, Johann Schmitz

Yesterday i finally got my PCEngines Alix 2d13 for my newest geek project. Its a small embedded board, perfect for running a linux distribution and acting as a firewall.

Connecting the serial console

Since the board has no vga/hid connector, you have to use a serial console connection to actually interact with your alix. Since none of my other boxes has a serial connector i ordered a USB to Serial Adapter. You have to enable the right kernel module for the cable. In my case it was a Prolific 2303:

Device Drivers
    USB support (USB_SUPPORT [=y])
         USB Serial Converter support (USB_SERIAL [=y])
                  <*>   USB Prolific 2303 Single Port Serial Driver

After connecting the cable to your USB Port dmesg tells you the device name:

pl2303 1-1.6:1.0: pl2303 converter detected
usb 1-1.6: pl2303 converter now attached to **ttyUSB0**

Now, connect to the box with your favourite serial terminal program (e.g. net- dialup/minicom) using the following settings:

Device: /dev/ttyUSB0 (or /dev/ttyS0 for a real serial connection)
Bps: 38400
Parity: None
Data: 8
Stop: 1

Power on the alix. You should see the alix booting. If the console show weird characters, try varying the Bitrate. To boot from the CF card, i had to set the harddisk mode to LBA in the BIOS (To enter the BIOS, press S during the memtest).

Now, let us install Gentoo Linux on the alix.