ZimaBoard and SR6

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Tech323

Free Beer Tomorrow...
Nov 15, 2022
9
2
Besides @Steve is anybody else testing the ZimaBoard and SR?

I got mine today and have FreeDOS installed, I can get SR6 to run, but it gives errors when selecting a drive. Says: "Part 1 MBR followed by EFI" "Invalid Partition for Drive Size... This partition exceeds the size of the drive as defined by the systems BIOS..."

Just got it up and running and any help with this is appreciated.
 
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Ok, I grabbed a couple of smaller drives and it is up and running. The GPT thing was getting me.
 
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Ok, I grabbed a couple of smaller drives and it is up and running.
Hi Tech323,
My ZimaBoard arrived a few days ago, but I haven't tried SR6 on it yet.

When I can find the time (busy with family) I'll be mounting it in a redundant PC case with a HDD/SATA-swappable caddy.

Then I'm looking forward to running SpinRite 6.x with the convenience of this dedicated device, to sort my stack of high-accumulated-runtime 4TB & 2TB 3.5" drives between 'no, too flaky don't reuse' and 'yes, surface looks good, reuse with caution'.

On a side note / OT, I'll say that once my device had actually been dispatched from China by IceWhale, the 4PX parcel tracking updates were *very* good ... and a huge reassurance as I watched it move to me here in UK.
 
Then I'm looking forward to running SpinRite 6.x with the convenience of this dedicated device, to sort my stack of high-accumulated-runtime 4TB & 2TB 3.5" drives between 'no, too flaky don't reuse' and 'yes, surface looks good, reuse with caution'.
RAID 9! ;-)
 
RAID 9! ;-)
Yes ... something like that 😁 Ho Ho!
I haven't yet figured out what to with these once expensive, well-worn but not yet dead enterprise-grade drives!

(Most were simply removed from service pre-emptively before they actually failed - with well over 70,000 hours runtime ... yet I have some others still chugging along in a Raid 6 array with even more hours accumulated.)
 
I ordered my first ZimaBoard on 10-29-2022 and it arrived on 11-15-2022. The tracking and notifications were great. I have since ordered another one.

One thing they changed (and not sure why it was not this way to begin with) is that they are now including the power cable. They did offer it free if you clicked the stuff, but your have to pay an extra $15 usd if you missed the "click here for a buy one get one free deal"
 
I'm sure this group is beyond this, but I'd be glad to put together a walkthrough on getting FreeDOS/SR running on one of these if needed. Not a lot to it.
 
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I'm sure this group is beyond this, but I'd be glad to put together a walkthrough on getting FreeDOS/SR running on one of these if needed. Not a lot to it.
Hi, I could sure use a detailed walkthrough guide on the process please. Mine arrived last week and I’m pressed for time to ‘learn on the fly’ and have a drawer full of old HDDs that need some SR love.
 
I'm sure this group is beyond this, but I'd be glad to put together a walkthrough on getting FreeDOS/SR running on one of these if needed. Not a lot to it.
Yes thanks Tech323!

Although I've planned to follow Steves's notes on creating the necessary bootable FreeDOS thumb-drives, I too would be grateful for any hints - especially to avoid possible pitfalls or dead-ends with this Zimaboard's multi-option UEFI / BIOS!

(I'm running n-year old servers & PCs, and I look forward to using this Zimaboard to expand my so-far-zero knowledge of UEFI booting issues for example.)
 
Although I've planned to follow Steves's notes on creating the necessary bootable FreeDOS thumb-drives, I too would be grateful for any hints - especially to avoid possible pitfalls or dead-ends with this Zimaboard's multi-option UEFI / BIOS!

(I'm running n-year old servers & PCs, and I look forward to using this Zimaboard to expand my so-far-zero knowledge of UEFI booting issues for example.)
CSPea,

For creating bootable media, please see this forum post:


And this post:


NOTE: Booting SpinRite 6.x in UEFI mode is not possible at this time. The above post is for UEFI machines that support BIOS mode booting.

We will have to wait for Steve to finish SpinRite 6.1 and start working on SpinRite 7.0 for UEFI booting capability to become reality.
 
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CSPea,

For creating bootable media, please see this forum post:


And this post:


NOTE: Booting SpinRite 6.x in UEFI mode is not possible at this time. The above post is for UEFI machines that support BIOS mode booting.

We will have to wait for Steve to finish SpinRite 6.1 and start working on SpinRite 7.0 for UEFI booting capability to become reality.
Thanks DanR,

I was confident I'd be able to relocate those bootable media references once I was ready to go forward on this project, but sincere thanks for resurfacing them for me here.

(I already have SR6 and ReadSpeed bootable thumb-drives and SR6 floppy disks 😁 . I've been skulking on this Forum for a long long time and I haven't missed an SN episode for decades.)

I also knew that UEFI booting for SpinRite was way in the future, and I should have clarified that my 'concern' about it when I mentioned it above was that - on the Zimaboard - I might have to do some skipping around it (UEFI-booting) as 'territory new-to-me' when I recruit the Zimaboard as my SpinRite host.

I know ... it's time I actually got going on this project instead of scratching my head about it in anticipation 😁

Thanks again.
 
My Zimaboard arrived last week and I've successfully tested ReadSpeed running from a USB with the limited pre-alpha DOS executable SpinRite on the Y-connector for two drives. I look forward to trying to break the fully functional version and filing any bugs having joined the gitlab instance to ensure a speedy and bulletproof public release.

I have access to drives that need to be wiped to a certified (NAID) standard by approved software called Blancco before they can be resold. I'm actually running Blancco on the Zimaboard from a network instance via PXE boot.

In case there is a bad sector on the drive, Blancco will first try to write (read) data to (from) the defective area. If the area generates write (read) errors, it will try to write (read) a smaller block (half of the original block size) to (from) the area in order to overwrite (verify) the maximum amount of data. The same procedure will continue until the software tries to write (read) the smallest possible block to the drive and if unable to do so after three tries, the sector will be considered unreachable and the software will count one error.

In all cases, all the areas that can be reached will be erased and only the areas that cannot be written/read will be reported. The default number of errors to consider a drive a "failure" is 5, where the drive is then either degaussed or (if it's an SSD) physically destroyed in a giant shredder designed to leave pieces no larger than a few mm in size.

I'll be testing SpinRite on those failed drives before they're destroyed/degaussed to see whether it revives them (without relocating any sectors) to the point where they no longer show up as bad sectors when run through Blancco again. Might even get to the point where SpinRite is run on the drives by default before their Blancco treatment.
 
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I bought a couple of inexpensive PCIe SATA expansion cards from Amazon and they work with the ZimaBoard and FreeDos with no needed drivers or config. Just plug them in and go, You will need to power the drives if you are going to be connecting more than the ZimaBoard can handle.

Here are the 2 I have tested:

SupaHub SATA Card 8 Port, Non Raid SATA Expansion Card for SATA III 6G Hard Drives for Desktop, Includes 8 SATA Cables and 2 SATA Splitter Cables


and

Ziyituod PCIe SATA Card, 4 Port with 4 SATA Cable, SATA Controller Expansion Card with Low Profile Bracket, Non-Raid, Boot as System Disk, Support 4 SATA 3.0 Devices


/Jason
 
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CSPea,

For creating bootable media, please see this forum post:
[snip]

Thank you again DanR for those thumbdrive preparation links (above) that you reminded us about.
I've got my ZimaBoard humming away now on SR6.0 via a SanDisk thumbdrive, and I reviewed your postings yesterday to confirm that I hadn't missed any important changes (for example in ReadSpeed or in the FreeDOS that it installs) since I prepared my thumbdrive some months ago.

I'll offer the following notes on getting my ZimaBoard running, perhaps to assure anyone else who might be unsure (as I was) about possible complications with the ZimaBoard's default booting options, or about nudging CasaOS/Debian Linux aside in favour of our old-faithful FreeDOS.

Basically .... once I'd been reminded that not all mini-HDMI to DisplayPort cables are equal :rolleyes: and once I'd connected the ZimaBoard using the HDMI/DisplayPort cable that was supplied with my monitor ... getting the ZimaBoard to boot onto the SanDisk / FreeDOS thumbdrive was very straightforward!

I'll skip the obvious initial steps of confirming that the ZimaBoard is working OK as intended, as a Linux computer.

I'm using a wireless keyboard and mouse (with the mini-USB based 'Radio Receiver' dongle plugged into one of the ZimaBoard's USB ports). The keyboard & mouse were detected sufficiently early in the ZimaBoard's startup to be fully functional from the outset (Unlike some of my older motherboard/BIOS combinations that will only 'see' wired USB keyboard & mouse during the P.O.S.T. phase).

Before entering the BIOS (see next) I'd plugged my SanDisk thumbdrive into the (remaining) USB port on the ZimaBoard, and I connected a 2TB WD SATA drive (2011 era ...) to one of the ZimaBoard's SATA Data ports. Note that power for the 2TB WD drive was coming from a standard 650 Watt Power Supply, via a Caddy, both of which (Caddy & Power Supply) are installed in an otherwise redundant PC case. I did not (at this stage) rely on the ZimaBoard to power the 3.5" 2TB drive.)

Immediately after turning on or rebooting the ZimaBoard, tapping the F11 Function Key catches the BOOT Option / Setup menu.

In the reassuringly familiar BIOS Setup (as Steve had already commented upon while discussing the ZimaBoard during a Security Now podcast :) ), I saw that:
CSM Support was already Enabled.

I noted also that an adjacent BIOS option called Boot Option Filter was set to "UEFI and Legacy", although I don't pretend to know the impact of that setting in detail. "UEFI and Legacy" looked good to me!

So - in my case, with my "version 1.0" (hardware) ZimaBoard - I didn't change any BIOS settings! Instead I chose to just "Exit & Discard Changes", aiming to use the F11 key again to catch the BOOT Option / Setup menu.

During the subsequent reboot after exiting the BIOS I was surprised to be offered a GRUB-based screen plus a 'Terminal' option .... but I did not want to try to interpret that or modify any Boot options at this point, so I was glad to confirm that the ZimaBoard (at this phase) responded nicely to CTRL+ALT+DELETE :cool:
and I was then able to start tapping rapidly on F11.

Then, back on the BOOT Option / Setup menu, among the expected list of CasaOS-related Boot options, I was offered both of the following options:

"UEFI: SanDisk, Partition1"
and also the single word ...
"SanDisk"

Naturally I chose to boot from just "SanDisk" ... and in a blink I saw the familiar FreeDOS based "ReadSpeed" screen. I then ESCaped from ReadSpeed in order to run the SpinRite v6.0 EXE that I'd already installed on the same thumbdrive.

Anyway, while I've been typing this awfully long note, SpinRite has been ticking off the sectors on this old 2TB hard drive (purely as an exercise and as a proof-of-concept for now) - so I'll probably interrupt it ... and wait eagerly for the release of SR v6.1 :p :) .

Hope this helps someone.
Colin P. / CSPea