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OpenWRT or Debian on Zyxel NSA325v2

Posted by AleXSR700 
OpenWRT or Debian on Zyxel NSA325v2
April 30, 2021 02:10AM
Hello everyone,
I would like to give OpenWRT or maybe Debian a try on my NAS from Zyxel (NSA325v2).
According to the instructions (https://openwrt.org/toh/zyxel/nsa325 1), the u-boot.kwb from 19.x.x release is bugged and won't allow access to any mass storage, so it is recommended to use the latest 18.x.x version.

Now, I hope someone can help me with one or two questions I have:

- Is this information still valid and do I only need to replace the u-boot.kbw or also other files?
- Is it recommended to use the entire 18.x.x release with that u-boot.kwb or can the 18.x.x and 19.x.x be safely used together?
- Are there any known issues with accessing external or internal drives? Given that it is a NAS, the worst that could happen would be losing access to my drives or being restricted in the kind of drives I can use.
- What is the difference between the u-boot found in the instructions (so here) and the one from here?
- Will booting Debian require an external USB stick or an internal HDD to boot? Or will it fit on the system's internal storage?

Any help would be greatly appreciated and if anybody has anything to add or correct as far as installation instructions go, please feel free to comment :slight_smile:

All the best
Alex

FYI: I initially started this thread in the OpenWRT forum but a reply there and Google searching kept bringing me here :)
(https://forum.openwrt.org/t/openwrt-on-zyxel-nsa325v2/95352)
Re: OpenWRT or Debian on Zyxel NSA325v2
April 30, 2021 02:24AM
AleXSR700,

The basic 2 step to install Debian and new u-boot.

If you are inside stock OS, you can install both new U-Boot and new Debian rootfs:

1. On another Linux box, create the Debian rootfs using Debian-5.2.9-kirkwood-tld-1-rootfs-bodhi.tar.bz2 following the instruction.

Debian:
https://forum.doozan.com/read.php?2,12096

Scroll down to the section

Quote

Updated 25 Aug 2019:

Basic Debian buster Kirkwood rootfs for most Kirwood plugs:

2. Dowload the u-boot tarball uboot.2017.07-tld-1.nsa325.bodhi.tar to this new USB rootfs:

U-Boot:
https://forum.doozan.com/read.php?3,12381

3. And then attach the new USB rootfs to the NSA25 box. Follow the u-boot installation instruction to flash u-boot.

After installing on USB, and have verified that it works, you can transfer the USB rootfs to the internal HDD and run the system from there, if desire.

-bodhi
===========================
Forum Wiki
bodhi's corner
Re: OpenWRT or Debian on Zyxel NSA325v2
April 30, 2021 02:26AM
Quote

- Will booting Debian require an external USB stick or an internal HDD to boot? Or will it fit on the system's internal storage?

This box NAND is too small for the Debian rootfs to fit in.

-bodhi
===========================
Forum Wiki
bodhi's corner
Re: OpenWRT or Debian on Zyxel NSA325v2
April 30, 2021 03:11AM
Thank you @bodhi!

If OpenWRT fits on the NAND, I might consider doing that. I am a bit afraid to lose all functionality if my USB stick dies and I do not want to keep my HDDs awake. One NAS is storage only and the other NAS has only one HDD that is regularly used.

What is the difference between uboot.2017.07-tld-1.nsa325.bodhi.tar and the uboot from OpenWRT? OpenWRT seems newer, but is it really better or just constant updating with no benefit (or even disadvantages?)?

Or should I use the OpenWRT uboot for OpenWRT and the uboot.2017.07-tld-1.nsa325.bodhi.tar only for Debian?
Re: OpenWRT or Debian on Zyxel NSA325v2
April 30, 2021 03:24AM
I recommend to use uboot from openwrt. Environment variable will be set correctly. For sure you should have serial cable before you start your adventure.
Re: OpenWRT or Debian on Zyxel NSA325v2
April 30, 2021 03:35AM
AleXSR700,

> If OpenWRT fits on the NAND, I might consider
> doing that. I am a bit afraid to lose all
> functionality if my USB stick dies

It is OK to run USB rootfs if you take precaution, and do back up regularly. I have multiple Kirkwood boxes that run with USB rootfs (Sandisk thumb drives, which are most reliable) for many years. All my media server NAS run with USB rootfs and the HDDs are idle until I stream something.


> What is the difference between
> uboot.2017.07-tld-1.nsa325.bodhi.tar and the uboot
> from OpenWRT? OpenWRT seems newer, but is it
> really better or just constant updating with no
> benefit (or even disadvantages?)?

Probably not much different. They actually used WarheadSE (Arch Linux ARM)'s and my patches as the starter to build their u-boot. If anything, they have probably removed some functionalities.

> Or should I use the OpenWRT uboot for OpenWRT and
> the uboot.2017.07-tld-1.nsa325.bodhi.tar only for
> Debian?

If you only install OpenWrt then use their u-boot version.

If you want to run both then use my u-boot version. See here for the installation steps:

https://forum.doozan.com/read.php?4,42279
or
http://forum.doozan.com/read.php?4,29966

-bodhi
===========================
Forum Wiki
bodhi's corner
Re: OpenWRT or Debian on Zyxel NSA325v2
April 30, 2021 05:11AM
Quote

If you only install OpenWrt then use their u-boot version.

If you want to run both then use my u-boot version. See here for the installation steps:

I'll take that back.

You should use OpenWrt u-boot version to run both OpenWrt and Debian.

-bodhi
===========================
Forum Wiki
bodhi's corner
Re: OpenWRT or Debian on Zyxel NSA325v2
April 30, 2021 05:46AM
Why the change of heart?
Re: OpenWRT or Debian on Zyxel NSA325v2
April 30, 2021 07:02AM
AleXSR700,

If you run Debian only, then use my uboot.

If you run both systems in this box, you could use either. However, using OpenWRT uboot is a bit easier in this case, because I don’t have the envs setup to boot both , atm. Of course, it can be done easily if you prefer my uboot version.

-bodhi
===========================
Forum Wiki
bodhi's corner
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