Chromebox CN60 / M004U success!

Repurposed an Asus Chromebox model CN60 / M004U that had gone EOL with NomadBSD 1.4 64-bit since it was EOL. Not any more!

TL;DR everything works, including wifi – except for headphone audio (I’ll fix later), and didn’t test bluetooth.

Quick rundown:

  1. Objective is NOT to install to internal drive, but to simply boot and run from an external usb / flash, using the internal drive for random storage. Keeps things simple. No interest in in dual-booting, running from within ChromeOS itself - Nada, just simply boot from an external source.

  2. Placed unit into “developer mode”. Pushbutton pinhole reset, CTRL-D for initial dev mode, and CTRL-L after reboot are your friend. More info on how to get into dev mode here:

  1. I like booting from an SD-Flash card, rather than usb on this machine. Keeps the usb ports free, although it sticks out from the side a little bit. As always, use a good card, not the one from your Dad’s old mavica camera!

Results: GREAT! Very snappy performance (for what it is) with NomadBSD.

Audio: It seems as though the only audio device picked up is the HDMI monitor audio, but since I don’t have speakers on my monitor, I couldn’t test it. In addition, the speaker jack audio is not presented as a choice to use, so I’ll have to dig in later to try and force it. I know it works, since my other fav live-usb is Knoppix and it works there.

I’m not interested in Bluetooth, so I can’t comment if that works or not.

Hardware notes: Seems like this Chromebox has a little quirk of it’s own when booting. Unlike other mainline machines, with this one, both the keyboard and mouse are not activated until after boot. Not a NomadBSD thing - it has the same issue with anything else presented to it.

So thank goodness the boot process has timeouts and progresses on, unlike some other bootloader setups that sit and wait for you to press a key. Fortunately, NomadBSD has no problem with the default boot settings and progresses nicely into the DE.

Love the fact that NomadBSD image is not in the iso9660 format. The internal Chromebox “SeaBios” recognizes my flash card as a “hard drive” rather than a CD-based format. Some modern machines these days will NOT boot from an iso9660 format - bit it a real mechanical cd-rom, or a flash/usb drive formatted like one - security reasons and so forth. Another topic perhaps…

Overall, I’m totally jazzed that NomadBSD 1.4 is usable on the Chromebox.

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Slacker fix for headphone audio!

Until my FreeBSD-fu comes back, I slacked it by using a usb-audio dongle. Mine was from Ugreen.

The mixer picked it right up when I inserted it, and changed the default pcm audio device to it. Restarted the audio, and bingo.

A slacker fix perhaps, but for now I’m happy. :slight_smile:

Install to internal 16gb m.2SSD !

In the interest of science, I totally blew away the existing ChromeOS bits, and let the NomadBSD installer do it’s thing. Crossed fingers since it wasn’t my intention to do so, and didn’t know if anything in the bios might get cranky. So went ahead and did a simple UFS installation on it.

Happy to report that the NomadBSD installer did it’s job, and wiped out all the multiple ChromeOS partitions that were on it, recovered the other partitions, and is now just one big disk. Fine - had no intention of dual-booting different partitions etc.

Install picked up all my previous configurations, which was nice. I could see this as almost a remastering option for very small drives, like removing LibreOffice and other applications to pare things down a little bit, but I didn’t feel the need to pare down. Shows up as ada0p2

Still have to boot with CTRL-L at the scary white warning screen. Since I had already configured for dev-mode, using CTRl-D was a one-time thing, but looks like I’ll CTRL-L to get it to boot. No biggie.

Sidenote: tried booting a usb-stick version of NomadBSD, but it appears that only the SD-Card version works on this hardware. The machine I flashed the NomadBSD image from didn’t have an SD-Card slot, so I used a usb<>sdcard dongle, which shows up as a usb device, so no problem there.

Pretty stoked! I think a lot of these boxes get tossed when they go EOL by most consumers, so it’s nice to have NomadBSD give it a few more years of standard use.

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