WRAP board doesn't include USB ports and I'll need at least two. For now though, I can do a lot of the early testing, using the WRAP board.

PS: Hoping to have some updates on the hull design, in the next week or so. Stay tuned!

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