DSL, Puppy Linux, Netvoyager and CurrentCost

After some procrastination I now have a tiny home server:

Netvoyager LX-1000

The Netvoyager comes with some thin client software pre-installed, which I’m thinking of leaving alone for now, since it might turn out to be useful if I ever get a SLUG as well. (Well it is my birthday in a couple of months!!)

The first tiny hurdle was trying to boot a DSL USB stick I have. Unfortunately I discovered the BIOS is password protected so hitting Del didn’t get me very far. Luckily Netvoyager support helped out by telling me to press F8 to bring up a list of devices to boot from. I’m hoping they’ll also tell me the BIOS password to avoid having to do that every time because it got a bit annoying this weekend!

My attempts to boot using DSL were met with mixed results: booting from a USB CD drive worked a treat, but no amount of hacking got it to boot from a USB stick. It seems to be GRUB rather than DSL that’s the problem. It turns out that there is quite a bit of information about for the Netvoyager, under its Microclient and eBox-2300 aliases. Puppy Linux seemed to be the favourite option, so I had a go with that and, while being a bit slower, it’s working a treat. It had an added bonus of having a few other bits I needed that DSL didn’t. For now it’s happily publishing data for CurrentCost power graphs but I plan to break it again at some point to switch to a command line only cut down Linux install.

Definitely pleased with the Netvoyager decision so far, despite people suggesting even more alternatives since I got it! Cost, features and power use are spot on for what I wanted.

Update: Found a couple of useful Netvoyager links while playing around with new Linux distros. (24 October 2010)


15 thoughts on “DSL, Puppy Linux, Netvoyager and CurrentCost

  1. I’d definitely be slightly peeved not to be able to get at the BIOS… I realise that it introduces slight support headaches for the mfr / reseller, but ultimately being locked out of the BIOS would make it feel like the hardware didn’t belong to me, somehow.

    Have you tried e.g. fileserving via Samba or simple (or PHP-backed) web serving? I’d be interested to know how those things perform. What are you booting Puppy from now, USB HDD?

  2. Yep, I know what you mean about the BIOS. Hoping to hear from them today about the BIOS password but, failing that, there’s always the option of reseting the BIOS. I’ll post an update about how it goes.

    Puppy is booting from a USB flash memory stick at the moment. I haven’t tried much else yet because I want to switch to a more sensible Linux install first (don’t really need any fancy xwindows desktop!) – I’m thinking some sort of ubuntu server install at the moment but any suggestions welcome.

    Once I’ve done that I’ll let you know how it performs.

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  4. So now you’re on SLAMPPLite, have you tried webserving? what about Samba? Just curious as to performance… and I still don’t think I’d get a device where I was locked out of the BIOS :-(

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  7. We got some NetVoyager boxes recently too, identical to the ones you got. The 128MB flash internal to the box is too small to put pretty well any version of Puppy (definitely not 3.X, which is now over 100MB) on, so we’ve wiped it and stuck to external CF cards with Puppy 2.17 on them.

    As for the BIOS password, it is indeed pathetic that the vendor password protects them and refuses to tell you the password! Apparently it’s because they bundle it with the NetVoyager software on the internal flash and don’t want people messing with it (which is bizarre, because you can boot to an external OS and wipe it [or even copy it, if you really can be bothered] anyway!).

    I won’t post the BIOS password up here, but it’s ludicrously trivial to crack. I’ll point you to http://www.cgsecurity.org/wiki/CmosPwd and add the phrase “Ami BIOS”…

  8. I bought mine directly from Netvoyager and they were actually very helpful about providing the BIOS password.

    I can kind of see where they’re coming from password protecting the BIOS by default however I don’t see why they don’t include the password details in the box. As well as the link you posted, it’s not too difficult to find a hardware alternative for reseting the BIOS if you search for ebox 2300. Glad I didn’t have to do either though.

    I’m also using an external CF, but with SLAX rather than Puppy- been really impressed with SLAX so far. I haven’t wiped the internal flash though, since I might have some use for the bundled software in the future.

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  10. I got my Netvoyager LX-1000 about 5 days ago. I had the same problem with the BIOS pwd, but Netvoyager CEO was so kind to let me know: 554502.

  11. It looks like I’m a couple of years behind you.

    I have just set up a Micro Jr with Puppy 2.16 frugal and Wine.
    Currently I have made shell scripts to get temperature data from a K145 circuit I built that connects to one of the serial ports.
    Then I graph them in a spread sheet program.
    I’m modeling building components temperatures relating to outside temperature and interior energy input.
    The Jr is good because of it’s size, energy consumption, lack of a drive and it’s range of operating temperatures for remote temperature monitoring.

    Ideally I want to run a K190 sensor & control circuit, but I can’t get Puppy Wine to recognize the com port on the windows software. I have created the symbolic links and given access to serial ports with no luck.

    Any advise on another USB or CF operating system that I could run on the Micro Jr or a way to get wine to recognize the serial ports?


    • Hi Ian,
      I’ve not even started that kind of temperature modelling so it sounds like you’re ahead of me, not behind! I’ve been running the same OS since I originally set the server up (http://www.slax.org/). I was thinking of giving TurnKey Linux a try at some point but just haven’t got round to it. I haven’t been using Wine either, so I don’t know how you could fix access to the serial ports.
      Sorry I couldn’t be any help.
      Regards, James

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