Installing Debian on the Thecus N2100

Intel's IOP platform is no longer supported in Debian.
Thecus N2100

While the Thecus N2100 is supported in Debian 7 (wheezy), it is no longer supported in Debian 8 (jessie) or later releases.


In order to install Debian on an N2100, you need the following:

  • A Thecus N2100 machine or compatible device, such as the Allnet ALL6500.
  • Another machine on which you have an SSH client. Every Linux distribution includes an OpenSSH client and there is PuTTY for Windows.


There are a number of issues you should be aware of before beginning with the installation:

  • You have to be aware that by installing Debian you probably lose the warranty on your N2100.
  • The installation of Debian will replace the Thecus firmware that is shipped with your N2100. It is not possible to keep both installed at the same time.
  • When you install Debian, it will by default format your whole disk. I therefore recommend to make backup of any data you might have on your machine.
  • Make sure that the J3/J4 jumper on your board is set to the J3 position. This is the default position so you should not have to change anything.

Upgrading the Firmware

Before installing Debian, make sure that you are running the latest version of the Thecus firmware. In version 2.1.05 Thecus added the ability to the boot loader used on this machine, RedBoot, to allow users to connect to the machine via telnet while the machine is booting. This gives you a rescue mode in case something goes wrong with the installation. I therefore strongly advise you to upgrade to version 2.1.05 or higher before installing Debian. If you don't have a Thecus N2100, but an Allnet or another box, you first need to make a simple change so that you can upgrade to the Thecus firmware. This change is documented on the Thecus wiki in the page about turning your Allnet into a Thecus.

Starting the Installer

In order to start the installation of Debian, you have to login to the firmware of your Thecus N2100 to configure the network and to upgrade the firmware to an installer image of Debian. The N2100 is configured to have the IP address You can open this address in your web browser and then login in as admin. The default password is admin.

Thecus Firmware: Login

Thecus Firmware: Login

The way the installation of Debian works is that you flash an upgrade firmware that will start the installer. The installer will then allow you to connect via SSH to perform the installation. This works because the installer will read your network settings from your device and then bring up SSH so you can connect. That's why it's important to configure the network settings in the Thecus firmware. If you have used a static configuration, these values will be used. Otherwise, the installer will ask a DHCP server in your network for an IP configuration. If the installer cannot find a DHCP server on your network, it will fall back to the static configuration that is the default on the N2100, namely the IP address and a gateway and name server at In any case, make sure that your network is configured fully, including values for DNS. If your static IP configuration is not complete (i.e. is either missing the IP address or DNS), the Debian installer will request an address via DHCP.

Thecus Firmware: Network Config

Once you have configured the network, you can go to System, followed by Firmware Upgrade. First, you have to download the firmware image provided by Debian for the installation. Afterwards you can upload this image to the Thecus firmware. It will ask you to confirm that you want to upgrade to this new version.

Thecus Firmware: Upgrade

Thecus Firmware: Upgrade

Thecus Firmware: Upgrade

Thecus Firmware: Upgrade

Note that the progress bar is not updated during the upgrade process and will remain at 1% until the end.

Thecus Firmware: Upgrade

After a few minutes the upgrade process has completed and you have to reboot the machine:

Thecus Firmware: Reboot

The system will now restart and after about 5 minutes you can connect to the installer via SSH. Please ignore your web browser which tells you that the system is soon restarting because no update will be shown there. When the web page has finished counting down and says Reboot Complete, the installer will not be ready yet! You need to wait about another minute. When the installer is ready to accept connections via SSH, your N2100 will beep three times. The username is installer and the password is install. Note that you need a terminal which understands UTF-8 because that's the character set the installer will use.

ssh installer@

Installing Debian

The installation itself should be pretty standard and you can follow the installation guide. It knows about the N2100 and at the end of the installation it will flash a kernel and ramdisk that will automatically boot into Debian.

The whole installation will take about one hour. After the installation is complete, you will be able to log in as root or your newly created user via SSH.



By default, the fan should run at full speed. If you need to regulate the speed, you can write to the pwm files in /sys. If you want to stop the fan, you have to write the value zero to these files:

echo 0 > /sys/bus/i2c/devices/0-002e/pwm2
echo 0 > /sys/bus/i2c/devices/0-002e/pwm1

You can activate full speed using the following commands:

echo 255 > /sys/bus/i2c/devices/0-002e/pwm1
echo 255 > /sys/bus/i2c/devices/0-002e/pwm2

There's currently no script to regulate the fan automatically, so I suggest you run the fan at full speed.


You can install the beep package and then user the beeper in the following way:

beep -e /dev/input/event0 -f 220 -l 500 -d 500 -r 3