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INFO: How to recover a failed unit.
#1
I recently suffered a failed firmware upgrade where the unit would just display 'Booting…' and a USB reload would not work. Unfortunately I had to send the unit back for repair/replacement but during that time I had an interesting and useful conversation with Thecus Support EU so I thought I would share some of my findings from my own troubleshooting and the information gained from Thecus. Hopefully it will help anyone in a similar situation avoid too much downtime.

If I knew then what I know now I could have saved myself weeks of downtime.

The PCI slot in the N0503 will happily take a VGA card and you can use it to monitor startup if your unit isn't booting. You can also hook up a usb keyboard to interact with it. Using this method I discovered that after upgrading the firmware the unit was suffering a kernel panic. I would recommend a low power card as the PSU is only 96 watts. AFAIK this does not cause any problems with the unit.

I was told by Thecus EU that opening the case does not void the warranty as they sometime ask you to remove the DOM to send back to them for flashing.

However……

The DOM itself is a standard ATA flash disk with a reversed 44-pin IDE connector (aka 2.5" HDDs). You can connect it to a standard IDE interface on a PC if you use a 44-pin mini IDE gender changer and an appropriate 2.5" > 3.5" IDE cable (or I assume a 2.5" HDD enclosure with USB). If you are familiar with Linux and specifically the dd command you can recover a corrupt DOM by removing it from the N0503 and transferring the DOM firmware .bin file to it (<!-- m --><a class="postlink" href="http://www.thecus.com/Downloads/DOM/N0503_DOM_3.00.03.bin">http://www.thecus.com/Downloads/DOM/N05 ... .00.03.bin</a><!-- m -->). Remember to unmount it and use a block size of 1k. The command would be something like this:

dd if=<firmware.bin> of=/dev/sdx bs=1k and you can check the resulting image with md5sum <firmware.bin> and then dd if=/dev/sdx bs=1k count=xxx | md5sum where xxx is the number of blocks displayed at the end of the first step and sdx corresponds to the actual device designation in your installation.

If you need to recover your data on a faulty N0503 you can take the disks out and mount them in a Linux PC. The only thing is you need to make sure you have them in the correct order. I installed mine into a Ubuntu Linux 10.10 PC on SATA 0,1 and 2, booting from an IDE disk pre-installed with Ubuntu 10.10, and once I got the correct order Ubuntu automatically mounted the volume and I was able to transfer all my data onto another disk. Also, as I had iSCSI volumes on my Thecus I figured out that they use the open source iSCSI Enterprise Target, so once I had installed this onto my Ubuntu box and configured the ietd.conf accordingly (using the ietd.conf that I found on the RAID partition as a point of reference), the iSCSI volumes were also mountable and I was again able to recover all my data. This alone was worth gold to me as both methods above meant that I had 100% data recovery.

This info should be applicable to other models in the Thecus range as they all seem to have a similar architecture.

Hope this helps. Smile

(Mods: Could this post be made sticky as it would be a very useful resource for anyone needing to quickly recover their data in the event of a failure, especially in an enterprise/business situation.)
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#2
Hi zygote,

Good job, keep it going!

Product Manager has approved this post as sticky. This surely will help users that are comfortable with Linux server and mdadm RAID configuration.

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#3
Hello,
To complete the first post, I add the exact procedure.
In fact, the Thecus support has given me the information after opening a ticket.
I am updating the firmware to Thecus_NAS_FW_beta_5.00.00.12.bin and obviously if I read correctly, I know it is not compatible with the N0503.
My DOM was then decommissioned and nas got stuck on the message "booting up ..."

I could not follow this procedure because it requires:
- USB to mini-IDE adapter (<!-- m --><a class="postlink" href="http://www.szprice.com/products/USB-SATA-IDE-Cable-Set_2775.html">http://www.szprice.com/products/USB-SAT ... _2775.html</a><!-- m -->)
- An adapter cable to convert female to male (so that you can connect the DOM to the adapter) (<!-- m --><a class="postlink" href="http://amigakit.leamancomputing.com/catalog/product_info.php?products_id=712">http://amigakit.leamancomputing.com/cat ... cts_id=712</a><!-- m -->)
- Linux PC

Why the adpator ? because the DOM connectic is female
Personally, I directly bought a new DOM THECUS online store because I did not use the adapter
<!-- m --><a class="postlink" href="http://shop.thecus-eu.com/index.php?cPath=58_45">http://shop.thecus-eu.com/index.php?cPath=58_45</a><!-- m -->

I hope it will help more than one user.
Finally, excuse me for my translation of English

Below, the procedure to restore the DOM, I think it works for all NAS THECUS.
thank you again for the Thecus support that helped me.

- Be sure you have a full version of the FW (so not upgrade version):
<!-- m --><a class="postlink" href="http://www.thecus.com/Downloads/DOM/">http://www.thecus.com/Downloads/DOM/</a><!-- m -->

- Do a checksum on the file:
md5sum [file name]

- Connect the DOM and check if it is detected:
Normally cat /proc/scsi/scsi (should be /dev/sdc for example)

- Umount the DOM:
umount /dev/sdx (where x is the device ID, for example c)

- Copy the image:
dd if=[file name] of=/dev/sdx bs=1k (where x is the device ID)

- Check if the checksum of the same as the file:
dd if=/dev/sdx bs=1k count=xxx | md5sum (Where xxx is the number of blocks, which is displayed after the copy is finished, normally something like 128192 for example.

Kind regards,

Wouter Simons

Technical support
Thecus NL BV
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#4
just have same problems , all could be done on the n0503,

just open it
unplug your hard drives
plug a pci vga card('mine an old matrox mga ...),
plug an usb-cdrom,
plug an USB keyboard,
copy all your stuff on a usb pen drive, plug it,

start N0503, make sure to boot on the dvd where you put a live-linuxCD(i use bt2)

Once it boot follow the proc to rewrite the DOM. => You just have to replace sdx by hda.

then unplug the pci card (if not it can't reboot).

then you could connect it by 192.168.1.100, and put the 3.04.04.

I'm not a linux user so if i can do it , a lot of people can do it to!!!!

By this way and looking around i have trust in installing W7 on the N0503.... but it's not ths post for...

sorry for my poor english....
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#5
put the video card and see:

GRUB Loading stage1.5.

GRUB Loading, please wait...
File is not exist! DOMA fail!
Find second DOM fail!
DOM have problem, not boot

Download and burn clonezilla.org (manual <!-- m --><a class="postlink" href="http://clonezilla.org/general-live-use.php">http://clonezilla.org/general-live-use.php</a><!-- m -->)
Enter Shell (command prompt) then press (2) Enter command line prompt
Sudo su – (obtain administrator rights)
cat /proc/scsi/scsi (check DOM is detected)
fdisk -l (learn how to find a USB flash drive)
mount /dev/sdb1 -t vfat -o rw /mnt (Mounting partitions with FAT 16/32 (for example USB-drive) to the mount point / mnt with recording)
dd if=[file name] of=/dev/sdx bs=1k (where x is the device ID)
halt
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#6
Took the plunge and purchased the required parts from my local tech centre.

CF to mini-IDE: Sintech CF-IDE44/2.0mm ADAPTER v.B1
mini-IDE to 40-pin IDE (with Molex power): Brandless
IDE to USB 2.0 Adapter (with Molex AC adapter): Brandless

Got a spare Kingston 133X Elite Pro 4GB CF card off my Canon EOS 40D to test it out. Wish me luck...

[Image: Flskp2X.jpg]

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#7
Took the plunge and purchased the required parts from my local tech centre.

CF to mini-IDE: Sintech CF-IDE44/2.0mm ADAPTER v.B1
mini-IDE to 40-pin IDE (with Molex power): Brandless
IDE to USB 2.0 Adapter (with Molex AC adapter): Brandless

Got a spare Kingston 133X Elite Pro 4GB CF card off my Canon EOS 40D to test it out. Wish me luck...

[Image: Flskp2X.jpg]

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#8
Ok update basically made a huge mistake to purchase before opening the unit to see for myself what was inside.

The space for the DOM is so narrow you will need to have a right-angled IDE connector.

And to make it clear,

The N0503 motherboard has male IDE connector (keyed, 43-pin) and the original DOM is the female IDE connector without any keys and with a full 44-pin but female.
The DOM has its IDE connector face down on the board instead of by the side like my previous picture of the CF-IDE adapter I bought.

Also, does anyone know if I could use a USB graphic card to have the N0503 display instead of using a PCI card? My old PCI card had died and so I'm stuck without any display to get into the BIOS.

Reply
#9
Ok update basically made a huge mistake to purchase before opening the unit to see for myself what was inside.

The space for the DOM is so narrow you will need to have a right-angled IDE connector.

And to make it clear,

The N0503 motherboard has male IDE connector (keyed, 43-pin) and the original DOM is the female IDE connector without any keys and with a full 44-pin but female.
The DOM has its IDE connector face down on the board instead of by the side like my previous picture of the CF-IDE adapter I bought.

Also, does anyone know if I could use a USB graphic card to have the N0503 display instead of using a PCI card? My old PCI card had died and so I'm stuck without any display to get into the BIOS.

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#10
thanks for the list guys. it'll really help me.
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