captainmidnight

HP Microserver N54L/3615XS - complete rebuild advice request

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Posted (edited)

Hi All

 

After many years of wrongly solely relying on my HP Microserver N54L (with only updated BIOS) running XPEnology 5.2.644 - which although has worked flawlessly - I wanted to upgrade to a dual NAS backup system as I've just got too much valuable data in one unit. So with that in mind and as XPEnology/Synology has worked so well, I took the plunge and bought a Synology DS918+ and new higher capacity drives - to give a true legit Synology NAS.

 

After a bit of playing about and nervous migration, I was able to migrate my original XPEnology RAID5 (3x disk) setup to the new DS918+ unit and then, by a drive at a time technique, replaced the original 3x 2TB drives with 4x 4TB drives - I couldn't do it any easier way due to being a 'spanner' and letting the N54L try to update itselft to the latest DSM - yeah I know - ME STUPID!!! - what I'd like to call 'COVID19 lockdown meltdown' 🤣

 

All my original data is now safe on the new DS918+ setup.......... 😉

 

So, here I am now sitting with a rebuilt spare XPEnology DSM 5.2.644 NAS, with the original 2TB drives all cleared and parity checked ready for configuration as a backup NAS to my new unit. Having looked at the forums can someone with a HP N54L please confirm the following questions: -

 

  1. What is the latest version of DSM that a hardware unmodified (original onboard NIC) HP N54L can successfully install and run?
  2. For the above DSM version to work, what is the required XPEnology DSM USB 'loader'?
  3. To achieve (1) can it be done directly from 5.2.644 and if so by what method or what intermediate steps / builds are required?
  4. From what I've seen so far, it would suggest the highest DSM version I can go on the original hardware is 6.1.7.15284 but it appears 6.2.3 may also be possible?

 

If anyone with a running XPEnology HP N54L could offer some advice on the above I'd really appreciate it - I've had an initial look around the forums and now I'm completely confused over what can be done on the original hardware. 😕

 

Thanks in advance

 

Phil

Edited by captainmidnight
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Posted (edited)

1. The N54L will run 6.2.3 with the onboard nic. I have one at that version with standard BIOS. No extra files required.

2. I am using the v1.03b DS3615xs loader

3. Tricky. I know I had it on version 5 and before I upgraded to 6.2.3, I was on 6.1.7 for a long while. I think I was on an earlier version of 6 before that. I have no recollection of whether any of the intermediate steps are mandatory. If you are upgrading from 5 you need to delete the hidden .xpenoboot directory before the upgrade to 6.2.3. However, as you say you have cleaned all the drives on this box, why don't you just do it as a "new" install

4. See 1. The versions between 6.1.7 and 6.2.3 were difficult as Synology had changed the driver model - but they have seem to have put it back to where it was for 6.2.3. So you can safely ignore discussions of installing intel nics and extra files. It just works(TM) in 6.2.3

 

Edited by billat29
typo

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Posted (edited)
58 minutes ago, billat29 said:

1. The N54L will run 6.2.3 with the onboard nic. I have one at that version with standard BIOS. No extra files required.

2. I am using the v1.03b DS3615xs loader

3. Tricky. I know I had it on version 5 and before I upgraded to 6.2.3, I was on 6.1.7 for a long while. I think I was on an earlier version of 6 before that. I have no recollection of whether any of the intermediate steps are mandatory. If you are upgrading from 5 you need to delete the hidden .xpenoboot directory before the upgrade to 6.2.3. However, as you say you have cleaned all the drives on this box, why don't you just do it as a "new" install

4. See 1. The versions between 6.1.7 and 6.2.3 were difficult as Synology had changed the driver model - but they have seem to have put it back to where it was for 6.2.3. So you can safely ignore discussions of installing intel nics and extra files. It just works(TM) in 6.2.3

 

 

Thanks for the reply billat29, that gives me a good starting point reference. 

 

A 'new' install - would I be right in thinking that would be when I boot from the v1.03b flashed USB pendrive and then use a 'manual' .pat file for the install - if I can see the NAS via the Synology find tool, I'll have nothing to loose trying to go directly to 6.2.3, failing that I'll re-group back to 5.2.644 and try the same procedure but to 6.1.7

 

Thanks for the pointers :91_thumbsup:

Edited by captainmidnight

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If when you boot v1.03b it finds an existing system on your drives, then it will try to do an upgrade. You should specify a manual installation as you have said.

I can't see anything special about 6.1.7 vs 6.2.3 in terms of an upgrade. If any release is required in terms of a stepping stone from 5 to 6, then it would be one of the earlier releases of version 6.

 

The bit that I am missing is what you need to keep from your v5 system given that you have copied all your data and settings to the new real Synology. If the upgrade from v5 failed, I would probably clear all the partitions from the disks and just create a fresh 6.2.3 system (and I know that works!). Bear in mind that many of the packages will want to update themselves when you move.

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Ahh right, I understand what you're saying - yes there is no reason for me to keep the recreated v5 system - I just built it this way yesterday as I knew it worked.

 

From what I can remember many years ago when I first made the XPEnology build - it appeared rarely possible to build a relatively up-to-date version of DSM without going through various prior versions first - I suppose this time around the updated boot loader and NOT having to migrate/update etc probably plays into my favor this time round. 

 

I suppose it's time for me to stop talking and to go do some rebuilding ....

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Any direction you go should be fine.  Since this will be your "archive" machine, you may find it better to go with a completely fresh install, then if you like restore your previously saved configuration backup with usernames, networking, etc.

 

I've had both 6.1.7 and 6.2.3 on my machines, both are great.  One is the previous generation HP N40L, which works straight out of the install using 1.02b/1.03b respectively.  If you want the hard drives to hibernate, that may be a reason to stay with 6.1.7 [unless there is new information about hibernation stability in 6.2.3].

 

If you do decide to roll your old installation forward, make sure you delete the old ".xpenoboot" folder, otherwise 6.2.3 will wreak havoc on your NIC.  My upgrade path was 5.2 to 6.1.7 to 6.2.3, but that took a little more time.

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3 minutes ago, P53x11 said:

If you want the hard drives to hibernate, that may be a reason to stay with 6.1.7

Good point for a backup machine.

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1 minute ago, P53x11 said:

Any direction you go should be fine.  Since this will be your "archive" machine, you may find it better to go with a completely fresh install, then if you like restore your previously saved configuration backup with usernames, networking, etc.

 

I've had both 6.1.7 and 6.2.3 on my machines, both are great.  One is the previous generation HP N40L, which works straight out of the install using 1.02b/1.03b respectively.  If you want the hard drives to hibernate, that may be a reason to stay with 6.1.7 [unless there is new information about hibernation stability in 6.2.3].

 

If you do decide to roll your old installation forward, make sure you delete the old ".xpenoboot" folder, otherwise 6.2.3 will wreak havoc on your NIC.  My upgrade path was 5.2 to 6.1.7 to 6.2.3, but that took a little more time.

 

Thanks also for your input, it's appreciated.

 

It may well make more sense just to go to 6.1.7 at the moment. Just a question though as a way of possibly simplifying things in the future would the v1.03b boot loader work for both DSM versions? 

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6.1.7/6.2.3 each require a different loader [1.02b/1.03b respectively] which is also nicely summarized here.  The features enabled/disabled with each configuration are helpful in your decision:

 

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Hmm seem to be hitting a bit of a stumbling block with a rebuild on 6.1.7

 

After editing and creating the v1.02b USB boot loader, the N54L appears to boot through the loader and sits at the screen as per the tutorial but is completely invisible on the network - it's not even trying to pickup a DHCP lease.

 

I've had a look through the BIOS and can't really see anything obvious although I have noted the BIOS date is 2013 (build 041) - is this version ok or would I also need to upgrade this as well - I know it was definitely working with this BIOS with 6.0.1 but not sure if 6.1.7 requires a N54L BIOS update? 

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Posted (edited)

Ah! C1E needs to be disabled in the BIOS.

Which may, or may not be the problem.

I found my notes for v1.02b and they also say

1) Make sure c1 is disabled in bios.

2) Select force install (install pat)

3) one reboot select top option (dont select amd)

4) give it time 5-10 mins to come up (mine took around 10 mins first time)

Edited by billat29
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16 minutes ago, billat29 said:

Ah! C1E needs to be disabled in the BIOS.

Which may, or may not be the problem.

 

Brilliant thought, that was it !!

 

Working now.....

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