Archive for the ‘Hardware’ Category

How to find the current ChromeOS Flex image

Wednesday, August 3rd, 2022

Edit: The quick answer to the question by a reader of my blog, Julien:

The info to download Chrome OS Flex from Linux is a bit hidden, but official info and link is available here: https://support.google.com/chromeosflex/answer/11543105?hl=en#zippy=%2Chow-do-i-create-a-chromeos-flex-usb-installer-on-linux

My dad has an Acer Chromebook 14 CB3-431, codenamed Edgar. Google just stopped supporting it with ChromeOS, but it’s still working well. Luckily, Google also just released the first stable version of ChromeOS Flex.

I decided to install the full UEFI image to the Chromebook from https://mrchromebox.tech/ so that starting Flex would be as easy as possible. That went well after finding and removing the write protect screw.

But it wasn’t too easy to find the URL to download the current ChromeOS Flex installation image. Google’s Chromebook recovery extension for Chrome does not work on Linux. By reading through some reddit threads, I found out that you can get the download URLs from this json file: https://dl.google.com/dl/edgedl/chromeos/recovery/cloudready_recovery2.json So as of this writing, the current image is https://dl.google.com/dl/edgedl/chromeos/recovery/chromeos_14816.99.0_reven_recovery_stable-channel_mp-v2.bin.zip

Use dd to write the image straight to a USB stick (not to a partition) and you should be good to go. Flex installs pretty much like a regular Linux distribution and seems to work well.

SAS2008 LBA, Seagate Ironwolfs and scary log messages

Sunday, July 3rd, 2022

I built a home NAS two years ago, that was the first COVID summer and I finally had the time. It’s running Proxmox, which is running TrueNAS (then Core, now Scale) as a VM. An HBA card is passed directly to the TrueNAS VM. The HBA card is a Dell PERC H310, but I’ve crossflashed it so that now it shows up as an LSI SAS2008 PCI-Express Fusion-MPT SAS-2. The system originally had five ST4000VN008 disks (4 TB) in a RAIDZ2.

Pretty much from the beginning I noticed the system was spewing out storage related error messages when booting up. ZFS also noticed, but after the TrueNAS VM was completely up, there were no more errors and I quite rarely rebooted or shut down the system, so I wasn’t too worried. The few read errors I got each boot I cleared with zpool clear, which probably was not the best idea.

Last summer we had very cheap electricity here in Finland, something like 1-3 c/kWh plus transfer and taxes. Well, this summer it can be even 60 c/kWh during the worst times. I started shutting down my NAS when I knew we would not need it for a while. This made the disk issues worse.

I know the high electricity prices are partly due to Russia’s attack in Ukraine and the sanctions against Russia. I completely support Ukraine, they are fighting for the freedom of all of the Eastern EU border states. Please donate to support Ukraine.

TrueNAS keeps only one day of systemd journal data (why?) so I’ve already lost the actual error messages. By going through my Google search history I was able to find some of the errors I got. They were like this:

Unaligned partial completion ...
tag#0 FAILED Result: hostbyte=DID_OK driverbyte=DRIVER_SENSE ...
print_req_error: critical medium error ... 

Because there’s quite a lot of discussion on the web about Ironwolf firmware issues, issues with NCQ etc. I hoped this was something that could be fixed with software. I tried passing many kernel options found by googling to the TrueNAS Scale kernel. I came up with libata.force=noncq mpt3sas.msix_disable=1 mpt3sas.max_queue_depth=10000. For more discussion on these issues, see here, here, here, here. Seagate has actually released a firmware update from SC60 to SC61 for the larger Ironwolfs, but I have the 4 TB ones without an update available.

None of these options helped. Eventually the whole disk just disappeared. At this point it was clear to me that the issue was not a kernel bug, a disk firmware bug, an HBA firmware bug or anything like that. The disk had been faulty already on arrival.

I noticed Seagate has come up with new versions of the Ironwolfs. The 4 TB version is now ST4000VN006 with 256 MB of cache instead of 64 MB. The new version is also physically thinner and might run cooler. I ordered one of those. Unfortunately the firmware version is still SC60.

I replaced the faulty disk with the new one, ZFS resilvered the pool in about 8 hours and all is good again. I guess the moral of the story is that it seems like a disk could be defective, it probably is and you should start by replacing it.