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Thecus N4520 Custom Firmware

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Hi all,


Just got my hand on this old NAS.  The basic administration web interface only support basic network storage servers functions. This NAS is no longer supported by Thecus and 3rd party modules are rather limited and outdated. Almost threw this tin can into the trash until it occured to me  that the fact that this NAS is the first Intel Atom SoC NAS produced by Thecus means that it should be able to be installed with custom linux or its linux base be modified 😀




Processor                     Intel® Atom™ SoC CE5315 Dual Core (1.2GHz Dual Core )
System Memory          : 2GB DDR3
LAN Interface (PCI-e) :  RJ-45x1: 10/100/1000 BASE-TX Auto MDI/MDI-X
                                         WOL supported
USB Interface              : USB 2.0 host port x2 (back x2)
                                       USB 3.0 host port x1 (front x1)
LCM Module                :  LCM display
                                        4 buttons (ENTER, ESC, UP, DOWN)
HDMI Output               :    HDMI port (back x1)
Audio Output               :   SPDIF (back x1)
Disk Interface              :    4 x SATA for internal, support SATA II / SATA III hard disk
Power Supply              :  150W internal power supply
Power Management    :   Auto power on after shutdown due to power loss
Buttons                         :    Power button
                                           Reset button


As of to date I managed to complete the base OS to function as complete LAMP server and installed Wordpress 5.3.6 which is the latest the LAMP server versions can support. Will document the steps I took in due cause. Attached some pictures:-






Update No. 1 - 23 Dec 2020


After few days experimenting, I have managed to replace the original Thecus 6.1 firmware with a base install of fedora 15. Still using the existing kernel as it seems there are thecus boot files in the boot directory that can only boot those kernels, initrd, etc.


Will need to save this custom base system so that it can be reused to replace the stock firmware again if I mess it up later in the course of my experiments.


This is good progress! 😀


Update No. 2 - 27 Dec 2020


Alright, managed to squeeze in apache, mysql and php. This storage constrain issue is really a challenge. Until I somehow figure out how to expand the storage im stuck with the stock 1.3g flash storage limit.


One more thing, also managed to install webmin! Yay! We are in business folks! 😇




Update No. 3 - 31 Dec 2020


LOL! In trying to dismount the root filesystem in order to resize it, I rendered the internal MMC bootless when I accidentally killed a critical process. However, it always made me wonder how is it the NAS can still boot up and connect to the network even though the root filesystem is gone. Then I wonder if I could telnet into that tin can. And to my amazement there is a small linux system boot up each time the NAS starts. This temporary linux system is where all the boot process starts before it is transferred to the MMC root file system. No wonder I could not unmount the root file system to resize it! LOL. This is super exciting. Will report further once I have experiment it further!


Edited by Syonagar
Update No. 3 - Found a small linux system hardcoded into the tin can!
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