Compact Flash boot failure after many successful reboots.

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I am working on a strange problem that is showing up on one of my
embedded projects. The board is based on the ZF Micro X86 processer.
The compact flash is connected via the IDE bus from the ZF Micro part.
I'm running a 2.4.18 Kernel with a lilo boot loader (22.1). This device
comunicates via a GPRS modem using ppp. Quite often the GPRS modem get
out of whack and a system reboot is the cleanest way to get things
working again.

What I have run across is lilo giving out after many reboots. We
haven't loaded any new software. Nothing in /boot has moved. A
re-running lilo will "fix" the problem, BUT, returning the device and
removing the CF card and mounting it on a linux box...is Not a good
solution. lilo prints the LI of the LILO startup and stops.

Does anybody know what may be going on? or any tools to find which of
the master boot record, boot.b, or map are out of sync? Any ideas would
be appreciated.


Re: Compact Flash boot failure after many successful reboots.
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It means that lilo or system writes something to flash. You should check
if lilo if configured without write feature, and also system should be
installed on readonly partition.
I hope, you know, that CF has only limited number of rewrites(100k-1M),
after which you can only buy a new one.
If you need to have writable partition you should mount it with
'noatime', otherwise you can kill CF in very short time.

To check what was changed, just copy boot sector, or all CF before
inserting, and compare with CF after failure. (man dd, man cmp).


good luck
Jarek

Re: Compact Flash boot failure after many successful reboots.
Thanks, I got it figured out.  Someone removed the %post  install
portion of the lilo RPM. When the system was updated with a new lilo
release, the systems MBR wasn't written with the new boot.b location
information. This left the MBR pointing to the old deleted boot.b which
worked fine until it's data location was over written.
 -Mike


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