Debian in APU2C4

Tips on installing Debian (Jessie) in pcengine's APU2C4


Quick Writeup on installing Debian in apu2c4, mostly for self reference

PCEngine’s APU2C4 is a really nice low power consuming device that packs some serious performance with its Quad Core AMD Procesors as well as 2 or 4 GB or RAM. One of its main attraction: 3 Gigabit LAN Ports. You can see the full specification here.

The only problem with it is that apu2c4 has only serial output, so it maybe a bit different installing not only debian but any Operating Systems in it that do not support serial output by default.

Following steps can be used to install Debian in apu2c4.

  1. First prepare some serial console like minicom or picocom. (I use picocom). Connect the serial out of APU to your laptop using Serial-to-USB cables.
  2. Perform the following command as root: picocom -b 115200 /dev/ttyUSB0
  3. A serial console will come up. You need a Debian installation disk beforehand. Insert it, and poweron the APU. Select ‘f10’ when prompted and choose the USB Disk for booting.
  4. Before choosing the Install Option, we need to pass an arguement that changes the default output of the installer from VGA/HDMI to Serial. Press tab and you will see a line to edit the boot parameter. Remove the word vga=788 and replace it with console=ttyS0,115200,n8 and press enter to boot.
  5. Continue normal debian installation process.
  6. After completion of the installation, you won’t be able to boot because the system tries to send output to VGA/HDMI/(etc). We need to configure it to send output over Serial.
  7. Get a shell, either by some sort of live boot or via ssh if you had enabled it and are connected to the network.
  8. Edit the file /etc/default/grub as following, append or replace as required
   GRUB_CMDLINE_LINUX='console=tty0 console=ttyS0,115200,n8'
   GRUB_TERMINAL=serial
   GRUB_SERIAL_COMMAND="serial --speed=115200 --unit=0 --word=8 --parity=no --stop=1"
  1. After that run, update-grub and reboot.
  2. Enjoy

These steps should work with other Linux Distributions too. If you know of any other methods, please feel free to comment about it. :)

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