Friday, October 31, 2008

Buffalo Linkstation LS-500LG

So I basically spent the last few days playing with a Buffalo Linkstation LS-500LG version 1 hardware. This should not be confused with the LS-L500LG which is a cheaper product. A good look at the FAQ scrolling down will show you the advantages in memory and cpu of the LS-GL vs the LS-LGL. Anyway I always go about this at night which is never a good idea. I found myself flashing the firmware more than once and crashing it several times so here's a short synopsis for those interested. I had 2 version 1 (old hardware) so it may not apply to you.

First thing is that it seems the Buffalo NAS hacking community at has very old information and less detailed information concerning the ARM9 processor which mines is versus the other 2 processors (MIPSel and PowerPC). The information at times is structured poorly but to be fair this is very similar to the situation with the nslu2 but it's worst because you have several different versions of different products with people developing different products.

Anyway one of my worst mistakes is installing freelink firmware 1.0r2 and probably not reading everything first before working on my linkstation. The major problem is that it should insist on repartitioning the disks first. This is almost a necessity because the firmware pretty much removes your web administration which is fine if you are very fluent in Debian. However if you want to install the webadmin web interface you find you will run out of space... Even installing a few packages would do that and you will be stuck thereby forcing you to do something about your partitions. That was a headache to say the least. However if you installed the webadmin the system is very nice however and ideally you would have enough space to install the other packages that you will like. That's where the second problem which caused me a great deal of distress. The precompiled C Cross-Toolchain. Either that or the directions was completely wrong for the LS-LG ARM9 processor because all it did was sent me to the EM mode (engineering mode or emergency mode). Which I am somewhat glad that I have a version 1 because it seems like newer hardware is a pain to get out of. After sending my Linkstation into Emergency Mode at least 3 times and Flashing my firmware at least 9 times (because of old firmware of 1.10 to 1.11 stock buffalo firmware than flashing custom init.d firmware before installing freelink firmware for my old hardware version. Counter the numerous repairs, etc.). Long winded yes but during that time I could not manage to setup a media server like twonky, swisscenter, oxyl, etc. (twonky no longer supports nas installs as of this writing). If u manage to do this message me with detailed instructions because I didn't have this much problem with the nslu2 but then it couldn't handle apache/mysql/php that well (frequent crashes).

Basically here is what I recommend as of this writing 10/31/2008.
***) Partition your drive for space but may not be necessary. I did it anyway in case I want to go to freelink again.
1)Install Firmware version 1.15 (not available in the us website, use europe/asia)
- This turned mine webinterface in japanese language but login admin/password to change the language/region. Should be pretty straight forward if you study your english version webinterface before flashing.
2)Enable telnet with these directions.
- Make sure you use the 1.11 directions and not the pre 1.11 directions or you will notice telnet/sshd not working correctly after reboot.
3)Follow directions at to get optware feed. This is the most important part as it will allow you to expand your current linkstation to something like the nslu2.
**4) This is optional but follow directions at to be able to compile. This works perfectly in my linkstation. It did not mention to create the folders before "Mount special files in chroot environment" section but that was a minor problem. Just chroot command whenever you want to compile something.
--The daylight savings time seem to be affecting the time being off an hour if you live in the us/canada area. This occurs in a number of firmware though.

Fun things to do that works on the arm9. If you installed the optware feeds than you are all set to install a media center. The wizd media server is what I recommend and all I needed to do was issue "ipkg install wizd" and I was up and ready at :8004. You do have to edit your wizd.conf file to point where you are storing your video/music/dvd/photo files but its pretty self explanatory. Other than the interface display it works beautifully on my showcenter pinnacle 1000g which is obsolete for a few months now.

I have one with freelink installed just in case with webadmin 1.441 installed because debian is always useful nearby.

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