Alix board


Last week I purchased a small-board computer from PC Engines GmbH. I ended up buying the 6b2 and a CM9 miniPCI Wireless Radio along with antenna connectors, and a sleek aluminum box in which to mount everything.

The device has an RS232 serial port on the front which is the main I/O via which BIOS communicates to the user. My intention was to solder my own null-modem cable, but because the DB9 connectors I tried to buy were actually mislabeled DB15s, I ended up just buying one from Island Computers.

It was a little tricky to get Linux running, but following a few links about updating the BIOS turned out be the key. I installed FreeDOS onto my CF card using freedos3.zip, mounted the FAT partition in OS X and copied in the new BIOS files. Then it was a simple matter of booting the device up. There’s something about the way the CF card is partitioned that is particular, so I left the FAT partition intact and added a Linux partition to fill the remainder of the space. I also decided to use LILO rather than GrUB which seems to have worked. I’m running Voyage Linux 0.61 and am currently trying to get the wireless card to initialize properly.

Manual for the device can be found here: ALIX 2/3/6 series Manual.

Update: I must have been temporarily insane! I’ve been using HyperTerminal, forgetting that PuTTY has serial mode! Good ol’ PuTTY.


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