Installing to Compact Flash (via IDE adapter)

Help with issues regarding installation of Debian

Installing to Compact Flash (via IDE adapter)

Postby phenest » 2016-10-25 18:25

First, some information about the computer:
NEC Spirit 550 (circa 2005)
Pentium 4 3.6GHz
2GB RAM
nVidia 7300GT
IDE only. No SATA
With a 3.5" 200GB IDE drive, I can install Debian Jessie with no issues.

I've now swapped the 3.5" drive with a IDE 2 CF adapter and a SanDisk Extreme 16GB Compact Flash card. Windows XP installs with no issue, but I cannot get Debian to work.

Installing Debian Jessie goes without error. Upon rebooting, I get the error: "attempt to read or write outside of disk" without any boot menu. After much research, I discover that I need a separate /boot partition. This worked, although I don't know why it was needed. Now it boots to a grub menu, but it won't load Debian "properly". After "Loading, please wait..." I get tons of errors about nouveau and 1 error "DRM GPU lockup" and then the screen gets corrupted. Recovery mode will work after a fashion. There are some console errors about 'ata' "failed to identify" "device not ready" "link is slow to respond", etc. Then I'm asked to "Give root password for maintenance". CTRL-D to continue, and then either a corrupted screen again or sometimes onto the graphical login screen. If I get to a desktop environment, everything works fine.
Dell XPS 17 L702X i7 2860QM 2.5GHz - 32GB RAM - 4G WWAN - Pioneer TD05-BDR
NEC Spirit 550 Pentium 4 3.6GHz HT - 2GB RAM - nVidia 7600GT - Promise TX4310 RAID + 4 SSD's - Pioneer BDR-209DBK
ASUS P8P67 EVO i7 3770K - 32GB RAM - 2x nVidia 660GTX SLI'd
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Re: Installing to Compact Flash (via IDE adapter)

Postby kiyop » 2016-10-29 03:07

phenest wrote:(snip by kiyop)
Windows XP installs with no issue, but I cannot get Debian to work.
(snip by kiyop)
Then I'm asked to "Give root password for maintenance". CTRL-D to continue, and then either a corrupted screen again or sometimes onto the graphical login screen. If I get to a desktop environment, everything works fine.

I wonder if your CF has hardware error such as bad blocks.
How about checking the partitions for debian by fsck or so?
If your CF card does not have any hardware error, the problem may be due to slow recognition of your CF card (It requires some time to recognize your CF card). If it is the case, "rootdelay=..." kernel parameter may solve your problem.
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Re: Installing to Compact Flash (via IDE adapter)

Postby phenest » 2016-11-01 18:29

The Compact Flash is new and error free. I tried the rootdelay but I had to delay the kernel so much that it was just just as long as not doing it.

Why does it take so long to detect Compact Flash? It's on an IDE adapter so I thought the OS would see it as no different to a HDD. Windows boots up with no delay at all.
Dell XPS 17 L702X i7 2860QM 2.5GHz - 32GB RAM - 4G WWAN - Pioneer TD05-BDR
NEC Spirit 550 Pentium 4 3.6GHz HT - 2GB RAM - nVidia 7600GT - Promise TX4310 RAID + 4 SSD's - Pioneer BDR-209DBK
ASUS P8P67 EVO i7 3770K - 32GB RAM - 2x nVidia 660GTX SLI'd
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Re: Installing to Compact Flash (via IDE adapter)

Postby kiyop » 2016-11-01 23:26

If your hardware is too new, newer kernel may solve your issue, although I am not sure.
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Re: Installing to Compact Flash (via IDE adapter)

Postby phenest » 2016-11-12 18:43

I discovered something quite by accident about my setup. I also have a RAID array. If I disconnect the RAID drives, it boots from the CF just fine. The RAID adapter is a Promise TX4310 which has Linux support. I guess the console errors I was seeing were actually related to the RAID adapter and not the CF.
Dell XPS 17 L702X i7 2860QM 2.5GHz - 32GB RAM - 4G WWAN - Pioneer TD05-BDR
NEC Spirit 550 Pentium 4 3.6GHz HT - 2GB RAM - nVidia 7600GT - Promise TX4310 RAID + 4 SSD's - Pioneer BDR-209DBK
ASUS P8P67 EVO i7 3770K - 32GB RAM - 2x nVidia 660GTX SLI'd
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Re: Installing to Compact Flash (via IDE adapter)

Postby kiyop » 2016-11-13 09:54

I hate RAID and I think that I cannot help you.
Good luck :)
Openbox, JWM: Jessie, Sid, Arch / Win XP (on VirtualBox), 10
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Re: Installing to Compact Flash (via IDE adapter)

Postby phenest » 2017-03-05 12:36

I found the solution, but I fail to understand why I need to do it. All I need is a separate /boot partition, approx 100MB.
Dell XPS 17 L702X i7 2860QM 2.5GHz - 32GB RAM - 4G WWAN - Pioneer TD05-BDR
NEC Spirit 550 Pentium 4 3.6GHz HT - 2GB RAM - nVidia 7600GT - Promise TX4310 RAID + 4 SSD's - Pioneer BDR-209DBK
ASUS P8P67 EVO i7 3770K - 32GB RAM - 2x nVidia 660GTX SLI'd
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Re: Installing to Compact Flash (via IDE adapter)

Postby pcalvert » 2017-03-06 03:39

phenest wrote:I found the solution, but I fail to understand why I need to do it. All I need is a separate /boot partition, approx 100MB.

Possibly, there is a bug in the BIOS and/or GRUB. I had an old laptop that required a small boot partition for GRUB, and yet LILO worked fine without one.

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Re: Installing to Compact Flash (via IDE adapter)

Postby phenest » 2017-03-06 17:23

pcalvert wrote:Possibly, there is a bug in the BIOS and/or GRUB.

I doubt it. It only affects this compact flash media.
Dell XPS 17 L702X i7 2860QM 2.5GHz - 32GB RAM - 4G WWAN - Pioneer TD05-BDR
NEC Spirit 550 Pentium 4 3.6GHz HT - 2GB RAM - nVidia 7600GT - Promise TX4310 RAID + 4 SSD's - Pioneer BDR-209DBK
ASUS P8P67 EVO i7 3770K - 32GB RAM - 2x nVidia 660GTX SLI'd
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Re: Installing to Compact Flash (via IDE adapter)

Postby phenest » 2017-03-08 12:32

According to my research, there are 3 things causing the need for a separate /boot partition:
1. BIOS limitation
2. GRUB limitation
3. Compact Flash having different Sector count compared to HDD

As an experiment, I changed the CHS values in the BIOS for the CF card so the Sector count changed from 63 to 255, and adjusted the Cylinder count to maintain the correct capacity, and now I can boot Debian without a /boot partition.
Dell XPS 17 L702X i7 2860QM 2.5GHz - 32GB RAM - 4G WWAN - Pioneer TD05-BDR
NEC Spirit 550 Pentium 4 3.6GHz HT - 2GB RAM - nVidia 7600GT - Promise TX4310 RAID + 4 SSD's - Pioneer BDR-209DBK
ASUS P8P67 EVO i7 3770K - 32GB RAM - 2x nVidia 660GTX SLI'd
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