Troubleshooting the Vault

Last Updated On January 14, 2019
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With Solid State Drives (SSD) and fanless cooling, the Vault has been extremely stable over the years. However, as with all computers, occasionally the Vault may have various issues.

The most common issues that occur are due to faulty mSATA, faulty DRAM, or need for CMOS reset on the FW1, FW2 and FW4A series.

This article will help the user diagnose and repair the majority of the problems that do occur.

Accessing components           

In order to access the components, disconnect power, turn the unit upside down and remove the 4 screws on the bottom plate. The photos below show the internal sockets of the Vault when the bottom plate is removed.

FW1, FW2, FW4A

FW2B, FW4B

FW6

DRAM troubleshooting instructions

Some issues are due to faulty DRAM or system memory.

In order to verify memory, follow these steps:

Remove the bottom plate of the Vault and identify the components per the instructions above.

  • Verify memory is properly installed. There should be a noticeable “click” when the DRAM is properly inserted into the socket.
  • Verify the memory for the FW1, FW2, FW2B, FW4A, FW4B series is DDR3L where the “L” is for “low voltage” of 1.35V. DDR3 requires 1.5V and is not compatible with the Vault.
  • If there are still issues, run a cycle of Memtest. Instructions can be found at this link.
  • If there are still issues, replace the DRAM with known good DRAM.
  • If there are still issues, it is likely the DRAM is not the issue.

mSATA troubleshooting instructions

Some issues are due to faulty mSATA or system solid state drive (SSD).

In order to verify mSATA, follow these steps:

Remove the bottom plate of the Vault and identify the components per the instructions above.

  • There are 2 PCI sockets in the Vault. One is for mSATA and the other is for the WiFi module. See the photos above for the proper mSATA socket. Verify the mSATA is installed in the proper socket and screwed down.
  • If the mSATA is properly installed and there are still issues, replace it with a known good mSATA.
  • If there are still issues, then likely the mSATA is not the fault.

CMOS reset instructions

The Vault’s CMOS is a small amount of battery backed memory that contains basic system information for the BIOS. Occassionally the CMOS on the FW1, FW2 and FW4A series units can get into a state where it needs to be reset.

To reset the CMOS, see this link.

Physical Damage

Examine the Vault for any obvious external damage that may have occurred during shipping, installation, or while in service.

  • Verify that all of the ports, connectors, and power button are properly positioned in the chassis.

Loose components or screws

Shake the Vault

  • Verify that there are no sounds to indicate a loose screw or other loose component
  • If it sounds like a loose item, open the vault and verify the issue.

Basic troubleshooting

See photos below for the Vault interfaces

FW1, FW4 Front View

FW1, FW4 Back View

FW6 Front View

FW6 Back View

Plug one end of the power cable into a live AC power outlet and the other end into the DC power adapter.

  • Verify both connections are secure.
  • Verify the LED on the DC power adapter is illuminated.
  • Connect one end of a video cable to either the VGA connector or to the HDMI connector depending upon the model of the Vault. Connect the other end to the appropriate connection of a video monitor.
  • Verify the connections are secure.
  • Note that most video monitors have multiple interfaces such as VGA, HDMI and DVI.
  • Verify that the video monitor is configured to use the correct interface for the Vault or that the video monitor can auto select the correct interface.
  • Connect a keyboard and mouse to the USB ports on the Vault.
  • Verify both connections are secure.
  • Plug the DC power cable into the power jack of the vault
  • Verify the blue LED on the power button is illuminated.
  • Verify that the green LED on the front panel is illuminated.

Issues

No Video           

Monitor the video screen and verify that the system boots up.

If no video is displayed, it may be due to a “barebone” unit. In other words, there is no DRAM or mSATA installed in the device when it ships from the factory. The FWX001, FW2B, FW4X-0, and FW6X-0 series are all barebone units and require installation of at least DRAM before any video can be displayed.

  • Remove the power plug from the Vault.
  • Open the vault per the instructions above and verify that DRAM is properly installed in the system.

If DRAM is properly in place,

  • Follow the CMOS reset instructions above
  • After CMOS reset, power on the device and verify it displays video and boots correctly.
  • If the system boots correctly, this indicates CMOS reset was required to resolve the issue.

If there is still no video

  • Follow the DRAM troubleshooting instructions above
  • After DRAM troubleshooting, power on the device and verify it displays video and boots correctly.
  • If the system boots correctly, this indicates replacing faulty DRAM was required to resolve the issue.

If there is still no video

  • Remove the mSATA and verify the system boots up to the BIOS menu.
  • If the system boots correctly, this indicates faulty mSATA that should be replaced.

If there is still no video, contact Protectli support at: support@protectli.com

Boot directly to BIOS           

If the device boots and goes directly to BIOS

  • Verify that mSATA is properly installed per the instructions above

If mSATA is properly in place,

  • Follow the CMOS reset instructions above
  • After CMOS reset, power on the device and verify it displays video and boots correctly.
  • If the system boots correctly, this indicates CMOS reset was required to resolve the issue.

If the system still boots directly to BIOS

  • Follow the mSATA troubleshooting instructions above.
  • If the system boots correctly, this indicates faulty mSATA that should be replaced.

If the system still boots directly to BIOS, contact Protectli support at: support@protectli.com

No Operating System (OS) found

If the device boots and the following message or similar is displayed on the screen:

“Reboot and Select proper Boot device or Insert boot Media in selected Boot device and press a key”

it means that the device has booted correctly, recognized the mSATA as a bootable device, and there is no OS installed on the mSATA.

Protectli does not install a default OS onto the Vault so this is expected initial behavior.

Install an OS onto the Vault. There are instructions for many of the most popular open source firewalls, routers, network applications, Linux and Windows software packages on the Protectli Knowledge Base at this link.

  • Verify the installation completes successfully.

OS Installation Issues

Problems installing an OS are typically related to the specific OS image and/or the method used to create the installation image.

Specific instructions for many popular OS can be found on the Protectli Knowledge Base page at this link.

  • Verify that AMD 64 bit image type is selected, if image type selection is required, depending on the OS.
  • Verify that a VGA or COM/Serial port image is selected, if required, depending on the OS.
  • Follow the instructions on the Protectli Knowledge Base page at this link to create a bootable USB drive.

Can’t install OS via COM/Serial port

If an OS cannot be installed via the COM port:

  • Verify the COM port session has been configured correctly. See this link
  • Verify the image used for OS installation supports the COM port. Some OS installations require a specific image to use the COM port.

If the COM port session has been configured correctly and the correct image is used for OS installation and there are still issues, follow the instructions above for “No Video”.

Vault Crashes or Reboots            

If the Vault “crashes” or peforms erratically during boot up, installation, or while in service,

  • Follow the mSATA troubleshooting instructions above.
  • If issues continue, follow the DRAM troubleshooting instructions above
  • If issues continue, follow the CMOS reset instructions above
  • If issues continue, it may be due to a corrupt OS. If possible with the OS, save the configuration file. Reinstall the OS.
  • If issues continue, it is most likely a software OS problem. Common issues are typically posted to the support sites or forums for the specific OS.

Here are some of the support sites for the most common OS:

  • https://forum.pfsense.org/index.php
  • https://forums.freebsd.org
  • https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/itpro/windows/support
  • https://ubuntuforums.org
  • https://forum.vyos.io
  • https://forums.untangle.com
  • https://community.sophos.com
  • https://communities.vmware.com/welcome

No Network Connectivity

If an OS is installed and appears to operate correctly, but there is no network connectivity for one or more Ethernet ports, follow these instructions:

For all Ethernet ports:

  • Verify that the Ethernet cable is properly connected between the Vault and a switch/router.
  • Verify that the Green connectivity LED for the port is constantly illuminated.
  • Verify that the Yellow activity LED is blinking

WAN port:

The default IP address on the WAN port for almost all OS is to get an IP address from a DHCP server.

  • Verify that the connected switch/router/network is configured as a DHCP server to provide an IP address to the Vault.
  • Verify that the OS that is installed recognizes a proper IP address on the WAN port.
  • An address of 169.254.10.1 or 169.254.XX.YY indicates that the IP address was generated automatically by the Vault because it was unable to get an IP address from a DHCP server.

LAN port:

Depending on the OS, the LAN port may get a default static IP address. As an example, pfSense® CE sets a static IP address to 192.168.2.1 and enables it as a DHCP server. FreeBSD automatically names the LAN port “em1” and sets a static IP address to 192.168.2.1 and enables it as a DHCP server.

  • Verify that the OS that is installed recognizes a proper IP address on the LAN port.

OPT1-OPT3 ports:

Depending on the OS, the OPT ports are typically not configured as a default. Sometimes they can be configured during installation, but not always.

  • Verify that the OS that is installed recognizes the OPT ports.
  • Verify that the OS can configure the OPT ports for the proper IP configuration, static, DHCP, IPv4/IPv6, etc.

For all Ethernet ports, verify that there are proper firewall rules in place to allow and or deny the desired traffic through the specified port.

More details for configuration of various OS that are compatible with the Vault can be found on the Protectli Knowledge Base page at this link.

Vault seems to be hot

Depending on the load and system activity, the external temperature of the Vault will vary. The Vault uses Intel devices that can monitor the temperature of the CPU, other components and the system. Many OS have the ability to display the temperature data in the dashboard or via other utilities.

If the Vault seems hot,

  • Verify the temperature via the OS dashboard or other utility. CPU core temperatures in the 60’s C are not unusual for heavy load.
  • For the FW1, FW2, FW4A series, verify that the ventilation slots on the side of the unit are not blocked.
  • Verify adequate ventilation around the Vault
  • Verify the ambient temperature where the Vault is installed. Operating temperature is from 0 C to 50 C.

We expect that this troubleshooting guide has the information to resolve most common issues that occur with the Vault. However, if there are still unresolved issues, feel free to reach out to us at:

support@protectli.com