ZyXEL NSA3xx

The Zyxel NSA310, NSA310b, NSA310s, NSA320, NSA325 is a Kirkwood based NAS (aka Network Attached Storage) with one or two HDD bay using SATA.

ModelVersionSoCCPU MHzCPU CoresFlash MBRAM MBWLAN HardwareWLAN2.4WLAN5.0100M portsGbit portsModemSATA portsUSB
NSA310Marvell 88F6281 aka 88FR13112001128256----1-12x 2.0
NSA310SMarvell 88F670210001128NAND256----1-12x 2.0
NSA325v1, v2Marvell 88F628216001128512----1-21x 3.0, 2x 2.0
PIN NO PIN PIN PIN PIN
* - * * *
GND N/A RX TX VCC

:!: NEVER CONNECT THE VCC PIN. ONLY connect GND, RX and TX.

Serial connection parameters 3.3V, 115200 Baud
  • 3.3V USB to serial adapter
  • USB stick (FAT16 formatted, single partition)

:!: There seem to be different root causes in case your USB stick is not detected correctly

  • Up to date USB sticks were not detected correctly by the stock U-Boot. I had to use the “oldest” USB Stick I found, which supports USB 1.1 only! OpenWrt Forum serial-install-problems-on-nsa310
  • A active USB Hub (with external power supply) might be necessary doozan.com
  • Two USB sticks might be needed. One to flash the U-Boot. The second one to flash the OpenWrt image. doozan.com

Alternative: Use Setting up a TFTP server for TFTP Recovery/Install plus the description OpenWrt Forum - TFTP settings (no successful report found) or the flashing through IDE interface (tested successfully).

:!: Carefully choose the correct U-Boot for your hardware version otherwise you brick the hardware! Please check the latest release for the latest version of U-Boot

NSA310 uboot-NSA310 delivered with OpenWRT 21.02.1 OpenWrt Image NSA310b working
NSA310b uboot-NSA310 delivered with OpenWRT 21.02.1 OpenWrt Image NSA310b working
NSA310s uboot-NSA310s delivered with OpenWRT 21.02.1 OpenWrt Image NSA310s working
NSA320uboot.2017.07-tld-1.nsa320.bodhi.tar Not supported by OpenWrt
NSA325uboot-NSA325 delivered with OpenWRT 21.02.1 OpenWrt Image NSA325 working

Copy the u-boot.kwb, u-boot.bin and u-boot.kwb files to a FAT16 formatted USB stick with msdos partition table (single partition).

:!: u-boot are also available in more up to date versions from the OpenWRT snapshot daily built !

This chapter is based on a post in the Doozan Forum.

  • Connect the USB to Serial converter (3.3V not 5V!) to the pins of the NSA3xx main board (Tx → Rx; Rx ← Tx; GND → GND).
  • Boot the stock firmware and access the NSA3xx through the serial interface
  • Check the Ethernet MAC Address and note it
  fw_printenv ethaddr
  • save the environment variables
  fw_printenv > current_envs.txt
  or
  blparam >  current_envs.txt
  • Check bad blocks in NAND

:!: Be sure there is no bad block in the first 1M of your NAND (check dmesg). This is very important, if there is bad block in the first 1M (8 blocks), don't flash u-boot, because you will almost certainly brick your box. Please post your question here (there is a work around for it).

  dmesg | grep -i 'bad'
    [    2.413231] Scanning device for bad blocks
    [    2.417731] Bad eraseblock 3 at 0x000000060000

This bad block is the 4th block which resides within mtd0 (block 0 to block 7). So u-boot should not be flashed.

Overview for advanced users (git commit)

Basically we command the device through a terminal (using the serial interface) to load and flash our files to NAND.

:!: Please note that to write to NAND you have to erase the NAND first, which means all data on the NAND will be deleted! Meaning stock firmware, bootloader, settings and everything will be gone! So make sure you got the proper files ready before you start as it's vital that you flash the new bootloader before you restart your device as it would otherwise get soft-bricked.

Plug in the USB stick into the NAS (front USB) with the correct files and booting into u-boot (press any key on the serial communication to interrupt the boot progress).
The first step is to install OpenWrt's u-boot. Therefor send those commands in the U-Boot command line:

NSA310>>usb reset
(Re)start USB...
  USB:   scanning bus for devices... 3 USB Device(s) found
  scanning bus for storage devices... 1 Storage Device(s) found
NSA310>>fatload usb 0 0x1000000 u-boot.kwb
  reading u-boot.kwb
  ............................................
  524288 bytes read
NSA310>>nand erase 0x0 0x100000
  Erasing at 0xe0000 -- 100% complete.
  OK
NSA310>>nand write 0x1000000 0x00000 $filesize
  1048576 bytes written: OK
NSA310>>reset

:!: In case you get below error message there are different things you can try to

NSA310»usb reset

  USB:   scanning bus for devices... 1 USB Device(s) found
  scanning bus for storage devices... 0 Storage Device(s) found
NSA310>> fatload usb 1 0x1000000 u-boot.kwb
** Can't read from device 1 **
** Unable to use usb 1:1 for fatload **
NSA310>> fatload usb 0 0x1000000 u-boot.kwb
** Can't read from device 0 **
** Unable to use usb 0:1 for fatload **

Install NSA310
:!: The uboot CANNOT use network (tftp) on nsa310 as it has an external network chip and bodhi (he made the uboot also OpenWrt uses) never fixed that. Openwrt can use the network chip so this is a problem only when installing the first time and you are using uboot.

:!: You may need to try a few times, and from true power off state. Disconnect power from nsa310, press power button for 5 seconds (to make sure everything is discharged and power is off) :!: SSD might not be detected. Try with HDD instead.

NSA310>> ide reset
 
Reset IDE: 
Marvell Serial ATA Adapter
Integrated Sata device found
[0 0 0]: Enable DMA mode (6)
  Device 0 @ 0 0:
Model: xxxxx                           Firm: xxx  Ser#: xxx        
            Type: Hard Disk
            Supports 48-bit addressing
            Capacity: 114473.4 MB = 111.7 GB (234441648 x 512)
 
NSA310>> fatload ide 0 0x1000000 uboot.kwb
reading uboot.kwb
524288 bytes read
 
NSA310>> nand erase 0x0 0x100000
NAND erase: device 0 offset 0x0, size 0x100000
Erasing at 0xe0000 -- 100% complete.
OK
 
NSA310>> nand write 0x1000000 0x00000 $filesize
NAND write: device 0 offset 0x0, size 0x100000
 1048576 bytes written: OK
 
NSA310>> reset

After the device reboots into the OpenWrt u-boot we adjust the device's MAC address (adjust the values, see the sticker under the NAS case):

NSA310>>setenv ethaddr AB:CD:EF:00:00:00
  Address in SROM is         AB:CD:EF:00:00:00
  Address in environment is  AB:CD:EF:00:11:11
NSA310>>saveenv
  Saving Environment to NAND...
  Erasing NAND...
  Erasing at 0xc0000 -- 100% complete.
  Writing to NAND... OK

Now we set the correct environment variables

NSA310>>setenv mtdparts 'mtdparts=orion_nand:0x00c0000(uboot),0x80000(uboot_env),0x7ec0000(ubi)'
NSA310>>setenv bootcmd 'run setenv bootargs; ubi part ubi; ubi read 0x800000 kernel; bootm 0x800000'
NSA310>>saveenv
  Saving Environment to NAND...
  Erasing NAND...
  Erasing at 0xc0000 -- 100% complete.
  Writing to NAND... OK
NSA310>>reset
  resetting ...

Then we proceed to flashing OpenWrt itself (which we called nsa310.bin for less typing): :!: There could be the need to use two different USB Sticks. One for the U-Boot and one for the OpenWrt firmware doozan.com

NSA310>>usb reset
  USB0:   USB EHCI 1.00
  scanning bus 0 for devices... 3 USB Device(s) found
  scanning usb for storage devices...
  Use USB retry period from the environment: 15 second(s)
  1 Storage Device(s) found
NSA310>>fatload usb 0 0x2000000 nsa310.bin
  reading openwrt.bin
  4063232 bytes read in 210 ms (18.5 MiB/s)
NSA310>>nand erase.part ubi
 NAND erase.part: device 0 offset 0x140000, size 0x7ec0000
  Skipping bad block at  0x00540000
  Skipping bad block at  0x05580000
  Skipping bad block at  0x06120000
  Skipping bad block at  0x06aa0000
  Erasing at 0x7fe0000 -- 100% complete.
  OK
NSA310>>nand write 0x2000000 ubi $filesize
  NAND write: device 0 offset 0x140000, size 0x600000
  Skip bad block 0x00540000
  6291456 bytes written: OK

Note that the number at the end indicates the size to write in hex. In this case up to 6 MiB. Increasing this number should work but has not been tested.

And now we reboot to OpenWrt:

reset

hardware.button on howto use and configure the hardware button(s). Here, we merely name the buttons, so we can use them in the above Howto.

The device has the following buttons:

BUTTON Event
Power power
Reset reset
Copy copy

This is based on unbricking-nsa310s-after-i-flashed-the-wrong-u-boot and UART Booting HowTo for Selected Kirkwood Devices.

  • Download kwboot. You will need a Linux PC, or you can install Virtualbox in your PC and create a Linux Virtual Machine.
  • Disconnect power from NSA3xx, press power button for 5 seconds (to make sure everything is discharged and power is off)
  • Sending kwboot command from console and see that the bar is spinning.
     kwboot -t -B 115200 /dev/ttyUSB0 -b u-boot.kwb -p 


    Use the correct U-Boot version for your hardware

  • Connect power and then power up the NSA3xx with button.
  • Flashing process begins. Once this process finished, the device started to boot.
  • Interrupted this before the booting started and get access to the bootloader shell.
    Repeated the u-boot flashing process mentioned above.

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  • Last modified: 2021/11/12 18:28
  • by bexx