U-Boot on the QNAP TS-409

If you have a serial console for your QNAP TS-409, you can use U-Boot, the boot loader used on the TS-409, to restore the original QNAP firmware or load images via the network.

Loading the installer image

You can load the Debian installer image (or other images) via TFTP. First of all, configure the IP address of the TFTP server and of your QNAP:

setenv serverip
setenv ipaddr

Then specify the command line that should be passed to the kernel. This tells the kernel that the serial console should be activated and that there's a ramdisk that is 4 MB in size.

setenv bootargs console=ttyS0,115200n8 root=/dev/ram rw initrd=0x800000,0x3fffff

Finally, load the image via the network with TFTP and start it:

tftpboot 0x0800000 initrd
tftpboot 0x400000 kernel
bootm 0x400000

If you'd like to load a kernel image you saved from /boot, please see the instructions on how to prepare the image.

Restoring the QNAP firmware

If you want to restore the original QNAP firmware when your Debian is no longer working, you can put the backup you made of your QNAP firmware into flash via U-Boot. First, specify the IP address of your TFTP server and of your QNAP device:

setenv serverip
setenv ipaddr

Then load the backup you made of mtd1 (the QNAP kernel) and write it to flash:

tftpboot 0x400000 mtd1
erase 0xff800000 0xff9fffff
cp.b 0x400000 0xff800000 ${filesize}

Finally, load the backup you made of mtd2 (the QNAP ramdisk) and write it to flash:

tftpboot 0x0800000 mtd2
erase 0xffa00000 0xffdfffff
cp.b 0x0800000 0xffa00000 ${filesize}

And restart the machine:


Once you have restored the QNAP firmware in flash, you have to follow the second step described on the restore page and run QNAP Finder to install the QNAP software to disk.

Preparing Debian images from /boot to load

You can copy the Debian kernel and ramdisk from your system to another machine for backup. This way, you can load them via TFTP as described above. However, the files from /boot cannot be used directly but require some modifications before you can use them. You don't have to make these modifications manually since flash-kernel already performs these steps as part of the kernel upgrade process. You can obtain a copy of what's actually written to flash from /var/backups/flash-kernel. You can therefore take the files from that location and use them to boot via TFTP.

mtd1 corresponds to the kernel while mtd2 is the initrd. Therefore, the correct TFTP commands are:

tftpboot 0x0800000 mtd2
tftpboot 0x400000 mtd1
bootm 0x400000

Installing the original QNAP firmware

You can restore the original QNAP firmware directly from u-boot if you no longer want to run Debian. First of all, obtain the firmware image from the QNAP web site. Unzip the file and you'll get an .img file. Save that file as qnapimg.bin on your TFTP server.

Now you can write this image to flash. This is exactly what the recovery mode does.

setenv serverip
setenv ipaddr
tftp 0x400000 qnapimg.bin
protect off 0xff000000 0xff6fffff
erase 0xff000000 0xff6fffff
cp.b 0x400000 0xff000000 0x700000

Afterwards you have to run QNAP Finder to install your system.