[rescue] Need help with PortMaster PM2 recovery

Jonathan Sturges jonathansturges at yahoo.com
Sat Sep 6 09:47:41 CDT 2008

> > > It does BOOTP fine, and I have it netbooted now.  It's had several weeks 

> > > of uptime with the netboot image.  I just would rather get ComOS loaded 
> > > so I could do a flash boot as well.  It is indeed a PM2 and normally 
> > > boots from flash (except for in my case!).
> > 
> > Is there a way to blank out the flash?
> > 
> > Does it program it all the way, then say there is an error? Perhaps the 
> > flash has errors and it's failing a checksum?
> > 
> > When in doubt, I'm sure you could find another pm2
> There is a way to clear the flash, per the CLI manual, but I guess it's not 
> working.  With the system messages lost, it's really hard to know when something 
> like that succeeds or fails.
> The upgrades never seem to really get very far, so I doubt they're programming 
> the flash.  I'll probably just wait for another PM2 or something equivalent; 
> this one was only US$10.  It did work when I got it, I just made the mistake of 
> trying to bring it up to date.

I recovered my PM2!
I'm replying to my own thread in order to get this into the archives and possibly help someone else.

The problem was, essentially, that I was using too old of a ComOS netboot image.  I had initially grabbed version 3.3.2 and missed version 3.5 because it didn't have a version number in the filename.  Once I netbooted the PM2 with ComOS 3.5, the recovery I was attempting works fine:  1)  completely erase the flash memory, then 2) use TFTP to load a good ComOS image into flash.  This process is documented in the Chapter 2 of the PM2 Troubleshooting guide on portmasters.com.  I was able to load version 3.7.2c4 into flash this way with no trouble.  Whenever I next dig up four 1MB 30-pin SIMMs, I can upgrade the PM2's RAM and subsequently upgrade ComOS to 3.9.
ComOS 3.3.2 seems to be useless.  It was not able to properly TFTP a ComOS image from any TFTP server, including Livingston's own netboot package.

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