This webpage contains a collection of answers to frequently asked questions and problems people have.
Suggestions, corrections, additions, etc. may be sent to support1207[at]pcengines.ch
Please also see our forum for more information at pcengines.info/forums
The output of the BIOS redirected to the serial port can be
disabled, this can be useful when the port is needed for a controlling
"May the Null modem cable be with you!"
Setup of a bootable drive to support apu flash upgrades can be a bit tricky. TinyCore Linux
is a small system that boots up quite quickly. The apu board can boot
TinyCore from an USB memory stick or from an SD card in the internal
Ubuntu 16.04 Xenial
The unmodified files 'initrd.gz' and 'linux' from netboot.tar.gz plus a modified 'syslinux.cfg' can be found here.
This allows an easy installation of Ubuntu on apu boards.
Simply add these three files to the FAT partition of an USB stick previously prepared with the TinyCore USB installer v1.6.
make an USB stick bootable with syslinux or use the convenient TinyCore USB installer. The USB installer labels the disc TINYCORE, which syslinux.cfg refers to, change as needed, see below
copy all folders from the CentOS-7-x86_64-Minimal.iso to the USB drive
change the content of syslinux.cfg in the root directory of the USB drive to this:
dd CentOS iso image directly to USB Stick, it will be bootable dd if=CentOS-7-x86_64-Minimal-1611.iso of=/dev/<USB Stick>
Boot APU2 from USB Stick – CentOS installer boot menu is automatically visible on the APU serial console (attached screenshot apu2_install_1.png)
Select “Install CentOS Linux Linux 7” and use TAB to edit boot options
append “console=ttyS0,115200n8” and Enter to boot
It takes about 20 seconds before the output of the installer’s boot appears.
follow the installation as usual
Why install ESXi? Because, once ESXi is installed any other OS can be installed as a guest of ESXi, even OS's which depend on a graphics adapter like Windows.
Preparing the installation:
ESXi needs 4GB RAM
Download the latest ESXi installer .ISO image from VMware (ESXi Version 6.0.0 Update2 or later is needed)
Write the ESXi installer .iso file to a USB memstick. Rufus on Windows is recommended. Allow Rufus to update menu.c32.
After the flashing process is complete, edit one line in the file boot.cfg file in the root directory of the USB stick like this: kernelopt=runweasel text nofb com1_baud=115200 com1_Port=0x3f8 tty2Port=com1 gdbPort=none logPort=none
Boot the apu1/apu2 board with the USB stick and install ESXi on the SD or on the mSATA
After the installation succeeded, the same change in boot.cfg needs to be done on the SD/mSATA to redirect the console to the serial port. Boot the apu board with TinyCore and edit the file.
Once the apu successfully started ESXi as shown below, start VMware and connect to the remote server.
Open a browser with the provided address and start the vSphere Web Client. Or use the depricated 'VMware vSphere Client' (Windows only) can help configure the host and the guest. Please see VMware Knowledge Base
Important: the SD slot on the apu2 boards is directly connected to the CPU and needs the module SDHCI to work.
Do not use an SD to boot FreeBSD based OS like pfSense and OPNSense on apu2 boards. Only very recent kernel versions fully support booting via SDHCI.
Try an USB-SD adapter in case of related troubles. If it works with the USB-SD adapter, but not in the SD slot, then the SDHCI module is missing ...
This is a short and incomplete list of working 3G miniPCIe modems:
Avoid Sierra Wireless modules ending with a "V" standing for voice, as they have a proprietary pinout.
Many usefull informations can also be found here: TXLAB.
The MAC address of the first NIC on all PC Engines boards is derived
of its serial number, the following NICs have subsequent addresses.
This is the conversion from MAC ID to serial number and vice versa:
MAC ID = 00:0d:b9 (our OUI) : (serial + 64) * 4
serial = (MAC ID & 0x000000FFFFFF) / 4 - 64
This section provides information about add-on cards for apu boards.