spent much of yesterday trying to break into the Thecus N4100 that we have at work. I thought it would be a relatively easy thing to try. After all, OpenBSD supports the N2100 and how different can this one be? thought it might be nice to add FreeBSD support to the thing.
Turns out, quite a lot.
I was greeted with gibberish over the serial console port. 115200 looks like the correct baud rate, at least based on looking at the characters with a scope. The bit widths are right, etc. Yet all I get is garbage.
Then I went and googled for others that have done this. While $600 for the empty unit is a bunch of money, it isn't that much in the grand scheme of things. I was surprised to find that no one has a web page about this that google can get to. Maybe I need to learn to search better? Or maybe there's limited searching options for this community.
I've tried jumpers on all the things that looked like jumpers. I've tried every combination possible, but still no joy on the serial port.
The unit works, and is running Thecus' software. The GPL files showed no signs of what the key might be to the serial communications. The settings were 115200, 8, N. Maybe those settings are dependent on a clock that's off by more than a few percent, which is why the serial ports I've tried can't lock to it. I'll have to give the embedded ATMEL part that I'm using a spin to see if I can vary the baud rate enough to see it (the embedded part I use has a base xtal that all frequencies are based on, so I've seen my share of non-standard baud rates debugging it as I went from board to board that had different frequencies).
I'm also putting this out as a kind of test to see if I can find people who have done this sort of thing, or would like to. I'm not sure of how well Google covers blogs, so now I have something to search on.
In the future, I'll try to see if I can kick this CPU into a 'useful' recovery mode so I can just take over from scratch before redboot even gets around to starting :-0