OpenBSD on PC Engines APU2

Published on 2020-02-16

This guide explains how to install OpenBSD (6.6) on systems based on the PC Engines APU2 platform (apu2d0 to apu4d4).

You need the following hardware:

  • a computer
  • USB to RS232 (serial) cable with DB9 connector or adapter
  • USB drive
  • apu4d4 or other apu2 system

Download the latest OpenBSD installXX.fs image.

Connect the USB drive to your computer. Use dd to copy the OpenBSD image onto it:

user@host ~$ dd if=installXX.fs of=/dev/sdX

Make sure you use the correct devices.

Unmount the USB drive, disconnect it from your computer and connect it to the apu2.

Connect your serial cable setup to your computer and the apu2. Power the apu2 up.

On Linux connecting to the serial console works like this:

user@host ~$ screen /dev/ttyS0 115200

On macOS it works like this:

user@host ~$ ls /dev/cu.usbserial*
/dev/cu.usbserial
/dev/cu.usbserial-1234

user@host ~$ screen /dev/cu.usbserial-1234 115200

PuTTY should work on Microsoft Windows.

You should see a boot menu prompt:

boot menu

Select your USB drive.

When the boot> prompt is being displayed, type:

stty com0 115200

Press enter, then type:

set tty com0

Press enter to execute the command. The baud rate for com0 has been set to 115200, as required by the APU2, and com0 has been activated as text terminal for the installation.

Press enter again to start the boot process. The OpenBSD installation should begin.

Two options need to be set during installation to make the serial console work on the soon-to-be-installed system:

  • Accept (or set) vt220 as terminal type.
  • Change the default terminal to com0 and set the speed to 115200 baud.

After the system has been installed, unplug the USB drive and reboot into your fresh OpenBSD installation. Remember to run syspatch.